If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You’ll soon be one of the few that know the truth, and by then I’ll likely be gone. Not dead. Just, gone. Vanished. Erased. Snubbed out. Mark my words, it will happen. But, before that day comes, I’m determined to share the information I have, information that many would prefer to remain out of reach, but information the public deserves to know.
I’ll start with how I managed to get myself into this mess, right in the centre of the spider’s web. Apologies in advance for the hazy details, but I’m going to have to be vague to keep them off my trail for much longer. Anyway, to put it simply, I had hit rock bottom when they found me. Homeless on the streets of Her Majesty’s London, without a single helping hand in sight. At the time, their offer seemed too good to be true. “One-Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling”, I was told, with private healthcare, house and car thrown in too. In hindsight, I should’ve realised it was.
If you’re not from the UK, but have ever visited London, you’ll understand what I’m about to say perfectly. Doesn’t it all seem a bit… magical? The gold of the crown sprinkled on every street corner, post-box and lamppost? The palaces and towers that everyone visits eventually, with their guards, gates and the presence of royalty only metres away? The Houses of Parliament and the London Underground, mundane and boring to those familiar with them, yet quirky and alluring to those from outside? One of my co-workers once described London as the “Disney of Capital Cities”, and I’ll be damned if that isn’t exactly what they want.
Simply put, it is all a front for something much greater.
When you visit London, they want you to make fools of yourselves trying to make the Queen’s Guard smile. They want you to buy into the excitement of Royal Weddings, and to shake your heads at the Parliamentary debates. They want you to read conspiracy theories about what happened to Princess Diana, and they want you to believe them. What is the truth? I don’t know, and neither will any of you. The point is that you’ll sit there and ponder. Ponder and ponder and never, for one moment, look deeper than that thin layer of magic.
Because, if you do, you may just find another London entirely.
Whatever I had expected when I first signed the contract, it was nothing compared to the truth. My job was nothing special: I was a glorified cleaner, responsible for cleaning up after the All-Stars, picking up the trash and keeping my head down and mouth shut. If I recall correctly, the official term used was “disposable employee”, but I digress. When you work in UnLondon, things are never that easy.
UnLondon is an enigma, something that hides in plain sight and yet remains concealed to a near-perfect degree. It is also worth mentioning that UnLondon is only a nickname, used by those with no official business or importance there, and only spoken publicly by those with nothing to lose. Unfortunately, I am a member of both groups. Official names include “SC Templar”, “SC One” and “SC Crowne”, with the “SC” standing for Sub-City and the rest standing for god-knows what. I have reason to believe similar facilities exist in many cities worldwide, with rumoured locations including the Paris Catacombs, The Vatican, and the City of Moscow to name a few, but I have no solid evidence to support these claims. Then again, procuring evidence against a secret of this magnitude is a near-impossible task, so you’ll just have to trust my word.
Over roughly nine-months of my employment in UnLondon, I stumbled across my fair share of sensitive information, not entirely by accident, but not outright deliberately either. Of course, it wasn’t easy. What other cleaning jobs do you know that force you through two months of psychological examination, interrogation and conditioning before they let you near the place? And that isn’t even including the security measures underground.
Practically every door is magnetically sealed, openable only with the correct key-card and fingerprints that change daily. When on the job, there is never a moment when you aren’t in the immediate vicinity of an armed guard, security camera or narrow-eyed supervisor. When you aren’t working, you’re confined to your accommodation, with every blind spot covered, every mirror two-way and absolutely no phone service to speak of. Some call the UK the “most watched country on Earth”, and they’d be right, because the secrets of UnLondon are that valuable.
Moving on to the facility itself. UnLondon isn’t a single, fortified location but a labyrinth of disused chambers, passages and bunkers stretching beneath the City of London, particularly under and around the River Thames. You won’t find them on any map, and they aren’t accessible through any of the known areas available to the public, only through a handful of very specific entry points within the river itself and several mining-standard elevator shafts in choice locations around the city. Don’t bother asking where any of these entrances are, because I was unconscious and blindfolded during the journey for obvious security reasons.
