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In New Ziland, the police came for Adam Gooch at six fifteen in the morning. Any earlier and it would have been too dark for the TV cameras. Any later and they would have missed the breakfast TV shows.
First, the TV crews were escorted to the street and given time to set up.
Then two helicopters, borrowed, with pilots, from the air force, approached the house, one from the north and one from the south.
Black garbed and heavily armed figures began to rappel from the aircraft as two Armed Offender Squad buses raced down the street and skidded to a halt in front of the house.
Four police cars with sirens screaming and lights blazing followed.
The effect was ruined somewhat as Adam Gooch, in a hooded tracksuit, cup in hand, wandered down the road from his early morning coffee run and retrieved the newspaper from his letterbox.
He walked up to the TV presenter, as the officers from the helicopters reached the ground and the armed offenders squad members completed their offensive structure, weapons trained on the house.
“Good morning Pam. What is going on here?”
“Well, you are to be arrested and extradited to the United States.”
“I think their plan would work better if I were inside the house. Are you broadcasting live?”
The presenter looked at her cameraman, who looked at someone else who nodded.
“Pam Tree here, coming to you live from the police raid on the house of Mr Adam Gooch, director of security for Uso Dex here in New Ziland, who is wanted by the United States government on charges of bio-terrorism. I am talking to Mr Gooch now.”
Behind them black garbed figures charged through the front door of the house. Members of the Armed Offenders Squad fired tear gas grenades through the house windows.
“Mr Gooch, what do you have to say for yourself?”
Adam stood tall, looked at the camera, and said “I am a citizen of Rome.”
In the background, viewers got to watch the armed police throw tear-gas through windows, kick down the unlocked front door, shout ‘clear’ many times, and finally gather round outside the house.
Eventually, one of them realized that Adam was not in the house. He looked puzzled, finally figured it out and walked towards Adam and the reporter, followed by half a dozen others.
“Step away from the hostage Mr Gooch.”
Then there were six of them, surrounding the reporter and her cameraman.
“Do you feel threatened, Pam?”
“No, of course not. What did you mean by ‘citizen of Rome’?”
Two of the policemen fired their Tasers. They were two or three meters away so perhaps that explains why one of them missed, and hit the reporter who fell to the ground convulsing. The Taser that hit the Gooch had no effect. Adam reached down, pulled the barb from his neck and offered it back to the officer.
“Do you want to try again, officer? Maybe if I moved closer.”
“Get on the ground. Hands behind your head.”
“No, I don’t think I will. Quite happy to accompany you chaps. Your car or mine?”
The reporter continued to jerk about on the ground. The TV cameras were fixed on her.
Adam started walking back toward his front door. A TV cameraman, camera on his shoulder, followed him.
He approached a gaggle of men in black. “Can I help you gentlemen?”
“Get back behind the tape, Sir. No civilians allowed here. We are looking for a dangerous terrorist.”
Another officer had followed the TV cameraman. He fired his Taser which hit Adam in the back, without effect.
Adam proceeded up the steps and into his house, with the cameraman.
“Hey, I told you…”
Slowly it dawned on the officers that they would have to start this whole house raid thing again, now that Adam was inside.
Pam Tree had recovered from the Taser strike, and she limped up to the door and inside the house while the police regrouped outside. She saw Adam sitting in his favorite chair, watching the breakfast show on TV.
“Ms Tree. Come in. It’s great viewing. Maybe you should phone your office. They seem a little lost.”
Back in the studio, there did seem to be a lot of confusion.
“…suggestion now that the whole proceedings have been a promotional gimmick…. Although that Taser hit seemed real enough…”
“I want to go live. Patch us in..”
Her jacket microphone was working.
“Turn your sound off please Mr Gooch. … This is Pam Tree reporting live from the home of Mr Adam Gooch, chief of security for Uso Dex in New Ziland. Last night this station was tipped off by the police that they would be arresting Mr Gooch this morning at the request of US authorities who allege that Mr Gooch is a dangerous bio-terrorist.
What you have seen in the last ten minutes has been real. I don’t think the police officers in charge will be getting their good conduct certificates from the FBI this time. The helicopters found the right house, but did not realize that Mr Gooch was out getting his morning coffee when they dropped in. Some idiot tried to Taser Mr Gooch and hit me instead.
At this stage Mr Gooch has not been arrested. He is back inside drinking his coffee and reading his newspaper while forty or so police officers mill around outside.”
“Pam, what can you tell us about the charges faced by Mr Gooch?”
“Very little is known at the moment. I am expecting to hear more later in the day when Mr Gooch is due to appear in the Manukau District Court.”
I am a citizen of Rome.
HAL picked up the code phrase from the television broadcast. In ancient times, a citizen of Rome had the right to be tried before Caesar, not before a magistrate in the provinces. More recently, the British had understood the phrase to mean that every subject of the British Empire should be protected by that Empire, anywhere in the world, and without regard to local law.
For Citizen Adam Gooch and his family, his use of that phrase, his claim to a basic right of citizenship, directed the full resources of Uso Dex towards him.
“Senator, Lieutenant, Citizen Adam Gooch has requested our help.”
HAL patched the Senator into the broadcast from New Ziland and then phoned the managing partner of the leading law firm Uso Dex retained in New Ziland. Five minutes later the Minister of Police had a phone call, in her limousine, from a senior barrister. She was on her way to a breakfast TV interview to discuss the government’s plan to increase spending on the police. Even she realized that the agenda had changed. Four lawyers already in at their office piled into a taxi and headed off to Mr Gooch’s house with the promise that they would know why before they arrived.
A police dog raced in the front door of Adam’s house and bit the cameraman. It was followed by two policemen who tackled the cameraman to the ground, handcuffed him, and dragged him outside. The camera fell to the floor, facing the front door. The televised pictures, from floor level, were dramatic.
A few minutes later, the cameraman limped back inside, with his leg heavily bandaged. Wrong guy, sorry.
This too was shown live on breakfast TV.
Ms Tree was in fine form. In front of a national audience that was increasing by the minute, she laid into the police.
“And don’t you even think about firing more tear gas into this house. You idiots have already Tasered me. I don’t want to be gassed. Mr Gooch is happy to attend court, so why don’t you all just piss off, you puffed up little shits.”
Not particularly professional, but she had her reasons.
The police weren’t finished. Ms Tree was able to inform Adam that it looked like they were going to rush the house. The cameras, inside the house and outside, captured it all. The preparation, the charge, and then the exit, as policemen were thrown out of windows and doors.
It stopped being funny when shots were heard.
The last policeman landed untidily. Thrown somewhat awkwardly through the lounge window, he turned and folded a bit in the air, like one of those high jumpers.
On TV, viewers see the footage as the police rush Adam, 160kg Adam, in the hallway of his home, and are thrown forward out the other door. Finally there was just one left. Clearly terrified he draws his gun.
“Why don’t you just leave officer? My arms are getting tired from throwing you guys out.”
The officer is trembling. The name on his overalls is “Monk”. He closes his eyes and fires, and fires, and fires, until all nine rounds are gone. Adam walks up to him, picks him up, takes him into the lounge, and throws him out the window. When he turns to face the camera, it is obvious he has been hit four times. Once in the left shoulder, once in the right arm, once in the right thigh, and once in the left side of his stomach.
Ms Tree is incensed, and lets her audience know.
“Unarmed, and prepared to accompany the officers. I even heard him ask, ‘your car or mine’. This is a disgrace. Constable Monk is a fool and a coward. If he hadn’t been so busy peeing his pants with his eyes closed Mr Gooch would be dead by now.”