Now for the next weekly installment of "SHADO Boxing":
By John D'Alton
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Look at this Alec, yet more evidence of alien activity" Straker fumed from behind his desk.
Alec fingered the wart on his neck and replied, "Hmmm, I see what you mean; this report is pretty serious."
"And look at this email SID intercepted on a routine security monitoring program" the Commander angrily said, throwing the email across the desk so it fell on the floor.
Alec read: 'Dave - what is all this talk about parts for Foster and Straker figures? Where did you get these parts in the first place?'
"Boy, they're even selling human body parts now too hey? Does Henderson know about this yet?"
Straker took his time to light up another cigarette, "No, cough, cough, I didn't have the heart to tell him, he's still too worried about this Mulder and Majestic business. Maybe I'll send Foster out to have a look at it, and Dr. Jackson too- I think he needs a bit of field action. Sitting around here all week he's starting to sound a bit weird lately."
Alec nodded- "Yeah, he's been looking more like an alien every day if you ask me... but don't tell him I said that, some of the women around here ... you know."
Straker grinned broadly but said nothing.
The door burst open at that point, and Col. Lake pounced in, "Commander, some Italian guys have just driven off with one of our jeeps!" she exclaimed. "Looks like they're headed for Dover. Shall we stop them?"
Seeing Straker looking thoughtful, (which always made her nervous- you could never tell what was happening in Straker's mind), Col. Lake asked again, "Do we stop them, that jeep's worth a lot of money?" "No let them go, let's see where they end up. Maybe they're part of this alien body parts ring. Have them discreetly tracked and monitor all transmissions. Oh, and get someone to bring me some lunch, I'm starving."
Ed continued to Alec, "Hmmm, I have this feeling about this one Alec, maybe we should get that Dr. Pertwee fellow in from Australia."
Alec scratched another wart, "Doctor who?"
"Dr. Pertwee, Alec, don't you keep up with the briefings I send you?" Straker scowled. "He's the third one to run the T.A.R.D.I.S.- the Tactical Alien Research Discovery & Investigation Squad. They're pretty high tech; maybe they can shed some light on this body parts stuff. I've seen some good write-ups on Pertwee in Professor Clare O'Farrell's Foucalt Intelligence briefings too."
The Commander went for a walk above while Alec rushed off to arrange for Pertwee's visit and for Foster and Dr. Jackson to start their investigations. But on his way, Alec bumped into some giggly new recruits in the hallway outside Accounts, looking at photos and smiling in the direction of Dr. Jackson's office. They seemed especially pleased to see Alec.
"Umm, anything I can do for you lovely young women?" Alec beamed.
"Not really," giggled Lt. Rogers to Lt. Sutherland and Lt. Audet. "We're just waiting for our weekly appointments."
"Umm, isn't that a bit excessive?" he asked.
"Ohhhh, noooo, we're realllllly sick you know." they all chimed in unison.
Alec walked off with a frown. He wondered where they were getting such silly recruits these days, feeling just a little jealous of Jackson.
Around the corner he bumped into Foster. "Paul, I've got an important assignment for you. Go and grab Dr. Jackson and meet me in my office in 15 minutes. Tell him he's in for some field action. That ought to wake him out of that zombie-like state he's been in lately."
Foster just grinned and rushed off, wondering what sort of field work could possibly require the mad doctor.
A few floors above, Commander Straker was passing Miss Ealand. "Ahem, Commander, you haven't forgotten something have you...?"
"Of course not," Straker almost snapped. "I bought a very wonderful gift for your Johnny that'll really surprise him - something he'd never, oh damn, I left it in the jeep. The one that was stolen..."
As Miss Ealand started looking forlorn, Ed continued hurriedly, "but we'll get it back I promise. I've got my priorities right these days you know. Personal things first and *then* SHADO".
At that moment another alert came through from Col. Lake, "Commander, we've just received 2 calls. First from Moonbase, Lt. Ellis has intercepted another body parts message from somebody on Marsbase. And then SID picked up some unexplained high energy blasts aimed at both Australia and the States at almost exactly the same time. Somehow they're related- do you want me to launch Sky 1? - It's near Australia right now."
"Do it. Let's see what they're up to. If there's a UFO that's somehow snuck past our defenses I want to know how and why. And what can they want with body parts anyhow?"
* * *
Sky One was engulfed in flames momentarily as the UFO zipped past. The pilot barely recovered before losing sight of the UFO, and had to pull up recklessly before he hit the water. "Phew, that was a close one- nearly got zapped. I've lost contact, nearly blacked out," he reported.
The Skydiver captain barely had time to reply before they too lost track. The UFO seemed to just disappear, probably landing somewhere in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. She wondered whether any Aussies had witnessed the dogfight- nahhh, they would be all too busy watching the Simpsons now, it was just after 7pm.
