“(…) We carry in our hearts the true country,
And that cannot be stolen,
We follow in the steps of our ancestry,
And that cannot be broken (…)”– Midnight Oil “Dead Heart”1).
Warnings : Crime, racism/speciesism 2 ), xenophobia and everything that comes with it.
Timing: 2017, a year after “London Calling”
Rating: T to M.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen original comic books © Allan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Thin Blue Line (in character of Maggie Habib) and ‘Allo ‘Allo (in person of Otto Flick) © BBC. Atomic Robo © Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegner. Stargate Atlantis © MGM Studios. Hellboy (in character of Karl Ruprecht Kroenen and Hellboy) © Michael Mignola. Slenderman © Eric Knudsen (as Victor Surge). Dracula (in character of Wilhelmina Murray) by Bram Stoker. Allan Quatermain by sir Henry Rider Haggard. Orlando (or his/hers alike) by Virgina Woolf.
This story © Archer Black.
London. August 30 th . Night.
The night was pretty quiet and the streets were reasonably empty even in the East End. Two constables walked around the neighbourhood, patrolling the streets. Recent events, the terrorist attacks left the people uneasy and people in charge saw to it that the police have been seen. It was mostly to calm down people in power, the ordinary folk wouldn't be easily calmed by a pair of Bobbies popping up every now and then here and there, yet it was always better than nothing.
They were walking past a pitch black back alley leading to back doors to some establishments when one of them decided to inspect it. There was always a chance of finding a drunkard there; hiding in all the rubbish that often littered these kinds of spots. The constable ignited his torch and marched into the alley, looking around, checking all the shadows. This place had lamps but they were ether out of order or if they were manually operated someone failed to light them, probably to save the expenses for electricity. Of course what was money saving for one person was a nuance for another, in this case a bobby who was stumbling through the darkness.
He walked forward flashing his torch at the shadows, behind some large garbage bins, poked a pile of old rags with the tip of his boot to see if someone was hiding in it. Turned out the pile contained no homeless folk. He proceeded to walk forward, inspecting the alley further when on the verge of the light circle that his torch was casting he was strange shaped shadow. He walked closer thinking that he indeed found some drunken bum half-passed in a convenient dark alley.
As he approached the figure he realised that he wasn't facing some passed out drunkard after all. The creature in front of him had a bold head, pointy ears, large eyes, what could seem like a misshapen back but in reality was pair of wing stumps and grey skin tone. It was a Vril. And this one was in a bad shape. His clothes were dirty, his shirt in shreds and covered in blood, most probably his own judging from the state he was in. He had fresh scratches, burst lip, bloodied nose, bruises were still forming and one eye was swollen shut. He was sitting in a back door to some establishment, his head was resting on a wall, he was barely conscious.
“Hey, Hodges, come here. We have another one!” The constable yelled to his partner.
“What?” Came confused reply.
“Come and see.”
The other constable jogged closer and glared at the beaten Vril and spewed impressive string of creative profanities. He walked closer and crouched in front of the assaulted Vril.
“Mr Arrews? Mr Arrews! Can you hear me?” He gently touched the assaulted Vril's arm but received no answer aside from a silent moan. “Call for an ambulance, Murrow, he's out.”
“You know this guy?” Constable Murrow eyed the Vril and reached for his radio.
“He's my mum's neighbour; he always carries her grocery bags.” Constable Hodges replied. “He works as a male stripper in one of the clubs in this area.”
“Got it.” He nodded and opened the channel. “This is Constable Murrow, I need an ambulance...
September 2 nd – three days later. Scotland Yard.
It wasn't as much of a demonstration as much as it was a rally of angry people screaming their rage at the Metropolitan Police building. They were having banners and signs and they were raging. It started peaceful but it was clear that if something happened it would go violent in no time. The crowd was colourful but not because of their clothes but because of their faces. They were Europeans, Africans and Asians there. And there were Vril there too. All with banners about recent wave of violence against immigrants, mostly Vril.
Inside of Scotland Yard.
The Commissioner of the Met3) was on the phone and he didn't look happy about it. He was looking at the TV that was set on a news channel showing the very demonstration that was taking place in front of the Yard, it was muted though. He could hear the chanting from the outside anyway.
“Yes sir, but I don't see how could we just leave it be.” He said to the phone. “Yes sir, I can see how it can result in riots... eventually. People are angry as it is.” He continued after a moment and then listened intently to his interlocutor again. “Sir... Yes sir... I don't know details but yes, I believe these were xenophobic attacks and... I will see to it and the City Police and we will of course collaborate on this. Yes sir. At once sir. No, we will do everything in our power; we don't want the attacks to escalate. Yes. Naturally sir. Please do, sir. Good bye sir.”
He hung up and sighed a heavy sigh followed by wiping sweat out of his forehead. He grabbed the remote and turned the sound in the TV back on.
