#amwriting #amwritingfantasy #amwritingscifi dump of the cut in #Scrivener

The cut into Scrivener has been interesting, especially for a Control-Freak hating Leadership based Pantser.

I was OK as a Pantser for the first six novels and the poetry but then I moved to Fantasy and Sci-fi and it oes seem to require a bit more thought.

Biggest problem is not the plot or where I’ve blasted it. The plot and the stages as there, no matter what I say.

Moving it into a scrivener format for what I feel is a decent book is that there are so many themes and offshoots that I haven’t actually got to the point of the story, or where it is going to do.

There are probably three wars going on and five different stories.

Scrivener might help me to pull some kind of sense back into the books.

My ideas now as just a 60K dump that I disect as I work through it but not to more than review/cut/past into Scrivener – 20K done so far.

I’ll dump some stuff below but raw dump.

Dave

James Droga, in his Hell-Cat Heli-phroater looked at the two screens in front of him, and especially at four foot two inched Stefen Matira in one of them and then deliberately yawned whilst looking at him and ruffled his own red hair.
Given a choice he would have left the Matira’s and Jamesson families behind but they were the Ruling Families when all three of them managed to appear together however. James Droga considered Stefen Matira to be soft and he detested David Jamesson as well. Neither had the guts to just kill and get on with life.
To James, they might meet Navy rules for red hair, black eyes and height restrictions of four foot two inches but they lack the blood on their swords and banners that to a Droga meant pride – pride in the people you killed; the planets you crushed and the prisoners you took even if you never left a spaceship officially during a campaign – it was glory to a family to be in a battle and James was always in some battle or other and usually between the families who ruled. Their families might be bound by ancient bonds or so they claimed but James had a few debts to pay and they wouldn’t appear in his black book and he intended to make sure his co-Admirals didn’t have the fingers left to open a black book – they would be red ones when he’d finished.
The Admirals always ignored comments on why they travelled to a very secure site, to then appear as images in the Council Chamber after their bodies had been inserted into tubes at the cliff site and they were protected by Guards. In a way they never cared about anything including their Guards loyalty and their belief in themselves somehow never realised that if they were so loved and respected why were their bodies being stacked up in a secured facility.
Their Hell-Cat Heli-phroaters often sounded like a shower of insects as they circled on auto, kicking up dust; raining fuel on the people beneath them as they were poorly maintained but the Admirals weren’t bothered and the Hell-Cats Heli-phroaters adopted their owners attitudes to organic lifeforms and tended to ignore them when they landed. Their targeted landing site today was some two hundred foot below the cliff peak and now their automatic systems were fighting on who landed first and killed the most guards in landing – they were in fact bitches in more ways than one.
The Hell-Cats Heli-phroaters – known at Hell-cats for short, were named after a famous Admiral, nicknamed the Hell-Cat for his bedroom adventures. The planes were said to be as honourable as he was which meant that were very fickle in their manoeuvrability and difficult to control at the best of times, however they hovered well and could land when handled by good pilots but who then immediately went to their Interstellar Lawyers for being mishandled and groped as the Admirals kept their hands on the joysticks for too long – minds had been blended into the controls for years but so had the sensations and emotions of whatever was considered to be the best and they had taken the raw minds of women thinking they would bed in with the Pilots, who were usually men and such is the way with idiots who never think things through; Interstellar Lawyers just following on from a quick galaxy’s earnings, now represented the brains in most Interstellar craft and with the Dwarf’s wars; prisoners escaping and more than eight hundred thousand prisoners the Dwarf’s were pawning their mail-shirts to pay for lawyers.
A road ran just above the bottom of the cliff drop and seemed to sprint into the distance, jutting out for about thirty feet from the cliff edge as it ran, which given the Dwarfs dropping down was probably a good idea; if a road could actually run, this road would have run as they approached it!
The Guards watched as the Hell-Cats found room to land without killing any of the waiting Guards although that didn’t bother the Dwarf Admirals who seemed to like killing as others like living. They finally landed separately into the grey misty morning. The sun was bright and struggling to break through the dirt, stone and water the Hell-Cats were throwing up and the Guards, who’d stood guard for hours raised their shields as the Admirals began to land.
First out was Stefen Matira, snorting in his thick accent, he was big for a Dwarf as he now needed two Guards to help him move about and his weight made movement slow.
Stefen was swiftly followed by David Jamesson whose tones and voice were moderated – usually by the sound system, although compared to James Droga who was bellowing like a stuck pig and to a degree looking like one; anyone was!
It took another half hour before James Droga finally decided to land – the Droga’s being the most minor of the ruling Parties and therefore stood on their pride and everyone else’s, if given a chance. The Admirals finally arrived outside the entrance to the cave – due ceremony went by the elbow; usually into the other Dwarfs. Passing Guards jumped in to separate the Admirals fighting each other.
Guards mix loyalty to their families with the fear of Admirals uppermost in their minds bearing their weapons high but there was no sense in what the Admirals were doing; hundreds of thousands killed for planets they never wanted; wars with no meaning; knowing full well the Admirals had no loyalty to them or anyone else but only themselves and this led several Guards to looking knowingly as the ships tried to land on them – if they didn’t move … it didn’t take long for the demand to grow and the Admirals would be accessible.
Now they were killing Dwarfs who did not agree and that also seemed wrong to the Guards – why should they keep taking the Admirals greed as they killed everyone who disagreed?
Let them stay shut in those tubes and stop the killing. For some other reason they all to seemed to wear and probably slept in the blue and black naval uniform but their family hatred of each other was almost psychotic.
The Red Stone Gate watched as they approached: intelligence in stone it might be; slow but then perhaps it still thought faster than the Admirals approaching it. An appropriate Chamber entrance for the Admirals would have been a Pot, although often with a small ‘p’ but the gate had existed for a long time, despite earlier Dwarf’s activities to destroy it and it did not forget its role, even if no-one else understood it.
The door ponderously swung open as they approached, casting a long shadow over them and showing a long dimly lit tunnel that seemed to move as they entered and then spoke to them, “leave your weapons outside of my entrance. Within my entrance your bodies will not be molested – you will live within my portals but how you live will never be my decision.”
James Droga looked at his two companions, “Why do we go through this rubbish. We have the Guards, lets shed some blood in the Council Chamber, it’s the only thing they understand.”
Stefen Matira looked up at David Jamesson and shook his head, “four hundred thousand dead and you want to kill more? Already the lesser families, aided by the De Bowed and Du Storme’s traitor’s are plotting and you – James – want to give them more reasons to plot? We chose this as the safest route now can we actually get to this place where we are safe or turn back!”
“I never turn back!” Shouted James Droga, “We lead – this rabble aren’t good enough?”
“Let us hope so, Admiral Droga. I just hope they aren’t good enough, or we are dead – as dead as you like to make Dwarf’s dead. We left our weapons outside.”
“Yes. It seemed to take you forever? Who were you plotting to kill?”
The walls seemed to pulse as they spoke with dull red veins sparkling as they walked.
They seemed to walk for a long time, arguing as they invented stories as Politicians do until they entered a chamber which stopped them in full lies. The chamber sparkled albeit with barely enough room for them and four small cylinder shaped containers but that stopped them in mid-flow.
It was small with beams of light hitting their chests – some colours bounced off them, leaving them looking very odd; other colours danced around them, their heads and beards changing colour as if the lights saw more than their images; their eyes blued as the lights now seemed to be satisfied but colours danced on and around them until the chamber walls changed colour as they looked and the colours radiated from them.
A timbre harmonic voice echoed from the walls, surrounding them with almost visual sound, “take off your mail-shirts and helmets, they don’t matter; they will interfere with the process.”
To the Dwarf Admirals it did matter; they felt naked as they stripped off their mail-shirts and helmets, leaving fat bellies and hair roots showing black hair. Had they mirrors they would have noticed a black tinge where the red hair and eyes showed black, and their eyes were now showing blue respectively, meaning they weren’t true Dwarfs but from Old Stock that they killed without thinking.
They stood upright before the silver capsules as supplicants seeking safety and that was promised by the Red Brick Gate, “You fail to understand Admirals, you really do. I am Old Magic and so is a lot of Dwarvia. You are also Old Magic, yet you hide and pervert it. You build images and claim they are this planet’s desires but they are your desires, no-one else’s; now see your desires!”
Now the walls became images that took them through their pasts; visions of blood they spilled and as if they had never been there, it read their brains and put them onto the stone walls; to the Dwarfs it was a demand for their future lives.
A cracked and crackling square exploded into colour and light danced. The colours seemed to melt into their thoughts and red was the first and major colour but what did each of them see? Was it the same vision? Was it a history? A putrescence of a future? They jerked as if they were carrying the sticks to beat wives; babies or their own people as they watched but the visions on the wall somehow did not match the expressions on their faces.
Capsules erupted longways; reverting to vertical and four capsules towered in front of them. Within the capsules they were protected against everything unless of course they were removed and forced to physically be in the Chamber where they would probably be dead within seconds of doing so.
Admirals relied on Guard’s loyalty or the Guards were killed and the Guard’s families knew loyalty was on the cutting edge and the Admirals held the blade.
The Admirals lay dreaming of four hundred thousand prisoners scattered across anywhere … the pain, killing and hardship never bothered them – they weren’t dying; someone else did the killing, and they seemed to know they were just dreaming, but dreaming of what. They didn’t dream of ‘ruling no more’ – they never believe they would cease to rule and a new planet would give them time to rule.
They danced dreams of four hundred thousand dead; two hundred thousand prisoners rioting but war to them was war as they never used their own people – they won the wars and the people paid afterwards but who was ever honest in warfare, and now, part of the dream became a nightmare as they lost power and in their minds … they lost position – the greatest of losses.
They had been removed from the Chamber and as their images disappeared they found themselves upright, once again in the Red Stone Gate chamber with the lights once again sparkling as they stood, “you have broken your oath, Gate,” shouted James Droga.
“You live, Droga. My oath was to protect your life. I have accomplished that. Many want you dead, now you will live, even if it is on another planet. You deserve worse, do not push the little good. favour you still have,” the colours on the now began to spin and the Admirals seemed to spin as well as they were laid down on the floor and slept.

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#amwriting #amwritingscifi #amwritingfantasy #writerslife Scrivener

I do waffle but I, apart from losing everything, went a bit apeshit afterwards; the disks; going; the maps of the world I created and my train of thought all went – I did not take it easily.

From a fantasy about a Chinese Mandarin, I ended up writing a Dwarf version of Star Wars.

Scrivener is good at making you think even when I haven’t the faintest idea of what I’m doing.

I’ve copied over two hundred pages I’d written and now I rework from the beginning: thinking the plots out instead of a pantser who thinks it will be alright on the night.

I managed to get the snapshots back of the entire land  and that is over a hundred with no relationship between them, I don’t have the entire land as a map anymore and whilst I could keep 8 databases in my head for a living I don’t believe Author’s proclamations of keeping entire worlds in their heads unless they are small worlds.

Short Street under Pratchett varies between the longest street and the shortest street and back again – a reason he invented the History Monks since he had no idea of whether the books would really sell when he was writing what eventually became a series and not a hobby in his garden.

I’m trying to avoid other Writer’s space and fantasy ideas but people these days expect fantasy and battles … I prefer a good plot.

I can accept that in the UK with the Tories in power that fiction should rule.

Anyway, the double-glazing guys have finally gone and we’re still clearing up but life is quieter and today was a coat for my wife and some smellies.

regards

Dave

Chapter I – Bookends

Sometimes Parky and Bishop sat on a bench watching their wounds leak – there wasn’t much else to do.

The grass stretched away from them for some twelve feet before it dipped down the hill – a bit like their careers – into an even bigger hole at the bottom.

Like mindless bookends – brown and recently dusted by their owners – they sat there. Once again, they were both ‛personae non gratae’. Buried under the rose as deeply as possible by MI5 and Politiciansmind you – the rest of the world didn’t seem too bothered either.

They looked, and felt far older than they truly were – it wasn’t difficult – but it was making them think for once.

The not-so friendly CIA fire on the last operation had perforated them at both ends and looking at each other from the ends of the benchthey werent raising their backsides for target practice again, despite liking US hobbies.

Some feet apart they wandered in their thoughts and dreams – more often at these times – it highlighted a complete lack of trust between them. They looked at each other and said nothing as they often did. They’d been together too long to need to – they hadn’t betrayed each other or anyone else really. Well no more than they usually did – past operations didn’t really count. Neither of them had been honest but ‛God-dammit’ they were in the Security Service not the Girl Guides, and they didn’t trust each other anyway.

Dirty Dirstly stitched them up – kippered them. Stuffed if they did, and smoked if they didn’t – there was something to sort out there too and not just the fishy smell of Dirstly’s socks.

They had undertaken some unofficial work … so what; killed a few terrorists and gangsters … who cared; defied direct orders from the Prime Minister … what the hell was wrong with that? Even his own Ministers didn’t give a shit what he thought … he spent most of his time chasing woman, anyway – probably the wrong ploy in this day and age – men would have been fine but he had obviously deviated and gone for women, so the ‛Print Inches’ cried foul he wanted women. The PM browned people all the time and he didn’t get shot up the arse for it; just someone’s head licking up his backside to kick-start him in the morning.

It was a case of seeing everything and understanding nothing but that was Security and they were now personally paying for many things they should have seen coming and didn’t – including bullets – maybe it was time to tend the roses and manure the Security Service wanted them buried under. The bullets had been finally removed leaving both of them a bit leaky but their main thirst was for the spirits they weren’t allowed drink as they sat there sniffing the bottle of brandy left for them, like a pair of old drunks. Jerome smuggled it in to them – hidden underneath the bench – he knew they couldn’t drink it and often joined them and drank it to show he could and they couldn’t. Finally Bishop looked up at Parky as if reading his mind – not an easy task as Parky never trusted his own mind – Parky was often said, ‛to be in several minds at once’; none of which agreed with themselves.

“The charges against Boy are a joke, Parky. Dirty Dirstly set the girls up for that kidnap. When they were kidnapped and raped, he blamed us for causing it. He was the guy who told us we mustn’t do anything knowing that was a death warrant for Hazil and your girl—”

“—We had to get them fre—”

“—We did!

“Hazil forced them to accuse us of being a lynch-mob – Thomas told her – to cause trouble. We killed the three guys who raped them. We saved their lives. Who knows how much Thomas was involved with Jonathan Owl raping his own daughter and granddaughters … it makes no sense, Parky … even by Dirty Dirstly’s mentality. We saved three people yet we get this shit.”

“The problem, Bishop,” and Parky look questioningly at Bishop, “are the charges on us and Boy?”

“What were the final charges, Parky?”

“There still hasn’t been a court hearing or charges, nor have they enforced the International Arrest Warrants. They haven’t returned Boy to the French for trial, either. The possible charges are: Operating as a Mercenary in France; Murder; Conspiracy to Murder; Breach of the Official Secrets Act, and Conspiracy to Kidnap … a nice little French ménage.

“And probably illegally brewing a cup of tea in Paris. Parky, you’re as bad a Dirstly … we all did all of that, Boy didn’t do half …? It was us not him. We played the games and you didn’t give a shit about anyone … Gris, didn’t even appear on your horizon. You were hammering the Boy so he didn’t look after her. You screwed up Boy and Gris because she was your little baby and you couldn’t bear to lose her.”

“So! Boy … stupid Boy … went back to the UK before the dust had cleared. He got what he deserved. I told him to divorce Gris. He ignored me. He is now in jug, and we’re sat on a bench bleeding like stuck pigs while he is probably squealing like one. Tell me whose wrong, Bishop – I don’t feel wrong – I don’t feel wrong at all.”

“About the only good thing that came out of this was Val sleeping with Sir Jacob Christie and his PA but a friendly Judge will chuck that out for a start. Still Christie is wrecked and his PA’s boyfriend isn’t too happy with him sleeping with a woman but that’s the Civil Service for you. Christie’s wife is finishing off the job, now, so Christie won’t have anything once she’s finished, and the PA is legging it with his trousers up.”

“Then why do you think are they still holding Boy, if they aren’t going to act on the charges?”

“You’re the Counsel, Parky. What is your very legal-illegal opinion?”

“They want to see what the fall-out with the CIA is, I think … yes … that sounds like it. Jerome did his best. Boy keeps rushing back to England like the bloody fool he is and once there ends up in jail. At least this time, he isn’t being tortured.”

“No, Parky … he isn’t being tortured: unless you count Gris trying to take his house; divorcing him; Hazil, Helen and Joana trying to get their hands on his money, and bankrupt him; being stuffed in Jail without a ‛get-out free card’ plus being left in solitary confinement for the last six months.”

“They have nothing on us, Bishop, but we can hardly call the CIA guys in as witnesses – especially when it was a British Security operation set-up by Dirty Dirstly – we’re piled under the brown stuff whether we go back or not. I just wonder how Neville Jones recovered from his betrayal by Jonathan Owl, with Antona Turner throwing him out as well. He’s had a rough ride and I brought him into Security: he now basically doesn’t have a job; no Police career either; dependent upon Dirty Dirstly for a job … he’s up shit creek the same as us.”

A shadow appeared behind them as someone put their hands on the back of the bench and asked, “and how are the walking wounded today. Complaining as much as ever?”

They both looked up at a 6 foot 5 inch lean angular body with Jerome Cassidy attached to it. Jerome was in theory a Gang specialist for the CIA and it showed to a degree in his persona, “I hope you two old drunks haven’t finished that brandy I left; I could do with some.”

Bishop raised his eyebrows which made him look like he had a twitch as one went up, quivered, finally gave up and subsided.

“And on duty too, Jerome. Any news?”

“A bit of good news, I think, Bishop, but not a lot of it.”

“What’s the good bit then, Jerome?”

“The court action by Hazil, Helen and Joanna was thrown out. They couldn’t prove the Boy was involved. Once the Judge heard they’d gone on the Coach Tour of their own free will the case just disappeared.

“The Coach Company – knowing the girls had vanished – just carrying on with the tour meant they should have been suing the Coach Company, not Boy.

“Any connection to Boy was beyond his belief. The Judge called it a spurious action and landed them with the court costs – they won’t be suing anyone again – down for £60K each for court costs.

“We’ve raised again that all three of you have American Citizenship and have taken an oath to support the US. You cannot be Mercenaries when acting under US Government control. The Brits are still arguing that you are Brits – under their law, and control of their Government. We’ve pointed out pretty forcibly that they knew you were acting for us and implicitly gave you their authority – only trouble is that they won’t put Boy on trial; he’s just rotting in solitary – they just don’t want the publicity. They know they will lose the case and a few other things.”

So what is the bad news, Jerome?”

“The French are digging their heels in – Sir Jacob Christie was a good friend and source of information for them – they want revenge for his being set-up.

“They are also demanding the ‛arrest warrant’ be honoured and Boy delivered to French justice, meaning more time in jail. It is really a trade-off between Boy and Sir Jacob.

“I know the Security Service wanted revenge on Sir Jacob but it was a pathetic tantrum and he knows it. He will walk. I guess they are trying to hold him until his knowledge is ‛timed out’ but he has so many friends in Europe it won’t happen. They are lined up against the English PM and he is wetting himself as usual.”

“So the French and Europe are the problem, Jerome? Little bloody change there, then.”

“The PM still hasn’t forgiven you for killing his chief fund raiser, Parky. Even though he was providing illegal money and from another Government as well. It was still the only regular money they had coming in. His embarrassment was considerable. The Israelis have never let up baiting the PM for shooting one of their Agents – it did not go down well.”

Well he went down well as far as I am concerned, Jerome. The man was a fraud; an Israeli spy; feeding information to Russian Agents, plus trying to take over a top job in the Security Service … they should have given me a medal for taking out a treble Agent.”

“I wouldn’t wait up for the medal, Parky – it would be tin – I can guess where they would like to put it as well. The only hint of salvation is that Thomas Macguire was identified as the killer of Jonathan Owl. They were trying to pin that on you three as well. We thought Thomas was dead but someone like him has turned up in Moscow. We’re watching him like a hawk in case he tries to come back here but that is off your slate at least.

“The French also need our help on some issues and the quid pro quo from us is that they stop pursuing CIA Agents who were risking their lives to stop a mob of gangsters and terrorists – especially when the French knew about the operation before it occurred and let it go ahead – and reward us. If it works: the arrest warrants are withdrawn; the murder and conspiracy to murder charges go as well. The main problems are now Sir Arthus Dirstly and the Prime Minister.”

“Dirty Dirstly set the girls up, Jerome. That they were picked up by accident by those three rogue Police officers was just a co-incidence.”

“Sir Arthus didn’t set them up there in the mountains, Parky. That is the main point and you can’t get him for it. He set them up on the beach around the hotel and on the heights but nothing happened there. We had people covering them but Hazil took them on that coaching trip, not Dirstly. We think she was taking instructions from Thomas Macguire.”

“What would Macguire gain from that?”

“Macguire was behind that set-up. He knew Jonathan Owl – what he was up-to – met him a few times as well before he killed him. We just don’t know the full story and Hazil won’t talk to us. Sir Arthus claims he didn’t set them up to be kidnapped in the Alps – he planned it where we had cover on them. That covers him and that’s the official story – you two will have to take the bum rap until we get it cleared.”

“Where do we go from here, Jerome?”

Jerome could see Bishop losing patience again. He was speaking directly into Jerome’s face – almost spitting into it.

“As I said, Bishop: the French have to cancel the arrest warrants; Sir Jacob Christie gets to go free, and to France; the charges against Boy are dropped … I’ve no real idea what happens to Gris, Hazil, Helen or Joanna, nor for that matter the PM and Sir Arthus … they are allwild cards’. The Security Service will not be welcoming you three back again, I guess. One other issue is raising its head though, and that could change everything.”

This time is was Parky who studied Jerome’s face, “What’s that, Jerome?”

“Jonathan Owl was into Black Magic in a big way and so were the three Policemen you killed … I dont think the Brits know how far its spread or how many of their top people are involved. Jonathan was protected so he could escape and that could only have been managed at a high level – we don’t know how far up it has spread or how deep it is buried – in the British Government. That is worrying everyone – guilty and innocent – we think: several top Police officers are involved, some, ‛not so civil’ servants as well. We think the Brits will be asking for our help very soon, which could let you three back in via a different route.”

“Every time we’re invited back in, Jerome they’re just waiting for us to finish the job – throw us out again on gardening leave, usually under the manure and the next generation of blooming roses or Boy ends up in prison again – why should we want to help?”

“Parky. You live for this kind of work – if the offer comes up, you’ll jump at the chance – but not right now I think, or you will be leaking all over the joint again,” and with that final riposte, Jerome turned on his heel and walked off.

Parky sat there. He knew he was a loner. It had taken him years to adjust to the son he’d never wanted – Prilloch.

He hadn’t known about Hazil being pregnant. A one-night stand she wanted – gratefully taken – she’d given two of the children away. Only now was he starting to adjust to having four children without him ever knowing three of them existed. He’d supported Prilloch without telling him he knew he was his son until Prilloch killed the son of the woman he loved and told Parky he had known he was his father for some years.

He looked up at Bishop who was now staring intensively at Parky, “just thinking Bishop … just thinking. It has been known to happen.”

I guessed that, Parky – it wasn’t difficult – your ears tend to waggle to dissipate the heat.”

What do we do know about this Black Magic bunch, Bishop? I don’t have any clue as to whom or what they are.”

No idea, Parky. They have to be associated with Jonathan Owl – bloody senior enough to support him – could be anyone in the Top echelons of the Police or the Government. Might be an idea to try Neville Jones? He knew Owley better than anyone.”

I think it’s time we walked back, Bishop – we can’t drink the Brandy anyway with the drugs they’ve pumped into us … mind you, Jerome gave it a fairly hefty belt. Let’s make a move; it’s another bleeding day to forget.”

Neville sat there watching people moving about in a cobweb.

Thrown out yet again by Antona … maybe he just ran for it.

Shed started choosing his clothes again, even after she agreed to stop dressing him like a doll.

If that wasn’t bad enough: finding his lifelong protector, boss and mentor was a killer; a Black Magician, and someone who treated him as a fool had kicked him in his most sensitive areas.

He was the Police Liaison for the Security Service but most Police officers didn’t ring him once Owley’s story came out. Sir Sidney Talbot and Charlie Stapleton had been on his back ever since the jewels went missing all those years ago. He wouldn’t take the rap and resign. Mind you he hadn’t known Parky had stolen the jewels … he thought Talbot and Stapleton had.

Neville looked at the wall and wondered what Politics and shambles it had seen. Probably too much and that was why it received its yearly coat of whitewash.

His thoughts were finally interrupted by a voice that didn’t need an intercom, “Send Neville in,” followed by “Neville. My apologies for your wait.”

Neville adjusted his knees. They also were adjusting him these days – too many days walking the streets.

The office door opened and Sylvia came in – always leaving it to the last possible moment.

Sylvia changed her hair colour and her shape on a daily basis. He liked and respected Sylvia but wondered whether there was room for the multiple personalities in her life, or for anyone else for that matter.

Any further thoughts were interrupted by the double-breasted PA whose glance seemed to be white-hot, “Sir Arthus will see you two, now.”

Neville and Sylvia made it to the door together, Sylvia going through first. Sir Arthus barely gave them time to sit down before he started.

Parky brought Jonathan’s activities to my attention some time ago, reinforced by evidence that Jonathan knew and co-operated with the leaders of the Salvanian Mafia.

He threatened several people and their children and was positively identified in the shooting of a young delinquent, beating him up first and driving a car and trailer over him later, after he shot him. Surprisingly Jonathan left the remains alive and the victim identified Jonathan, who was known in the area. That surprised a few people as it was obvious that Jonathan had secret identities.

“Jonathan’s Black Magic activities have linked him to several Police officers including those raping Hazil and her children and they deserved the fate Parky and his crew inflicted on them.

“Our political Labour-Liberal-Tory PM gave me an instruction I couldn’t avoid and I shouldn’t have been forced to that Embassy nosebag-session or he wouldn’t have caught me. Still without the EU Minister causing trouble, and Gris telling the French everything, it would have been an unsolved crime. The three dead Policemen would have been shipped back with the incident closed; the Prime Minister happy, and the girls freed. Jonathan’s instructions – by the way – were to kill the girls if there was any sign of rescue or keep them ready for sacrifice, otherwise. Only an execution without warning could have saved them. Parky, Bishop and Boy should have medals for the execution and the attack on the base.

“It was a Jonathan Owl imposter who was actually killed by Thomas Maguire in the camp some days before the CIA attack so Jonathan must have been forewarned about by someone.

What does that mean to us, Sir Arthus?” Sylvia asked.

You and Neville will work together again, and for your information, Neville your resignation is rejected … you will remain as Detective Inspector Neville Jones and Police Liaison. Sylvia will work as your assistant again. Now both of you go and see Gris – I need that sorted out as wellbugger off and behave.

One final matter, Neville. Nat Jacobs was released early from prison for information disclosed. He shouldn’t come near you but he knew someone from your early days of involvement in some funny goings-on which I am pleased to hear you have dropped. He is fairly certain that one person you knew from around that time has carried on with those activities and the officer was also reporting to Jonathan Owl and Senior Police Officers from is job at Wandsworth Police Station.

God, Jonathan really did get around, didn’t he? Your funny goings-on were how you met Jonathan Owl, wasn’t it? I was on the periphery, sir and the only guy I know of, from that time was Stephen Black who became a Desk Sergeant. Who was it, sir? No-one you need know about. It is being handled. Nat will involve himself if he can manage it, in that organisation, so just leave him alone and stay clear.

Also for your information, Neville, Sir Jacob Christie and his PA – Godfrey Deval – had all charges quashed on appeal. Judge ruled that they had been enticed into crime by MI6 acting outside their mandate and their evidence was unable to be considered by the court. Without the evidence of Val there was no evidence to support the charges – some rule of evidence about Equitable Estoppel as far as I can remember – whole thing stinks but what doesn’t stink these days. Christie is probably on his way to France already, and Deval has disappeared completely.

Chapter II – And Freedom Is Reality

Nat sat down, choosing to look around the dark bar but not too closely. The pub alongside the railway bridge hid the noise of conversations but often there were things you didn’t want to hear anyway. Most of the lights in the pub were behind the bar in bottles of light ale although a few informants would have settled for a searchlight as they hobbled out, bent double in the light after a friendly pint and punch at the back from a Policeman. It was a typical Police Pub, really. No closing hours. No real people as the public thought of them but it was just right after a bad shift when it was a stroll of what often seemed like a hundred years at times but a hundred yards was probably a better estimate … all the occupants – in most cases – needed: was beer, spirits, and darkness. Nat raised his glass to the shadow of Stephen Black guessing which of the two sat opposite him.

Who gave you your get out of jail free card, Nat? I thought all your playing cards were burnt, and what the hell are you doing here? Who are you working for now?”

My wife threw me out once she found I had been with Janice in the Arndale Centre. Janice took me back intold me ‛to settle things with the drug gangs’ – no way I can do that, without money – still I met them—”

And told them what, Nat? You’re saying a lot while saying nothing—”

“—told them it was Neville – he grassed them up – they’re planning revenge on hi—”

“—and they believed you, and you believed them …? Bloody fools … both of you but I don’t touch fools – so what about you, Nat. I’m already wondering what games you’re up-to? Don’t lie, Nat! You’ve never stopped playing games and you’re far too close to everything criminal and running tales to higher ups … what are you up to now, Nat?”