Moving quietly through those same Brisbane suburbs Rob, a new SHADO operative, was closing in on the scene of the latest unexplained high energy blast. His sensor was beeping ever faster, almost in time with his heart. This would possibly be his first real encounter with an alien, and he was more than a little scared. Just around this corner... there- that burnt out house. Wow, it looked like it had been hit by a firestorm. No wonder the police were suspecting arson, it was a total wreck. He wondered if they'd noticed that the charred remains looked like the house had been hit from above. Hmmm, probably someone would report that fact, but it would be filed in with the other inexplicable stuff in the y-files section.
He was just about to sneak in to take a closer look when suddenly he heard an eerie sound made familiar by his recent training. Just briefly he glimpsed a silver glow through the trees. Fear got the better of him at that moment and he dived behind a brick fence, but before he could radio in his observation, his whole body started to quiver. Rob tried to wriggle away but had lost all control of his body. In terror he closed his eyes and hoped they'd not notice him. He really wanted to leave.
* * *
Thousands of miles away, Foster was briefing Dr. Jackson. "Look I know it's a bit unusual but we really need you out in the field. There's a warehouse full of body parts that need examining. Sure it'll be a bit gruesome but . . ."
"Actually I would relissssh that Colonel." Dr Jackson beamed, hoping his teeth weren't sticking out too far. "As long asss I can take along my 2 new asssssistants- Lieutenants Sutherland and Audet. They need some field work, too. Otherwise they may ssssuffer from even more delussssionary behavior from being locked up down here every day with people like Commander Sssstraker."
Foster looked stunned for a minute, but then thought of the benefits of some female company on the mission. "Sure, as long as you read this briefing from Dr. Pertwee and meet me up top in 30 minutes." As Foster left he noticed that the third woman outside the good doctor's door looked shocked- as if she'd come out of a nightmare. "Are you alright" he asked.
"Umm, I'm not sure, I was standing here with ... never mind... I think I'll have to take this box of papers up to Commander Straker's office." And with that comment Lt. Rogers sped down the hall.
Foster went for another coffee. This was turning out to be a very strange day. He shuddered - he wasn't looking forward to visiting a warehouse lab full of body parts that looked like Commander Straker and himself.
Commander Straker was drinking coffee too, with his late breakfast, as usual. Aaargh, he'd have to get another check on his stomach ulcer soon he pondered. "What's the latest on that jeep?" he asked Col. Lake. "It's been at least 20 minutes since we attached that transponder."
That had been a moment of luck indeed he thought- the jeep had pulled in to a MacDougal's restaurant for burgers, not knowing that all MacDougal's in UK and France were fronts for SHADO operatives to keep an eye on suspected alien sympathizers. They'd attached a transponder unnoticed, and now SHADO was tracking the jeep across NW France.
"Nothing to report, Commander. They look like they're headed for Paris," Col. Lake replied. "And there's been no alien activity in that area for months now."
"Hmmm, I wonder. How long before Dr. Pertwee gets here? I want some answers, Colonel."
Straker was getting really tense over this one, Virginia thought. She wondered what was so important about one jeep. But maybe it was just the thought of a global body parts ring in Straker parts - that did sound spooky. Checking the flights schedule she said, "Late tonight, Commander. Do you want to see him immediately or first thing tomorrow? After all he'll have just flown from Australia without much sleep."
Straker thought for a minute. "Let's see what happens today when Foster and Jackson check out the warehouse."
* * *
An hour later, as Foster, Jackson, Audet and Sutherland were driving up to the warehouse. Foster was having a hard time keeping the women quiet. They were in the back chanting something about Freeman and Jackson, and he could easily hear them over the engine noise. He wondered what Dr. Jackson's reaction would be - he was a strange fellow, he thought.
Inside they were shocked at the spectacle - rows upon rows of body parts lined up by who they looked like. First, a whole line of Straker arms and legs, then a Foster line of torsos and feet etc. and the rows for Alec, Virginia, Gay and more. He was a bit distracted for a minute looking at the rows, and so didn't notice two dark-suited guys move in behind them.
"Ok, freeze right there" they shouted. "Don't try to pull any weapons out, and slowly lie on the ground."
Paul felt awful - he didn't want to be captured by aliens again. If he could just reach his shoe-phone unnoticed. He lay down and slowly reached past his knee.
At that precise moment Dr. Jackson went berserk.
Paul was shocked. He'd never seen Dr. Jackson move so fast. The good doctor whipped around, picked up a Straker leg and thumped the first assailant hard enough to send him flying. He then lunged at the second one but missed him.
