Story Concept: Behind The Masquerade

By Max Woerner Chase

In this post:

My wife and I recently watched Plan 9 from Outer Space, as part of a broader plan to watch as much schlock and horror from the 20th century as we can think of. One of the many things that the movie didn't really explain in a satisfying fashion was, what was with the secrecy? And this is an issue that I think a lot of UFO narratives have, that the people who make the initial discovery must have reflexively acted to allow for maximum secrecy down the road.

So, the idea I want to hash out here is, what's the psychology that would have to go into a UFO coverup, to allow it to get off the ground, as it were, in the first place? Sort of a mockumentary about UFO coverups.

Since this is all kind of a silly pisstake anyway, let's posit that the original discovery was by a fictional agency. Maybe some kind of black-ops outfit that managed to secure adequate funding through low-profile criminal activity? Call it the IAS, say, for the Institute for Aerial Superiority. At a base somewhere in Arizona, they were pushing the limits of their detection apparatus. When they discover a faint blip, nothing like what they expect, going from Colorado to nowhere in particular.

When they keep seeing more blips, they conscript a local airplane pilot to try to get a closer look. When they see the pilot's photographs, they conclude that they're dealing with some form of alien intelligence. One member of the operation, an allegedly reformed grifter who keeps on disappearing over the border on weekends, pitches them the idea of creating a fake world government headquarters, to get exclusive access to the alien technology. They convince the pilot to be the "supreme ruler".

I have a bunch of ideas that need to be untangled to make this work:

That stuff can be the first part. In the second part, the investigator goes south to try to track down the rest of the IAS. Finds them holed up in a compound, engaged in some kind of PR battle with the local authorities, who claim the IAS has committed all sorts of crimes. The investigator makes it into the compound, and interviews the IAS members. Most are reluctant to talk directly about the UFO stuff, and focus on their current situation, with asides occasionally calling back to back then.

One of them mainly discusses "genome-tailored smart drugs" he's been developing, which allegedly allow him to perform feats of extreme mental computation, and elborate physicality.

Maybe it could also be revealed that the grifter had a whole team that he didn't mention, and nobody directly knew about.

I'm sure I've seen somewhere else, the angle of "the MIB are a bunch of con artists in over their heads", but it seems like a fun thing to explore regardless.