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The Mount McCaber Space Science Institute

Doug Dougie Dougster - Doug’s Pages for Doug’s Stuff.

This is my second ever entry.

 Hi, Doug Stinger here, from the Mt.McCaber Space Science Institute. You know, in my time as the IT Support Wallah here at Mt.McCaber, the public front of the super-secret Space Alien Defence Organisation, I’ve seen a lot of weird and whacky things, things I can’t readily explain, that have left me puzzled, bewildered and just a little disturbed. But since we got the fridge steam-cleaned I find I don’t have so many of those experiences, except when I’ve been licking the cooling pipes leading from the Dome, although Poppy says that is probably not a good idea, but I like the way that my tongue sticks to the metal so that I have to try and talk like my tongue fills my whole mouth. It certainly helps fill the long hours of the working day and takes up a lot of my weekends too.

 Anyway, it was while I waiting for Poppy to get a blowtorch from the workshop to free my frozen tongue that I started to wonder about the real nature of the job we do here, you know, all that weird alien defence stuff. And that got me wondering if we really were the people best equipped for the task. And that then got me wondering who else might be able to take on our role and that got me thinking: who really could do it better – Thunderbirds or Transformers?

 See, this is the kind of high-level blue-sky “what-if” strategic thinking we have to conceptualise on a daily basis here at SADO. I mean, some folks might just make a guess, or follow their instincts, saying “Transforming robots? That’s cool! I’ll go with those.” Or “Thunderbirds! With a name like that? I mean, come on! That’s got to be good, right?” But that’s not how we do things here at Mt McCaber. Like Annabel always says, we’re all about the Science. So, if your response to the question is just to blurt out “Transformers” or “Thunderbirds” then we’re going to say, “Whoa! Cool your jets there, Quasimodo! I’m going to need you to evidence that proposition before we can run with it.” So, we don’t want stand-alone suggestions. We want real, solid, defensible evidence.

 But first, a little snippet...

 The Prof actually told me once, in amongst all those lectures on wiping down the microwave after I’d boiled my breakfast eggs, that all the Thunderbirds’ vehicles were based on leaked designs originally drawn up for SADO’s Rapid Response Directorate back in the 50’s which would be pretty cool if it was true, which it is. I mean, it’s all there in the SADO archives so you can look it up for yourselves or, at least, you could, if they were on-line or weren’t super-secret archives to which ordinary citizens like you don’t have access, which you probably don’t. I know I don’t. Even after WikiLeaks.

 So that’s why the Prof had to tell me rather than me finding it for myself. He said I wasn’t cleared for that stuff because I didn’t seem to grasp the importance of secrecy in maintaining security and would probably blab things I shouldn’t just because I forgot that they were secret. Which, to be frank, was a bit hurtful and totally not true anyway.

 But, I don’t want to get too far off topic because then I usually start thinking about food and the vending machine in the foyer is... well, let’s just say it’s gone, and leave it at that. See, I can so be trusted not to blab about stuff being sucked into inter-dimensional wormholes without the proper paperwork from the Ministry. But, anyway, here’s the question for the day: which would be better at protecting Earth from alien invasion: Thunderbirds or Transformers? Hmm?

 Ok, here’s what I think.

 Transformers first. So, first of all, we're talking about the Autobots, obviously, and there's lot of them and some of them are really, really powerful and some of them are really, really clever and they've got some amazing weapons. I mean, like, mega-weapons. And yeah, ok, some of them are really dumb and useless but mostly they're smart and powerful and they're really, really good at hiding in plain sight because – get this – they can transform into everyday items that people take for granted, like cars and trucks and tanks and spaceships. But, and here's the kicker, they  have enemies, the Decepticons and - and this is worse - the Decepticons drove them from their home planet because they were stronger and, even worse, followed them here to Earth where they continue their multi-million year old battles.

 Here. On our planet. At our expense.

 So,basically, if you get the Autobot Transformers to protect you, they already bring their own vicious alien invaders in the form of the even more powerful Decepticons. I mean, how would that be good for us?

 Ok. Thunderbirds. First, the problem – they're not really a lean, mean alien-killing machine. Clue's in their Sunday name: International Rescue. Got that? Not International Alien Mega-Slayers. International Rescue. Bummer. But, looking at the positive side of things, as Poppy always says when we get our monthly pay-slips, they are even better than the Autobots at hiding in plain sight because they’ve built all these amazing machines, from rocketships to spacestations, without anyone knowing how or where they did it, and they base them on, and run their whole operation from, an ordinary family home on a typical, everyday private Pacific island. The whole world knows they exist and even how to contact them and they do all their stuff in full public view and yet nobody knows who they are. Now that's real secrecy, right? And also those guys really are badass. I mean, come on, which would you rather be? Bumble Bee or Scott Tracy? Exactly.

 So, in the end, although  they’re sadly lacking in things that go “bang” or make other things blow up and they’d be more likely to be found rescuing stranded aliens and towing them to the nearest interstellar service station where they could get a skinny frappé mocha latte and some chicken-derived nuggets while their saucer got fixed, if I really had to choose between the two, I would, on balance have to plump for selecting Thunderbirds as my choice of valiant defenders of Earth, Humanity and all that we hold dear because, you know, Transformers aren’t actually real.

 Till next time, this is Doug Dougie Dougster signing off.

 You know, now that I think of it, I probably shouldn't have mentioned the stuff about the super-secret SADO Rapid Response Directorate and it's super-cool vehicle designs. Actually I probably shouldn't have mentioned the existence of SADO at all. And I definitely shouldn't have mentioned that we're the super-secret headquarters of the super-secret SADO.

 Well, I guess the Prof was right that I can't be trusted with secrets! And, since he could see that, and he's in charge, he should've known not to trust me and so, really, none of this is my fault.

 Well, that's a relief!