2035 - Downing street, London.
Lord Jonathon Hooper sat back in his comfortable leather chair and observed the high-ranking RAF officer on the other side of the desk. He looked most convincing in his uniform and both his manner and bearing were distinguished and charismatic, as they should be. Yet, Hooper was one of the few who knew that this man was a professional imposter. As indeed were the entire staff of the chemical weapons division of the RAF base in Cornwall. While military jets trained and deployed and the business of the RAF went on around them, the plain and rather drab low rise buildings of the chemical weapons division hid in plain sight on bleak moorland backing onto the mouth of the river. To those in the know, it was called Key 16.
“So, Air Marshal, an air-lift to Diego Garcia...”
“The remaining eleven tons?”
“Yes. Aboard a Globemaster. Well hidden.”
“We have enough payload to disguise the shipment.”
“The trail is self-covering. From the moment your crew leave British airspace, they don't exist. Naturally, you will receive immediate replacements.”
“I know. We've been down this road many times.”
Hooper sniffed and tried to look dismissive.
“Simply covering the documentation. Oh, and since the reshuffle here in Downing Street we've lost some well-placed friends, but gained a lot of people who don't know a damned thing.”
“That's the advantage of a reshuffle.”
“Yes, the outgoing tenants take the dirty laundry with them. So, in this case, the downward chain is being handled from within my office at this time. My secretary will handle the liaison with the Ministry of Defence and the covering licences with Trade and Export.”
“Have you still got Longville as your PPS?”
“Yes. He's a good man and, er... made of the right stuff, if you know what I mean.”
The Air Marshal shifted in his seat.
“Yes, I know. He's been your Private Secretary for a good while. He sees a lot of things. Ex-journalist I believe?”
Hooper waved it away with a smile.
“Oh, his contacts are long since broken. Wrong side of the political divide for a start. Besides, he's positively vetted every couple of weeks. Chooses to live quietly in a little mews at the end of the parliament campus. If I can rely on anyone, it's Longville.”
Random Skies: Weaving Spiders is the fifth episode in a series of speculative fiction set in a parallel world where the surely unthinkable has already started to happen.