2045, London, England
“Order! Order!” The Speaker for the House of Commons demanded. “Mr. Brownlow, this is the last bloody time. Calm yourself, man.”
Fine, he wants me to sit back down. Go ahead, call the vote. This is a travesty. A betrayal. The Unionists, damn them, they got bought.
“The ayes to the right, 277. The no’s to the left, 280.SSo the no’s have it. The no’s have it. Unlock!” The tellers took one step backward, then returned to their seats on the Chamber benches. “Point of order, Mr. Stephen Brownlow.”
A boom of cheers erupted from my fellow opposition members as I stood and approachedthe Opposition Despatch Box. My ire was focused on just one woman.
“Mrs. Eldridge, so you and your Liberal Democrats wormed a victory today. What a surprise. I wonder how many bedroom favours you had to make to pull that of.”
The House exploded into chaos. Furious insults and slurs from other parliamentmembers flew my way. But they didn’t touch me in the slightest. Nothing these liberal mouth-breathers said carriedany weight. They’re all blind to the coming danger.
“Order! Order!” The House ignored the Speaker as the chorus of jeers grew louder. “Order! Order! I swear I will personally throw the lot of you out of the Chamber. Order! Order! Order!”
The House settled long enough for the Speaker to turn his attention back at me. “Mr. Brownlow, that was outrageous! You have no right to speak to our Prime Minister in that manner. Despicable! You should—”
“Let me tell you what’s despicable: The actions of this House and the ruling government, that’s despicable! Their total disregard for the safety of the British people and theirsurvival as a sovereign state, that’s despicable!”
The MPs’ their slurs became indiscernible in the commotion.
“You say you represent the United Kingdom, but the reality is, you’re all a pack of fools and traitors, the lot of you! You’ve let your liberal sensibilities blind you from the stark realities of our time.” My opposition members roared in approval. “Our country is living on a knife’s edge and I’ll be damned if—”
“This is a democracy!” Prime Minister Eldridge growled over the noise. “This government will not allow you to drag us back to the dark ages. So long as the people of this great nation choose us to lead them, we will stand against you and your thuggish, bigoted ideology.” The ruling MPs took to their feet and cheered.
“What you call bigoted, I call patriotic. I love my country. And you’d rather have it rot under the weight of refugees who do nothing but drain our coffers and bring crime to our streets. The people have had enough of your short-sightedness and the next time we bring this bill to a vote, I will bury you under it!”
Both sides of the Chamber rose to their feet, trading barbs across the aisle at ever increasing octaves, a symphony of anger.
I turned to my side. “Come on, everyone. We’re done here. Let’s take our message to the streets!” The opposition members filed out of their benches, following behind as I led them out of the chamber.
“Order! Order! Mr. Brownlow, I have not adjourned this House session. Order!” The Speaker’s protests echoed behind us.
As we walked through the hallway, David Hillam, my Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, joinedme, his face serious, his navy blue suit tailored to a tee. “Theo, I’m sorry. The Unionists gave us their word just last Tuesday. I don’t know how Eldridge got to them.”
“It doesn’t matter. That’s the closest we’ve ever come. The next time we won’t have to rely on backroom deals. Has Roger prepared the scrum?”
“The reporters are waiting for you outside on the steps.”
We exited the Parliament’s main doors and true to his word, the steps were teaming withreporters waiting to pounce. They called my name, shouting questions from behind the line of guards. I hastened to the podium and eyed the crowd,while my fellow opposition members filed behind me into a wall of support.
“Before I take any questions, I want to announce that the Fortress Britain Bill, championed by our United Britain Party, with the support of the Conservatives, has failed to pass in the House. While some of you may call this a defeat, the reality is we lost by only the narrowest margin. Whereas last year we lost by more than fifty votes, this year we were shy of victory byjust three votes. The people of this country are waking up.The next time we bring this bill to a vote, not only will we pass it, but we will finally have the tools to protect our country against the growing threat from Europe and from within our own borders.
“To those of you watching from home, take a look around. Spain, Italy, Greece, all of southern Europe, has been overrun with refugees from the failed states of North Africa and the Middle East. And with them, we’ve seen the rise of violent crime and militant Islam, plagues threatening to butcher what’s left of the European Union. Even with the United E7 Naval Defense, the damage has been done.” The words have barely left my lips when I sensed an awkward movement in the audience. A large crowd of youths dressed in black hoodies walkedtowards the media scrum, pushing through those gathered to listen.
“The only beacon of hope from what once was a united Europe, the only country that has protected itself from the full brunt of the refugee invasion, and the worst that climate change could muster, is our United Kingdom. We can still feed ourselves. We can still keep our lights on. And we can still grow our economy to be the new leaders of this world. But only—”
“Down with the fascists!” the youths started to chant. A swarm of security guards rushed forward, surrounding them and jostling the reporters out of the way. Two police drones flew over thechanters, keeping an electronic eye on the commotion.
Never one to let an opportunity pass, I pointed to the group. “But only if we deport all illegals and troublemakers from our shores;only if we close our borders once and for all. Only if we choose Great Britain for the Brits—”
Shots fired. Two officers fell. The group of youth scrambled in all directions, while twoburst through the circle of officers in my direction. The reporters fled away from the scene as I turned to my team, shouting, “Get back to the building!”
“Allahu Akbar!” ringed through my head. That’s the last I remembered.
Hillam walked into my hospital room. My wife had just left after refusing to give me more information about my team. “I think it’s best you wait until David gets here,”she said, as if it was somehow going to make me less anxious.
“Theo, I got here as soon as Sandra told me you woke up.” Hillamsatnext to my bed. A swollen stitched scar now crossed the left side of his forehead down to his ear. “I’m glad to see you awake. There was talk that you might fall into an extended coma. You lost a lot of blood.”
“I got luck—” The bandaged stitches on my neck pulled as I tried to talk, making it painful to speak at normal volume. “The team,” I whispered,“what happened?”
“Leo, Conall, Evie, Harvey, Grace, and Rupert, they’re gone.All gone.” Hillam paused. “I’ll arrange for you to visit their graves when you’re cleared for home care. The rest of the team got banged up, but we’re managing.
“Have Wally schedule a visit to each of their families as well.” Too many emotions boiled inside me. “Who were they?”
“Most of the hooded kids were Brits with anarchist affiliations. The two who broke the police lines were young Chechens who entered our borders illegally. We don’t know how.”
I looked down my bed, staring at the flat surface where my lower left leg should have been, as if it was somehow going to provide an answer. “What’s our play?”
“The team has been hounding the press to keep the focus on the Chechens, make this a refugee thing. Eldridge has been trying to shift the focus to this being a lapse in policing, a crime and order issue, but the public isn’t having it. Latest polls are showing support for our bill rising to over seventy percent.
“As for Peter, his Conservatives agreed to resubmit the bill for a vote in the House while I finish promoting party replacements. I don’t know how, but he got the support of enough Lib members to grant the bill emergency fast track status. It’ll be up for a vote late next Thursday.”
My eyes widen in surprise. It had been a long road.
“I know, I know, it’s finally happening. It’ll technically be their bill now, but this version will have the teeth we couldn’t afford to include in our version.” Hillam’s excitement was palpable. “Theo, this time we’ll have the votes.All the smaller parties are too afraid to vote against us. I’m not sure if you’ll be cleared to make the vote, but—”
“They’d have to bomb me ten times over before I’d miss it.”
WWIII Climate Wars series links
WWIII CLIMATE WARS: NARRATIVES
Southeast Asia, Drowning in your Past: WWIII Climate Wars P9
South America, Revolution: WWIII Climate Wars P11