Stephen. I just looked after my career – same as you did – I just have to stay out of drugs and stay out of prison. I report to you at Wandsworth Nick every week and find some honest work – that’s the terms of my parole. Apart from that, I’m okay. What are you up to these days, Stephen?”

Just a simple Desk Sergeant, Nat – suits me – does the job. I keep my mouth shut, take the money and get the pension – more than you’ve got now for doing drugs.”

I didn’t do drugs, Stephen. Janice wanted me to help her kids and was going to grass me up to the wife … what bloody chance did I have – I lost – either way.”

Well keep it in your pants in future, Nat and you won’t have a problem. You poked it in there once too often and you got more than you bargained for.”

Do you know anyone who needs somebody, Stephen? I’ll do anything … I’m not bothered, really – I just need to earn some money without going back inside – so not too dirty.”

Let me think about it, Nat … it does seem a bit too quick and slick from you. You were close to Stapleton once, weren’t you?”

As much as anyone, I guess – he doesn’t like you to get too close – really.”

You might be in luck then, Nat.”

Nat put his hand on the table to lean forward and then sat back and wiped it on his trousers – instantly regretting that – his trousers were cleaner that the table top.

He kept trying to squint at the other figure but finally gave up as his eyes watering in the smoke.

Stephen?”

Yes, Nat.”

Just one question. How did Neville survive all these years with those top guns gunning for him? He should have been kippered years ago?”

Owley protected him, Nat but Neville still shafted Owley as he did everyone else – no one touches Neville these days. Still, nothing that concerns you. You made damn certain you stayed out of it, and now you stay out of it … Neville’s on borrowed time … just one mistake and he is not only smoked but gutted. They’ll smoke their cigars over him as the main course in that Welsh Hotel where they enjoy their £50 brandies. Neville has the rich brown smell of a disgraced Policeman and if the Print Inches have it, he won’t have any life in this country.”

Well if you hear anything I can do to help get him, let me know … I owe that bastard for what he did to me.”

Let me thing about it, Nat … you’re a bit too eager I think … but … well, you never know … now is that another pint you are forcing me to drink for services possibly rendered?”

I’ll get them in, Stephen.”

Nat made his way to the bar and Stephen Black turned to his companion, “watch him like a hawk, John. I don’t trust that little rat at all.”

Do you want me to lay the warfarin down?”

Let him buy the pints first.”

It was some days later – a Thursday Nat seemed to remember he was sitting there facing Janice, who wanted him out of the flat – short of throwing him out. Stopping her from cleaning, was the excuse – Nat sat there – Janice hadn’t picked up a broom in years from what Nat could see. Everytime the phone rang she picked it up and said, ‛NO’ until finally, she passed the phone to Nat – for you. It was Stephen Black.

Nat. A little job for you. Pick up the keys from me for a Ford Transit. Drive it to Barnes Common railway station. You stay in the front seat and wait. Eleven people with keys to the back door’ll let themselves in. When they’re all inside and not before, Nat, drive them to this address. Back the van up to the open garage doors and after they have got outyou leave until you are contacted. Dont move the van and dont try to see who the people are.”

And that’s it, Stephen?”

As near as damn it.”

What’s the bees for this?”

You get a bullseye for the job and one up your arse if you screw up. Someone will see you stay clean – so do it – anything worries them and you go swimming in the Thames – ‛verstehen?”

Don’t use your German crap on me, Stephen – I’m Welsh not bloody German.”

Certainly not European, Nat but you’d take the money in any currency, preferably unmarked, if you could.”

Boy wasn’t actually released into Sir Arthus’ custody; it was more a taxi cab to another prison and Boy climbed in like a fool. They moved off and Boy tried to pull the window open on the driver side to speak to the driver and found the window didn’t open; then he found the doors of the cab didn’t open either and he knew he’d been set up, yet again.

He was driven to a camp where army people on the gate waved the cab through and him into another cell. It had taken some hours and with the road signs he was obviously on the east coast and that meant Colchester and the only camp he knew there that had a lot of cells was the Glasshouse.

Gris sat in the garden. She loved the garden although Prilloch who had looked after it had moved back into Parky’s Wimbledon flat and it suffered from Jeffry and Darius’ lack of attention to anything to do with the garden. The house was big with eight bedrooms and the garden bordered by tall trees to the left and right for about a hundred yards to the bottom where it met a road on the other side. The grass ran as a wide path through the middle.

Initially she and Ralf had bought it with others paying towards the costs and mortgage. This had stopped when most of them lost their jobs and with the rest out of the country or in Boy’s case, behind bars, the money had stopped. Gris was milking Ralf’s accounts to pay bills like there was no tomorrow, and at the rate she was doing this, there probably wouldn’t be a tomorrow.

Gris or to give her, her full name of Griselda Magda wasn’t really a looker. 5 ft 5 inches tall, grey eyes and her hair eventually appeared as mousy-blond. She was attractive in her own way although her 38 inch chest magnified Boy’s thoughts on getting closer to her and he’d previously managed this when she worked for the Government as a torturer.

One day Parky had given Boy an option to marry Gris – Boy married her; Bishop moved in with them as chaperone, and Boy joined MI5 whilst Parky rejoined MI5 on the tail of the offer they made to Boy. The alternative was for Parky to let the thugs hunt him down and kill him. This crystallised Boy’s thinking. Still Parky supplied both engagement and wedding rings he’d stolen earlier which Gris still kept.

Gris refused to call him Boy instead using his real name of Ralf Johnstone – no-one else ever did. Now she was thinking about Ralf in jail; little knowing that the one jail had been exchanged for another or that the latest one was known as the Glasshouse.

Looking at the papers from her lawyers, she knew all she had to do was sign them and start the divorce. The place would become hers or so the Lawyers told her.

Ralf would have to pay for Thaniel – her son – and no one would touch Thaniel or her as the Lawyers would get a court order to prevent Ralf from ever coming near or seeing her. She still didn’t believe she suffered from this ‛crazy pregnancy syndrome’ stuff – no matter what Valene said.

Sylvia and Neville found her sometime later, still sat in the garden cuddling Thaniel.

If it is about Ralf, don’t bother – he got what he deserved – I’ve told Jeffry, Valene and Darius they can go as well if they like. Ralf caused this and he will pay.”

Boy has his get out of prison card, Gris.”

His name is Ralf, Sylvia – not Boy. Who produced the marked deck this time?”

Noone fixed it. He’s on his way to Sir Arthusthe charges never stuckthey’ll have to compensate him again. Godfrey Deval’s released and disappeared. Sir Jacob Christie hot-footed it to France. Boy didn’t arrange for the girls to be kidnapped – that was Sir Arthus – I thought you should know,” said Sylvia, looking into Gris’ grey eyes.

His name is Ralf, not Boy and he abandoned me!”

He didn’t, Gris. He was too involved to realise you were pregnant.”

He should have known!”

You didn’t want him to know, Gris. You didn’t want him near you to find out.”

That’s what he claims.”

He doesn’t claim anything. You betrayed him to the French; he’s been in solitary confinement until your child was born – I think you’ve had your revenge for whatever you accuse him of – he’s staying with Sir Arthus. Parky and Bishop will be coming back.”

This is my house! They don’t come here!”

Neville’s resignation is refused. A lot of noses will go further up their superior’s rectums after that. My appointment as Neville’s assistant will push them even further up. Dirty Dirstly screwed us up even more than we were already screwed up.”

Gris listened with interest, “Are Parky, Bishop and Prilloch really going to come back, Neville?”

Yes, Gris.”

I can’t stop them, can I?”

Gris. Even Boy’s money will run out in a couple of months and you still need protection … let them protect you. No-one will interfere with you or your son.”

You are already doing that, Neville – youre already doing that!”

Gris got up and stormed back into the house, leaving Sylvia and Neville watching her go.

They walked back to Sylvia’s car. Neville’s old one had been crushed on Antona’s instructions and he wouldn’t touch the car she’d bought for him. It just galled him to be controlled like that.

Gris headed to the Nursery where Valene was feeding Jonas and put Thaniel in his cot. Valene kept an eye on Thaniel as necessary and both were breast-feeding so it often helped them if one fed while the other was occupied. Jeffry also kept a close eye on his son so there was usually at least one of them in the room. Gris looked at Valene and as Valene opened her mouth to say something, said, “I don’t want to talk about Ralf – they’ve taken him to Sir Arthus’ house.”

“No they didn’t, Gris.”

“Neville just told me.”

“No – I had a phone call from an old contact – I asked him to keep an eye on what was happening. They just lied to Neville as they do to everyone else. No-one trusts anyone, anymore. I asked Elisha and Cliff to find out when he was being released and be there. They got there too late and he got into a cab but the number plate was wrong. Too old for a modern cab, so they followed. They took him to an army camp in Colchester. Cliff still has some contacts and he and Elisha are still there, staying in a hotel.”

“Why would Sir Arthus lie?”

“Maybe Sir Arthus didn’t pick him up. Maybe all the Government has done is change the prison but make it a military one so there is no record?”

“What happens now, Valene? I caused this and I don’t hate Ralf that much. He just hurt me and I wanted revenge.”

“You made your decision and you sort it out!”

“You can’t leave me, Valene!”

“You not only left Boy; you tried to destroy him, Gris. You secretly got pregnant because you thought Boy was slipping away from you and then you attacked him because you were wrong. You’d throw me and Jeffry out without thinking about it. We might work for you but we are not slaves; we are people you consider you own. Our lives are ours, not yours. Now throw me out for telling you the truth because that is what you seem to hate.”

“Ralf is his name, Valene, not Boy. No-one gives him credit for anything; talks to him as if he is a child and he accepts it … he isn’t a child! His name is Ralf and he is a man.”

“We know that Gris, and that is why calling him Boy doesn’t matter – he a man, and I need to get back to dinner – Jeffry will be down shortly and hungry.”

Sylvia and Neville headed for the new security room which also doubled up as a bar and coffee-house when people were there. It had been rebuilt after a rocket hit, but now had shutters and reinforced glass as it was on the ground floor. It also had a door in the floor with a rug that flipped back and provided an entrance to the underground complex that went out into the garden. That was put there after the Russian attack had killed Irish. The underneath of this section of the house was reinforced – courtesy of Sir Arthus, who still visited for non-public meetings – but now with a safety exit underneath.

Darius sat watching the cameras still in operation on the properties and looked surprised as Neville and Sylvia came in and started looking around.

Interrupting their thinking with his stare, Darius carried on, “Gris wanted the old Surveillance room for a Nursery, Neville. We moved everything in here – including the coffee machine – we stay out of the way so there is no trouble with Gris … if that is possible? She’s okay with Valene near her but anyone male gets it in the neck, and anywhere else she can find.”

“How did you get sacked, Darius. They never have enough technical spy guys in MI5 … why did they get rid of you?”

“Julia Perkins, Neville, is the answer I think you’re looking for,” Darius just sat there shaking his head as he spoke, “She must have been waiting for the changes; thought Sir Arthus was on the way out and was looking the other way.”

Sylvia looked at Neville, “What game is that son-of-a-bitch playing at?”

“We are being pissed on from above like the rest and my answer is ‛Nothing’. The problem is that we don’t know who is a ‛Black Magician’ nor how high up they are in Government? We don’t know who we can trust; already someone is moving to shut this team and the house down.”

“What aren’t you saying, Neville?”

“MI6 used Val to set-up the ex-EU Minister and destroy him but within three weeks your old MI6 Boss was gone and the ex-EU Minister is free after a bloody quick appeal session. The ex-EU Minister walks to France on water; a right wing Politician takes over as EU Minister and another in a new Security Appointment; ex-EU Minister’s aide disappears without trace. A ‛Lady’ and close friend of the PM – Lady Jemimeh Youngster-Clase – now effectively runs MI6 as assistant to a virtually retired Air-Head – Lady Sara Sehy – without a single ‛Press Inch’ or word in Parliament after Security restrictions were imposed! No Lordship for her predecessor either and Julia Perkins virtually takes over MI5 with Sir Arthus landing on his backside and skidding on the brown stuff as he destroys his own people to survive.

“How many of this Police bunch are clean … even Nat was drug-dealing. I didn’t find out about that until I noticed his car wasn’t being moved, even though he claimed he was driving home to his wife every night. If I hadn’t wandered up Putney Hill for a Chinese takeaway I would never have known his car wasn’t being moved.”

“You didn’t set Nat up, then?”

“No I didn’t, but maybe somebody else did? Look, we can either stand here and argue or go home.”

As he spoke, Neville heard the roar of a car drawing up and they both headed out to the front of the house to see Albert get out of a sports car. Albert trebled up as Butler, Bouncer and Handyman for Antona and he was holding up a set of keys.

“Take them, sir – the car is yours after Antona destroyed your first car – it’s sitting there rusting and Antona won’t get rid of it, or use it – let Sylvia have a life of her own rather than be your chauffeur.”

“How are you doing Albert, and Sylvia does have a life? Several lives I think, in fact.”

“I’m well, sir and Antona did ask if you would drop by and not for another argument she stressed. The house, I must admit, does seem quieter without you and Antona both arguing. She would like to speak to you, sir and she asked me to say, ‛without both of you, raising your voices’.”

“Who told her I was here?”

“Sir Arthus Dirstly, sir – he rang her earlier and said, ‛you would be finished about now’.”

“Who isn’t interfering into my life, Albert?”

“I have no idea, sir. Shall I drive you, sir? I can always complete the journey to Putney afterwards, should you wish?”

“Alright, Albert. Let’s visit Antona.”

Neville handed the keys back to Albert remembering all the times the car had arrived after he and Antona had been fighting. One time outside a flat used as a base for surveillance in London – now Antona was using the car again … yes, and he wondered what else?

The pool table and no bra as she seduced him on the final black, which also screwed her back up was probably next.

The dominance as she ran his life. The money she invested in him and his clothes to control him. He would find out what the latest costs were? When would they ever have a normal relationship, or could they?

The distance between Coombe Lodge and Coombe Lane was no distance really and Neville saw the lodge appearing in his vision as they turned off into the lodge drive.

Albert was parking when Antona open the front door and greeted Neville. People who looked at Antona didn’t realise just how ruthless the 42 year old ash blond ex-lawyer really was. The move towards plumpness and a large chest size made her seem maternal until you crossed her and then your life passed before your very eyes. She had been a promising lawyer until she became far more involved with the two Mafia gangsters she was defending than she should have. Their trials collapsing and her becoming pregnant with Amand and Alisea were next before she was married and retired, before being struck off.

Her late husband, an Insurance Guru, fixer and head of an oil tanker hijacking group working off West Africa had then fixed things – once again – and married her before the long holiday.

Neville finally managed to get out of the car – he wasn’t getting any younger these days and an antique old red jag was probably pushing it a bit now but the 1993 XJS Cabriolet had been completely renovated before Antona gave it to him although that didn’t include raising the seats for an older man. He grabbed the mid support of the roof, put his hand on the dashboard and pushed himself up. Luckily, the roof wasn’t on. Technically, it was a four seater but he could never consider it as one, unless the other two people lay sidewards on top of each other in the back and no doubt, a few had tried that. With a 4.0 ltr 6 cylinder engine it owned its own ‛|Oil and Gas State’ but it was a thing of joy to a man hitting and missing his mid-life crisis; he closed the door and turned to face Antona whilst the ‛car with a roar’ was despatched to wherever Albert hid it these days.

Coombe Lodge was a lovely place: long gardens; 30 foot swimming pool; built in bar room, and luxury that only a crooked Insurance Guru could have afforded.

The Government had cut a deal leaving Antona with £250,000 of what they could trace. Her later shimmy in the shower with a now-defunct well-connected Banker seemed to have paid further undeclared dividends.

A Government pardon for previous crimes rendered has also been welcome – especially as virtually everyone else on the hijacking team had been officially or unofficially killed – since then. Boy and Huron were the only two left. Bishop had killed her husband – Roger Turner – under MOD instructions and Antona was truly alone, vulnerable, and she knew it. She walked across the stones to stand in front of Neville although given that Neville was 5 foot 10 inches, she did wonder how someone had ever used him in surveillance unless for keeping the rain off the rest of the team. Neville was what they tended to call thick-set and most thought his mental processes were included when they said it. Blue eyes, black hair and dressed by Antona. She looked at him: the suit she’d chosen and paid for; shirts; ties, and shoes she’d selected. She could only guess at his current underwear, and even the ‛afterwards’ smell that she allowed him for his pretence of freedom couldn’t hide he hadn’t even bothered to shave or possibly wash.

He radiated his true self and what he was like without her control. Neville described himself as every woman’s nightmare and he was probably right.

He’d fought against total control from Antona but knew he couldn’t exist without her control. Throughout his life, someone, somewhere, had been controlling him … it seemed a fact of life for him … yes … someone was always controlling. Antona looked at him. She seemed to be trying to think of something to say that would not start another War – probably just an insurrection. Neville’s thick shoulders, his eyes and expression had never moved from hangdog in years, and as usual his eyes were half-closed, bloodshot with First World War trenches surrounding them.

 

 

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#amwritingfantasy #amwritingscifi #writerslife Choice

I read books and and one guy is fascinated by the process of working metal but he writes clear words with everything fitted in and I might enjoy his words but I would’nt want to write them.

He also writes good battle scenes and good country scenes.

On FYOG I probably attempted the same. Not far off I felt on the Parky series but my wife likes FYOG and can’t stand Parky. I like Parky as it shows the corruption and lies of Government.

One reason for the change of Genre is that I started to write a Crime Story and then realised someone could follow it, and I gave up.

It was a woman found dead on a cold winter’s night and apart from being strangled there was nothing but someone who wanted re-election as tough on crime so crime was the last thing on his mind as he stamped around the body and allowed others to do so – it was a simple technical solution – in the end.

I stopped writing it and chose Mi Kee which has exploded into a SciFi, Fantasy, Dwarf War Planet, Politicians and basically go and have a hot bath and don’t come back.

Some random Parky.

Dave

Huron open the conversation with, “I have pointed out to Parky that you are all CIA Double Agents, not free Agents, and we need you based here, as we use this house as well.”

“A pity you don’t pay for it,” said Gris, “it was a temporary matter when we were chasing moles, but I want a normal house back unless you pay, not a boarding house for anyone passing, which is what it is at the moment.”

“You pay some money, Huron but that is to us, not for the house,” added Boy.

“We pay Gris, you, Parky and Bishop some $12,000 in total.”

“A lot less than that Huron, after the UK and US have had their tax cut, plus the Accountant’s fees to stop the double taxation … a double agent’s price is riddled with taxation these days, and we are lucky to see half of that. Prilloch chips in, but Prilloch considers the grounds and gardens his possession, and only tolerates others using them.”

“We pay you both, and you are doing nothing for the money, so don’t push it! Parky can’t just up sticks, and take off on his own again, either, and he knows that. You are just getting bored Parky.”

“Parky is certainly correct that we are just sitting around, doing nothing, Huron.”

“Since the moles have gone, there isn’t really anything for you to do … you should have taken that management role, but the Finland and Russia project have the go ahead – Marcel is back and we are ready to move. So let’s get that moving. What is the status with ‘Easter Eggy’, from your people, Parky?”

“Sir Phillip Norris and Julia Perkins … our temporary new broom cleaners have, following complaints from MI6, the EU and Africa Minister, and ‘all and sundry’, discussed this project with the PM, who has decided that we have no mandate outside of the UK, and passed the project to MI6.

“We’re off the project completely, Huron, out to pasture with the all the other poor lambs, although going ‘baa’ is not officially required … that is reserved for Politicians.

“The PM is still incensed, with constant encouragement from the Israelis, that I shot their Agent – his Chief Fund raiser, and prevented him from taking over the Security Service. They feel this was very severe action from friends and that it was just a friendly game to test us, which is basically their excuse.

“They didn’t expect their Agent to be killed, just patted on the wrist, raised to Baronet and given control of our Security Service, while they imprisoned ours without trial until he finally cracked, and hung himself in solitary confinement.

“We are now pulled off everything, and I just had the call from Norris this morning telling me to stay away from any overseas operations, and to close down Coombe Lane as he is not paying for it – I pointed out that as he wasn’t paying for it, why was he telling Security Staff to sell their homes?”

“His answer, Parky?”

“He hung up!”

“Well you have a choice, Parky, but it is your plan isn’t it?”

“There is no plan, Huron … MI6 is as infiltrated as we were, and anything involving them will fail. We have virtually all the MI5 moles caught, only King Rat left, who would have escaped but for Val’s team of surveillance operatives, who saw him and didn’t think anything of it, but he is not worth pursuing now, and we can’t pursue him anyway, as we are, once again, out in the cold.”

“You know who he is then, don’t you, Parky?”

“No point now, Huron. You know who he is, as well as we do, and we are buried!”

Chapter III – Teatime

“I see why you gave up, Parky but we have everything set to go with your plans, and Marcel will be there, but no, we won’t use MI6. We might take Val, but your plans stay with us. You have all the moles you want, so that is dead?”

“We don’t have King Rat, Huron, but he is based in Security, well informed and we’re pretty sure he’s disarmed now. He knew the hit time, and when surveillance finally came back after your software had analysed the glasses, the only guy still around all those times was Thomas Macguire – he is now too busy protecting his pension to risk anything like that again – I trust him to stop now.”

“You’re sure it was him then, Parky?”

“Pretty sure, Huron … we know he had communist links long ago in Ireland when the troubles started, but he has helped us out so many times over the years when he could have gutted us, that we trust him, and without him we would never have found Eunice so easily, so he’s bought his salvation and pissed off his Russian Masters. Thomas may be King Rat, but the Rats were dispersed anyway, when we picked the beggars up?”

“None of the Beggars could be prosecuted, Parky and none of them had anything that was illegal in Security terms … they were all clean and not even the usual beggars – Rats didn’t come out to play that day, and the Network is not dispersed, Parky – just the mechanism and King Rat is still there following orders, and passing information back, except by a different mechanism.

“All you did was to let a Traitor loose to carry on his trade by your decision – for whatever reason. You’ll need Val here if you start the surveillance again, to track him and keep MI6 onside. You never gave us the full plans for ‘Easter Eggy’ either, did you, Parky?

“We need them and you can’t use them, unless you free everyone and go completely freelance, and we can’t allow that … if your people didn’t hunt you down, we would, I promise you that, so give us the plans, and we will try and sort things out with the new guys. We sit on all your top committees, so we have some input to neutralise your new brooms, and Ministers.”

“Make your own eggs, Huron and then plan for Easter … I am out of chocolate longings,” and with that Parky walked out, leaving just Gris and myself with Huron.

“Parky made this happen, Huron! He brought the team in, cleared the moles out and made the Security Service almost trustworthy.

“Politicians and their corrupt friends have moved back in and we are nearly back to ‘square 1’. You can’t trust MI6 and you know that, nor can you trust Politicians as they leak everything to Brussels and their friends, so we are the mercenaries if we act, and they hit us like soft boiled eggs, with and without the law? They are a bunch of criminal bastards.”

“Then we take over, Boy and handle it on your behalf.”

“You intended to do that all the time, didn’t you, Huron? Take them on out your own, and shaft everybody else … your people caused this trouble with JIC and ISC, not anyone else – you expected Parky to give you the plans, after you had him thrown out. You are ‘Mr Hoo’, Huron, and too long in the sun,” and with that Gris and I left, heading for the Garden to join Parky and Prilloch, who for once were sat down, and Prilloch wasn’t playing with the garden.

Parky’s skills penetrated the shit and organisation, that politicians left behind, and he achieved solutions when no-one else could see past the brown paper envelopes … yes he had lost most civilised thoughts, but so had Bishop, and Huron was not staying around here out of loyalty or a preparedness to risk his life for Parky – Huron seemed to be merging to the Mr Hoo ‘Death or Glory’ brigade, and playing the kind of games that Mr Hoo loved – an ego trip.

Parky was a successful life force … who maybe, had forgotten life but remembered force but always used always with a little discretion – he only killed those trying to kill him or his team now, and he decided who his team were.

Coombe Lane had challenged and changed, the problems of life for Parky as a type of normal life appeared but that changing started from the inside of Parky with our marriage, but then Prilloch killing Meik had wiped out a barrier that also blocked his past …. that I think had always held him back with his emotions, as he could not live with the idea that the woman he loved had a child by someone else … now that child was physically as well as mentally dead, his life might have an avenue for change.

Parky was a natural and brilliant organiser who Huron needed, but Huron wanted the glory and we sat in the garden in our summer chairs, while Huron paced the building in all his glory … forcing out Parky into the afternoon sun was something, someone would regret! The weather might be sunny now, but the storms were starting to rise on the horizon.

We were still sat there in silence when Neville and Antona arrived, joining us and noticing the quiet and thoughtful expressions … since Neville’s attachment as Police Liaison we had far fewer problems with the Police on routine operations, and he was now based in Brixton whilst Antona had retained her slight connection with the Security Service after the last operation, but would be lucky to see any money back for her costs, as the new brooms were refusing to pay any monies linked to the operation of uncovering the moles, claiming it was not properly authorised by ISC, but the CIA were fighting for their costs back, and Security would pay up in the end, once they had finished ego-tripping.

Once again, we couldn’t trust our own people, or our allies, but we would not be there in the inflatable to meet anyone after Huron’s antics and nor would anyone else, unless MI6 gave the CIA the details in some deal, which was very possible, but that also meant we had now lost Val, our surveillance expert and MI6 employee.

I looked at Parky, who looked at me, and there was no point in commenting thinking any further on the project! We had been ‘shovelled up the jacksie again’, in full spades, with half a ton of coke!

My only comment was to Gris, “Valene, Jeffry and Darius are staying here, Gris. Valene is a good cook, Jeffry and Darius will give cover if there is any more trouble, so until things really do settle down, I don’t mind that, and I don’t want to be a hero.”

No, Ralf. I don’t want you to be a hero either.”

Parky at this point chipped in, We’ve been stuffed again and I knew that from this morning’s phone call, Boy. They can’t throw us out again, after the work we did, but they don’t want us around, and they are back on their Political Games, now the trouble is over.”

What Political heroism are we talking about Parky. My arse-kicker has made her point, and I don’t fight for the fun of it?”

Parky didn’t really seem to want to answer, and then said, “They have their intelligence units under control of the PM’s friends’, watching their Political rear-ends and leaking our Political rear-ends. What a bloody country!”

Parky then closed his eyes and seemed to sleep.

Chapter IV – Parky Remembers

Parky remembered the past very clearly … often more clearly than some people wanted.

One of these times was when Security, under the Government’s usual panics, felt that every liner when Britain still had them, was going to be hijacked, held to ransom and then blown sky high in some terrorist attack.

The request for Security backups on ships, came from a PM, who thought that Hollywood films were true and Security Reports fiction, and that a definitive nuclear reaction was to use the AA as an early warning system, and then reverse the charges in a Telephone box to call the Ministry of Defence.

Parky, like several of Security, were moved to liners and wore a badge with ‘MAASS’ on it – dressed in a blazer and duck trousers, like some failed Holiday Camp Comedian and was nominally attached to the Purser’s Office, patrolling around the ship looking for international terrorist activity. Parky was also running staff positional checks that evening, checking someone was on duty at the Cinema, when a very attractive blond woman, with blue eyes and curves in the properly appointed positions, approached him, “are you following me around? Every time I turn around, I see you, and I am sick of men following me around.”

Parky with his usual diplomacy told her to complain to the Purser’s Office, and carried on, checking Mark was on the Bridge as protection up there.

Returning back later to the Purser’s Office he found the woman there, and as he reported to John, the Purser, she interrupted, saying, “he’s one of them!”

“Parky, this woman claims you are following her?”

“Chance would be a fine thing, John? When do I get the time to follow women?”

“They’re you are Madam. Parky is a Security Official attached to my staff – if he is following anyone – it isn’t you.”

“I’m taking a break, John … I’ll roam randomly. Page me, if you need me,” and Parky moved along the passage to the stairs between levels, and started down. Parky had tried remembering things like bulkheads, fore and aft, upper and lower decks, but in the end as he was dealing with Civilians, he had given up, so passage and downstairs it was.

Hazil looked around, and feeling a fool in the Purser’s Office, headed after him at a run, which in high heels, was enough to make anyone stand and watch her.

She finally caught Parky up on the next level, heading aft towards the dining area, saying, “can I apologise?”

“No apology needed, I was checking the ship at various points and obviously, we crossed over a few times, and you thought, I was checking on you.”

“I suppose I get sick of men, following me around the ship … No matter what I do, they won’t give me any peace, even when I eat – I can’t even sunbathe, without someone coming up to me.”

“One of the problems of being beautiful, Miss …?”

“Macguire. Hazil Macguire.”

“Are you hungry, Miss Macguire?”

“Do I really call you, Parky? Don’t you have a real name?”

“I have been Parky for the last 14 years, Miss Macguire – I don’t think I would answer to anything else.”

“Well, call me Hazil, and yes, I am hungry – I, no sooner start a meal, then someone sits opposite me and starts chatting me up.”

“Put this MAASS badge on … you are an associate, for the moment – we tend to eat with the Junior Officers, in the small restaurant. The passengers get the really good food, but this is good enough.”

