Author : Bob Newbell

I handed the teenager her milk and syrup laden drink and went back to the cash register. Just then, a Yedla walked into the coffee shop. He was a good seven feet tall and had a row of sharp teeth in his two mandibles. The other patrons in the shop fell silent. As soon as he got to the counter, the intimidating looking alien fell on his knees, bowed his head, and held his webbed hands up with the palms facing me.

“Pree! Pree!” he said with a trembling voice. It was as close to “please” as the Yedla larynx would allow. His clothing was dirty and tattered. Five years earlier, he might have swaggered into an establishment like mine and simply taken what he wanted. Or he might have razed the building to the ground with his particle rifle just for fun. Now he was humbly pleading for the very thing that had quickly ended the Yedla invasion of Earth: a cup of coffee.

The Yedla had arrived in a fleet of twenty starships. They’d transmitted a message in multiple human languages saying they’d scorch the surface of the Earth if we resisted. Then they’d fired a few volleys to let us know they had the means. The Yedla were less of an invading army than a sort of interstellar street gang. They didn’t want to conquer Earth. They’d take what they found desirable and would kill and pillage for the pleasure of it. Then they’d move on and probably scorch the Earth anyway. At least that’s what they thought until one of them tried coffee.

A group of Yedla had kicked in the door of a small coffee shop in Ohio. One of them was curious about the quintessential morning beverage and ordered the proprietor to give him a cup. The alien gulped down the java and almost immediately fell to the floor. He reportedly experienced two full minutes of ecstasy. Ten minutes later, he was convulsing in what physicians would later call Yedla Caffeine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Caffeine addiction spread like wildfire among the hedonistic marauders. Even the Yedla manning the vessels in orbit, once they heard about the exotic Terran hallucinogen, abandoned their posts and came down to the surface leaving their ships derelict and harmless.

Within three months of that first Yedla drinking a cup of coffee, the aliens were reduced to pathetic wretches. Some even resorted to rummaging through trash dumpsters looking for discarded coffee grounds. Earth had survived its alien invasion and the bean had proved mightier than the sword. The trick now is whether we’ll survive leapfrogging a thousand years ahead from all the Yedla tech the governments of the world are busily reverse-engineering.

“Preeeeee!” the trembling creature bellowed again. I broke down. I filled a big take away cup with light roast and handed it to him. He gulped it down and placed a shaking claw on my shoulder in gratitude before he shuffled out the door. I noticed several of my customers tear up. And I did, too. Five years ago, those aliens were the greatest existential threat Mankind had ever faced. Now, we can’t help but feel sorry for them.

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