by Max Barry

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by The Dutch Democratic Republic of Knootoss. . 10 reads.

Diederik Enck

Knootians in Profile: Diederik Enck.

The pegboard of every Knootian conspiracy theorist worth his salt will contain a picture of Diederik Enck, complete with bits of string to connect him to everything that is secretive and conspiratorial in this country. He's said to have deep and enduring connections to big business, media moguls, the SLP, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Order of the Invisible Hand and a mysterious Clan of unknown origin. Naturally, he's also been linked to UFO's, chemtrails, vampires, mind control lasers and secret underground tunnels to the middle of the earth on those very same pegboards, so who knows what's really true?

Little is betrayed by his usual mask of inscrutability. Enck avoids cameras and dislikes having his picture taken. His tone of voice (as recorded on a lone, barely intelligible audio tape that's fairly popular with conspiracy theorists) is hushed and understated.

There are a few established facts about Enck's public career: after obtaining a high degree at an elite private university he pursued a career in private enterprise. He consulted for several foreign consultancies on 'political intelligence' and was retained as an advisor to a trades body of the shipbuilding industry at home. Nine years ago he was appointed - seemingly out of nowhere - to serve as the Director of the Economic Intelligence and Security Service.

All those years at the head of this agency have allowed him to sink his claws into every aspect of its operations, which are whispered to include corporate espionage, monitoring of anti-business activists abroad and the use of bribery, blackmail and coercion to steer the actions of foreign governments in the 'right' direction. The sizeable budget of the agency is is largely beyond public scrutiny. While Knootians will fiercely defend their own civil liberties, they are less fussy about what might happen in some distant foreign land, so long as it can be justified in the name of the 'national interest'.

While still serving as Director, Enck was mentioned on a list of prominent regulars at an upscale S&M Club that operates in Hague, but person who released it has since been discredited as a paranoid schizophrenic who, after being disowned by his family and friends, admitted that she'd made the story up to get the medical help she so badly needed.

His transfer into politics, being appointed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Policy by Maurits Viljoen, does not seem to have caused much change in his daily routine. He still oversees the agency through a point man while clawing his way up the political ladder. As a member of the executive in a country with a strict separation of powers, this does not involve grubbing for votes, a fact which no doubt pleases him. Recently, there have been rumours that the SLP may call upon Enck as a technocratic candidate to be the next Prime Minister. If that were to happen he would have gained power over an entire nation without ever being elected to any public office. Surely this is an unthinkable notion.

In all likelihood it is unthinkeable to Enck himself, who prefers to act from the shadows. If his ambitions go as far as the rumours suggest it is far more likely that he would find himself a pawn - or a partner - who might actually like to be seen to rule. After all, what good is a puppet master without any puppets to take the stage?

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Apparently conventional