“... the third attack of a Vril citizen in less than a week the entire Vril community is deeply concerned. As we can see their protest is being supported by new immigrants originating from EU and from our citizens whose parents and grandparents decided to move in from former colonies.”
The reporter moved to the protesters and approached a dark skinned man.
“Sir, why do you support Vril protests?” She asked.
“When I was a kid I've been bullied at a school bus because I looked different. They would throw food at me. I thought it was rough, but now? They're beating people so bad that they land in a hospital for the same reason.” The man said4) with sad look in his eyes. “That's not right. No one should be targeted like this. I don't care if they're Vril; they're people like everyone else! They have the same rights as we do. They have the right to be safe!”
“Thanks you. And you?” She paced to light skinned woman.
“I moved to UK with my family, my brother and parents just after the UE took new members in 2004, I was a teen back then. And earlier this year my brother was attacked by few strangers for speaking Polish on the phone. He was talking to our aunt back in Poland. The men who attacked him were drunk and him names, they tell him to go back home. But this is our home, we went to school here, we have no other home!” She gestured around5). “And Vril don't have other place go, this is their home. We do nothing wrong by living here, we work, we pay taxes, we're part of the society.”
“Thank you Miss.” The reported turned back to the camera. “As you can see, these people support the Vril people... “
A week later. Scotland Yard.
The Met Commissioner sat at a table in his office along with the City of London Police Commissioner and the Home Secretary. They weren't looking happy.
“So, lately only Vril were targeted?” The Home Secretary questioned. “And after that demonstration we had four more attacks? What were you doing all this time?”
“I would like to stress that it didn't happen in the City.” The City Commissioner interjected.
“Yes, we are aware, Hamish.” The Met Commissioner sighed. “And yes, four more attacks. The latest victim is still in the hospital.”
“But, aren't they Vril? Didn't they have some super healing powers?” The Home Secretary asked with confused face.
“No sir, not anymore.” The Met Commissioner shook his head.
“But wasn't that the reason Nazis hunted them down during the war? To get the secret of their power?” The Home Secretary enquired further.
“Yes sir. But that's the problem. Their powers originated from this source in their home, which was destroyed by Nazis when they were capturing the Vril. The source doesn't exist anymore and so Vril powers are gone.”
“What Henry is saying, sir, is that ever since they started to live among us, they have no other powers than we do. Except for the fact that they're more amiable than we are.” The City Commissioner added.
“Not to everyone apparently.” The Home Secretary huffed. “What do you have on the attacks? Please tell me we can contain this before it goes uglier than in already is. The world is watching.”
“The reports I received reveal similar MO in every case. The victims are a schoolteacher, a nurse, a male stripper, a stay at home husband, a teenage student, a waitress and a rope access technician. The stay at home husband is married to human woman and the nurse is married to human man, the waitress is single young woman, the male stripper is single middle aged man, the schoolteacher is married to a Vril man and the rope access technician is engaged with a Vril woman.” The Met Commissioner read from a file. “They all testified that they were attacked by a group of three or four males, all of them tall, well built, white, wearing masks. They were beaten but there was no sign of sexual assault. The attackers were calling their victims slur names and told them that Nazis should've finish the job and end them all when they had a chance.”
“How did they know the attackers were Europeans?” The Home Secretary asked. “They were wearing masks, weren't they?”
“Ski masks with holes for the eyes. The victims noticed that they were having light eyes, blue and grey, though one of them was reported on having brown eyes. Still, light skin tone.”
“Looks like it is organised.” The City Commissioner leaned back.
“Yeah, but we haven't caught any traces of them.”
“I will talk to the MI5 to see if they have anything for you.” Home Secretary stood up. “I want this contained. We're nearing Brexit this whole situation isn't helping in the negotiations. The EU is worried about the fate of their citizens and that hampers our efforts. And I can't blame them, if we cannot guarantee safety of our own citizens, how will be guarantee safety of theirs?”
“Thanks you sir.” The Met Commissioner rose from his seat as well, followed by the City Commissioner. “I understand I have full authority over this matter?”
“We will see about that. For now find out more and then we will talk about it.” The Home Secretary left the two Commissioners alone.
“I don't like this.” The Met Commissioner growled.
“You and I both, Henry, but it is what it is.” The City Commissioner shrugged. “For what it's worth, I think you've gotten a bite of something big here.”
“You think?” The Met Commissioner rubbed his face. “When was the last time you've heard about organised band of xenophobes?”
“In the history class when we were talking the 'Brown Shirts'.” The City Commissioner smirked. “But I don't think it's that bad. I'd wager, if I was a gambler, that it's some organised crime group with xenophobic hobby. Or perhaps these Vril saw something they shouldn't? They all have walked home late evening or at night.”
“If it's organised crime then MI5 may have some info.” The Met Commissioner sunk back to his chair. “God, I hope this ends fast, the Mayor is breathing on my neck about it all the time. He wants attacks on his citizens to stop, he promised that he'll make London safe and if he wants to be re-elected he needs to keep that promise.”
