It was to Mark, however, after Matthew had gone off to make all necessary preparations for his broadcast, that Tom entrusted the task of looking after Luke. Without any publicity being given to this for the time being, he was to be placed under house arrest with a very strong military guard, and the telephone wires to his house cut. He was not to be allowed to communicate with anyone, and any messages he received were to be promptly conveyed to Mark and if necessary to Tom himself. Mark was very conscientious about his task, and remembered even to have a close watch kept on the Telex machine; so that he had due notice, even before Matthew began his broadcast, of the imminent arrival that night of Snow White and some Dwarfs and two socialists in a helicopter due to land on Luke’s rooftop.
Just before dusk, Matthew appeared on television to address an expectant nation. He had had only a few hours to prepare but, together with the Black Shadow and his skilled bands, he had made the most of them. He had got to hear about Luke being placed under house arrest and, though he was somewhat peeved that he had received no social authority or indeed intimation in this regard, he had managed to have the news spread far and wide so that the suspense throughout the nation was even greater and more confused when he appeared on the screen than in the morning.
‘You have all heard about the terrible tragedy that befell our nation today,’ he began. ‘You know that three people died this morning at the President’s house, and that our beloved leader himself only just escaped with his life. My former colleague, who happened to be there, for reasons which I will not stop to consider now, appeared before you earlier today. He gave you his version of what occurred and urged you to actions that he thought appropriate. I do not intend now to show you what it was that actually occurred. There is no need to do that, for what is necessary at this point is to think and plan for the future, and for the welfare of our land and its people. Besides, there is still some doubt about how the tragedy occurred. I will merely show you a brief glimpse of what happened later, and our great leader’s reaction, which will enable you to judge for your selves.’
At this point there appeared on the screen a clip of Tom making his farewell at the door of the breakfast room. As he turned back to Luke, the picture faded and Matthew appeared once more. ‘Some of you may not be as well read in the joys of English literature, so dear to his heart, as our leader. I should therefore explain,’ he said, slowly and deliberately, ‘that those words come from one of Shakespeare’s plays in which the hero has just been killed by someone he trusted absolutely. I need hardly tell you that our leader would not have addressed such fond sentiments to a Communist, and moreover, a Communist whom he had himself proscribed so recently. Besides, it must be clear to all of us that the Security guards at the President’s house could surely not have allowed a communist in without searching him carefully. On the contrary, it must have been someone they thought could be trusted, someone who was in the habit of visiting there often, who brought in the bomb that, as it happened, was not destined to deprive us of our leader.’
‘I will say no more. You have only to reflect on who else was in the room when the bomb exploded to realize that we can no longer trust even our nearest and dearest, if they have cut themselves off from their roots. However, since our President has been preserved, there is no point, except insofar as the future is concerned, in, trying to attribute guilt precisely. With regard to the future, however, we must be doubly careful. As I said to you once before, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It befits us therefore at this point, simply in self defence, to find put who it is that has benefited most from the events that occurred, to find out who it is that still seeks to benefit at our expense, despite the ultimate tragedy having been averted.’
‘It seems to me absolutely and totally clear who falls first and foremost into this category. I refer primarily to those organizations termed MASH and MADAM that, mushrooming amongst us and seeking to exploit communal tensions in what would otherwise be a happy and peaceful unitary state, have in the process wrenched for themselves control of the largest and most valuable sections of our economy. I hasten to add that I do not condemn all Muslims in general. There is room even for such people in a fully integrated society, if they do not seek to emphasise differences or use devious methods to keep the rest of us down. But in the present crisis, I think it essential for all of you to know exactly how powerful these organisations are, and how solidly they are backed by sections of the international community that care nothing for us and our traditional values. I know it may be argued that they are now without a leader, and that therefore the plot which was laid against us will not be carried on any further. But let me tell you that experience indicates only too well in such cases that there is no dearth of leaders anxious to rush in and usurp authority and exploit for their own ambitions whatever tensions and troubles lie ready to hand.’
‘I will show you how real the danger is by first citing some figures.’ Matthew’s figure then faded, but his voice went on, explaining the various numbers that now appeared on the screen. First there were the bank balances of various individuals, including Dick and Luke, who had been prominent in MASH and MADAM, then the several accounts of those organizations themselves, then the limits of the credit that had been opened up for them that morning, and finally, the amounts that had actually been drawn during the day. Suddenly, after the last set of figures, Matthew’s voice fell silent, and there was a long shot of the body of the Governor of the Central Bank lying on the pavement outside the Bank building. As the camera zoomed in on the Governor’s face, with a bloody gash on the forehead, Matthew’s voice began again.
