"Adrian Carrick, as requested". As the two guards nodded as one, the Guard Sergeant quickly turned and strode away. The lift doors behind the guards opened silently, and they stood aside to allow Carrick to enter, not once looking at him. As he slowly moved into the lift, the doors behind him shut just as quickly and quietly, enclosing Carrick in a golden, mirrored chamber. Carrick could barely think straight. The Palace? But what the hell could they want with him here? Noticing himself in the mirrors, he desperately tried to tidy himself up, flattening his hair, dusting off his shabby overalls and drying off his moist forehead. He was so engrossed, that he barely noticed the doors behind him opening again. When he did step out of the lift, he was almost blinded by the light in this new room. As his eyes adjusted, he realised with awe that it was sunlight! He was above the surface!
As he realised this, he took in the rest of the room. It was long, and just as ostentaitiously decorated as the lift had been. Along both sides, stood more of the Queen's Guard, eyes forward and faces again, set in an emotionless distant stare. At the far end of the room, flanking a massive throne, were two men. One dressed in military finery, Carrick recognised as Prince Phillip, the Queen's Consort, a haggard and old parody of a prince; the other, a handsome man in a suit, he did not recognise. And between them, almost dwarfed by the throne, was the Queen.
Carrick had only ever seen pictures of her before, but they could not convey how beautiful she truly was. Her perfect face almost seemed to shine in the sunlight. Garbed like Britannia herself, Carrick couldn't help but feel a patriotic pride rise up in him, a pride which threatened to burst forth as she smiled at him. But then Carrick saw her eyes. They were black, like nothing he had ever seen, empty and soulless, and Carrick couldn't help but turn away to look at the handsome man who now spoke.