Friday, 13 May 2016

Over London

This must seem so sudden and new to you. I shall explain. There are or have been lots of anomalies in London, many kinds. It is our job as Field and Containment Agents in our particular branch of the Department of Metaphysics to come to terms with these oddities, ensuring the city continues to run smoothly. You won't see our name on any ledger and not all of our income is from taxation. Yes we may be a state within the state but that's not for us to resolve here. The point is what we do. Many anomalies we can remove, some we can contain. Some of them we can't, so we have to help the city adjust to what's going on. We stick to our brief... mostly. That's what we did with the Parakeet Embassy in Kingston or the Witch Factory in un-Soho. Sometimes the city must give a little.

One of the most difficult to manage is the Sky Tunnel over East London. All it is, or all it has been until recently, is a cuboid of space. We're not sure of its precise volume. We don't know how far it goes up but the anomaly lies above the area between the Leamouth, Stratford Interchange, Shadwell Station and Hackney Town Hall. The area is spatio-temporally unstable. All that means is an object, usually a plane, will enter that space then be transported suddenly by some still unknown means to another location somewhere above the Earth in somewhere between a few seconds to a few hours later.

We do not know how long the anomaly has been there for. It only became apparent with heavier than air flight. What we do know is we can take preventative measures. Accumulated incident records suggest there are dangerous periods and associated dangerous activities. Planes that get rerouted tend to be in the third or fourth journey through the affected area. There is also a correlation between clockwise stacking and disappearances. Aircraft in the danger zone, so to speak, are given a the choice of an airborne escort or being diverted to a different airport. The usual destination is London City. The usual alternatives are either Southend or Luton. Yes, we have agents embedded in LACC and all nearby airports. I work out of London City Airport.

You might think this is not containment. Certainly this is, or was, no secret, though you granted hadn't heard of it until now. We can't keep people from knowing about it, except you of course, I apologise... but until recently we were able to keep it in a state of plausible implausibility. This is, was the domain of conspiracy freaks. There are Sky Tunnels in several locations across the globe. I can't divulge where they are. We maintain good relations with the local authorities in all but one of the locations. I can't say which country... You wouldn't want to go there anyway. The people aboard an affected plane are amnesticised and released with a cover story. Eyewitnesses are usually quite easy to discredit. 

This situation has changed. Three months ago an object appeared in the sky. There was a glitch in the anomaly, incredible though it seems. It appeared an estimated 27,000 feet up, we're not sure, not quite though. The object appeared, shortly before sunset and remained motionless. It appeared in of the path of an overnight flight, Frankfurt to Boston, which took evasive action. Two other crews soon reported seeing a strange object in the sky. It was motionless and did not respond to hailings and, oddest of all, did not appear on any radar, above or below.

The object was too high to intercept with helicopters so two planes were mobilised from RAF Northolt. The pilots confirmed it was a plane though they could not make out any identifying features or get any response from the craft. They also could not approach particularly close. Despite radar showing the plane was stationary the pilots both reported it 'retreating' as they tried to make closer passes. Fortunately we were able to get the pilots to withdraw before they did anything unwanted or stupid. London City Airport was closed for the night. This is where I came in.

My colleague from the night shift handed over to me first thing in the morning. It was he who got control over the case, identifying the object as an anomaly or part of the anomaly and having it transferred to the DoM. My colleague was able to debrief the pilots. It was night-time when they encountered the anomaly. They did not get a good look at the object, though they described it as 'plane-shaped.' Onboard cameras revealed little as well. The best still image rendered concurred with the pilots' assessment. It was plane-shaped. It also revealed something very interesting - no lights. Who would fly with no lights and why?

I was able to second a plane, a light aircraft that could cover high altitudes, and raise a trusted, experienced DoM pilot from the staff pool. We climbed in reverse-stacking circles, bearing up on our target, which slowly resolved, bigger and more definite. I took pictures as we went. Something was wrong however.

We reached a similar altitude and circled the target, being careful not to get too close. Even so, though it was indeed plane-shaped and seemingly quite large too but from where we were we should have been able to make out details such as insignia or basic design. I took pictures but we could see nothing, just a grey, plane-shaped blur.

What to do? Well, we had a bit of luck, though it wasn't immediately obvious. The pilot tried hailing the plane/object. The signal bounced back in a fast echo. Light seemed to pass through what my colleagues and I would soon call the bubble, but radio waves could not, which would explain the lack of a radar signal. 

Time was of the essence, though that phrase would become apt in more than one way. The airport below was still closed and cover stories only last for so long. We had to develop a provisional containment strategy. To do this we had to map the bubble. Fortunately there was a radar-plane on hand at Gatwick. Two hours later we had a basic map of the anomaly, The Bubble and a plan to divert all City Airport planes to the south as they approached. They would have to stack in a dangerous clockwise direction but that was a risk we would have to take. The airport was reopened a little before midday, a manageable situation.

We have been in a holding pattern since that time... There's that word again, 'time.' The anomaly has been under consistent observation. We have learned more about it. We knew that light could pass through The Bubble, what we didn't know until recently was that it was getting blue. Light-waves from 'inside' were blue-shifting. The plane was getting closer. But how? It is motionless. We have also been above the anomaly, looking at the ground through the bubble. Though picture quality has been sketchy we have discovered that the ground seen below the Bubble does not accord with the ground as it is. 

We have mapped The Bubble and found it is shrinking. It is a sphere, for all practical purposes a perfect sphere. To begin with we found it was just over 200 metres in diameter. The Bubble has shrunk however, at a rate of roughly 10 centimetres a day. It is now around 110 metres across. In this time the object, the plane has appeared in greater resolution and detail. We now know what it is. Here is a picture, taken yesterday.

This is a Messerschmitt ME 264 VI, otherwise known as the Amerika Bomber. It was developed by the nazis during World War Two. Only ever a prototype, it was never used in anger but was intended, among other things, to deliver the German atomic bomb. 

We have calibrated the blue-shift measurements taken according to time. If what we are looking at is a temporal bubble then this plane is coming at us from 1944, though clearly we don't know which 1944. We need to be ready. In just over 100 days we will find out.

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