Appearances can be deceptive; Geoffrey Dahmers was to all intents and purposes an ordinary looking man, a little on the pudgy side, slightly thinning on top and generally of a mild disposition. Married, with two well-behaved children, he was to outward appearances a model citizen of the English state. Titles, too, can be deceptive. Geoffrey's was 'Investigator'. Most assumed he worked in some capacity for the New Coalition as a policeman. Not a constable of course, there were no such these days, but for one of the national force's criminal investigation wings. Most would have been right, in the first part at least; Geoffrey was, however, not a policeman, though he most definitely did work for the New Coalition.
Working directly for the New Coalition had, of course, a number of advantages. Geoffrey and his family lived in a gated community; he even had direct access to foreign imports. Geoffrey, as were all the middle and upper echelons of the state, was paid in Pounds Sterling rather than the internal Anglo Dollars, which were useless for getting anything of quality or luxury. He even had access to the uncensored internet, as did all his colleagues, trusted as they were. His children were being educated at one of the best schools in the country and his still lovely looking wife was active socially on the board of various women's and education boards. Naturally enough Geoffrey and his family were loyal, quietly patriotic citizens of the state; they knew, after all, which side one's bread was buttered on ... so to speak.
He arose early as ever and went down to the kitchen to make coffee and prepare some breakfast, not yet dressed of course and looking thoroughly disreputable as his wife often told him in ratty old slippers and a dressing gown that had definitely seen better days. He had better, certainly, but these simply felt right and he'd wear them until they finally fell to pieces.
"Good morning, dear. Did you sleep well?" came the dulcet tones of Millicent, his wife.
"As ever, dear. The peaceful slumber of the pure in heart," he chuckled in reply.
"Good, you haven't forgotten that we have to be at Jason's school tonight for his report?" she enquired.
"Indeed I haven't. There's nothing as yet on my schedule that might cause a problem," he replied, knowing fine well that Millicent had not a clue as to his real job, rather than the bland office work with occasional outside visits she thought he did.
"You'll let me know if that changes?"
"Of course my love."
There was the thunderous sound of feet down the stairs as Jason and Imogen raced down to get breakfast and to greet the day.
"Now what have I told you about running down the stairs?" Geoffrey admonished them.
"You said it causes accidents ... but it hasn't yet, daddy," giggled Imogen.
"Yet is the operative word," Geoffrey began.
"And 'told you so' the final," said Jason.
"Well done, my boy. So, tomorrow, no running, right?"
"Yes, daddy," they both intoned, looking as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
Turning away Geoffrey chuckled, he'd had so many similar conversations recently and he knew that tomorrow would probably be a repeat of today.
"What are your plans, my love?" he asked Millicent.
"I have an education committee meeting with officers for the Council to go over the new education regime for the older children of citizens," she replied with a moue of distaste.
"Problems?" Geoffrey asked, surprised as very little bothered Millicent.
"Only that they wish to add history to the curriculum," she snorted.
"Nothing wrong with history," Geoffrey replied slightly puzzled.
"It's current events from a historical purview. An analysis of the events of the last ten years," Millicent added sweetly.
"Ye Gods! They're joking," Geoffrey spluttered, for as far as he was concerned the less the proles knew of current events the better. Bread and circuses in a manner of speaking kept them happy, that plus the iron fist in the spiked chainmail glove to keep them in line if necessary and on the path to greatness for England and St George.
"They aren't, seems some foolish old professor, recently taken on after his term in the Brigades, managed to con the Education Board into permitting it," she replied.
"I'm sure it will find its way into the bin," Geoffrey chuckled, his equilibrium now restored.
"Oh yes, the committee and the Council are of one mind in this," she replied with a steely glint.
"Afterwards I will be lunching with Carol and Amanda," she added.
"Amanda?" Geoffrey asked somewhat puzzled.
"Amanda Tremaine, her husband works for the interior Ministry and they've recently moved into the community after a tour overseeing the Scottish Border," Millicent replied.
"Well done, my dear. She would appear to be well worth cultivating," Geoffrey said approvingly, getting a smile and nod from Millicent.