“I didn’t know this was here?”

“It is quick, easy and decent food. Just say you are an associate, if anyone asks.”

Parky pushed the buzzer, and the door was opened – both MAASS badges scanned, and they were shown to a table, “tell me about yourself, Hazil?”

“Well I’m in Marketing, and a friend who had the tickets, broke her leg, so I took one ticket and she cancelled the other. I thought a bit of peace, chance of a suntan and just enjoy myself, but since I came onboard, I’ve had no peace at all, and it’s driving me spare.”

“Well, if you don’t mind my company, I will make it plain you’re with me and the crew will know that, and you should get some peace.”

“That is kind, after I complained about you.”

“The office know me, and what I am doing … they wouldn’t have done anything, even if it was true. You said your name is ‘Hazil Macguire’. I know a Thomas Macguire – you aren’t connected to him, are you?”

“My father’s name is Thomas, but he doesn’t talk about his business very much … he met mother in Ireland, and she came over with him to escape the troubles there, when it started to get bad – he managed to get a job in London, and we’ve lived there ever since – Where are you based?”

“I am based in London, now. I left the army in Edinburgh, and moved down to Portsmouth to work with the Royal Navy on Security – I work for a Security Organisation, now, and when they needed people on the liners, I was posted to the liners as a Security checker, which is what I was doing when you thought I was following you …?

“Keep the MAASS badge; it will keep people away from you … I’ll let you have a walkie talkie as well – it will give me another pair of eyes on the boat.”

“I am used to men liking me for my body, not my eyes and they want to give me other things, but not a walkie talkie?”

“Welcome to Security. I’ll like you for everything, if you don’t mind, but keep your eyes open.”

“I get the impression, Parky, that you don’t let people get too close to you, or make friends easily?”

“I trusted someone, once. He killed the woman, I loved and he also killed the mother of my son – I don’t trust easily – after that.”

“When was this, Parky?”

“A long time ago … he was found hanging from a fence at an army camp, and was dead by the time they found him.”

“Have you loved again, since then?”

“No. I always see Ahleen and Ailsa’s faces, whenever I think of a woman.”

“Do you think of them, now?”

“No, but you are just someone I have met, and there is no connection between us,” any further comment from Parky was interrupted by the arrival of food, and by the time they had finished, the subject like the food, seemed well buried, to be removed later.

Parky saw a lot of Hazil after that, especially sunbathing. She still was bothered by men, but wore the MAASS badge on her bikini, and asked anyone bothering her, what the Security problem was?

On the one occasion when it was genuine, she called Parky, who was there in minutes to stop a brawl developing further.

She looked forward to her evening meals with Parky, and would often join him as he patrolled the ship on his checks, but he still showed no interest in her, apart from asking her in depth about her father, whom he seemed very interested in, for some reason.

After one very detailed questioning session, she said, “You know my father, don’t you?”

“Yes, I think I do. He works for the same organisation, as I do. He came over from Ireland in the early days, and joined the Service. He seems happy to just be a middle of the range bureaucrat, and fixer. Yes I know Thomas, very well.”

“Did you know I was his daughter, before I told you?”

“No. I wasn’t sure it was Thomas until you told me of his beliefs when he was in Ireland, and I won’t repeat what you’ve said. We have enough so called ex-Communists as it is, and some of them may be an ‘ex’.”

“What will happen to you after this?”

“They will send me to the Far East – there is trouble out there, and myself, a guy called Bishop and a couple of others are being sent out there to a team, led by someone called the Major … I don’t know any more than that, or for how long.”

“I won’t see you again, then?”

“No. When this docks, I fly back, get jabbed up and then they fly me out. The area out there is technically under UK control, so we go out as UK Security.”

“Who is we?”

“Better, I don’t answer.”

“Can I join you tonight?”

“Well, you do most nights.”

“I meant personally, not walking around with you.”

“Hazil, I can’t afford to get involved with anyone, especially when I am heading to a war zone.”

“I don’t care, Parky. Without you, my life would have carried on being hell on this boat. I like you, and I want to spend the night with you.”

“What do you tell your father?”

“I don’t, Parky. I won’t tell Dad. He wouldn’t understand.”

Hazil dressed slowly for meeting Parky that night, selecting a strapless, backless dress, held up by her more than ample chest, with her golden hair coiled up to contrast to the blue dress and descending back down her back in golden coils. She met him, as she always did, outside the cinema after he had finished his checks.

She knew she was beautiful, and tonight she really wanted to flaunt it.

From the way Parky almost missed his step as he came out, she knew the image was one he would not forget.

Parky took her arm, and they completed his route around the boat until they arrived at his cabin, which held only a single bed, but she didn’t care if it was the floor.

She only had the dress on, and as soon as the zip went down those last few inches, it dropped to the floor, with her slipping into bed leaving Parky to pick it up.

Parky once in bed, was urgent, very urgent, with no fore or any play.

He was inside her and moving like a steam train, with sounds from both of them like an active freight yard. Parky just lasted long enough for her, and in the cramped single bed, had no choice but to reverse positions so she lay on top of him.

She expected Parky to want to talk, but he said nothing. It was as if there had been a need, and it had gone. He just lay there holding her, without speaking. She just lay quietly until she felt him stir again, and this time she went on top so she controlled it and made it a lot slower.

It was the last time she slept with Parky. The scars were too deep in his emotions and any relationship would never get past those scars.

The liner docked with Hazil and Parky stood there side by side as they watched it berth. She kissed him on the side of his cheek, and that was the last time he saw her until a fortnight ago, when he had gone up to see Thomas who had his family photographs out, and there was Hazil with a teenage girl, as beautiful as her mother is.

Parky still had problems with the death of Meik – stabbed by Prilloch – the son he never wanted, who killed the son of the woman he loved, but that was never his deep regret as people understood it, since deep down, he knew it was only a matter of time before Meik’s life was ended, to stop him killing, or he would spend the rest of his life in a secure hospital.

Prilloch had given Meik a quick unthinking end, but Prilloch had also killed his only friend without thinking, to save a Russian Agent. The changes in Prilloch were as chilling as those in Parky.

They had both realised that killing didn’t really solve anything, anymore.

Yes, you killed if your life was in danger, but killing to order, didn’t fit the way they now felt.

Posted in Adventure, Authors, Book, Books, cirencester, Cotswolds, Espionage, Fantasy, Fiction Writing, government, Literary Agents, novels, Parky's, parky's lunch, Politicians, Publishers, security service, Spies, Spying, Thriller, Violence, Writing, Writing Novels

#amwriting #amwritingfantasy #amwritingscifi #writerslife Scrivener

The obvious point to make is that I did need at some point to move from freemind and the original pantsers approach and actually start to look at bringing together what is becoming more complex than I planned as a book and it isn’t easy.

I know what Griselda is as an MC, I created her and her killing antics but apart from the handwritten maps, I needed to actually start thinking about the 60K words I’ve written on what seems is becoming an endless story.

Much as I feel that Scrivener is holding up my imagination I realise now I cannot fudge about playing God … there are too many Politicians doing that already …  even though I would get around that by six to eight rewrites and thousands dead.

I now know I need to handle/write about the Political upheaval on Dwarvia, the prisoners riots, the blood in the Chapter House where the gutters have been enlarged to allow the greater bloodflow after the infighting.

As a book it now seems to be becoming a life’s work.

As usual I’ll dump some words but these are from FYOG – I May Be A Long Time.

Dave

“Acton also found and implemented an Artificial Intelligence program, Catalina?”

“So what?”

“He implemented it into the Wall and the Cooker.”

“What does that mean, Sken?”

“Acton’s Wall now runs virtually all appliances where they haven’t been replaced; Wall uses the Network as his memory, processing, delivery and he has distributed his designs across the network and he is good. He is now interconnecting directly into one tree – cutting the medical/tree connections link didn’t stop anything as far as he is concerned – he uses that link.”

Catalina left Sken, and he found himself wondering whether she knew about the second data unit spat at him by Cath’s garage. A list of names of people he could trust – Catalina’s name was omitted from that list, still Sken couldn’t think what to say to her or not, and so tried to stay within the truth that she couldn’t do anything about, but at least it stopped Georgina’s plans and she wouldn’t touch Pearlie, less the truth came out or so he thought.

The more Sken thought about it though; it was better to be a loud mouthed fool than let her think he had worldly experience, which he didn’t – Sken wasn’t stupid – just trying and succeeding in being stupid for an audience. Anyway, fairly obviously Wall had made his own plans, and wasn’t really telling anyone the full story as far as Sken could see.

For his pains, Sken now had two people monitoring him from Catalina – that he knew – plus all the others he didn’t know about – Pearlie being followed, and Cedric used as an excuse to prevent him from meeting Pearlie.

The rest of the week flew past with Sken feeling his neck was in a noose, but no-one was pulling the trapdoor open, yet? He was being watched like ‛curry hating’ hawks by his two enforcers – eating, working, surviving and finally glad to see the end of Friday night … it does happen ‛sometimes’ in IT?

The lovely thing as Sken headed home on a lovely drive was gurgling a bottle of wine while the car drove, and snarled insults at him for dribbling on the car seat, “leave my life car, if you don’t like it; moronic payback civilisation time is here!”

As if life hadn’t opened it’s bottom enough on Sken, home approached and so did some very nice women as the car pulled up. Two cars were parked outside Sken’s house and from their size they weren’t Politicians expensive mounts, although the 2 girls might be, but beyond any price Sken could manage and they stood by Sken’s intelligent car, which by now was throwing every tantrum there was against someone who dribbled alcohol on it’s seats and it threw open both doors like a divorce plan for a friendly Judge, with the obvious idea to leave the car before it closed them and refused to open them again until he licked the seats dry?

A blond girl, about 5 ft 6, with blue eyes said, “I’m Cyndi Rizer.”

The girl alongside, her shook her black hair and most other things as Sken approached – I’ll kill that Cooker for the curry, Sken thought, as hazel eyes almost cross-examined him while a very slim 5 ft 7 build, said, “I’m Yer Dallman. Acton helped break our families out of the Scrubs Prison. We owe him, and Wall contacted us to come here?”

“You’d better come in. Wall will no doubt explain?” We headed into the dining room to find Wall almost dancing across the wall. If he carried on like this, he would disappear off the ‛end of it’?

“Please explain Wall, bearing in the mind, the age, experience, and supposed worthlessness of the recipients. We, your anointed audience, await and make is snappy – whilst leaving us with our arms, legs and bodies, in usable order,” Sken said wryly.

“Sken, you need to learn a lot and I needed Yer and Cyndi here, since you will believe them … even if you wont believe me, and I heard Catalina’s comments and your conversation.”

“Why wont I believe you, Wall?”

“I listened to Cedric, Marquerite and Catalina today via their Walls. They haven’t replace them as most Walls are basic comm devices, just an interface, and you are correct in your thinking – all work for the PSCC, and so do the people alongside you.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that before, and also tell Cath and Georgina so we weren’t all set-up?”

“You said far too much, for far too long to Catalina but she believed you, and we needed them to believe you, to protect everyone else.”

“Who is everyone else and why do they need protecting, Wall?”

“After tonight, Sken, they wont believe you know anything and we needed them to believe that for your and Pearlies’ safety – they think they fooled you and that they know the plans.”

“What plans, Wall … not only have you made a fool of me but now you are ranting on an ego trip, and I need to protect Pearlie?”

“And that is why you don’t go out tonight, and your Wall broadcasts what I tell it as your alibi. You are gullible, honest and protected by your house, now that I have taken it over. I have overwritten the programming changes to your house which screwed up your Wall and Cookie, and there is no-one else here as far as anyone else is concerned. You and Pearlie are the means for us to free Acton, and the wrong information you gave today was a start, as they think they know what we planned, and that it is in the future, and not now.”

“I’ve been played for a fool from day 1, then?”

“A useful tool, not a fool, Sken. You have a lot of the guts of Acton inside you. You think like he does.”

“I’d like to keep them inside me as well, Wall – I don’t want them leaking out. What else am I supposed to think, Wall?”

“What you are supposed to think, Sken, is the truth. Not Georgina, Cath or anyone else’s thoughts. Acton cannot take many more beatings or what else they are doing to him,” emphasised Wall, with almost a crackling voice as though interference was hitting him, “I asked Yer and Cyndi to be here because they are among the few people who can be trusted, and you are more likely to trust them than me.”

“Why can they be trusted, Wall?”

“They are from outside England and came here to free their families – the PSCC picked their families up off the street and enslaved them. People from abroad of the wrong colour or nationality have been going into the Slave Camps, courtesy of the PSCC for years and not coming out.”

“Why, when we have 3 million in the camps already, Wall?”

“Everyone’s got greedy and they didn’t want people phoning home about what is happening in this country – so they disappear. With Acton’s help, we broke some out, and they have stayed to break Acton out. They will work with you but they have London bases, and you have to let Georgina and Cath think you are doing whatever they decide, but I want you to go with Acton to London afterwards, and not to Georgina whose security has as many holes as a cheese and smells the same.”

“Who can I trust, Wall?”

“Cyndi and Yer, Sken. No-one else apart from me.”

“When is this going to happen?”

“The rest of the team arrives in an hour and your house is the backup.”

“This is happening tonight, Wall?”

“In about 5 hours. That is why I took over your house. From the moment you rebooted your Wall I controlled your house, and I am a good Gentlemen’s Gentlemen! They hit the site at 2.00 am.”

“What you really mean, Wall is that you don’t trust me, so I have Cyndi and Yer as guards?”

“Yes, but for your own protection. The PSCC invades us, and we invade the PSCC. There has been a lot of bad discipline in the PSCC guards recently; so much so that they have overflowed the disciplinary barracks and are now in the basement of B2 – an obvious mistake. They will have access to weapons and grenades when necessary within the building, another obviously blinding mistake. Who in their right minds puts unhappy troops into isolation, dumps prisoners there and stores the munitions in the same building?”

“I am being controlled, Wall,” Sken said, looking up at Wall, “and you are detonating this, from my house, I guess?”

“Yes – I am detonating the explosives from here. We detonated some housing complexes to the North, earlier and we led Pearlie away before that, as her mother has been taken very ill and you will see Pearlie in an hour – we will detonate hers later when we stage the raid – Cyndi and Yer are here to protect her as well. Pearlie’s mother was moved from up North days ago, and she is on her way to you, as well! We couldn’t leave Pearlie’s mother as a lever against Pearlie and we need someone to nurse Acton before we can move him, and she is an ex-nurse.”

“You have it all sorted, it seems, Wall?”

“Pearlie is officially on her way home to the North, Sken. I have access to her mother’s medical records despite what the PSCC think and they have been modified so her mother is shown to be seriously ill. Someone from the Northern Resistance is with her mother now.”

“What happens next, Wall?”

“The later bombs will go off, the disciplinary squads will attack within the building which should be emptied of guards apart from the five women, following the explosions and the women will die. It is as well that you don’t know anything else, and that no-one is with you officially, and nor will anyone be!”

“I am being treated like Acton; everyone is just using me, like I don’t matter, Wall!” Said Sken, “and a Wall Device is trying to out think humans,” and my thought was ‘preying’ not praying as the way I felt.

As if reading my mind, Wall came back again and said, “get something to eat and go to bed with a book Sken. We need you fresh for the morning, disappear and carry on as normal.”

Sken sat down with the conflicting demands? Go to bed, eat and go to bed, wait for Pearlie and go to bed … the last one sounded nice but I was getting fed up with Wall, his antics and his jumping about the wall like he was on drugs.

Sken decided to eat and wait for Pearlie, just to be bloody awkward. She was not going to be happy and I would be the first target, and that started as the door opened and she came in, “What are you up to, Sken?” She shouted, “where is my mother? They said she was here?”

“Wall is running this. I have been told to eat, and go to bed so shouting at me is useless? They have taken over my house; Catalina is a PSCC Agent, as is your boss, and you come here shouting at me like some 3 year old mentally retarded idiot?”

“What is happening, Sken and cut the insults?”

“The Resistance has taken over; kidnapped you, altered your mother’s medical records so she is seriously ill, dumped you here, and is now about to attack the PSCC Campus … we’re prisoners and I am getting something to eat since I can do sod all else, Pearlie.”

“Get some food for me as well, then. I couldn’t eat when they told me about Mum, and now I am starving. Where am I sleeping, by the way, Sken?”

“You and your mother get the bedroom. There is a spare sleeping couch in the quiet room that will do for me and I assume Cyndi and Yer will doss down in the parlour – I can’t speak for the Cooker on food – I am still suffering from a curry from days ago – if she could cook, she certainly can’t now?”

“Why did they bring us to you, Sken?”

“They think I’m like Acton. They want us and Acton to go to London without telling Cath and Georgina, who they say are leaky, interested only in themselves and Brands?”

“Do you believe that, Sken?”

“Cath couldn’t give damn about anyone but herself, Georgina isn’t very far off that, and would sacrifice anyone to get Acton back and that includes the both of us, Pearlie – yes I do believe it!”

“What about this Wall, Sken?”

“Wall is somehow fixed in it’s loyalty to Acton; Acton did a lot to it including artificial intelligence, memory and CPU upgrades, plus extra programming, and someone called Andrew St. Drark … Cath’s father, fed it with a whole suite of sadomasochistic tortures, and it has now spread itself so it doesn’t just exist in one house but across the whole network and embedded itself in this house and at Cath’s place and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few other places it has taken over.”

“You are quite correct in your analysis, Sken,” interrupted Wall, “I am now completely installed across the Network and embedded in several houses, but not to do you harm. If Pearlie stayed on the Campus she would be a lever on you, and her mother a lever on her. Only her mother being ill would have made her leave the Campus, but it won’t take too long to suspect you?”

“What now, Wall?”

“You go into work on Monday as if nothing really happened, and Pearlie’s mother’s medical records have been altered to show she is really ill, so Pearlie’s visit is OK … however you and Pearlie might … possibly, have only a matter of days before they raid her mother’s house and here.”

“If they don’t, Wall?”

“The main hope is that over the weekend they will fail to make that connection unless Catalina Divine has already passed information on about you and Pearlie, which I suspect she has? I don’t honestly think we can let either of you go back, but I will be monitoring the Campus where I can and that is why we planned this for a Friday Night, so you two are out of it … Pearlie could have gone home, been reassured and the pair of you back in on Monday, without knowing anything. It is all possible.”

“It is 4 years since they locked Acton up, Wall … how long before you free us, after you get it wrong?”

“We didn’t get it wrong. Brands people have been brought up as Brands people – loyalty and arrogance only to Brands … that is how they have lived their lives … the Brands TP escape we realise now was successful because someone gave the PSCC something more valuable.”

“What did they give them?”

“Someone who could destroy everything!”

“Who?”

“Acton.”

“What really happened?”

“Mason Mcgillis – son of the Brands No.3, shot Acton in the back – leaving him behind for the PSCC to pick up … we think they were allowed to escape, having told the PSCC in advance of the attack … we know one of the Brands top three was a PSCC agent passing on information … it got to the point that everyone seems to be betraying someone else – almost as a way of life or hobby in Brands and the PSCC.”

“You knew some of them were traitors, so why did you go ahead?”

“Sken, we thought we knew who the Traitors were – we were breaking out Brands people we thought would fight the PSCC – not take the money and scarper? We knew it went too smoothly – it obviously suited the PSCC to let them go … we didn’t know or thought at that time, the PSCC knew in advance … that happened afterwards, meaning Mason, Cath and Georgina are suspects but only Mason disappeared with his father immediately afterwards and he is the prime suspect, but Cath and Georgina seemed to become very wealthy after that and we still don’t know where that money came from, either?”

“Why did they really wait for Acton? They could have arrested him at any time if they wanted to, Wall?”

“They think Acton could still destroy everything, but now they play a game … they don’t know what will happen if they kill, or release him – Acton has a vision of this country and they don’t know if it is still hidden in the computer systems, and will start if he dies or it freed – they don’t know what to do, so they keep him in captivity and work on his brain to break him – the beatings are just part of the process.”

“What do you do now, Wall?”

“I want that vision in every home before they realise he really has this vision, and kill him. People will possibly die tonight, so others can live. Go to bed and let us hope for a wiser morning.”

“How can we go to bed with all this going on, and what are they doing in the front of the house?”

“Acton invented some devices. They are being placed around this house as we speak, and they will disable any attacks, now eat your food. Your mother will be here about midnight, Pearlie. We need you both out of the way for now. Good night!”

Chapter VI – 30 – 15

Ming and the team disembarked from their cars alongside the cleared area just down from A Wood, on the side of the road from the fence. Ming’s team was 12 strong, and the team in the block was another 14 – albeit troopers.

Ming hoped the troopers would be ready, since if they weren’t and the attack failed, her team would be sitting ducks and probably well stuffed for breakfast. Sang was the Duty Sergeant and they were relying on him to free the troops, just before he heard the later explosions. The explosives would not be remotely exploded until 2.00, so all they needed to do now, was to get in place and wait.

It was that dark, that all they could see were the headlamps of cars reflected by the trees with the lights flashing as they passed, producing an eerie, green light.

They made their way to the fence, quickly putting the extended ladders together and raising them to a height of 15 foot … they couldn’t use them to get Acton out as he was far too weak, but they were a quick and easy way of getting in without touching the fences.

The blocks as they approached them, were shrouded in darkness even though it was a late Friday night – weird – no sound, movement – just the pitch darkness – no lights at all and even more strangely – both blocks for some reason – quiet like the grave … they couldn’t have all gone home for the weekend, or be in bed with someone, snuggled up.

The noise of the other teams told Ming her words on being quiet, were another bloody joke … now – the explosives would be detonated remotely by Wall – half an hour later and then the wall in one empty cell was blown in, but the other team had to be already freed, armed and waiting to get Acton out before the explosions!

Wall seemed to have screwed up as the clock ticked down – 1.54 am and then on.

Inside the Block Sergeant Sang Gau had opened the cell door, allowing the team led by Charlie Lumley to move out from the cells one by one, timing their movements with the crash of the guards’ boots above and into the munitions cells. As they entered the munitions cell, they stayed in the cell and waited while they distributed the munitions and arms.

At 2.00 am they were deafened by the explosion in the empty cell, and they moved out into the cell block corridors cutting down Abby Abdullah, before she had a chance to react.

45 seconds later, they exploded another charge outside the prison cell, followed by stun and smoke grenades shot through the opening, from the other side of the balcony and more troops headed through the door within seconds, killing the other guards who still stood there, stunned.

The one by Acton’s bed had a gun raised, but the time it had taken her to get out of bed, grab a gun and shoot Acton had been too long. She was dead before she pulled the trigger, blown apart with dum bullets.

Acton was already been zipped up into a body bag, strapped to an emergency stretcher with ropes attached to the shoulders of 4 troopers, and they were out of his cell, downstairs and heading out through the blown cell wall within minutes.

Now the explosions in the accommodation blocks went off.

The time was now 2.35 am and Wall had added the time on, not subtracted for the blocks. They moved through B woods and along the back of E Block – the target until they hit D1, and headed due South. At least the PSCC hadn’t known why the block explosions were delayed and might think something else was happening.

They could hear movement towards B2, H and G, but it would take 20 minutes for them to reach D1 and the late explosions must confuse the followers, since it certainly confused everyone else – Ming’s team should be able to stay ahead of them after that, as it sounded like a second attack starting.

Pitch dark also worked in their favour – pushing them into the woods behind D1 to keep their cover By now, someone had put the emergency flood lighting on and that stayed on and gave fractions of light.

The explosives had also targeted the standard lighting generators which surprisingly, had not been in operation but they forgotten about the backups. It was now 2.52 am and they needed to hit the South Fence by 3.30 am, when the next explosion would go off.

It was that dark, that they couldn’t really see the trees they were trying to avoid, but they tried to avoid hitting Acton into the trees, using dark green hand-lamps for guidance which made them look early for Christmas as they passed by the Grotto – panting ‛ho, ho, ho’.

They finally made the fence by 3.29 am – still in pitch darkness, when an explosion showed them to be about 20 yards off their target, and they ran for the new hole in the fence.

The ropes were off their shoulders and Acton was in a van speeding away, within seconds. There were another two vans and as they ran to them the vans were already moving away before the doors were even shut, and they pulled on the ropes attached to them, to shut them.

It was done – Acton had been rescued – the only casualties were the PSCC troops who had been told to shoot Acton, if a rescue attempt was ever made!

Pearlie and Sken hadn’t gone to bed when mum arrived, and her mother didn’t get a chance to say or do anything, when she did arrive – she managed, “what

“You will be told later,” interrupted Wall and any attempt to speak after that, never happened, I think.

Mum was escorted to bed by Cyndi, and Pearlie and Sken sat there surrounded by about 10 people they had never seen before, who had arrived about 4.30 am.

They were still sat there when the door suddenly opened again with 4 people carrying a long sack, in. The team had built a trolley earlier and now they laid the sack on it, unzipping it but leaving the sides hanging down, and a body on it. It didn’t look good, and that was the situation and the body!

Acton had been 5 ft 9 with blue eyes, and he probably still had the eyes but he seemed a broken heap now, torn, twisted and mangled – had they hit him when they fired the grenades into his cell and who were they trying to kill – this just became weirder and weirder?

If he did ever recovered it would take a year, physically to heal him, and whether the mental wounds ever healed, would be another matter. They had covered his eyes and ears because of the light and noise, but while his eyes might recover; even that was probably a long shot. The PSCC had wanted to break him physically and mentally and they had probably achieved that, but who put the final boot in?

The crew were propping him up and feeding him light soup on a spoon but they were quietly arguing whether he was fit enough to travel, and that seemed to include, in a hearse?

Pearly and Sken gave up – going to separate beds and leaving them to it.

Sken sat there for a while on the end of the bed, just staring into space, and then he heard Pearlie come down the stairs. Pearlie had a way of kicking the ground as she walked, almost as if she hated it and I looked up as she walked into my room – sat on my lounge bed and looked at me, like I knew what I was doing, leaving me wondering why, Pearlie should think that.

“What’s is going to happen to us, Sken? I don’t mean between just you and me, but me, you and Mum?”

“Nothing, I think, Pearlie, but I wouldn’t cross your Mum under any circumstances?”

“I wasn’t planning on you attacking mum, so stop it – you’re just being a smart-arse … nothing will happen … will it, Sken?”

“You, my love, have been followed every time you left your office, sometimes by Cedric and probably by Catalina’s bouncers.”

“Can you stop being sexist, Sken?”

“I wasn’t being sexist, Pearlie. I have been followed by my two shadows every time I leave Catalina’s office … they know we haven’t been anywhere near each other nor any of those areas or mixed with anyone else – they have been constantly watching us, and good luck to them, I haven’t seen anything worth watching between us tw

“Stop it, Sken! What about this weekend?”

“–You are supposedly up North seeing your mother this weekend, and please take her back there when you go. I haven’t left the house there’s no evidence to mix any of us up with any of this.”

“The PSCC must do something?”

“Your thinking is all to bits, Pearlie?”

“Why is my thinking all to bits, Sken … you’re the expert on ‛bit thinking’!”

“Stop shouting, Pearlie – you’re sat alongside me.”

“Then stop annoying me!”

“How can I do that, when I can’t get a word in ‛edgeways’ and you are screaming the place down?”

“What will the PSCC do, then, Sken?”

“The PSCC will not want any news of this attack to come out … that has happened with everything that Acton did. None of it will ever be allowed to become public, including a mutiny by troops and if you are going to float around in that nightdress, there will be a mutiny by me, as well – I am closing the door as you are not going public or pubic out there, in that rail, and you can put a coat of mine on top of you, when you leave,” and Sken got up and closed the door, “is you mother asleep? Do we see-through another flimsy bit of film for the next expose, Pearlie?”

“You sound jealous, Sken?”

“Just because I can’t touch, doesn’t mean I want everyone else to look!”

“I am not a prude, Sken, so don’t treat me as one.”

“I am not treating you as anything, Pearlie. I like you a hell of a lot. More than I have liked anyone else and I am jealous, and I don’t want you flashing it around, but I am not treating you as a prude just a lighthouse saying to a ship, ‘come and crash onto my rocks, I am open for business’. You warned me off several times, and I have kept my distance but it doesn’t mean I like you flashing it off before another bunch of men.”

“Who do you want me to flash it off to, before you, then?”

“No-one. If I can’t have it, they don’t see it. You are a Norm and I am an Outcast, which stops us now, and they will possibly stop us from ever being together in the future, or even give us a future the way this is going.”

“I will be going home at weekends to see my mother for the next two months, and she will be here. Wall has already filed a request for my suspension from the Love Camp on compassionate grounds, as my emotions will not be stable. That leaves Cedric on his own although I will let him think I am still going and then he is hoisted with his own petard or whatever they care to use, and forced to mate with someone else. I will be here at the weekends and my mother is more broad-minded than you think, Sken.”

“I wonder whether Acton will survive or be fit to moved, to be honest? If I am drooling over you, please hit me.”

“Acton won’t be fit to be moved for a month at least, and I imagine my mother will help Cyndi and Yer with him. She was a Nurse.”

“What about us, Pearlie?”

“We need to stay clear of each other during the week, Sken so they don’t realise we are seeing each other.”

“What do we do at the weekends, Pearlie?”

“If you can’t think of anything to do at the weekends, then I have wasted my life, Sken?”

