Captain J.M. Ruggles of the US Aviation Association has confirmed the cause of the deadly crash of passenger jet 203. In a solemn press conference held today he said, “After extensive study of the forensic evidence, we have determined that the commercial flight 203 crashed due to catastrophic failure of the hydraulic system from an advanced gremlin infestation.”
Gremlins, which are only about two and a half inches tall, have long been a problem on military installations, but this is the first confirmed case of their involvement in a civilian airplane crash. Unfortunately, it is likely that this is a harbinger of things to come. Gremlin populations have been steadily rising over the past few years and little has been found to stop them.
The first recorded account of a gremlin infestation occurred during the Great War. Indeed, it was believed that the Technophobes had managed to create or conjure these creatures in order to sabotage the war effort.
In an attempt to better understand these tiny terrors, the Air Force has captured a number of the beings and performed experiments on them. What they have learned has been as fascinating as it is terrifying.
These creatures thrive on petroleum and petroleum by-products including oil, gasoline, hydraulic fluid, and coolants. Of all these fuels, high-octane gasoline, particularly aviation fuel, is the most coveted by these strange beings. “It is like a fine Scotch to these malicious little bastards,” quipped one of the early scientists to study them. At that time it was believed that the fuel made them drunk, but as it turns out, random destruction is simply their normal behavior.
Mischievous and sometimes malicious, gremlins tend to play jokes on each other, sometimes with deadly consequences. They enjoy hitting, tripping, and pushing each other down. As their population blooms they begin to develop traps, which become more complex with time. They particularly enjoy creating dead-fall traps for each other, and in extreme circumstances will start to rewire electrical wires with an eye to shocking their playmates. Ultimately these traps and tricks turn deadly.
Fortunately they keep their tricks to a minimum when their populations are low. In such times they need little to satisfy their appetites. Gremlins normally live in small enough numbers to avoid detection and prevent any serious damage. They may make pinprick-sized holes in fuel lines or hydraulic hoses, but they only drink what they need. Furthermore, their saliva has a chemical in it that reseals the hose, creating only minor wear and tear on the part. In this way they are able to successfully feed for years without giving away their presence. In fact, some studies indicated that gremlins are present in over 85% of all factories, hangars and garages throughout the Republic of Nations.
Experts agree that gremlins really only become a problem when they become overpopulated. This can happen quickly given the high birth rates and short gestation periods of these creatures. When the gremlin population explodes, the creatures become more and more belligerent. Often they start by making humans and other animals the butts of their pranks. In fact, the lack of mice and other rodents could be an early sign of a gremlin infestation. Later they will work together to create deadfall traps for pets and people alike, often dropping hammers or similar tools from a height onto the head of some unlucky passer-by.
Even more disturbing is that once they can no longer comfortably inhabit the rafters, walls, and floors of the building itself, they will start to inhabit the vehicles and machinery contained within the building. It is then that they do serious damage to machinery. While this most often results in maintenance problems, the issue becomes much more serious when the machine in question is an airplane.
Gremlins do not feel ill effects from low-pressure or high-pressure areas. They are able to survive in the stratosphere as easily as they do in the ocean’s depths. The pressure does, however, inhibit their saliva’s enzymes. Without the ability to reseal the holes that they have made by biting into the hoses, the fluids begin to leak much more quickly . . . sometimes with catastrophic consequences.
This is what appears to have happened with Flight 203. The flight recorder shows a slow, steady drop in gas levels that is much greater than would have occurred from normal gas usage. It was, however, the sudden failure of the hydraulics that caused the crash. Investigators were able to locate a piece of the hose and found that it was riddled with gremlin bites. Once the investigators knew what they were looking for, they were able to find the bodies of over two dozen dead gremlins scattered around the crash site.
This tragic crash, and fear of others like it, has prompted debates on possible regulations for detecting and deterring gremlin infestations. Unfortunately not much has been found that can successfully deter them for long.
“They are ornery little buggers,” declares Dr. Yazarah Harroz, a professor of Xenomorphology at Ada-Kar University. “They are extremely difficult to locate and just as hard to kill. They are immune to many types of poison. In laboratory tests gremlins can be seen huffing Sarin gas with no other effect than a severe case of the giggles.”
Less high-tech means of eradicating these creatures have also had limited success. Cats, dogs, or other similar animals can keep numbers low if an infestation has not already occurred. When introduced into an environment with a full-scale infestation, however, these animals did not fare well. In these cases the predators quickly became the prey. The gremlins quickly dispatched these furry foes.
The only sure-fire way to rid a heavily infested area appears to be encasing the building in plastic and then flooding the area with Mustard Gas, which is one of the few poisons that they are not immune to. As one might expect this is extremely dangerous since the gas has been known to linger for weeks. The area can be cleansed to be inhabitable for humans, but this is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
Ultimately the best option appears to be prevention. “Careful placement and disposal of all mechanical fluids is an absolute must,” explains Dr. Harroz. “Keeping cats or small dogs, like terriers and dachshunds, can also help to keep gremlin numbers low.”
It appears that the gremlin menace is not likely to go away any time soon. Diligence will be required to forestall any other tragedies like Flight 203. “Ultimately,” Dr. Harroz concludes, “people need to understand that gremlins are creatures of opportunity. If they are unable to easily obtain the sustenance they want, they will move. At the very least, the lack of easily obtained food will inhibit a population boom. Until some other means can be found, keeping their populations low is really the best we can hope for.”