Chapter 9

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"It's very small, isn't it?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"And not very comfortable looking."

"No, Prime Minister."

"And you're quite sure I need to be here?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"Underground?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"In this bunker?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"For my safety?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"You know, the wine cellar in the official residence is underground."

"I am aware, Prime Minister."

"So it's probably quite safe, too.  Incidentally, it also happens to have a lot of wine in it."

"Had a lot of wine in it, Prime Minister."

"What's that?"

"The wine cellar in the official residence no longer contains any wine, since the official residence, including the wine cellar, is now a smoking crater, Prime Minister."

"Ah.  Are you quite sure?"

"Quite, Prime Minister."

"I don't suppose we managed to rescue any of the wine?"

"No, Prime Minister.  We were rather more focused on rescuing you."

"Of course, of course.  Pity.  About the wine I mean, not about rescuing me.  Well done on that front."

"Thank you, Prime Minister."

"I don't suppose they keep any wine down here?  It is a bit cellar-like, after all."

"No, Prime Minister."

"No scotch either?"

"No, Prime Minister."

"No alcohol of any description?"

"I believe the first aid kit may contain some rubbing alcohol, Prime Minister."

"I see.  I suppose a fellow would have to be fairly desperate to drink that."

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"Tastes awful."

"I expect so, Prime Minister."

  "At least, so I'm told."

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"So.  We just wait, then?"

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"Until.....?"

"Until the situation is stabilised, Prime Minister."

"Right, right, of course.  And, er—any idea when that might be?"

"No, Prime Minister."

"You special forces people aren't much for small talk, are you?"

"No, Prime Minister."

"Well, I suppose I'll just make a few calls while we're waiting.  A Prime Minister's work is never done, you know."

"Yes, Prime Minister."

"Hmm, I don't seem to be able to get a signal on my phone."

"Communications are blacked out, Prime Minister."

"Are they?"

"They are, Prime Minister."

"Well, that's a bother.  Somebody is working on fixing that, I suppose?  I'd quite like to check the cricket score as well."

"Prime Minister, our best technicians are doing their damnedest to keep communications as blacked out as science can make them.  As far as we can tell, whoever is invading us can track any and all of our signals, which is one of the multitude of reasons why they've managed to pretty much completely destroy our entire defence force, while we seem to have barely put a scratch on any of their units.  Parliament House has been blown up, most of the government has been captured or killed, the country is in chaos and as best we can tell the rest of the world is as bad, if not worse.  You are just about all that remains of any semblance of governance in this country.  We don't know where the invaders came from, we don't really know what they can do and we don't know what they want, although there have been some bizarre reports of hat and shoe shops being looted.  In any case, in the absence of anything more viable, our current plan is to basically skulk in this hole in the ground and hope like hell that they don't find us.  Because if they do, we're as good as dead."

"I see.  You know, I think I rather preferred it when you didn't talk much."

"Yes, Prime Minister."

 "Hmm.  Where do you suppose they keep that first aid kit?"

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