I added a
or three to my blogs. As well as the usual ‘About’ you can now help yourselves to genuine free … literature. Boom boom~! TONIGHT after morosely pondering that nobody seems interested I revisited my own ‘Tabitha’ (she of the Swindleham Spooks fame) and thought “Oh well” … but while there I snipped a sample or two to give you a wee taste of the style. Hereunder be your snippings— .
‘The trap has sprung, Minister.’
Sir Ambrose swivelled his chair to the window and gazed thoughtfully across the rooftops of London.
‘No,’ he murmured. ‘The trap is baited.’
Bishous stood up and stretched. The look of quiet amusement was back on his face.
‘Were there any problems?’
‘Almost,’ said Lickspittle. Bishous’s eyebrows raised in query. ‘The girl seemed to realise at the last minute. She stopped.’
‘Tabitha Templar,’ Bishous said thoughtfully. ‘I’ve met her before, too. She’s very intelligent and could be a real danger in the future. But if we can get her on our side while she’s young she would be a major asset to us. She could go a very long way. What happened?’
‘It was all televised live, Minister. Would you like to see the recording?’ Lickspittle loaded the video recording. He stood poised at Sir Ambrose’s shoulder.
‘Here’s where she was beginning to twig,’ Lickspittle said as the Tabitha on the screen peeped over shoulder, directly into the lens of the camera. Bishous could almost feel her mind racing. He leaned forward.
‘There!’ Bishous suddenly called, pointing with a solid gold pen at the screen. ‘There’s where she’s weighing up her options. Look how she is scanning all around, measuring the forces against her … see, now she realises she can’t possibly outrun them! Too many. She knows that. Look at the tilt of her head towards the sentry-box, there, she’s sussed it! She knows that she will be allowed to pass, but if she does she will reveal either a weakness in the energy field or demonstrate that she can penetrate it unharmed.’
The recording ran a few more seconds before Bishous paused it again.
‘Look! Here she’s decided against trying to mislead us by pretending that the field affects her, too. And now—’
‘Why is she sitting down, Minister?’
‘Because she’s calling our bluff,’ Bishous said in admiration. ‘She knows the game is up and is sending a clear signal to us, saying “Come and get me, but on MY terms” — what an incredible child!’
Bishous watched as dozens of soldiers suddenly converged on Tabitha and she disappeared from view. An ambulance rushed onto the screen, Miss Fawcett and the blonde lady got out wearing nurse’s uniforms. The screen went blank.
‘How did you justify the ambulance?’ Bishous asked.
‘The announcer said that the girl had collapsed and needed medical assistance.’
‘Good thinking! But that ambulance was too quick off the mark. Most people won’t notice, though. They’ll just think their authorities are on the ball, as usual. Well done!’
Bishous tilted his chair back and placed his elegant feet gently on top of the Chippendale desk.
‘I want her in CCSE4 by sunset,’ he said.
‘Oh! But sir — she’s just a little girl!’
‘She’s an ace up my sleeve, Lickspittle,’ Bishous said in amusement. ‘She is also a threat to national security. Do it!’
‘On what charge, Minister?’
Bishous grinned. ‘With CCSE4 we don’t need a charge, we can just deny having ever seen her. But for now a simple holding charge will do, if you really feel you have to. Make it something like “suspected of consorting with known terrorists”. We can think of something a bit more permanent later. Thank heavens we had the law changed last year, we can hold her forever now, just on suspicion.’
‘We’re changing quite a few laws lately, aren’t we?’
.I base my own CCSE4 on the concepts behind the creation of Gitmo. The Land of the Free beat me to it with their Guantanamo Bay ‘holding facility’ but not by much. Anyway, here’s a wee description of CCSE4 for you— .
The North Sea is often a wild and rugged stretch of tempestuous water. At other times it is a pussycat, a flat oily calm surging gently under hazy skies.
