The Covid Conspiracies – Book Series

Humanity's Apocalypse or Salvation The Covid Conspiracies,

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1023134 On Sale Now Humanity's Apocalypse or Salvation The Covid Conspiracies, Humanity's Apocalypse or Salvation The Covid Conspiracies, plandemic, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Vaccine, Globalist, Track & Trace, Virus, Coronavirus, Lockdown, Billionaires, FAANG, Digital IDS, The Global Cabal, The Elite, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Illuminati, Microchip, Compulsory vaccine, Fake Pandemic, Police State, Control, Orwell, Eugenics, Huxley, 5G, Climate Change, Global Warming, Antibodies, Antigens, Simulated Reality, melting Ice-Caps, China, Pollution, 1984, USA, Big Brother, The Matrix, Nature, Man-made Virus, Manipulation, Doublespeak, The Markets, recession, VR, Icke, PPE, WHO and frontline Health Staff NHS, SAGE Cashless Society Digital Banking, antivax, plandemic and so on... I hope you enjoy it. i hope you will find hope.

Covid -19, Humanity’s Apocalypse or it’s Salvation?

Do you have any clue what is coming? Do you harbour Orwellian dystopian thoughts of Big Brother and total control? This series of books explores the facts & fictions of the current pandemic as seen through the eyes of several fictional protagonists,some exploiting it, others trying to get to the truth. Do you harbour Orwellian dystopian thoughts of Big Brother and control? Do you believe they are taking everything you have, and everything you are?

The Covid-19 Conspiracies series of books examine the facts & fictions of the current Covid-19 pandemic as seen through the eyes of several fictional protagonists;some moving the world to their different agendas; others wading through fake news, conspiracy theories & their personal fear, paranoia and prejudices to get to the truth and an understanding of what the future has in store for humanity.

If you think, that despite our situation, our salvation is truly at hand either by Global Billionaires or Conglomerates, whatever their motives, guilt re past misdemeanours or culpability then I salute you. The world will be good for you.
And if you believe that salvation is at hand through another global power, the forces of nature, Mother Earth, Gaia, then again, I salute you. You are at one with the planet.
But if your heart is heavy and your mind low; If you believe that Covid-19 has wrenched something from you ; ripped something out of you , stolen your dreams and desires, your hopes and aspirations then this book is truly for you. It not only shows you the truth of things, a truth which will free you from all fear. it will help you to live in these Covid times in happiness and freedom and these in turn lead to great things for you.
Why did I write this as a factional series? Because even the fiction contained herein could be true. The facts of Covid already cannot be completely pinned down and the world is awash with all kinds of claims and counterclaims. Plus, recall, already fades. Meanwhile conspiracy fiction is spreading like a toxic gas cloud poisoning minds; it could even be poisoning yours or just adding to the dose.
Follow the twisting path that this series takes you on and you will at the very least emerge from your hell. But I must warn you, before you read any of this, set aside any thoughts of Hollywood plots and fantastical heroes and villains; discard any notions of anachronistic Good and Evil divides. Only then will this Series mean anything to you. And it so is going to be a long, but ultimately ever so rewarding journey. This first book Lockdown takes you deep down into the nightmare
If you want to know exactly what this series is about then it is about;
The Covid Conspiracies, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Vaccine, Globalist, Track & Trace, Virus, Coronavirus, Lockdown, Billionaires, FAANG, Digital IDS, The Global Cabal, The Elite, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Illuminati, Microchip, Compulsory vaccine, Fake Pandemic, Police State, Control, Orwell, Eugenics, Huxley, 5G, Climate Change, Global Warming, Antibodies, Antigens, Simulated Reality, melting Ice-Caps, China, Pollution, 1984, USA, Big Brother, The Matrix, Nature, Man-made Virus, Manipulation, Doublespeak, The Markets, recession, VR, Icke, PPE, WHO and frontline Health Staff NHS, SAGE Cashless Society Digital Banking Plandemic Anti-vaxxers and so on… I hope you enjoy it. i hope you will find hope.

 

 

 

The Covid Conspiracies

Book One

Covid Lockdown

By Lionel

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1023134 On Sale Now Humanity's Apocalypse or Salvation The Covid Conspiracies, Humanity's Apocalypse or Salvation The Covid Conspiracies, plandemic, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Vaccine, Globalist, Track & Trace, Virus, Coronavirus, Lockdown, Billionaires, FAANG, Digital IDS, The Global Cabal, The Elite, Fake News, Pandemic, Covid-19, Conspiracy Theory, Illuminati, Microchip, Compulsory vaccine, Fake Pandemic, Police State, Control, Orwell, Eugenics, Huxley, 5G, Climate Change, Global Warming, Antibodies, Antigens, Simulated Reality, melting Ice-Caps, China, Pollution, 1984, USA, Big Brother, The Matrix, Nature, Man-made Virus, Manipulation, Doublespeak, The Markets, recession, VR, Icke, PPE, WHO and frontline Health Staff NHS, SAGE Cashless Society Digital Banking, antivax, plandemic and so on... I hope you enjoy it. i hope you will find hope.

Copyright 2020 Lionel Refson

Published by Lionel Refson

Table of Contents

 

 Introduction

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a troubled mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows,
Like a never-departing shadow
.

The Dhammapada

 

“Social control is best managed through fear.”

— Michael Crichton

 

Do you have any clue what is coming? Do you?  I’d know if you told me what you thought of the two above quotes. Then I’d know what you think.

What do you see in your Covid future? How does your heart feel? How is your mind set? Do you harbour Orwellian dystopian thoughts of Big Brother and control? Do you believe they are taking everything you have, and everything you are?

If you think, that despite our situation, our salvation is truly at hand either by Global Billionaires or Conglomerates, whatever their motives, guilt re past misdemeanours or culpability then I salute you. The world will be good for you.

And if you believe that salvation is at hand through another global power, the forces of nature, Mother Earth, Gaia, then again, I salute you. You are at one with the planet.

But if your heart is heavy and your mind low; If you believe that Covid-19 has wrenched something from you; ripped something out of you, stolen your dreams and desires, your hopes and aspirations then this book is truly for you. It not only shows you the truth of things, a truth which will free you from all fear. it will help you to live in these Covid times in happiness and freedom and these in turn lead to great things for you.