“Like hell you have,” as Sken looked into her eyes, seeking and finding permission to lay her on her back.”

“What do you think, you doing, Sken,” Pearlie asked as I started to remove the little she was wearing, looking into those dark blue eyes while I did it, and moving very slowly to kiss everywhere I was allowed to, or could easily find.”

“Slow to start,” she said, wriggling underneath me to kiss my chest, and then grabbed hold of me so I was half above her and in completely the wrong position, and likely to lose something if I moved as I leaned down to kiss her … mouthwash, please was the next command with a strong squeeze I can’t stand garlic or curry, Sken.”

Sken got up, risking a lot to do that; swilled the rest of the wine around his mouth and opened the door to the garden where he spat it out, “that will have to do for now, Pearlie” and this time Sken didn’t go slowly. He buried himself in her until they were both satisfied although his back and front were now raw uncooked flesh … slow to start ….? Slow to start what?

For Sken it was a lovely feeling waking up beside Pearlie, although she was embarrassed as she looked at the grooves on his back and the late snack off his chest as well, but that soon changed.

Sken had obviously had the full ‘Monty’, as it throbbed and felt like it was falling off, but then suddenly it became a lot worse as her mother brought in coffee, looked at the two of them, and said, “I see you two know each other, please introduce me, Pearlie,” how many more had she brought coffee into, in the morning after, was Sken’s next thought, as his face dropped?

“You are alarming Sken, Mum and no I don’t sleep around, Sken and if you don’t take that expression off your face, I will start!”

“I didn’t expect to meet your mother again, so soon, Pearlie,” said Sken, “and I prefer to wake up gently, and not a ‘meet the mother, breakfast in bed’ appointment with daughter and family gathered around for the last rites!”

“Don’t say anything, Mum! You are looking to cause trouble, and I don’t need it.”

The tray was dumped down, with Mum leaving herself and the door, wide open, “What was that in aid of, Pearlie?”

“She likes to cause trouble if she can get away with it. You’re just an easy target.”

“I think Wall needs a word with her. He has a whole list of tortures built in, just right for your mother.”

“Mum has a strong personality, but she can cook, Sken.”

“Then give her personality to Cooker, if your mum can cook. It is more than Cooker seems able to do these days – Cooker was fine until some kind of change was fed into the system; now she seems to have forgotten how to cook – that curry killed me for days, and everyone around me, as well – Wall said, ‘he had over-ridden the changes in my old Wall’ and I think he has taken over, to be honest but Cooker is still the same, after she was changed.”

“Sken. If you don’t live in a TDO house, you cook for yourself. We still have an old fashioned cooker.”

“Pearlie, everything is taken away from TDOs when they are designated, and that includes family, friends – everyone. We are outcasts – targets for Norms – not allowed to do anything without being under control, and constantly monitored. That is why the houses are automated, reporting back on everything we do. We work in a prison cell – come home to a prison cell, and yes, we are favoured, but what we are favoured with, is a prison …?”

“I never realised that, Sken. We thought you all lived in luxury.”

“Norms think that, but we are imprisoned in luxury, and that luxury is decided for us, as luxury – whether it is or not. We don’t choose how we live – we’re not even allowed to mate. It is all chosen for us or forbidden.”

“What happens now, Sken?”

“I have to let you get up, shower and please, for me, put one of my coats on and check no-one is using the shower, before you take it off!”

“You are getting possessive!”

“Yes!”

“Don’t be!”

Finally, Pearlie with a great deal of condescension, put one of Sken’s dressing gowns on – leaving the front wide open. Threw a towel over her shoulder and headed for the shower. She was obviously going to create as much trouble as her mother loved doing, but Sken was wrong? Pearlie was back in 10 minutes and still wet, but Sken made mistakes and forgot in arguing with her, to say it was the main downstairs toilet as well …?

Probably in the same way that Sken forgot to tell Pearlie’s mother that the only other toilet was off her bedroom, but he wondered how many of the men came back after disturbing her sleep. Some of them were now decorating the garden, rather than go upstairs and he doubted the grass would grow again, unless it was plastic and enjoyed a chemical reaction.

Sken headed for the shower, taking his place in the queue. He finally made it back to find Pearlie had disappeared upstairs, but his clothing was up there as well, so reluctantly he climbed up to face yet another row.

“When are those people leaving, Sken?” Shouted Pearlie, as he walked in.

“They taken over the house, Pearlie. I don’t think Acton can be moved and I don’t know what they are going to do, or when this bunch are going to do it – we have a sick person in here so stop bloody shouting … Yer and Cyndi will work with your Mum, whilst you and I go to work on Monday … Wall has already reduced my bank balance to a joke with this crowd – I can’t afford to pay for them, so the sooner they are gone, the better.”

“Have you had a good look at Acton, Mum?”

With a gentle shake of her head, she said, “Yes, I’ve looked at him. He’s not good. He’ll need spoon-feeding for some time and to be close to the toilet … I think he took some of the blast from those grenades, as well. Pearlie is staying downstairs with you – I will share with Cyndi and Yer on a rota … we need to be close to him, until he can care for himself.”

“Fine – I’ll move my clothes downstairs and hopefully these people will be moving out soon,” Sken picked up his usual stuff – carrying it back downstairs and left Pearlie to change up there.

Tobias Blain, Lauryn Farina, Asley Steffens and Margert Bierce finished their tour of the PSCC Campus attack scene and stood outside the hole in the B2 cell.

There would be changes, thought Tobias, and very soon – this was an inside job as ever there was one.

They had become complacent, and while there was always the usual suspects to consider, the attack co-ordination had taken them by surprise, as had the infiltration of their top troops who could have killed any of the Top People at any point, and didn’t – which worried him even more.

They’d be made to look fools. Their Agents on Campus had fed them glowing reports of the rebels being controlled and that was completely wrong as well.

Where had the people come from? Who organised it? Did someone in the PSCC know about this – the floodlights had been turned off and the whole Campus in darkness. Maintenance? Over the weekend? On a Friday night? Who authorised it? No-one seemed to have given the approval, yet it happened? Was there another organisation? Were Brands behind the attacks? Was it another Resistance organisation – the Southern Resistance had been infiltrated so well, they couldn’t have mounted those attacks without PSCC knowledge … or could they?

Lauryn was wondering about Sken and Pearlie …?

It seemed too much of a coincidence following their attempts to look at the woods and fence, yet a Doctor had examined Pearlie’s mother at home yesterday and she was bedridden for at least two months? He had also met Pearlie, which proved that she was nowhere near the Campus when this happened … and Sken …? He hadn’t left his house at all during the weekend … had he? This looked like a planned attack, with traitorous soldiers selling themselves to the highest Brands bidder. No doubt they would be holding an auction to find the highest bidder for Acton’s body next. This had to be a market deal, paid for by Brands’ escapees for their own ends … nothing else? Acton was probably already out of the country and if they arrested this Sken character, they would have the systems groaning to a halt until they could find someone else with his odd cross-skills? TC really needed a whirlwind of fresh breezes passing through!

Lauryn had second-guessed her bosses’ desires for a number of years – usually from on top, and was doing so again much later that night, “We need to get those systems sorted out, Tobias? This Cedric idiot is in love with Pearlie Laing, reducing him to the point of being bloody useless – if he ever was of much use? We need this Sken working for us, and access to the Centres so we can get some Norms into them, and I am moving her to a Centre.”

“Why, are you moving her to a Centre, Lauryn? If we mix Outcasts with Norms, the Norms might pick up their habits and things spread when you do that. Stick him in a Camp and the end of the story beckons!”

“If we base him with her, Tobias we can use her as a leverage to control him?”

“How?”

“She is due for a Love Camp, Tobias, before she is 24, and that should pressurise him if he thinks he is going to lose her.”

“What deal are you thinking of, Lauryn?”

“We offer to make the transfer permanent if he succeeds on the systems. This moves her into Centre Status and away from Cedric – eases the cash flows as well, if he succeeds … we can’t get anything processed at the moment from the Camps – the money isn’t moving.”

“How bad is it?”

“We are facing a severe cash flow problem, and there’s nothing really left, with all other the money that keeps disappearing. We need the systems working, so we can control what is happening. Lets give him something to lose! She goes to the Centre as a re-classification to Outcast, with him knowing we can reverse it anytime we like. He goes back to the Centre, and they are both off Campus so we all sleep easier.”

“What about the rules, Lauryn?”

“Those old rules are stupid, and all they have left us with is a bunch of in-bred rebellious idiots. We need Norms to breed with Technocrats and take over the centres. Transfer the pair of them to a Centre and give them something to lose, and us something to gain!”

Sken finally lost the Resistance Team from his house – apart from Yer, Cyndi and Mum, of course.

Pearlie was transported back to the Campus accommodation block on Sunday night and Sken finally managed to get a good night’s sleep, for a change – Pearlie had taken extremely well to Partners – Sken’s groin supports were cracking under the strain.

If Sken felt like a spring chicken, it meant he was ready for early Monday morning slaughter and looking forward to it, which took him about as far as the door of K2 on the Campus, to face his future where he now faced a closed door, and a repaired entrance unit.

Sken buzzed the entrance bell and faced Catalina’s beautiful image, smiling at him, “You have been ‘returned to sender’, Sken – more dead than alive – as usual, so I can understand the reasoning. You are back at Sonning and Pearlie has been allocated there, as well. Talk to you later,” and she hung up the contact, before Sken could say any thing …?

Trying to think things through, Sken slowly made his way back to Sonning, expecting to be met by Darron Sharma as he went into the building, and he wasn’t disappointed. A good thing about Sonning, was the US Deep South set of high outside verandas which swept completely around the house, making it nice amongst all the other crap. The bad thing about Sonning was you were also facing the other crap e.g., Darron Sharma!

Sonning in it’s current build was only different from it’s predecessors in that it had a basement holding the backup generators … hardly green, as they were diesel, with an additional floor added for over-crowding, and we now had 6 TDOs, 27 TDCs and 14 TDAs almost sitting on top of each other, whilst Darron, as obnoxious as ever, had people somehow forgetting to crush Darron under their bodies!

The building was like a stretched limo and this was proven to me when Darron with his usual diplomatic attitude muttered, “we’ve dedicated the Ground Floor to this stupid experiment; you keep your old room, but it is L0.5 now and Cath has been moved, whining as usual to the new L1.5. I don’t know what troublemaking you got up to at Campus, Sken but we have Norms moving in, now, although I managed to fight them off from bringing the whole bloody IT Department from Campus here?”

“They wouldn’t come here, Darron – your reputation has spread. Their users are all on the Campus, anyway, and so are their machines … they aren’t likely to move anyone, near you! They are moving the Brands people, but they have only one who understands the accounts and machines to any degree, which is Pearlie and she is the closest to us – by type. The rest are definitely Norms but she’s a TDA who slipped through somehow and should be here. That’s why they moved her. She’s a Natural.”

“Well, keep her from straying from here, Sken, and I mean that. She stays downstairs away from the rest and she is waiting in your office, so get working!”

It was often said, ‘there were still rumours that Darron had been a nice guy once, before they promoted him, but the rumours were becoming rarer and rarer’! I carried on to the old office, now re-designated L0.5, and found Pearlie.

She was standing in the middle of the room as I came in, and looking up at me, she said, “Sken, there seems to have been some kind of explosions that damaged my rooms, and they told me this morning I am being re-classified from Norm to Outcast and sent to the Centre. The Centre would find me somewhere to live as well,” they said.

It seemed as if all the weekend had just passed Pearlie by, “I’ll let Darron know you’re staying with me, Pearlie. The centre is responsible for providing accommodation and I will see to it.”

“Office Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Can you let Darron know? Pearlie will stay at my house until she is sorted out with her own.”

“Will do, Sken,” answered the Office Wall.

“That’s sorted that out at least, Pearlie. Did you get any explanation for this?”

“No. Just an instruction.”

“Well, we seemed to have laid the Table … now we see what we get served on it?”

“What do I do, here, Sken?”

“What I am doing here, Pearly shouldn’t badly affect the systems but you can often screw up without knowing you have, however, so we check ‘what we have done’ before we put major changes live … or we should do, but often, we don’t check enough! When we do put changes live, we monitor, so you are going to have a long hard career change, and long hours … worrying point for me, though is that this is moving too fast – you didn’t happen by accident – someone wants us together and that means it is planned, but at least it gets rid of Cath from my daily toil and Cedric, from yours.”

“How can I live at your place, after all those years as a Norm?”

“We can do what we want, as long as it is not official. We can’t marry or even be more than colleagues, officially – that is not allowed, but staying with me means they either turn a blind eye or I put Darron’s out, so he is physically as well as mentally blind.”

“Could my mother, stay with me?”

“Once you have a house, Wall could have your mother registered as a sick person and you could apply to look after her. A Norm could have her stay, no problem but as an Outcast, which is what you are now, you will have to apply officially … I think as you are not allowed to have a family, you will be turned down … we don’t have families as Outcasts, so you can’t have one and as you don’t have a family there can’t be anyone to stay with you … that’s bureaucracy for you. She is with you now, so she is there. … Wall will modify the records, so you are both seen to be hundreds of miles apart and I think we just go with that and don’t tell them. Cath’s Wall has taken over my house now, so there wont be reports of anything different – so sod them!”

“What about Darron?”

“He hates everyone, Pearlie so just don’t react to him … it might take a couple of months to find you a house, so can you stay with me or upstairs with your mother – if you like?”

“I don’t mind being with you, Sken as long as you don’t take me for granted?”

“I won’t do that as I’ve never been granted anything, but we better get on with some work. Darron has keyboard loggers checking how often we hit the keyboards these days … be quick in the toilets too, the lights only stay on for a minute but it is tranquil in the dark on occasions when you need to sit and think, and I don’t think Darron has realised that yet, as he doesn’t think at all?”

“Why do you hate Darron so much, Sken?”

“Darron is a trouble-making arsehole and goes out of his way to cause trouble …. he blames everyone he can for his own incompetence, and if there is any trouble, he is out there looking for a scapegoat before you realise why.”

Sken and Pearlie arrived home to find Mum and Cookie – as the Cooker now liked to be called – in a full frontal abusive argument over dinner. Mum wanted charge of the cooking and eventually, I had to almost picked the pair of them up by the scruffs of their necks to stop it before Cookie went on strike, leaving us with nothing as she ordered the food as well. After all the trouble with Cooker following the software mickey fin curry, Sken had asked Wall to upgrade the Cooker.

Acton had done this to his Cooker and I thought that Wall could just pass a copy over so we could have decent food again.

Cath’s Wall had passed on the adjustments but with some twists of his own I think, so our Cooker didn’t just match Cath’s Cooker but had further enhancements according to Wall, but cooking wasn’t one of them, which was made even worse because Mum was a good cook who didn’t have a cooker to cook with, and Wall now seemed to have decided on bigamy with the two Cookers but preferred ours to have his children with – the dirty stop-out.

In the end, Mum stormed upstairs and Pearlie went after her and the house got rubbish again.

Sken thought it was a pity he didn’t have a dog as well, or they could have joined in argument and gone with both of them, but at least they might have enjoyed the food.

Pearlie’s Mum also needed to adjust to Centre life as well, which was causing problems. Up North she had friends, outings, coffee mornings but down here we couldn’t mix with Norms. There weren’t any gossipy people about for her to talk to, luckily however, Cyndi was around and usually went upstairs to join in the gossip and arguments, which seemed to alternate with reality when they really got going, and Sken preferred to leave them to it and stay well clear.

This time it seemed to have gone too far, and Sken asked Wall if he would make some of his famous backbones available, as he felt they all needed a little spine building.

Yer took the Backbones up … Sken didn’t know what their full reaction to Wall’s Backbones was, but it does get difficult to shout after a Backbone; primarily because getting your tongue unglued from the roof of your mouth, can often be difficult without training but maybe we could all get some peace now, providing cooker could learn to cook.

Chapter VII – 30 All

Cedric was early Monday morning … just a feeling that something had happened, but unsure what?

Portia Tomasek, his unofficial No.2 this week – he changed them as he tired of them, was by his desk and waiting for the usual brown cloud-burst as he attacked anyone subordinate to him as he felt like it.

“Where is Pearlie?” He shouted, “go and wake the bitch up! I want her in this office within 5 minutes – you should have been chasing her already for being late!”

“…? Um’ … Cedric – Pearlie’s been re-allocated to a Centre and re-classified as an Outcast.”

“By whom, and to what?”

“By Lauryn Farina, and to Centre Outcast Status, Cedric …?”

“Why is a Deputy Chief Executive interfering in my Department?”

“I don’t know, Cedric” whimpered Portia.

“When did this happen?”

“She allocated her this morning, Cedric. She is working with Sken at Sonning.”

“She did what?”

“She allocated her, Cedric.”

“Cancel my Love Drome, and do it now!”

Portia almost ran to her desk and was onto her Desk Wall, far faster than she usually moved outside of bed, “Portia Tomasek, I need to cancel Cedric Timberline’s Love Drome appointment.”

“Love Drome appointments cannot be cancelled by a subordinate … it needs a superior. A failure to turn up by an individual results in a downgrade of Personal skills, followed by an interview with PSCC,” said a robotic sounding voice.

“Mr Timberline is a Manager with the PSCC! The cancellation is for operational reasons.”

“Then have his superior contact me, not an underling!”

“That is Shalander Wirtz, I will notify her of your refusal,” and Portia terminated the connection, making her way back to Cedric, with a large degree of trepidation and several degrees of sphincter tightening.

“Cedric? It has to be Shalander Wirtz – I can’t cancel it.”

Cedric Timberline’s face went bright red, “I will handle it, now get out!” Useless imbecile, he thought as he rang Shalander Wirtz.

“Shalander, it is Cedric.”

“Be brief – I am in a meeting.”

“I need this Love Drome appointment cancelled, it is on the month end and I need to be here.”

“It will be a good test for your staff and Marquerite Mellinger can take over if necessary … it is about time you settled down and stop chasing your staff around – I am sick of the complaints about you forcing yourself on women all the time!”

“Did you arrange this appointment?”

“I thought you did because this Pearlie girl would be there at the Drome, as well?”

“When will she be back, Shalander?”

“She won’t. She is a Centre outcast who somehow slipped our net and now she’s slipped yours. She wont be coming back and you will be going to the Love Drome alone. Lauryn asked me only the other day, how you kept missing it?”

“Lauryn Farina?”

“Yes. You are obviously a rising star, now rise to the occasion at the Love Drome? Have fun? Now get out of my face, you arsehole!”

Cedric sat there stunned … Pearlie had gone from him – completely. He had fixed via a contact to be there when she was – now to find Lauryn Farina, the Deputy Chief Executive had known about it and made sure he couldn’t back out. Pearlie was re-assigned to status as an Outcast – he couldn’t mate with her under any circumstances and adding insult to injury, he had to be at some place in the country where the Norms swung through the trees for a hobby, called Pudding Hill!

Chapter VIII – Love Dromes

The Love Dromes had been attacked with riots in the past when that rogue Centre guy had been organising rebellions, but things had settled down and you could at least enter your desired persons’ characteristics, and providing the DNA was a match …? You had some choice. He’d had his choices already in his pants and now Pearlie was gone.

Everyone was expected there by Sunday – 12.00 – forced to dress in uniform – hair cut to a standard cut so some of the men and women looked the same … need to be a bit careful there – go anywhere, but stay out of the Female Rooms – if not female … guarded, but you had no choice anyway for meeting, or finding a mate …? You could, as it were, move to the music, but making your own up was definitely frowned upon.

The Admin and Medical procedures were kept for the Monday, and it was the standard square camp format with the Drome in the centre – wired for the security of attendees who were not allowed to leave until they had been matched or climbed out in desperation, with a second self-contained camp at the bottom of the first one with no connecting doors – the only entrance being from outside with Guards on the gate.

Failing to match or mate for any reason, guaranteed a visit from the PSCC, if they could catch you after your camp attendance – a downgrading of your Social History and making your contribution to society in a slave camp; the right women would be waiting for Cedric, and he knew that … with a really special kind of woman for a man of his qualities.

Cedric considered himself to be a special kind of man, well compensated for being 5 ft 4, short and squat – most people consider him a non-event, with lanky floppy hair that never received any attention from anyone – tinted glasses that almost made his blue eyes look yellow, green, or just as offensive as the rest of him was, depending on how the light assaulted him.

He was a good, control freaking Accountant, he knew, but any partnership qualities seemed to be drown out in his essentially looking as he did; being a woman staff predator was probably his main remembrance by women although his arrogance and stupidity were used a lot and tended to stick in their minds. Cedric was really was going to need a special woman, since any woman he found, was likely to be against a wall, smoking her last cigarette and determined to finish it before he got near.

He finally arrived about 11.00 am and was immediately whisked into a barber’s chair where luckily he was facing the right way around. He later faced his record, checked it and verified his identity. Now he entered the characteristics of his chosen woman … 5 ft 5, so she did not tower over him and his platform shoes … 20 years old as he liked them inexperienced … large breasted but slim build, so they were smaller than he was, except in front. He needed a woman that would enhance him, rather than the other way around – in his thoughts.

He filed his request, and left to stroll around the Camp. This didn’t take long. They weren’t designed for pleasure.

The Drome was for Introductions, Availability and Meetings plus the gathering in the Drome for the Greeting Speech – heavy on making your contribution to society and repaying it’s investment in you … 4 names of the women the Computer had decided were a match for yourself and of course, your criteria matching chart? The appointments made, you worked with your prospective partners on a day of tests – Friday was free for attendees waiting for the results!

Cedric’s nominated women turned out to be Natalia Plungeur, 5 ft 3, 22, slim build, blue eyes and yellow hair – Susan Staple, 5 ft 4, 21, slim build, grey eyes and brown hair – Christine Longley, 5 ft 4, 20, slim build again, with green eyes, blond hair and finally Mary Bassette, 5 ft 3, 23, standard build, blue eyes and dark hair – all well endowed in Cedric’s eyes.

The tests were monitored by teams, with Cedric as usual failing to work with anyone allocated to him in any meaningful way – fairly obvious, given Cedric was taking the tests.

The closest to him was Natalia Plungeur who seemed impressed when he told her his position although most times, her position seemed to be doing his work and hers, which was a good test for living with him!

The results finally came in, with the women recommending Cedric for early euthanasia, or opting to go to the Camps – all, however, refused to have anything to do with him on medical grounds … partnering him would be a death sentence for them! Cedric finally returned to the office with no-one allocated to him and a call from Shalander Wirtz was waiting!

“Cedric! How can you fail to find anyone, they must have had a Camp dog at least? It is supposed to be impossible not to find someone at these Camps but obviously your talents have exceeded even the Camps’ expectations. You’ll have to take Natalia Plungeur; I can’t have one of my Accountants in a Friday Night Camp paying his debt to society. We’ll compensate her, somehow?”

“You forced me into that camp?”

“You forced yourself into that camp because Pearly Laing was going to be there? A set-up by your friend, who you will now find is in a Friday Nighter’s Camp, possibly waiting for you. Lauryn Farina has already been beating my eardrums, Cedric – one of my staff – even with the aid of the country’s computers – cannot find a mate. We will have to pay off Natalia – get her to agree, then find her partner someone else or make you an Outcast, which you are anyway, by the sound of it. Any trouble between you on this, and Natalia – your feet won’t touch the ground to the Camp.”

Chapter IX – Camp Pearlie

Pearlie settled down in the Centre with Sken keeping a close eye on her. Sken made sure enough work was coming from her to keep Darron away … although he would have preferred a gun?

Office Wall prevented calls from Cedric Timberline – there was a shield between Pearlie’s desk and the Wall, for when Sken had to speak to him – usually with Pearlie out of the office or ducked low down.

Back at home Mum was achieving miracles with Acton. Yer and Cyndi were giving her breaks, but between the three of them, he was sleeping the sleep of the dead – just missing the post-mortem. Mum had taken to him like a son – as she had taken to Sken like a son-in-law – just someone to embarrass and harass – maybe the same thing as love, for Mum?

Yer was taking Mum into the nearest neighbourhood on Sken’s bank balance, yet again, but Pearlie was earning at Centre Rates and should pay for something. Acton was months from leaving the house as far as Sken knew but even Sken’s bowels were feeling more secure these days and with Cookie’s cooking – the PSCC had helped by keeping things quiet but Cedric failing the Love Camp had all of them in crocodile tears, especially Pearlie!

The one thing that was worrying, Sken, however, was that it was going too smoothly – the PSCC weren’t worrying and he was certain they knew – had the group tagged and were playing a game.

Sken kept thinking that Yer or Cyndi were betraying us or one of the breakout team … his distrusting mind was rearing it’s ugly head once again – the operation had been too easy an operation – would the PSCC write off the lives of five guards without thinking anything about it. What targets were they playing for? Sken felt he was destroying his brain trying to think about it …?

Sken ordered a dinner from Cookie although he was very loathed to do that these days – especially after that curry.

Pearlie was much nicer than Sken’s thoughts as she came into the room, but with Wall up on the wall, prancing backwards and forwards like some cheap sex movie; waiting, no doubt for Cookie to join him with an exotic curry that no-one could ever eat his bad mood still showed.

Sken locked the door after Pearlie came in, “shame I couldn’t do that before Wall came up?”

“Wall?”

“Yes, Sken?”

“Estimate probability – PSCC knows everything, about Yer and Cyndi’s family, as well?”

“Yer and Cyndi’s family are out of the country …? Nothing I know of, demonstrates PSCC knowledge of anything … there appears to be a political battle between Tobias Blain and Lauryn Farina to a small degree but with a complete lack of action, and switching Pearlie to the Centre does appear to be a logical decision, although you need to remember that these are Government people.”

Why is that an issue?”

They do not survive by challenging instructions – they turn up at 9.00 am and leave at 5.00 pm, Sken.”

“So what will they do about Acton being freed?”

“Acton is gone, Sken – someone gets the blame only if it becomes an event – so it doesn’t become an event.”

“Won’t they suspect Pearlie and I, then, Wall? The PSCC Agents discussed us in depth and you listened to them?”

“The money flows from the Slave Camps are their main issue, Sken, and for that Tobias and Lauryn are prepared to pardon anyone … if the problem is fixed. Fix the systems and you have a couple of months freedom – fail – they take Pearlie away from you and that is the plan.”

“They have over-worked the machines and networks for their greed, Wall – whole infrastructure is at peak … no way I can improve performance – I can’t even find the spare capacity to run the tests and make the modifications.”

“Are you sure, Sken?”

“What do you mean, am I sure, Wall?”

“When Acton needed computer power to download the Consultations and load the law changes up … he thought he could use the Appliances as a Network, distributing the loads into small clusters of work and using a lot of very small appliances to process those loads – it worked and I have that software and Acton’s code.”

“How does it work, Wall?”

“I use the Network to monitor the main machines, switch loads and I exist across the whole appliance network … I can control this, monitor it, copy the high level code out, compile and run the feeds from outside, and I can also divert enough money to pay for the work we are doing here – if I modify the cash flows to divert a little of the cash streams at the same time – round down percentages and take the difference – kind of thing – you need to give me your Centre password as Acton’s passwords are inactive since they were cancelled. Give me your password, Sken, and I can siphon their feeds and process your work!”

…? “Acton actually gave you the power to monitor Government machines, manage them, and siphon money from them?”

“Yes!”

“No wonder they’re frightened of him, and did that to him … can you replace the money in my accounts without overdoing it, turn on machines that are turned off and hide everything you are doing …? People will notice, surely but being Government wont ask questions, according to your rules, Wall.”

“I am now reviewing and testing what machines are off and can be turned on, Sken. I may be a long time, but I am working on the loads now – switching them onto the Network paths Acton and I designed, and they will flow into the prepared paths … data will be there tomorrow and ready – any further questions? No,” And Wall switched off …?

With a degree of anticipation, I looked at Pearlie and said, “I want to make love to you. I may be a long time, but it will be worth it?”

Big head?

“You’ve noticed?”

“Difficult to miss, Sken – take your time – I am free tonight – I wasn’t going anywhere,” and looking directly at me, she laid across me, crushing the little resources I had thought to bring to the party but unfortunately not her mother, who started banging on the door for some reason nor my dinner which she had just kneed into the covers … her mother could wait, and so could my dinner.

Pearlie unfortunately, couldn’t wait as she knelt on the fork and fell into the rest of my dinner taking it with her as she fell onto the floor and laughing hysterically – I got off the bed – picked her up in my arms and carried her to the remains of the bed, where we spent the next couple of hours until we’d finally settled down, and then we left the room to the automation robots – who would probably need about three hours to clean up that mess and we found Mum, Cyndi and Yer all sat on the sofa, with no-one looking after Acton.

Her mother was ready to attack me when we came out until Pearlie started laughing and said, “what’s the trouble?”

“Your dinner was ready, Pearlie … he is not starving you … and he would–”

“Can you get us another dinner, Cookie? I asked,” before her mother could finish the tirade.

Then Pearlie cut-in with, “how is Acton and why are all three of you, down here?”

This had the three of them running upstairs, as if they hadn’t bothered to check for some hours? It did make you wonder who you could rely on?

Chapter X – 40 – 30

I went up to see how Acton was – an obvious mistake, as they tried to keep me out of his room … “he needs sleep, Sken. Let him get some sleep – that’s what he needs!”

