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Pen Your Pride


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It was a dull warm day in April, and the clocks were 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.

The air conditioner hummed.

‘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 five thousand 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 as blue sky broke to the east and said ‘They’re here.’

Lots of lovely little dots.

Six RAF A400M tactical transport aircraft, four F-35 stealth fighters and a dozen helicopters flew unhindered over red and white chimneys, up the river to 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 gentle sparkles towards the port and the oil tanker sitting low in the water. Then the jets accelerated and screamed over the Central Bank, south to hit the army garrison in Rathmines, then on to destroy all helicopters at the Aer Corps base in Baldonnel.

Black explosions. Bad noise.

The remaining fighters watched over the slowing, circling, 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. We want the assets. We want it all.

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.

‘Can we trust the British, Herr Kommandant?’ asked the assistant.

‘Of course, Gunter. There is your proof,’ he gestured at the chaos unfolding across the city. ‘They can only continue to fight their endless war 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 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.’

Gunter 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.

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