Why did I write this as a factional series? Because even the fiction contained herein could be true. The facts of Covid already cannot be completely pinned down and the world is awash with all kinds of claims and counterclaims. Plus, recall, already fades. Meanwhile conspiracy fiction is spreading like a toxic gas cloud poisoning minds; it could even be poisoning yours or just adding to the dose.

Follow the twisting path that this series takes you on and you will at the very least emerge from your hell. But I must warn you, before you read any of this, set aside any thoughts of Hollywood plots and fantastical heroes and villains; discard any notions of anachronistic Good and Evil divides. Only then will this Series mean anything to you. And it so is going to be a long, but ultimately ever so rewarding journey. This first book Lockdown takes you deep down into the nightmare

Donations from sales will be given to the appropriate Global mental health charities. I haven’t decided how much yet. perhaps you can tell me. Speak and Act with Peaceful Minds

Lionel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

8th May 2020 London

He watched the revised social distance friendly VE-Day celebrations with complete satisfaction. Everything that he had wanted to achieve was within his grasp. His belief that social control was best managed through fear had been proven to be so far completely correct. It had been genius to frame the whole threat in simple war terms, selecting the right tactics, strategies and media right down to the correct soundbites; slogans such as winning the war against coronavirus; fighting the enemy within; fighting our battle of the Somme and on the frontline.

He’d painted the war theme with great skill, coining the terms Nightingale Hospitals, the Land Army, NHS Volunteers. He’d been the one in the background organizing everything from social distancing and lockdowns through to rousing the nation to clap for the NHS every week.

Now VE day had arrived, the moment of his greatest triumph. The Queen had spoken, The PM had addressed the nation in rousing Churchillian tones with much waving of fists and tremendous, resounding applause. Though he had not been mentioned he didn’t care it was all a testament to his success.

The next few weeks and months would pose many challenges for him and the UK Government but at least all ties with the EU were now severed. The country would in the future be looking forward to a closer trade relationship with the USA, given that the EU was more or less finished. It was ironic to him that Victory in Europe Day had more or less become Victory over Europe day.

The lockdown-relief measures announced that morning had only been baby steps, but enough to silence the critics. Soon lockdown would have to begin again, according to his diary in less than three weeks, and this one would be far more severe than the last. But he was ready, the slogans and the soundbites had all been prepared and the media once again was primed to deliver enough firepower to panic the population back into their bolt holes, faster than jackrabbits. Such a fine balancing act, such an incredible art and what talent he had for it.

The only real decision he now faced going forward was what message to lead with? Would it be the one detailing the discovery of a new, far deadlier strain or would it be the one about human’s inability to develop complete immunity from the virus, therefore suggesting everyone was still at a risk of reinfection. He’d already recently sanctioned a cautious release of both messages, but at different times and to different media outlets. One had been leaked by loyal party trolls on social media and the other via the BBC but until he was certain what his counterparts around the globe were doing and what the scientists were confirming he’d wait and see. He had time; the next lockdown wasn’t due for a few weeks yet.

He’d also been extremely busy building a complete defense for the PM should it ever be needed; a defense of each and every step the Government had taken to fight the virus, from an explanation of the reasons for choosing to go initially with herd immunity right down to why the Government had blown millions on failed tests and dodgy PPE equipment from Turkey. He had answers for everything, and he would use them when the time came.

He had absolutely no problem with anything he had done He knew any great leader or influencer had to put the needs of the many over the needs of the few and by doing so he had saved countless lives. He was the proverbial unsung hero, in his mind and now he could almost touch his final objective, the one that was the culmination of all his dreams.

His favourite philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the compatriot of Adam Smith had taught that the measure of right and wrong was in fact the greatest happiness of the greatest number. All he now had to do was to convince everyone that happiness could still be attained, given what the world had been through, and what was still to come. First though he would be addressing  the little problem of Dyche and his growing influence on the likes of Adebola. That could prove problematic in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

June 1st, 2019 Geneva

“I mean, right now who truly gives a damn about climate change, besides us, right? I’m asking you who really cares, outside of academia, apart from a few activists. Everyone just pays lip service to it. Our Leaders and politicians certainly don’t care. Well do you see this report in my hand? Let me tell you the world is going to pot, you are all going to crap yourselves, when you realize what’s coming and that it’s already too late to save humanity. Millions are going to die in the next few years. Yes, that is correct, that’s all the time we’ve got left. It is game over. Now any questions please?”

Professor Roger Gilbert glanced at his naked audience of one in his bathroom mirror, his chin covered in a mixture of shaving foam and blood, the hand holding his razor shaking. He tried and failed to suppress a loud sigh. If only he could really speak his mind; if only he could truly tell the world what he had found. But they’d never allow it, he knew that. The current chief scientific officer of the IPCC – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – quickly finished off his wet-shave and donning his bathrobe headed towards his kitchen and breakfast. The final draft of the top-secret report would have got to them last night. Everyone would now be familiar with its contents, no one would be talking to the press, no one would be wanting to cause panic. In a few minutes time he was going to be on a video conference call with Javier Alonso the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He was dreading it, not just because of the report’s contents but also because of the imminent unavoidable row the two would be having over its publication. Politics and science never mixed well and Alonso, a career politician would never in a million years allow the report to be published. Not a chance! He would tamper with it and massage it one way or the other and to be fair it would be hardly surprising. But the professor’s team had insisted that he at least try to stand his ground, and he knew if he failed, their anger and vitriol would be difficult to handle. Sipping his orange juice, he quickly scanned some notes he’d made and then he put his call into Bonn. Alonso was in a brisk mood.

“So, if I understand your report correctly Roger, your team is predicting not only a pollution emergency but also a whole new global warming scenario with increases reaching 3-4% within what, six to seven years? It really is as bad as we feared. We are way above expected targets of 1.5-2%.  I will not insult you by asking you and your team if the evidence is correct, but are you also so certain about the consequences?”

“Very certain Javier. We are looking at sea-levels rising potentially 3 or 4 metres. As you know for every degree of warming, sea levels will rise by… ”

Alonso interrupted the professor impatiently “Yes, yes!  I got the figures. Are your colleagues certain Roger, absolutely certain? A one-word answer will do please.”

