"Detroit Metro, this is Detroit 2015, do you read?"
"Unknown aircraft calling Detroit Metro, say again?"
"Detroit Metro, this is Detroit 2015, do you copy?"
"Detroit 2015, Detroit Metro copies. You are on an assigned aircraft control frequency. Stop screwing around."
"Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015, Detroit 2015 requires straight in approach to Belle Isle, over."
"Detroit 2015, Detroit Metro. You are on an assigned aircraft control frequency. This frequency is only to be used by aircraft in flight, over."
"Uh, Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 copies. We are three minutes from reentry, request clearance to Belle Isle, over."
"Detroit 2015, this is Detroit Metro. Say again; you are on an aircraft control frequency and this is reserved for aircraft in flight only. Say again, aircraft in flight only. Do you copy Detroit 2015? What you are doing is illegal. Over."
"Uh, Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 copies your transmission. Should we call back when we reenter? Or do you have space craft control frequency we can contact?"
Oh great, some kids fucking around and my first day back on the job. Things were really shaping up, not!
"Detroit 2015, Detroit Metro, say aircraft type, over."
"Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 is a superluminal, hull registration 2015. We are fifty five from reentry, request straight in approach to Belle Isle. Do you copy Detroit Metro, over?"
"Detroit ... uh ... two oh one five, stop screwing around. This is an assigned aircraft control frequency used to control aircraft in flight. Get off this frequency if you are not an aircraft! Over."
"Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015, we are a superluminal vessel, and will call you again after entering atmosphere. Sorry we were no aware of local rules. Detroit 2015 out."
Bout damn time. I went back to working the rest of the traffic on my board for the next thirty five seconds or so. Then a Canadian air cargo flight reported a fireball over Chicago at high altitude. For the next seven or eight seconds there was nothing but dozens of aircraft pilots reporting what they were seeing. I could see a few east bound flights changing their headings as pilots unilaterally decided to see for themselves what was going on behind them.
"Detroit Metro, this is superluminal vessel Dee troit! Hull number 2015, requesting steering instructions for Belle Isle, Detroit River, Detroit Michigan, Planet Earth, do you copy?"
"Detroit 2015, say again?"
"Detroit Metro, this is superluminal vessel Detroit 2015, on glide path for Detroit River, we are through reentry, our present speed is Mach 18, over ... how do you say that, Kala Zoo? Decelerating at 51 gees, we are presently passing through flight level 155 zero zero zero feet, we will be in your traffic pattern in two point five minutes, please be advised that we have the Empress Lucy aboard and request no honors, repeat, no honors, Detroit 2015 over."
Where I work is a room without windows. It's the FAA's control room for the entire east coast of the United States and today I am working Detroit Metro.
"Detroit 2015, are you putting me on? Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit Metro, we are not, repeat not, 'putting you on.' We will be through your controlled air spaces in two point seven five minutes, uh ... that is two minutes and forty seconds as of 'now' and we will evade your aircraft in controlled flight. Please be advised that this is a courtesy notice and we do not have mutual agreement by treaties in effect with regards to control of machines in flight, but we will comply with your local traffic laws. Our speed is now ... twenty two hundred miles per hour and we will be subsonic in ten seconds, mark. Please direct lower level traffic over the Detroit river to clear the approach corridor to Belle Isle, over."
"Detroit 2015, if this is a joke, I'll have your pilot's license. Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 copies and regrets to inform you that I do not have a pilot's license. Detroit 2015 is the royal yacht of Empress Lucy and is not, repeat not, an Earth registered vehicle, but a superluminal. Uh, oh, yeah, what you would call a faster than light space craft, I believe Detroit Metro. Over."
"Okay, Steve, what's with this? You guys giving me a little 'welcome back to work Frank' prank from the rest of youse?"
"Frank, Steve, this is not a joke on our part here, and we have visual confirmation of craft coming in." Oh, really?
"Detroit 2015, this is Detroit Metro, you go right ahead with your own bad self. If you hurry, you might be able to catch the last of the concert. Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit Metro, this is Detroit 2015, understand we have clearance to 'hurry', over?"
"Detroit 2015, you can accept that as a clearance. Detroit Metro, over."
"Roger Detroit Metro, we are engaging boom suppressors and are currently descending through flight level six thousand feet and proceeding up the Detroit river at twenty two hundred miles and hour, ETA one minute four seconds. Detroit 2015 thanks you for the clearance and have a nice evening Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 is on final, flared and approaching Belle Isle, which we have visually. Please advice rotary wing aircraft operating in vicinity that gravitonic effects can impair controlled flight in such craft out to a distance of four hull widths, so please be advised of turbulence effects creating wind sheer effects. Over."
"Detroit 2015, say again?"
"Detroit 2015 to any aircraft in vicinity of Belle Isle, please be advised that loss of control due to wind sheer effects in vicinity of vessel Detroit 2015 extends out to four hull widths. Detroit 2015 is now in hover effect, approaching Belle Isle on a course of 247.61 degrees, please sheer off red and white machine approaching from due east of our position. Launching combat air patrol from hangar deck B. Please divert course, red and white machine. Detroit 2015 over."
"Detroit 2015, Detroit Metro. What is your destination? Over."
"Detroit Metro, this is the captain of Detroit 2015. Our destination right now is Belle Isle, Detroit Michigan. After that it is where ever and when ever HRH Lucy directs us to go. We will be stopping here for approximately thirty minutes, after which we will make a departure for a brief tourist flight with some friends the Empress is going to be meeting shortly. We will be returning at about zero five fifty eight AM July 2. Please be advised that this will be VFR rules, as local control is understood to end at the atmosphere. Please advise if this is not correct, Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit 2015, uh..." someone had just brought in a computer and on the screen was a picture of a ... naw... "Detroit 2015, are you a very large saucer shaped vehicle now hovering over the stage at Belle Isle?" I didn't even remember to say over.
"Detroit Metro, yes, that is affirmative. Over." The woman on the other end of the transmission seemed quite pleased with herself for some reason.
"Roger that, Detroit 2015. Say your intentions, please? Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit Metro, this is Detroit 2015. We're going to hang out for a while, pick up guests and be out of your hair in twenty minutes or so. Sorry for disruptions in local traffic patterns, Detroit Metro, over."
"Detroit 2015, this is Detroit Metro, please keep me advised, over."
"Detroit Metro, Detroit 2015 copies and will keep you advised as departure time updates. Over."
"Detroit 2015, Detroit Metro, just out of personal curiosity, can you explain the hull registration number for me? Over."
Every single flight I had been handling had been handed over to other controllers while this was going on. And what I did not know was that the conversation I was having was being piped out to every single news agency in the world, live. While I was aware of everyone gathered around my console, nobody was saying a word and I watched a shot of the ... flying saucer! ... oh my aching head! ... this really could not be real ... could it? ... inch forward out over the crowd. It had just started sprinkling, and the ship was so large that the half of it was sticking out over the crowd ... was sticking way out over the crowd ... an providing rain shelter for the concert goers.