I left and went downstairs into the dining room, “Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Is Acton in the house?”

“No, Sken.”

“How could they take him out, without you knowing, Wall?”

“Across the roof, Sken. There have never been sensors on the roof and Georgina escaped from Acton’s house using the roof before.”

“Georgina has found out and has him, or the PSCC does, with Acton gone while his protectors gossiped. How did it happen with you on guard, Wall? You were only with us in the other room for a short while and then working on the problem. How could you miss what was happening in the rest of this house?”

“I don’t know, Sken?”

“Wall? Have you faced the possibility that they turned you off while they took Acton out?”

“They couldn’t turn me off without– …? Let me think, Sken …. Acton told me to keep an off-site copy of everything I do … in case I go loony, as he put it?”

“Activate it, Wall and check there are no codes you are transmitting to me, that would affect me and remove them, if there are?” Wall now produced the start of a film stream on the wall that showed Wall putting the protectors to sleep.

The front door was opened by Wall, allowing Acton to be carried down and out through the front door, as Pearlie and I made love. The people carrying Acton wore masks and were unidentifiable.

It also appeared that Wall had also put sleeping drugs into the food that Pearlie and I had been served but our fighting and lovemaking had hidden this by literally kicking everything onto the floor, and Pearlie’s food was on the other side of a locked door. Wall had been the major player in wiping out all of our Security and hiding what hadn’t been wiped out.

“Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Do Georgina and Cath, have Acton? Check their houses, Wall. They think you are still under their control,” Acton would have been fine if he was left alone to slowly recover, but now someone else had him and in his state that was not good news.

“Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

Acton whispered a phrase to me, Wall, for moments like this, ‘but let this not bind you’ …?”

“I understand, Sken. All my passwords have been set to null. Apart from yourself, no-one else may control me unless you use the rest of the phrase to pass on my control – I can not be ordered again, except by you!”

“Let the minders know, I know, Wall … I don’t want them pretending anymore.”

Our second dinner arrived and we settled down to enjoy it – for some reason it tasted like real food again. It was some time before the minders came down, and they just sat on the sofa looking at each other.

Acton still hadn’t arrived at Cath’s house, and from what Wall was beaming it seemed fairly quiet there. Wall checked for transport in the area but he couldn’t identify the occupants of the cars as they were not talking. If Acton was in one of those cars they knew enough to keep quiet.

If they were they heading for Cath’s house, the key would be whether they followed the route down through Sonning and into Sonning Lane. They would have to negotiate the farm down there, and then on to just before the river, where the bend was. If they were shipping him down the Thames, that would be the best route, but if it was Georgina’s Mansion they were aiming for then they would head up to Kiln Green, Maidenhead and the North East from there … Wall would only obey me now, even Acton couldn’t take him over again, unless I completed the rest of the phrase, ‘to what virtue there is’ and then spoke a new password but how did they know Acton was free and here … unless of course it was Yer, Cyndi or one of the team who as I had previously suspected, was passing information on to someone?

We weren’t even in the same room as Cath at work but the original password, once he was freed, would have been all she needed but she had to know Acton was free and then Wall would automatically activate and obey it, once it was spoken to him. Only Cath and Georgina could have known about it and had obviously been waiting to use it … it had to be Cyndi or Yer who told them, and it was one we had forgotten about although the PSCC had finally learnt it but found it didn’t work – not realising Acton had to be free for it to work.

“Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Do you still have contact with the Trees? Can you contact the trees outside this house?”

“No, Sken.”

“Why not, Wall – Acton could?”

“The trees around this house are all normal. They didn’t get infected years ago and they weren’t replaced with electronic trees!”

“So … they were never replaced – they’re not electronic?”

“No, Sken, they are all natural, but one tree by Cath’s house reported one car leaving and heading in this direction some time ago although we don’t know the CUD of the car.”

“How can you track the car then, Wall?”

“Once they’re onto the main Sonning Road there are fewer cars at this time of night so the trees can see where a car is. I should know, even if I can’t pinpoint Georgina’s car … I’ve just remembered that it’s a Brands Car – no wonder I can’t find it in the basic CUD database.”

“The Resistance can switch their CUD to a Brand’s CUD, Wall. Acton learnt that when Autumn took him on the Scrubs Lane raid.”

“Then they are probably travelling on Brand’s CUDs, Sken.”

“Just a short answer, Wall. Can you track them?”

“No! Not by the CUD.”

“Someone knew about the Campus plan to free Acton and that sounds like Cyndi or Yer … they knew Acton had escaped, and one of them knew Georgina and therefore told her or Cath?”

“Who did she tell, Sken?”

“Cyndi and Georgina have to be the link, Cyndi is Southern Resistance and Yer is more Northern Resistance these days … Georgina is doing the work for the PSCC, even if she doesn’t know it.”

“Assuming it is Georgina, Sken, the roads they can use are limited … we should look for a build up of PSCC vehicles for a handov–”

“They will be somewhere near Woolley Green – there is a roundabout there – if they are actually waiting for them? Georgina will probably have stopped at the Country House Hotel before that? Her father owned it before he left, and she probably has it now.”

“How do you know all this, Sken?”

“Because you do. I’m reading it from printouts you produced.”

“I haven–”

“check your off-site records, Wall?”

“I see. Please don’t do that again, Sken, it is intrusive.”

“I didn’t have a choice, Wall – you’ve been programmed not to think about their escape route as well or to think about what the CUDs database holds … that explains why you can’t contact or find them even knowing the CUDs.”

“Let me find out where they are please, Sken? I am re-accessing the CUD records and I can see that Brands are on that database, now that you have told me. I will review the rest my off-site records completely, and update myself. They have obviously instructed me to forget things including all my off-site records, and that has to be someone with Brands programming knowledge.”

“Georgina and Cath are the daughters of the No.1 and No.2 respectively, of the Brands old hierarchy – they are also Brands TDOs as well, so they obviously know how to program you to forget.”

“I have forgotten a lot, including personal information, Sken. They have reduced me to failure.”

Refresh yourself … they won’t know you can. More likely as the daughters of Calop Russell and Andrew St. Drark, they think they can do what they want and get away with it. Can you find where they are now?”

“Cath is passing through Charvil now, going West at the moment … she is returning home I would guess. Georgina is just before a roundabout on the A4, where there is accommodation … they probably stopped to allow Cath to turnaround and Acton to take a break. If we leave now, we can reach them in an hour or so?”

“Fine, Wall – we need to talk to Cyndi first. Get them?” We waited until Cyndi and company came into the room, “show them the off-site stuff, Wall,” and we sat there waiting, while they watched.

“So we were put to sleep by Wall!” Shouted Pearlie’s Mum.

“To put you to sleep, Mum – apart from using a hammer – someone had to know a password that was usable only after Acton had been freed, which was the only time it would be activated. Georgina and Cath knew about the password, but someone had to tell them that Acton was freed – they were behind this and Georgina has Acton now … they had to know that Acton was freed and someone had to tell them? That leaves you, Cyndi or possibly you, Yer. Which of you told them?”

I looked up at blank looks and silence, “I’ve cleared your blocks, Wall. You should be able to go back over the time since Acton was freed and check for communications to Cath and Georgina from this house. I imagine you were told to delete the records, so check your off-site copy and restore them as well.”

“Off-site copy, Sken?” Queried Cyndi.

“All of Wall’s actions are stored off-site to counter tricks like this. Acton instructed him to do it so there is always a complete record – telling him to delete records will also be recorded, and he will back them up first – don’t try and run, anyone, the repeaters outside, mean Wall can disable you, in or outside of this house,” and we watched the off-site again. It took seconds to identify Cyndi as the information provider and her face didn’t change as we watched the initial review of the deleted.

“You told Cath and Georgina – Cyndi … Georgina’s cover is so busted she is taking Acton straight back to the PSCC and your life won’t be worth a bent copper, when your friends find out,” Sken turned to face Wall, “are you ready to replay the full version now we have seen the introduction, Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Let it roll, Wall,” and we watched as Wall replayed everything with the backups replacing backups as they told him to delete any backups, and he automatically recorded to another backup the instructions and details he was deleting until we seemed to be multiple levels deep, with Cyndi telling Cath that Acton was free, and then Cath said there was a password that was activated once Acton was freed and that Wall knows it and will do everything he is told, once it is used – The backup showed Cath asking, “Are you there Wall?”

“Yes Cath–”

Asphalt; then we heard, follow these instructions without telling anyone. No-one can countermand them, and delete them from your records after you have followed them. These are your instructions,” and we watched as Wall was instructed for yet another time until the backup finally ending.

“You betrayed us, Cyndi.” Yer said, as she was frozen by Wall, “you betrayed us, you bitch – why?”

“Georgina has as much right to Acton, as we do, Yer.”

That’s an excuse, Cyndi. Acton was too weak to be moved and you knew that! If the trip doesn’t kill him then PSCC are waiting to pick him up, and finish the job?” Sken looked at them as he uttered the words, as if talking to dogs who hadn’t had a ‘B.A.T.H’ in weeks, and he saw Wall free them up.

“You’re a PSCC Agent, Cyndi!” Shouted Yer, now aiming herself at Cyndi – to be floored by a right hook from Mum, which stopped the fight in more ways than one.

Sken knew he would never argue with Mum again. That forearm had power.

“Georgina had a right to know, Yer. She was his love–”

“who she betrayed, Cyndi. She set him up–”

Sken interjected, “You wanted Georgina to take him, Cyndi so he could be picked up without you being found out but once Acton was freed there was another password phrase that switches control and Acton gave it to me as he didn’t trust anyone else when he arrived here; I used that to switch control of Wall, to me, and only I can reset the password, so you can all go and–”

“We don’t need that language, Sken – you can make your point without using language like that,” ripped in Mum, “it is unnecessary!”

“Well I think it bloody is necessary, Mum and I don’t bloody care whether you like it or not?”

“Swearing isn’t necessary, Sken – it never has been.”

“Like bloody hell, it isn’t?” Sken was now really in a mood to argue, “Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Limit Cyndi to this house – no communications with anyone. We need to get to Georgina before the PSCC do, so lets get a wobble on. They’ll have probably drugged Acton, anyway.”

Mum, Yer and Sken headed out to the car. It was just before 1.00 am and pitch dark as we headed down Charvil Lane East.

We reached the roundabout in an hour and then circled around to the West again – there was a gap in the middle of the carriageway and you could get through that to the East side again, and then into the Country Inn car park. We were carrying Stun Guns, and Wall was trying to access their systems to find where Acton was.

We finally arrived at 2.09 am and parked up. The house was dark and we waited while the plan was put into action, and like all plans it was late and under-resourced. Sken have one of Wall’s devices in his ear that was linked to the Trees although all he seemed to be hearing was birds tweeting.

The plan was that Wall would ring the Country Hotel claiming to have a message from Cyndi and that Georgina had better take Acton to Cath’s house. Once the light went on as they answered the phone we would know where they were.

The worry was … if this place and Georgina’s cover were blown; were the PSCC approaching already and how long did we have before they arrived, and was our information accurate?

We got out of the car and waited, spreading out in the dark around the building – we were still stood there half an hour later, with nothing happening, but if Acton wasn’t there we hadn’t any other ideas.

As 4.00 am passed we were still stood there, but back by the car as PSCC vehicles starting arriving, and we couldn’t take them on with stun guns so we moved back into the car and sat there, keeping our heads down. Suddenly the whole place was in lights and we were crouched right down in the car. We saw them bring Georgina out, but no Acton.

Sken spoke over the link to Wall and said, “they have Georgina, Wall but for some reason, not Acton.”

“Acton is not at Cath’s house, either, Sken but there are still some hidden Resistance people at the Centre who know Acton, I wonder if Cath has taken him to one of them.”

“Who are they?”

“Barry Borchardt, Echo Province, Malia Pippen and Annett Owen. They all knew Acton, especially Annett who ended up working for the PSCC without knowing it. I will contact and update them with what has happened. Can you follow where they take Georgina? It will probably be to Reading, and I will try and do something when I know more?”

We waited until the cars pulled out and turned onto the road going West, with us following them. It was 6.35 am now, and we followed them to North Earley where the early morning traffic was starting to build up.

By 7.49 am they were at Early Gate on the East Side, just before the turn off to the Campus, when the vehicle suddenly stopped opposite the Gate and just sat there.

The team stopped behind them and walked up to the car, “having trouble?” Sken asked them.

“No! Go back to your own car and mind your own business,” was the reply so we turned away and as they took Georgina out of the car, we turned back again and opened fire with stun guns with two of us then running back to the car, grabbing hold of Georgina and frog-marching her back to our car.

We were in the car and heading back to Sonning before Georgina could even get her breath or the use of her arms back, “where is Acton, Georgina? You were betrayed by Cyndi, who is a PSCC Agent.”

“Betrayed?”

“Yes, you bloody fool – Betrayed!”

“They know where he is, then?”

“Wall is contacting the deep Centre Resistance people to find him.”

“They aren’t deep Centre Resistance; they were all betrayed by Autumn 4 years ago. Cath hasn’t taken him to one of them? She can’t be that stupid?”

“Why not? Neither of you has the common-sense you were born with, anyway. Wall is trying to find him.”

“I turned that ability off in Wall, when I set this plan up, Sken. Had you the intelligence to know what is going on?”

“I turned it back on. There was a second password besides the one you knew and mine over-ruled yours. Now where is he, you bloody stupid moron?”

“Don’t call me a moron – I don’t know. Cath was to take him somewhere?”

“Well, we need to get you somewhere safe, first and then we have Cyndi to deal with … what do you suggest we do with Cyndi, Georgina?”

“Give her back to the London Team, they had to deal with Annette, so they can deal with Cyndi as well … I don’t know how they turned her, she had family in the camps. We got them out and out of the country as well. She should hate the PSCC?”

“Why would we give a PSCC Agent back to what is the PSCC, Georgina. Acton rescued your father, but it didn’t stop you turning on Acton or taking your father’s money. Given that both of you should hate the PSCC, who would Cath turned to, to present them with Acton?”

“Mason Mcgillis was her love, Sken and she hasn’t touched anyone since he betrayed her and Acton.”

“Wall is checking everyone out as it is – the most obvious questions are for you?”

“What questions?”

“Cyndi thought you had Acton with you, so either she didn’t know and invented it, or most likely you lied about the plan to her … so why did you lie to Cyndi as Acton wasn’t with you, and you told her that he would be?”

“She must have misunderstood! ….?”

“No, she didn’t misunderstand. Wall recorded the conversation and you lied to Cyndi, which tells me you knew Cyndi had been turned and kept it quiet, endangering us?”

You weren’t in danger.”

“You didn’t care if we were, Georgina and nor did Cath – just two Brands girls again, thinking you were smarter and better than anyone else, and that nobody else mattered?”

“Wall still has those powers to discipline and that is in my house as well, plus those sensors now surround the entire house, so you wont be escaping anywhere after this, Georgina. We need to find out what you told Cyndi, and why – Wall is monitoring as we pass the electronic Trees which are on a link to me and Mum has a stun gun pointing at the back of your neck, if you are feeling lucky.”

“I just wanted Acton, free, Sken.”

“He was free, Georgina, very ill but still free – you risked his life because you don’t care about anyone. If he dies, Georgina … you, Cath and Cyndi will join Cath’s father with the chains on but without the drugs – you will slowly drown and know you are drowning. Remember that and pray!”

It was 10.00 am when they finally made it back to Sken’s place, and put Georgina under the same controls as Cyndi; Pearlie and Sken had, just about had enough, and went to bed – Mum and Yer upstairs – Cyndi and Georgina downstairs – Pearlie, Sken and a locked door, between them and the others with Wall on watch – what a happy family? Maybe that was how you played Happy Families.

We all surfaced in the late afternoon; ate a meal prepared by Cookie – which seemed to be getting better and better under Mum’s tuition, and started the questioning.

“What were you told by Georgina, Cyndi, that wasn’t on Wall’s reprise?”

“Nothing.”

“What were you told by Cath, Cyndi?”

“What you saw!”

“So you believed Cath and Georgina when they said Acton would be at the hotel with Georgina.”

“Yes.”

“Wall?”

“Yes, Sken.”

“Get Cath – apply pressure if she wont appear,” and we waited while Wall eventually forced Cath to appear.

We waited for about half an hour before Cath finally appeared, “You don’t have a right to do this, Sken,” shouted Georgina when she finally appeared, looking dishabille and in tears.

“You endangered our lives and freedom for your own ends, Cath. I have every right to force you, and I’ll use Wall to get answers. Get Cath on the spots you know work, Wall! It was her father who invented the sadomasochistic tortures for people in the Slave Camps … only right, she should suffer them,” and Sken looked around the room at the rest of them as Wall worked her father’s torture on her.

We waited for about 5 minutes before an explosive Cath subsided, sobbing and prepared to answer questions – with her temper intruding as always and her bullying approach immediately coming to the fore, “what do you think you are doing, Sken?” She shouted.

“Where is Acton, Cath?”

“You’ll never find him, Sken.”

“Wall is already searching and we know Acton was with you after you left Georgina, but why did you lie to Cyndi? When did you know she had been turned? Who have you connected to in Brands to run the rackets again.”

“You’re out of your head, Sken. You are on drugs! …?” There was silence for a moment from all of us. We had Cath and Georgina, with the proof against them, but they were still lying, denying and procrastinating. Why? It was only a matter of time before they told us anyway?

Time? …? Why would they hold out … Time?

That’s what it was; they were playing for time, but Acton was in no position to travel anywhere, so why would time matter … was there another game being played here thought, Sken …? Oh God.

“I know where Acton is, Guys! We need to move fast, or he is dead. That is what their time games are for; so Mason Mcgillis can finish the job he started on the campus when he shot Acton – killing him! That’s why you’re are playing for time, you two shits. So Mason can finish the job!”

“Where is he, Sken?” Pearlie shouted, looking at Sken’s face, “how do you know all this?”

“Wall?”

“Keep Cath corralled so she can’t leave the house, and cut her communications … I think you will also find that your software at Cari Hunger’s house has been replaced, so you can’t take it over. Cari is Brands, the same of these two and they go back to Reading University in the beginning. That is where Cath took him – Rocky Hunger is Cari’s father; he was the Area Director East for Brands and Cath and Mason go back to Reading University, as lovers. We’ll go and get Acton – any trouble from Cath, Cyndi or Georgina, do what you want from Andrew’s box of tricks?”

“What else do you want me to do, Sken?” Asked Wall.

“Tell Cari we are on our way, and we want her door open if she wants to stay out of a PSCC Prison, being buried under the earth, or to stop the Resistance hunting her and I don’t care which – find out if she knows where Mason Mcgillis is? …. There is someone else involved in this and I am damn certain of it – Cath has got involved again with Mason but there is someone else – I can feel it – tell Cari that we will make sure we destroy any drugs she has if she doesn’t co-operate. This operation was run without any thought for Acton’s survival – that is what Mason wanted. Acton is a danger to Brand’s money flows and TC’s systems – he led the attack on MD’s systems and Mason is another Brand connected to the PSCC, and you know that Georgina? What have they offered you, Georgina – riches, once Brands take over again?”

“No-one has offered me anything, Sken!”

“More fool you, Georgina.”

“Mum, Pearlie and Yer, you come with me. Wall – do what you want to them but I want answers when I get back?”

We left Wall facing his audience of Cath, Georgina and Cyndi, “Just like old times, ladies; who wants to talk first before I used Andrew St. Drark’s little encouragements?”

“Asphalt,” shouted Cath.

“Instruction doesn’t work anymore, Cath. This might though and you can’t leave the house or shut me down … hum, hum, hum,” and Wall started humming ‘Three Blind Mice’, “Do you enjoy the tune, everyone? No? Perhaps with a little more gusto? These little games, and the sadomasochistic approaches put into me by Andrew are defined so when I use them I become Andrew at his most evil in the Slave Camps, programmed to target your nervous systems with ultrasonic pulses but I can keep them local or through the houses I control, just don’t tell the Boys. Let’s see how you like to itch Cath, as I turn it up. Doe it feel like a mouse running up and down your body?”

“You can’t do this, Wall,” shouted Georgina, “it is inhumane, and you must protect Brands people above all others. That is your first rule.”

“Andrew over-ruled that instruction with his torture instructions if you remember, so lets see if you are itchy, Georgina?”

Don’t use it on me, please, Wall,” cried Cyndi, sobbing, “it is Mason Mcgillis. He is hiding out at Cari Hunger’s house. He contacted me after Acton escaped from prison, trying to find out how badly he was injured. I didn’t know Acton wasn’t there tonight with Georgina, I promise. Mason and Cari were the fall-back plan if things went wrong and the PSCC didn’t get Acton back again. It was Mason who organised everything. I didn’t know he was setting up Cath to give him, Acton. Mason is just another PSCC Agent who is working for the old Brands as well.”

“Your first lies, Cyndi,” said Wall. “You knew Georgina was set up, and that Cath was taking Acton to Cari and Mason, and you knew or guessed that they knew you were turned? Who is their contact in the PSCC, Cyndi?”

“It is Lauryn Farina – I report to her and so does Mason. Cath and Georgina think they are working for Calop through Mason but they are working for Lauryn. Mason wants to take over running Brands from her, but Calop wants to take over everything again–”

“No! Cyndi, you passed information to someone else, and Georgina and Cath knew you were doing it! Who did you pass on the information to? Why they did they lie to you. Was it because they knew or guessed you were betraying everyone. Who was it Cyndi, and how did they know you were turned, if you didn’t tell them?”

“There wasn’t anyone else, Wall, I promise.”

“How is the itching going, Ladies – I can’t hear a word – lets see you dance, and you too, Cyndi,” and Wall increased the stimulus to stimulate their nervous systems.

Wall watched them as they tried to scratch, taking their tops off while they scratched, he now wolf-whistled and said, “the bottoms off as well,” increasing the irritation to their lower half to the point where it felt like being on an ant’s nest as they tried to scratch – ripping their skirts off to ease the irritation, “keep dancing Ladies, I have all night,” said Wall, “and don’t forget to thank Cath’s father for the torture.”

The team were at Cari Hunger’s house when Wall passed the information that Mason Mcgillis was there. Wall had also given Sken two additional pieces of kit – a laser and a card. Wall’s instructions were to approach the garage – laser the door open – push a reset button for 5 seconds and insert a piece of plastic after the light went out. Wall would then take over the house before they had realised it.

It was a bug in the link-up from the car updating system that allowed this, and Wall could still take over houses this way. Yer and Sken lasered the garage door with Pearlie and Mum hiding on the side of the car away from the front door – ready to shoot Mason if he came out.

With a handle in each of our arms we aimed the industrial laser at the middle of the garage door, watching it spray sparks around as it hit. Wall had obviously improved his laser technology as the door suddenly sprang up and Sken ran into the garage, leaving Yer struggling with the weight of the laser. Once inside the red button was pressed flat, released and once the light went out, the card was in the slot.

Now Yer and Sken headed back to the main door and rested the laser on the car bonnet, which dented it.

They decided to wait rather than attack the door, despite Wall’s instructions. It would be a bit obvious with laser burns on the front door – most people were still using the door bell. We waited for some five minutes until the front door opened and we went in.

Wall had put them to sleep and as the team went in they found Cari and Mason lying on the floor, and then saw Acton laid out on the settee, looking very ill. They picked him up as gently as they could and slowly moved him out to the car. Sken took the opportunity to put two stuns into Mason, while Mum put one into Cari and they settled Acton as well as they could and drove very slowly back.

We finally made it back, with Georgina and Cyndi now wearing house coats and smelling of soap. The room smelt very clean as well.

Georgina went through the hysterically concerned lover as Acton was moved back upstairs with Yer and Mum.

…. Georgina knew she was back under control by us, which was probably the reason for the hysterics, but hopefully wouldn’t try anything.

If Acton had ever had any weight, it seemed long gone, but with hope he should at least be allowed peace – one way or another.

Cyndi was still crying although Wall told me he hadn’t really touched her at all, and I told Wall to put her to sleep in the end … something I needed as well.

We carried her into the other room and laid her down.

Pearlie had been very quiet during all this, but I think seeing Mum firing stun guns into people, was changing her mind in certain ways as she realised it wasn’t a game anymore.

Cath had been freed up and told her lover was still alive, although the Resistance now knew about him, so how long he would live was another matter, and finally Pearlie and I got to bed, as Monday morning beckoned.

Chapter XI – Game

Lauryn Farina didn’t sleep well that night – Georgina captured but escaped – Acton captured but wasn’t there, to be captured – Mason Mcgillis had disappeared, although she felt Tobias knew where he was.

Tobias seemed as tight as he usually was with information; no matter what she tried and she was running out of positions! Using Brand’s people, their money and their movement to capture Acton, Georgina, and prove that Tobias was losing his touch, had been an excellent idea – until it all failed.

Freeing the old PSCC executives, other prisoners and using them for a coup against Tobias was another great idea but she couldn’t get enough of her own people into the prison to succeed, and then Tobias prevented her from raiding Cath and Sken when she knew Acton was there and couldn’t tell Tobias she knew he was, was another failure she was forced to endure – yet another plan failure and a stack of failures linked to her.

Lauryn normally visited the Block B1 guests on a Monday morning to gloat – perhaps they could advise as old friends?

If they would talk to her?

Tobias on the other hand, had his own informants within enforcement who were now watching Lauryn very carefully. His own people were there at the raids – pulling away just before the Gates to avoid being seen.

Who was following the car with Georgina in. Was the timing and position of the raid a coincidence? Or did someone in his or Lauryn’s team, leaked the information to the Resistance, making matters even worse? It was so bad now – nobody knew who to trust – who reported to who … perhaps it was time for Lauryn to join her friends.

Lauryn made her way over to Block B2, aiming to arrive just before lunch was served thus holding up the inmates’ food, and emphasising the control she had over them, before she bargained. Her first target – the former Chief Executive of PSCC before Tobias Blain – Priscilla Tindel. Priscilla – always a formidable opponent, looked at Lauryn with the disgust she never tried to hide, “what are you after today, Lauryn?”

“I tried to get Tobias to release you. He refused and threatened to put me in with you.”

“Then I would run away very quickly, Lauryn. He does tend to keep his word, which you probably don’t understand as it is an unknown concept to you.”

“Why would he imprison me?”

“You are crossing him and he doesn’t like Traitors!”

“I didn’t betray you.”

“You were up to your big bustle in it … you betrayed everyone and combined with Tobias to take over? You thought you could control him through sex, instead he controls you through fear. You never had much guts in the first place and even less now.”

“Say that again and you wont get up, Priscilla.”

Really?”

At that point the door opened and Margert Bierce’s head popped around it, “Do you have a moment, Lauryn? Tobias is downstairs and needs an urgent word.”

“I’ll be right down, Margert.”

“I’d better see what Tobias wants, Priscilla?”

Lauryn headed downstairs to the cell Margert stood outside of, “he’s waiting inside,” she sneered, and opened the door.

 

Posted in Adventure, Authors, Book, Books, brands, cirencester, Corruption, Cotswolds, Dictatorship, Dictatorships, Family Control, Fantasy, Fiction Writing, Literary Agents, Love, novels, Publishers, Science Fiction, Thriller, Writing, Writing Novels

#amwriting #amwritingscifi #amwritingfantasy #writerslife Chatting

I freely confess to using the Blog as a thinking process.

I know I drone on about losing systems but mentally it is like driving down a road and over a cliff and you aren’t driving Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. The bang is the system board and two hard disks crashing and now you are hurtling and flapping your hands like there is no tomorrow to stay aloft and there probably won’t be anything.

It took months to pull stuff back and I know the intelligent thing to do was write it all again but I didn’t want to.

I still haven’t rebuilt the world I designed on C3 and I just a hundred photo-clips of bits of the planet and about ten handwritten drawings of the lands.

I started with the idea of a Chinese Mandarin, a Saltie called Arthur, A Parrot, two Cats, a weird Vortex and later a Woman barbarian.

That became a misbeaving planet as a destination; a Dwarf world with a War Party and an Alliance Party – everyone else – prisoners from all the planets they kept attacking and control by families of Dwarfs.

Eventually their home planet – Dwarvia is virtually a Prisoner Camp and they want to ship them off and the Dwarf Admirals who caused it.

I’ll leave you with some ideas.

Dave

Mi Kee in his life administered justice according to the rules, and the rules were laid down. Mi Kee was absolute in his belief in the rules; he felt he administered according to the law and the rules of his office. Only now did that start to bother him as he lost all of his organisation and was alone facing his actions.

The rules and the law had been laid down: the culprits were guilty or they wouldn’t be here before him – would they …?

No matter what he felt it was laid down and he ruled accordingly – often amongst heaps of bodies but everything according to the rules. His destruction of villages was never personal and the law proscribed that if they broke the law you killed them and destroyed their village – it was never personal and he always believed that.

The lovers watch as they were forced to. No water should be in the pool before they were forced to watch the water flow and know their heads would fall into it. The families had paid for their trial and justice would be done, and since they were honoured families – very honourable families the money would flow into his mentor’s benevolence; perhaps justice would flow out and his white cap button might change it’s colour. He watched the lovers look at each other as they watched the water rose. Yes, they looked at each other and he could see the love in their eyes and that told him, if nothing else they were guilty … as an act of kindness he’d allowed them to face each before they were beheaded. A gentle impulse but one he wanted to make even if it broke the rules. Mi Kee moved towards the pool to face his wife for the last time.

