Boris, King of Oxford gently closed the Cabinet office door behind them as he and Nigel Farage exited into the hallway. They watched as Wing Commander Tom and the Prime Minister scampered away towards her private office, engaged in animated whispering. Boris’ face resembled a bunched fist as he thrust his hands into his pockets and contemplated the current situation.
“I tell you, Nige old bean, Bozza does not like the flavour of things right now, not at all.”
“What are you thinking?” asked Nigel. “Do you think maybe… something went wrong?”
Boris sighed like an unknotted balloon.
“I knew you should have been keeping an eye on the kidnap,” he grumbled. “Rather than feasting your eyes on the royal arsenal, what!”
“Actually, Boris, it wasn’t you I was observing, as such…”
“Look here, we need to do a little intelligence gathering of our own, post haste!” Boris turned to Nigel. “I mean, crikey, if knowledge is power than you and I are as weak as a tonic without the gin.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Let us take a leaf from old Tommy’s book,” replied Boris, thinking. “A little undercover scuttlebutting is what’s called for now, my friend, as covert as you like. Here, take this,” Boris removed his crown and passed it to Nigel. “I shall tete-a-tete incognito.”
Meanwhile, in the Prime Minister’s office, a somewhat tense scenario was unfolding between Lucy and Wing Commander Tom. Neither had yet taken a seat, but were hovering with suppressed agitation at the corner of her expansive desk, fashioned beautifully from antique yew. Tom was speaking, but the words on his lips did not seem to be the words he actually wanted to say. He was explaining details pertaining to the examination of Blair’s corpse, but Lucy got the impression that he was skirting round the point. She wished he wouldn’t, as the technical elements of his report were too technical to make much sense and the gory elements weren’t nearly gory enough to be interesting. However, it seemed that several facts had indeed been established.
Tony Blair had been shot at close range by a Maxim9, an older model gun with a built in silencer that was manufactured by a company called SilencerCo in Utah. Tom excitedly explained that this was a 9mm semi-automatic weapon with a fifteen round magazine and was particularly useful for personal protection as it used any old 9mm ammo. The weapon had not yet been retrieved. The recorded time of life extinguished was around about ten o’clock yesterday evening, around two hours after King Boris and friends arrived for the Epic State Occasion. The list of suspects was substantive, but enquiries were continuing with aplomb.
Lucy indicated her approval of Tom’s progress, but this did not seem to cheer him much. The suggestion of a sigh slipped beneath the brim of his fedora. Lucy wrinkled her brow and lay a hand gently on Tom’s arm.
“Tom, what’s wrong?”
“The matter of your safety, Prime Minister, concerns me,” Tom lifted a hand to his bowed head and it lingered for a moment upon the brim of his hat. Then, as if accompanied by some choir invisible, he slowly and deliberately removed the head wear and revealed for the first time his face.
Time stood still and Lucy’s eyes widened as she looked up into two deep, chocolatey pools that looked back her as if they knew all her secrets. So covert was the work of the head of the Cambridge Intelligence Agency that not even the Prime Minister had ever seen his face. Wing Commander Tom was rumoured to be the most handsome man in Cambridge, but Lucy thought that surely they must have meant the entire world. He clearly had darkly brooding down to a fine art, but there was also a sharp streak of mischief about him that was impossible to resist. The nature of his work had required Tom to seduce countless women in various ways, all to ensure the continued safety of the country, of course. But when he spoke directly to her now, Lucy felt like the only woman in the whole wide world. He was speaking to her. And she hadn’t heard a thing he was saying.
“Sorry, Tom, what?”
“Prime Minister, we can be on the first flight to Washington tonight. President Alatorre says he would be delighted to welcome us.”
“You mean – I should leave Cambridge?” spluttered Lucy. “Now?”
“The murderer is still at large and I would feel much happier if you were somewhere safe.”
“But Washington? It’s a bit extreme.” Lucy placed her hands on her hips, a sure sign that something serious was occurring. “No, Tom. I simply can’t. It won’t look good at all and besides, there’s not just the Blair thing to think of, you know. I am on the verge of implementing my National Economic Security & Recovery Act, that will revolutionise the economy and, eventually, reunite Great Britain with Cambridge as the new capital. It’s my plan. I planned it. Besides, I have to find things for my Ministers to do or I’ve basically just replaced the entire civil service with people who eat biscuits all day.”
“I don’t think anyone’s noticed, Prime Minister.”
Lucy squatted down by her desk and slide out the bottom drawer. From within she retrieved a bottle of Remy Martin and two beakers. She slugged a generous measure in each vessel and offered one to Tom.
“Listen, Prime Minister, if you really must insist on remaining, we must discuss your personal security.”
“Don’t worry, Tom,” said Lucy, sipping her brandy. “President Alatorre sent us a very thoughtful gift when Oxford first declared war – a large consignment of weaponry. I shall get a gun and maybe some body armour or something…”
“Wait – the President of the United States sent you weapons?” Tom slammed his beaker on the desk.
“When Oxford declared war, I didn’t know what to do,” wailed Lucy. “You weren’t here – no one knew where you were – and I’ve never been Prime Minister before and I was scared. So I called Dan Alatorre for some advice. He was very helpful and also sent over some guns and… war-stuff.”
“You do realise that the gun used to shoot Blair was an American weapon,” Tom resumed the sipping of brandy. “Where are they?”
“The Defence Minister has them, of course.”
Lord Daniel Westington, the Defence Minister and man beyond reproach, had proved invaluable when dealing with Farage’s suitcase. The fact that it was full of dusters was neither here nor there. Tom finished his drink and poured himself another.
“We must speak to Lord Westington at once, Prime Minister.”