In 2031, James is deputy chairman of CHERUB and has three daughters to Kerry, who died of breast cancer in 2023. His oldest daughter is a black shirt, his middle daughter lives a normal teenage life and his youngest daughter has just entered basic training and is constantly tormented by chief instructor Jake McEwen.
James is called into a meeting with Lauren, who has become the British intelligence minister, and the British Prime Minister, who tells him that he has been successful in applying for the position of CHERUB chairman when Zara Asker retires at the end of the year. Lauren remembers that she has left her briefing documents in the cabinet room, forcing her to return to the room instead of boarding a helicopter with the Prime Minister. However, as the helicopter takes off it is shot down by a protection drone which has been hacked by terrorists, killing the Prime Minister. In the blast Lauren is knocked unconscious, and James barely manages to drag her to safety down a maintainence shaft.
As James and Lauren make their way to ground level, the senior cabinet ministers convene and, when they hear that Lauren has survived, they decide to select her as Prime Minister. Lauren receives a phonecall from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who informs her that the party wants her as Prime Minister. Lauren is stunned and asks for time to consider her decision.