The Gunpowder Plot - Snippet

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by ChrisNuttall, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. ChrisNuttall

    ChrisNuttall Monkey+++

    Comments welcome

    Chapter One<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />

    The Archbishop of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canterbury</st1:place></st1:City> today renewed his statement calling on the Government to recognise the pre-eminence of Sharia Law in court cases where one participant is a Muslim. Citing the doctrine of respect for other faiths, the Archbishop refused to comment on the death of a young boy who was accused of practicing homosexuality…
    -BBC News

    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">London</st1:City>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">United Kingdom</st1:country-region></st1:place>
    1<SUP>st</SUP> March, 2025

    “They’re saying that it’s the end of days.”

    Sir Charles Hanover looked up from his briefcase. The <st1:City w:st="on">London</st1:City> cabby’s voice had cut into his private thoughts, a mixture of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City> brogue and something other. He put the tablet aside and frowned, studying the cabby with detached interest. Like so many others in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City> these days, he was of foreign descent, yet also British. There weren’t enough like him.

    “The end of days,” he repeated. “I pray that they are wrong.”

    The cabby snorted as a policeman waved them to a halt. Ahead of them, a line of marching protesters was heading down towards central <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City> and the Houses of Parliament. Their deafening chant could be heard even inside the cab, demanding an end to government spending cuts and the introduction of new social legislation that was intended to help the poor. It seemed to have escaped their notice that the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. The new taxes they were demanding – in the hopes that the rich could be forced to pay for their social security – would complete the destruction of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region> as an industrial nation. Already, businesses were fleeing the country, fearing the results of the next election. They had good reason to fear.

    A smaller group of protesters appeared from nowhere and surrounded the cab. These days, hardly anyone drove in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City>, apart from buses and taxis. The soaring cost of fuel had done what government-supported environmental campaigns couldn’t have done and convinced most middle-class Londoners that a car was economically impossible. Anyone with a vehicle was automatically marked out as one of the rich, even taxi drivers who had to spend most of their income just to keep their vehicle running. The taxi shook violently as the protesters pushed and shoved against it, before retreating in disarray when the taxi driver produced a knife and held it up threateningly. There was no sign of any help from the nearby Community Support Officers. They’d probably thought that watching the cab being rocked by the protesters was funny.

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> gritted his teeth as the throng of protesters thinned out and faded away. Some of them were students, graduates with increasingly worthless degrees who couldn’t find a job that would pay even the basic necessities of life. Others were professional troublemakers, creating chaos in the streets for fun and games. And still others were religious factions that wanted to introduce religious law over large parts of the country. There were already plenty of communities where the country’s law no longer held sway. If the coming election put the Social Justice Party in power, the de facto situation would become law. And then it would expand until the country became a religious state. No wonder that anyone with any sense was already emigrating to <st1:country-region w:st="on">America</st1:country-region>, or <st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region>, or <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">New Zealand</st1:place></st1:country-region>, the last bastions of Western Civilisation. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> shook his head as the taxi lurched back into life, heading away from the protesters and down towards their destination. How had it ever come to this?

    No one had expected Charles Hanover to inherit his father’s title, even though aristocratic titles were becoming increasingly worthless in modern <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>. As the second son, his course had been set long before he’d been born; he’d studied – at <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cambridge</st1:place></st1:City>, the family college – and then gone into the army. <st1:State w:st="on">Hanover</st1:State> had loved the military life, serving with the Royal Anglicans in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Iraq</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Afghanistan</st1:place></st1:country-region>, and he could have dedicated himself to serving in the military until the day he died. Instead, his elder brother had died in a fire – a fire <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> knew had been set by radical environmental terrorists – and his father had passed away soon afterwards, heartbroken at how the terrorists had been leniently treated by the establishment. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Hanover</st1:State></st1:place> had inherited…and contempt for those who believed that violence could be justified by their cause had flourished into hatred.

    The taxi turned the corner and headed down a long street. It was supposed to be one of the better areas of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City>, but it was depressing – and it would have been unthinkable, as little as ten years ago. Great piles of uncollected garbage lay by the side of the road, sending an almost unbearable stench wafting towards the houses; handfuls of people, their eyes dim and listless, wandered the streets, showing signs of malnutrition and hunger – despite the Basic Living Stipend provided by the government. The garbage collectors were on strike and had been on strike for weeks, protesting assaults on their personnel by youths who held the establishment in utter contempt. No one seemed to care any longer – and British cities were increasingly looking like something from a Third World hellhole, one of the failed states only kept alive by infusions of aid money from the West. <st1:State w:st="on">Hanover</st1:State> had seen several such states, back when his regiment had been sent on peacekeeping missions, and had counted himself lucky that he had been born in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>. He wasn’t so sure now.