The Professor clenched his free hand. “Yes, we all are certain Javier. We are certain about the sea-level rise and we are all equally certain that pollution levels will soar to imminently high levels within months. Seven million a year die from pollution alone, but now that is going to double. On top of that with the predicted sea-level rises, make no mistake, we are looking at 30+ million dying around the globe; that is from either respiratory problems, starvation, flooding, or other natural disasters; with severe economic ramifications to boot and I mean trillions of dollars. This is simple Javier. We are out of time. The Artic study is pretty conclusive as is the Amazon study. You are well aware of the consequences for the recent mass fires there, but what clinches it is the Antarctic study. The state of the EPICA ice core from Dome C in East Antarctica makes it painfully clear that the present-day levels and rates of increase are unprecedented. We are facing strong warming in the Antarctic Peninsula, with the complete imminent disintegration of ice shelves in the Northern Peninsula, plus the acceleration and thinning of grounded glaciers all on a massively accelerating scale. Let’s not forget the thinning of glaciers in the Amundsen Sea. Basically, Antarctica is melting; the ice-sheets are going to collapse in what five to seven years. That’s all on top of the pollution I mentioned earlier. It’s already at unprecedented levels in key cities around the world. You know this will start with people dying of pollution at rapidly increasing rates in say six months from now. But it will end in about 7 years with events I can barely describe. There is no argument”

Javier Alonso sighed, “And we have what six years, really at the most, if we continue on our current path?”

“Yes, that’s all we’ve got.”

The man at the other end of the line cleared his throat, “Roger you know I cannot release this report, in its current state, though I will confirm that those who need to see the unabridged version will most definitely see it. If I make the report public, you know it will cause unmanageable, no I correct myself, unstoppable panic. It cannot happen. I trust all your colleagues are keeping to protocol?”

The professor suppressed an urge to be sarcastic. “Of course, they are Javier, but there is no way to keep a lid on this. I…”

Alonso cut him off again. “No, we will not be as you say, “keeping a lid on” Roger and I repeat myself, those that need to know will know, BUT no public publication in its current form. We will have to massage the figures a little for that. Surely you must have known this?”

The professor didn’t even try to hide the incredulity in his voice “A little? You have got to be kidding me Javier…”

“OK Professor, have it your way, a lot then. But do not worry, the decision-makers will get the message and be in the loop as soon as feasible and I am sure they will act swiftly. But please deal with your colleagues, Roger. I suggest you calm down, sit tight and be on hand to clarify anything required. OK?”

“OK Javier, but for God’s sake get them to read the proposed solutions. Sure, they are drastic, but….”

The Executive Secretary didn’t bother to hide his annoyance, ” Look I know my job Roger, you just be available when I need you, Ok? Make sure your team know what is going on. It is only fair. Please remind them of the non-disclosure clauses each of them signed. And if anyone on your team doesn’t like that, Roger, you know what will happen to them if they are indiscrete. Not only will they be professionally discredited but worse things might happen and believe me Roger the stakes are too high for, as the English say a mere rap on the knuckles. Keep your team tight and controlled. You will be held personally accountable. Now I must go. Do say hello to your lovely wife and kids for me.

 

 

 

24th July 2019 Birmingham UK

On the day that Li Peng the former Chinese premier known as ‘Butcher of Beijing’ died aged 90 and Boris Johnson became Tory leader and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Kevin Smith half-heartedly considered moving abroad permanently. The life-long Labour supporter Remain voter and Unison member had been devastated by the news of the appointment because, he knew it meant that finally the Conservative party had elected a leader they could unite behind. More importantly he knew that if a general election were called his party would lose and be consigned to the mists of time forever and Kevin didn’t think he could cope with that.

The bus driver and popular social media blogger immediately began posting, a series of anti-Johnson and anti-Brexit memes, not just on his own page but also in all the Brexit supporting, Tory loving groups he had sneaked into. He hated both Brexiteers and Conservatives with a passion and was always quick to remind everyone he could, of the fact. Then as always, he shared the same posts in a number of Labour Party supporting groups. He found “likes” extremely rewarding. Kevin loved politics. It was what kept him going on the long bus route he negotiated every day and had done so for nigh on twenty years. It was what he and his wife Brenda an NHS nurse, talked about on the evenings they spent together, life, work, and politics; and they agreed on virtually everything. They both hated the new PM; they both hated the Conservatives for their previous austerity measures and the way they had decimated their beloved National Health Service; and they both loathed Brexit, if only because they were planning to live in Spain one day soon and Brexit would ruin their chances. Equally they both loved the Labour party. They loved its gentler, more socially responsible people-centric heart and were both ardent campaigners. When elections came around, they were always to be found on the knocker, campaigning for their local Labour candidate.

The Smiths were a popular couple, with many friends both in Erdington and in Benidorm where they frequently holidayed, flying over whenever they could. In fact, they would be going in a few days’ time and as soon as Kevin Smith finished his posting, he began to start packing a few things. He enjoyed his holidays and they both always carefully saved up for them; the kids had grown up and left, so it was easier. The only time politics was ever put on the backburner was when they were both on the beach, enjoying sun and sangria.

Apart from the obvious pain of living under a Conservative Government, life on the whole was good for the Smiths. They both worked hard and had enough to do what they wanted within reason, but little did either of them suspect all that was going to change forever.

 

 

 

July 25th, 2019 – London UK

Ayo Adebola was one of those people who lived life to the full. The British born Hollywood bachelor had it all, good looks, an enviable physique, a jet-set lifestyle, a clean-living image, and more money than he could ever spend. He was, on the outside at least, the perfect role model both to kids and adults.

He always allotted his time carefully for maximum public exposure, jetting between his homes in Malibu, New York and London, but also attending virtually every red-carpet event he could including the Academy Awards, the Oscars of course, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Screen Actors Guild awards. In addition, he was always to be found at the Cannes, Venice, and Berlin Film Festivals, and was a regular at all events staged by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Society of Film Critics. Ayo was a busy man.

