THE PORCINE AVIATION FILES
Sarah Hartwell, Blackbeard, Vince Brannigan, Paul J Adam, P D Rieden, Howard Berkowitz
This was inspired by a late night drunken conversation with Dr Andy Breen of Aberystwyth University's Physics Dept. Portland Sheep bounce. If you startle a Portland sheep it will pass you at eye level. This may be the first evolutionary step towards Ovine Aviation.
1999: Scientists at Roslin create the first flying sheep, Pegafluff, using a combination of cloning and genetic modification. They sheepishly announce the birth of "Peggy" to the world. Her first public appearance is accompanied by specially composed music, The Flight of the Rambusters. Pegafluff's fame is greatly eclipsed by the wingless Dolly. Peggy, now a target for anti-GM Ovine Enthusiasts, is secretly moved to a top secret research station where an entire flock of Ovine Aviator sheep are created by cloning and by careful breeding. Residents in the area report strange baa-ing noises overhead and sheep droppings on car windscreens. Conspiracy theories abound.
Four years later, the Government announces the first all-sheep squadron to be deployed against militant vegetarian extremists in their stronghold in the Welsh Hills. Oswald Bin-Liner, leader of the militants, responds with "This really gets my goat" and launches a crack squad of Golden Guernseys as his counter-offensive. Meanwhile, opponents of GM-sheep protest "Baa Havoc and Let Fly the Ewes of War".
Declassification of secret documents reveal that flying sheep were originally bred in the 1930s and deployed on suicide (ovicide?) missions in the war. Hollywood immediately pick up on this and release a whole series of files featuring airborne ovines. These include Ewe-571, Baaack to Baaaataan, To Hell and Baaack, A Bleat Too Far, In Yarns Way (all from Wool War II era). Also worthy of note is Monserrats "the sheep that died of shame". Sylvester Stallone's pacifist war film "Rambaaa" is worthy of note only because of its direness. History books and documentaries are hastily updated to reflect the important role of Ovine Aviation and flying Portland sheep are featured heavily in the famous documentary series, "The Wool At War". Archive Pathe news footage is released from secret storage in disused London Underground stations.
Eager to claim flying sheep as their own, American scientists publish secret papers from Area 51 and reveal the existence of flying sheep of their own. These were bred for suicide missions of a different sort - they were herded into warzones by specially trained flying sheepdogs as a way of delivering rations to the troops. Each sheep carried a backpack containing mint sauce and other condiments. It transpires that the true tale of the Korean War battle on the frequently mistranslated heights is "Lambchop Hill"
This also highlighted the role of airborne sheepdogs in marshalling the Ovine Aviation squadrons. Aged soldiers were interviewed and revealed many affectionate tales of Welsh Sheepdogs, Border Collies and other herding dogs of the Royal Sheepdog Flying Corps. For example the true story (though it is often recited as myth) of the British officer who doted on his Border Collie, giving her the run of the kitchen in the house in which they were billeted. Investigating what had awakened him in the night with a loud "plop" and "squish", he discovered that the dog had attempted to take a cantaloupe off a shelf. Relaxing, he sang gently to the sheepdog: "Go to sleep, my melon Collie baby..."
When asked why they had chosen to breed flying sheep for use in battle, Government Scientists stated that the warlike tendencies of sheep should not be under-estimated. They were, according to scientists, far from being docile, stupid creatures who would follow each other into a swollen river and drown because their herd instincts outweighed their intelligence. The following case was cited:
In Scotland, the sheep replaced the highlanders due either to their superior intelligence, fighting ability or the fact that resident males preferred the invaders. Hebridean Attack Sheep are certainly reputed to be a cross breed fuelled by good scotch and impaired judgement. Highland Attack Sheep are derived from Cheviots, known colloquially as 'the great sheep that ate men' [Editor's Note: let's not go there, OK? They're not ALL called Monica]. The extremely in-the-air-manoeuvrable Portland Attack Sheep are thought to be descended from sheep carried on board ships of the Spanish Armada, which were either washed overboard (or, being Portland Sheep, jumped overboard) or came off ships sunk during the channel battles. Whether the sheep were intended to serve as food, recreation or elite shock troops for the invasion is unclear. Possibly all three.
Porcine Aviation Files : OldMacDonald-Dugless, Boaring & Swillair; CAA suggests pigs might not fly!