The group was never meant to be a government. The belief of the group was simply that any democratically elected government should serve its people first and foremost. In the UK in 2015 it was deemed that this was no longer the case.
“They’re at it again!” said Arthur quietly to himself. He’d just read yet another story about a politician using public money to purchase something entirely un-public. This time it was the cleaning of a moat. “Who the hell has a moat?” Arthur was a remote worker sat in his office looking through the day’s stories on his computer. MP’s expense stories had been coming out for years. Arthur shook his head. “No wonder no-one wants to see the news. Politician this, paedophile that, murder something else.” Along with the story of the MP’s moat that day were stories about the financial collapse still stinging people, violent crimes, even fraudulent behaviour by the same papers that were printing the stories. If someone were to judge based solely on the stories being covered in the news then the country was in a poor state of health indeed. Tied in to all of this was the people’s lack of faith in the police and justice system, specifically in what these institutions were allowed to do to protect the people. No punishment seemed to fit the crime anymore thought Arthur. Even when someone was convicted they seemed to be out of prison in half the time they were sentenced for. He shook his head. He didn’t know if his solitary way of working clouded his opinions of what was going on in the world or weather it offered him a shield against it.
The following day Arthur went through the same routine of scanning the news then shrugged it all off and started work. At lunch time he went back on the news site to see what had happened in the world. The top story was that the politician he had read about the previous day had been found dead. The MP had apparently been shot once in the forehead. “Gang land style” the reporter had said presumably for dramatic effect. Did being shot in the head need to be made more dramatic? Having his moat cleaned was a waste of time thought Arthur.
A week later while following the same morning news routine Arthur found the shooting story still dominated. No one had yet been arrested over the shooting but there were the regular theories – wife did it, jealous lover. Whatever had actually happened a storm had been kicked up. That day however there had been a development. According to the news there was a video of a person reading a statement in which an un-named group had taken responsibility. Quickly Arthur opened the link to watch.
“Last week a member of parliament, Andrew Westminster, was shot at his home. Mr Westminster was convicted of no crime as the law saw it and nor would he be. He was guilty though. He was guilty of an abuse of trust of the people of this country. For 20 years Mr Westminster worked as a public servant in one capacity or another. Throughout that time he was a thief from, a liar to and an abuser of the people. We have proof of each of these which we will be sharing shortly.”
The video went on “Mr Westminster was a symptom of a corruption which plagues our country. A corruption which has spread to every corner. This has created a feeling of mistrust among the people. A mistrust of the system. Do we trust our politicians to work in our best interests? Do we trust our police force to keep us safe and uphold our rights? Do we trust the law courts to hand out punishments that fit the crimes and for those punishments to be carried out in full? Do we trust our banks? Our food suppliers? Our journalists? The sad truth and answer to each of these is no. As a people we no longer trust. Our mistrust has led to a malaise within our society. We can feel that things aren’t right, that if people have enough money or perceived power then they are untouchable. The people have been made to feel small and insignificant.
We are here to remove that malaise, to combat the mistrust and to remind government and institutions that we are the people and we hold the power. The people are never small and are never insignificant. Without us there would be no one to govern and no one to manipulate. We are not merely cash cows for tax or something to be toyed with. Our trust should be earned and respected. It should never be taken for granted. To dismiss the people is to make an enemy of the people. To make an enemy of the people has consequences.
No one is out of our reach for we are the will of the people, we are the conscience and when necessary we are the hammer and the anvil upon which it strikes.” The video faded to black.
Arthur lent back in his chair. “That’s strong stuff.”
All day, everyone Arthur spoke to brought up the video. In general people seemed to think that the MP got what he deserved. When speaking to one colleague in particular who worked within the world of social media Arthur was told that all the popular services were being lit up with opinions and discussions. People all over the country seemed to be engaged. For the rest of the day Arthur kept the television on, something he very rarely did when working, to keep an eye on developments. Towards the end of the day Arthur went to switch off the TV but stopped as the latest headline appeared. PROOF RELEASED.
The proof took the form of a presentation of sorts. It contained videos with subtitled conversations of Mr Westminster speaking to reporters and colleagues, documents signed by the now dead MP which allegedly allowed for building projects in his constituency and bank records showing large deposits.
