“Sherdan, are you there sir?” the radio squawked, breaking through Sherdan’s dreamless sleep. At first he couldn’t place what had disturbed him. “Sherdan, sir, please respond.” He grabbed the radio.
“I’m here, what is it?”
“We’re being attacked sir, you’re needed in the command bunker.” He was out of bed before the sentence had been finished.
“On my way.”
He hurriedly yanked his clothes on and ran into Anya’s room, noticing that it was still dark outside. Even though he wanted to leave her in her peaceful sleep he shook her awake. As soon as she saw the concern on his face and sat up.
“We’ve got to go.”
She grabbed the dressing gown he handed her and got out of bed. His eyes went straight to her bare legs but she didn’t notice.
“Is it another attack?” She looked at him, expectantly. He nodded while she stuffed her feet into her slippers and followed him.
“The residents have all been informed sir.” The radio came to life again.
“Have it announced several times. Many will be sleeping deeply.” Sherdan fired back to the command room. He took Anya’s hand as they rushed down into the house and toward the secret passage.
She yawned as she hurried along beside him. It wasn’t even six yet. Sherdan had a headache from such little sleep but he felt wide awake. The adrenaline had got rid of the sleepy feeling he’d had when he first woke up. By the time they were in the compound the same had happened to Anya.
She tried to follow him into the command room but he pushed her back and shook his head. He didn’t have time to explain to her why.
The camera’s were all a haze of coloured thermal scanning images. One of the assistants was doing a third intercom announcement while the commander, not even fully dressed, was already passing orders to the security team.
More transport planes had already flown over, dropping almost one hundred soldiers. That had been a quarter of an hour ago.
As they had done the first time, the guards were rounding up as many soldiers as they could as each one landed but they didn’t even catch a third this way. Sherdan’s men rushed around as best as they could, but in the dark, with very limited help from the command room, they struggled to see the soldiers.
To make it harder, the troops didn’t all head towards the same destination as they had before and. Instead, they all went towards six separate, easily defensible locations, meaning the groups of soldiers got larger more rapidly.
Half an hour later, only ten more soldiers had been stopped and taken to one of the five prison areas. Sherdan couldn’t help but get angry at the circles the soldiers ran around the guards. He banged his fists down on the desk in front of him a few times.
He knew he had to change strategy.
“Nathan, have the prison buildings go down to only eight guards each. Lead the rest to help capture the enemy,” Sherdan said into the radio. Having eight in each would be enough to defend against the biggest soldier groups so far.
“Done sir,” Nathan replied a few moments later.
“Thank you. Send each new squad of guards to the nearest house the soldiers are trying to get to. I want you to take your team towards my house. There’s eight closing in on it and only the two security inside currently.”
“Is Anya there sir?”
“No, she’s safe here with me, but I would still prefer my house to remain untouched.”
“I understand sir, on my way.”
The soldiers took their time travelling to Sherdan’s house as they were more cautious in the dark. They were only just at the front lawn when the first few guards came to join the security already inside.
“We’re there sir. Should be enough of us to keep your house safe now.”
“Thank you Nathan.” Sherdan sighed with relief. He had not been sure it was his own men coming up to the house from behind.
They needed a better way of telling their own guards apart from the soldiers on the night time thermal cameras. At the moment the command room had to check it wasn’t guards they were looking at before telling them where to go. Twice now they had surrounded their own men. Sherdan almost threw the microphone when it happened a third time.
The soldiers near Sherdan’s house began shooting the second they saw the security coming out the door towards them. They had soon emptied their ammo clips.
“They are all drawing knives and other close combat weapons, please advise command?” Nathan said, shortly after.
“Keep your distance. Another squad is closing in from behind. They will surrender soon.” Sherdan replied. He didn’t want anyone to be hurt unless absolutely necessary.
What Anya had told him the night before came back to him, making him frown. If she ended up being right their relationship would go backwards again.
“If they move to attack, shoot for the legs rather than allow yourselves to get hurt,” he added. It was the first time he’d ever told them retaliating was allowed. He hoped no one lost their heads.
“Only if there’s no alternative.”
Thankfully the eight enemy combatants soon realised that knives wouldn’t help them against the thirty plus team of guards that were hemming them onto the lawn of the house. They surrendered.
