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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
UFO: Arctic Affair UFO
"
Arctic Affair"
Countdown #26-31, August 13, 1971-September 17, 1971
Writer: Unknown (possibly Alan Fennell)
Art: Gerry Haylock

 

A UFO is shot down over the Arctic and Carlin attempts to save the alien pilot for SHADO interrogation.

 

Read the story summary at Technodelic

 

DIDJA KNOW?

 

On the Technodelic website, their feature on the history of the UFO comic strips in Countdown magazine speculates that Alan Fennell may have been the author of this story.

 

DIDJA NOTICE?

 

Carlin heads up in Sky 1 to intercept a UFO over the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle runs along the latitude of 66° 33′ 44″ N. It is the latitude north of which the sun remains above the horizon for 24 hours on the June solstice and for 24 hours below the horizon on the December solstice.

 

After hitting the UFO with his missiles, Carlin reports that it went down west of McArthur's Ridge. I've not been able to identify a real world location by that name within the Arctic Circle.

 

The alien from the crashed UFO has damaged his helmet in the crash, but finds that the freezing cold atmosphere is preventing the usual rapid aging and deterioration that normally occurs when his people are exposed to Earth air. This alien is able to speak English, never before seen in any alien in the series to date. Carlin asks the alien how it that he is able to speak English, but gets no answer.

 

After Carlin is forced to land his damaged aircraft at an Arctic communications base of the U.S. Army, the base commander, General Craddock, tells him that the base is one of the most advanced communications bases in the world and they've been receiving messages from deep space regarding an alien invasion. But the general is not aware of SHADO, so Carlin must remain silent about his mission.

 

The rifle Carlin takes from the unconscious guard at the base appears to be an M-16A1, which would be the likely weapon carried by U.S. Army personnel at the time this story was written and, as it turns out, at the time the story takes place (probably 1981 or '82).

 

Because the Arctic base has picked up alien transmissions, Straker decides it must be brought under SHADO control at the end of the story. General Craddock agrees to serve under SHADO and maintain command of the base.

 

Even though the alien died after being exposed to the warmth of the base, Straker remarks that at least they now know how to keep an alien alive the next time they capture one, i.e. by maintaining a freezing atmosphere around it. 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

 

What was the alien's mission on Earth? Somehow he knew of General Craddock, so his story of needing to meet with the general may have had some truth in it. But for what purpose? Presumably his ability to speak English was in preparation of his stated intent to meet with General Craddock.

 

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