The next day the news was full of nothing else but Mr Westminster’s activities. Apparently people had been working through the night to sieve the “proof” and the upshot appeared to be that moat cleaning was only the tip of the ice berg. Reporters had been all over it. Judging by their reports, articles and blogs they were becoming more and more convinced that the proof was indeed exactly that, evidence of shady dealings leading to the enrichment of Mr Westminster’s bank accounts at the expense of the public coffers. The police were not commenting.
After a week another video was released. This time it was of an actual execution. The assailants, one of which was wearing a video camera on their head like cyclists had recently started to do, had filmed their entry via the front door in to what looked like an apartment and on in to the victims bedroom. He was sleeping alone. Upon waking him they proceeded to read out a list of charges. The victim went from anger through denial to pleading for his life very quickly. Essentially the group were holding him responsible for the suicide of several people. The camera panned away for a brief moment. When it came back to the victim he was laid on his bed unmoving with a wound in his forehead. The film ended.
The media identified the victim as Lloyd Halifax – a merchant banker from the city who had prospered during the recent economic downturn. Once his name and picture started to get air time the suicides got confirmed. Lloyd Halifax was very much beginning to appear as the demon banker. An unscrupulous investor who would seemingly throw other people’s money away in order to boost other investments which would pay off for him personally.
The latest video confirmed a couple of things. These acts weren’t carried out by an individual and whoever was behind them had done their research.
Later that evening the group made another statement. “By now you should have seen confirmation of the crimes committed by Mr Halifax. His execution was just. We will continue to mete out the justice that the people deserve. The government and institutions have had numerous opportunities to do the same but have instead been found to be impotent in this regard.”
Further videos were released for the next several weeks. They showed what seemed to be acts of vigilantism against people carrying out acts of violence. The areas in which these videos were filmed were hot spots of violence and anti-social behaviour around the country according to the news. The people “saved” in these videos were tracked down and interviewed. They couldn’t praise their saviours enough. The attackers meanwhile were unavailable for comment as most were receiving treatment in hospital if not residing in the morgue. Random members of the public also started to come out in support during ad hoc interviews conducted to gauge public reaction. The police were stating officially that members of the public should not get themselves involved in vigilantism and should report any leads regarding the group responsible immediately. Arthur watched, read and listened as the “justice” continued to be dealt out. Known thugs, rapists, paedophiles and murderers all started to turn up dead.
The next video appeared a month after the previous one “Since our group has made itself known we have carried out the peoples will. We have visited justice upon those who have done the people wrong and to those that sought to continue to do so. Soon we will disappear however we have one final act to administer to. We have placed explosive devices at a prison in the UK. The strength of the explosion will level the prison. The devices will be detonated at 1800 three days from now. All criminals must come to understand that there is a personal cost to them when they commit a crime. That committing a crime against honest people may cost them their lives. The government and justice system must also come to realise that their reticence in handing out punishments to fit the crime cannot continue.”
The media went mad. Arthur watched as discussions about which prison would be targeted started immediately. Television shows discussed the possible government evacuation plans but how could they evacuate every prison in the UK and house all the inmates elsewhere thought Arthur. He waited, along with the rest of the country he presumed, to see what would happen next.
The day of the detonation came. TV crews were seemingly at every prison in the country as news channels had a feed from any prison that was mentioned. Arthur looked on. He was feeling anxious. At 1700 one prison in particular, Kentshall Prison in Cumbria, became the focus. According to the news anchor on the channel Arthur was watching the warden there had been called and asked to evacuate any non-prisoners. At 1800 it was destroyed, engulfed by huge explosions all captured on camera.
A few hours later the final video was released and Arthur watched intently.
“For the past two months we have started to address the imbalance against the people and for now we are finished but make no mistake we will return if necessary to tip the balance back in to the favour of the good people of this country. Various agencies of the government will of course already be trying to find us. This is a pointless undertaking as they already know who we are. We are the people and we are always watching”. Arthur turned the television off. He swung his chair around to look out of his office window. Before he went back to work he said to himself “We are the people and we are always watching.” He nodded “I’m glad I put that line in.”
Bio: I'm a project manager living in Hampshire in the UK. I enjoy reading a lot of thrillers, science fiction and fantasy. I'm writing to take my mind away from work while trying to remain creative.