    He shuddered inwardly as he caught sight of a beggar, sitting in a boarded-up shop front. The neatness of his small pile of possessions suggested that he was a former soldier, perhaps a veteran of the wars in the <st1:place w:st="on">Middle East</st1:place> before retiring from the army. Like so many others, he’d discovered that his country’s government was singularly ungrateful for years of devoted service. The survival skills he’d developed in the army would be all that kept him alive on his country’s streets, little more than a homeless wanderer with no hope of a better life. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> silently cursed the government under his breath as the taxi finally reached its destination.

    “Here we are, governor,” the taxi driver said, cheerfully. “That’ll be seventy-two pounds, sir.”

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> paid grudgingly and stepped out of the cab. The stench grew stronger and he fought down the urge to gag. It was easy to believe that some of the piles of garbage concealed dead bodies, youths murdered in increasingly violent gang wars in inner-city <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City>. Despite endless campaigns to disarm the population, it was astonishing how many weapons remained on the streets. But then, anything could be used as a weapon when the laws of the jungle reigned supreme.

    The taxi driver was right. It was the end of days.

    The Diogenes Club had begun life as a joke, an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a fictional establishment invented by one of the more popular Victorian authors. It had rapidly become surprisingly popular among the wealthy of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">London</st1:place></st1:City>, who found the idea of a building where they could be certain of silence and an absence of wives, children or creditors, to be appealing. Like every other supposedly exclusive establishment, it had been forced by the introduction of anti-discriminatory legislation to open its doors to all who wanted to seek admittance, but it still served as a useful cover for all kinds of activities. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> had been a member since before inheriting his title.

    He strode indoors, passing through the two security checkpoints before allowing a uniformed bellboy to take his hat and coat. Utter silence was the rule in the club, except in a handful of private rooms on the upper levels. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> walked up luxuriously-decorated stairs and reached the fourth level, where a single door was guarded by a man wearing a black suit. Nothing could disguise his military bearing, or the weapon half-concealed at his belt. No one would be permitted past him unless they were on the guest list. His presence was more than just a formality. It proved that years of careful scheming and planning hadn’t come to the attention of the authorities, or at least those who would be disposed to intervene.

    The door opened and he stepped into the conference room. It was just as elegant as the rest of the building, with a long row of bookcases, a small table for paperwork and a handful of comfy chairs, four of which were occupied. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> took the fifth chair and waited until the door closed and locked behind him before speaking. It was so difficult to know who to trust these days.

    “This room,” he said, finally. “Is it secure?”

    “I had a team of operatives check it out,” Sir Rupert Dawson, Deputy Director of MI5, said calmly. “They confirmed that the room is secure.”

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> nodded. Among the unseen aspects of the club was a set of meeting rooms that were as secure as human ingenuity and technology could make them. No signal could escape the shielded walls hidden behind wood panelling, nor could a mobile phone or any other electronic device operate without being detected. It was a level of security technology that the average person didn’t even have the faintest idea existed, but <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> knew better than to take anything for granted. As technology advanced, the technology to fool it advanced as well – and that didn’t include the human element. Operations had been blown into the open before because some damn fool couldn’t keep his mouth shut.

    He settled back and studied his four allies. <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dawson</st1:place></st1:City> was a short average-looking man, wearing a cheap suit and a pair of reading spectacles. No one would take note of him if they passed <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dawson</st1:place></st1:City> on the street, which was the point. The Deputy Director of MI5 – the Director of MI5 was a political appointee with little comprehension of the position – had to remain out of the public eye. Besides, these days MI5 had to work in the shadows. All of its public buildings were permanently picketed by protesters.

    General Lawrence Compton was a tall powerfully-built man, with short dark hair and a civilian suit that he somehow managed to wear like a uniform. <st1:City w:st="on">Compton</st1:City> had been in the Army for longer than <st1:State w:st="on">Hanover</st1:State> and had climbed to the post of Chief of Joint Operations, the highest-ranking uniformed officer in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>. The posts above CJO were filled by political appointees, but there was another reason for <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City>’s assignment to the Permanent Joint Headquarters. <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> was the Army’s most experienced officer at dealing with civil unrest and mass disorder. It had been gained on the streets of <st1:City w:st="on">Belfast</st1:City>, <st1:City w:st="on">Basra</st1:City> and – until the government had pulled all British troops out of <st1:country-region w:st="on">Iran</st1:country-region> – <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Tehran</st1:City></st1:place>.

