free ride

Charlie came to in the back of the containment van. He was manacled by the ankles and wrists and was laying on his side, on the floor. Everything hurt.

“Fuck, I said not to shoot, I wasn’t resisting!”

The van stayed silent. He tried to roll over and stretch his legs, but he was also seemingly fixed to the floor of the van and couldn’t move more than about half an inch from his current foetalesque position.

He counted 8 boots on the side of the van he could see and assumed there would be an equal number on the side he couldn’t.

“Didn’t know people thought I was so dangerous.” He said out loud.

“Say anything else and I’ll stun you again.” A disembodied voice said from behind him.

“Oh really, well why don’t you just go…”

Charlie never got to finish the sentence. Ten thousand volts shot up his back from where the electrodes were still embedded in his spine and he lost consciousness. He also simultaneously evacuated his bowels and emptied his bladder, which would’ve been embarrassing if he’d been conscious, but really just made the journey for the eight guards absolutely intolerable due to the smell.

morning has broken

Daniel had been awoken by a sharp kick from one of the pool of admin girls that looked after his paperwork.

“Wakey wakey sleeping beauty, time to rise and shine and fight another day.”

“I only just finished fighting yesterday, that’s the problem I have with now fighting today.” Daniel said, slowly unfolding himself from under his desk, before collapsing on to his chair. The chair back promptly collapsed under the assault and he found himself back on the floor with his only legs left on the now destroyed chair.

“I’ll ring stores and get you another chair.” The girl said as she walked away laughing.

Daniel gingerly sat back down on the base of the chair and opened up his log book to make a note of yesterday’s activities. He omitted his evening movements, replacing them with a nondescript report of spending the evening at home studying Russian. It was something he was meant to be doing, so was a good enough excuse and would hold water if pressed.

“Coffee?”

Daniel looked up from his logbook and was greeted by another one of the admin girls. He took out a cigarette.

“God, yes please, very black with 3 sugars.”

little surprise

The response Charles had received from his younger brother, was, to be honest, the response he assumed he would get from his younger brother. Unlike Charles, Alex and even Kath, Thomas had been too young to really be involved in the first war and had spent most of his life after university loafing around the family house in the country, reading and writing poetry. Charles didn’t necessarily have any issues with his younger brother living such an artistic life, but it did leave Thomas with quite a romantic and indeed rose tinted view of the world, very different to that which Charles and his elder relatives had.

It therefore came as a surprise to Charles, when, retiring in his drawing room with a brandy later that evening he was visited by Thomas, who proceeded to lay forth a plan for the family to snare the man, Charles believed had murdered both of his wives and finally get to the bottom of the whole horrendous ordeal.

The plan was strikingly cunning and Charles was left with a new found sense of interest in his younger brother and the creative method in which he had plotted to capture their Teutonic arch nemesis.

geh zum teufel

The punch had hit Charles, quite literally like a fist to the face. He hadn’t seen it coming, as it had been delivered by a man stood beside him, whom he had not been paying much attention to. It almost made Charles swear out loud in English, which was of course the point of the sucker punch, but he managed to change his outward expression to German just in time.

“Du Fickfehler, geh zum teufel!”

The man opposite smiled a thin smile, then spoke in a very accented English to Charles.

“Very good, you have managed to maintain your cover, such a shame zat your pilot friend did not. We know everything zat happened Charles. Zat is your name, is it not, Charles?”

Charles sat still and steady, saying nothing. The punch had cut his lip and the front of his mouth was slowly filling with blood. The silent standoff lasted for a full ten minutes, until the man stood and came face to face with Charles in his chair. As he came within range, Charles spat the full mouthful of blood that he had been building up, into the face of his captor.

“Fick dich und deine Mutter, Schwein!”

modern awakening

Kath and Alexa had ridden back to the house, Kath reverting to her usual riding style, had gone up to bed once the horses had been stripped, with Alexa choosing her own room, so as to not wake Charles.

After saying goodnight, Kath had gone to her room, but was so full of energy after her invigorating night ride with Alexa, that she simply could not get comfortable to sleep. Her room, like all the rooms, was freezing cold at night, so she huddled a blanket around her, sat at her desk and busied herself writing an entry into her journal.

It was a deeply private item, hidden away under a loose floorboard she had discovered as a child, which now housed her dearest possessions. She wrote fluidly and fast, trying to capture the emotion and energy she was feeling. The sense of freedom she had experienced had been exhilarating, she had felt as if she could do anything when she was with Alexa and had begun to see why Charles was so smitten with this creature from the new world.

Eventually she wearied and climbed into bed fully dressed before quickly succumbing to sleep, where she stayed until morning.

kodak moment

The rabbit looked a little odd Charlie had to admit, but it was definitely a rabbit. Two floppy ears, a little nose and the large haunches, absolutely signified that he was looking at a rabbit. He was so engrossed in ascertaining all of the details in his cloud rabbit, that he missed the tell tale noises of approaching containment officers.

Unlike the satellite, the officers were equipped with thermal imaging goggles and as such the team of fifteen that had been tasked with collecting Charlie, knew exactly where he was and other than their own fight with the crops in the field, were approaching unimpeded.

Charlie became alerted to the incoming officers when one of them called out his name.

“Charlie, we don’t want any problems OK. We are here to bring you back in, you’ve been gone a long time.”

“Fuck.” Charlie said. “OK, I’m standing up, don’t shoot me.”

One of the containment officers clicked the safety off of his taser pistol and took aim at the body temperature area visible in his goggles, he wasn’t taking any chances. As Charlie’s centre of mass became visible, the officer squeezed the trigger and hit Charlie with ten thousand volts.

sleepy hollow

By the time Daniel had left the senior man’s house in the light of early dawn, they had worked out the rudimentary beginnings of a plan. He checked his watch, a few minutes after five. There was no way he could make it home to sleep before having to head into the office, so he straightened his tie and decided to go and sleep at his desk.

The walk through the not yet quite awake city was a pleasant enough experience for Daniel and he decided to make it more pleasurable by diverting through Hyde Park. He entered off the Bayswater Road, walked down past the Serpentine, exited by Wellington Arch, into Green Park, across the front of Buckingham Palace, then down to Westminster over the bridge and on until he arrived at the office. 100 Westminster Bridge Road, Century House, the worst best kept secret headquarters in the history of spying.

He bought cigarettes from the petrol station on the ground floor and headed upstairs. It was almost six thirty, he had two hours until the secretaries arrived and three before his superiors appeared doing the morning inspections of their teams. He would need to be awake by then.