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V is for Victory

Posted on Wed Jun 12th, 2024 @ 13:07 by Duke Anthony Cavendish & James Jenkins & General Heinrich Falkenrath
Edited on on Wed Jun 12th, 2024 @ 23:01

Chapter: Besieged
Location: The Wisely Country Club, Surrey, England
Timeline: 18:30, Thursday, January 21st, 1993
1743 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

At the start of last year the weekly meetings between Cavendish and Jenkins seemed like vigils to a time slowly fading. Public sentiment was growing more and more accepting of Mutants and sometimes the conversation seemed to veer dangerously close to considering disbanding the HPL. After the death if their third compatriot those conversations became more frequent. That was until his last will and testament left them with a little black book. Written in a cypher that was revealed to the two gentlemen in a separate, mysterious, letter.

The book contained names, contacts of Admiral Miller that had been gathered and maintained through a lifetime of service to Queen and Country. Military heads across the globe, CEOs for large military industry corporations, even a handful of German nationalists currently residing in Argentina. More helpfully the book had contained details as to the reasons why these people could be trusted, or pressured. It was how they had gotten in contact with Bolivar Trask over the summer of '92. And it's how their little two man army had grown to a healthy sixteen individuals sitting around the large dinner table at the start of '93.

Duke Cavendish, at the head of the table, rose and used his salad fork to tap against his wineglass for attention from the room. "Ladies and gentlemen. This time last year things looked dire for our country. The public was turning a blind eye to the ever growing mutant threat, some of them were even celebrating them, pining for their attentions, hoping some of their satanic gifts would rub off on them." He looked around the table with smug satisfaction, eyes lingering for a moment on his son sitting at his left hand side. It was the young man's first HPL meeting. "Following a successful campaign we're looking at a very different situation indeed." He raised his glass to the MP at their table, "The tories, rule both houses." There was a modest and polite applause, "the media has shifted their narrative" the raised glass now pointed at a media mogul, another applause. "And we're able to arm ourselves better than ever before thanks to the effort of our courageous men and women in uniform" the three service members seemed slightly out of place in their dress uniforms. "Today we celebrate, for the first step in reigning in the biggest threat to our liberty, security, and way of life has been made. And with confidence. Thanks to the mutant registration act we can take more decisive action, and given we can move towards the neutralisation of the Mutant race." He raised his glass into the air to a chorus of 'hear, hear' around the table.

The dinner was served and enjoyed over polite conversation, once all five courses had come and gone the dining room was exchanged for a larger lounge where the people were able to mingle and exchange ideas. Anthony Cavendish and his son stood next to James Jenkins with a man clad in a simple black three piece suit splitting the difference between the two parties.

"Sir James Jenkins, meet General Heinrich Falkenrath." The Duke made the formal introduction between them.

James was sure that he was missing something about the dinner, but he was not one to judge, especially when Cavendish had been a man on a mission recently. The speech had not been unexpected; however, the introduction to the general was entirely unforeseen. James was aware of the general, but until now, there had been no formal introduction. As the general approached, James extended his hand.

"Pleasure to finally meet you, General. I have been intrigued by your work and how my departed and missed colleague came to know you." He had been keen to meet this man ever since his colleague's last will left them with a little coded black book. This book, filled with cryptic notes and contacts, had reignited a nearly forgotten dream. James had spent countless hours trying to piece together the connections within its pages, and now, standing before the general, he felt a mix of anticipation and curiosity.

"Sir James." The seasoned older man in uniform gave a cursory nod, an intense stare on his furrowed brow as he studied the gentleman in front of him. Then he finally relented and shook the offered hand. "Your name has come up in many conversations of late. It is agreeable to put a face to the name on so many peoples' lips."

The peer looked around the room. He was a friend and colleague to most people in this room. He was not at all well known as Cavendish which allowed him a more personal touch to all his products. He was the person in their trio with a much more mainstream business and technical background to allow them into newer circles even when all else had seemed lost. “I do hope they are good words?” He questioned.

