Mystery Missile Launch Explained

Yesterday the coastal California sky-watching community was abuzz with rumors of a mysterious missile firing, apparently from underwater.  This exhausted and waterlogged reporter has gone deep, literally, to bring you this amazing story.

Contrary to official reports claiming that the contrail came from an ordinary jet plane, I have discovered that it was an actual missile launch from a privately owned, used US Navy submarine.  Coincidentally, I was in the San Francisco Bay practicing ski-boat acrobatics, and so was conveniently close to the action.

Before I reveal the truth, however, I must set the scene, which involves connecting some seemingly disparate dots.  According to a Wall Street Journal law blog, a multi-billion dollar dispute between rival software behemoths Oracle and SAP is being called the “Tech Trial of the Century”.  The German enterprise resource management software firm SAP stole software – top executives have admitted this – from Oracle, a US firm.  Oracle is in court to force SAP to cough up $2 billion, which is what they claim the stolen software was worth.

SAP, on the other hand, figures that a slap on the wrist is more justifiable, something more in the paltry $40 million range.  The personalities in this boxing ring of business are as out-sized as the dollar amounts, and the relationship between the two men is acrimonious at best.  Oracle’s chief, Lawrence Ellison, has the 6th biggest ego in the world, and is worth roughly $27 billion; Léo Apotheker, the head of SAP at the time of the alleged transgression (but now the head of Hewlett-Packard), and the owner of a German castle stuffed with Euros, wrote ‘olive branch’ letters a year ago that threw gasoline on Ellison’s competitive fires.

Much of Ellison’s fortunes have been spent on exotic sailing vessels to race in the America’s Cup, a 160-year old international sailing regatta.  At one point Mr. Ellison attempted to buy the Atlantic Ocean, but Cup officials judged that it would give the United States too much of an advantage.  Ellison owns many yachts and exotic oceangoing craft, including a used US Navy submarine.

Mr. Apotheker, or rather Herr Apotheker, boasts a great-grandfather who was an admiral in the Nazi German navy, the Kriegsmarine.  My investigative sleuthing revealed that Apotheker traveled to the San Francisco Bay area via his U-boat, since the federal court case is being held in nearby Oakland.

When Ellison, performing maneuvers in his SS Smasher, discovered that Apotheker was in nearby waters in his Type-212 submarine, the Sauerkraut, Ellison went ballistic and fired, well, a ballistic missile at him.  It turns out that he had intended to fire a torpedo, but had hit the wrong button, since the operator’s manual for his submarine had been stolen from a German website, and was of course in German.  When the Smasher surfaced, I swam over and had a little chat with Larry, who agreed that it was a bit of a public relations gaff.  I suggested he call Charlie Sheen’s firm, and he thanked me as he slammed shut the hatch and began to submerge.

There is no way to explain human cravings, but when I got back to Fisherman’s Wharf, I found a deli and ordered a sub.  The Italian kind.

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