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Zuma

January 9th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

On Sunday night, SpaceX launched a classified payload known only as “Zuma” for the US government. But once in space, something went wrong.

[Zuma] was a government satellite or spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman, which contracted with SpaceX to launch it into low-Earth orbit. By various accounts, this was a hugely valuable asset, potentially worth a billion dollars or more. (SpaceX founder Elon Musk reportedly told some of his employees it was the most important thing the company had ever launched). There has also been a huge amount of secrecy around the launch, even more so than with typical national security payloads, to the point that the government agency paying for and using it have not been disclosed.

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GENERAL 1: Son of a… What the Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo happened?

SPACE X TECHNICIAN 1: We’re not sure yet, sir.

GENERAL 2: Holy Sierra Hotel India Tango! Do you have any idea what was in that payload?

SXT1: Yes, but technically I’m forbidden from speaki-

G2: That’s right. You don’t.

G1: Well, I’ll be Golf Oscar Delta Delta Alpha Mike Novembered! This is a disaster!

SPACE X TECHNICIAN 2: It is okay to curse down here, sir.

G1: What about that sign over there that says “no external swears”?

SXT1: That says “no external s’wares,” meaning external software. It’s a tech contraction, and not that commonly known, really. I myself coined the term during a hackers’ conven-

G2: Quiet, you Alpha Sierra Sier…I mean asshole. We need to figure out what happened to Zuma. This is critical.

SXT2: We lost contact with the craft. If it hasn’t fallen back through the atmosphere and burned up yet, it will shortly. It’s gone.

GENERAL 3: (jolting awake) unnhhUUGHH! Huh? What’s happening?

G1: We lost Zuma. The mission failed.

G3: Huh? What a Mike Oscar Tango Hotel Ech-

G2: You can curse here, General.

G3: Even with that sign? Well, fuck a foot locker. The CIA’s going be mad as a goddamn microwaved IED.

CIA SPECIAL AGENT 1: (entering) Well, gentlemen. Quite the pickle we find ourselves in today.

CIA SPECIAL AGENT 2: (following him) Indeed it is, gentlemen. This is not a welcome development.

G1: No shit! The fucking thing blew up!

CIASA1: Yes. As has the next stage of our mission. The heavens will not be singing anytime soon.

SXT2: Huh? What’s that sup-

SXT1: Shhh!

CIASA2: This was a crucial phase in the ongoing Sitar Wars project launched by President Reagan. We were this close to achieving…

G3: Star Wars. You mean Star Wars.

CIASA1: No, he doesn’t.

CIASA2: General, it’s not common knowledge, but Reagan actually misread his speech and said “star” when he meant “sitar.” Most people think it was because of a movie that was popular at the time. Blade Runner, I think.

G3: What? What the hell is a sitar war? I thought they cancelled Star Wars. Why don’t I know any of this?

CIASA2: [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

G3: That’s not helpful.

CIASA2: Sorry, force of habit. The mission of Sitar Wars has been a highly regarded secret, which is to subliminally communicate to residents all across the Mideast via musical transmissions from space. We have calibrated the messages so they are attuned to an eastern ear for music. Western ears will just think they’re hearing gibberish, but our research has shown people in the Mideast will hear the communications floating down from the sky and gradually unknowingly respond to them.

CIASA1: This was to be the final step before we launched the full-on brainwashing song that could have led us to control nearly half the world. That was why you getting it into orbit was so important.

G3: So Zuma just contained a song? We spent a billion dollars for that?

G1: Came in three billion under budget, actually.

G2: What does Zuma stand for, anyway?

CIASA2: It’s a Neil Young album.

CIASA1: George Harrison was onto this project long ago and it just would have been too obvious to name it Dark Horse or something. No one associates Neil Young with anything eastern. It’s the brilliance of the CIA.

G2: George Harrison knew about all of this?

CIASA2: Oh yes. He was a musical genius and could hear the hidden messages straight away. It’s why we had to exterminate him with that cancer.

SXT2: You killed a Beatl-

SXT1: Shhh!

CIASA1: His widow is still snooping around though. We may yet have to terminate her too.

G1: Oh hell, Zuma’s gone and now this Sitar Wars mission is fucked. You might as well call in fucking Yoko Ono at this point.

CIASA2: I wish. She’s one of our best agents, but is knee deep in talking to aliens these days.

G2: Jesus Hotel Christ! Of course she is.

G3: Fucking hippies.

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