Tom woke to the blaring of his alarm. 5AM, time to get up and ready for another day on the beat. As he stumbled out of bed he flicked on the television to catch the morning headlines. The war in Syria was ongoing, with another round of rocks dropped from warplanes on the enemy. Kinetic strikes, the Royal Sky Force called it, or geo-saturation if you listened to the scientific types who had probably never seen a real dead body, but to Tom it was all just dropping rocks from a great height to cause carnage.
As he shaved, another story came on. Public unrest at the Cornish quarries. Ever since the invention of warplanes and the designation of quarries as a strategic asset, the anti-war mob had been getting more vocal. This lot were demanding the Allies in Syria quarry their rocks right there in Syria, rather than ship Welsh and Cornish rocks to the Middle East to drop on people. He supposed they had a point, after all rocks were heavy and it must burn a lot of fuel to carry them so far just to drop them. It wasn’t as if they could be easily retrieved either once they had hit the ground and smashed on someone (and smashed someone). No wonder war was such an expensive business and taxes were rising to pay for it all. The protesters were lucky they weren’t across the ocean in the United Theocracies of America though, they dealt harshly with dissent there.
As he scrambled into his heavy uniform, complete with stab vest and anti-slash sleeves reinforced with steel rods, and made his breakfast tea and toast, a story flashed up about unrest at one of the UTA quarries, almost as if thinking about it had made it happen. Somewhere in the Diocese of Colorado, apparently. A riot had broken out, and the Adjutant-Bishop had sent in the riot police with their chainsaws. What bloody carnage! Limbs and gore everywhere.
Finishing his breakfast, adjusting his uniform, Tom picked up his sturdy oak truncheon and left his ground floor flat, blinking at the bright sunshine outside. Let the American Theocracies’ coppers keep their chainsaws and their belt-fed crossbows, he thought. A stout oak stick was still good enough for an honest British beat officer, and if he needed long-range support on the streets of London, an armed response car with a couple of lads kitted out with trusty Welsh-style longbows was only a radio call away. Besides, it was pretty rare to run into a crook armed with anything more than a knife, let alone a bow.
Tom vaguely remembered reading something about some smuggler, two or three centuries ago, who had tried to weaponise fireworks – fireworks, of all things, with gunpowder in them, the sort anyone would have at a party! – but failed when, unsurprisingly, the wretched things blew up in his face. He wondered idly – just for a moment – how different the world might have been if it had worked and the idea had caught on, then snorted and dismissed the whole crazy notion.