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Posted on Sep 24, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 22] – Unidentified Sinister Objects

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

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Starring:

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Doctor Sinister. An evil Supervillain with an insane lust for power. Although his secret island base has seemingly been destroyed, the Doctor still plots to become future Emperor and Warlord of the planet Earth. Enjoys the company of cats and cloned genetically modified Dinosaurs.

And featuring:

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General Menace. Graduated from West Point Military Academy with honours, served for twenty-five years in the US Army, reaching level of 2-star General in command of training facilities before being recruited by Doctor Sinister to command his New Model Army of World Domination. Has a penchant for cigars. Narrowly escaped the apparent destruction of Sinister Island with his lord and master.

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EPISODE 22 – "Unidentified Sinister Objects"

In a black sky, thousands of brilliant, twinkling, stars glitter above a seemingly endless tract of featureless, arid desert. A warm breeze rolls across the surface and whips up small whirling dust clouds.

There is a cough.

From behind a steep rise descending to a long, straight roadway, bright torch lights appear as two men struggle over the crest of the hill. Dropping to their knees, they extinguish their flashlights and stare into the distance.

General Menace: You know, my Lord, when I suggested coming to southern Nevada, I had something rather more glamorous in mind than crawling around in the desert…

Doctor Sinister: I know exactly what you had in mind General, however you only have yourself to blame. If you’d let me do the driving as I asked, perhaps I wouldn’t have had so much time to peruse the map.

Your Excellency, the last time you drove, you caused a three-hundred car pile-up on the Interstate.

Well what do you expect? Everyone else was driving on the wrong side of the road.

Your Superiousness, we aren’t in England now, or on our island base, this is the United States of America, like most of the world, they drive on the right hand side of the road here.

Damned savages – it’s ridiculous, all civilised nations drive on the left. The UK, Japan…

Australia…

Well, OK, point taken.

So you can imagine my reluctance to let you behind the wheel.

Alright General, you win. Besides, I suppose it’s for the best anyway, I am undoubtedly the best person to read the map.

(Stifling a choke) With all due respect your Magnificence, we spent a week circling around Colorado before you would accept that you had the map upside down.

It’s not my fault I only have one eye.

Of course not my Lord, but it has taken us nearly a month to get this far.

The scenic route is always the most interesting…

My Lord, we’re in the desert, there is no scenery to consider. By now, we could have reached Las Vegas and I was rather hoping that we would have checked into our Hotel by now. The limo’ is getting rather stuffy and smelly, and I don’t think there’s a single bit of leather left on the seats that your cats haven’t clawed or chewed away.

They get bored easily.

So I gather. Your Excellency, just a couple of hundred miles away, the twinkling lights of Vegas await us. Just think my Lord, with your suitcase of cash, and my Roulette system, we could triple the funds available to us and hire ourselves a new army.

General, I’m well aware of your unfortunate predilection for gambling, when we had our island base, the stories of your exploits at the barracks Poker tables made for grim reading. And, to be honest, when you suggested coming to this part of the world, I was expecting something rather less frivolous than sitting around in decadent luxury and cheating at cards.

Cheating? Your Superiousness, I never cheat. Well, hardly ever. Well, not all the time. And at the risk of sounding like a bore myself, can I please ask once again why we are creeping around on our bellies in the middle of the desert on what is becoming a rather chilly night? I’m wasting valuable time better spent at the Roulette tables. I’ve got this great system worked out…

Hang on a moment. Let me just…. (Doctor Sinister reaches inside his jacket and removes a small compact telescope. Putting it to his remaining eye, he sweeps the horizon and after some focussing, he smiles to himself) There, I’ve found it. Behold General!

(General Menace puts a pair of powerful binoculars to his eyes)

Interesting, I can see what appears to be an airport. There are runways, several large hangers and some assorted buildings. There are lots of lights, seems to be pretty busy down there.

Fascinating isn’t it?

Fascinating? Well, if you consider airports to be fascinating places. I’m sorry my Lord, as much as I’d like to express my enthusiasm for the tourist industry, I can’t…

It’s not an airport.

It’s not? Then what is it?

For once I think I am able to enlighten you General. That facility in the distance is probably the most top secret military installation in the world. Well, second to our own base of course.

Which doesn’t exist any more…

Well, OK then, it IS the most secret base in the world.

Secret? It’s lit up like a Christmas tree – how do they expect to keep it secret? Might as well have a big neon sign and an illuminated arrow that reads "Secret Base Here".

