This story was partially inspired by my father who died in 1989. He was the director of a subcontracting company that worked on many classified government projects. Some of the character characteristics and parts of the plot were borrowed from his tales and the people we knew. All characters and events in the story are fictitious.
The story has subtle hints and clues that require interpretation. If you missed any, the story may seem confusing. I hope the following behind the scenes glimpse helps shine light on any confusion.
There are three factions, each represented by a lead character:
General Bob Carter Here is a classic 'Hawk." Bob may not have invented DoomQuake, but he sure took the project under his wing! He could see himself going down in history for this great achievement. He did not want to share his glory with some civilian contractor, and was barely tolerant of the scientists he needed to compete the project. (We learn a lot about his character from the rants and raves near the end of the story.) He went to great lengths to keep it a secret, even going as far as to arrange they hijacking of equipment to set up the secret desert lab. All was going well until the accident that drew attention to the lab. To cover his tracks and distance himself, he blamed the lab on 'terrorists,' while hiding the core piece of the project in a steamer trunk back at base. Although he played along with the investigation, he had no interests in seeing the real truth uncovered, and became more and more impatient with the delay.
Ken Barker As no-nonsense project director, Ken was obligated after the earthquake to investigate the lab found in the desert, and uncovered its connection to the hijacked truck. Believing the general would not be lying to him, he pursued the investigation to its fullest. When it became apparent that the technology was above his understanding, he went to his old friend Henry for help. When Henry became incoherent, he arranged to have Velma picked up. The general went along with it so as not to blow his cover story. Much to the annoyance of the general, a bunch off meddling young adults were now involved!
Sergeant Dempsey Early on in the project, some of the people involved began to quietly object. No one would dare challenge the general, so they simply did everything they could to slow it down. Dempsey became the leader of the anti-project group. It is not made clear in the story if they had a part in causing the accident, but one could speculate that would be the case. Dempsey was horrified at the thought of Henry, an expert in the field, getting involved in the project. She arranged to keep him incapacitated. Her problems were compounded when Velma and the gang arrived, and her team began surveillance. My apologies for the good/evil identical cousins, but the plot twist was too good to pass up!
Velma and Henry needed to not only damage the project, but cause such an event that no one would want to continue it! Not having seen it before, Velma had to think fast on her feet. She figured that dropping the cufflink into the reflector would serve as the perfect "Wrench in the Works." Uncle Henry had to assume on faith that Velma had been able to do something, and started building the hysteria about the so called 10 gig limit. The general watched as his dream turned into the very noose that would hang him. After all, as Ken Barker noted, the only one who would have the authority to requisition five hundred pounds of gold, would have been the general himself! The general would have figured that if the project worked such, an expenditure would have been considered minor!
Daphne makes note that the person pretending to be an alien was otherwise occupied on the last occasion where Shaggy and Scooby were being chased. Well, you simply can't have a story about Area 51 without the specter that there may actually be a real alien around! ;)
I hope you enjoyed this tail! - John Likeglass