“It’s 2216 but it feels more like 2016,” Knit One Drop One (or KODO) sighed as he finger-combed his long black hair. He stared at the view over London from the 68th floor. On a clear day he could see somewhere called Beckenham, but what he saw hadn’t persuaded him to go there. In fact, there was nothing in London that interested him, but it was a convenient place to base his operations.
He flew his helicopter to St Marten or Bora Bora or Brisbane now and again, but what was there to do there either? People fawned on him wherever he went, along with his group, that currently consisted of Fluffy, who could make anyone laugh with his quips; Moonrise and Sunset, a pair of sympathetic conjoined twins; Tripe, probably the most beautiful girl GAG (Get A Grip) had ever worked on, and Alight Here, a wizened crone who organised things that KODO didn’t want to.
On the whole they were a tight little clan, feared by almost everyone because they all had trillions and trillions of dollars, euros, escudos, whatever, and the rest of the planet had zilch, or practically zilch. Even the governors of the United States of Europe, chosen for their wealth and oratory, had less than any one of this little group. And the rulers of The United Hispanic States including Brazil, although extorting billions from their countrymen, subjects, citizens, whatever, had no more than pocket money in comparison. Russia had been nuked into oblivion decades ago. The wise Europeans, which mow included Israel, China, Australasia and India, were the topmost of top dogs – as they always knew they would be.
KODO had garnered his wealth by slick double-dealing, extortion, blackmail and other – to him – reasonable means. KODO’s motto was ‘do unto them before they do it unto you’, and thus had clambered his way to the top – the very top. He owned the ancient skyscraper he lived in that was older than almost anything else in this town, although he’d had to have it restored and renovated several times. However, he still kept the original name given it by the money-lusting Qataris who built it centuries ago: The Shard. Over the centuries hundreds of so-called skyscrapers had arisen in London, many of them far higher than The Shard and some even claimed you could see Edinburgh from the highest point, but KODO liked the quaint simplicity of The Shard and stubbornly stayed there, his helipad on an interconnecting building nearby.
Fluffy was in the corner of the huge glass room, fumbling with some piece of technology and giggling to himself, his red cockscomb flapping from side to side. Moonrise and Sunset were rolling all over the transparent glass floor with a baby hippopotamus KODO had bought them, and Alight Here was somewhere on another floor racking her ancient brain for something they could do to give purpose to their lives.
Suddenly Fluffy came rushing over. “There’s a new island emerged. Big too. We could go there before anyone else. No one would know us there. The natives…”
“Goody!! It’ll be uninhabited!” Moonrise and Sunset intoned in their usual unison. “Unless sea people live there?”
“May do,” said Fluffy. “Mermen perhaps?”
“We’ll go tomorrow. Today if you want.” KODO was trying not to sound excited. “See what’s going on, like.”
“Noo! If we don’t go now,” Fluffy shouted, “then some OTHERS will settle there! We want to be somewhere no one knows us.”
“Fat chance!” Alight Here entered the room on a cloud. “The world has got so small.”
“Not if you’ve been under the sea,” said KODO. “They might have long lost treasures.”
“Goody, goody!” Moonrise and Sunset clapped their hand on their knee.
“I want a new couple of bathing suits,” Tripe shouted above the excited din. “The diamond-encrusted one was a mad disaster. The sun reflected from the stones blinded me despite wearing tinted goggles underwater.”
But KODO had already given his helicopter telepathic instructions and it could be seen standing by. Seamlessly they piled into the huge machine, dragging bits and pieces of equipment and things they just couldn’t be parted from behind them. After the door shut there was hardly time to drink a Pacific Pernod before they landed on a turquoise sea beside the huge new island.
Fluffy looked worried. “My technology is the most advanced there is, but you never know. I just hope we’re the first here.”
Alight Here opened the door and they all trooped out wearing their water-walking shoes, towing Moonrise and Sunset in their inflatable dinghy, clutching the baby hippo with their arm round its neck.
The island was indeed long and also very narrow, with no vegetation except for a few skeins of seaweed and the odd crop of limpets. What made it remarkable though was that it was covered in items from shipwrecked galleons, U-boats, tankers, luxury yachts, and other vessels dating back hundreds and hundreds of years.
KODO rushed ashore and lifted his binoculars. He switched on the heat-seeking attachment and after a few seconds’ calculation it registered zero. He sighed with relief. They were alone – and unknown. At last!