Sunday, May 21, 2006

Directorate :: Ministry of Defence Statement

In a rare break with tradition the Ministry of Defence for the Museum of Dust today held a press conference to dispel the rumours and counteract many of the wilder claims surrounding the so-called “Sponge Gun”. “Sponge Gun” is the popular name for an alleged weapons development program being carried out by the MoD in the secretive Area 54. MoD denies any knowledge of Area 54 claiming that it is nothing other than a broom closet at the base of the stairs.

A spokesman today said ‘There is nothing sinister happening in the broom closet. It is locked at all times merely in the interests of public safety. It contains chemicals and cleaning agents that could be harmful if used improperly. Many other museums have broom closets and use similar cleaning fluids without attracting nearly the amount of interest shown to the doings of the Museum of Dust’. He later went on to blame the “media beat-up” on vested interests in the curatorial world. ‘Petty jealousies are at the base of these rumours.’ he said, further adding that to spread these rumours was to give aid and support to the enemy.

In response to ferocious questioning on the topic of the “Sponge Gun” the spokesman was more forthcoming. Media interest had been fuelled by a set of MoD documents found in the members lounge of St Kilda Army and Navy Club. The spokesman said ‘There is nothing unusual in that. The MoD often leaves things lying around – bodies, ruins, unexploded ordnance and so forth.’ He admitted that the papers were authentic and that they were ‘rough working drawings for Project X, a muzzle-loading, nuclear-powered, steam-driven, pneumatic device for the high-speed, long-distance relocation of sponge cats.’

After this unprecedented display of honesty questioning turned to the cost blow-outs related to the project. The spokesman blamed these on a breakdown of standard bureaucratic protocols. ‘When the working drawings were returned to the MoD they were, unfortunately, given directly to the Manufacturing Division. Thus they by-passed the Research and Development Department. Without advice to the contrary the Manufacturing Division put the project into construction. The end result being that they made a full-size, cast-metal, 1/4 cut-away model.’ He added that initial trials of the gun as it now exists have been unsatisfactory. ‘We have found that the present configuration does not allow us to achieve anywhere near the pneumatic pressures we need for a successful launch. Steam escapes out of the holes, the pistons don’t move and the sponge cats just climb out of the barrel and walk away’. He added that the MoD will push ahead with the project although this will require a total rebuilding of the device.


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