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Published by Gary J Byrnes at Smashwords.
Copyright 2011 © Gary J Byrnes.
The right of Gary J Byrnes to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright & Related Rights Act, 2000. All rights reserved.
In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events are either the product of the author's imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Novels by Gary J Byrnes, in print and ebook formats, available from Smashwords and all good online retailers.

It was a warm, dull Easter Monday in March and the clocks were all set to Berlin time. The Kommandant of the Central Bank of Ireland stood before the long window on the top floor of the Brutalist pile and gazed east, down the grey River Liffey and into Dublin Bay, where water and sky met in a fuzz. He searched the clouds anxiously, checked his watch.
‘Where are they?’
The full wall digital display churned out numbers and symbols. The Euro was dying and the shocking red pixels could lie no more, the spinmeisters had tried every trick, every damned crazy scheme. Debt piled upon debt piled upon debt. The house of cards had collapsed. Simple physics, really. But the new currency would soon be unveiled, turning lead into gold.
Tiny dots formed at 5,000 metres and the Kommandant allowed himself a smile. His assistant entered the office with a silver tray and two double espressos.
The Kommandant inhaled the coffee smell and said ‘They’re here.’
Lots of lovely little dots.
Six RAF A400M tactical transport aircraft, four F-35 stealth fighters and a handful of Blackhawk helicopters flew unhindered over the port. King William flew the lead transport, smiling as he did his duty for himself and his riot-torn country. There was no resistance to the attack formation, as the Irish Aer Corps relied on UK radar and satellite data and had been supplied with dummy images since midnight. Two fighters peeled away from the attack force and dropped little sparkles towards the port and the oil tanker sitting low in the water. Then the jets accelerated and screamed over the Central Bank at 900 kph, on their mission to destroy all assets at the Aer Corps base in Baldonnell.
A huge red and black explosion.
The remaining fighters watched over the fat-bellied transports, each loaded with one hundred storm-accountants from the 1st Combat Wing of the European Central Bank. Armed with sub machine guns, laptops, calculators, asset seizure orders and impenetrable contract documents, their role was to aggressively take control of all the Irish assets that had been put up as collateral for European bailout funds. The funds were a contrived, fractional fantasy and the bailout a disaster. But these truths were irrelevant. This was about the rule of financial law and the protection of the bondholders, the hedge funds and the German and French banks that really mattered.
The sound of the tanker’s death reached the office as a low rumble, a column of oily smoke filled the morning sky. It was ironic that the last time this part of the city had been bombed from the air was during a Luftwaffe attack in 1941. Then there was 1974.
‘Can we trust the British, Herr Kommandant?’ asked the assistant.
‘Of course, Günther. There is your proof,’ he gestured at the chaos unfolding across the city. ‘They can only continue to fight their endless wars by hiring out their remaining assets and selling their military hardware to the highest bidder. Some would argue that it has always been so.’
‘And the Irish?’
‘The armed forces’ paychecks come from Frankfurt. They’re fine. We will need them to maintain order. The police will get double overtime to maintain order once I assume command of the State and declare Emergency Law. The politicians? Well, I don’t know if anyone can truly understand them. They have been paid off and offered powerless but well-salaried positions in Brussels and Frankfurt, as has always been the case. Those that decline will be fed to the population.’
Günther gaped. The smoke from the tanker obscured a quarter of the sky. Nearer, the transports lazily circled the Irish Financial Services Centre like sharks while the storm-accountants drifted slowly to ground under pinstriped parachutes. The helicopters hovered, then veered south. The transports followed, crossed the river towards Government Buildings.
Looking down at the street made little point from the top of the Central Bank, they were just working ants below, so the Kommandant looked to the screens to see the breathless breaking news. There was some panic on display, but calm resignation too. The fluoridated water supply had numbed the peasantry into submission, exactly as imagined by Nazi scientists in the 1940s. Since the Bubble Times, each of Ireland’s economic shocks had been greater than the last. Somehow, the idea of the European Central Bank repossessing a country using military force was now acceptable. The Greeks had fought harder but they fell too. For the countries which had insisted on the centralisation of European power after The First Bond War, Greater Europe was taking shape. The European Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda controlled the media. Between gameshows, the populace was bombarded with the mantra that managing debt was the most important shared task and that elected representatives had obstructed this.
Debt would set them free.
So Greater Europe’s western flank was now secured, along with Ireland’s fish and her cattle and her gas and her debt slaves.
They stood and watched as each objective was taken and then took a long conference call with Berlin, Frankfurt and Paris, which was mainly concerned with short-term bond yields.
The numbers quietly marched across the screens.
Some gunfire. Nearby. The Kommandant raised an eyebrow, but he always did this.
‘And Shannon Airport?’
The assistant checked his tablet computer. ‘The American garrison has taken it, not a shot fired.’
‘Good. Good. I want preliminary audit reports from the banks and the asset management agency on my desk in the morning. Tonight we will dine with the mission leader, an actuary from Dortmund.’ The Kommandant was framed by the window then, a horrible masterpiece as the evening sun toasted the Dublin Mountains, the city at the heart of a smoky vortex. ‘It’s time to broadcast my assumption of command. To the media studio. And then time for a brandy, perhaps?’
A very loud explosion then and the office shook. A long crack in the window. Dust and smoke and screams.
‘Gott in Himmel! What was that?’
The assistant tried to contact security on his headset, failed, brought the ground level cameras onto the screens. At the rear of the building, the ramp into the basement, a scorched and smoking cave now.
‘There!’ cried Günther, pointing to a screen which showed fuzzy armed men enter the cave, firing savagely into the void.
The Kommandant lurched towards his desk and scrambled at the bottom drawer. It slid out as he grabbed the Napoleon bottle and struggled with the cap. There was shooting within the building and another explosion. The tv blahed about a large British aircraft that had come down on Croke Park and the assassination of two Frankfurt bankers on Mount Street, but these events didn’t register as they cowered and gulped the brandy and listened to the shooting.
And when the fuzzy men with guns came to take them hostage, before they would level the building with an ANFO-nitromethane truckbomb, all the Kommandant could ask was ‘Who?’
‘The IRA. We’re just looking after our investments. Can’t be having everything wiped out by your New Deutschmark. Surely you can appreciate that.’
‘But you were gone away!’
‘Ha. Up! On your feet the pair of ye.’
‘But what do you want?’
‘We’ll make a deal. Maybe.’
They filled a bag with computers, phones and documents from the Kommandant’s desk, posed by the picture window, AKs pointed at their hostages’ heads, and streamed the whole show onto the web with a twenty minute delay.
Twenty-two minutes later, the explosion was heard as far away as Glendalough. The ducks there just shrugged.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

The Bible, Proverbs 22:7 (New International Version)



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