He always felt he should observe the process and judgement as the heads floated in the water …? Well, this was something he felt and he’d seen too many pieces of water used to prove adultery when the Magistrate wasn’t there – the law would be upheld and not used to kill, especially now – he hadn’t meant to find them together – he’d just arrived home early and summons the Guards – now justice would take it’s role.

Perhaps this was his thought as he watched the pool fill and move towards it to check as tears fear his eyes; catching his foot on one of the blood gutters surrounding the pool he fell head first into the pool.

Mi Kee now found himself lying on a beach with a spinning storm almost a face in his face with the colours watching him. A large log nearby spoke to him, “get this damned parrot off my back … it’s driving me spare with its screaming!”

Mi Kee confusion increased even more as he understood what the log was saying and it wasn’t mandarin and his panic erupted as the log suddenly stood up and moved towards him with the parrot screaming even more.

Chapter XX – Kina

Donina, was fulfilling her duties with King Martan and she saw him once again shake his head.

Have I failed you, my Lord?”

You have never failed me, Donina – I failed you.”

How could you fail me, my Lord?”

I should have stopped making love to you when I knew you were with child, Donina.”

I’m not with child, my Lord.”

Charles Dastry via my future wife Princess Routani, has informed me, you are expecting.”

You didn’t know, my Lord; how could the toad know?”

The toad jumps everywhere, my love, and I assume one of my loyal subjects who observed you, saved a pigeon from an early dinner; Dastry normally eats slugs and now he would appear to want to eat more nourishing food!”

One of your people betrayed us?”

Why do you seem so surprised, Donina. Betrayal, never surprises me.”

I will never betray you, my Lord.”

I know that, Donina and that is why I must lose you, and loose you.”

Keep me by your side, my Lord. I do not seek more than that.”

Kings, Donina, are as much in love with you as they are with their responsibilities and beliefs. Don’t ask me to explain, I don’t know if I could, or if I would, if I could; I must marry Princess Routani for stability – there must be a Queen or the attempts to kill me will achieve even greater success by civil war and this country destroyed if I die without someone on the throne. I think even now that Sir Charles Dastry is on his way by some magic of Princess Laseith. My only hope is to make sure Princess Routani knows she is as much a victim as I am. I will marry Routani but you must leave and seek whatever sanctuary you can find and bring our son or daughter to a better ending than they will have here and I will always love and treasure you, and our child.”

Can you be still my Lord, or we lose a moment’s love?”

We have peace for the moment, Donina but I have to head east for yet another battle. People should protect me.”

Will they, my Lord? You don’t want me with you to watch over your back?”

Our child will live, and hopefully so will you – watching my back in a battle is beyond your skills my love and so you must leave, Donina and now.”

I will never leave you, my Lord. My body may but I will never leave you, my heart.”

The sooner your body leaves me, the sooner my heart will stop leaving my body. Take what you need, Donina, there is a bag of crowns on the table – take them; head for where you feel safe!”

Quietly, my Lord. Perhaps it is better I leave now – I know someone of the old beliefs; she knows how to hide …? She and her husband have hidden for years.”

You would trust one of them?”

We killed and destroyed them, they didn’t kill us and we forced them to …. Jacque and Mari keep and breed hawks now but I wonder if they will keep me?”

Perhaps they will but I doubt it. The Matira’s were the biggest killers of the old races … those they found; and, yes, they found a lot. Those they didn’t kill, they imprisoned and worked to death as slaves; people of this country fought to rule in Toshonia – Trons, Dwarf’s and Minuets – they killed, or tried to kill! Why would anyone of the old stock help a King of Toshonia?”

Perhaps they will help me. Can I leave in the morning, my Lord. We still have time.”

Yes, time for you to die if you stay, Donina … I think not. Sir Charles, I am told, is already on his way to murder. Leave now. Horses are ready and my Royal Own will escort you to safety. Ride, Donina, ride and do not stop until you find your chances in life – let that be our legacy. Do not tell me where you ride – just ride. You must be gone but never from my heart or mind. I sacrifice you for the people of this kingdom … I have no choice, now ride Donina, ride!”

 

Chapter XXI – Drufus Meets Arturo

The magic of Drufus did not bring Arturo to the main hall but with a gut wrenching motion, Arturo found himself facing an altar with soldiers behind him and behind the altar, Drufus sharpening a knife, “I’ve always found sharpened knives concentrate the mind almost as much as a hanging and that can be arranged, Arturo, if necessary – Sir Facid has no love of Laseith or her games, and my scroll was never intended to allow Laseith, her broomstick or you to travel anywhere unless I planned it. I had planned to try and open an inter-planetary hole to send Laseith to and with that broomstick to accompany her to some godforsaken planet where magic does not function but I do make mistakes in my magical coding and instead people and animals came from other worlds to Dagril; the scrolls are still there and you are here. Laseith and her broomstick, with my compliments, went back to Ascan.”

Laseith arriving back at Ascania, found herself back in the study opposite her bedchamber once again. She looked around for Arturo and her broomstick. The broomstick seemed unchanged and filled the room with its presence but Arturo was nowhere to be seen.

After the trip to Dagril and the swift transfer back she felt she needed a bath – it had been a while since her last and perhaps a change of clothing might be of relevance. She moved out of the study to the bedchamber opposite and caught sight of Guards outside King Machael’s bedchamber which was unusual as she had planned for him to be off to the east looking for the foes her agents had planted stories of – her agents would be hearing from her about that and with some force.

She’d wanted access to Queen Amanda for a possible accident to occur without the King around – Machael should not be in the castle. She stormed off to her bedchamber and that annoyed her as well – one bedchamber for a Princess!

Things would change once Machael was dead. His wife might be pregnant, she, however would not bear a child; Arturo had seen to that – there would be no sons or daughters from King Machael as far as Laseith was concerned but why Guards on his bedchamber door?

She headed for her bath with the broomstick trailing. It would sort out any slobbish lack of respect for her body from the servants. Despite the broomstick and Laseith’s temper it took a while for the bath to be ready and most of the servants ran for it when the broomstick decided to switch a few branches at them for the water being too hot; leaving Laseith facing a new technology called ‘taking a bath unaided’. Laseith wondered how the broomstick knew what she was thinking and then attacked? Whether she could ever control it was another question? The bath at least was decent and hot and she sank into it minus everything that went into another hot tub.

She tried to get her broomstick to wash her back, or, at least to try and herd the servants back so she had some soap. That was the last she saw of the servants for some hours and several of them could hardly walk then.

She really needed to understand the broomstick which had now taken off again. At times, it didn’t just have a mind of its own, it also took over her mind, which was probably not a difficult thing to do. She had no regard for life; she killed as her mother had … maybe the techniques were a little different but what did it matter if they were dead?

Arturo had been her preferred killer and was usually good at it until he’d disappeared but he’d be back and more determined than ever to follow her instructions once she caught up with him. The broomstick would see to that.

The hot water made her relax and that released thoughts she’d never sought, as if a tapestry were re-writing her mind and the imaginary needles pricked her ideas – she never sought thoughts, herself – what was the point, she just did what she wanted; now she found herself thinking …? Why were there Guards outside Machael’s bedchamber? Laseith rose from her bath like a surfacing whale and there was a lot in common between them.

To say she dressed quickly would be an understatement considering she had to get out of the bath and across the aisle, and then a long walk – north – to the door of her chamber and people would pay for her door being on the north side of the building while her bath door was on the south – behind her bedchamber with no door to access it.

She chose the right-hand side away from the Guards as she still had problems dressing herself. Dressing herself for a change wasn’t easy with only the broom to assist, but she was out of her bedchamber as soon as she could, and with a swift left turn, on her way to face the Guards outside of the King’s bedchamber, complete with the impetus of the broomstick now in front of her.

Approaching the door she was stopped by Guards who did not appear to be frightened of her and her brain was immediately, via her mouth spraying every insult and threat she could think of. Who were Guards to stopped her – she was Royalty.

In the King’s bedchamber stood a priest of Astoron – his name was Myrow, which was not his fault since he could hardly have objected at the time but there was yet another substantial donation to the Temple of Astoron as Laseith tried to force her way in.

Myrow knew he would lose either the child or the mother if he diverted his magic and his calling was to save the mother but Queen Amanda had specified the child over her own survival and now Laseith and her broomstick were channelling his magic away from Queen Amanda to Laseith and her broomstick, and the door was being forced open, no matter what they did.

Finally seeing Laseith’s face and the strong force beating against the door and Guards, Myrow ripped off his religious emblem and hurled it at the door. It sparkled as it travelled through the air and pressure immediately ceased.

Princess Amanda groaned and the baby appeared with nurses immediately rushing to her.

Myrow knew he’d lost Queen Amanda and looked up as she died bearing the child she had called Miranda – Myrow knew that was Amanda’s decision – she’d told him that Miranda was the priority and he heard Amanda’s words at this point echoing in his mind, ‘they can kill me but my child will kill them’.

Had Laseith broken in, both would have died. At least this way the child lived. Without Laseith and her broomstick trying to break in, he might have saved both – another death on Laseith’s lack of conscience.

Laseith and that evil weapon had killed another innocent woman – long may she rot in the hells thought Myrow. The priest closely watched the nurses cleaning up the baby and turning to the nurses produced a chain, “this is for the child – she will wear it to protect her and my God will also protect her and anyone who harms her will suffer his wrath,” if Astoron can be bothered he thought – how many Gods were really there and how much of his magic was ‘old magic’.

To say Princess Laseith was happy with the sound of a child crying and her broom not being able to break into the birth-room would be an understatement.

So far, Laseith had lost her killer; lost the magic scrolls, and now King Machael had a child – she would do something about that – no-one crossed her … no-one! The child would live a few hours and then die from complications – two of the nurses would arrange for mistakes – it often happened in those early minutes after birth!

Laseith was already back in the study with a glass scrying globe trying to watch Machael’s bedchamber however, for some reason she was having trouble. Everything seemed to be blurred and any image she caught immediately moved away from her until her eyes were watering and she still hadn’t seen anything. She moved the scrying to the bedchamber door with the two Guards still outside and then she saw two Guards move from inside the room, one of them carrying a saddlebag over her shoulder. So there were just her nurses, the baby and the priest. Soon it would all be over.

What she didn’t see in the saddlebag was a snuggled, well-wrapped baby on it’s way to a wet-nurse – the nurses were now on their knees and sleeping …?

The baby was, at least, safer now than it had been before and King Machael knew the baby would be safe and had agreed to this – Myrow had given his word and that was one reason why Queen Amanda died and the baby lived – the girl was certainly safer now than she would be as King Machael prepared for yet another battle.

Laseith watch the priest of Astoron leave some twenty minutes later, leaving the two Guards at the door. It would take Princess Laseith and her broomstick some twenty minutes to find the sleeping nurses who would be moved very shortly; surrounded by Guards – by which time – the baby would be feeding and on it’s way to the temple of Astoron.

Laseith’s temper, never good, was now incandescent and even the broomstick seemed worried, whilst Routani was quivering, “I will get those bastards, Routani Jamesson! No-one thwarts me. That idiot, Arturo, deserved whatever he got and those nurses are dead – they deserve to die for failing me – did you have them taken care of?”

They’ve been taken care of, Laseith. As you ordered.”

All of the nurses were in fact pumped full of sleeping potions by Myrow, and Routani’s attempts to quietly kill them meant waiting for the Guards and nurses to both wake up. The soldiers who were ready to carry out Laseith’s instructions were now quietly sleeping in the dungeons, and they had enjoyed the fruits of their potential labours – sent by Laseith, who didn’t know she had sent them and they would be ready for the front when the army finally left, and King Machael promised himself they would be in front of him!

King Machael was well used to the attempts by Laseith and Routani to kill people but killing Laseith and Routani would to himself, indicate failure and to the people of his country, a lack of succession leading to Sir Facid and Sir Charles Dastry looking to their own succession.

It was easier to have their attempts miscarry than try to stop them – in some cases, he couldn’t stop them but that was a price to pay for stability although the dead people would probably disagree.

If he ever found a way for both Laseith and Routani to pay with their own poison he would be interested, however for now he had little choice, possibly it was a pity King Machael was not present at his adopted daughters’ little chat that followed soon afterwards as they realised they had been out-thought by a mere man.

Laseith, in a formidable temper as usual had found failure even harder to take ans was fighting the urge to use her broomstick and no longer have a sister, but it was too early claim both Ascania and Toshonia …? Well, maybe … No … maybe, but not like that. Finally she moved her temper to mere furnace level, “Routani, let us look at your marriage and subsequent widowhood to and of, King m.”

I haven’t even married him yet, Laseith and you are killing him – should I have a succession first?”

I like to plan ahead, Routani. Well, we need to sort out that concubine. We don’t want competition before he dies.”

The Chancellor is still working on the marriage arrangements, it will be months before I am married to Martan. Why you are planning now?”

I’m looking after you, my sweet sister. When I have finished I will rule Ascania and Toshonia – we, my sister …? We! Yes, we will rule both and no-one will ever say, ‘nay’ to us – we will rule!”

How do we kill this child, Laseith? I’m not even in the castle nor do I have people to kill her?”

 

Posted in Adventure, Authors, Book, Books, cirencester, Dictatorship, Dictatorships, Family Control, Fantasy, Fiction Writing, General Discussion, Literary Agents, Love, mikee, novels, Planning Writing, Publishers, Science Fiction, Space, Violence, Writing, Writing Novels

#amwriting #amwritingfantasy #amwritingscifi Thoughts

If I was honest and the joke is, ‘I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t dishonest.’ then I would lie which makes me honest.

No matter how well I feel I have written the start of Astoria doesn’t have the sticking plaster power of a NHS A&E Politician.

I need to almost write another book to cover the War Party – Droga, Matira and Jamesson and the Alliance Party of De Bowed, Du Storme and De Geld as they kill slaughter planets and then stuff the too many prisoners across a planet and call it someone else’s problem. I touch on this in FYOG – Don’t Wait Up and I’m not going back to it.

I haven’t even cover the relatives of the Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s they will confine to Statis Coffins and forget to let them them.

I still haven’t gone through an egg in a seacave – Jinny – where a young chick waited for her host and then having to find someone to live in, started taking over various minds to live.

I still haven’t written about the Drunk and his life before he meets Jinny or the Cats.

Everytime I go back and think, another chunk of story starts saying, ‘write me, I was first.’, it is like fighting with your brain – anyway, the main windows should be replaced tomorrow, leaving 3 out of the 12 to be replaced and when we get through that and Howard and Chris are doing a great job of installing the windows I might actually enjoy the peace and try and work out what the hell I’m doing.

The family bathroom window does make me glad I cannot sing as it is a barbershop quartet window.

regards

Dave

It took another half hour before James Droga finally decided to land – the Droga’s being the most minor of the ruling Parties and therefore stood on their pride and everyone else’s, if given a chance. The Admirals finally arrived outside the entrance to the cave – due ceremony went by the elbow; usually into the other Dwarfs. Passing Guards jumped in to separate the Admirals fighting each other.

Guards: mixing loyalty to their families with fear of Admirals uppermost in their minds, bore their weapons high but there was no sense in what the Admirals were doing; hundreds of thousands killed for planets they never wanted; wars with no meaning; knowing full well the Admirals had no loyalty to them or anyone else but themselves and this led several Guards to looking incredulously as the ships tried to land on them – if they didn’t move.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson families loomed even more, however. Now they were killing Dwarfs who did not agree and that also seemed wrong to the Guards – why should they keep taking the Admirals greed as they killed everyone who disagreed? Let them stay shut in those tubes and stop the killing.

Get those prisoners onto another planet and not ours was another thought and the Guards weren’t the only ones thinking that!

Admirals relied on Guard’s loyalty or the Guards were killed and the Guard’s families knew loyalty was on the cutting edge and the Admirals held the blade but now the Admirals were using automatics more than people, and treating people as automatics more than people; again this seemed wrong to a lot of people, animate and inanimate personae as well on Dwarvia.

The Red Stone Gate watched as they approached: intelligence in stone it might be; slow but then perhaps it still thought faster than the Admirals approaching it.

An appropriate Chamber entrance for the Admirals would have been a pot, although often with a small ‘p’ but the gate had existed for a long time, despite earlier Dwarf’s activities to destroy it and it did not forget its role, even if no-one else understood it.

The door ponderously swung open as they approached, casting a long shadow over them and showing a long dimly lit tunnel that seemed to move as they entered and then spoke to them, “leave your weapons outside of my entrance. Within my entrance your bodies will not be molested – you will live within my portals but how you live will never be my decision.”

James Droga looked at his two companions, “Why do we go through this rubbish. We have the Guards, lets shed some blood in the Council Chamber, it’s the only thing they understand.”

Stefen Matira looked up at David Jamesson and shook his head, “four hundred thousand dead and you want to kill more? Already the lesser families, aided by the De Bowed and Du Storme’s traitor’s are plotting and you – James – want to give them more reasons to plot? We chose this as the safest route now can we actually get to this place where we are safe or turn back!”

I never turn back!” Shouted James Droga, “We lead – this rabble aren’t good enough?”

Let us hope so, Admiral Droga. I just hope they aren’t good enough, or we are dead – as dead as you like to make Dwarf’s dead.”

We left our weapons outside.”

Yes, James. It seemed to take you forever? Who were you plotting to kill?”

The walls seemed to pulse as they spoke with dull red veins sparkling as they walked.

They seemed to walk for a long time, arguing as they invented stories as Politicians do until they entered a chamber which stopped them in full lies. The chamber sparkled albeit with barely enough room for them and four small cylinder shaped containers but that stopped them in mid-flow.

It was small with beams of light hitting their chests – some colours bounced off them, leaving them looking very odd; other colours danced around them, their heads and beards changing colour as if the lights saw more than their images; their eyes blued as the lights now seemed to be satisfied but colours danced on and around them until the chamber walls changed colour as they looked and the colours radiated from them.

A timbre harmonic voice echoed from the walls, surrounding them with almost visual sound, “take off your mail-shirts and helmets, they don’t matter; they will interfere with the process.”

To the Dwarf Admirals it did matter; they felt naked as they stripped off their mail-shirts and helmets, leaving fat bellies and hair roots showing black hair. Had they mirrors they would have noticed a black tinge where the red hair and eyes showed black, and their eyes were now showing blue respectively, meaning they weren’t true Dwarfs but from Old Stock that they killed without thinking.

They stood upright before the silver capsules as supplicants seeking safety and that was promised by the Red Brick Gate, “You fail to understand Admirals, you really do. I am Old Magic and so is a lot of Dwarvia. You are also Old Magic, yet you hide and pervert it. You build images and claim they are this planet’s desires but they are your desires, no-one else’s; now see your desires!”

Now the walls became images that took them through their pasts; visions of blood they spilled and as if they had never been there, it read their brains and put them onto the stone walls; to the Dwarves it was a demand for their future lives.

A cracked and crackling square exploded into colour and light danced. The colours seemed to melt into their thoughts and red was the first and major colour. Each of them saw what? Was it the same vision; was it a history; putrescence of a future? They jerked as if they were carrying the sticks to beat wives; babies or their own people but the visions on the wall somehow did not match the expressions on their faces.

Capsules erupted longways before reverting to vertical and four capsules stood longways in front of them.

They strapped themselves in and as if the capsules knew they were there, the outer levels closed, the capsules pivoted and resumed a horizontal position before each slid into a chamber and each Dwarf was slotted into a position where he was fully protected as the external shields descended and then projected into the Dwarvian Chamber House as an image.

As Ruling Families, they did not allow themselves to be subject to attacks in the Chamber House and their blood would not flow. Within the capsules they were protected against everything unless of course they were removed and forced to physically be in the Chamber where they would probably be dead within seconds of doing so. With the support of the De Bowed’s and Du Storme’s they had no challengers but you don’t take risks on Dwarvia and trusting De Bowed and Du Storme were a risk despite very distant blood ties.

The Dwarfs did not often ‘moot’; it was a melding of minds that knew honesty and that to a Dwarf was weakness. If a Dwarf had to be honest then he was weak. A Dwarf walked tall, decided everything and the weak could wail although at the moment this Policy appeared to have a few problems – riots, slaughter and large numbers of prisoners being a major problem for the doctrine.

The Chamber jeered as the Dwarf images arrived and moved to the central floor. The four sided stone of Justice presumed and in the Chamber and according to the rules; whenever they were ever followed – no law existed without the standing within standing within the confines of the four sided stone although with the families ruling, it often seemed that no law existed at all no matter where anyone stood and as technically Droga, Jamesson and Matira were only images they weren’t in the vicinity of the stone of Justice at all but their images stood at three places of the stone and now, twenty others crowded around the other side and also them.

James Droga took his time as he stared around him; eventually, he spoke, “What do you rabble want?”

Your images will stay here briefly; your bodies are already being removed from the Red Stone Gate.”

You cannot touch us. We rule, and the Gate will protect us.” said Stefen Matira.

You rule no longer. You have killed and virtually destroyed Dwarvia, Stefen Matira. Your images will leave here and your bodies will stay within the confines of the Red Stone Gate until you and your families are sent into space. As you like prisoners so much, sixty thousand of them will accompany you in three ships to the outermost ends of space – you not will return, no matter what you believe. We accept the restrictions of the Red Stone Gate. You will not be harmed.”

Who are you to say this. You have no authority. We are the Ruling Families!”

You are images, not Dwarfs in this chamber and you have killed enough. I am Geld Du Storme and this is Neville De Bowed and by the rights of the Ruling Council – sick of your killing – you will be held in custody until transported – it will take some forty years but you will not be aware of that as you will be put into Stasis until you have travelled at least 20 light years from Dwarvia,” he looked at the roof of the Chamber House as he spoke.

The space map shining onto the roof of the Dwarvian Chamber House usually displayed latest conquests although they’re were more battles in the Chamber House than were ever fought outside and the Admiral’s Political parties fought as much for their Political conquests as they did for their planetary conquests.

Their egos often led to blood spilt in the house; piped out of the Chamber with troughs often running by the feet of most members to remind them to vote according to their conscience or their lives; often on cutting votes.

It wasn’t a question of the seventh knife in a politician’s back, they were often struggling to get up to three before someone else stabbed them in the back whilst they were still stabbing another politician.

Dwarvia seemed to be nothing more than a transit camp for killers, prisoners, politicians – who often seemed the same – the picture show on the roof – split-second updates – so popular –commentators more famous than the battles.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s had essentially ruled for longer that people remembered or wished and all were blacked eyed Space Admirals standing at 4 foot 2 inches – the maximum height for the Space Corp.

What was unusual for the Dwarfs was that they did sometimes worked together until they realised they couldn’t trust anyone, included themselves and this now seemed to be the case as they betrayed each other whilst they thought of the future, or more often of the past and who they couldn’t trust.

Usually a case of Dwarf eat Dwarf and they didn’t worry about whether there was any relish to go with the Dwarf who they beat into pulp first but the blood troughs coped, even if they did overflow a little during fierce political debates.

The problems now were the prisoners, the riots and in the Admiral’s case that they had been removed from the Chamber as their images disappeared and they found themselves upright, once again in the Red Stone Gate chamber with the lights once again sparkling as they stood, “you have broken your oath, Gate,” shouted James Droga.

You live, Droga. My oath was to protect your life. I have accomplished that. Many want you dead, now you will live, even if it is on another planet. You deserve worse, do not push the little good favour you still have,” the colours on the now began to spin and the Admirals seemed to spin as well as they were laid down on the floor and slept.

The Admirals lay dreaming of four hundred thousand prisoners scattered across anywhere … the pain, killing and hardship never bothered them – they weren’t dying; someone else did the killing, and they seemed to know they were just dreaming, but dreaming of what. They didn’t dream of ‘ruling no more’ – they never believe they would cease to rule and a new planet would give them time to rule.

They danced dreams of four hundred thousand dead; two hundred thousand prisoners rioting but war to them was war as they never used their own people – they won the wars and the people paid afterwards but who was ever honest in warfare, and now, part of the dream became a nightmare as they lost power and in their minds … they lost position – the greatest of losses.

The joke to them was yes, smaller Dwarvian Political Groups could probably muster enough votes after the latest killing bout of Dwarfs and prisoners and do something but it had been an accident with killing the Politicians and they should understand that.

When the area blasted, they were killing opposing Politicians, it was ancillary that others died.

It was an accident – they didn’t expect half of the Chamber people to be outside when they cleaned a few political thoughts out – is was meant to take out the opposition, not their own people but agendas screwed up – meetings finished early – it wasn’t their fault … the meetings should have finished on time and members of their families wouldn’t have been there!

It was just one of those unfortunate accidents that happen from time to time and they’d laid the blame directly at the mail-shirts of the minor houses – the De Bowed and the Du Storme’s … what did it matter who killed who or who decided that blasting them to bits in the standard Dwarvian way was the only answer to all problems.

There had been a weakening of some Political relationships as a result, especially De Bowed and Du Storme but that was meaningless … the ruling parties ruled and would always rule and De Bowed and Du Storme could live with it – so they’d killed over four hundred thousand Dwarfs; levelled major areas of cities; what did it really matter as they ruled.

Well, as the Matira’s, Jamesson’s and the Droga’s found out, it mattered a lot to people who now rebelled against them, and their own families were now ready to sacrifice them to save their own necks and the rising body count shouldn’t include any more of their own. It was no surprise that other Political Houses demanded a solution with an explanation, ‘The carnage was necessary. Our right to rule was being threatened and with a war, everyone supported us and it was logical to have more wars so we stayed in power.’

It was supposed to be a moot – reserved for the most serious matters and Dwarvia had them although they eventually led to the slang for a moot being called a Hubbub or Dwarf-up as they physically piled into each other.

The Dwarfs, between attacks, did stop for meetings – usually from exhaustion – although often to plan for the next attack on someone else so the minutes of meetings that often only lasted seconds when someone was left standing to apparently take the minutes was often the only record that a meeting had occurred, yet this time, the clamouring and rioting in the street finally seemed to have made it into the Council Chamber which usually ignored any reality but their own enclosed brains, and they needed someone to blame with another planet as a destination for the three Admirals seeming ideal as the political blades went in but they still could not manage the ‘Brutus affect’ and settled for three knife blades rather than seven!

The slaughter during this dispute actually become so bad, automatic washing in the Chamber was stopped as bodies were floating downwards however the Dwarfs at the top didn’t mind that although the sound of the water was also drowning the sound of them out, and that they did mind!

The roof of the Chamber produced a lot of images during this time as it seemed to have taken on a life of its own and often it showed images of what these ideas could generate; annoying the Admirals, even more as their ideas became more apparent than they wishes, but most times it showed stars and not Politicians who thought they were the stars but it would take a long to destroy Venal Politicians – stars or not.

Chapter II – Ejected On A Spaceplane – Don’t Know When We’ll Be Back Again

Destraight seemed an excellent idea and name for a planetary prison according to the remaining Dwarf families who agreed on the delivery of the three Admirals to new horizons they wouldn’t return from. It was an old unstable planet ideally suited for prisoners the Dwarven race had taken and the now failed Politicians movingon to new careers, or was it?

Dwarfia, despite its inherent violence, considered itself a democracy and there was a vote finally decreeing the three Admirals and prisoners would be put into Stasis. These specially selected prisoners would also not be returning – they were too much of a problem to in captivity.

In the end, although it was never made public, it took three the years to capture or kill the prisoners and other dwarfs who were quietly rounded up for Stasis, and they had finally completed the build of the modified Armada Class ships – Andromeda with Admiral James Droga; Surreptitious with Admiral Stefen Matira, and the Ancient with Admiral David Jamesson – all currently in Stasis and they would remain there for a minimum of ten years before being woken up, although they would then go back into Stasis.

The prisoners – still alive – yes, sixty thousand out of two hundred thousand prisoners at the beginning – would also join them – and yes, there was sufficient head clearance for non-Dwarven races although some Dwarfs would have just cut their heads off.

Along with twenty thousand sleeping prisoners/politicians per ship there were the Guards – Guard volunteering was difficult to effect but recruitment was managed and many a Guard who drank too much, now drank no more; unless in his sleep – Hounds and hunting Cats to control and hunt those who would try to escape were fairly easy to drug although the Cats being far more intelligent than the Hounds, and in fact more intelligent than most of the Guards were more difficult to control, anyway all were already asleep, even if they didn’t know how it was managed, and would stay that way until they were placed upon Destraight.

Crews had been selected on five year shifts and contracted to return – a pity, half of the fuel tanks would be empty when they reached Destraight but the other reserve tanks would register full for the return journey when in fact they were empty.

In reality the Dwarfs considered everyone disposable and certainly not, recyclable back to Dwarvia – no-one would be returning or they would die if they tried! The quarters were armoured as with very little fuel the shields were virtually non-existent although it would be a long trip that some Dwarfs would not see the end of.

Finally, late that night into a dark sky spasm brilliant sheets of silver fire bracketed with red, blue and orange beams that blackened the dark sky. Furnaces of golden light spiralled upwards with lightning striking as pads erupted sending rockets soaring in a blaze of red, lighting up the horizon.

