was a pause as the technician checked the data board in front
sir. Coming in from the West
technician pointed out the large object glowing on his radar screen.
you Saunders" Milltown said studying the image.
stroked his greying beard and looked out of the window of the
control centre. It's coming all right, he thought. But what was
Is everything in place?" An almost unnoticeable trickle of
sweat ran down his temple.
Operation is ready to go Mr Milltown"
this is it. The balloon really is gonna go up. Milltown knew his
reputation was on the line with this. This was his idea. There
was no going back now. He looked out of the window again. He couldn't
see anything against the clear Arizona night, but he knew he was
minutes away from the culmination of his life's work.
you Saunders. Please let everyone know we are now proceeding to
took one more look out to the west, over the mountains. Storm
clouds were forming in the distance, their rising columns tinged
with the red of the setting sun. Nice night for it, thought Milltown
and took a deep breath. He then turned and walked out of the door
into history. He hoped.
PLEASE. WE ARE NOW MOVING TO PHASE 3. REPEAT. WE ARE NOW ENTERING
announcement over the tannoy echoed across the vast plain that
stretched all around Milltown. He stood on the steps of the control
hut and surveyed the scene around him.
Immediately in front of him was a circular platform with radar
dishes and monitoring equipment all designed to watch and listen
to the sky. Bodies moved about their various duties, checking
this, double checking that, all consummate professionals, their
one aim to make sure everything went off without a hitch.
silently thanked each and everyone for their dedication.
eyes looked beyond the frantic activity.
that was the plain.
it was vast. Mountains stood dark and silent on its distant edges,
watching the events that were unfolding in their shadow. Events
that would shape the way the world continued from here on in.
He hoped. Again.
it wasn't the plain that held his gaze. It was the people who
occupied it. Hundreds of them. Hundreds of thousands. All here
for one reason. One purpose. It was breathtaking. They all stood
there, some talking amongst themselves, some nervously clinging
to each other, many just staring up at the sky. But all united
in one common goal.
brushed another bead of sweat from his brow and looked at the
mountains to the west again. The storm clouds were bigger now
and more striking colours were evident in their strata. Colours
that danced within them. Blues and greens and reds.
walked down the steps towards the circular platform. Speaking
into his two way he asked, " Report, Mr Saunders"
is going according to plan Mr Milltown. Objective is now 18.2
miles from Operation
centre. Descending rapidly. ETA less than 4 minutes."
you Mr Saunders." Said Milltown.
mounted the platform and took hold of the microphone waiting for
he turned it on, there was a whine. A sudden silence overcame
the assembled throng.
or nothing. Milltown knew what he had to do.
and gentlemen." His voice echoed across the vast plain. Not
a whisper could be heard.
will happen here tonight will decide the future of this planet.
It is as simple as that." He gestured over his shoulder at
the cloud formations behind him that were becoming increasingly
larger, light beams bouncing in their interior.
are coming. We all knew it would happen and we have prepared for
it. You are all a part of this. Without you, this Operation is
nothing. And I thank you. Your dedication and unswerving loyalty
to the future of this planet will forever be remembered."
huge clap of thunder crashed from the encroaching clouds.
begins" he said, as the whole crowd stared at the kaleidoscopic
maelstrom descending on them.
lowered the mic and talked into his two way.
phase please Saunders."
tannoy blared into life one last time as Operation "Welcome
Mat" neared it's conclusion.
"ATTENTION. FINAL PHASE
WILL NOW COMMENCE. ASSUME ALL POSITIONS. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
FINAL PHASE WILL NOW COMMENCE. OBJECTIVE LESS THAN TWO MINUTES
FROM OPERATION CENTRE. FINAL PHASE ACTIVE NOW."
watched as the control centre slowly lowered itself into the ground
with a hiss of hydraulics. At the same time, the platform he was
standing on jerked and then started to descend into the Arizona
desert. Milltown said a silent prayer and knew now the planet's
fate was in the hands of others.
* * *
giant spaceship roared from out of the clouds. Light beams danced
around it, like sprites playing in the moonlight. Blue liked to
skip. Green danced. Red liked to play hide and seek. With noise
as its partner, it grumbled and tore. It screamed and it sighed.
into the midst of this alien world.
not a sound it landed.
* * *
Donffy opened the door of the spaceship.
was dark. The air was tinged with the odour of ozone. God that
smelled good! He took a deep breath. He hadn't smelled fresh air
for, well, as long as he could remember.
stepped out onto the alien world
recoiled. That wasn't right. He tried again. And it coughed again.
no no! Donffy thought. He grabbed a flashlight and shone in through
almost dropped his flashlight. The only thing that kept him looking
was the strange image in front of him. There were rows upon rows
of them. Humans. And they seemed to be dead.
lying on their backs, legs in the air.
found the flood lights for his ship (labelled BIG BASTARD LIGHTS)
and turned them on.
he could see for miles around were humans. The whole plain was
full of dead humans.
upon millions of dead humans.
closed the door and stumbled back to his DST.
the last duck alive, he had kind of got used to failure.
knew that humans would eat just about anything. A whole planet
of dead humans? Must be a no no.
that Donffy ruffled his tail feathers and went back to sleep.
* * *
a small planet in the middle of no where of importance, a human
and at em guys! There you go!! Works everytime"
huge cheer went up from the crowd as they watched the spaceship
leave the ground and shoot into the sky.
breathed a sigh of relief. His reputation was safe. The planet
60 billion humans carried on about their business despite all
the disruptions to their lives.