“Terror in the Skies” – a UFO story

Help us on The World Today to write a story about UFOs. We’re using the news that the Ministry of Defence in London has released previously secret files on Unidentified Flying Objects, to write our own rolling fictional adventure.

The first two paragraphs below have been written by Nick Pope, a writer who used to run the Ministry of Defence UFO department. Post your own paragraph, making sure it follows the story so far, and lets get this blockbuster going…

“Terror in the Skies”

The young air traffic controller frowned as she looked at her radar screen. A blip had appeared in a place where no aircraft should be flying. She ran a computer programme, but the blip was still there. Suspecting a computer glitch, she transferred to her alternate work station. The blip refused to go away. A second blip appeared. This one she knew about: a Boeing 747 en route to Heathrow, beginning its descent. Suddenly the first blip did something seemingly impossible; it stopped, changed course and accelerated towards the aircraft she was tracking. What had began as a minor irritation had become an emergency. She reached for the red telephone on her desk and called her supervisor.
“Sir, we have a problem – you need to see this right now”.

Captain John Fyfe had just disengaged the autopilot, made a series of standard checks and announced to the passengers that they would shortly begin their descent into Heathrow. It was at that point that air traffic control alerted him to what they referred to as “unknown traffic” closing on his position. The radar return had been assessed as real, but there was no transponder data that might identify the mystery aircraft. Fyfe was nervous. There had been a series of unusual occurrences recently and several civil and military pilots had reported unusual aircraft. Rumours in the aviation community focused on secret prototype aircraft – probably Russian. Suddenly, he caught sight of an object ahead of him and closing fast. His eyes went wide with astonishment as he saw the vast, black, diamond-shaped object pass across the front of his aircraft.
“Near miss”, he relayed to air traffic control. “And it’s not an aircraft”.

23 Responses to ““Terror in the Skies” – a UFO story”

  1. 1 Julie P
    October 20, 2008 at 00:36

    Just then the young air traffic controller’s supervisor, Dex Dexter, entered the control tower, sleeves rolled up to his elbows ready to jump into the action.

  2. October 20, 2008 at 01:25

    Gordon Senior was head-controller and watched intently as the blips merged and then separated. This happened on at least three occasions.

    “Captain, Fyfe?”

    There was a silence that disturbed Senior. He repeated his call “Captain Fyfe?”

    A garbled response came – almost inaudible; but it was John Fyfe. “Gordon…….black…large…..Dia…..odd shape…colour…” the connection died.

    Gordon looked at his phone for what, as it seemed to him, an age. This was a call that he never thought he would have to make – and a call that he also dreaded.

    “That cannot be real!” Fyfe was now shouting through the headphones. A whoop was heard – someone was celebrating? This was far too odd to be celebrating a craft that was certainly not man-made, or at least did not seem it.

    “John, John – please respond!” Gordon Senior felt that he was on a date and was the third person. The chatter and clamour he heard was disconcerting. There just should not be this much noise. Gordon reached over to his console, flicked though the pages until he found the directive covering hijack.

    With the flick of a button Gordon connect to all the air-traffic controllers at once, “I am taking direct control of this flight.”

    One or two, maybe more of the controllers exchanged glanced with evident concern, they knew that this was now a very serious situation. One by one they returned their answer “OK!”

    “All data transferred, sir” Flight lieutenant Morgan Creer was watching the same dance played out in the sky over far off London.

    “Get the Tornado’s ready for take off!”

  3. 3 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 08:18


    An air of tension filled the bridge.

    “We’re still being tracked by some kind of radio device, Commander” reported tactical officer Roskins “and our attempt to confuse it by intercepting the atmospheric flying device seem to have backfired. Apparently there were hundreds of life signs on board watching us through viewing plates”.

    “The tracking is the least of our problems” replied Commander Markdell “if we don’t get the ion propulsion back online soon we’ll have to land–and these primitives aren’t ready for first contact yet. Let me know if you detect anything more than a transport craft coming this way”.

