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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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.