Home - Writing - The Million Word March Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map

A Secret Elven Weather Control Experiment

Monday, 30th April, 2001

Officially I work at a chemical plant. That's the story generally told, at least, but some of us are beginning to wonder. It's becoming ever more possible that it's just a front for something else.

A secret weather machine.

Now before you pooh pooh the idea, let me tell you. I've seen things, you know. I can't swear to it, of course, but I'm keeping my eyes wide open from now on. Was it a trick of the light or were those really elves I saw the other day, singing quietly to themselves as they added their elven magic to the mix?

And how can you explain away this? Every time I leave the office to go out on a job supporting the IT infrastructure on site, the weather has changed. That's every time, folks, not just odd instances, but every time.

I can arrive in the morning in traditional Yorkshire drizzle, slight but relentless, but next time I leave the office, it's hailing and the whole place looks like the mail room accidentally tipped over a box full of those polystyrene balls that you sometimes use as packing material. Then the next time it's bright sunshine; the sky a beautiful shade of blue that you normally see only from the most exotic beaches, populated by fluffy white little clouds that look unnaturally happy up there.

Then there's snow, in April no less, and the climate supposedly warming up further every year. There's torrential rain, monsooning it down to play tunes on our roof. The wind changes abruptly too: one minute it's still enough for smoke to drift lazily up vertically, the next minute my hard hat is bouncing along down to stores and I'm chasing after it through gusts this way and that. And the temperature too - I wondered for a while whether someone had swapped the mercury in my thermometer for a yoyo. But no, the temperature rises and falls like the waves of the sea.

Maybe some daring hacker with a rather dry sense of humour broke into the swipecard system so that every time I swipe out of the office building, I alter some official setting on the weather machine itself. Maybe it's more than that. Maybe every time anyone swipes through anywhere it alters one of the settings. That would explain the true anarchy of it. Either that or someone's lost control.

I see my role as that of undercover agent. Someone needs to uncover the sordid truth behind this. If I'm really working for an elven conspiracy, I ought to know about it! You must have seen the effects of the bizarrely random weather we've had?

The north of England was the hardest hit area in the country by last year's floods, with lowlying York taking the brunt and small towns further north than me deluged by water levels of biblical proportion. Right here in Halifax we shrugged it off. Maybe we're used to it, maybe the weather machine helped us out. Maybe the weather machine created the floods! It could have been a test to see how effective their anti-flood controls were.

I know nothing about chemistry, I really don't. I only ever did two years at school, and never a first year. So I'm the perfect choice to support IT at a chemical plant that isn't a chemical plant. No wonder I was headhunted for this role. It's not my knowledge of hardware and software, my proven record of quality support, the level my professional qualifications; it's just that my knowledge of chemistry is so low that I won't notice all the glaring inconsistencies around site.

I mean, there are huge tanks everywhere, with pipes flying off in all directions to be lost in a great maze of metalwork, looking like nothing less than a giant iron kitten's giant iron ball of string. They're all labelled up, of course, with relevant hazard stickers on for legal reasons. But how do I know that they contain what they say they contain?

I don't know what type of steam this part of plant is supposed to give off; I don't know the logic behind mixing this chemical with that chemical; I don't know whether the residue left behind in this building is consistent with its supposed use. I'm not meant to know about the chemistry of the place, just support its IT equipment, and so I jaunt around site sorting this and solving that in blissful ignorance of whether this really is a secret weather machine.

We're prepared for all eventualities too. Officially our internal fire brigade is there to deal with serious events on site; our ambulances to deal with industrial accidents; our security to keep out those who shouldn't be there. But maybe that's a front too. What if it was all to cover just in case the government found out about the secret weather control project running behind the scenes? What if the police descended en masse, with the army in tow, SWAT teams fighting their way in. We have the security to fight them off, with weapons cunningly secreted within their kiosks. The fire engines would deal with any attempts to break the siege by fire. Our medics would treat the wounded.

And the powers that be would vanish away through whatever route their elven masters conjure up for them, imploding the site as they leave, and the rest of us with it.

What do these elves want anyway? Why should they be tinkering with our weather systems? The scientists tell us that global warming is endangering everything, but we're simultaneously heading for another ice age. Something's happening. Is it just elven inquisitiveness, their quest for arcane knowledge, for more and higher powers? Or is there something far more sinister behind this? Is the world prepared for a mad megalomaniac elf fashioning the climate into something more to his liking?

Is there anyone out there who can help? Have you seen anything, heard anything, know anything that might shed some light on the matter? The police don't want to hear about more elf stories. They don't believe a word of it. Maybe the elves have the police in their pockets anyway.

Oh no! That could mean that they're on to me! Maybe I'm being watched, documented, studied. Maybe I'm a mouse in their maze, oblivious that I'm being used as much as the clouds in the sky.

Maybe it's not safe here any more. I'll keep my eyes open, ears open, sleep only an hour a night so that I don't miss anything.

What was that? Someone there? Keep the fight going, folks. If I disappear suddenly you'll know why. It's the elves! It's the elves! I think they're trying to break through my door. Be careful! Watch out for your lives! I think I'd better upload this quickly befor


Home - Writing - The Million Word March Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map