The alien had plenty of time to do his research while travelling at light speed through the depths of space. The importance of blending into the background on this exploratory mission had been drilled into him. The Earthlings may not take kindly to a bug-eyed, purple life-form of superior intelligence landing on their planet. They might be envious of his magnificent tentacles. Therefore, his landing craft had been cleverly disguised as a popular form of transport, at least according to his databases. It was a lime green Hillman Imp with a Greenpeace sticker in the window about saving the whales. He was confident that he had that one covered.
He next asked the computer for a suitable iconic figure to imitate, something that would be popular with the Earthmen, and more importantly, the Earthwomen; who he would be hoping to probe as a critical part of his mission.
Many results came up.
One of the biggest hits was a strange fellow with a short moustache who seemed to bark rather than speak. To the alien, he looked a likely candidate, but as he had selected Milton Keynes as his landing spot, the computer overrode his decision and game him another option.
The computer had learned through extensive research that the first individual was not actually barking after all. He was speaking German, a language which was uncommon in Milton Keynes. It therefore advised that the second most popular persona would be a more suitable option. This one at least spoke the same language – well, sort of. It opted for Mel Gibson.
The alien was a little hesitant about this choice, and not at all happy to be losing his beloved tentacles, but the mission was of paramount importance, so he’d just have to get on with it.
The term used in Milton Keynes was to keep his chin up and have a stiff upper lip, or so the computer advised him. The alien was still learning what a chin was, and his lip refused to be stiff. It tended to wobble about in a rather fetching manner, but he did his best and spent long hours in front of the mirror perfecting the correct facial expression.
A problem had been reported. It seemed that the second most iconic figure on the list wasn’t actually from Milton Keynes either, far from it in fact. Although the people of Milton Keynes identified with his looks, and he scored highly with both the males and females of the dominant species, the computer advised that he needed a more local accent; something that would blend in more.
The computer trawled through endless hours of communication networks before eventually settling on a suitable accent. It came from a popular TV sitcom: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Again there was some confusion here, as the title of the programme suggested that this was in fact German also, but after more extensive research they confirmed that it was indeed English; the common tongue of the inhabitants of Milton Keynes – well apart from the cats.
Confident that they had covered all eventualities, the alien parked his spaceship in orbit around the small green-blue planet and hopped into the Hillman Imp for the final part of his journey. He felt confident that he would soon be probing many of the local inhabitants, without them even knowing that they were being probed by an alien species.
A few hours later, the alien, or Adolf Gibson as the name on his newly- created driving licence stated, found himself gridlocked on the M25. He had thought the Alpha Centauri bypass was bad, but this was far worse.
Added to that was the fact that he could spot no other Hillman Imps amongst the predominantly German cars parked alongside him.
When he finally escaped the M25 gridlock and headed up M1 to his destination, he noticed another problem. The Earthlings were much bigger than he had anticipated, many towering over his diminutive four foot in height. However, no one seemed to pass him any mind, so he concluded that all of the research had been worthwhile.
On the plus side, he found that he got on quite well with the second most dominant species in Milton Keynes: the cats. Perhaps he should have disguised himself as a kitten instead. They seemed to have a lot more fun than the Earthlings did.