    His face bathed in the faint ultraviolet glow of the instrument panel, Commander Markdell pondered his options. This was supposed to have been a routine survey mission monitoring progress of the developing species but accidentally passing through the charged particles in the magnetosphere near the planet’s northern pole had changed all that when the powerful ion drive had failed.

    “Commander” called Tactical Officer Roskins “small craft armed with projectile weapons coming this way”.

  4. 4 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 14:25

    As he completed the last of his pre-flight checks, Squadron Leader Mitchell Farrier cycled the throttle on his RAF Tornado to max. As the interceptor accelerated down the runway and rocketed into Heathrow’s airspace, he reflected on the strange situation he found himself in.

    Farrier had been awoken from a sound sleep by his RIO, Flight Lieutenant Christopher Rourke. The lanky, dark-haired man from Donegal, who had been watching the latest news about the American election, loudly barged into the Squadron Leader’s quarters.

    As Farrier, still half asleep, robotically went through the motions of putting on his uniform and gearing up. He’d been doing it so long now, it was reflex. As Rourke shoved a large cup of tea into his hands, Farrier began to finally follow the thread his RIO’s excited chatter.

    “… something about a possible hijacking or technical error.” Rourke was saying. “Either way, we’re being scrambled, sir. So let’s get going.”

    Farrier took a long pull from his tea and considered his friend. Mitchell could see Rourke’s animal grin from under his great black beard and noticed the excitement in his eyes. Despite the years he’d been serving in the RAF, Farrier couldn’t help but admit to himself that he always felt the exact same way before a mission. The surge of adrenaline made reality seem sharper, and the churning nervousness in his guts somehow made him feel more connected with his actions.

    Farrier nodded to Rourke, took one more drink of his tea then discarded the half-full drink. He began jogging the short distance to the hangars with Rourke following in his wake.

    As Farrier and Rourke mounted up, the air traffic controller began briefing them on what had happened. A strange radar blip moving erratically. The radio of the 747 acting strangely. The controller thought it could be a hijacking, but said she had never seen anything move that strangely on radar.

    As the lights of London faded into the night, the tornado’s powerful sensory package picked up the jumbo jet. As Farrier vectored to intercept, Rourke piped up. “I have the 747 on radar, sir, but no sign of the bogey.”

    “Well keep your eyes open. Control saw something.

    Soon, Farrier saw the four cherry-red glows of the 747’s engines as he approached the jumbo jet from the aft. He began relaying what he saw to air traffic control. Nothing physically wrong with the jet. It wasn’t flying erratically and still seemed to have power. As he pulled the Tornado abreast of the jet, Farrier and Rourke tried to raise the flight crew on the radio. Perhaps atmospheric interference had messed with ground control’s communication.

  5. 5 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 20, 2008 at 16:18

    Meanwhile, the young ATC was still watching the curious dance of an increasing number of tiny blips on her screen. Relieved, for the time being, of any duties within her sector, she let her mind wander over the possibilities unfolding before her. This was not what she signed up for, she thought.

    Pushing tin, her brother had told her, was a perfect career fit for her. Following a brief whirlwind of adventure early in her life, she had proved herself to have that rare ability to let stressful situations pass over her like industrial waste passes over a Cuyahoga River duck’s back. You can do this job, Gert, he said. As the flurry of headless roosters pranced about her, Gertie thought: you can have this job.

    Her mind drifted off to the bowl of petunias she kept in the North window of the tower and she found herself oddly wondering whether it ever wondered if it had found a place yet that it felt it could call home.

  6. 6 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 20, 2008 at 22:32

    Suddenly, she burst into song:
    “Whatever happened to my part…”

    Ummm… just kidding. Original material only, right?
    I can wait. Anyone else?

  7. 7 Jens
    October 20, 2008 at 23:05

    “Roswell, Roswell, where?” he said; “why are these darn aliens only visiting little cow towns in the middle of frigging nowhere”

  8. 8 Tom D Ford
    October 21, 2008 at 07:27

    “We’re using the news that the Ministry of Defence in London has released previously secret files on Unidentified Flying Objects, to write our own rolling fictional adventure.”

    Ahem. There’s a missing link.