Amongst this glory of colour three oversize ships quietly rose in the background; their dark furtive silhouettes escaping into the night although even now the ruling families, defeated in the Chamber in one of the most blood-thirsty diplomatic battles ever seen in the house, still felt they ruled and controlled as the minor houses struggled amongst themselves for cohesion as a Political force.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s sensed the infighting amongst Dwarfs and certainly could never conceive the idea of defeat and so immediately launched unsanctioned invasions to test the mettle of the bodies now apparently governing the Chamber.

A problem with Control Freaks unfortunately is that they can never let go of anything and in planning all the major families could see were sub-projects which to them considering they were personal goals which meant killing someone although most of their thinking seemed to move in the same direction.

They did finally peered through images at Intergalactic Glasses for the latest three dimensional optics on sale which promised to help them see to the end of a plan, even if they would never achieve it but arrogance and ignorance are always as much a barrier as fear as Ruling families who no longer rule are often targeted briefly by history or somebody as it prepares the last rites but they don’t give up power easily although they often have little choice as they view their futures and find them as brief as their intelligence is if they don’t takeover again and show they still control before the rebellion against them takes off and this times really succeeds. They’d ruled for years and weren’t going to let this happen over-night, nor over-morning, if they could stop it.

If the three families had their way and they did still control Government as a policy of war then the wars would continue as their lives and wealth were entrenched in war and they felt the Elves as the extreme bureaucratic Uncivil Service would follow their rules.

The ex-Ruling Families felt they had the Elves elements twisted more than usually in their favour but one of the problems with Dwarfs who feel they control by right, is that they forget who controls the left, and in the case of the Elves who’d served for so long it wasn’t just their feeling that an obligation had become servitude, they felt exploited and forced into a Bureaucratic Government service and now were holding their own meetings. Whilst they could kill by force they often felt that boredom could achieve the same results in a meeting.

They’d been prevented from boarding the ships by the Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s but you needed to know Elves to do that and the Elves liked long meetings whilst the Dwarf’s were usually on a knife edge so there was no understanding between them; just the Dwarf’s belief they controlled the Elves – treating a short term commitment as a long term obligation and that vanished when they lost power and now within the Elven races their own power struggles commence and they were as bloody as the Dwarven political battles and highlighted another unknown skill of the Elves.

They might consider being bloody minded and deliberately awkward as a skill but in their natural element they were ephemeral and constantly refreshed themselves via the diamond each wore around their throat although at times they were almost hypnotic when the diamond and their minds were in tune and this allowed them to portray any image they chose.

Now the Elves, using their other skills were on the ships and sharing the Stasis cubicles – the survivors had, had enough of Dwarvia as well – some would remain, usually the older Elves who felt they could control Government from within but most were sick of the Ruling Families and their desires to kill and when escape beckons take it and if not now then in the future as other spacecraft would take off.

Now the Elves held even more meetings as they planned another mission for themselves.

Rockets took off once again to attack more planets – it didn’t really matter which planets, along as they took off, whilst quietly the Armada Class ships slowly rose without any fanfare but with a crew who thought the return tanks were full and over a thousand dwarfs who thought they would sleep for most of the journey and then return with a bonus to set them up for life. Yes, they were set up but possibly for death, nor life.

The Armada Class ships were originally designed as troop carriers. From outside the looked like someone’s bottom. Everything came in one end and went out of the other end. They ran to the fullest capacity with plasteel bulging from every orifice and these were blasted in black to merge with the sky.

Run with very small crews – usually six people on two shifts over a five year slot – two Navigators, two Comms and two junior Captains effectively meant a crew of three at any one time but the course was pre-programmed; there weren’t any communications, and they spent most of their time checking the course and monitoring for equipment failures when they were paying any attention.

The Designers hadn’t skimped on black although the accommodation quarters were covered in a stainless plasteel facade – probably the right description for the armoured protection until something hit it. The shields were weak but they were designed for relatively short trips as were the crew, and in this case, potential oblivion also played a fair design feature.

Someone had improved the shields and provided suits for the crews as if there were likely to be any serious issues they could survive but other powers were at play here and image was needed for the take off.

Something and someone has also changed the specifications so the ships were stronger than intended, although where the crew could go in an emergency was something the design failed to cater for but again counter-forces were working against each other and something yet again, was wrong.

The current crew were Mesne de Worder as the Navigator. Mesne was well named as her family knew – she couldn’t concentrate on anything. She also couldn’t stop talking and most times talked in images, portraying them onto the cabin walls, making her suited to be an Intergalactic Navigator however this statement was restricted in meaning to ‘on a small space tug with a tolerant crew’!

Trumph de Glop was the junior Captain and they didn’t come any more junior. She was evolvable but this early in a career that wasn’t going to go much further, they’re weren’t any decisions to make and rashness was not encouraged so there was little she could do and seemed adequately suited to her post.

Lnal de Bolte was the Comms Officer and she often Comm’d more than she ever watched screens or listened to anything but she kept the rest of the crew’s eyes off the screens as they listened to her and they liked that as they settled back and listened to her prattle of anything to anyone in space whilst Mesne play images on the bulkhead.

They worked twelve hours on, twelve hours off but usually just hooked up the alarm systems and stretched out until the checks or the noise woke them again and then they reset the clocks until the next checks.

The only thing that kept them going was that is was a five year sleep stint before they too hit Stasis and a big bonus when they returned to set them up in luxury.

The ships progressed and crews changed without anything untoward until about year ten when the Admirals on each ship had to be woken and there were problems to be considered. The obvious ones were that they didn’t want to wake the Admirals and eventually they all ganged together and went to each ship; visiting the Admiral’s Stasis Chambers. Needless to say, the Admiral’s Stasis chambers were as Royalty to a starving wretch.

Satin covers and the Admirals slept in satin hammocks, six foot high within chambers criss-crossed between narrow Stasis fields with only the top field operational.

There were other Stasis generators below but these were unoccupied and the design was that ship movements would not disturb them or another three people in hammocks between Stasis generators below them – if they were occupied.

It still left one small problem – the personal controls for the Admirals could not be opened unless they were forced and when the Admirals woke up they would drop directly onto the people below and waking them up would take the Admirals completely out of Stasis and that was not, if you can believe it, a decision junior officers wished to make since every crew would then have to live with a fighting, bad-tempered Admiral going nowhere.

It was something to be dreaded and so time like the crew moved on and left the Admirals to blissful sleep until there was no other option.

Some forty years later with the mechanisms working automatically, the Admirals finally woke but someone had adjusted the Stasis time fields and those underneath had moved. The Admirals finally descended amidst an explanation of technical problems and if a spaceship can gain a lead balloon then they joined the explanation as to why the Admirals were not able to easily turn the ships around and go home after the ten years had lapsed into forty years and they were halfway through the voyage.

After the Admirals realised that killing the crew was not a good idea, they stormed off to the Stasis chambers again and that was another issue as the next regulator on the Chambers was arrival at Destraight and yet, another lead balloon sank into the ship’s ballast as the Admirals realised they were not welcome back in Dwarvia.

Another crew, and yet another crew were beckoned by time but it wasn’t easy with power reduced daily until forcing them to bring in the reserve tanks led them to find they had no reserve tanks.

The smell now was of something different; they couldn’t stop the ships and the crews communicating to each other, realised something … they weren’t going home to a bonus nor to anything; the arguments range long and hard but it is amazing what you can do with an Admiral’s Stasis chamber and they were all soon asleep and the ship could look after itself.

Finally the tannoys blazed into operation and Stasis systems shut down, leaving a lot of people looking for a drink for those hangovers after a forty year session but now other problems started to interfere with their feeling hungover.

The issues for the Admiral’s now were lights in the sky approaching the Armada Ships instead of the other way around. Screens were showing land-quakes, typhoons and tidal waves and they were hitting the planet as they watched. Something, however, was going to hit and hit the Armada Ships, and that was a series of objects flying directly towards them. Already large sections of the spaceships were dropping with the prisoners caged inside as the rockets fired briefly to take them to planned landing positions no matter what the surface conditions were and the Guards, Hounds and Cats were unceremoniously dumped with them.

The Admirals discussions were becoming agitated as they looked at the advancing spacial objects and already the crew were moving from the controls and joining the Admirals with each putting on a winning smile for a place on the Admiral’s scout ships.

We need to move, Admiral,” said one honeyed voice as she moved as close as she dared, “We got you here, sir; we can get you to the surface, sir.”

The Hell-Cats can do that and let go of my arm!”

A voice at that point penetrated, “The Hell-Cats have female brains but they are not women any-more!”

On several ships the Admirals heard the pre-arranged messages the crews, all female dwarfs, had decided on. The Admirals would need advice and that they could supply in various ways.

Most Admirals had brought their family; whether they wanted to or not – a clean sweep had been ordered and demanded but computer programs now ensured that Admiral Stefen Matira was located to the south-east; Admiral David Jamesson to the north whilst Admiral James Droga was to the north-west with the locations hundreds of miles apart amidst a massive expanse of country and water – if it was still there, between them.

The prisoner and family disposal areas were at least eight to a hundred miles away from the castles which were now being quickly – almost jerry built, by computers that seemed to be having problems with the electro-magnetic affects of the spacial objects and their programs were becoming a little erratic.

The Admirals were realising that on Destraight they would have authority, once the Vis-Moot took place; Guards; Cats, Hounds and controlled prisoners would be under their control – the only problem was that something seemed to be wrong on the planet and they enlarged the scope of surveillance to watch the prisoners being dispersed to various areas of the country. The initial plan aims were to populate the north, south and central areas of Destraight.

It would be called Ascania in the north; the main landing areas here would be called Toshonia, and the central area, Stovania.

The Admirals in a rare show of co-operation had decided that James Droga would own Stovania; Stefen Matira, Toshonia and David Jamesson would own Ascania – no-one was going home – least of all, them and as usual they planned for the short-term but the crew they had agreed to take checked the pre-programmed courses on their Hell-Cats – the Hell-Cats seemed happy to talk to women and found the courses weren’t alterable – they were going where they were programmed – another surprise for the Admirals.

The prisoner and family disposal points were in the middle of nowhere, miles away from anything or anyone else – almost like some holidays for hardy old people with money still left.

The prisoners were looking at each other as if they had just found something and they weren’t happy with their find and they weren’t speaking to each other; they didn’t need to, it seemed like an old Sunday afternoon in Scotland – even Wales was better but like any bad holiday they seemed to know what others were thinking without speaking.

The Guards were panicking as the Cats and Hounds had stopped taking voice commands and instead of being trained wild animals held by specially trained handlers were walking up to prisoners and Guards, and lying down for their bellies to be tickled.

The Admirals, looking at the space screens also saw something else they didn’t like as the objects approaching seemed a lot closer than this morning and they were also thinking, and thinking fast for a change.

This led the Admirals to finally look one another in the face, instead of the boots, gut or anywhere else they usually looked to avoid facing each other. Their thoughts were then interrupted by a young aide – she wasn’t even forty yet – something that turned them bright orange, “Admirals, COMSATNEV is on video – signal is only fifteen years old, so it’s fairly new!”

James Droga looked at the young COMSATNEV liaison, “this better be good!”

COMSATNEV has aborted the mission. This planet is on the boundaries of dimensional planetary interplay. There are several black holes and planets are not following guidelines. Trouble at home has started as the peace agreement prohibits dumping prisoners into deep space and this mission is to be aborted and all personnel put to sleep until fuel arrives. Fuel is being sent out and will arrive in forty years but everyone must be brought back and put into Stasis again before they return. The signal will wake the crew when the fuel arrives.”

Well,” said Stefen Matira, “it’s a little late, COMSATNEV disciple, to do this with all the prisoners on the surface and dispersed over the land whilst we are facing incoming space debris; the Cats and Hounds out of control and some kind of planetary environment is affecting the prisoners and Guards … perhaps you should go down and explain it to them and I suggest you do it quickly or stay here and face the rocks. Look at the incoming rocks, COMSATNEV, and we have used all our power to arrive here so we have virtually no shields left. For your instruction to be effective we would need everyone back on the ships and be returning before those rocks arrive; looking at my fellow Admirals, I think we are agreed that urgently leaving this ship before it is destroyed is an excellent idea, so please tell that to COMSATNEV after we have made the planetary surface although on second thoughts, we need the power to land and you don’t as you will not be telling people the mission has been aborted,” COMSATNEV became a bloody torso that left her lying on the spaceship floor, “I think we need to make a decision and I’m leaving now.” He finally found his way to his Hell-Cat, assisted by a lot of crew, “Are we carrying too much weight?”

No, sir. Supplies have already been shipped down.”

How and when?”

Parachute, sir.”

We don’t have parachutes?”

We made them up, sir. The rocket jettison parachutes.”

They are to slow us down to land in an emergency.”

The Hell-Cats have never needed them, sir. It was a safety measure.”

So now we have no safety measures?”

Did we ever, sir?”

See me when we make land!”

On the planet the prisoners and families were still watching and they were watching water rising and surrounding where Matira castle would be but water was now engulfing them to the north and starting to flood their camp.

Further north the site of David Jamesson’s castle and the prisoner camp near him looked good, whilst James Droga’s castle site, far to the north-west was on the coast whilst the prisoner camp was a hundred miles south and near the floods sweeping in.

The castles and camps had started to build with a combination of silicone, concrete powder, air and water dropped into moulds – needing only power to generate the structures and that was already in operation as the sun caught the generators. The sun-shell power nodes were reacting and the castles and camps were rising although the land and water also seemed to be rising.

Everyone were looking at the sky as much as the still self-building structures. The Guards were releasing prisoners against all orders as there was nowhere to go and with the water sweeping in it sounded more like a riot than a prison camp.

The Admirals had now realised something about the Hell-Cats and that was they couldn’t alter the pre-programmed destinations and all were now heading for pre-programmed sites, even if one was underwater.

The moulds have gone in just the same and the model was working as surrounds were sunk around castle destinations and then the castles were built; even if one was completely surrounded by water and was in fact growing out of the water.

The prisoners looked around as their buildings kept rising but so did the Admirals as the Hell-Cats took them away with no way to countermand any commands – Dwarvia had decided to bury the Admirals and didn’t care how or when or where.

Anyone watching the buildings erupt would obviously feel the designers had played with castles as children – walls were going up, towers; baileys were obviously designed into the building as were killing areas – these buildings were being built as ancient history and not the modern world the meetings had stated … yet another computer screw-up thought the Admirals but that was it.

Looking out Stefen could see a castle and walls stretching to fifteen miles, while walls behind and directly in front of them, bisected the horizon for another ten miles and that seemed an overkill – it was all perimeter defence but against water … the fifteen foot high waters? His castle was an island.

The only decent area was David Jamesson’s, where the prisoners were only ten miles away and not drowning but James Droga didn’t have an integrated castle as such. His castle was five away from his Manor House which was ten miles away from the barracks and all moving east leaving his castle fifteen miles from the barracks.

Things were not working out as planned for the other Admirals either, although it was never intended that they should but the planners probably thought it was fun to screw up everything.

James Droga exploded, “Where is the Vis-Moot equipment? We need to beam our authority to everyone.”

Perhaps, James, we just need to control the guards and they are our authority. Everyone knows we rule … perhaps we better just assume our roles as leaders?”

With the Vis-Moot, Stefen, no-one can dispute our authority!”

There is no Viz.-Moot that I can see but I can certainly see Guards and I feel that will have to be our goal. We have our lands to secure or floods in my case and I intend to move towards another site and with haste.”

One other problem for Admiral Stefen Matira on entering his castle was that only one floor had been completed. The rest of the castle walls had been built but some computer glitch had only then furnished one floor. His next problem was that he’d have to walk to the west in order, after a long climb to reach the only inhabitable areas of the castle. The kitchens and food stores were to the east but his bedchamber was hard against the west wall. The map he was presented with showed three stairways to the tower; a gateway that led below the castle and only one way into the castle that he could understand. The internal Guard’s barracks; sleeping quarters and armoury were all linked to his bedroom … there needed to be some serious thought about this, he decided.

He used one of the stairways to the Tower and again felt his eyes drawn to the ever-increasing rocks in the sky which seemed to be becoming larger by the day.

The Admirals were having other surprises. Due to computer glitches all castles had only one floor furnished however five castles had been built for the three Admirals but not necessarily near each other, and three into five definitely didn’t go. An unpopulated four storey block almost half-way between the castles of Stefen Matira and David Jamesson were also built, but in the area allocated to Stovania and in addition to Admiral Droga’s castle, a separate manor house and a Guard’s barracks had been built miles apart.

The other issue was that no-one was allocated nor lived in the four storey block or the other two castles and the Admirals immediately decided that these builds must be their property whilst the freed prisoners, Cats and Hounds were now spreading out to find land and security before any Guards found them again but already the different types of prisoners were seeking their own refuges and some were below ground but all were as far from the Guards as they could be and as they moved they found other buildings, small towns and villages in odd spots but spread across one continuous country and that spread as far as the eye could see or in some cases the tentacles eye. The computer glitches appeared to have ‘gone to town’ in the screw-ups and apparently built towns without rhyme or reason and there were sixty thousand prisoners interested in them.

Perhaps they should have been interested in the rocks in the sky that were becoming bigger and closer but had they more interest themselves than in just surviving.

 

Chapter III – Round Two

It might also have interested them, that back on Dwarvia: yet another coup had occurred; the War Party were ruling again; planets were being invaded, and a build-up of prisoners on Dwarvia was occurring and now the riots started again and the backlash against the War Party led to increasing political bloodshed. It didn’t take long before old ideas were forming again and some Armada Class ships started construction.

The general consensus basically was … hell this time we – the Ruling Families – won’t get control back. We’ve already colonised this planet – Destraight; if we build five more ships then that is another hundred thousand prisoners we can rid Dwarvia of, plus a more than a few traitors who don’t support us and we will supply five admirals from our families who will be ideal for the project: Marcel Droga; Stefen Matira; Peter Jamesson; Percival de Bowed, and Argus Du Storme.

On Destraight, prisoners moved at speed amidst a feeling of euphoria that lasted for another question?

The land was new and even if it wasn’t their land there was no religion, politicians, or newspapers, so life should be good, or so they thought but Destraight stretched for hundreds of miles and travelled more towns than a politician in a bus, so there must be some land free for them, or so they thought in their ignorance?

Their species ranged from magical to rock, bird, horse, human, Dwarf and elf, albeit they were never there nor part of the prisoners – there were some Dwarfs and they included a killing element, apart from the politicians who didn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves, however, they could live as and where they chose once they had the chains off and the Admirals had a key and the theory was that in return for releasing your bounds, you were then bound to the Admiral.

A lot of the prisoners were still bound in chains that only the Admirals could free.

Some above ground, others sought existence beneath – yet again, others became the ground as they sunk into a life they knew but without the bounds released they would never be free.

People found they could communicate by thought and their image of the King or Queen in her or his chamber seemed to be defined by the thoughts of the people and for once was a democratic voice.

The Admirals and Politicians might feel they ruled within Destraight but these people felt they lived within the land but as they started to consider their own existence with the rocks in the sky became larger and larger and the seas starting to rise, yet again. Areas that had been dry for miles were flooding as the sea swept in.

The Admirals were also losing touch. Their scouts were out of power, and whilst they’d never really spoken to each other unless forced to, now they couldn’t speak to each other, or the ships still circling above the planet as all communications ran out of power.

They were as marooned as the Guards and prisoners – whether they liked it or not. All they had were the Guards assigned to them and desertion was already rife as the Guards realised they weren’t being paid, and if they were paid, there was nothing to spend it on anyway, with no food and life was definitely going to get harder with the rocks in the sky getting bigger and the sea levels rising but at least some lakes were forming and with them some fish were being swept in but life appeared to be being swept out – moving from prisons to a long forty year sleep then deposited on a world they didn’t know with no support, food and still chained made them need to remember the only thing they had in common was being captured and imprisoned by the Dwarves and they were now facing death and slowly.

Some were human; others were stone; some were Dwarf politicians who supported the wrong political parties. The War Party of Dwarvia had attacked any planet and any people it didn’t like and often those they claimed to like.

The Dwarfs used planets that contained nothing more than war engines, troops and weapons to attack peaceful people and they didn’t care who or what they attacked as they rampaged through the solar system.

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Back at the start of Astoria and I need expand on the people/description/buildings et al.

I’ve only lightly referred to this so far; I never planned to tackle it until later but losing the disks took me back in thoughts as well as anything else.

I need to bring in the War Party and Alliance Party on Dwarvia. This provides the basis for launching members of their family into space and how many of us would like to.

I’ll dump the beginning before I start re-writing it.

Dave

James Droga, in his Hell-Cat Heli-phroater looked at the two screens in front of him, and especially at four foot two inched Stefen Matira and then deliberately yawned while he ruffled his red hair.

That their hair, size and eyes were the same meant nothing, and no hint was ever made of surgery although the rumours were always there concerning the ruling families; especially for the exact height and the red hair which all seemed to have and they always made the naval height requirement.

For some other reason they all to seemed to wear and probably slept in the blue and black naval uniform but their family hatred of each other was almost psychotic. James Droga considered Stefen Matira to be soft but then he detested David Jamesson as well. Neither had the guts to just kill and get on with life.

To James, they might meet Navy rules for red hair, black eyes and height restrictions of four foot two inches but they lack the blood on their swords and banners that to a Droga meant pride – pride in the people you killed; the planets you crushed and the prisoners you took even if you never left a spaceship officially during a campaign – it was glory to a family to be in a battle and James was always in some battle or other and usually between the families who ruled. Their families might be bound by ancient bonds or so they claimed; well James had a few debts to pay and they wouldn’t appear in his black book and he intended to make sure his co-Admirals didn’t have the fingers left to open a black book – they would be red ones when he’d finished.

The Admirals had always ignored comments on why they travelled to a very secure site, to then appear as images in the Council Chamber after their bodies had been inserted into tubes at the cliff site and protected by Guards …?

In a way they never cared about anything including their Guards loyalty and their belief in themselves somehow never realised that if they were so loved and respected why were their bodies being stacked up in a secured facility.

Their Hell-Cat Heli-phroaters often sounded like a shower of insects as they circled on auto, kicking up dust; raining fuel on people beneath them as they were poorly maintained but the Admirals weren’t bothered and the Hell-Cats Heli-phroaters adopted their owners attitudes to organic lifeforms and tended to ignore them when they landed.

Their targeted landing site today was some two hundred foot below the cliff peak and now their automatic systems were fighting on who landed first and killed the most guards in landing – they were in fact bitches in more ways than one.

The Hell-Cats Heli-phroaters – known at Hell-cats for short, were named after a famous Admiral, nicknamed the Hell-Cat for his bedroom adventures. The planes were said to be as honourable as he was which meant that were very fickle in their manoeuvrability and difficult to control at the best of times, however they hovered well and could land when handled by good pilots but then immediately went to their Interstellar Lawyers for being mishandled and groped as the Admirals kept their hands on the joysticks for too long – minds had been blended into the controls for years but so had the sensations and emotions of whatever was considered to be the best and they had taken the raw minds of women thinking they would bed in with the Pilots, who were usually men and such is the way with idiots who never think things through; Interstellar Lawyers just following on from a quick galaxy’s earnings, now represented the brains in most Interstellar craft and with the Dwarf’s wars; prisoners escaping and more than eight hundred thousand prisoners the Dwarf’s were pawning their mail-shirts to pay for lawyers.

A road ran just above the bottom of the cliff drop and seemed to sprint into the distance, jutting out for about thirty feet from the cliff edge as it ran, which given the Dwarfs dropping down was probably a good idea; if a road could actually run, this road would have run as they approached it! The Guards watched as the Hell-Cats found room to land without killing any of the waiting Guards although that didn’t bother the Dwarf Admirals who seemed to like killing as others like living. They finally landed separately into the grey misty morning. The sun was bright and struggling to break through the dirt, stone and water the Hell-Cats were throwing up and the Guards, who’d stood guard for hours raised their shields as the Admirals began to land.

First out was Stefen Matira, snorting in his thick accent, he was big for a Dwarf although he now needed two Guards to help him move about and his weight made movement slow and.

Stefen was swiftly followed by David Jamesson whose tones and voice were at least moderated – usually by the sound system, although compared to James Droga who was bellowing like a stuck pig and to a degree looking like one; anyone was!

It took another half hour before James Droga finally decided to land – the Droga’s being the most minor of the ruling Parties and therefore stood on their pride and everyone else’s, if given a chance. The Admirals finally arrived outside the entrance to the cave – due ceremony went by the elbow; usually into the other Dwarfs. Passing Guards jumped in to separate the Admirals fighting each other.

Guards: mixing loyalty to their families with fear of Admirals uppermost in their minds, bore their weapons high but there was no sense in what the Admirals were doing; hundreds of thousands killed for planets they never wanted; wars with no meaning; knowing full well the Admirals had no loyalty to them or anyone else but themselves and this led several Guards to looking incredulously as the ships tried to land on them – if they didn’t move.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson families loomed even more, however. Now they were killing Dwarfs who did not agree and that also seemed wrong to the Guards – why should they keep taking the Admirals greed as they killed everyone who disagreed? Let them stay shut in those tubes and stop the killing.

Get those prisoners onto another planet and not ours was another thought and the Guards weren’t the only ones thinking that!

Admirals relied on Guard’s loyalty or the Guards were killed and the Guard’s families knew loyalty was on the cutting edge and the Admirals held the blade but now the Admirals were using automatics more than people, and treating people as automatics more than people; again this seemed wrong to a lot of people, animate and inanimate personae as well on Dwarvia.

The Red Stone Gate watched as they approached: intelligence in stone it might be; slow but then perhaps it still thought faster than the Admirals approaching it.

An appropriate Chamber entrance for the Admirals would have been a pot, although often with a small ‘p’ but the gate had existed for a long time, despite earlier Dwarf’s activities to destroy it and it did not forget its role, even if no-one else understood it.

The door ponderously swung open as they approached, casting a long shadow over them and showing a long dimly lit tunnel that seemed to move as they entered and then spoke to them, “leave your weapons outside of my entrance. Within my entrance your bodies will not be molested – you will live within my portals but how you live will never be my decision.”

James Droga looked at his two companions, “Why do we go through this rubbish. We have the Guards, lets shed some blood in the Council Chamber, it’s the only thing they understand.”

Stefen Matira looked up at David Jamesson and shook his head, “four hundred thousand dead and you want to kill more? Already the lesser families, aided by the De Bowed and Du Storme’s traitor’s are plotting and you – James – want to give them more reasons to plot? We chose this as the safest route now can we actually get to this place where we are safe or turn back!”

I never turn back!” Shouted James Droga, “We lead – this rabble aren’t good enough?”

Let us hope so, Admiral Droga. I just hope they aren’t good enough, or we are dead – as dead as you like to make Dwarf’s dead.”

We left our weapons outside.”

Yes, James. It seemed to take you forever? Who were you plotting to kill?”

The walls seemed to pulse as they spoke with dull red veins sparkling as they walked.

They seemed to walk for a long time, arguing as they invented stories as Politicians do until they entered a chamber which stopped them in full lies. The chamber sparkled albeit with barely enough room for them and four small cylinder shaped containers but that stopped them in mid-flow.

It was small with beams of light hitting their chests – some colours bounced off them, leaving them looking very odd; other colours danced around them, their heads and beards changing colour as if the lights saw more than their images; their eyes blued as the lights now seemed to be satisfied but colours danced on and around them until the chamber walls changed colour as they looked and the colours radiated from them.

A timbre harmonic voice echoed from the walls, surrounding them with almost visual sound, “take off your mail-shirts and helmets, they don’t matter; they will interfere with the process.”

To the Dwarf Admirals it did matter; they felt naked as they stripped off their mail-shirts and helmets, leaving fat bellies and hair roots showing black hair. Had they mirrors they would have noticed a black tinge where the red hair and eyes showed black, and their eyes were now showing blue respectively, meaning they weren’t true Dwarfs but from Old Stock that they killed without thinking.

They stood upright before the silver capsules as supplicants seeking safety and that was promised by the Red Brick Gate, “You fail to understand Admirals, you really do. I am Old Magic and so is a lot of Dwarvia. You are also Old Magic, yet you hide and pervert it. You build images and claim they are this planet’s desires but they are your desires, no-one else’s; now see your desires!”

Now the walls became images that took them through their pasts; visions of blood they spilled and as if they had never been there, it read their brains and put them onto the stone walls; to the Dwarves it was a demand for their future lives.

A cracked and crackling square exploded into colour and light danced. The colours seemed to melt into their thoughts and red was the first and major colour. Each of them saw what? Was it the same vision; was it a history; putrescence of a future? They jerked as if they were carrying the sticks to beat wives; babies or their own people but the visions on the wall somehow did not match the expressions on their faces.

Capsules erupted longways before reverting to vertical and four capsules stood longways in front of them.

They strapped themselves in and as if the capsules knew they were there, the outer levels closed, the capsules pivoted and resumed a horizontal position before each slid into a chamber and each Dwarf was slotted into a position where he was fully protected as the external shields descended and then projected into the Dwarvian Chamber House as an image.

As Ruling Families, they did not allow themselves to be subject to attacks in the Chamber House and their blood would not flow. Within the capsules they were protected against everything unless of course they were removed and forced to physically be in the Chamber where they would probably be dead within seconds of doing so. With the support of the De Bowed’s and Du Storme’s they had no challengers but you don’t take risks on Dwarvia and trusting De Bowed and Du Storme were a risk despite very distant blood ties.