Two days later. MI5 HQ.
The Met Commissioner sat in a chair in MI5’s M, known more widely as M5 (as opposed to MI6’s M known as just M). He brought everything he had on the attacks just in case. This meeting was arranged by Home Secretary so he could talk with M5, the Met Commissioner wasn’t entirely comfortable with this arrangement but he had little to say in the matter. The more he learned about the case the less he liked anything to do with it. This case stank with unpleasant things for miles.
“I appreciate you having me.” He smiled to the M5 with some effort.
“I appreciate you arriving. I understand that this is all you have on the matter?” The M5 asked.
“Yes. This may come in handy…”
“I will ask you now to surrender this to me. Also, is this absolutely everything you have on the matter?”
“What? Why?” The Met Commissioner’s eyes turned round.
“It is national security matter. Again, is that everything you have?” The M5 reached for the folder.
“Yes. Naturally, it is a copy… But why national security? It’s a criminal case, nasty one but still a criminal case.”
“I do not believe so. The Home Secretary was quite explicit in what he was looking for and I fear that you have taken a bite of something rotten here.” The M5 opened the folder and leafed through it. “Although I see that you didn’t take a large bite after all. Jolly good for you, you wouldn’t like the taste of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s a bigger pile of stank than you may think. We will take over this case although we may seek your cooperation if it will be necessary.” The M5 nodded.
“Is it really that bad?” The Met Commissioner shoulders slumped. He should see that one coming.
“Bad enough for it to be my job as of now.”
“Come on; at least tell me how bad it is. The Mayor is sitting on my back and demands answers. I have to tell him something.”
“It is not a huge secret although it is not to be released to the public for the wellbeing of the investigation, you understand.” The M5 put the folder down and focused entirely on his guest. “Ever since the most recent terrorist attacks in London and on the continent we have taken a keen interest in all the organised crime in an effort to prevent further incidents.”
“So, you know who's behind this?”
“Not quite. We know who is not.” The M5 admitted. “These attacks bear marks of hate crimes, racially motivated, brutal with reasonably consistent Modus Operandi. At first we assumed that it had to be the handiwork of one or more of those far right movements, especially the ones that idolise people like Fjotolf Hansen.”
“Who?” The Met Commissioner blinked in confusion, he never heard of the man before.
“Fjotolf Hansen, you may know him as Andreas Breivik, he changed his name.”
“Oh, him.” The Commissioner nodded. That name he did recognise.
“We have discovered however that it was none of the far right organisations that we know of. Neither of them admitted to committing these attacks either, not even Hansen/Breivik’s worshippers. That led us to believe that the recent attacks were work of some yet unidentified new party not connected to the local movements that we know of.” The M5 finished his explanation. “This is why MI5 is taking over.”
“You think it may be some sort of terrorist organisation?”
“They do commit unprovoked attacks on the citizens that are calculated to terrorise the society. That’s the definition of terrorism.” The M5 replied. “At this point in time any group of people conspiring to attack anyone residing in the UK will be regarded as terrorist and treated accordingly. No matter whom the victim of the attack is.”
“I suppose that this is more that I could ask for in the way of explanation.” The Met Commissioner stood up. “That should allow me to give the Mayor answers that he will demand from me.”
“You should be able to satisfy his curiosity.” The M5 nodded. “One more thing, Commissioner, as I said before we may seek your cooperation so make sure that your forces are prepared. The City Commissioner already knows. I bid you farewell, Commissioner.”
“Good day to you too.” The Commissioner nodded his head and left. This was now out of his hands, and out of his hair. He knew that he should be irritated that he was pushed away from this case, but somehow he felt relieved. If this would blow up in someone’s face, at least it wouldn’t be his.
1) This song is, of course, not about immigration or refuge (and xenophobia that accompanies it) but I felt that it did fit well to the situation of Vril which were refugees (and to an extent immigrants) in this story (and sometimes in RL too).
Vril in this story are refuges who underwent successful and smart assimilation into the society: they cultivate their customs but follow laws of their new country and respect local customs. They (along with their immigrant human equivalents) became part of the society.
2) Speciesism is like racism only with species. I’ve met with this term the first time reading the Discworld. I use it here because technically Vril are different species than humans. And, mind you, if one day we will meet some aliens this term will come in handy (I just don’t know who will be bigger speciesists, the aliens or us).
3) The Met – Unofficial name for the MPS – Metropolitan Police Service, a police force responsible for the area of Great London with exception of the City of London (the strict centre of London, the original London) which has its own police.
4) Idris Elba, the actor, said that when he was in school, other kids would throw eggs at him for being on African origin. I decided to base this on him.
5) Happened few times too. Last time it was on the Brown Line in the London, two Poles were beaten and one of them landed in hospital.