tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 33

No Future Ch. 33



Honourable Service



"I wouldn't advise it, sir," said Eden's minder, Jason Irons, a dour but efficiently vicious scot. "You've seen the news reports. It's been another day of riots. We'd be better off staying in the house until it blows over. That is, of course, unless you want to leave incognito."

"incognito?" asked Eden with outrage. "What the bloody hell does that mean?"

"Well, we could bundle you into a modest car that someone of your status wouldn't normally be seen dead in and then we could drive you to your Surrey estate and well away from any rioters."

"You're right, Irons," said Eden. "I wouldn't be seen dead doing anything like that. We'll stay here and let this nonsense pass by. I'll go up to my study. You continue trying to organise that charter flight to the Med."

"It's difficult, sir, what with the airport staff strike and the protests against aeroplane fuel subsidies," said Irons. "I mightn't be able to arrange anything for a couple of days."

"I don't bloody care what it takes, Irons. What do I pay you for anyway? Just fucking do it."

Irons scurried off to carry out his duty and left his boss alone in his study. Eden buzzed Theo on his phone who answered immediately. "Come up here please," he said and left the call at that. Within a minute, Theo was in the study standing to attention and bowed his head to Eden in obsequious deference.

"Well, Theo, it looks like I'm going to be spending all of today and possibly most of tomorrow in this place."

"You won't be going to Surrey today then, sir?"

"No, I won't," said Eden. "And it's very likely that I shan't be going there at all. My present plan, if Irons can get it together, is to fly back to my yacht tomorrow. I've already had more than enough of this country."

"I'll tell the guys in the Buccaneer to expect you tomorrow, sir."

"So, what is happening outside, Theo? You'd have thought there would be celebrations after the election. Not riots. It all seemed pretty conclusive after the polls closed."

"There are a lot of people who don't like the election results, sir."

"So why did they vote for the Liberal Conservative Party then, Theo?"

"I think the ones complaining are those who didn't vote for them, sir. I think a lot of them didn't vote at all."

"The modernisation of the electoral system was well overdue. You saw the chaos that resulted when every government was a coalition. In fact, the present government is still a coalition. And it's a coalition with some political parties further to the right than Iverson's lot that I'd probably support if I thought they ever had a chance of becoming the majority. It's the voting system. It's fair and square. The British people should just respect the election result and get on with being governed."

"It's not just the results, sir. I think most people accepted the change of government even if they didn't like it."

"You mean the US Embassy shooting, Theo? What were the Americans supposed to do? Let the anarchists overrun the place? They did the right thing. They should act like that every time."

"They generally do so nowadays whatever happens, sir. The Americans are not much liked anywhere in the world these days. They're perceived to have become unnecessarily brutal with the suppression of rioters and the like."

"And so they should be. What is this mob moaning about anyway? They pay less tax under a Liberal Conservative government. They have more and better opportunities to set up business free from government interference. They should be happy."

"Many are complaining about unemployment and public service cuts, sir."

"Unemployment, Theo? We're doing what we can to keep immigrants and asylum seekers off our shores. They should be grateful. British jobs for British citizens."

"Yes, sir."

"Well, I need some distraction this evening. I take it you'll be able to organise something. Or will the escorts also be frightened to walk the streets of London?"

"I think that they'll be here even if the River Thames floods and the waters reach as far as Mayfair, sir. I don't think anything much could keep them away from providing you a service. If need be, sir, they'd even dress up like a rioter to get here."

That amused Eden. "A hooker in a hoodie. Tarts with eco-terrorist tee-shirts and utility boots. Vegetarian whores. Well, they couldn't be that, could they Theo? Eating meat is part of their job. Where would they be if they decided not to eat sausage when they're asked to?"

"I don't know, sir. Is there anything else you require?"

"Food. Drink. The usual. And if my deranged daughter turns up again, just tell her I'm not in. That is, of course, unless she wants to fight off the rioters. Do you think she sympathises with them, Theo?"

"I don't think she has any opinions, sir, political or otherwise."

"She's a hopeless case. She'll be dead long before I am. And then what will happen to the inheritance?"

"I don't know, sir. Will that be all?"

"Yes, Theo. Don't disturb me until lunch is prepared."

"Of course not, sir."

Eden stood by the window of his study. Berkeley Square seemed quiet. Perhaps a little too quiet. Many of the more exclusive Mayfair shops and salons had been shuttered up since the US Embassy incident. There weren't enough police about for Eden's liking. They were probably gathered in places like Trafalgar Square that had become almost second home for the rioting yobbos. If only it was possible to corral the lot of them and shoot them methodically. That would solve most of Britain's problems in one go. And do wonders for the unemployment statistics.

Eden picked up the phone and punched in a number.

"Eden?" said the voice at the other end.

"Prime Minister," he answered.

"How can I help you, Eden? I am very busy at the moment. I can't really stop for a chat."

"I just wanted an update on the situation."

"It's pretty grim, but we're winning."

"How can you be so sure?"

"The protestors are disorganised. Their demands are unfocused and uncoordinated. The media are unanimously against them, including, you'll be pleased to know, the pinko Guardian and the BBC. There's a head of steam but it'll soon dissipate."

"How long do you think it'll take?"

"A day or so. At most a week. In the long run it'll all be to our benefit."

