The Weather Balloon SyndromeEdit


Are you sure it is recording this time?...Alright then. As you can imagine, things kept goin' pretty much the same way by there. New witnesses appeared every week, stories were posted in the internet, blurry photographs and grainy videos were sent to TV stations and people created theories to explain the burst of UFO sightings in that area (some quite ridiculous, if I may say so). A similar phenomenon was happening in other cities inside the "sliver square". It was all quite fun actually, and it was about that time we started monitoring the situation to ensure it would not go out of control.

Unfortunately it was about this time that things started to go out of control. To make things more interesting I'll tell you about something that happened in a place you probably know, Groom idiot, it's the secret military base that everyone knows about, you heard of area 51, didn't you? So, anyway, that day a messenger visited the guy in charge of that base, which will remain nameless. I have a transcript of the dialog, with the first sentence being said by the messenger:

"Sir, I have a very importan..."

Apparently the monitors the, uh, guy in charge of that place needed to monitor where displaying a strange underground location where a man said he owned the internet.

"Do you see that, soldier?"

"What, sir?"

"Doctor Who."

"What's the problem, sir?"

"On ABC."

"I don't quite follow, sir."

"Do you know how many channels have regular showings of 'Doctor Who'? Two! Not counting the BBC. Do you know how many times 'Shaun of the Dead' aired thursday? Three times! *grumbling* Okay, two of them were in the BBC but that's not important. And it's not only that! Britcons, British movies, British characters, Hollywood movies in the UK! It's an invasion!"

"Sir, unfortunately, I have a more importa..."

"More important that the British invasion of our most sacred institutions? Bah! I say we must strike back! I was just now thinking on a way of modernizing American TV in a way that will make our programs more appealing. Do you know what I thought about?"

"Science fiction?"

"No! Reality TV."

My, I had no idea there was so much useless blabber, let's go to the interesting part...they decided to make a reality show about Hollywood stars undergoing marine training, but that doesn't matter now.

"Sir...a secret military airplane fell on a private owned land near a little town in New Mexico."

"An airplane? What kind of airplane?"

"...You of those that can...turn invisible, launch nukes and...have death rays."

"Red death rays, or green death rays?"


"Oh, the KM-029. A nice model, but obsolete after we launched the laser satellites."

"So...what do you suggest we do...?"

"Send a recovery party and tell the farmer it was a weather balloon, I have more important things to consider now."

"A weather balloon, sir? It is a military airplane, it's nothing like a weather balloon."

"It worked in Roswell."

"But in Roswell, it was a weather balloon."

"Weather balloon. Now go, I have to hire a feng shui architect, I think the research center is interfering with my chi."

And I'm serious about this, it was a weather balloon in Roswell, so no strange ideas...okay, it did have nuclear capabilities, but it was a weather balloon...mostly.


Anyway, the army sent a group of soldiers to the farm of one Hugh Flackman, it was there the KM-029 prototype had fallen and they expected to get the debris, clean the area and make sure Flackman didn't know what was happening. By the time they got there, though, Hugh was, along with almost 30 people, touching the various pieces of the plane. The guy in charge of the expedition, Lionel, told the others to keep the trucks and escort jeeps out of view while he approached the people.

The people told him that Flackman had seen a flying saucer moving fast in the sky. It was hard to see it, as it was almost invisible but it left a small trail of fire. The flying saucer then fell (presumably because the pilot had ejected, since the pilot survived) on his fields. Hugh called a lot of people to come and see the debris and that's what they were doing since then.

Lionel went to the center of the crowd and revealed himself as an army officer, ordering the crowd to go back to their homes as "there was nothing to see there". Hugh protested but was kindly convinced to do so, as he was told by a group of soldiers with submachine guns pointed to him.

The soldiers took five hours to collect all the pieces of the fallen aircraft and put them in a truck. Curious people were kept at bay and Lionel did his best to explain how all those pieces of lightweight metal and glass were, in fact, a new model of weather balloon that can detect snow and make crops grow three times faster, but Hugh couldn't tell anyone about that.

Three hours after the army left, Hugh gave an interview to the regional press. One and half days later, he gave another, this time to the CNN.

When Lionel called the...guy in charge of area 51 to know what he should do about that, the guy said not to worry about that and that he had taken care of it and asked for Lionel to stop calling as he was busy overseeing a secret research project on military uses for psychic powers in his basement. Two months later, a 3000 page document was published explaining how much of a weather balloon that military airplane was.

But no one knew about the document at the time and the interview Hugh gave to the CNN made people flock to Notroswellville even more. Francis Bacon retrofitted his shop to sell alien themed products like miniature UFOs and masks. I don't need to say how well the business was going for you to understand tha...very well.

Tourists from as far as Alaska came to Notrowellville with hope of experiencing something out of this world. Discovery Channel even had twenty minutes dedicated to Notroswellville in a documentary about UFO sightings (With ten of these minutes being an interview with Mary) that had a peak of audience of almost eighty percent of the TV owning population of the country.

But while travel agencies, gift shop owners and network CEOs profited heavily with the sudden interest in all things alien, people that already were paranoid became even more and conspiracy theorists got enough material to last a few years.

Gary Mann for example, started watching everything related to anything even remotely alien that aired on TV, bought various science fiction DVDs and three books ("Are you there Jakartians? It's me, Jim", "Finding what 'they' don't want you to in ten easy steps" and "They came in 4567BC") that were flagged in the FBI database as "slightly paranoid".


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