But like many celebrities all this travel gave him a problem, especially as he regularly donated to climate change groups and frequently voiced his views publicly. Quite recently the media had examined his carbon footprint, found it to be huge and had labelled him a hypocrite, a problem he’d quickly passed over to his well-developed PR team to mitigate. That sort of criticism never fazed him for long, and he’d lost no sleep over it. No-one was going to stand in his way nor slow him down, a mantra he liked to repeat to himself regularly. Ayo had worked hard to become one of the most highly paid and high-profile actors in the world and his dedication to his work, his social media profile, and the plethora of charity events he was involved in never wavered. In fact, in the past year he had flown more than ever before and had attended more events than literally any other person in the world. When he wasn’t flying, he was burning huge amounts of fossil fuel in one of the dozen supercars he owned, and he’d always somehow gotten away with it. But as success often does his came at a price.

Ayo had a huge drug habit, coke, meth, mdma, heroin, in fact anything he could get his hands on and that was virtually everything. You name it, he took it and had done so for years. He understood his own addiction of course. It was just that without chemical support, he could just not perform quite as well. With it, he had an edge, but without it he was dull, his acting was dull, his social interactions were dull, life was dull. Now his habit had given him a serious issue.

Less than a month beforehand, while he was out on a date with the latest of a long line of glamorous female celebrities, the Metropolitan Police, acting on a tip-off, had raided his home and had found his stash. He knew he was looking at a heavy fine and the possibility of jail and his Solicitor had confirmed it. But what was worse would be all the negative publicity and the damage to his image. So when he was visited by MI5 on June 20th 2019 and asked to make a public information film in the form of a broadcast for them, in return for the dropping of all charges, he leapt at the chance ignoring the warning bells that rang when they insisted he sign the Official Secrets Act. The words the agent had said to him would stick in his mind for quite a while “You will be called when needed.” Called when needed for what exactly? The agent never elaborated. What Ayo didn’t know was that he was but one of many that would be called on to make similar broadcast.

 

 

 

September 22nd, 2019 LA

Cassandra di Napoli’s Instagram following had surpassed 127 million people worldwide, in January. That was when the billionaire model, fashion designer and reality TV star had announced her engagement to the aircraft designer and entrepreneur Grant Foster, with a wedding date set for June 10th, 2020. Even the White House had sent its congratulations to the happy couple and preparations had already began for what was to be the biggest wedding of the year, at the extremely expensive and exclusive Hotel Caruso on the, Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Cassandra revelled in her role as a social media influencer. Whatever she wore, her followers went out and bought; wherever she visited they followed suit; what she bought they bought. She made a fortune endorsing all sorts of consumer goods and they consumed avidly. Her fans loved her, and she loved their adoration. They never knew that secretly she hated and pitied each and every one of them and often felt like a whore to their demands, but she hid it well. In her mind the only person she could never really control – he was far too secretive for that – was her fiancé and that was an aphrodisiac, she just couldn’t live without.

While Cassandra and her entourage started planning for the wedding in the most publicity-hungry way possible, her fiancé made himself scarce by suddenly and unexpectedly announcing that he would be undertaking a whistle-stop tour of all important US Army bases, shaking hands, lunching and doing deals with Generals and Admirals alike. She was both angry and disappointed. The knowledge that when he was visiting the military, he never phoned her for security reasons only made things worse, but she didn’t want to row. Her fiancé had to do what he had to do. That was Grant.

On September 3rd Grant kissed her goodbye and began his trip in the private jet he had designed. What she didn’t know, what they kept from her, was that on the 17th September Grant had suddenly been taken ill after leaving New York State. He had managed to fly to his next stop a military base in Hawaii and collapsed there right on the runway. The Base’s Doctor had immediately put him on oxygen and organized an ambulance to take the patient to the Tripler Army Medical centre in Honolulu. Grant was having severe breathing problems.

At around the same as Grant took ill several people in the LA and New York areas also came down with similar symptoms; six people later died. All those that showed symptoms were vapers, Grant included and thus Doctors incorrectly identified the habit as the cause. Five days later Grant recovered, phoned his fiancée and omitted to tell her of his illness.

As for Cassandra she knew nothing about Grant’s illness, in fact she never found out. On the 22nd September however, she did receive a visit from two CIA agents and what they had to say had frightened her, making her break down and cry. She agreed to their demands of course, she had no choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

Climate Action Summit 2019 New York on 23 September 2019

Professor Roger Gilbert hated conferences even one as grand as the UN Climate Action Summit housed in its fancy Manhattan skyscraper. The Artic or even better the Antarctic was where he really wanted to be right now, but he had to attend, had to hear what world leaders were going to do. Months of silence from the UN had followed the doctoring of the most defining report of his career , but he and his colleagues had been assured that all leaders were going to act immediately to bring about severe measures to halt the sprint into oblivion. He was hoping that they would announce their responses at the conference, though he understood they would not be revealing the reasons.

The professor could not believe that the measures he had suggested could ever, in reality be put into practice and neither could his fellow collaborators , but Javier Alonso had point-blank refused to give further explanation, hence the Professors attendance .The other consequence of Alonso’s silence had meant that the Professor and his team had all been living on a knife edge for close on four months; the temptation to alert the Press had been insufferable for them all. But Alonso had not made empty threats and each in turn had been visited by officers of ISISA the International Secret Intelligence Service Agency. Its agents had warned of danger to love ones if anything should leak, though the officers themselves had not been briefed on the actual nature of the potential leak.

So, they had all kept their mouths closed when the report was doctored and made more palatable for the scientific community and the Public alike. At the same time each of them had received large unexpected bonuses for the work they had done, whether they liked it or not; bribery the Professor had called it and straight away had donated his to charity. None of his colleagues followed suit.

At the conference, The Professor and his colleagues listened to hours and hours of speeches by different key climate change figures, some who knew the report they were discussing had been doctored; others who did not know. The former group were the leaders, the latter the activists, but they all concluded the same thing; things were not good but not that bad that policies had to be stepped up.

The doctored report indicated that the global warming target of 1.5% had not been breached, an outright lie. Leader after leader, prominent figure after prominent figure offered small useless incremental changes but none of them, went anywhere near far enough, in Public anyway. The Chinese President ‘s speech was notable for the lack of any new promises to take stronger climate action; The United States, having vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement said nothing at all; a host of other countries’ leaders paid lip service only and the activists grumbled, complained and glowered, uselessly impotent. Professor Gilbert watched the whole charade with incredulity, but not surprise.