"You should tell him about Project Chimera." Anthony seemed eager to tell it himself but did give the man an opportunity to choose his own words.

James raised an eyebrow and waited for the explanation. He had only heard mere whispers of the project but he was more than interested in hearing more about it from the person in charge of it himself.

"Well..." There was a fraction of a second where Heinrich seemed almost embarrassed, playing the modesty card at least for the sake of his company. "We have been very fortunate with our most recent successes. Thanks in no small part to the significant backing of this group. I don't know if you've met Doctor Hohenberg, but her work has yielded some promising avenues. Especially when it comes to the matter of control. After all, what better way to protect humanity by controlling the very threat it faces?"

James nodded. That sounded exactly like what they were looking at expanding on. The mutants against them were destructive but if they could control them that was a very different ball game. "I have not met her but I will be interested to." He assured glancing around. "Is she here?"

"The good doctor is wrapping up things in Geneva," Duke Cavendish interjected, still beaming with glee over the progress they had been able to make with the clandestine organisation and now being able to make it legit within the borders of their own country. "We'll look to consolidate assets on our own soil. Provide additional funding through folding them into the NHS. the MP will welcome the opportunity to be able to campaign on the promise of increasing funds there as well as to national security."

"A shame." James decided thinking on where in the NHS they could provide this service and sites that could hold that operation. He would look forward to meeting the doctor and seeing what she was really up to. "I will look forward to when she joins us in the United Kingdom."

"So does she, I'm sure." Anthony added to that.

"I seem to have been left out on a lot of things recently I believe that we might have to have a more furore conversation on all of this at your convenience of course Anthony." James decided thinking that they needed to know everything about what the other had been working on as it seemed their deceased colleague had a lot more fingers in pies than he could ever imagine.

"We'll make sure to plan something." Anthony gave a bit of a smile. It all seemed to finally come together in a way that they no longer needed to bother with smoke and mirrors. The general consensus was shifting in their favour, and they probably had the juvenile anarchistic tendencies of that Robin Hood fellow to thank for it. "It's heating up, so we should be striking the iron." He looked over at the General.

"Indeed. While the mutants are separate they are weaker," Heinrich noted thoughtfully. "We must defeat in detail; before they can unite into a more significant threat. If this 'Robin Hood' individual thinks he is making a difference all it will do is continue to play into our favour. I trust everything is in motion to handle the Scottish enclave?" He glanced at Cavendish, interested in seeing the man's reaction.

Anthony's stoic expression seemed to freeze in place. It always felt like all eyes turned to him when Avalon was mentioned. "The head teacher is very predictable. Come February first we'll have everything we need to legally break up that school of misfits. I'll get you some blueprints and intel on the premises, so you can prepare your operation."

Heinrich nodded, a formal and somewhat martial gesture. "We already have plenty of intelligence of our own. But...anything else you have on expected threats and layout would be welcomed." The General was making it pointedly clear that he knew what he was doing, even without outside help. "Honestly I would rather not wait. Every day that passes is an opportunity for them to learn of our plans and make preparations. Speed and surprise are often the most effective tools in warfare."

"I agree on that assessment, however due to the sensitive nature of this legislation and the people on those grounds, we feel it's potentially more damaging to pull the trigger too early." Anthony remarked. Aside from the fact that he'd rather not that Claire was on school grounds when the operation kicked off, if they simply pulled a major military operation on a private school, out of nowhere, it would surely scuttle all credibility and run the risk of the registration act they had just implemented to just as easily be revoked. "Patience, as they say, is a virtue."

A knowing smile crossed the General's lips. "We have come this far through careful preparation. And your leadership, of course..." he tilted his head again. "Let us hope that our patience remains as virtuous as you say."

"One more week.." Anthony slowly raised his glass in celebration. Perhaps his daughter would finally realise that hers was a losing battle, that humankind was the apex predator on Earth for a reason. Her people might have all the fancy tricks, but his people held all the true power in this world. Perhaps, with time, she'd come to appreciate what he'd done for her, especially when they finally found a cure for her genetic defects. He looked around the room and raised his voice, "To humanity!"


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