Sherdan picked up the phone and tapped in Mark Jones’ number. He went through the same hassle of having to get approval from the first voice on the phone before he could get through to the Prime Minister himself.
“Dr Harper! Have you phoned to surrender?”
“Quite the opposite, to negotiate on the release of the sixty British soldiers I have in my prison cells. I’m intending to keep the tanks, however. Also, I’m considering the attempted attack as an act of war.”
“Shall I phone back in a few hours when your army has bothered to inform you of their failed attempt? It really was rather pathetic. I did…”
“That won’t be necessary Dr Harper. This country does not negotiate with terrorists and that is exactly what you’ve become.” The Prime Minister hung up on him.
“Have our prisoners spread out between our safe houses, and fetch those tanks.” Sherdan ordered. The tanks would be moved to face outwards at the same exits they were currently stuck in.
The soldiers watched helplessly as three guards walked out towards each tank. The two on each edge walked forwards, emitters in the ruck-sacks on their backs. The middle man got into the tank and drove it into Utopia, turned it around and aimed it at the very troops who had been using it only hours before. This was repeated at every main exit.
As each vehicle was put into position a small cheer went up in the command room and the atmosphere relaxed. People smiled and sat back down after all the standing and rushing around.
Less than three hours after the first soldier had tried to enter Utopia the battle was over and the victor was clear. The British army was four tanks and sixty guns down, and Sherdan had gained it all with no injuries and no extra cost.
When it looked like the attack was over Sherdan had the residents informed and went back to Anya. She had stayed, her legs tucked up under her, reading the entire time. She looked pleased to see him though.
“Is it over?”
“For now. It may start again at any point. The Prime Minister wasn’t interested in backing down just now.”
“How bad was the first attack?” The look of concern on Anya’s face shocked him. She cared more than he expected.
“Not bad at all. Most of the attack force couldn’t make it in and the few that sky dived were quickly rounded up and locked in separate cells. No one was hurt. They could try much worse and we would win easily.”
“Well, I hope that’s the last. Putting peoples lives in danger, no matter how low the risk, is wrong.” Sherdan didn’t bother responding. He felt worn out by the day and didn’t want an argument.
The afternoon had managed to push all thoughts of his tests with Hitchin out of his mind. He had arrived back at the house with Anya before he remembered that he needed to go back to the lab. He sent Hitchin an email to let him know they’d try again the following day. He’d explain why when they met.
Anya didn’t say much their entire evening together. Sherdan sat with her but soon found himself drifting towards work. The UN had replied to his application for recognition as a country and were requesting even more information. They also had recommendations to speed the decision and help it in his favour.
Most of the suggestions were obvious things like contact officials in nearby countries and display openness to discussion and diplomatic relations. Laws also needed to be in place and all sorts of people in diplomatic positions needed filling.
They thought his population was a little low but Sherdan had plans to increase that. Many of the previous applicants had contacted them in some way requesting to be considered for citizenship as well as the training program. Everyone that had was moved to the top of the waiting list.
Several news reporters had also requested to enter the country and do pieces on his progress. Sherdan would use these opportunities wisely and scheduled in a satellite link up with a news studio for noon the following day.
The rest had all received written statements in reply to their requests. He definitely did not have time to be interviewed by all of them but hoped they would think him cooperative at the least.
He also wanted the British people to hear what their government were doing in the people’s name. He didn’t think many of them would be happy with the attack and he intended to stir as much of them up about it as he could.
His two MPs in each of the three major political party had fed him the reaction to today’s discussion in the house of lords. There had been an outrage that troops had been moved in so soon, especially as videos of the police raid had been leaked and all the MPs had seen it.
Sherdan watched the late news, knowing most of the focus would be the raids on Utopia. The reporter went through all of the other news about the rest of the world in the first ten minutes of the show.
The police raid was the first focus on Utopia. The leaked footage was aired. Sherdan laughed when he realised it was all the camera feeds he’d sent to Mark Jones. Someone must have got a hold of it after that.
Anya joined him to watch, noticing what the video’s were of. She exclaimed out loud when the police fired on a guard and all the bullets fell to the ground. He delighted in the look on her face. He intended to explain but the news reporter reappeared and continued his piece on Sherdan, informing anyone who didn’t know, about the recent claim for independence.
They followed everything up with footage from outside the barriers that day showing all the soldier’s failed attempts to get in and, finally, a clip with the tanks being taken and turned on their own army.
“If the government had seen the leaked footage of the earlier police raid, which is now all over the internet, it comes as a surprise that they tried such measures with the army.” There was a brief pause as the reporter waited for this to sink in with the audience.
“There’s been no confirmation that our government has tried to negotiate with Dr Harper on his stance, or to find out what the residents living inside the new country want.”
Sherdan beamed. The news reporter had not only referred to the area as a country but obviously didn’t approve of the guns blazing approach Mark Jones had taken. He had been brave enough to say so on air which would enforce the public’s ability to say what they really thought.
Anya still looked shocked. She’d not known about any of the technology Sherdan had to defend the country and people with.
“You’re practically unstoppable.”
“With enough numbers, we would be stopped. As a country we are very small. The Mayor caused me a lot of problems and forced me to declare independence sooner than I’d originally planned.”
“Is it all the abilities that make the technology possible?”
“Yes, it’s how all of this has been possible.” Anya stared off into space, her eyes still wide. “Now do you see why so few lives are in danger?”
She nodded absent-mindedly. It was clear she hadn’t fully absorbed everything she’d learned.
“I wish to create Utopia here on earth. A new Eden. You can be my Queen. You only have to say yes,” he offered, realising how much he wanted it as well. She looked at him, her eyes sad. He took her hand.
“Oh Sherdan, if only it were that simple.”
“Do you not see that it’s inevitable?”
“No I don’t.” She pulled her hand back out of his, “You’re powerful, yes, but don’t underestimate the feelings of other people. Don’t underestimate their desire to be different and greedy either.”
“Anyone who doesn’t join us will eventually perish.”
“So you will kill all those who oppose you?”
“I won’t let anyone stop me.”
“Careful Sherdan, people will get hurt. And one day it will be someone you care about.”
Anya kissed him on the cheek again and said goodnight. She had not mentioned her God but he knew she’d been thinking of Him. He hadn’t got cross with her this time, however. It made him feel sad more than anything else. He wanted her of all people to understand him.
Sherdan went back to his work. He didn’t want to sleep yet and a very interesting email had come through. Someone unknown was offering him a very large sum of money for the shield devices each guard wore.
He spent the next hour trying to figure out where the email had come from, not that he had any intention of ever sharing the technology. It seemed to be Russia but he wouldn’t be surprised if they were only trying to make it appear from there.
Sherdan replied, politely saying no. His technology was the biggest advantage they had. He needed that advantage.
At three in the morning, Sherdan went to bed. He checked on Anya on the way. She slept soundly, looking every bit an angel in the moonlight from the window. It took a long time to tear himself away from her to his own room.