The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Alien Space Bats – Guy Roberts

Francis put down the telephone and turned back to the computer screen in front of him.

The resumption of communications with the outside world (via a somewhat precarious satellite uplink via Vancouver) was welcome, of course, but it was causing him as many problems as it solved.

He gulped down the strong tea from the third large mug of the day so far and tried to find the notes he had scribbled to himself the previous day about the estimated numbers of British citizens in the Seattle area.

As the senior surviving British diplomat he had taken charge at the small Consulate even before he had heard from London. He and the small staff had done their best to record the names and contact details of all UK citizens as soon as the scale of the disaster had become clear. Worried relatives in Britain would be desperate for news of their loved ones.

He had been grateful for the work as it distracted him from contemplating the full ghastly scale of what had happened. 400 million dead was the figure most people were quoting. Several hundred thousand of them British. He thanked the God he was not entirely sure existed that his wife and children had flown back to their home in Sussex two weeks earlier so that their sons could go back to school for the new term.

The report he was writing was at the order of the Prime Minister. In person, not through a functionary. As soon as he managed to get the first call though to the Foreign Office in Whitehall he found himself being transferred not to the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Department as he had expected, but to a conference call at No.10 Downing Street where the COBRA emergency committee was in session under the Prime Minister’s chairmanship.

Despite everything, he was amused at the memory of the disjointed conversation that followed. The assembled politicians and senior military officers had assumed that he would be able to tell them exactly what had happened. He had done his best to describe the situation but it quickly became clear that London knew rather more than he did. Still, he felt that he had performed well in front of this unexpected audience and this view was evidently shared by the Prime Minister who informed him that under the circumstances he was to regard himself as the acting Ambassador. Of course that would only become official once there was an American government to whom he could present his credentials.

He hurried to complete the report of the current situation in the Seattle area so that he could rush off to his scheduled meeting with the American officials at City Hall who, like him, were coping as best they could.

Having outlined the latest situation on the ground inside Seattle, Francis now attempted to summarise the latest information about the Wave. Actually “information” was not really the word to use. Most of what he had collected ranged from utterly uninformed speculation through to what looked like the plot of a particularly far-fetched science fiction movie, of the kind he watched in secret. His wife referred to his collection of Doctor Who and Babylon 5 DVDs as the “hidden porn stash”.

He read through what he had written and realised that much of it sounded like technobabble from old Star Trek episodes. “Energy field” was not a term that usually found its way into Foreign Office reports.

Unfortunately most of what was known about the Wave was negative. It was not composed of any kind of energy known to science apparently. It was not susceptible to analysis (or at least attempts to investigate close up had had terminal effects on several researchers) and it was not behaving in accordance with any laws of physics that were understood by the available science specialists.

Of one thing virtually everyone seemed certain. Someone had done this deliberately. It was not a natural phenomenon. This was a weapon of some kind. But if that was the case, where had it come from and who had used it?

The two most popular answers to that question were that it was an act of an angry God (whether of the Christian or Muslim variety) or that Earth was under attack from outer space. Hundreds of religious crazies were on the streets at any one time urging the traumatised population of Seattle to repent and one Canadian that Francis had met at City Hall who was heading back to Vancouver had stroked his beard and muttered that it was all the fault of the “Alien Space Bats”. That was one phrase that would most certainly not be appearing in his report.

Francis decided to put off sending the report until he get back from his meeting. Perhaps he could gather up some quotes from the Americans – then he would at least be able to claim that he was merely reporting current thinking in what passed for the American government, rather than proposing such theories himself.

As he left the consulate building he looked around at the lines of bewildered British tourists and businesspeople queuing up and the larger numbers of Americans, equally bewildered in most cases with many showing the despair of those who have lost close family and friends.

“400 million people” he muttered to himself “and not one of us knows who did it and why”. He blinked as the rain started to fall and hurried into the waiting car. Yes, the more he thought about it he reckoned that the hairy Canadian had got it right. It probably was the Alien Space Bats that had murdered America.

 

Alexander Francis, 45 years old, Second Secretary of the British Embassy in Washington. Escaped the Wave by having the luck to be at the British Consulate in Seattle for a trade meeting. As the senior surviving British diplomat, he has been appointed as the acting British Ambassador to the United States. He is traditional public school but fairly open-minded with a wry sense of humour.

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3 April, 2009 - Posted by | Pepsi Challenges, Without Warning

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