Maquis
Background

Fourteen years next April, the US President gives a speech to his nation. Simultaneously, in a number of other countries including Canada, Britain, parts of Western Europe and Russia, the leaders of those countries gave similar speeches.

In their speeches, the various leaders informed their citizens, the media and the world, that we, Earth, were in line for invasion by an unknown alien species ‘in the very near future’. The announcement also told of the Confederacy, a vast and ancient alliance of civilizations that could offer us support, but in turn they needed our help to fight this scourge.

Measures were taken to try and ensure the human race and human civilization did not die out. These included extracting volunteers, with families, to many different worlds to take the fight to the enemy.

There were disbelievers and there were opponents. Some of them were not just vocal, they were violent in their opposition to the Confederacy and especially to the extractions. Unfortunately, the rules governing extraction had been imposed on Earth’s population from without, and many peoples in large parts of the world realised that they were not going to be extracted and rescued. Naturally this caused a great deal of tension and resentment. Bigots and racists in all parts of the world fanned these tensions. Wars, small and large, sprang up in many places with preexisting wars quickly escalating.

In the Middle East, Israel was quickly overwhelmed by its Arab neighbours, none of whose citizens were eligible for extraction. The US, embroiled in its own troubles, offered the tiny nation little support and in a last, desperate, act of revenge for the slaughter of their citizens, the Israeli air force dropped nuclear weapons on Mecca and similar revered Islamic sites.

Throughout the world Moslems went mad. Jews and Moslems fought pitched battles in the streets of many countries. Many innocent people got hurt: Jews targeting Moslems hit Hindus and Sikhs. Moslems targeting Jews hit Christians and indeed everyone else. Near these hate-filled riots, individual ambushes, and bloody executions, no one was safe.

Meanwhile, extractions across the world became more and more difficult as opponents targeted them, trying to cause as much chaos and fear as possible. Political and religious factions sprang up opposing the Confederacy, many of them operating under the umbrella name ‘Earth First’. In the UK it became necessary for the government to form a coalition to hold back the rising tide of opposition.

Twenty-two months after the speech, and having been ill for some years, Prince Charles died. His mother, Queen Elizabeth, still alive and still on the throne, had already passed much of the day to day work of the monarchy to Prince William. He now became the official Prince of Wales and the immediate heir to the throne. The funeral was held ten days later, at Balmoral in Scotland. The unusual venue having been chosen partly due to security concerns in London: St. Paul’s Cathedral had been badly damaged in the bombing of the nearby Old Bailey, and partly because Prince Charles himself was simply not popular in the country. Terrorists, believed though never proved to be Islamist terrorists, struck and a massive explosion killed a large part of the Royal Family.

The most senior royal person left alive, albeit with some minor injuries, was Prince Andrew’s eldest daughter, Beatrice, who had previously been eighth in line to the throne. With two of her three children she was only seconds away from death, getting out of her official car when the explosions swept through the old building. Beatrice lost her father, her husband and youngest child, as well as her younger sister and her brother-in-law. William and his entire family were also killed, as was the elderly Queen Elizabeth herself.

Beatrice became the new Queen, and immediately took on the ‘duty to her people and to the state’ that her grandmother had spoken of many years earlier, and had lived ever since.

A year later, even before her official coronation, Queen Beatrice aided the government and the Confederacy, and gave a special palace garden party for her two surviving children. Nearly 10,000 people, most of them under the age of twenty, were collected in a single extraction, the biggest single extraction to that time, and were taken away to the stars.

There was a massive backlash, as although technically legal, many of the children had been taken without their parents’ express permission, and three months later the government lost a vote of no-confidence. The government resigned and called a general election. An Earth First government was elected, opposing the Confederacy, but not, yet, banning its presence in the UK.

Eighteen months later, another general election, forced by law, returned a massive Earth First majority, but few people noticed that it was stuffed with supporters of an extreme right wing party.

Opposition to this extremist government was slow, halting, and often led by long retired members of the military, many of them already into their sixties and seventies. But the government had its own very nasty ways of defending itself.

Chapter 1 »

Story tagged with:
Fiction / Military / War / Science Fiction /