The second assailant (who looked like a typical glue-sniffing thug), yelled, "Marc, grab your gun, I've got them covered." But the other guy could only roll over and groan, "Dave, I think he's broken my wrist. Shoot them if you have to."
Dr. Jackson stood waiting, but only for a few seconds. He ducked behind a table full of Foster arms, and started throwing a barrage in Dave's direction. Lt. Sutherland picked up a box of what looked like wisdom teeth and hurled them at the men, while Lt. Audet joined Jackson in throwing arms. Amid the welter the assailants beat a hasty retreat, firing wildly at the body parts but missing the SHADO staff entirely.
Foster had just lain there and watched the whole thing, mouth wide open, almost disbelieving at the scene. He rose and brushed off his uniform. "Well done Doctor," he eventually said, "you sure scared them off."
"Yessss, just as well they fled then as I was running out of Straker armmssss" sweet, innocent and handsome Dr. Jackson replied, grinning very broadly. He was beginning to enjoy this day out in the real world. "Yesss, in a few more moments I would have been armlesssss."
The women were looking on with big glows of admiration, much too distracted to notice the green light growing outside.
* * *
Across the world, Rob was still lying low in Brisbane, hoping to avoid detection by the aliens he'd seen behind the trees. "I want to lieve," he thought yet again, wondering why his body had gone so out-of-control. Then slowly a blue glow grew over the brick fence, and Rob heard the sounds of heavy boots gently crushing the grass, moving towards him. If only he could reach his radio, but his hand refused to obey instructions.
Rob heard an alien voice say, "yIchoH pu'mey HoH! poSlIjDaq, baH!" and it sounded hard and rasping to his ears. He was wondering what it meant when an alien stepped into sight and pointed a weapon in his direction. He froze. The alien aimed and fired, and zapped a large Australian brown snake a few feet from his legs. "Zorry to frighten you, pleaeze stay calm. I speak only some English."
Rob was unsure whether to faint or relax- the alien actually smiled at him! It was quite unlike the briefing pictures. No green fluid in a helmet, no red suit. In fact the alien looked almost human, a bit like a largish samurai warrior, but with hard ridges on her forehead. Her! Now that *was* a surprise. And she was reaching out a hand to lift him up, with a look of kindness in her eyes. Rob felt his heart flutter- she was kinda cute in a rough sort of way.
"Who are you?" Rob ventured to ask, surprised at his own courage.
"Vee are Klingons," she said, indicating the two other female aliens in the trees as well, "and I am Yuchtar zantai Klaan." "Pleaze you leabve here now, we work to complete," she said. "Vee not same as other aliens." Rob hesitated a few seconds, enjoying the presence of a Klingon in the hand and two in the bush.
* * *
"They've tricked us Commander." Ginny yelled across the room. "Agents Christensen and Wright just caught up with the transponder outside Paris, but it was no longer on the mobile! Someone had moved it onto a white Fiat that's been acting very suspicious."
"So where's our mobile then" Straker thundered back. It was going to be a long day, he could see, and he couldn't go topside without having to pass Miss Ealand, and he couldn't pass her without some news of his present for her son, otherwise, sigh... yes, a long day indeed.
"What happened to the agent who usually sits at this second comms desk Colonel?" Straker asked Virginia, sliding into the seat himself.
"Oh, Grant's awray today, sick, but Lt. Rogers will take over soon. We've got about 8 staff off sick today, it's a bit odd actually."
Straker was left wondering what to do with that news, with Dr. Jackson out that day, when his thoughts were interrupted. "Commander, a message in from Belgium, from an Agent R", piped in another young recruit. "That's the code for the Marsbase Lt.Col. Rorabaugh, but she's listed as being on holidays. She says she needs to speak to you personally in private, Commander."
"Ok, I'll take it in my number 2 office," Straker replied, wondering what message could be so private.
* * *
"I've found the jeep!" exclaimed Agent R, SHADO's Marsbase Lt.-Col. Rorabaugh. "It's here in Belgium."
Straker settled into his comfy new orange chair in his down-below office and began to light a cigarette- "ahh good news at last" he thought. But then he stamped the glowing cylinder of death out- he *was* trying to give them up, he thought again. "Oh well", he sighed inwardly.
Rorabaugh continued, "But it's a bit sensitive, Commander, and I thought you'd better deal with this one in private. You see, I was visiting one of our more eccentric operatives while she was back home here on holidays, but it was a surprise visit, and when I arrived, there was our missing jeep in her garage."
"Well what's her explanation?" Straker demanded, "We can't have staff just taking jeeps off for joy rides you know."
"It's a bit more complicated than that, Commander."
Straker sighed again, "it always is," he thought to himself. "Ok, fill me in," he said out loud, with the sound of his weariness deep in his voice.
