MISSION: RIDICULOUS

When I was a lad in school, I was a great fan of Mission: Impossible and with my buddy Jim Lockyer I used to make up all sorts of impossible missions for the IMF, like:

"Good afternoon, Mr. Phelps.

"The man in the first photograph is John Drake, a British security officer attached to NATO counterintelligence. Two years ago, showing signs of mental disturbance, he abruptly resigned, and vanished. Some time after that, he was rescued from a raft in the Atlantic. He asserted that he had been kidnapped and held in a bizarre psychological-stress confinement camp. He vanished while on a search for the place. Shortly thereafter, the man in the second photograph appeared in England, claiming to be Drake. Under interrogation, he displayed a remarkable familiarity of knowledge in matters that only Drake could be expected to have. However, he disappeared after a short time. Drake has been seen briefly in London two or three times since then.

"Last week, Drake was observed returning to his flat in London in the company of lawyer Horace Rumpole, as seen in the third photograph. Mr. Rumpole is ostensibly a practicing barrister, but his recorded fees are clearly insufficient to cover his living expenses. Interviews with his associates reveal Rumpole has also inexplicably disappeared several times in the past two years.

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to uncover the details of Drake's activities after his resignation and the cause for that, and the degree of Rumpole's involvement in these. Because this matter has international ramifications, you will be required to liase with the British authorities. Your local contact will be Mr. John Steed of British counterintelligence. As always, should you, or any of your IM Force, be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of the matter. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.

"Good luck, Jim."



Well, now I am older and so is Mission: Impossible, and times have changed. For example, Phelps now gets assignments on multimedia CD-ROMs:



"Good afternoon, Mr. Phelps.

"Twelve years ago, these security camera pictures were taken showing an unidentified terrorist, likely of German origin and trained by the former East German intelligence service, massacring the police officers and staff in a California police station. He escaped a state-wide dragnet and vanished.

"Five years ago, he returned, and completely destroyed an important defense electronics plant in California. His accomplice in this action was this woman, Sarah Connor, an escapee from the California State Institution for the Criminally Insane. After this terrorist act, they disappeared along with Sarah's son John.

"Recent reports place Sarah and John Connor in hiding in northern Mexico. The whereabouts of her terrorist mastermind, codenamed T-2 by the Department, are at present undetermined.

"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to locate Sarah Connor and return her to American law-enforcement authorities, and to discover the whereabouts and background of T-2. As always, should you, or any of your IM Force, be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of the matter. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

"Good luck, Jim."