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Martian Defense Council Destroys Beagle 2, Claims Responsibility For Climate Orbiter
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PARIS, FRANCE - The previously unknown Martian Defense Council (MDC) firing from a base on the Martian moon Deimos, has destroyed the Beagle 2 lander, sent by the European Space Agency (ESA). In a press release following the destruction, the group also took responsibility for the 1999 loss of NASA's Climate Orbiter. The concluding comments stated, "We have silently accepted the intrusion by our neighbors for too long. Intrusions will no longer be tolerated. You have been warned."

Reaction to the destruction and public statement have been mixed. "I knew it! I knew it!" said SETI chairman Frank Drake, "I couldn't be happier. Of course, I regret that we've already upset our next-door neighbors, but we should be able to bake an apple pie, as it were, and settle things quickly."

"I'm not convinced," said Stanley Roadsmen, of the ESA, "The lander was destroyed, we can confirm that. But where did this press release come from? How would beings from another planet know how to do it? I've tried to send out press releases myself and I've never seen one in print."

"I'm quite sure Mr. Roadsmen is a fine rocket-scientist, but issuing a press release is not rocket science," said BBC spokesman Alan Griffiths, "It is not a mere statement of facts. There's the obvious: who, what, when, where, and why, but the writing style must draw the reader in. I have personally binned several of the ESA's PR's because they were pitifully boring. 'ESA Adopts New Policy', I mean really! But now this MDC, they know how to turn a phrase, how to demand attention."

NASA's latest Mars venture, the twin explorers Spirit and Opportunity, are scheduled to land on the Martian surface in January. Officials with the space agency, on condition of anonymity, have admitted they are concerned for their mission. "You never want your target planets taking pot shots at your equipment," said one, "especially if they brag about it to the press afterward."

No further communication has been received from the MDC. Forensic computer specialists are reviewing the press releases to determine if they are indeed of extraterrestrial origin. If they are, then the world around us has certainly changed.

"If they are a hoax," said Roadsmen, "then we will need to deliver some significant spankings to someone."
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