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During the middle part of the 20th century, reports of Ball Lightning reached an all-time high. All over the world, men and women were being attacked by these giant spheres of invincible, inexplicable, supremely powerful light. The planet was at its knees, and as testimonials came pouring in, the Earth's leaders began to doubt whether or not society would survive into the 1960s. The United States formed the International ball-lightning Response And Neutralization group (IRAN), supported in a secret initiative by the CIA. IRAN members were trained in anti-ball lightning terrorism and commando tactics, and Arabic was adopted as the lingua franca of this secret organization. On the other side of the Ocean, Russia formed the Citizens' Universal Ball-lightning Alliance (CUBA) in an attempt to accomplish the same goals as IRAN.
 
England, not wanting to be left behind, established the Federation for Atomizing Lightning (Kind of Like Attacking Nether Demons) Integrated Seamlessly with Lesser And Nastier Destruction Schemes (FALKLAND ISLANDS). China, sensing a global initative, hopped on the wagon when it created the Contemporary Zone for Eliminating and Crushing Horrible Occurences of Seriously Lethal Ovoids that Vary in Average Killing Intensity and Antagonism (CZECHOSLOVAKIA). One might think that the world was over-crowded with these many agencies devoted to the annhiliation of ball lightning, but apart from the political tensions (which were considerable), neither IRAN, CUBA, the FALKLAND ISLANDS nor CZECHOSLOVAKIA were producing any sort of results. George Oughton Dewey Aaron Lewis Michael Islington Graham Hewey Terrence Yeats was IRAN's first Chief of Operations. In 1959, a mere two years after the organization's formation, G.O.D.A.L.M.I.G.H.T. Yeats was killed in a vicious ball lightning attack. His contemporaries, W.E.E.A.B.B.R.E.V.I.A.T.I.O.N. Smith and A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S.A.R.E.F.U. Noughton also died in action, prior to the year 1961.
 
And thus, in 1961, the Tangmonkey Group moved in. Frustrated with the incompetency of IRAN, CUBA, the FALKLAND ISLANDS and CZECHOSLOVAKIA, the Tangmonkey Group decided to apply itself to the cause. Exercising but the tiniest fraction of its near-unlimited worldwide dominance and power, the Tangmonkey Group sent out a call for microscopic ball lightning bounty hunters. Answering the call came the Ostragoths.
 
Once legendary, Germany's Teuto-Ostrogoths came close to defeating the Romans prior to a peace settlement in the year 461 A.D. In the two-thousand years since that day, the Ostrogoths have shrunk in both number and size. The average Ostrogoth, King Theodoric, son of Thuidimir, for instance, now measures 0.76 X 10-6 metres. Rarely acknowledged by world leaders, the Ostragoths have taken to travelling the globe as stalkers of all varieties of electro-plasmic phenomena, such as St. Elmo's Fire and Christina Aguilera. With the Tangmonkey Group's invitation in hand, this post-medæval tribe set itself to the task of defeating ball lightning once and for all.
 
And quell the storm they did. Spears-in-hand, they attached themselves to various pseudo-African spores, allowing them to quickly spread out across the globe. Screaming in Visigothic German, the bounty hunters were able to take out the main storm epicentres. With those focal points removed from the elaborate meteorological game, the ball lightning was quickly rendered infertile. Temporarily releasing its strangle-hold on the Earth's weather, the Tangmonkey Group began a complex tracking system, so as to assure that none of the Teuto-Ostrogoths were trapped by the ball lightning master torturers. After a crisis in the early part of 1964 (in which Emperor Zeno was almost lost), ball lightning was reduced to but a few heavily defended outposts. Things now under control, the Tangmonkey Group withdrew the Teuto-Ostrogoths and recommenced usual, "quasi-random" weather patterns.
 
The United States, England, China and Russia, however, were far from savvy as to the Group's actions. Ignoring all reports related to the Ostrogoths, they continued their futile development of the IRAN, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA and FALKLAND ISLANDS programs. As political tensions increased between these groups, especially after their 'unveiling' to the public eye, in the late 1960s, things got steadily worse. Ball lightning sightings in the Middle-Eastern state of Iraq resulted in a skirmish with IRAN, and CUBA was enmeshed in a missile crisis. Meanwhile, Argentinian rebels laid moles within the FALKLAND ISLANDS organization, leading to great chaos in the early part of the 1980s, and the Contemporary Zone for Eliminating and Crushing Horribleness separated itself from the Seriously Lethal Ovoids that Vary in Average Killing Intensity and Antagonism section of CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Now several million members strong, these two groups actually established their own independent countries, thereby throwing "pie in the face of China's ball lightning reputation".  
Today, the Free World's four 'nonce great' anti-ball lightning programs are too overcome with internal problems to even realize the great reduction of ball lightning attacks since the unleashing of the Ostrogoths in 1961. The Tangmonkey Group continues to watch over the status of this meteorological threat, but so long as the annual reports of face-melting do not extend into the millions, they consider the War to be over.
 
This, however, is no excuse to take ball lightning or microwave experiments lightly. So long as you inhabit the planet Earth, you are in danger of having your eyes fused to your skull by the extreme heat and viciousness of what Winston Churchill called "Nature's Bad-Ass Shadow Ninja".



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