The population of earth faces 'almost certain' destruction without tougher background checks when hand-picking teams of renegade space mercenaries. That's the view of an inquiry into the blighted 'Operation Massive Fallout', which descended into back-biting, petty bickering and more than one sulk.
"There's no time to waste when assembling a rag-tag team with the unlikely skills necessary to stop an alien invasion", admitted NASA's HR head Janet Green. "But you would think someone would have at least asked a few basic questions. 'Are you a morose alcoholic?', 'do you still blame yourself for your father's death?'. Or 'are you an android, programmed by the military to completely bugger everything up?"
Disaster was only narrowly averted on the recent mission to one of Saturn's moons, where a signal had been picked up by a brainy plain girl scientist, wearing glasses. Rather than assemble a competent group of professional astronauts the girl herself was packed into a rocket, along with a seemingly random mix of psychologically fragile loners.
"As we neared the moon, it became obvious that we were dealing with a highly advanced species of ape-like mammals", explained the brainy plain girl scientist. "I tried to befriend them, but 'Dawg' was pissed up on vodka and continually butted in. Then MAR-TIN got a paper cut and we noticed he was bleeding milk. 'Oh great', I thought. 'Another killer robot'."
Although the aliens had developed a virus with the power to enslave all of humanity, their arrogance made them sloppy, and susceptible to gun fire. But rather than kill them and come straight home, squad members variously tried to win over, enslave or mate with the aliens, before MAR-TIN went mental and tried to stuff everyone into an airlock.
"I thought MAR-TIN was up to something because his eyes suddenly turned red", explained the brainy plain girl with glasses. "When you think about it, that’s a fairly serious design fault. I knew then that I had to take off my glasses and reveal my inner bimbo, make a pithy remark and show him I could handle his massive weapon."
With seconds to spare Earth was saved and the brainy not-so plain girl came to terms with her father’s passing, although the rest of the 17-strong crew remain stubbornly dead. “It's hard to review the footage of this mission without laughing at all the mistakes, and tired clichés”, insisted Green. “But I’ll leave that to the critics. I’m getting too old for this shit.”