They keep it secret by enclosing it within a restricted area the size of Switzerland. It stops trespassers getting too close.

But then…how did we…how are we…?

We’re already several miles into the restricted area. If we’re caught, we’ll be shot on sight. I’m sorry, I sort of distracted you when the warning sign appeared on the road.

You did?

Yes. You see, as we were heading to Vegas, I suddenly noticed this blank area on the map, and I recalled reading all about this base on the internet.

You read about a secret base…on the internet?

Oh yes, there are all sorts of websites talking about this place and I couldn’t resist a detour to take a look for myself. General, welcome to the Groom Lake facility, also known as Area 51.

(Pales) Oh…my…God…

Yes, when you said we should look to the future, you had it right, except for the gambling part. Area 51 is home to the most advanced aircraft in the world – incredible machines that the US government won’t officially acknowledge, funded by secret means and known only to a select few within the administration. (There is a distant roar and a bright light hurtles down one of the runways before becoming airborne) That’s probably one of the new planes taking off now. Incidentally, that runway is said to be the longest in the world.

Let me guess, we’re here to steal the plans to one of these designs?

Not quite, there’s something else about Area 51 that has intrigued me for some time.

Uh-oh. Why do I get the feeling that we’re not going to make it to the luxury suites we booked at the Bellagio Hotel?

Rumours abound that the base is where the US Government stores captured or crashed alien spacecraft and that the technologies within these machines are being reverse-engineered for future use by mankind.

UFOs?

Yes! Did you ever hear of the Roswell incident?

I’m afraid not my Lord, I prefer to restrict my studies to real historical events.

This was a real historical event, the only controversy lies with which version of the story is true. In Roswell, New Mexico, it is said that an alien flying saucer crash-landed in July 1947. The incident was covered up by the military but there are those who believe that the remains of the saucer ended up here and that many of our new technologies derive from an examination of the machines on board the alien craft.

Your Excellency, reports of unidentified flying objects have plagued mankind for centuries, during World War II, allied pilots coined the phrase "Foo Fighter" to describe strange aerial phenomena that would occasionally be seen in the skies. At the time, they were suspected to have been experimental enemy aircraft, but since they never attempted to harm anyone, it’s more likely that they were just forms of ball lightning or other natural occurrences. I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to the theory that UFOs are flying saucers from another world.

Well, whether you subscribe or not is kind of a moot point General, since we’ll know for sure in a couple of hours.

We’re not…?

Yes indeed, get back to the car and fire up the engine, we’re heading to the airbase for a closer look. Just don’t turn the headlights on…

(Three hours later, a black limousine is driven warily down a dusty, rocky dirt-track towards the airbase that now fills the horizon up ahead. Stopping approximately half a mile from the nearest hangar, Doctor Sinister and General Menace emerge from the car and walk stealthily toward the massive building.)

(Struggling with a briefcase in one hand and an unwieldy cat box in the other) This is a very bad idea my Lord.

Oh do stop complaining, there’s a good chap. We’re trying to re-establish our power base, this isn’t a holiday you know.

(The sound of helicopters drifts over from the range of hills several miles behind them)

I think they’re onto us. It sounds like they’re checking out the hill where we were overlooking the facility.

Oh, undoubtedly, there are motion and pressure sensors and armed patrols at the perimeter to the base, we probably set off every alarm in the complex when we drove through the boundary. Fortunately, it’s a dark enough night, otherwise we could never have got as close as we did, let alone as far as we’ve got now.

My Lord, can’t we just get the hell out of here? I’m very nervous about all of this. Infiltrating a secret facility is dangerous enough even if you have the men and equipment to do so, let alone after the necessary planning, but we’re smack in the middle of this base, apparently on a whim, with two cats, a briefcase of cash and a limo’, just how are you expecting to get out again?

Something will crop up, and you told me the limo’ was getting stuffy anyway. We’ll leave it here. I haven’t come here to steal plans General, I’ve come here to steal us a ride.

I’ll give you this my Lord, you don’t do things by halves.

Thank you General.

It’s just that, I worked out, with the amount of cash we have in this case, and with my Baccarat skills, we could play some cards, smoke some cigars and I guarantee you we could quadruple our money overnight and buy ourselves a new island by this time next week…

Enough of the whining General, we can go to Vegas anytime, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

…not to mention the legal bordellos.

The what?

Never mind.