"How do you work that one out, Ivan?"

"It doesn't do the causes of the greens, the trades unions, the pinkos or the lefties any good to be associated with civil unrest. The more they protest the better the argument to clamp down on them and push forward a modernising agenda."

"And what might that be, Prime Minister?"

"There is virtually no difference, Eden, between what I want to achieve and what you've been advocating for years. This country will be transformed under my premiership. In a few years time it'll hardly be recognisable."

"Good to hear, Prime Minister."

"Thank you, Eden. Now, if you don't mind, I have an Emergency Cabinet Meeting in a few moments."

The Prime Minister put down the phone and Eden stared at it for a few moments while he debated whether he to call the editors and senior executives of his UK media concerns. Finally, he decided that he could trust them to handle the situation by themselves. Eden looked out again through the window at the street below.

Shit! The street wasn't so quiet now. He could see hundreds of louts and layabouts streaming into Berkeley Square. They really did look like the cliché image of rioting mobs as portrayed by his newspapers and other media outlets. They'd armed themselves as well with makeshift weapons. Some were shouting and yelling. They appeared to be concentrating around the square's perimeter. What the fuck! This was England. Britain. The United Kingdom. This kind of thing didn't happen here and it most certainly didn't happen in Mayfair. Curse the bloody Americans!

Eden watched as the mob approached his house. They clearly knew it was his. Perhaps it was those magazine articles about great town houses that had featured one or other of his many British residencies. Perhaps it was all those BBC News stories where whenever there was a report on his business activities the journalist would always be filmed standing outside his Berkeley Square home. Well, that was about the nearest they'd ever get to actually meeting him. The only interviews he did in Britain these days were for Fox News UK.

And then the nightmare began in earnest.

Eden watched in horror as below his study, four floors down, the mob applied their concentrated force as one and began battering against his front door. He couldn't see exactly what they were doing, though he was sure the security cameras were getting a good view that could be used later to settle the ensuing insurance claims. They were using lethal equipment to pulverise his door that included spiked railings, crowbars and other improvised weapons which had undoubtedly been torn out of ransacked cars and service vehicles. The banging and thumping reverberated about the house. The bastards might even get in.

"Irons!" Eden cried out.

"Yes, sir," said his minder who appeared promptly at the door.

"You know what's happening, don't you?"

"Yes, sir."

"It looks pretty bad."

"Yes, sir."

"Deal with it, will you?"

"Yes, sir," said the minder. He cocked his combat pistol and strode off down the stairs.

The door eventually gave in to the incessant pounding and from above Eden watched the mob pile into the house. This was not supposed to happen. This was going to be the day when Eden was due to fly back to his yacht. He'd only booked this visit to England at the last minute anyway. But after such an historic General Election victory, he thought it was pretty much incumbent on him to show support. And now what was he to do?

All through the many years of his career, he was generally escorted by a well-armed security presence. He usually took extreme precautions especially when he visited countries like America or Russia where homicide was rife. It had been stupid not to do so here, but after having visited prosperous business-friendly countries like China and Japan and not needing such tight security, Eden naively thought the same applied to Great Britain.

He was obviously wrong.

His security staff usually had good advice for such dangerous situations and the most important was to hide. He shouldn't try to defend himself. There were trained officers to do that. He shouldn't try to run away unless he knew exactly where he was running to. If he hid, there was a good chance that he might avoid being found. He should never do anything that might attract attention to his whereabouts.

The only place to hide that Eden could think of was under the huge table that dominated his study on which sat a massive computer screen and a pile of expensive first-edition books he'd never read that had been written by people he probably wouldn't like anyway.

The nightmare continued.

Eden could hear the mob from down the stairwell as they smashed furniture and priceless works of art and yelled incoherently. He couldn't quite make out the words though he fancied that he heard his name being repeated several times. So, they did know who lived in this house. Then there was the unmistakable sound of heavy feet getting ever louder as the mob ran up the stairs towards the fourth floor.

There was a pause in the running. There were some angry cries. There was Irons' booming army-trained Scottish voice yelling at the mob. This was another thing that Eden had been told by the security companies. Even mobs, blood-crazed and insane, were often cowed by a show of authority: especially when it was uncompromising and backed up by the clear threat of force.

Then there was another sound that couldn't be mistaken for any other. Irons had fired off his gun.

Eden shivered where he was. Surely that would do it. Surely this was the end of the horror. The mob would see that they were beaten. They would say "OK, mate. We understand. We'll be on our way. No hard feelings."

Unfortunately this wasn't at all what happened when the echoes of the gunshot faded away. Instead the sound of shouting and yelling from the mob got even louder and there was the unmistakeable sound of more improvised weapons being applied on the costly household fittings. Then the thunderous sound of feet clambering up the stairs got steadily ever closer.

Shit! Shit! Shit!

There was another pause as the mob assembled on the landing and various doors were opened and shut. The shouting was still loud, but not much more coherent. Eden heard the handle to the study door being turned. At least he'd had the presence of mind to lock the door. Perhaps that would be good enough. A locked door. Too much effort.

But no! The next sound was of the door being jemmied off its hinges and then there was no barrier between Eden and the mob. They were in the same room as him and he could see their legs and feet from under the table where he was hiding.

"There's the cunt!" said one of the rioters.


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