    Gordon Hastings was equally tall, but his fondness for the good life was starting to take its toll on his body. He was somewhat overweight, with a receding hairline and a fleshy, unhealthy face. The Civil Service – the small army of bureaucrats that kept <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region> running, often despite their political masters – didn’t allow much time for exercise. Involving him was a risk, but the Civil Service could not be ignored. And there was no reason to doubt his patriotic credentials. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Hastings</st1:City></st1:place> would never rise to the top of his chosen profession, not with a record of political incorrectness and actually attempting to do his job properly.

    And finally, Professor Kevin Kinnock, a man in his late forties who looked a decade older, thanks to a smear campaign that had finally forced him out of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Oxford</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">University</st1:placeType></st1:place> two years ago. Commissioned to write a study on the benefits of increased multiculturalism and racial integration on British streets, he had concluded that British society was on the verge of fragmenting apart – if indeed it hadn’t already passed the point of no return. He’d made the mistake of making his results public, leading to a whispering campaign that had branded him a racist, a sexist and far too many other bad things. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> had saved him from the gutter and commissioned him to write a private study, one that had been presented only last week. It had taken that long to organise the meeting.

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> tapped the table. “Professor, if you would?”

    Kinnock cleared his throat. “You can read the full report if you wish,” he said, with a bluntness that <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> found rather appealing, “but the facts are as follows. The Social Justice Party will win an overall majority in the next General Election, three months from today. Colin Howard and the Coalition Government are unlikely to be able to reverse the downwards trend in time to matter. Once in power, the Social Justice Party will implement it’s declared plan; enfranchisement of refugees living in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>, integration into a federal European Union and massively revamped social legislation. The writing is on the wall. We’re looking at a total demographic disaster that will wipe <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region> off the map.”

    There was a long pause. No one spoke.

    “The best case we can hope for is becoming a province of the German Empire,” the Professor continued, when no one seemed inclined to doubt his conclusions. “Ever since <st1:country-region w:st="on">Greece</st1:country-region> defaulted, the Germans have been playing hardball with the rest of <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place>, making further financial aid dependent upon playing the game by their rules. Unfortunately, there are absolute limits to German financial and political power and those limits may be on the verge of being reached. There will be a financial black hole that will shatter <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place>.

    “The worst case can be summed up in one word; Caliphate. We’ve seen increased integration of Muslim communities in Europe – <st1:country-region w:st="on">France</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on">Germany</st1:country-region> in particular – ever since the flood of refugees started pouring in from the Middle East and <st1:place w:st="on">North Africa</st1:place>. There are strong signs that the Social Justice Party intends to grant Islamic Law supremacy within Muslim districts in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Britain</st1:country-region>, a trend that has already started in parts of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">France</st1:place></st1:country-region>. They have shock troops formed from Palestinian refugees from the West Bank and <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Gaza</st1:place></st1:City>, as well as an alarming number of Muslim soldiers in European armies. The security checks carried out on applicants leave something to be desired. And if they do found a pan-Islamic state, the best we can hope for is something along the lines of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Iran</st1:place></st1:country-region>, except without oil. I invite you to consider what that might mean for the non-Muslim communities in our country.”

    “I can confirm that the Caliphate project is well under way,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dawson</st1:place></st1:City> said, into the silence. “We have been largely forbidden from monitoring extremist Islamic groups within <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>, but we have picked up on covert preparations for the coming Caliphate. The hate campaign being mounted against serving police and military personnel is being masterminded by fundamentalists based within <st1:City w:st="on">London</st1:City>, <st1:City w:st="on">Birmingham</st1:City> and <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Manchester</st1:place></st1:City>. And sympathetic political and legal assets are being used to ensure that the perpetrators receive light sentences, if indeed they are sentenced at all. I think we can safely say that large areas of the country are no longer under the control of the central government.”

    “But surely there’s something else we can do,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> said. “We could rig the election.”

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> shook his head. “The European Union has been monitoring elections over the last ten years, ever since the French National Front was discredited after an attempt to rig the elections in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">France</st1:place></st1:country-region>,” he said. “We would have to deceive the poll-watchers they’re going to be sending to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>. But even if we did, the Coalition Government isn’t going to hold together for much longer. Howard has burned up almost all of his political capital keeping it going as long as he has…”

    He scowled. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> had been invited to take a seat on the Cabinet as a Government Minister, but it hadn’t taken him long to realise that it was a post with very little power. The Coalition Government was a hodgepodge of competing factions, allied by nothing more than fear of the consequences of a Social Justice victory. Prime Minister Howard had held it together for little less than five months, turning the government into a laughing stock. The endless series of scandals had destroyed the public’s faith in government, ensuring that over half the country no longer voted. And if every radical voted on Election Day, they’d have the government.