After five hours the Professor was getting ready to leave the conference in disgust – he had already determined to call Javier Alonso at the very first opportunity – when a pony-tailed balding overweight man plonked himself down next to him, in the process barging his shoulder. It took him a moment or two to recognise the newcomer, the long -time climate change pain in the ass, Anthony Stoner.

“What a great report Professor,” the overweight journalist said with heavy sarcasm. “Seriously what is going on here? Have I entered an alternate reality? Things are bad, unbelievably bad but according to you, the expert,”- he emphasised the word expert with disdain – “we are going to be ok; don’t you agree right. We are holding our own so to speak. Seriously I don’t buy it, many of us do not buy it. Actually, we think your report and please pardon my French here, is basically a load of crap, Professor. So come on, spill the beans, what did you really find? And why aren’t you telling us. Everyone is keeping incredibly quiet”

The professor raised his hand. “Oh, come on Stoner, you know I can’t discuss anything with you. It is all now out of my hands. Our blessed leaders are on it. Can’t you be satisfied with that?”

“On what Professor?” the journalist quickly retorted “What are they on to?”

Professor Gilbert said nothing. The journalist was making him nervous and he knew they were being watched. Saying nothing was the best approach, but could he not just drop a hint perhaps?

“No comment Prof? Well, I do know one thing. In about an hour all these leaders are going into a private conference. No one else allowed. No press, no activists no secretaries. Do you have any idea what that is about, perhaps? ”

The professor shrugged his shoulders “Climate change I guess,” he said without humour. “Climate change. You know why I like Antarctica so much Anthony. If the truth be told I feel at home in that huge bleak freezing desert of ice and snow. I love its Ice-covered mountains, glaciers crevasses and icebergs dominating the horizons in every direction. Sure it is fearsomely cold and hostile with wild furious snow blizzards regularly tearing up the landscape and yet when my eyeballs are not being frozen solid by those wild forces, the most beautiful, pure, pollution free air and light, lift the senses like a drug; I love it Anthony. I love it even more because there are no people there. People like you.”

Stoner shrugged “OK I get you. You must be missing the place I guess.”

The professor lowered his voice and looked over his shoulder as discretely as he could “All I can say Stoner, and this is off the record of course, you quote me and I’ll not only deny it I’ll ruin your career. All I can say is that in 5 to 7 years’ time, Antarctica would be the only place left on earth where humanity could possibly survive and right now even that looks like a hell of a long-shot.”

“You’re kidding me, right? A story like that needs to be told.”

Professor Gilbert sighed “Course I’m joking Stoner. I’m just winding you up.”

He waited for each of them to speak in turn and when it was his time, he rose nimbly and made his way to the lectern at the front of the private conference room. Once there he slowly surveyed each of them in silence and when he finally spoke his voice was as strong and forceful as always and his audience hung on every word.

“Ladies and gentlemen keeping this brief, I must remind you all that great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers; so, do not save the numbers. Be generous in the coming months. Be seen to be generous; compensate and compensate again. We all know there is a price for complete control, but you will get it all back, austerity will see to that. Your economies will suffer but in the long run it will be worth it. I urge you all not to lose sight of the facts. We are on the cusp of being finally able to solve some of the greatest problems that have beset humanity for so long and now is the time to act, united for the benefit of both present and also future generations. Be brave and be strong.

What has been seen, cannot be unseen. We can no longer carry on the way we have been, not now, not knowing what we know; knowing what we cannot reveal for fear of causing mass uncontrollable panic Each and every one of you has had time to consider your position, and state your course of action. Everything is agreed. We all know what we must do I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for agreeing to participate and particularly I’d like to thank the Chinese President for China’s special cooperation. From one President to another “I thank you” It only remains for me to say, God Bless our endeavors, God bless us all.”

 

 

 

October 8th, 2019 – Maryland USA

Not for the first time Sergeant Jim Cooper lay back in his bed and cursed his luck. His whole squad of ten soldiers had contracted the flu whilst in athletics training and now they were all bed-ridden. Rumours where they were not the only squad heading for the games that had fallen mysteriously ill, but the timing was just awful. The Games they had all trained so hard for started in ten days and instead of flying out it was looking likely that they would miss the whole thing. Bloody reserves would be sent instead. That thought made him swear out loud which in turn triggered an uncontrollable bout of coughing, gasping, and wheezing. He collapsed back down, covered in sweat, breathing noisily

“Godamn it,” he thought wearily as he closed his eyes. Of course, he had his suspicions. He had wondered from the first day of his illness whether his squad’s transfer to Fort Detrick, had anything at all to do with the virus. After all the whole Athletics team – of which his squad made up just one part – had been moved to where the United States main biological warfare unit was housed; and the place had experienced leaks over the years. But the Doctors and medics had assured him that it was just a coincidence, that all he had was flu, definitely the flu and that he was letting his imagination run away with him. Was he reassured? Not in the least, but orders were orders. The laughable thing was that the whole team had been moved for their protection as well as for a little performance enhancing chemical wizardry – least that was what they had been told – and now look at the state of them.

Still the Doctors had placed them all on a new antibiotic which they insisted would effect a cure within a few days. Sgt Cooper had queried this saying he’d been told antibiotics were useless against viruses. One of the Medics had just smiled, replying that the Public were always told that antibiotics were useless against viruses to save on money and drugs. That at least made sense.

In what would appear, to the Sergeant anyway, to be a miracle of medicine, three days later Cooper and his squad were well and fit again and had started training hard for the upcoming Army games, glad to be back to health. All were unaware that the virus within them was not the flu; that they weren’t better, but rather the symptoms had been stifled. They were equally unaware that the medicine they had been given was anything but anti-biotics. Instead, they had all been given an anti-malaria drug.