Believe it or not, the history of the facility is one of the few scraps of information they willingly give up to new employees, likely to create a false sense of lawfulness and security in a profession that is neither secure nor lawful. UnLondon was first founded immediately following World War Two in an effort to capitalise on the existing infrastructure of subterranean London. While everyone else was hopeful and looking to the light, they took it upon themselves to sink to new lows. Since then, the tunnels have expanded exponentially, as have the range of their functions, with the depravity and secrecy only growing with each passing decade.
Let’s just say that during my stint as a disposable, I saw the remnants of some mind boggling, revolting and disturbing things. I won’t go into all the details to spare your stomach, but I’ll give you enough for your mind to fill in the rest. A few other disposables and I were once sent in to clean up after a round of “afternoon tea”: tea, cakes and substances too rare and secret to populate the Government’s banned substances register, not to mention the meat of animals on the endangered species list. Another cleaning session consisted of emptying an office following its occupant’s “suicide”. “Marked for incineration”, the order had said.
I suppose by now you’re wondering how I know all I do, and for that, I don’t blame you. The life of a disposable is mostly just following orders from a faceless superior, trudging from one day to the next in silence and staying in the dark. For me, it was much of the same, until they chose to promote me. To understand my second job, you first need to understand the single biggest source of paranoia for the bigwigs behind UnLondon: the internet. A single cyber-attack or incursion could expose the truth behind their actions, so within UnLondon no communication over the internet, via phones or any equipment, modern or otherwise, is permitted. Good ol’ fashioned letters make up the vast majority of communication within the city, which are favoured exactly for their primitive, unhackable nature. Coupled with the near-zero chance of any physical material escaping the city, and you can see the appeal. This brings me on to my second job within UnLondon: a “courier”.
Hundreds of couriers are employed within the tunnels, scurrying back and forth and providing a never ending stream of orders, data and documents, the vast majority of which are marked classified, read once and then promptly sent to one of several huge furnaces somewhere in the complex. But in secret, as time trickled by and hundreds upon hundreds of letters came under my supervision, I gradually built up my knowledge of the city, and it terrified me. I learnt that the “level” I had been employed on was only the highest of five, each more mysterious and secure than the last. I learnt that many of the unseen figures we had heard whispers of were well known celebrities, politicians and intellectuals. And worst of all, I learnt about The Fleming Protocol. What began as three words mentioned inconspicuously on an itinerary soon spiralled into a predicament that has me trapped to this day.
Remember the term: “disposable employee”? I first assumed it was intended to demean and frighten us, but in hindsight I suppose it was naïve to ever assume anything in my situation. Like I said, security is their single greatest concern, and it turns out someone like me: a nobody, salvaged from the bottom and trapped between the lines, is too great a threat for them to tolerate. Whether it’s simply the cold nature of UnLondon or the fear that “my kind” has nothing left to lose, the fact is that I don’t have long left. When I first began my conditioning, I was given a “medical examination” that included several different injections disguised as vaccinations. More naivety on my part, I suppose. Whatever they gave me, I can feel it growing stronger by the day, seething, throbbing and sapping what little strength I have left.
I know now that they’ll be no happy endings for me, no meal-tickets to easy street and no way out. They want their secrets to stay buried, trapped in legend and myth, never to see the light of day. I won’t give them that luxury. So whatever the cost, I’m making my knowledge known by using my short debriefing period to do the right thing. To serve the public after so long serving the men in their high towers. Like I said, by the time you’re reading this, I’ll likely be gone, so I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice. Next time you hear of a sensational conspiracy, or a scandal too shocking to be true, or something you may immediately dismiss as improbable in the modern world, think of my story. Think of how much you really know about the backstreets and dark cellars of the world around you. And most of all think about what you can do to bring those places into the light. After all, all rumours start somewhere.