Nathan and the rest of the squads moved in to slap wrist bindings on each of them but one soldier hadn’t finished putting his knife down. He lunged out at the nearest guard, Nathan. A responding fist soon knocked the idiotic man to the ground.
He swore and then apologised. He only had a scratch down his right arm but he immediately got ordered off operational duty to report to the medical section. The captured men were taken to the nearest prison along with three more stragglers the guards picked off along the way.
As it got a little brighter the guards headed for the next target; nine soldiers in a civilian house not too far from Sherdan’s.
The house had a small group of young adults locked in an outside shelter. They’d radioed in to say the soldiers had not realised they were there, but Sherdan didn’t want to give them the chance.
The guards ran over under cover until they were only a few metres away. Forty of them stormed the house, again to weapon fire from the soldiers. Sherdan was listening to this happening on the radio when Graham called to him.
“Sir, there are more planes on the radar coming our way. Lyneham again.”
“They’ll drop more.” Sherdan frowned. If they dropped the another eighty soldiers his security would be outnumbered. He grabbed the microphone for the country-wide intercom.
“The UK government is trying to overwhelm us with numbers. Anyone between the age of twenty-one and fifty who wishes to help defend please safely make your way to the nearest prison facility. Do not come alone and do not engage any enemies.”
All the people just rescued instantly requested to help. At the guard houses they were fitted with shield devices and given easy to use hand guns. Each one was then partnered with one of the trained guards. Hopefully it would give the illusion that they were trained security but they wouldn’t need to do anything.
Sherdan made a mental note to accept more military type applicants and get more security trained. This was only the second attack of who knew how many and they already ran the risk of being overwhelmed.
As soon as the guards had captured the soldiers within the house, Sherdan had them scatter and look out for new paratroopers. The growing light would aid them.
While the guards dealt with the new soldiers as best as they could, the residents who wished to join all slipped over to the nearest security hub. With the soldiers already on the land in centred pockets and the rest still in the air, the residents all managed to move without meeting any resistance.
Just in case, Sherdan had two of his command team focus on watching the residents on the cameras to help keep them safe. The last thing he needed was his citizens to get hurt.
Sherdan was shocked at the number of residents who responded. Over three hundred turned up at the five security buildings; there weren’t enough personal shields to go around. Everyone that could be protected was sent out. The remaining fifty eight stayed at the secure centres to help lock up all the incoming prisoners.
With all the extra man power, as well as the new light of day, the task soon got easier. As with the first attack several days ago the soldiers were captured in ones and twos and locked away.
By eight there were almost two hundred soldiers being held. There were still another forty-three in four separate locations. Sherdan had the men split into two and pick off two more of the groups.
One group of eleven were taken without a fuss. They hardly even used their weapons as it was soon apparent it didn’t work. The second group proved more stubborn.
They were holed up in one of the civilian homes and the young child in the cellar had cried and alerted the soldiers that there were people under the house. The soldiers started prising the door open. The family radioed it in and the guards all raced into the building.
Sherdan gritted his teeth as he stared at the three cameras focused on the outsides of the house.
The family were safe, a little panicked, but safe. It had been close; too close in Sherdan’s mind. He had the guards head straight for the other two buildings occupied by soldiers, even though another set of planes had appeared on the radar.
Sherdan noticed the soldiers with dogs on the edges of the country didn’t even bother trying to get in. They were waiting for the people inside to let them through, once they’d secured locations inside. They would have a long wait.
As the planes flew overhead and dropped their third and largest load of troops, Sherdan had the guards clear the shelters in all the homes that had been rally points so far. The last two sets of soldiers had all tried to go to the same six fixed places. He figured the third would do the same.
He smiled when the guards managed to re-secure the final location and take the owners to the nearest safe shelter. Hopefully it would ensure they remained unharmed. At the least, it would give them some company during the attack.
As before, the security spread out across the whole country, following soldiers in the sky to capture them as they landed. This third wave was even bigger than the first two had been but the extra help still meant half the soldiers were captured and neutralised before they could really move.
They parachuted down and were surrounded before their feet had even hit the floor, often being pinned inside their own chutes.
