by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
SHADO Moonbase was thrown into chaos two days ago by the sudden outbreak of a so-called “Space Fever”. Investigations revealed it was no natural phenomenon, but rather an artificially induced mental state unleashed as part of the ongoing war with the Alien aggressors from an unknown planet.
The effect of this terrible weapon varied from person to person. Lieutenant Ellis, in command when the Alien weapon was deployed recalls, “It was very strange. One moment I was at my console in the control sphere and the next I was at a fairground, one I’d only ever visited as a child. I didn’t know how I got there, but within moments it felt like it’s where I belonged.”
Interceptor Pilot Mark Bradley also experienced unusual visions stating, “I was in the standby room, about to make myself a coffee. As I crossed the room, I suddenly found myself halfway up a mountain, hanging from a climbing rope. I’d done something very similar on my last spell of leave. Almost at once, all memory of Moonbase and SHADO was gone and I was just climbing the rope.”
Disturbed by the lack of communications from the lunar base, Commander Straker dispatched Colonel Alec Freeman and Doctor Jackson to Moonbase on the emergency Lunar Shuttle. Arriving just less than 24 hours after contact was lost, Freeman and Jackson discovered a myriad of bizarre sights. Crew members asleep in the hallways, some laughing hysterically. One person was found hanging by their arms from a ceiling bracket shouting, “Keep away, they’ll get you!”
Reaching the control sphere, the two men were surprised when Lieutenant Ellis approached in a daze and asked if they wanted a balloon or some candyfloss. Jackson diagnosed a kind of targeted hypnosis, one that rendered the victim unaware of their present surroundings by amplifying a vivid memory from the past. There were similar sights all through the base.
Entering the standby lounge, Freeman had to tackle Astronaut Bradley, who had been about to, “Abseil right out of an airlock.” Confining the affected crew to their quarters, Freeman and Jackson reported to Straker, who ordered them to double check the latest reports from SID.
The logs had been badly corrupted, no doubt due to a Moonbase technician mistaking her monitoring computer for some kind of musical keyboard. However, Freeman was able to re-establish a link with SID and confirmed a lone UFO was passing close to the Moon, slowing its approach in readiness to attack.
Without any able-bodied crew to assist, Freeman left Doctor Jackson at the control console and raced to the Interceptor bay. Flying the craft in basic training simulations had been one thing, but engaging a fully armed enemy UFO? Well, there was no other choice.
As soon as the launch platform eased to a halt, Freeman blasted off and set course as relayed by SID. In seconds, he was hurtling up from the barren grey surface and into the black, starry void. And then there it was, moving like a shooting star, right towards him. Every fibre of his being fought the instinct to fire immediately. There would be time for only one shot, and it had to be split-second perfect. If he missed, he was dead. A drop of perspiration ran down his forehead.
Suddenly, the computer inter-lock engaged, firing the deadly projectile across the vast distance between the two craft. Freeman watched his attack computer’s readout, his eyes glued to the series of numbers spinning like wheels on a gambling machine. Seconds ticked by, then…. BOOM!
The distant explosion blazed briefly, then died. Ten smaller, but no less brilliant explosions followed, blanketing the area in the UFO’s path. Freeman called out over the radio, asking for confirmation. Jackson took his time replying, checking the information coming in from SID. He was a doctor, not a strategist, and he wanted to get it right. Freeman repeated his request more urgently, worried that the flashes of light had blinded him to the smaller light of the UFO.
He needn’t have worried. The enemy craft had been blown into a million pieces. Moonbase and all of its crew had been saved and would live to fight another day, just as soon as Doctor Jackson found a suitable way to reverse their hypnosis.