    “I think we need to consider more extreme possibilities,” <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> said, flatly. “I think it’s time to consider Operation Thyme.”

    <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> hesitated. “Are you seriously suggesting that we push ahead with it?”

    “Yes,” <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> said, coldly. He looked from person to person. “Is there anyone here who believes that we can save the country through the…democratic process?”

    “The democratic process we are sworn to uphold,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> pointed out, sharply.

    “There’s little hope,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dawson</st1:place></st1:City> said. “Let’s face it; if the Social Justice Party wins, the country is doomed. They will slam vast new taxes on successful businesses, destroying them or forcing them to relocate overseas. They will allow millions of refugees and illegal immigrants to vote in the next election. And they will cripple what remains of our military and police force.”

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> nodded. The American occupation of the Middle East and North Africa – a response to the near-destruction of <st1:City w:st="on">San Francisco</st1:City> five years ago – had sent millions of refugees flooding into <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place>. And if that hadn’t been enough, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Israel</st1:country-region>’s massive border expansion program had sent an additional flood of refugees into <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place>. Those refugees might not have been radicalised when they’d left their homelands, but they sure as hell were now.

    It hadn’t taken too long for observant people to see the writing on the wall. <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>’s greatest export now was people, a flood of middle and lower-class British nationals who were denied any way to fight back against the human tide. Kinnock was far from the only person to have been slammed and forced out because of spurious charges of racism, turned into a villain by the compliant media and educational establishment. What kind of world was it, <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Hanover</st1:State></st1:place> asked himself, where murdering a young girl for premarital sex was acceptable, but questioning the country’s immigration policy was not?

    Decades ago, <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">East Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region> had built a wall to stop young and desperate people from trying to escape the worker’s paradise. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> knew how they’d felt.

    “Let’s not make any bones about this,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> said. “We’re talking about a military coup.”

    “Yes,” <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> said. If any of them wanted to betray him, they would have their chance. He was now committed. “We have a plan. I think that we won’t have a second chance.”

    “Not after the Social Justice Party takes power,” Kinnock agreed. “We’ll be lucky to escape with the clothes on our backs.”

    <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> nodded. The Social Justice Party’s contempt for everything that had once made <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region> great was absolute. They’d strip the military and police of everyone who refused to toe the party line, eliminate the aristocracy and tear apart what remained of the British Constitution. And they were riding a tiger. It wouldn’t be long before the Social Justice Party was swept away by a far darker force.

    He looked from face to face, reading silent agreement. “We know the plan,” he said, finally. “And we will proceed.”

    “There’s an issue of overseas intervention,” <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Compton</st1:place></st1:City> reminded him. “What happens if the Social Justice Party in <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place> manages to convince EUROFOR to intervene? And what about the Americans?”

    “EUROFOR is a paper tiger,” <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> said. It had been designed to serve as a unified European military force, but most of the expenditure had been lavished on expensive buildings and military salaries, rather than war-fighting equipment. “And as for the Americans…I find it hard to believe that they view the prospect of Caliphate in <st1:place w:st="on">Europe</st1:place> with any great enthusiasm. They may even assist us.”

    <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Dawson</st1:place></st1:City> chuckled, reading between the lines. “You sly old dog,” he said. “You’ve started negotiations already.”

    “They won’t interfere openly,” <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hanover</st1:place></st1:State> said, “but they will give us covert assistance.”

    He stood up, walked over to the drinks cabinet and produced a bottle of Glen Grant and five glasses.

    “Gentlemen,” he said, once he’d poured them each a drink, “I give you the nation of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Britain</st1:place></st1:country-region>, strong and free.”

    They clinked their glasses together and drank.
  2. goinpostal

    goinpostal Monkey+++

    Looks like the start of yet another thriller!Thank you for sharing it with us!!
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Interesting extrapolation

    Taking current events and doing an extrapolation of future outcomes is a daunting task.

    You write that the lower and middle class have fled en mass - I would imagine that this would have all but gutted the military. & police - at least of any competent staff.

    Where did this exodus of Brits go? The New German Empire?

    If this group actually pulls a coup, how will they deal with the 'compliant media? It would sound as if someone else (party or parties) are behind the media. There ia a reason rebels seize local radio and TV stations BTW - to control the message.

    You have painted a very good word picture, anyone with even a bit on imagination should easily 'see' the locations and main characters.

    I would note that most North Americans, especially from the Western US have little to no knowledge or understanding of the UK, the Civil Service (other than Monty Python) or the current social memes - other that what bits splash across the TV screen for the "news" or worse, entertainment.

    Thanks for the posting, quite the fun read.
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