 

 

 

October 15th, 2019 – London and LA

 

Aye Adebola had just had the most bizarre experience of his life and though he didn’t know it, he was not alone Many others had or were going to do what he had just done; all of them public figures in their own right, in the UK and in countries around the world. They were all going through the same experience albeit persuaded to for different reasons. But whilst the leverage used to get the various celebrities, politicians, broadcasters and even Royalty to cooperate was different in each case,  each and every one of them had signed the official secrets Act, or foreign equivalent and all did as they were told. After all, few would want evidence of drug-abuse rape, child sex abuse/paedophilia, tax evasion, worker exploitation and even money laundering, along with a range of other bad habits to end up as news headlines and public knowledge. The ones that refused happened their reputations damaged beyond repair and a British Prince was amongst their number.

Ayo had been taken to a secret location somewhere near to London’s MI5 Headquarters, in the dead of night by two burly agents. Upon arrival he had been ordered to change into a hospital gown and lie in a hospital bed. Above him an autocue hung from the ceiling ready to give him the lines he would soon be uttering. But first make-up made him look more or less like a living corpse. When the whole escapade was over and they drove him home the only question Ayo had in his mind was why they had made him do all this, but he didn’t bother to ask the question out loud. The agents were giving nothing away and he had been driven home in complete silence.

Several thousand miles away, on the same day Cassandra di Napoli made her broadcast a couple of hours after Ayo in a secret facility in LA. She had been far from happy to do what was asked of her but how could she refuse. After all they knew about her porn-star past which she thought she had gotten away with. They knew about her gambling habits and they knew she had been cheating her tax returns. It had seemed to her that there was nothing they did not know, but they had told her that all would be forgiven if she were to do as they said and so she did. She played her role well, looking like death itself, in a hospital bed, oxygen mask in situ, recording a message that she had caught, as the script had told her to say the virus, but that she was going to fight it and get better. She never asked what the virus was, never asked why she was doing the hospital act and they never told her.

 

 

 

October 18th, 2019 – Wuhan

The 2019 Military World Games opened in Wuhan on the 18th October. No less than China’s leader, the President himself, opened the games. There were more than 9,000 athletes from over 100 countries attending to compete in more than 27 sports, a record number of participants. The games were held for military athletes to compete in dozens of sporting events like archery, basketball, parachuting, sailing, and swimming, as well as select military sports such as the naval pentathlon.

The  games also presented a number of other firsts namely: the first time the games were staged outside of military bases, the first time the games were all held in the same city, the first time an Athletes’ Village was constructed, the first time TV and VR systems were powered by 5G telecom technology, and the first use of all-round volunteer services for each delegation. China was able to showcase its infrastructure and technological prowess, particularly as competition and controversy over 5G had been heating up.

Of course, what many of the participants and audience did not know was that before the event, the government had “beautified” the city, destroying many people’s homes and businesses in the process, resulting in widespread resentment among residents. But then the Chinese Government had never been reluctant to sacrifice few for the many. Sergeant Jim Cooper like several others only became aware of this resentment after the games.

Whilst the Army Sergeant would have been the first to admit that his whole squad’s recovery from the flu had been nothing short of miraculous, their performances and that of other US squads in Wuhan were well below par, with no gold medals won. The Sergeant put it down to the flu they had caught and the short recovery time and was simply happy to be participating at last. He was enjoying both the atmosphere and the huge crowds that attended. His event, the last main event before the relays – the decathlon – would shortly be starting and whilst he was still feeling 100%, he would give it his absolute best shot.

At the same time Sergeant Cooper was limbering up, Grant Foster was mingling with the Chinese military brass, enjoying top-level VIP treatment, talking airplanes. But Grant wasn’t really there to talk shop and he wasn’t there to enjoy himself. His business had proved to be an effective cover in the ten years that Grant had been employed as a senior undercover CIA operative, directly reporting to the CIA’s Special Activities Centre.

Since 2018 Grant’s mission had been to report on all Chinese initiatives that would impact negatively on the US’s ability to win the US-China trade war. Grant personally ran a team of 15 agents spread throughout China, regularly reporting to him on trade and commercial developments, but he also had just been assigned a further ten agents who were currently busy making covert studies of the movements of all US participants at the games watching who they got close to, who they interacted with and even who they had physical contact with .

All this was going on while the Chinese Police, turned a blind eye. The only person that did grasp what was going on was only at the games to kill a bit of time, before he had to go to Beijing then on to Guangzhou and then finally Shanghai to complete his report on Chinese pollution levels, was Anthony Stoner the journalist who at the time couldn’t understand was what the hell was going on. CIA operatives everywhere and the Chinese Police not even bothering to watch them. Sure, the Police must have known that CIA agents would be present, but not to keep an eye on them seemed negligent to the journalist.

Then there was the fact the US team did not even win one gold medal. Stoner had noticed some of the team members looked a little washed-out and he had personally witnessed one athlete collapsing before his event, and none of it added up. When he’d tried to take a photo of the man, some Chinese woman grabbed his phone out of his hand and had run off with it. She was dressed too smartly to have worked in the market. Had she been CIA or perhaps a member of the Chinese Secret Service, the MSS, either way he’d been extremely pissed off. Knowing that it wouldn’t have been a good idea to make a fuss, he’d nor reported it, but he had made himself a promise there and then. If he had the time after his investigation of the current climate change situation was over, he’d have a little nosy into what had been going on in Wuhan.

 

 

 

October 24th, 2019 Geneva

Dr Elisa Hopkins, Senior medical Advisor of the World Health Organizations Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department squirmed a little in her seat as she dabbed the small beads of sweat off her face and cleaned her glasses. The interrogation was proving to be extremely stressful to the grey-haired sixty-year-old rather plain woman and it showed.

The World Health Assembly, the legislative and supreme body of WHO was in emergency closed session and Dr Hopkins was facing a panel of some 34 technically qualified members and now her main inquisitor Dr Adnan Shah stood up once more to resume his questioning.

“Let me summarise for you and the rest of the panel here Doctor Hopkins where we are now. The 2019 flu vaccine which we designed in early 2019 February 25th, 2019 to be exact is already proving to be ineffective in combatting what is looking like an upcoming massive flu epidemic. Estimates that you have given us show that we are looking at 650,000 potential deaths worldwide, with about 10% of that in the US alone, and there is nothing we can do about it. Let me ask you two questions. Firstly, how do you intend ensuring that the credibility of the WHO is not going to be damaged in the eyes of the world as a result of this debacle? And secondly can I ask you what you personally intend to do with regard to your position at the WHO. The vaccine is your responsibility, surely your position is going to become untenable?”

