4/6/16

Brian Cox Day 3


Day 3 – Extract

Below is an extract from a new dystopian science fiction:
“The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C6OXDGK

     The S-Tell bashed on the mansion doors and kept bashing until a butler
opened the door. Standing stiff, the butler eyeballed the S-Tell with an understated
but still detectable air of derision, and then he turned his head to face Katharine
and said with a clipped tone, “Welcome to the Governor’s House ma’am. Please
follow me, and I will show you to the waiting room. Your gentlemen escorts can
wait outside.”
     “No, they will come with me.”
     Katharine ignored the butler, pushing past him. The butler followed in
Katharine's wake throwing fussing complaints at her as she strode away.
     “You cannot go in there ma’am, you must wait for the Governor.”
     “Where is the Governor?” Katharine demanded, as she marched past each
door, flinging it open without looking inside afterward. “If I was a weasel, I would
hide up the back.”
     “I beg your pardon miss!"
Katharine stopped, turned to the butler and stated, “Next time you call me
miss I will have my good friend here tie you up by your feet and hoist you up that
stupid flag pole out the front. Now get out of my face.”
     The butler scurried off like a frightened beetle towards the two large doors at
the end of the corridor.
     “I bet the pompous prick is in here,” Katharine said to her S-Tell as she
continued towards the end of the hallway. She flung the doors open, and sure
enough, Carl was in the room cowering in the corner. Katharine strode in, flanked
by her security team marching with her in locked step. She came to a halt one foot
from Carl’s face, stopping precisely in step with her entourage. It was an
unpracticed and unintended maneuver born from the gravity of the situation. Carl
stumbled backwards, into the chaise lounge behind him. Katharine stood over him
in silence.
     For a moment Carl was sure he would wet himself. But from somewhere deep
inside, he found a smattering of courage – just enough to squeeze the internal
muscles required to stop what would have been a terminal display of cowardice.
He then used the miniscule of residual courage remaining to steady his voice.
“Have you come to arrest me?”
     In that moment Katharine knew the choice was in her hands. She could arrest
him, and that would be the end of her problems with Carl. There would be no
accountability, no law she would have to invoke. It would just be the exercise of
raw power. If needed it could all be wrapped up later in a nice neat legal bundle.
But if she did, what next? The situation would be worse, and the population would
become unmanageable. Katharine thought Carl was not the cause of the unrest, but
its symptom. He was simply the person the mob pushed to the front. At least while
Carl was in power she could negotiate. You cannot negotiate with anarchy.
     “Consider yourself on probation, at my pleasure,” Katharine said.
     Carl straightened himself up in his lounge, and sensing he had one over her,
raised himself to his feet, and then stepped toe-to-toe with Katharine.
     “You have no authority. However, we have much to talk about.” Carl looked
up to the S-Tell then without taking his eyes off him said, “Alone.”
     “Fine,” Katharine said, and nodded to the S-Tell, who evacuated the room and
closed the double doors behind him. Alone, the two did not know what to say for
some time. Their positions seemed impossible to reconcile; yet they both knew that
some form of compromise had to be reached, for both their sakes.
     Katharine broke the silence. “You have backed yourself into a corner with
your election lies.”
     “Whether there is a secret store of print is not the issue.”
     “Well, you certainly made it an election issue.”
     “The issue is that you have kept your immense wealth and power, long after
the collapse of the system that granted you power. The issue is there is enough now
to go around for everyone to be wealthy. The issue is you continue to enforce
artificial scarcity. The issue is people have had enough. It is a new world, and you
are standing in the way. The issue-”
     “ENOUGH,” Katharine yelled.  The room went silent. She waited some
moments then continued, “To be frank, I cannot decide whether you believe your
own bullshit, or if you think I am a fool. What exactly are you proposing?”
     “Remove the Strat fees and the print tax.”
     “And then what?” Katharine asked.
     Carl was surprised and did not know how to respond. Katharine continued
before Carl collected his thoughts.

To be continued tomorrow…

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