Sherdan then had the guards all move straight to the nearest of each of the six suspected destinations and wait inside to capture soldiers.
The command room finally calmed again and people sat back down instead of rushing between desks and monitors, including Sherdan. The soldiers were followed on the camera as they walked into buildings full of guards who had their guns aimed and hand ties ready.
Rather than move, the soldiers were held inside as more paratroopers arrived. It was the most effective strategy yet. Less then fifty minutes had passed when all enemy combatants were safely locked up.
Congratulations were echoed everywhere and a buzz of excitement spread as it approached nine. Sherdan even took a moment to check on Anya who had got into the bed and looked fast asleep.
Despite there being no more immediate danger he didn’t allow any of the guards to stand down yet. Each wave of fresh soldiers had been just over an hour after the previous, and there were still a few more minutes to go before a fourth group could appear.
He watched over the radar himself this time, eager to see if the RAF sent any more. The rest of his command team milled around and took a break, passing croissants and cups of orange juice around to anyone who wanted them.
Several minutes passed. Sherdan was about to order everyone back to their normal tasks when dots appeared on the radar again. Everyone sprang to life; the guards watched for parachutes and the commanders manned their stations.
They waited for the next assault, but it didn’t come. The planes flew over a few times, each pass a little lower than the one before, but no soldiers emerged. Less than ten minutes later Sherdan was watching their dots on the radar turn back the way they had come.
It appeared this battle was over. With reasonable ease they were yet again the victors. When everyone had patted each other on the back and praised the guards on the radio, Sherdan got back to the running of his country.
There were some changes he wanted to make: he wanted more personal shields as well as a much larger military division of his own. He had not liked being outnumbered and how close they had come to discovering the civilians.
The ideal solution would be to stop the troops parachuting in but until there was an ability that helped, short of putting emitters everywhere to hinder soldier movement there wasn’t yet an ability that would help.
Sherdan had everyone informed that the attack had finished and normal working life could begin. He went back to Anya, who had been woken by the public announcement.
She yawned and blinked a few times. Although she didn’t say anything, it was evident from the look on her face that she was getting weary of the constant assaults. He hoped the residents didn’t agree with her.
This time he didn’t bother phoning the prime minister again. If the attacks were going to stop they would call him and until then, Sherdan wouldn’t release the soldiers with all the information they had gained for them to inform their superiors.
There was also the noon, satellite broadcast to prepare for. What he said would make waves among the British public. He prepared some notes back in his study then went through applications checking for people suitable to go on security.
A new group of acceptance letters were sent out for a new set of residents to join them on Monday. They would all have to be secretly brought into the country but that wouldn’t be difficult. They had planned for the possibility.
Anya went to the living room to watch the TV when he had to turn the study into a mini broadcast centre and video link with the news. Ten minutes later the news started. Sherdan watched as they went through all the other pieces. They always left the more important report until last.
A lot of the footage from the night before was shown again and the reporter told everyone about the latest attack. Sherdan was introduced and the link his face was shown to the millions of people watching. As usual, he was thanked for his time.
“Please tell us what has been happening at your end during the attacks?”
“Not very much. The British military have tried to invade us twice now, simply because we’ve refused to recognise our land as part of the United Kingdom. Despite the attacks, no one has been seriously hurt on either side. All the soldiers that parachuted in are now in our prisons.”
“So the attacks have been completely ineffective?”
“All they’ve done is fill our prison cells.”
“What do you intend to do with those captured?”
“When the British authorities have stopped, and agreed to accept Utopia as a country, we’ll let them all go home.”
“And if the attacks continue?”
“The soldiers will remain unharmed as prisoners of war, however, we don’t like being at war. All we want to do is live our way. Our no harm policy seems to be making people think we’re weak, therefore, every time we are assualted, we’ll expand our borders by ten square metres, taking more territory, for every soldier sent and weapon used.”
“Won’t that harm people?”
“Not physically no. However we will act in a way that shows we mean to be listened to and respected.”
Sherdan wasn’t able to say any more. The news reporter cut him off and the show ended. He’d said enough, however, and knew it would give people something to talk about.
He went back to the applications. The government would try to invade again and Sherdan would extend the perimeter, taking another chunk of Bristol. Then the new citizens arriving would all have somewhere to live.