    Or is there?

  9. 9 Dinka, kampala
    October 21, 2008 at 15:41

    Now i donot know what a can tell you but i will try to tells you something a bout what i got this year, I was given a pen by my brother who came from sudan , that pen was having a torch on it front but when you lightened it you immediately see the picture of OSAMA BIN LADEN on the lighting object. They nearer you come close to the object the smaller it picture become yet the longer the distant from the object the bigger it picture it become. So it was alarming movement for me at that time.

  10. 10 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 21, 2008 at 19:17

    @ Dinka, kampala:

    That is an interesting gift. It is not immediately relevant to this story, but if one looks at the bigger picture, it does have a moral which is quite relevant to a story about terror from the skies. The moral to your story seems to be that Ossama Bin Laden is just a man, and has no more power than an ordinary man, when he is close by.

    But when he is projected from a distance, in a way that makes him seem much greater than he really is, he becomes much more frightening to those who fail to see that the greater his image, the weaker his light becomes. Ossama Bin Laden was once the leader of a small band of very well funded murderers. Nothing more. And then he was projected before us as a great and powerful leader, and a thing to be feared. And look what our fear has made us do.

    This is just one way of using this torch light as a metaphor. The real world is a much more complicated place, and I hope I haven’t taken your story too far out of context. It would be much simpler to think about stories of fear that are easier to understand. Like UFOs. Martians. Little green men, as it were. Now there’s an enemy all humanity can unite in fear against. Where were we…

  11. 11 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 21, 2008 at 19:42

    …picking up in the middle of the last paragraph of the story so far:

    She wondered about the way it always seemed to thrive in the darkness of the night skies over Heathrow. She let her mind wander out to wherever the light these leaves reached for must be coming from, and she realized that somewhere in the near focus of that distance, the strange dance of the blips was still playing out in real time and scale.

    She returned her mind to the screen in front of her. The rug of authority may have been pulled out from under her, but her mind was still sharp. And her powers of perception were still equipped with the best that the money of her day and age could afford.

  12. October 22, 2008 at 00:34

    This is an interesting exercise in some ways, but I’m perceiving it as being approached in the manner of one having a real air of unadulterated cynicism about the whole subject and the actual possibility of the existence of UFOs? It appears there is to be no debate about peoples opinions as to their existence or otherwise, or any strange experiences individuals might recollect of having had in their lives in relation to an inexplicable incident of a certain nature.
    I don’t lose much sleep over the matter, to be perfectly honest, but I’m not going to deny outright that they don’t exist.
    It appears to perturb a lot of people when approaching a conversation or discussion of this nature.
    Renowned British Astronomer, Patrick Moore who has been studying the universe for many decades and now a man in his 80’s thinks it unlikely that in the entire length and breadth of the universe that we are alone and are the sole example of an intelligent life form. It is an arrogance on our behalf to think that human beings are the “Masters of the Universe” and we are a unique creation as are all creatures of our planet. But he thinks it unlikely at present that they have travelled so far from their habitat and domain into our galaxy and our planetary and solar system, to monitor and study us earthlings. However he doesn’t completely rule out the possibility. But Mars remains an enigma to our psyche.
    Arthur C Clarke entertained the idea that there are most likely many lifeforms present in the universe. And as we venture further into the realms of space travel, we will inevitably come across other existences and dimensions that will support some form of being or life force. On the surface it at first may appear very threatening to ourselves and our well being, because we are suddenly being faced by another existence than our own and all the inevitable insecurities and fears surrounding the issue. It will probably end in being a thoroughly enlightening experience to be welcomed and not shunned, dismissed or necessarily to be treated within the narrow parameters of “Good versus Evil” and “Us & Them” that we are so accustomed to as a species being in perpetual conflict with itself on so many levels.
    The subject of fractals is a fascinating one and for all his fictional and factual writings. He says the indescribable wonder and fascination of our inner universe the planetary make up and infinitesimal aspect of geometrical design is an area whereby we will begin to understand more than we already know
    and may well lead to a deeper understanding of everything, life, the universe, our very own existence and progress as a species.

