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Mark Radford - Deaf Author
A crime thriller set in the future where Britain is under military rule but all is not as it seems behind the face of authority as a murder leads to top officials.
Top Ten in Kindle Sci-Fi charts UK (Dec 2011)
Britain, in the year 2027, is under military rule by a hard line Animals' Rights organisation. Military Crimes Officer Carl Treyer, on an investigation into a man's death, discovers a trail of murder that leads to a top ranking official. In trying to bring the perpetrator to justice, his life is placed in jeopardy. However, intervention from an unexpected source is the catalyst which may blow the whole case wide open, forcing a battle for survival.
Another tranquil day had embraced the animal kingdom in the countryside. Birds hovered happily in their flights of fancy whilst hares munched away on what precious pieces of grass they could find in the almost barren fields. There was a time when grass was aplenty but many years of ignorance by the past regime of civilised governments had allowed global warming to wreak its havoc. A sunset was in motion over the countryside, the light diminishing. On the fringe of the woods, a man lay on his stomach, partly hidden by an embankment; the scrutiny of the hares seemed to have kept his interest for a little while. Slowly, he reached out for the rifle at his side and silently aimed it in the direction of the hares. A short pause between hunter and prey as his finger rested on the trigger. A shrill shot reverberated through the air. The peaceful sanctuary now thrown into chaos, birds screeched in fright and the hares scampered away scared. The man jumped quickly to his feet.
‘Gotcha’ he exclaimed in delight as he punched the air with his fist. The wait had paid off. He bent down, picked up his bag and hastened toward the downed prey. He grabbed the hare, stuffed its lifeless body quickly into his bag and started his retreat from the scene.
‘Stand right where you are and surrender.’ A voice boomed out through a loudhailer. The hunter had only gone a short distance and his face froze in fear at the order. He knew that he had been rumbled by the A.P.A. and instantly threw his bag to the ground and made a run for it. Engines started up, spotlights flashed on in the faded light of day and the hunter saw jeeps entering one side of the field in pursuit of him. He raced toward the gate on the other side of the field when the purple-clad foot soldiers suddenly bounded over the wall by the gate. They made rapid strides towards him, their guns at the ready, and any hopes he had of escape swiftly diminished. He stopped running and knew he was defeated. The hunter raised his hands as the jeeps jerked to a stop beside him. Blinding beams from the spotlights rained down on him as soldiers piled out of the jeeps to take him prisoner. Two soldiers grabbed him violently; his hands were thrust behind his back, the backs of his knees kicked hard by military boots, the searing pain forcing him to kneel as he was handcuffed. Another soldier roughly jabbed a monitor to the back of his neck and scanned it, in search of identity. The machine beeped his particulars from the microchip embedded in his neck and the soldier signalled to one of the jeeps. A jeep door creaked open and slammed closed and the hunter was aware of someone approaching him. Squinting up into the blinding spotlight, he tried to focus on the figure now looming over him. He stared in horror as he recognised the battle-hardened face and cropped cut grey hair from the media reports on TV and the newspapers. General Osti Skara was a heavyset man with a fearsome reputation. Skara took the ID reader from the soldier.
‘Morgan Forrester,’ he hissed menacingly, reading the name on the monitor as he eyed up the hunter. ‘Did you foolishly believe that the Animals Protection Army would allow you to get away with this?’
‘No, I thought I had it all planned out.’ Forrester responded, and received a savage punch in answer.
‘You address the General as sir,’ growled the soldier. The hunter felt the warmth of blood seeping from his lip where the blow had struck him.
‘Not only are you too stupid to succeed with your crime, but you also showed no respect for an officer upholding the law of the British President,’ the general spat disgustedly. A soldier walked up to General Skara and opened the hunter’s discarded bag. He pulled out the dead hare for Skara to see. ‘You have violated the law on a serious level, Mr Forrester. And you know the penalty for the slaughter of animals for food consumption under the 2020 treaty.’
‘The people should have the freedom of choice to eat meat if they wish,’ a defiant Forrester spoke out to the charge. A barrage of blows by soldiers struck him hard at the protest, and the pain became unbearable.
‘Not when we had won the war and introduced the treaty.’ Skara sharply reminded Forrester and raised his voice. ‘You need to be taught a harsh lesson, Mr Forrester, as once again you have failed to address me properly and you clearly have no regards for the laws. Prison will be too good for scum like you,’ the venom of the general’s words stung Forrester. He tried to get up from his kneeled position and argue his case but was rewarded by a further barrage of kicks and punches. Skara looked at the soldiers around him. ‘I think this man, Morgan Forrester, should do the game of justice.’ The men cheered their approval for the General as much as for his plan for the hunter.
‘What’s the hell is this game of justice…sir?’ Forrester spoke out in his pain and remembered to address the officer to avoid further beatings.
‘All in good time, you will see,’ General Skara said with a hideous glee. ‘Take him away.’
Forrester started to be dragged away towards a jeep. ‘No! Wait!’ he protested, fearful of the general’s plans for him. Skara laughed wickedly.