Chrome City Chronicles: Fortress Briton

When there was a United Kingdom, the government made giant bubble made of the plastics found in the Pacific Ocean. The bubble, or shields, were built to be retractable in case of a nuclear war- started by any nation during the hundred years rift. The war never happened but a giant typhoon, bigger than Tip, started circling the globe for at least a decade. Now Iceland, Ireland, and the British Isles live under a bubble in Fortress Briton. All the governments have almost completely devolved. While there is still two Irelands, it is mostly for tradition.  Since the Anglican Church lost their faith and Vatican V, the difference between the North and the Republic are miniscule.

There are great networks of trains under the seabed. A little hole opens up in the bubble to allow for air flights in and out of the Fortress, but mostly the Brits keep to themselves. They have the perfect monarchy, basically scrapping bone parts from Ælfred the Great, Edward the Confessor, William the Conquer they made Elizabeth the 4th and her husband is made from William and Mary, Cromwell, Elizabeth I and Victoria I to make Henry the Xth. They are both machines and humans at the same time. They never age. They do not have a heart made of meat but a Swiss made valve. It is said they do not have genitals, but that is a rumor.

A little girl whose parents left her because of the Cholera epidemic lives amongst the old books now. Their intention was to keep her in the library with clean water but the civil riots started tearing apart everything. Parliament was dissolved in an effort to grant new elections but a robot from the House of Lords overthrew a bus screaming, “We cannot and should not be cooped without tearing stuff up with a firm upper lip.” Some of the British Commissioners of Health went to the public to take their beatings to protect the agency. “We are sorry that Cholera has spread. These enclosures were not meant to be kept up for this long and we take full responsibility.” One person in the crowd yelled, “We understand! But we are going to wreck up the place. Don’t feel guilty! Help us get our rage on.”

The girl hid in the ISBN number of 970000-999000s. An old Argentine librarian found her squatting in the books looking through one without understanding. “Little girl, may I help you find a book?” She shook her head. “Ah, must be one of the people looking for clean water.” He pointed to a book and picked up. “This one has a monster, half bull and half man and a maze. This one here is by the Author I was trained in. This book has the ‘The Library of Babel’ and ‘Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote.’ There is a school in Argentina, where every  librarian around the world goes to study. It is the Borges Escuela Superior Normal; I studied there myself for at least ten years to get permission for the fine libraries of England. England has some of the best and oldest libraries in the world!”

“I would be happy in this crises to tell you story. There was once a leader, really a tyrant, in Italy and his assistant. King Dionysius I  and his brother in-law Dion reigned Syracuse for many years waging a war with the Phoenician city of Carthage. With some success and some failure brought Syracuse some fame and wealth. Dion was a lost soul, he loved his lands, his sister, and he served a tyrant but he was a philosopher at heart. He purchased as many books, or really scrolls, that he could afford on the latest philosophy. His favorite was Plato for his wisdom and clarity, but he only had notes from the academy. His learning brought him much acclaim as he guided the Tyrant to embrace the teachings of Plato. Dion’s goal was to make the Tyrant in to a true philosopher king. Luck would have it, Plato arrived in Sicily. Dion invited Plato to court. Plato told Dionysius that, ‘ A just man would be happy where as an unjust man would live in misery.’ This upset Dionysius so much, that he attempted to murder him. When that  failed, he had him sold as a slave. Dionysus said, ‘he would be happy even as a slave if he truly is just.” However, he kept Dionysus as his friend and advisor.” The girl was bored as he forgot why he was telling such a bad story that had little to do with her plight.

A scruffy man, beaten bleeding with hints of blood in his grizzled beard bust in the library. “Marcos!” The scruffy well built yelled. “Marco’s? Marcos!” The librarian looked up, “¡Si! ¿Qué? What?!?” The man came in the room, “The military police are frenzied and are beating up the rioters! Parliament has been dissolved for three months. We need to get you to safety. They will lock you up for that long.” The librarian was confused and did not move. The scruffy man bleary but his eyes sharp dotted around the room to be fixated on the girl.

“Why they lock me up? Why for?” The librarian lost his English for moment speaking like an Argentine again.

“You know why. Your are a dissident! I love you man but you know you are a rabble rouser!”

“Of course I am a gadfly!” Marcos yelled. “That is why they hired me. Your government hired me for that!”

“Look love, I am tired and I do not have time to explain English or Fortress Briton’s politics but when a State of an Emergency is called- all the jack-boots come out of the woodwork. The House of Lords started the riot, okay –dokey but damn if the lower could not stop it. So the Jack-boots collect everyone up on their list and lock them away until Parliament is back.” The scruffy man exacerbated, but realized he had to explain it to the Librarian.

“What?” The librarian still did not understand.

“There is a category six hurricane hitting us every nine months!” The scruffy man said.

“But why do they arrest?” Marcos still confused.

“Because the army is in control and merry ol’ Britain can’t fight in no wars in a bubble- so only bullies and asshole are left in the army and….” The scruffy man thought. “What if this was a story? What if a character in a book had said all of this-this what I am saying?”

“I would say it was lazy writing for exposition!” The librarian felt at ease.

“And what should your character do?” The scruffy man asked.

“First query about the safety of the girl and then listen to you,” Marcos the Librarian said.

“Exactly! I will of course take the girl and you go to 2344 B Street out the back!” The scruffy man commanded.  The short but stout scruffy man said to the girl “’ello, I am Edward but you can call me Tom- and your name?”

“Allison,” the girl muttered. “Will you take me to my parents?”

“They had the stomach problems right?” Tom said.

“Yes sir,” the girl said.

The librarian ran out the back with his leather attaché case filled with his emergency books. “May I be honest with you Allison,” Tom said. The girl nodded. “This is not a state of emergency there is coup happening. Do you know what that means?” The girl shook her head. “It means were are going to be in danger. But I will protect you. Do you know why?” The girl shook her head. “I cannot explain it. I guess I am compelled… hard to explain. But I have to be honest with you okay and you to me alright. I need to get you to your parents, okay.”

*Okay. Okay.  I have to get her to her parents. Okay. Okay.*

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