Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“Got another one. Big cable channel. Going out past Bindenhouse into the wilds.”
“Okay, pop my contacts open and scroll to ‘D’.”
“Got it.”
“You’re looking for ‘Department Q’.”
“Found it.”
“Open it. Click on ‘action request’ and fill what details you’ve got, then forward it to my secure email so I can authorise it.”
“What are we actioning?”
“They send decoys to imitate lights in the sky and generally mess with the watchers. They throw in a few countermeasures, and some noise around the 1.6 gigahertz band too. End result is the experiencers are all happy finding nothing and getting big ratings for doing so.”
“They do all that from a drone?”
“Sort of. It’s a super-stealth run out of Orford Ness. If the tricks don’t work, a high-speed fly past gets them every time.”
“Okay, request coming your way.”
“Got it… And done. One evening of close encounters arranged for the cable audience. Sure to be another ratings winner.”
“Not like it’ll have much competition with the current crop of trash.”
“Hey, the networks requested simpler content. Stuff people can do while they prepare for the next day slaving. Nothing challenging. Can’t have the population starting to think about the lack of actual living included in their lifestyles.”
“True. Hey, this Department Q mob ours?”
“Contractors. Q used to be in-house, but some bureaucrat tried to do alien phenomena deception on the cheap. Got outsourced in the late sixties, if I remember.”
“How can they run a decoy out of Orford Ness? It’s on the east coast of England. That’s nearly five thousand miles each way.”
“Really? I’m sure they only run black helicopters out of Alamogordo. There’s an Orford Ness closer, though. New Hampshire, I think.”
“There are a seven or eight, but there’s only one Orford Ness, and it isn’t in the U S of A.”
“Must be my mistake.”
“How to they make them undetectable?”
“Dunno. Look up the operating guidelines. I seem to remember there’s a brief so we can notify them in time.”
“I’m not seeing any guidel- Oh, there’s a note: they can get anywhere given a six hour lead, need no support, and can avoid detection at all points.”
“John, that’s not possible. There’s nothing that can manage a stealth round trip of several thousand miles.”
“Long-haul airliners can.”
“Do the distance, yes. Do it undetected, and at speeds up to Mach 7? No.”
“What are you getting at?”
“I’ve had an interest in UAP since they were only UFOs. What you say this stealth aircraft can do is outside our capabilities. I know that because we have sight of any of the projects we want, and I keep an eye on all the latest developments.”
“So they’re running a black box operation. Hardly anything new. Somebody knows, and that’s all we need worry about. The fact they’re not resident makes no matter.”
“They’re not local.”
“I said that doesn’t matter.”
“I mean to this planet.”
“A black ops project aliased via a top-secret front with legitimate compartmented access. We do it all the time. I’m worried someone is running one on us.”
“You think we’ve subcontracted our alien spoofing program to actual aliens?”
“What better way to keep an eye on us?”
“You’re not funny.”
“But am I wrong?”