Geoffrey mused for a few minutes whilst drinking his coffee on the situation to the North. The Scottish government had once been quite a thorn in the side of her southern neighbour. That and the oil fields meant that initially they had quite a bit more in the way of economic clout. They were also the home of various dissident groups who opposed the New Coalition regime and were a stepping off point for a few minor terrorist acts as well as a few intelligence operations aimed at the state. It was enough to justify the new 'wall' and a division of internal guards to man it. Gradually though the price of oil had fallen and the seizure of a few ISIS tankers as well as a direct threat to the Saudi Capital had wiped out Scotland's oil based economy by a massive fall in prices so that they were far more conciliatory towards England and had silenced the dissidents and put a stop to the various spying attempts as a massive economic depression hammered them. Geoffrey had even heard a rumour that Scotland had asked to return to the Union and had the diplomat who brought the proposal laughed out of the Prime Minister's office in the Ministry of Defence.
There was a scuffle amongst the children as the sound of the newspaper coming through the door drew their attention, Jason finally winning the race to bring it to Geoffrey.
After giving his fulsome thanks Geoffrey perused the actual news, rather than the distorted version that the common folk got to see, which was slanted away from their problems and into the mundane world of celebrity gossip, patriotic victories and commentarial.
"Siege of Dhaka is reaching its final stage," he murmured. "Looks like the Indian Army is going to reduce that Islamic state to its rightful place in their new empire."
"Are our Brigades still involved?" Jason asked.
"They'll be doing clear up work in the countryside, reducing the numbers of guerrillas and their supporters," Geoffrey replied, telling the truth in a more palatable way.
"I want to join the Brigades and destroy the enemies of England, just like Brigadier Jimmy!" declared Jason.
"Perhaps one day you will, my boy," Geoffrey said encouragingly, whilst Millicent tried to hide a scowl.
"You shouldn't encourage him," she said when the children had gone upstairs to change.
"Jason? Oh he'll grow out of it eventually and forbidding him will only make it worse," Geoffrey replied sagely. "Even if he doesn't, we'll need good men to lead them, unlike that foolish professor of yours."
"That is a job for the lower class gutterscum," she replied primly.
"I very much doubt Field Marshal Scott, the head of the Army Council, would like to hear himself described as such," admonished Geoffrey with a gentle chuckle.
Millicent turned pale at having been caught out preaching 'sedition' as society would see it, knowing Geoffrey could turn her in for such a slip.
"Oh, fear not, my love. You probably aren't the only one to have a low opinion of the military," Geoffrey chuckled whilst filing down her comment mentally just in case.
"I simply feared for our son. The Army, most certainly isn't the Brigades," she replied before beating a retreat.
There wasn't much else of note in the newspaper as far as Geoffrey could see – Australia had requested Brigade aid to deal with an influx of illegal immigrants from Indonesia, the opposition Labour party there were up in arms about it, despite the ruling Liberal Party's massive jump in popularity for suggesting it. The USA, Mexico and Canada were in tentative talks of amalgamation; though this seemed somewhat of a pipedream as only the politicians seemed to like the idea, still, look how far the EU had gotten with such circumstances. Geoffrey mentally chuckled as he suspected that the Franco-German hegemony that dominated that group had its own imperial ambitions, though they were more economic than military ... so far.
All in all it was mostly trivia, though he did know that a package from the United States would be waiting for him at the project, which was far more important than a mere scuffle between India and that erstwhile state.
Geoffrey dressed as always nondescriptly, he rather suspected that society, or rather the society that counted by way of the New Coalition, suffered from tall poppy syndrome, where any who shone too brightly found themselves slowly but surely moved away from the levers of power. Paranoia was a very useful survival trait when, indeed, just about everyone was out to get you.
Outside his chauffeured car waited, on time as ever and a very evident sign of Geoffrey's status within the state where many in his community had vehicles, but few an official ride. Grabbing his briefcase and laptop Geoffrey hurried out, glancing at the neatly manicured lawn and tidy flower beds before seating himself for the short journey to the Centre.
"Good morning, Tom. How are you today?" Geoffrey asked politely, knowing that politeness at least cost nothing, besides he was pretty sure the man was an Interior Ministry spy.
"Fine, thank you sir and you?"
"Tip top as ever," Geoffrey replied.