I'm afraid it's time.
I said somberly to the Good Lady.
She raised her eyes from whatever pointless tat she was doing on her phone and looked at me in alarm.
Oh no, really? Is it really time?
She said in a fearful whisper. Her phone tumbling from her suddenly limp fingers.
Yes, come with me.
I said curtly.
She got up and looked around the room with a sad fondness before trailing after me.
We walked through the oh so green garden to the Garage. We both stopped at the junk corner. An old barbecue covered in rust peeked up forlornly from where it lay on its side. I reached down and hefted it up and out of the way.
I scooched down into a crouch and hauled at a large paving stone from which a large iron handle jutted. I gave it a heave and the paving stone raised up grudgingly from its rest until it was perpendicular to the ground.
Below it gaped a dark and forbidding looking shaft.
Should we bring the children?
The Good Lady wrung her hands as she looked nervously at the shaft and then longingly at the green garden. The last flowers of summer were still in bloom and the sun shone out briefly despite the misty rain that was falling.
The children? Ha.
Best leave them be. The world to come is not a world for them. It will be hard enough for the pair of us.
The Good Lady inclined her head in acknowledgement and manoeuvered to the edge of the shaft, her feet finding the ladder that was embedded in its sheer sides.
I waited until her head had disappeared into the gloom before following her down, pausing only for a moment to pull the slab closed behind me.
The descent underground was longer and shorter than I remembered, my palms were sweaty and slippery on the metal rungs by the time I touched down to the bottom.
The good lady was already sitting before a screen in a compact rocky room, lit only by the lights of several screens and control panels.
I flumped down in the chair next to her.
You got the launch codes?
I said grimly.
Yeah, tapping them in now.
A metallic voice boomed out from the console before us.
Missiles armed and ready to launch. Reasoning required. . .
I looked up at a point in the middle distance and spoke numbly.
Steem price continues to fall. No hope now. The world should not live to see a new all-time low.
Reasoning accepted. Missiles preparing to launch. Countdown started. . .
I reached out and took the Good Lady's hand, lifting her and guiding her over to a recess where two pod-like beds surrounded by medical equipment lay.
And now we sleep my darling. If we cannot be the Steem Kings of this world then no-one will. No one.
Klaxons sounded as the Good Lady and I lay down in our hiber-pods and closed our eyes.