Oil has given the North Sea a strategic and economic importance far greater than the cod fishing or Viking trade routes of earlier times. In some places the oil has been drilled, tapped, collected and even sucked dry. Where oil rigs have run dry it is often more economical to simply leave them in place than remove them. Some disused oil rigs might one day be given a new lease of life as offshore holiday camps or as universities. One such recycled rig is the notorious prison named Commission Corrective Services Establishment number Four, more often referred to simply as CCSE4.
CCSE4 stands firmly on four huge legs that reach down to the seabed and are planted solidly into it. The main accommodation and general purpose decks of CCSE4 stand some two hundred feet above the surface of the water; these decks house the prison cells, the prison factories and the barracks for the prison officers. They also house the soldiers of the Commission Armed Forces tasked with protecting CCSE4 against any attempt by terrorists or bandits to release prisoners.
The soldiers are well equipped to defend CCSE4. In addition to a selection of small arms that would be the envy of many armies they maintain, in a constant state of readiness, one battery of SeaSlam long range surface-to-surface guided missiles, two batteries of ShipSmash medium range antishipping missiles, four separate 5.25” quick-firing radar controlled general purpose naval gun turrets (one atop each leg of the platform) and a well planned defense-in-depth selection of antiaircraft missiles, providing an impenetrable “envelope of layered defense” out to twenty miles and more. The highest point of the whole edifice is a single box-like structure. This weird contraption is actually an Australian point-defense gun capable of firing several hundred high velocity kinetic rounds per second.
CCSE4 is surrounded by overlapped minefields. There are tethered mines that float just beneath the surface and there are intelligent mines that sit on the seabed, designed to activate themselves in event of uninvited visitors. Only very high ranking officers of the Commission of Corrective Services, and the Minister of Social Compliance, have access to charts showing the dispositions of the minefields or to the electronic codes that can deactivate them.
There are yet more mines. The four great legs of the prison are wrapped around with many layers of razor-wire. Some layers are tightly wound, others loose and flapping in the winds, but all of them are liberally sprinkled with antipersonnel mines that will kill intruders without damaging the underlying structure. CCSE4 is, of course, provisioned entirely by helicopter.
CCSE4 is designated a “Keep Clear” zone out to a distance of sixty nautical miles. Anything that enters the zone risks the wrath of one of CCSE4’s six modern Vertical Take Off and Landing jet fighter aircraft. Anything intruding within twenty nautical miles without proper authorisation will, one way or the other, be destroyed.
Only the most desperately important threats against Social Order get sent to CCSE4 — people who are considered too dangerous to be kept ashore and too valuable to execute. The most terrible of this terrible elite, the creme-de-la-creme of misfits, are confined away from their fellows in solitary cells in The Turret.
The Turret is a grim tower of steel that stands a hundred feet above the main accommodation deck, making it some three hundred feet above the surface of the sea. At the top of the turret, below the Australian gun, is a fortified chamber that looks out on all four sides and houses a dedicated force of thirty specialist fighting men. These men work eight-hour shifts, so they are on duty for eight hours and off for sixteen in any one day.
Immediately below the fortified chamber is the single large prison cell which is reserved for the most dreadful of the most terrible. Until today that cell had never been occupied. The cell has windows on two sides. Despite being too small for any man to crawl through the windows are glazed with bulletproof glass, itself protected from the outside by a welded grille of one-inch thick hardened steel bars.
Today that cell received its first inmate.
As the sun was setting in the west over a roughening sea, the cell door opened and a tiny black-haired girl was thrust in.
. Aaaaah, but can the best laid plans of charismatic dictators withstand visitation by hundreds of grumpy ghosts determined to affect the release of a tiny thirteen-year-old girl? Sadly you’ll never know. Not unless you go there and read the book — it’s a downloadable PDF and all you have to do is click this link: TABITHA … did I mention that it’s entirely free? (And yes, it is black and white text, not the different colours I used in this post for differentiation.)