Dr Hopkins looked at the expectant faces around the room. A hush fell as she struggled to compose herself. Finally, she found her voice and it was weaker than usual.

“Let me give you the background first though I am sure you all are familiar with it, but it will help to focus minds. Look as you all know the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine is designed to protect against the three or four influenza viruses that research indicates are most likely to spread and cause illness among people during the upcoming flu season. But because Flu viruses are constantly changing, we review the vaccine composition each year and update it as needed based on which influenza viruses are making people sick, the extent to which those viruses are spreading, and how well the previous season’s vaccine protects against those viruses.”

Still nervous Dr Hopkins pushed her fringe away from her eyes and cleared her throat before resuming.”Let me make the information gathering process clear to you all. More than 100 national influenza centres in over 100 countries conduct year-round surveillance for influenza. This involves receiving and testing thousands of influenza virus samples from patients. The labs send representative viruses to five World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres for Reference and Research on Influenza, in Atlanta, London, Melbourne Tokyo and of course Beijing. Twice a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) organizes a consultation with the Directors of the WHO Collaborating Centres, essential regulatory laboratories, and representatives of key national laboratory academies. They review the results of surveillance, laboratory, and clinical studies, and the availability of vaccine viruses and make recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccine. Following this we recommend specific vaccine viruses for inclusion in influenza vaccines, and as you know It takes at least six months to produce large quantities of influenza vaccine. For vaccine to be delivered in time for Autumn, manufacturers may begin to grow one or more of the vaccine viruses in January based on their best guess as to what viruses are most likely to be included in the vaccine.

I would be the first to admit that the vaccine has never been perfect – flu strains mutate and change each and every year, so it has always been impossible for the vaccine to successfully target every flu variation. The problem is that this time the manufactured and supplied vaccine did not cover the more currently “popular” strains i.e. A/H1 and B/Victoria. They were not prevalent during the period of the information gathering process, I have outlined to you all. It’s never an easy business to predict which flu viruses will make people sick the following winter. And there’s reason to believe two of the four choices made last winter for this upcoming season’s vaccine are well off the mark. Specifically, the strains chosen for the Southern Hemisphere vaccine suggest the Northern Hemisphere one is not going to provide optimal protection. Flu vaccine is a four-in-one or a three-in-one shot that protects against both influenza A viruses-H3N2 and H1N1-and either both or one of the influenza B viruses, B/Victoria, and B/Yamagata. There was great uncertainty around which version of H3N2 to choose for the Northern Hemisphere vaccine when the committee met last February – there was a lot of variation between the strain the U.S. was seeing and the H3N2 viruses sickening people in Canada and Europe. There was so much uncertainty, in fact, that the we delayed making the choice of the H3N2 strain for a month to try to get a clearer picture. In the end, we selected a version of the virus that was causing a wave of late season illness in the United States. In fact, Vaccines for the 2019-2020 Northern Hemisphere saw updates to both the H3N2 and H1N1 influenza A strains, which had not been updated in a couple of years. Additionally, all regular-dose and recombinant vaccines were quadrivalent and therefore covering both lineages of influenza B.1 But …”

Dr Shah put his hand up to stop the Doctor, he looked impatient, “OK Doctor, can you please keep it a little briefer. Can I ask, specifically what did you vaccinate against?”

Dr Hopkins consulted her notes for a second or two. “We vaccinated against A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus, A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (Victoria lineage) and /PhUKet/3073/2013-like virus (Yamagata lineage). You must understand that the influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere generally lasts from April to September and precedes the northern hemisphere’s season. As a result, trends in vaccine effectiveness and influenza infection in the Southern Hemisphere may give clinicians in the Northern Hemisphere potential clues about what to expect. Unfortunately, we have found an antigenic mismatch of the 2019 Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine within the H3N2 component.3 The H3N2 strain A/Switzerland/8060/2017 was recommended for the seasonal vaccine in 2019. Unfortunately, the strain was ultimately found to have a substitution that results in the loss of a glycosylation site in the antigenic site B of hemagglutinin which is associated with low vaccine effectiveness during H3N2-dominated influenza seasons.

“So basically, we messed up Doctor?” The question had come from another panel member the German Dr Otto Kempner. Dr Hopkins took a brief moment to consider her answer before replying.

“We just announced last month our recommendations for the 2020 Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine composition, and 2 of the 4 recommended components are different than the vaccines now being administered to patients in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the H1N1 and influenza B Yamagata lineage components mirror what is in the 2019-20 Northern Hemisphere vaccine, we now also recommend the A/south Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus and the B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (Victoria lineage). We do not have access to crystal balls. Viruses mutate. We err….”

Dr Shah rose to his feet again “You are making excuses again Doctor. Whichever way you excuse it we have failed. So how do we mitigate the damage to our reputation may I ask? Tell the world that our predictions are no longer to be trusted perhaps? Should we tell the UN, The Americas and everyone else that we, or rather you do not know what we are doing?”

Dr Hopkins shrugged “I think you are being unfair. PR is not my area of expertise. We have PR guys and spin Doctors for this, you know that I….”

“You are the person ultimately responsible for this mess Doctor…”

“I know this, even though I never messed up. I will resign if the panel feels it advisable. What else can I do?” The Doctor visibly slumped in her seat looking for all the world like a condemned woman awaiting her execution. Even her inquisitor Dr Shah, felt a tinge of pity for her.

The Chairman of the WHA, Mr Ibrahim Sadat rose to speak

“That will not be necessary Dr Hopkins. Let’s be reasonable ladies and gentlemen. After all, as the Doctor said, we have no crystal balls, we are not psychic Dr Hopkins worked with the evidence, it was just that the virus has mutated beyond our expectations. How can a person be punished for that? Now I am advised by Binian Berhanu himself, the chairman of the WHO, that there is a solution to this flu epidemic not a medical solution per se, but one that I would like to assure everyone here will give us protection from the fallout of this little debacle. It will divert the spotlight of publicity away from the WHO and ourselves. The end result will be business as usual. Now you will all understand the nature of these things and will know that I cannot go into much detail at this time, because I do not all the mechanics of the solution. It is all on a need to know basis and all we need to know is that there will be a solution. In other words what I am saying is that I know as much as I am allowed to know. Safe to say there is a solution. Make no mistake though we should not and cannot hide the evidence and the terrible outbreak that is coming but hopefully we will not be blamed entirely. Dr Hopkins you are free to go. Go back to your job and I’m sorry that you have been dragged through this. Now we must move on to the next item of business.”