‘This is all that remains of a noble man who gave his life for our cause, the cause of a unified nation. This was the Governor of the Central Bank.’ At this, the picture on the screen shifted from that of the Governor to the Bank itself, tall and imposing but gloomy and deserted with its doors shut. ‘Throughout his life he strove, in following the policies laid down by this government, to prevent undue advantages accruing to any community that was not part and parcel of the nation. You can see now the fate that befell him when, as the figures I have shown you indicate, certain elements in our midst thought they had licence to do as they chose. It was because he strove to limit such abuses that this great national hero has paid the ultimate price. The Bank is empty now and deserted. Nothing of any great consequence can be done there for some time. But it is up to us, his fellow countrymen, to ensure that he did not die in vain!’ And once more the camera shifted to the face of the late Governor, before Matthew’s stern features returned to the screen.
‘However, I must make it absolutely clear to you that this phenomenon of aggression against the very sinews of the nation is not an innovation. It was not mere chance that prompted the outrages we have witnessed today. As you may have realised by now, from the very moment when our government was forced onto the defensive after the recent disturbances, by a combination of insidious international pressure and treachery within our own ranks, the forces of destruction I have described to you were running riot within the land. At first, they gave out that they were concerned only with issues of national importance. Thus they set up what they called a Muslim Association against Separatism and Homosexuality. In that insidious guise, they tried to win many converts to their cause, and I regret to say in some cases they succeeded. But that proved too slow for them. Their greed had to have a less subtle instrument, so they then established a Muslim Association against Demonetisation and Midnight-gazettes, a title which in itself makes clear the ruthless mercenary aims of these so called patriots. Indeed the title also lays bare their traitorous instincts, in its open criticism of the way in which our government for your sake makes adjustments in the law.’
‘But this was not all. If it was only a question of dealing with anti-national elements banded together to obstruct our programmes, we would have had no problems. We are strong enough to deal with such elements, and we have no doubt about the loyalty of our people. What was more dangerous however was the attempt to undermine the very fundamentals of our dignity as a nation. By a process of solicitation and bribery and cajolery, these alien elements attempted to attract the flower of our young manhood into their clutches. Promising them all manner of things on heaven and on earth, they tried to deprive them of integral aspects of body and soul, by imposing upon them an indelible mark that would cut them off for ever from the unblemished mass of the nation.’
‘And there was more. In some cases, it is true, they were content merely with this minor mutilation. But there were others who were even more ruthless in their attempts to undermine us. You are most of you aware that for a long time we have been suspicious of the activities of the so-called Family Planning Association, financed largely from abroad and staffed predominantly by nuns, the real purpose of which is to reduce the birth-rate of the large majority in this country. More recently we have received conclusive proof that the whole programme is indeed aimed at draining away the true lifeblood of the nation. It has been conclusively established that posters purporting to come from the Family Planning Association were in fact put up by MASH and MADAM.’
‘These posters are concerned on the surface only with the operation of sterilisation. There is certainly nothing wrong with sterilization if it is performed at a suitable period in a man’s life, when he has already proved his manhood and it doesn’t really matter any more. But in taking in vain the name and the experience of our President, what these posters in fact do is attempt to destroy the majority community that has preserved in this country a unique civilisation over many thousands of years. In such a situation it is only right and proper that all good citizens of this country should rise up in heated protest.’
‘And I have proof of the horrors that are being perpetrated upon us in the name of moderation and Mohammedanism. What MASH and MADAM encourage is bad enough, for it seeks to deprive us of an integral part of ourselves, and thereby to destroy the identity of our race. But there is worse to come. I am reluctant to disclose all this to you, but duty demands that I must. For in some instances, lulled into security by these posters with their misleading portrait of our President, bribed and cajoled and enticed as I said by these mercenary alien elements, the flower of our youth has submitted itself to this operation, only to receive the most ghastly shock. It is claimed that what occurs is an accident; but it is an accident that seems to have happened far too often.’
At this point Matthew’s features dissolved into a clip of three youths, one of them still practically a child, standing awkwardly against a dazzling white background. They were each of them clad only in very brief white slips. They lowered these in turn as though at a signal. They had all three of them been castrated. The camera dwelt on this for some time, and then one after another on their anguished features, before Matthew returned once more to the screen.