  13. 13 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 22, 2008 at 02:04

    @ Matthew:

    I’m not sure I understand your concern. This is a story about UFOs. Therefore, in the context of this story, UFOs do exist. Perhaps you didn’t get that the contribution from Bob in Queensland took place on the bridge of an alien ship.

    The only thing worth debating about this story is whether it presents an attitude of cynicism about its subject. I don’t read one in anything that has been written so far. If you want me to believe otherwise, you will have to cite specific quotations, and explain what you find cynical about them.

    The reply I wrote to Dinka, kampala did express a cynicism about fear, in the context of Osama Bin Laden and the context of virtually every UFO movie made before THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. That is not the same thing as being cynical about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors.

    I’m of the opinion that humanity has already come a long way from the narrow minded thinking that led to such fear of “outsiders” in the 1950’s. Awareness of and acceptance of difference is becoming increasingly common among younger people. Regardless of whether there is anyone “out there” waiting for humanity to outgrow its fearful ways, I believe we will be ready for “first contact” a lot sooner than any cynic would predict.

    But good stories must take place in a believable world. If anything I write in the future expresses an attitude of cynicism, it is a reflection of the world in which the story takes place, and not a statement of my personal opinion, one way or the other.

  14. October 22, 2008 at 10:18

    John D Augustine WI USA,

    Fair point in most of what you’ve said.

    But I think this has possibly been done the wrong way round, by the evidence of the response so far, only 13 postings. You can’t say it’s actually generated a helluva lot of interest, and set the world on fire really has it? Save for those who are eager to exercise their powers of prose, I think it would’ve been better to test the waters of all those who contribute to all the blogs and increasingly those who hold very strong and faith based beliefs in many other countries besides those of the West. Generally in considerable contrast we in the West are more inclined to a secular approach to daily living and are more accepting at a certain level as to what possibly lies out there in the deep abyss of space other than an interminable vacuum with no other recognisable life form whatsoever beyond ourselves, and that we are entirely alone that would so are least likely to deny another’s existence beyond the boundaries of our planet. It would be interesting to see if any of our perceptions and deeply held prejudices against certain religions in the so called narrow boundaries they associate with anything beyond the existence of God or a deity, informing and instructing their daily behaviour and lives in general is correct to any extent at all.
    First the debate, then the essays and story contributions if people are so inclined then once more, or recontribute to the same.

  15. 15 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 22, 2008 at 15:59

    No, it certainly hasn’t generated as much interest as the newsier items, but then WHYS is a news blog dealing with issues that affect peoples daily lives in very real and profound ways, such as hunger and political turmoil. You can’t say the same thing about UFOs. So that would explain why no one is debating them here.

    I still don’t understand why you want to debate. No one here is denying what we both seem to believe. There is a possibility that UFOs are really from other worlds, but there’s not much evidence for or against that theory.

    So what is there to debate? I’m just here to enjoy a good story. But I’m also hoping I won’t have to enjoy writing the whole thing myself.

    Anyone? Anyone…

  16. 16 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 22, 2008 at 16:32


    …She watched as the two blips danced about, or at least the one danced about the other, which obviously wanted no part in this little jig. It reminded her of the way redwing blackbirds back home would chase crows three times their body weight, the crows not defending themselves in any way other than continuing to fly in a direction away from the nuisance.

    Then suddenly, her drifting thoughts were locked into focus as the tornadoes appeared on her screen, on an intercept course and moving much faster than the standard commercial traffic. At almost precisely the same time, the bogey went from near sonic speed to a dead stop. It stayed there for just a moment, like a dear caught in the headlights, or maybe like Wyle E. Coyote, hanging in midair just a step or two over the cliff, waiting for the awareness of his predicament to sink in.

    And then, very much unlike the latter, who would inevitably succumb to the temporarily distracted laws of physics, the bogey did just the opposite. And completely disappeared. Gertie suspected that contrary to what she had been led to believe, the [British equivalent of the FAA] had been sold a bill of goods, and not the state of the art equipment this was supposed to be.

