It’s been a while, sorry. Here’s the next installment.
In the story so far, Jim has lost his girlfriend Saz and Martin his wife Marian in a clearing in the woods near the village of Normanton. Strange fir trees have appeared in the same clearing. Both men set out for the village, seemingly drawn there. Meanwhile Patrick Novel has followed his daughter to the same clearing hunting his wife Wanda. When he sees what appeared to be a face in the latest fir tree he faints while the face winks at the little girl. In woods near the village there is a secret communications establishment run by the British government. Jim and Martin appear at the local jumble sale and are watched by the villagers, each of whom has some form of disability. When the watchers realise Patrick isn’t with them the go looking for him
Prentis Mount didn’t panic; it was one reason why he had risen as high as he had in the service of his country. But what he had just seen caused more than the usual stomach fluttering when he encountered a problem. Prentis’ job involved monitoring the feed from the satellites that provide real time information on any security threat to the UK from land, sea or air. What he had just witnessed was a first.
Three of the satellites that provided the highest quality images of the landmass that was the UK had ceased to function. One going down unexpectedly, while uncommon was not unknown; two failing had happened twice before and both as a direct result of significant sunspot activity, a generic problem for which contingency plans were in place and which had been successfully activated. But never three and never unexplained. As he typed a ‘most urgent’ message to his boss he was already in touch with the French to see if they were experiencing anything similar.
‘Sir, yes, exactly. It may be a cyber-attack but the Turing Sensors suggest the satellite remains intact so it isn’t a physical problem, no unaccounted for debris. I… sorry, there’s a message. I… Shit.’
Perhaps it was Prentis swearing that, more than anything alerted his superior to the extent of the problem. This was also a first. ‘It seems the French and the Americans have also lost coverage. The French also believe the Russians may be experiencing similar difficulties.’
‘What’s the worst case, Prentis?’
‘We are blind, sir. We cannot see what is happening in several areas of the country.’
‘Can you give me a status on which areas?’
‘I’ve checked two and, based on that, I’d hazard a guess that it is those where our most secret listening and monitoring establishments are situated.’
‘This is coordinated?’
‘I am checking but, yes, that is the initial conclusion.’
‘The Chinese? Iranians? Who?’
‘I have no idea, sir.’