(The two men walk in silence, with only the crying of an annoyed Siamese cat to break the stillness. Eventually…)

(Whispering) Well, here we are, this is one of the main hangars. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around…

No, but I think those helicopters are getting closer…

Let’s nip inside and see what they’re hiding here.

(Opening a side door, Doctor Sinister and General Menace enter the massive structure. It is pitch black inside)

Hmmm…not currently in use then.

I have a flashlight, let me see if I can find the light switch.

(General Menace places the cat box on the floor and gropes around for his flashlight before heading off to look for a light switch. One of the cats inside the box lets out a loud howl which echoes eerily around the huge space inside the hangar)

Ah, here we go.

(The hangar is suddenly flooded with light from several banks of strip lights hanging from the roof high above. Three shrouded shapes sit at the edges of the hangar floor. Doctor Sinister heads to the nearest one and pulls off the tarpaulin)

Wow.

Wow indeed General.

I am sorry for doubting you my Lord. This appears to be a heavily modified F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter. It has a wider wingspan than the regular model and a less angular frame, presumably to reduce the RADAR signature even further.

Can we use it?

Alas no your Excellency, the engine bay is open, looks like someone was working on it, this thing isn’t going anywhere tonight.

(Doctor Sinister heads to the next, larger shape and pulls the tarpaulin off that one too)

Oh my…

Is that…?

Yes I think it is General, it’s a flying saucer.

(The two men stand looking at a fairly sizeable circular craft which bears USAF markings on top of a black frame. A small cockpit protrudes from the centre of the craft and missile hatches adorn the upper and lower sections of the saucer)

Interesting, although I don’t think this is alien.

Manmade?

Without a doubt, although the propulsion system looks a little odd – well, I say it looks a little odd, but I can’t see one at all, so change that to very odd. You know, it does look similar to the German BMW Flugelrad – a type of experimental craft dating from World War 2.

Can we use it?

I wouldn’t have a clue how to fly such a thing Sagacity. Besides, the cockpit would never hold all of us.

Which leaves contestant number three… (Doctor Sinister heads to the third, largest shape and pulls off the cover) Bingo!

(The third vehicle is a large, extremely slender and sleek, black, triangular-shaped aircraft)

I say…

General, say hello to the Aurora.

Erm, hello Aurora.

Rumours of this plane have been circulating for more than a decade now.

What is it?

She’s the latest generation of spy plane, she can fly near to the edge of space at speeds approaching Mach 6 using a revolutionary engine design, the pulse wave detonation engine. She can fly higher, faster and further than any other plane in existence.

They do like to paint their planes black don’t they?

I guess it’s a black project in more ways than one. I approve!

(There is a sudden commotion outside. The hangar vibrates with the sound of hovering helicopters above and an alarm bell begins to ring inside)

Oh well, no time to look for real flying saucers today.

This Aurora, it does have two seats my Lord.

Yes, let’s do it – fire her up and get us out of here General.

(Doctor Sinister scoops up the briefcase and the cat box as General Menace clambers aboard the Aurora and slides into the pilot’s seat. As the Doctor climbs the ladder alongside and sits in the co-pilot’s chair, the engines thunder into life and the black jet taxis forward as the hangar doors open remotely. Spotlights from hovering helicopters threaten to blind the General as the Aurora exits the hangar and turns left onto the runway. Opening up the throttles, the plane suddenly screams into life, flames exploding from the rear as it hurtles down the runway and into the sky where it vanishes)

We made it my Lord!

Yes indeed, good flying General.

Where are we headed now?

Well, it strikes me that they would probably expect us to get as far away as possible, so let’s not. I’m prepared to indulge you now General, let’s head to Vegas.

Roger that my Lord, I hear they have a replica of the Eiffel Tower there these days.

They do? Well, why didn’t you say so earlier? Assuming this thing is equipped with weapons, we can fulfill another one of my life long dreams and demolish the Tower. Make it so General!

Yes my Lord. Sin City here we come!

(The Aurora screeches off into the night sky, whilst, unseen by the General, a fuel warning light blinks steadily on and off…)

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What exactly will our heroes do with their new toy?

Will the Aurora even make it to Vegas?

And how well do travel-sick Siamese cats handle extreme G-Forces anyway?

Find out in the next fantastic episode of…The Incorrect Art of War!!

A J Summersgill & Jim Moreno

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

jim@armchairgeneral.com

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Visit the Incorrect HQ for more episodes!

Aurora

BMW Flugelrad

Bellagio Las Vegas

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