    On the bridge, Commander Makdell had a well memorized procedure to follow. “Con – ready room: Captain, you’re needed on the bridge.”

    Anyone? anyone…

  17. 17 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 22, 2008 at 16:41

    Captain Kee M’oy veh was not the type to have ever been known to bark an order. She entered the bridge calmly in her usual manner with a single word:


  18. 18 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 22, 2008 at 18:00

    When I write, I wear many hats,
    from caps to sobriquets.

    I have no time for chapters,
    so I only write chapettes…

  19. October 23, 2008 at 06:05

    There exist supersonic stealth unmanned radio and computer controlled flying objects. These vehicles can change direction very quickly and close encounters are possible through on board computers programmed to enable the craft to come very close and avert collision.

    These aircraft are able to take out any aircraft as well in defence purposes concerning the trespassing of borders.

    Used also with these devices from the ground and from air based crafts are generated laser projections. These lasers are invisible unless two or more converge to give the idea of a 3 dimensional shape and then in unison the projection is moved to give the idea of a very fast object .

    Together with the slight account of radar visibility of drone stealth aircrafts with which the laser projection connect as if a pen connecting dots give the misinformed idea of the creditability of a super fast object that is only a laser projection.

    These games and toys of the military form a lethal tactical purpose

  20. October 23, 2008 at 08:24

    When the UFo landed, out stepped an alien. He spoke in Her Majesty’s english..
    ” Wow, what a mess you have made here. I cannot understand why you have left the biggest continent, with all its resources, to corrupt and uneducated people.

    I will help you solve your problems. The alien went up in his craft and there was a big flash! Africa was now being managed by the rest of the world. Schools, roads, agriculture, irrigation and a sustained policy of land/wildlife management was instantly put in place. Over night, roads and railways sprung up, running water, communications and food became abundant. Medicines, hospitals, immunisations all improved conditions rapidly. War and violence ended.

    Next, the alien took his spaceship and flew over the rest of the world. Again, there was a big flash…all banks were no longer private, profit making entities. All gains from these organisations were now channelled into a Global Regeneration Fund, which every country would participate.

    Bang, another flash…weapons were now only in the hands of the authorities. The gun industry disappeared overnight.

    The alien then explained we are constantly watching you, if we feel your actions are a danger, we will correct it for you. Your world is merely a molecule in a huge reaction process. When things cause instabilty, we correct it.

    We are the beings that put everthing in place before the reaction began. We can stop it at any time, you are part of our experimentation system.

    All the ingredients were placed into the reactor and several billion years ago, ( in your time frame) the process began. Time is relative, Einstein told you that. The life of a butterfly seems unbelievable to humans. Every life cycle is predetermined. It is that way because we designed the experiment. The clever ones have realised that certain patterns, chains, sequences, equations are celestial in their design.

    Every permuation, every atomic decay, every step each person takes, is being analysed and calculated. We then decide if a correction is needed or not. That is why change is always sudden.

    Just like you, experimenting with animals and with yourselves. These forces we gave you. Our planners wanted to assess human behaviour for one sole purpose. How quickly the species can populate and become self sufficient successfully.

    And then I fell out of bed…it was only a dream

  21. 21 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 23, 2008 at 15:55

    Hmmmm… A dream, yes. Perhaps that’s a hint you’ve read Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN, a science fiction parable accounting for the complications of the quick fix.

    I hope Matthew is still reading. There may very well be room here for story telling and intelligent discussion. Unlike so many of the topics of the day on WHYS, this one may just have legs to go the distance. Or at least I hope it does.

    Come to think of it, given the intractability of so many of the real-world problems discussed on WHYS, it’s too bad more of those aren’t the subject of ongoing discussions. Or am I missing something here?

  22. 22 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 23, 2008 at 16:10

    Case in point:

    Didn’t the scale of the problems we see today in Africa begin when “the rest of the world” discovered it and began to “manage” it for themselves?

    I just heard a report yesterday on NPR about witch burnings in Africa. Surely the Christians who evangelized these people hadn’t intended anything like that to happen. But there you have it.

    It’s human nature at work here. Not the hand of God.

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