* * *
In Australia, Rob was on his way back to rendezvous with Sky-1 to give a full report. He couldn't believe he was alive. There he was, Rob, hemminged in on 3 sides by aliens, and they'd turned out to be friendly- especially that Yuchtar one. But he still couldn't understand why they'd fried some poor guy's house. Their explanation of retribution to maintain honour didn't make sense to him. Just because the fried guy called John had said something about the Yuchtar.
Rob thought Yuchtar's big flame gun looked out of place next to their elongated two handed sword/razor thingies- batleths they'd called them. But Rob thought wryly, "Hmmm, I'd be happy to be abducted by them any day." But he wasn't sure how he would explain it all back at base, especially the bite on his neck.
* * *
The glowing green light intensified suddenly and Lt. Audet screamed "What's that?"
Dr. Jackson was still on his adrenaline rush and replied at twice his normal speed but with his usual scientific precision, "It looookssss like a high frequency green ray emmmmitted in an ommmmni-directional manner from that really nasty gun. Duck!"
Col. Foster pulled Lt. Sutherland to the ground. She smiled. This was *such* a memorable day.
Outside, Dave asked Marc, "Shall I kill them with torture 479 or 482? After all, they've uncovered a year's supply in there."
"No, that's off-topic" Marc replied, "Just make sure you finish soaking the warehouse with that reducing ray. I know it's hard for you, you're such a nice guy."
* * *
Later that day, Straker was de-briefing with Col. Lake.
"So it was all a big mistake. When Col. Peten arrived and explained everything to Lt. Col. Rorabaugh, she was sooo *relieved*. They were just testing out our security arrangements to prove us Earth SHADO types were getting sloppy. I must say, they've certainly done that." Ed sat back fuming noticeably.
Col. Lake could see he wasn't finished and wondered how much heat would be on her.
"So I want a full review Colonel- there's to be no more breaches, do you understand?" Ed felt a little sorry he had to be so rough on Ginny. He felt quite fond of her at times. "Umm, don't take it too personally, Colonel. I know you've been under a lot of stress lately."
Ginny smiled a little. Ed could be quite cute at times, she thought.
"Oh, and don't forget, there's still one UFO missing in Australia, and one missing UFO is one too many," he reminded her bluntly.
Col. Lake did a small double take. Was this deja vu or had she heard that before somewhere?
* * *
A few minutes later Dr Jackson explained, "So they were just makkking little figurinesss, Commmmander. The green ray didn't harm us as long as ve stayed down on the ground. It was hard to do that for 10 minutesss, but we managed."
Straker wondered why the two women smiled at that point. Foster just kept looking up at the ceiling with a big grin on his face.
Dr. Jackson continued his lecture "You see, they had no connection with aliens whatsssoever. They just market thessse uuunderground figures, made lifesize and smalllller. They use a rrrray to reduce the parrrrts to whatever size people order. It's very strange. I mean, who would want such things?"
Straker was wondering that himself. It sounded like another security problem. He was relieved it wasn't aliens this time, but it could be a big problem if people studied the figurines closely.
"Oh Commander," Foster interrupted, "by the way, I've brought back some samples, including a life-size Gay Ellis..."
Ed stood frozen in shock.
"...only kidding, just pulling your *leg*." Foster burst into a fit of laughter as he handed Straker a tiny leg, and Straker wondered he should hit him or laugh too.
* * *
The next morning Colonel Lake had a strange look on her face as she raced into the commander's office. "Ahhh, you're not going to believe this Commander, but that Dr. Pertwee hasn't arrived."
"So?" Ed asked, wondering at the Colonel's hesitancy.
"Well, umm, he and his assistant, a Miss Jo Grant, ahhh, they were on the flight and simply, ahhh, vanished."
After Straker picked up his jaw from the desk she continued, "There were no UFO's in the area and we have no idea what happened. All that the Aussies will say is that we should contact a certain brigadier in London."
* * *
By lunchtime the jeep was back and Commander Straker retrieved his present. He was so relieved and heaved a sigh of relief.
That night, he took the present to Miss Ealand's place and gave it to her son. He was feeling quite proud of himself and was making more than the usual level of intimate conversation with Miss Ealand. It had been a hard few days, but the crisis was over. Dr. Jackson had even uncovered the virus in the water supply that was causing so many people to hallucinate and act weird- especially the women.
"Wow look mum, a model spaceship".
Ed and Miss Ealand bent over to look at the unwrapped present.
"And wow, look, there's even little people inside" he said, holding the model up so they could see inside.
Miss Ealand looked at Ed in wonder and concern. Ed froze. He couldn't believe it. There was a miniature him in there, accurate right down to the silver hair.
The Works of John D'Alton
The Library Entrance