The Dwarfs did not often ‘moot’; it was a melding of minds that knew honesty and that to a Dwarf was weakness. If a Dwarf had to be honest then he was weak. A Dwarf walked tall, decided everything and the weak could wail although at the moment this Policy appeared to have a few problems – riots, slaughter and large numbers of prisoners being a major problem for the doctrine.

The Chamber jeered as the Dwarf images arrived and moved to the central floor. The four sided stone of Justice presumed and in the Chamber and according to the rules; whenever they were ever followed – no law existed without the standing within standing within the confines of the four sided stone although with the families ruling, it often seemed that no law existed at all no matter where anyone stood and as technically Droga, Jamesson and Matira were only images they weren’t in the vicinity of the stone of Justice at all but their images stood at three places of the stone and now, twenty others crowded around the other side and also them.

James Droga took his time as he stared around him; eventually, he spoke, “What do you rabble want?”

Your images will stay here briefly; your bodies are already being removed from the Red Stone Gate.”

You cannot touch us. We rule, and the Gate will protect us.” said Stefen Matira.

You rule no longer. You have killed and virtually destroyed Dwarvia, Stefen Matira. Your images will leave here and your bodies will stay within the confines of the Red Stone Gate until you and your families are sent into space. As you like prisoners so much, sixty thousand of them will accompany you in three ships to the outermost ends of space – you not will return, no matter what you believe. We accept the restrictions of the Red Stone Gate. You will not be harmed.”

Who are you to say this. You have no authority. We are the Ruling Families!”

You are images, not Dwarfs in this chamber and you have killed enough. I am Geld Du Storme and this is Neville De Bowed and by the rights of the Ruling Council – sick of your killing – you will be held in custody until transported – it will take some forty years but you will not be aware of that as you will be put into Stasis until you have travelled at least 20 light years from Dwarvia,” he looked at the roof of the Chamber House as he spoke.

The space map shining onto the roof of the Dwarvian Chamber House usually displayed latest conquests although they’re were more battles in the Chamber House than were ever fought outside and the Admiral’s Political parties fought as much for their Political conquests as they did for their planetary conquests.

Their egos often led to blood spilt in the house; piped out of the Chamber with troughs often running by the feet of most members to remind them to vote according to their conscience or their lives; often on cutting votes.

It wasn’t a question of the seventh knife in a politician’s back, they were often struggling to get up to three before someone else stabbed them in the back whilst they were still stabbing another politician.

Dwarvia seemed to be nothing more than a transit camp for killers, prisoners, politicians – who often seemed the same – the picture show on the roof – split-second updates – so popular –commentators more famous than the battles.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s had essentially ruled for longer that people remembered or wished and all were blacked eyed Space Admirals standing at 4 foot 2 inches – the maximum height for the Space Corp.

What was unusual for the Dwarfs was that they did sometimes worked together until they realised they couldn’t trust anyone, included themselves and this now seemed to be the case as they betrayed each other whilst they thought of the future, or more often of the past and who they couldn’t trust.

Usually a case of Dwarf eat Dwarf and they didn’t worry about whether there was any relish to go with the Dwarf who they beat into pulp first but the blood troughs coped, even if they did overflow a little during fierce political debates.

The problems now were the prisoners, the riots and in the Admiral’s case that they had been removed from the Chamber as their images disappeared and they found themselves upright, once again in the Red Stone Gate chamber with the lights once again sparkling as they stood, “you have broken your oath, Gate,” shouted James Droga.

You live, Droga. My oath was to protect your life. I have accomplished that. Many want you dead, now you will live, even if it is on another planet. You deserve worse, do not push the little good favour you still have,” the colours on the now began to spin and the Admirals seemed to spin as well as they were laid down on the floor and slept.

The Admirals lay dreaming of four hundred thousand prisoners scattered across anywhere … the pain, killing and hardship never bothered them – they weren’t dying; someone else did the killing, and they seemed to know they were just dreaming, but dreaming of what. They didn’t dream of ‘ruling no more’ – they never believe they would cease to rule and a new planet would give them time to rule.

They danced dreams of four hundred thousand dead; two hundred thousand prisoners rioting but war to them was war as they never used their own people – they won the wars and the people paid afterwards but who was ever honest in warfare, and now, part of the dream became a nightmare as they lost power and in their minds … they lost position – the greatest of losses.

The joke to them was yes, smaller Dwarvian Political Groups could probably muster enough votes after the latest killing bout of Dwarfs and prisoners and do something but it had been an accident with killing the Politicians and they should understand that.

When the area blasted, they were killing opposing Politicians, it was ancillary that others died.

It was an accident – they didn’t expect half of the Chamber people to be outside when they cleaned a few political thoughts out – is was meant to take out the opposition, not their own people but agendas screwed up – meetings finished early – it wasn’t their fault … the meetings should have finished on time and members of their families wouldn’t have been there!

It was just one of those unfortunate accidents that happen from time to time and they’d laid the blame directly at the mail-shirts of the minor houses – the De Bowed and the Du Storme’s … what did it matter who killed who or who decided that blasting them to bits in the standard Dwarvian way was the only answer to all problems.

There had been a weakening of some Political relationships as a result, especially De Bowed and Du Storme but that was meaningless … the ruling parties ruled and would always rule and De Bowed and Du Storme could live with it – so they’d killed over four hundred thousand Dwarfs; levelled major areas of cities; what did it really matter as they ruled.

Well, as the Matira’s, Jamesson’s and the Droga’s found out, it mattered a lot to people who now rebelled against them, and their own families were now ready to sacrifice them to save their own necks and the rising body count shouldn’t include any more of their own. It was no surprise that other Political Houses demanded a solution with an explanation, ‘The carnage was necessary. Our right to rule was being threatened and with a war, everyone supported us and it was logical to have more wars so we stayed in power.’

It was supposed to be a moot – reserved for the most serious matters and Dwarvia had them although they eventually led to the slang for a moot being called a Hubbub or Dwarf-up as they physically piled into each other.

The Dwarfs, between attacks, did stop for meetings – usually from exhaustion – although often to plan for the next attack on someone else so the minutes of meetings that often only lasted seconds when someone was left standing to apparently take the minutes was often the only record that a meeting had occurred, yet this time, the clamouring and rioting in the street finally seemed to have made it into the Council Chamber which usually ignored any reality but their own enclosed brains, and they needed someone to blame with another planet as a destination for the three Admirals seeming ideal as the political blades went in but they still could not manage the ‘Brutus affect’ and settled for three knife blades rather than seven!

The slaughter during this dispute actually become so bad, automatic washing in the Chamber was stopped as bodies were floating downwards however the Dwarfs at the top didn’t mind that although the sound of the water was also drowning the sound of them out, and that they did mind!

The roof of the Chamber produced a lot of images during this time as it seemed to have taken on a life of its own and often it showed images of what these ideas could generate; annoying the Admirals, even more as their ideas became more apparent than they wishes, but most times it showed stars and not Politicians who thought they were the stars but it would take a long to destroy Venal Politicians – stars or not.

Chapter II – Ejected On A Spaceplane – Don’t Know When We’ll Be Back Again

Destraight seemed an excellent idea and name for a planetary prison according to the remaining Dwarf families who agreed on the delivery of the three Admirals to new horizons they wouldn’t return from. It was an old unstable planet ideally suited for prisoners the Dwarven race had taken and the now failed Politicians movingon to new careers, or was it?

Dwarfia, despite its inherent violence, considered itself a democracy and there was a vote finally decreeing the three Admirals and prisoners would be put into Stasis. These specially selected prisoners would also not be returning – they were too much of a problem to in captivity.

In the end, although it was never made public, it took three the years to capture or kill the prisoners and other dwarfs who were quietly rounded up for Stasis, and they had finally completed the build of the modified Armada Class ships – Andromeda with Admiral James Droga; Surreptitious with Admiral Stefen Matira, and the Ancient with Admiral David Jamesson – all currently in Stasis and they would remain there for a minimum of ten years before being woken up, although they would then go back into Stasis.

The prisoners – still alive – yes, sixty thousand out of two hundred thousand prisoners at the beginning – would also join them – and yes, there was sufficient head clearance for non-Dwarven races although some Dwarfs would have just cut their heads off.

Along with twenty thousand sleeping prisoners/politicians per ship there were the Guards – Guard volunteering was difficult to effect but recruitment was managed and many a Guard who drank too much, now drank no more; unless in his sleep – Hounds and hunting Cats to control and hunt those who would try to escape were fairly easy to drug although the Cats being far more intelligent than the Hounds, and in fact more intelligent than most of the Guards were more difficult to control, anyway all were already asleep, even if they didn’t know how it was managed, and would stay that way until they were placed upon Destraight.

Crews had been selected on five year shifts and contracted to return – a pity, half of the fuel tanks would be empty when they reached Destraight but the other reserve tanks would register full for the return journey when in fact they were empty.

In reality the Dwarfs considered everyone disposable and certainly not, recyclable back to Dwarvia – no-one would be returning or they would die if they tried! The quarters were armoured as with very little fuel the shields were virtually non-existent although it would be a long trip that some Dwarfs would not see the end of.

Finally, late that night into a dark sky spasm brilliant sheets of silver fire bracketed with red, blue and orange beams that blackened the dark sky. Furnaces of golden light spiralled upwards with lightning striking as pads erupted sending rockets soaring in a blaze of red, lighting up the horizon.

Amongst this glory of colour three oversize ships quietly rose in the background; their dark furtive silhouettes escaping into the night although even now the ruling families, defeated in the Chamber in one of the most blood-thirsty diplomatic battles ever seen in the house, still felt they ruled and controlled as the minor houses struggled amongst themselves for cohesion as a Political force.

The Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s sensed the infighting amongst Dwarfs and certainly could never conceive the idea of defeat and so immediately launched unsanctioned invasions to test the mettle of the bodies now apparently governing the Chamber.

A problem with Control Freaks unfortunately is that they can never let go of anything and in planning all the major families could see were sub-projects which to them considering they were personal goals which meant killing someone although most of their thinking seemed to move in the same direction.

They did finally peered through images at Intergalactic Glasses for the latest three dimensional optics on sale which promised to help them see to the end of a plan, even if they would never achieve it but arrogance and ignorance are always as much a barrier as fear as Ruling families who no longer rule are often targeted briefly by history or somebody as it prepares the last rites but they don’t give up power easily although they often have little choice as they view their futures and find them as brief as their intelligence is if they don’t takeover again and show they still control before the rebellion against them takes off and this times really succeeds. They’d ruled for years and weren’t going to let this happen over-night, nor over-morning, if they could stop it.

If the three families had their way and they did still control Government as a policy of war then the wars would continue as their lives and wealth were entrenched in war and they felt the Elves as the extreme bureaucratic Uncivil Service would follow their rules.

The ex-Ruling Families felt they had the Elves elements twisted more than usually in their favour but one of the problems with Dwarfs who feel they control by right, is that they forget who controls the left, and in the case of the Elves who’d served for so long it wasn’t just their feeling that an obligation had become servitude, they felt exploited and forced into a Bureaucratic Government service and now were holding their own meetings. Whilst they could kill by force they often felt that boredom could achieve the same results in a meeting.

They’d been prevented from boarding the ships by the Droga’s, Matira’s and Jamesson’s but you needed to know Elves to do that and the Elves liked long meetings whilst the Dwarf’s were usually on a knife edge so there was no understanding between them; just the Dwarf’s belief they controlled the Elves – treating a short term commitment as a long term obligation and that vanished when they lost power and now within the Elven races their own power struggles commence and they were as bloody as the Dwarven political battles and highlighted another unknown skill of the Elves.

They might consider being bloody minded and deliberately awkward as a skill but in their natural element they were ephemeral and constantly refreshed themselves via the diamond each wore around their throat although at times they were almost hypnotic when the diamond and their minds were in tune and this allowed them to portray any image they chose.

Now the Elves, using their other skills were on the ships and sharing the Stasis cubicles – the survivors had, had enough of Dwarvia as well – some would remain, usually the older Elves who felt they could control Government from within but most were sick of the Ruling Families and their desires to kill and when escape beckons take it and if not now then in the future as other spacecraft would take off.

Now the Elves held even more meetings as they planned another mission for themselves.

Rockets took off once again to attack more planets – it didn’t really matter which planets, along as they took off, whilst quietly the Armada Class ships slowly rose without any fanfare but with a crew who thought the return tanks were full and over a thousand dwarfs who thought they would sleep for most of the journey and then return with a bonus to set them up for life. Yes, they were set up but possibly for death, nor life.

The Armada Class ships were originally designed as troop carriers. From outside the looked like someone’s bottom. Everything came in one end and went out of the other end. They ran to the fullest capacity with plasteel bulging from every orifice and these were blasted in black to merge with the sky.

Run with very small crews – usually six people on two shifts over a five year slot – two Navigators, two Comms and two junior Captains effectively meant a crew of three at any one time but the course was pre-programmed; there weren’t any communications, and they spent most of their time checking the course and monitoring for equipment failures when they were paying any attention.

The Designers hadn’t skimped on black although the accommodation quarters were covered in a stainless plasteel facade – probably the right description for the armoured protection until something hit it. The shields were weak but they were designed for relatively short trips as were the crew, and in this case, potential oblivion also played a fair design feature.

Someone had improved the shields and provided suits for the crews as if there were likely to be any serious issues they could survive but other powers were at play here and image was needed for the take off.

Something and someone has also changed the specifications so the ships were stronger than intended, although where the crew could go in an emergency was something the design failed to cater for but again counter-forces were working against each other and something yet again, was wrong.

The current crew were Mesne de Worder as the Navigator. Mesne was well named as her family knew – she couldn’t concentrate on anything. She also couldn’t stop talking and most times talked in images, portraying them onto the cabin walls, making her suited to be an Intergalactic Navigator however this statement was restricted in meaning to ‘on a small space tug with a tolerant crew’!

Trumph de Glop was the junior Captain and they didn’t come any more junior. She was evolvable but this early in a career that wasn’t going to go much further, they’re weren’t any decisions to make and rashness was not encouraged so there was little she could do and seemed adequately suited to her post.

Lnal de Bolte was the Comms Officer and she often Comm’d more than she ever watched screens or listened to anything but she kept the rest of the crew’s eyes off the screens as they listened to her and they liked that as they settled back and listened to her prattle of anything to anyone in space whilst Mesne play images on the bulkhead.

They worked twelve hours on, twelve hours off but usually just hooked up the alarm systems and stretched out until the checks or the noise woke them again and then they reset the clocks until the next checks.

The only thing that kept them going was that is was a five year sleep stint before they too hit Stasis and a big bonus when they returned to set them up in luxury.

The ships progressed and crews changed without anything untoward until about year ten when the Admirals on each ship had to be woken and there were problems to be considered. The obvious ones were that they didn’t want to wake the Admirals and eventually they all ganged together and went to each ship; visiting the Admiral’s Stasis Chambers. Needless to say, the Admiral’s Stasis chambers were as Royalty to a starving wretch.

Satin covers and the Admirals slept in satin hammocks, six foot high within chambers criss-crossed between narrow Stasis fields with only the top field operational.

There were other Stasis generators below but these were unoccupied and the design was that ship movements would not disturb them or another three people in hammocks between Stasis generators below them – if they were occupied.

It still left one small problem – the personal controls for the Admirals could not be opened unless they were forced and when the Admirals woke up they would drop directly onto the people below and waking them up would take the Admirals completely out of Stasis and that was not, if you can believe it, a decision junior officers wished to make since every crew would then have to live with a fighting, bad-tempered Admiral going nowhere.

It was something to be dreaded and so time like the crew moved on and left the Admirals to blissful sleep until there was no other option.

Some forty years later with the mechanisms working automatically, the Admirals finally woke but someone had adjusted the Stasis time fields and those underneath had moved. The Admirals finally descended amidst an explanation of technical problems and if a spaceship can gain a lead balloon then they joined the explanation as to why the Admirals were not able to easily turn the ships around and go home after the ten years had lapsed into forty years and they were halfway through the voyage.

After the Admirals realised that killing the crew was not a good idea, they stormed off to the Stasis chambers again and that was another issue as the next regulator on the Chambers was arrival at Destraight and yet, another lead balloon sank into the ship’s ballast as the Admirals realised they were not welcome back in Dwarvia.

Another crew, and yet another crew were beckoned by time but it wasn’t easy with power reduced daily until forcing them to bring in the reserve tanks led them to find they had no reserve tanks.

The smell now was of something different; they couldn’t stop the ships and the crews communicating to each other, realised something … they weren’t going home to a bonus nor to anything; the arguments range long and hard but it is amazing what you can do with an Admiral’s Stasis chamber and they were all soon asleep and the ship could look after itself.

Finally the tannoys blazed into operation and Stasis systems shut down, leaving a lot of people looking for a drink for those hangovers after a forty year session but now other problems started to interfere with their feeling hungover.

The issues for the Admiral’s now were lights in the sky approaching the Armada Ships instead of the other way around. Screens were showing land-quakes, typhoons and tidal waves and they were hitting the planet as they watched. Something, however, was going to hit and hit the Armada Ships, and that was a series of objects flying directly towards them. Already large sections of the spaceships were dropping with the prisoners caged inside as the rockets fired briefly to take them to planned landing positions no matter what the surface conditions were and the Guards, Hounds and Cats were unceremoniously dumped with them.

The Admirals discussions were becoming agitated as they looked at the advancing spacial objects and already the crew were moving from the controls and joining the Admirals with each putting on a winning smile for a place on the Admiral’s scout ships.

We need to move, Admiral,” said one honeyed voice as she moved as close as she dared, “We got you here, sir; we can get you to the surface, sir.”

The Hell-Cats can do that and let go of my arm!”

A voice at that point penetrated, “The Hell-Cats have female brains but they are not women any-more!”

On several ships the Admirals heard the pre-arranged messages the crews, all female dwarfs, had decided on. The Admirals would need advice and that they could supply in various ways.

Most Admirals had brought their family; whether they wanted to or not – a clean sweep had been ordered and demanded but computer programs now ensured that Admiral Stefen Matira was located to the south-east; Admiral David Jamesson to the north whilst Admiral James Droga was to the north-west with the locations hundreds of miles apart amidst a massive expanse of country and water – if it was still there, between them.

The prisoner and family disposal areas were at least eight to a hundred miles away from the castles which were now being quickly – almost jerry built, by computers that seemed to be having problems with the electro-magnetic affects of the spacial objects and their programs were becoming a little erratic.

The Admirals were realising that on Destraight they would have authority, once the Vis-Moot took place; Guards; Cats, Hounds and controlled prisoners would be under their control – the only problem was that something seemed to be wrong on the planet and they enlarged the scope of surveillance to watch the prisoners being dispersed to various areas of the country. The initial plan aims were to populate the north, south and central areas of Destraight.

It would be called Ascania in the north; the main landing areas here would be called Toshonia, and the central area, Stovania.

The Admirals in a rare show of co-operation had decided that James Droga would own Stovania; Stefen Matira, Toshonia and David Jamesson would own Ascania – no-one was going home – least of all, them and as usual they planned for the short-term but the crew they had agreed to take checked the pre-programmed courses on their Hell-Cats – the Hell-Cats seemed happy to talk to women and found the courses weren’t alterable – they were going where they were programmed – another surprise for the Admirals.

The prisoner and family disposal points were in the middle of nowhere, miles away from anything or anyone else – almost like some holidays for hardy old people with money still left.

The prisoners were looking at each other as if they had just found something and they weren’t happy with their find and they weren’t speaking to each other; they didn’t need to, it seemed like an old Sunday afternoon in Scotland – even Wales was better but like any bad holiday they seemed to know what others were thinking without speaking.

The Guards were panicking as the Cats and Hounds had stopped taking voice commands and instead of being trained wild animals held by specially trained handlers were walking up to prisoners and Guards, and lying down for their bellies to be tickled.

The Admirals, looking at the space screens also saw something else they didn’t like as the objects approaching seemed a lot closer than this morning and they were also thinking, and thinking fast for a change.

This led the Admirals to finally look one another in the face, instead of the boots, gut or anywhere else they usually looked to avoid facing each other. Their thoughts were then interrupted by a young aide – she wasn’t even forty yet – something that turned them bright orange, “Admirals, COMSATNEV is on video – signal is only fifteen years old, so it’s fairly new!”

James Droga looked at the young COMSATNEV liaison, “this better be good!”

COMSATNEV has aborted the mission. This planet is on the boundaries of dimensional planetary interplay. There are several black holes and planets are not following guidelines. Trouble at home has started as the peace agreement prohibits dumping prisoners into deep space and this mission is to be aborted and all personnel put to sleep until fuel arrives. Fuel is being sent out and will arrive in forty years but everyone must be brought back and put into Stasis again before they return. The signal will wake the crew when the fuel arrives.”

Well,” said Stefen Matira, “it’s a little late, COMSATNEV disciple, to do this with all the prisoners on the surface and dispersed over the land whilst we are facing incoming space debris; the Cats and Hounds out of control and some kind of planetary environment is affecting the prisoners and Guards … perhaps you should go down and explain it to them and I suggest you do it quickly or stay here and face the rocks. Look at the incoming rocks, COMSATNEV, and we have used all our power to arrive here so we have virtually no shields left. For your instruction to be effective we would need everyone back on the ships and be returning before those rocks arrive; looking at my fellow Admirals, I think we are agreed that urgently leaving this ship before it is destroyed is an excellent idea, so please tell that to COMSATNEV after we have made the planetary surface although on second thoughts, we need the power to land and you don’t as you will not be telling people the mission has been aborted,” COMSATNEV became a bloody torso that left her lying on the spaceship floor, “I think we need to make a decision and I’m leaving now.” He finally found his way to his Hell-Cat, assisted by a lot of crew, “Are we carrying too much weight?”

No, sir. Supplies have already been shipped down.”

How and when?”

Parachute, sir.”

We don’t have parachutes?”

We made them up, sir. The rocket jettison parachutes.”

They are to slow us down to land in an emergency.”

The Hell-Cats have never needed them, sir. It was a safety measure.”

So now we have no safety measures?”

Did we ever, sir?”

See me when we make land!”

On the planet the prisoners and families were still watching and they were watching water rising and surrounding where Matira castle would be but water was now engulfing them to the north and starting to flood their camp.

Further north the site of David Jamesson’s castle and the prisoner camp near him looked good, whilst James Droga’s castle site, far to the north-west was on the coast whilst the prisoner camp was a hundred miles south and near the floods sweeping in.

The castles and camps had started to build with a combination of silicone, concrete powder, air and water dropped into moulds – needing only power to generate the structures and that was already in operation as the sun caught the generators. The sun-shell power nodes were reacting and the castles and camps were rising although the land and water also seemed to be rising.

Everyone were looking at the sky as much as the still self-building structures. The Guards were releasing prisoners against all orders as there was nowhere to go and with the water sweeping in it sounded more like a riot than a prison camp.

The Admirals had now realised something about the Hell-Cats and that was they couldn’t alter the pre-programmed destinations and all were now heading for pre-programmed sites, even if one was underwater.

The moulds have gone in just the same and the model was working as surrounds were sunk around castle destinations and then the castles were built; even if one was completely surrounded by water and was in fact growing out of the water.

The prisoners looked around as their buildings kept rising but so did the Admirals as the Hell-Cats took them away with no way to countermand any commands – Dwarvia had decided to bury the Admirals and didn’t care how or when or where.

Anyone watching the buildings erupt would obviously feel the designers had played with castles as children – walls were going up, towers; baileys were obviously designed into the building as were killing areas – these buildings were being built as ancient history and not the modern world the meetings had stated … yet another computer screw-up thought the Admirals but that was it.

Looking out Stefen could see a castle and walls stretching to fifteen miles, while walls behind and directly in front of them, bisected the horizon for another ten miles and that seemed an overkill – it was all perimeter defence but against water … the fifteen foot high waters? His castle was an island.

The only decent area was David Jamesson’s, where the prisoners were only ten miles away and not drowning but James Droga didn’t have an integrated castle as such. His castle was five away from his Manor House which was ten miles away from the barracks and all moving east leaving his castle fifteen miles from the barracks.

Things were not working out as planned for the other Admirals either, although it was never intended that they should but the planners probably thought it was fun to screw up everything.

James Droga exploded, “Where is the Vis-Moot equipment? We need to beam our authority to everyone.”

Perhaps, James, we just need to control the guards and they are our authority. Everyone knows we rule … perhaps we better just assume our roles as leaders?”

With the Vis-Moot, Stefen, no-one can dispute our authority!”

There is no Viz.-Moot that I can see but I can certainly see Guards and I feel that will have to be our goal. We have our lands to secure or floods in my case and I intend to move towards another site and with haste.”

One other problem for Admiral Stefen Matira on entering his castle was that only one floor had been completed. The rest of the castle walls had been built but some computer glitch had only then furnished one floor. His next problem was that he’d have to walk to the west in order, after a long climb to reach the only inhabitable areas of the castle. The kitchens and food stores were to the east but his bedchamber was hard against the west wall. The map he was presented with showed three stairways to the tower; a gateway that led below the castle and only one way into the castle that he could understand. The internal Guard’s barracks; sleeping quarters and armoury were all linked to his bedroom … there needed to be some serious thought about this, he decided.

He used one of the stairways to the Tower and again felt his eyes drawn to the ever-increasing rocks in the sky which seemed to be becoming larger by the day.

The Admirals were having other surprises. Due to computer glitches all castles had only one floor furnished however five castles had been built for the three Admirals but not necessarily near each other, and three into five definitely didn’t go. An unpopulated four storey block almost half-way between the castles of Stefen Matira and David Jamesson were also built, but in the area allocated to Stovania and in addition to Admiral Droga’s castle, a separate manor house and a Guard’s barracks had been built miles apart.

The other issue was that no-one was allocated nor lived in the four storey block or the other two castles and the Admirals immediately decided that these builds must be their property whilst the freed prisoners, Cats and Hounds were now spreading out to find land and security before any Guards found them again but already the different types of prisoners were seeking their own refuges and some were below ground but all were as far from the Guards as they could be and as they moved they found other buildings, small towns and villages in odd spots but spread across one continuous country and that spread as far as the eye could see or in some cases the tentacles eye. The computer glitches appeared to have ‘gone to town’ in the screw-ups and apparently built towns without rhyme or reason and there were sixty thousand prisoners interested in them.

Perhaps they should have been interested in the rocks in the sky that were becoming bigger and closer but had they more interest themselves than in just surviving.

 

Chapter III – Round Two

It might also have interested them, that back on Dwarvia: yet another coup had occurred; the War Party were ruling again; planets were being invaded, and a build-up of prisoners on Dwarvia was occurring and now the riots started again and the backlash against the War Party led to increasing political bloodshed. It didn’t take long before old ideas were forming again and some Armada Class ships started construction.

The general consensus basically was … hell this time we – the Ruling Families – won’t get control back. We’ve already colonised this planet – Destraight; if we build five more ships then that is another hundred thousand prisoners we can rid Dwarvia of, plus a more than a few traitors who don’t support us and we will supply five admirals from our families who will be ideal for the project: Marcel Droga; Stefen Matira; Peter Jamesson; Percival de Bowed, and Argus Du Storme.

On Destraight, prisoners moved at speed amidst a feeling of euphoria that lasted for another question?

The land was new and even if it wasn’t their land there was no religion, politicians, or newspapers, so life should be good, or so they thought but Destraight stretched for hundreds of miles and travelled more towns than a politician in a bus, so there must be some land free for them, or so they thought in their ignorance?

Their species ranged from magical to rock, bird, horse, human, Dwarf and elf, albeit they were never there nor part of the prisoners – there were some Dwarfs and they included a killing element, apart from the politicians who didn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves, however, they could live as and where they chose once they had the chains off and the Admirals had a key and the theory was that in return for releasing your bounds, you were then bound to the Admiral.

A lot of the prisoners were still bound in chains that only the Admirals could free.

Some above ground, others sought existence beneath – yet again, others became the ground as they sunk into a life they knew but without the bounds released they would never be free.

People found they could communicate by thought and their image of the King or Queen in her or his chamber seemed to be defined by the thoughts of the people and for once was a democratic voice.

The Admirals and Politicians might feel they ruled within Destraight but these people felt they lived within the land but as they started to consider their own existence with the rocks in the sky became larger and larger and the seas starting to rise, yet again. Areas that had been dry for miles were flooding as the sea swept in.

The Admirals were also losing touch. Their scouts were out of power, and whilst they’d never really spoken to each other unless forced to, now they couldn’t speak to each other, or the ships still circling above the planet as all communications ran out of power.

They were as marooned as the Guards and prisoners – whether they liked it or not. All they had were the Guards assigned to them and desertion was already rife as the Guards realised they weren’t being paid, and if they were paid, there was nothing to spend it on anyway, with no food and life was definitely going to get harder with the rocks in the sky getting bigger and the sea levels rising but at least some lakes were forming and with them some fish were being swept in but life appeared to be being swept out – moving from prisons to a long forty year sleep then deposited on a world they didn’t know with no support, food and still chained made them need to remember the only thing they had in common was being captured and imprisoned by the Dwarves and they were now facing death and slowly.

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