Dr Hopkins left the room amid a hush of silence from the panel. Regardless of the support the Chairman had given her she would be quitting her post as soon as she could.

 

 

 

Wuhan 24th October 2019

Li Wei switched off the mini-digger and wiped his face with the ragged edge of his sleeve. The small thin man was both tired and hungry and desperately in need of rest. The expertise he had gained over the years rehearsing government emergency construction protocols just made the work feel more tedious and time had passed slowly. Of course, he always took care never to show those that supervised him anything other than almost manic enthusiasm and rapid compliance with any order given, but even his mask had begun to slip. As for his fellow digger operatives, he knew they felt the same and he knew they hid it as well as he did.

They had been practicing for weeks now, a coordinated dance of some 60 pirouetting machines practicing the laying the foundations, against the clock, for the siting of prefabricated units for a hospital. No one knew why they had to practice so hard and no one dared to ask questions why a new hospital might be needed or if indeed it would ever be built. It had happened before, practice, practice, practice, but no actual build.

Li had a lot of work experience. He had been at Beijing in 2003 helping to lay the foundations of the Xiaotangshan hospital in northern Beijing to fight the then raging Sars epidemic. That feat of rapid temporary hospital building had earned all involved praise from many in high places and a permanent place on the emergency construction team. Li knew when the order to build came, if it came, all sleep would be cancelled, and this weighed heavily on his tired mind. However, the pay was fair and the job secure and now that the day was done, dinner and bed beckoned.

Li Wei signed off, changed into his civvies, passed the site’s rigid security protocol, and made his way on foot across town to Wuhan’s packed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. He lit a cigarette when he reached the market and stood for a moment surveying the crowded scene, mouth open in dismay, cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. There were huge queues at all the food stalls, and all around the wet market. Li had never seen it so busy; it was heaving, fit to burst.

His happiness at being away from work for a while quickly disappeared and turned into annoyance because everywhere, he tried to shop, clumsy foreign tourists from the games blocked his path. He tried to weave through the throng, narrowly avoiding being stepped on by a British soldier but as he backed away an obese German tourist clattered into him sending him spinning right into the path of a US army Sergeant. The Sergeant caught him deftly by the elbow just before he hit the ground.

The foreigner grinned inanely at him, with what Li saw as a big stupid face.

“Steady on their fella you’re gonna hurt yourself if you aren’t careful.” The Sergeant then grunted and sneezed right in Li’s face. Li Wei ignored what he assumed were the man’s apologies – he didn’t speak any English – and wriggled out of the huge man’s grasp, freeing himself with some swear words and stepping away from the stall he had been trying to reach. Making his way more carefully this time he bought some fish from another stall and fought his way slowly homewards.

Twenty-four days later Li Wei had the posthumous “honour” of being China’s first Covid-19 casualty and was later to be identified as patient zero. Three days after their contretemps the man who had infected him, Sergeant Jim Cooper, returned home to LA and infected six other people before again being hospitalized. He died soon after. His squad of ten returned on leave with him, then went their own way around the country infecting another 30 people in various parts of New York, California, Nevada, and Texas. This was after they had infected participants in the games from a whole variety of countries and most of Wuhan.

Grant Foster reported in that Operation Trojan Horse had been a huge success.

 

 

 

14th December 2019 – London

On the 13th December 2019, The Conservatives the UK’s third general election since 2015, this time by a landslide. The results were announced on the 14th. Kevin Smith and his wife had spent weeks frantically campaigning for the Labour party and in all vain. Now the victory meant two unpalatable things for them. Firstly they were to be subjected to five more years of Conservative Government, which for them meant more taxes, NHS cuts, savage cuts in social care and care for the elderly, more people sleeping rough in the streets, more poverty and a lot more misery. It also meant that Brexit would definitely be taking place, at best complicating their bi-annual sojourns to Spain. They quickly concluded that it would be just better to soldier on. Virtually half the country – The Remainers – would had been devastated at the result and they could include themselves in that statistic. Brexit was coming whether they liked it or not.

Kevin Smith took to social media that night and on the advice from his wife, avoided responding to the posts of jubilant and Conservatives and Brexiteers alike. Instead he started a series of posts condemning recent Conservative cuts to the NHS and the country’s Social Care system. The comments were mixed. Some supported his views, whilst many obvious Conservative posters pointed out that things had been just as bad under the last Labour Government. But what really caught his eye had been a post by one person saying that no matter what money any Government threw at the NHS, it was going soon to be swamped with patients infected with this year’s particularly bad flu strain. That individual went on to suggest two possible causes, neither of which he had backed up with much proof; either the World Health Organization had messed up the current vaccine, or the Chinese had produced a new biological weapon, a new strain of flu. Both Kevin and his wife thought that both were possible but the only information that they uncovered that night, working into the small hours of the morning, was that some Chinese bat-expert in Wuhan had been silenced by the Chinese over some sort of virus she had found. The report had also been short of facts.

The following morning Kevin Smith wrote a small post indicating the possibility of a flu epidemic and warning people that with the likelihood of extra pressure on the NHS, they should be particularly vigilant that winter, especially the elderly. Kevin’s posts on the election had received around 1000 likes each, but his flu post only received 10 and was largely ignored. No one seemed interested and Kevin, slightly disappointed, put it down to the distraction of the fast-approaching Christmas coupled with recent election-fatigue.

Kevin made the decision not to make any further posts until after Christmas. Seasonal shopping trips were looming – the Bullring was already heaving – and his wife was insistent. There was really no point posting until after the New Year, but he didn’t want to give up the issue even in its embryonic stage. Besides his brother in law, the freelance journalist Anthony Stoner, was already in China and he might be able to uncover a little more on the story. That evening he phoned Stoner.