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The Observer by Tucker Spolter 

Chapter 7

 It was still dark when Rechat and Eem, a petite woman with black eyes and blacker hair arrived at the station house. Together they rolled the old stone doors open and walked inside. Opaque rays of dawn from the ceiling gave just enough visibility to outline the neat rows of double and single bar pump-trolleys. 

     “Been a long time since I saw one of these,” Rechat said.

     “I've never seen one. Weren't they banned or something?” Eem asked.

     Rechat stepped between two rows of vehicles and nodded. “The Violators built them. Initially for transporting goods and people.  And then to escape from Sagra and his so-called Council of Equals.  He. . . hell, all of them wanted to keep people on their feet. Keep ‘em walking. That way discontents can’t get escape from Sagra, his family or the Council.” 

     Rechat ran a calloused hand over one of four bulbous Tineke tires. “If you have two strong people on the pump bars you can carry six or more people. Each person adds extra weight but then each person can serve as a relief on the bar and the pump-trolley can travel far and fast. . .

If the terrain allows it.” 

     “Want to check one out Little Lady?” Rechat cupped his hands. “Climb aboard.” 

     Eem needed no prodding. She put her right foot in Rechat’s hands. He boosted her on to  the platform. Eem headed straight for the pump bar and tried to push downward. Nothing. She grunted. The bar didn’t move. “This is tough and I’m no uchi,” Eem declared. 

     Rechat laughed. “You’re fighting inertia. When the rest of the Blues arrive we’ll – ”

     “RECHAT? You in here?” A tall, wiry man wearing dark brown, pegged slacks, and matching over-shirt stepped into the station house. “Your Blues are accounted for and ready for

 . . .” he shrugged, “Whatever. . . you command.” 

      Rechat helped Eem down from the pump-trolley and turned. “You left a contingent of Blues behind to . . .safe-guard Sagra and his wonderful family, didn’t you, Ponti?”

      “I always follow your orders,” Ponti grinned. “Sagra is being carefully watched . . . I mean safe-guarded for his own protection. And your reserves are waiting for the outcome of this venture. Hopefully, the woman and the shuttle will be. . . shall we say—” 

      Rechat crossed to Ponti in two steps. Fist clenched. His face inches from Ponti’s. ”While you still have a tongue, shut the shenzi up.” Rechat glared. “Tomba for brains. Do not speak in innuendos. Do not speak in company.” Rechat glanced over his shoulder at Eem, who quickly moved from the confrontation and disappeared between a row of pump-trolleys. “And do not try to even suggest you know what I am doing or why I am doing it. Or—“ Rechat brought the blade of a spike-knife to the side of Rechat’s head. “I will shove this into your ear and watch while what you call brains drip to the floor.” Rechat drew the tip of the spike down Rechat’s cheek. Droplets of blood fell on the flap of  Ponti's blue over-cap. Do you understand?”

     Ponti nodded and started to wipe the trickle of blood from his cheek. Rechat slapped his hand away. “Leave it there. A reminder.” 

     “Now bring in the Blues. Assign the strongest pairs to a pump-trolley and have them assemble outside. 

         Ponti exited the station house for a moment, then the doors opened wider and a small army of men, women, and a few teens poured into the garage. Their clothes were uncoordinated, but everyone wore a blue cap of some sort.  So many eager bodies made the task easy.  With grunts and groans, twenty-four pump-trolleys were wheeled out of the station house until the vechiles  stood in two lines of twelve. Food, tools, thorned clubs, and spears were loaded onto the platform.  When the Blues on one platform decided to jam their long spears into slots in the front of their platforms, every other trolley followed suit.  A group of women took it upon themselves to tie blue pennants to the tip of the spears.      

     Rechat liked the look. ‘Ready for war,’ he thought and turned to Eem. “We’ll need more than luck to find the woman and that damn shuttle.” He confided. “But this is good training. Perhaps we’ll find some violators to practice on.”

      Rechat found Ponti near the end of line. “Moving these platforms is hard. No one is in shape for it so we’ll start off slow. Eem and I will lead. You and whomever you choose will take up the rear. Do not allow stragglers. Keep the line together.” 

     Ponti nodded. 

     Rechat withdrew a round, pierced piece of wood from a pocket on the arm of his tunic. At first, the Blues milled about in quiet confusion. Two shrill reports from the whistle brought all motion and conversation to a halt.  Deftly, Rechat leaped onto the nearest trolley platform. 

     Immediately “Rechat! “Rechat!” rang out from the crowd. 

     Rechat blew the whistle again. The crowd went quiet. Dramatically Rechat paced from side to side on the platform. Then turned and shouted, “Are you PROUD to be a Blue?” 

     There was a pause from the crowd while the Rechat’s comments were digested. Then a collective “Yes!” swept through the station house. Followed by “We are the Blues! We are the Blues!” The acoustics were perfect. The chant grew until it folded upon itself.  

     Rechat waited until complete silence returned.  He looked out on his followers “I have a question. . .” He paced. The Blues pushed closer to the platform stage. Rechat stopped. “Should the Blues be disbanded?”  

     Again the crowd paused. Considered.  

     “SHOULD THE BLUES BE DISBANDED!” Rechat screamed. 

     “NO! NO! NO!” The crowd chanted again and again and again. 

     Rechat smiled. Savoring the chants and piety until the roar subsided and the Blues waited.

     “Then we have work to do. Are we the Blues?”

     “We are the Blues! We are the Blues.” 



     Rechat hopped of the pump-trolley and flipped the whistle to Ponti,  “Anything happens blow this. Twice.” 

     Rechat too Eem's hand and headed for the front of the formation. 

     Eem smiled then pointed to the open door of the station house.Should we shut the door?”

     Rechat thought for a moment then strolled between the row of trolleys where two male teens dangled their feet off the back. “You are Hett and Jaye, correct?” They nodded. “You were napped from the Violators, correct?” They nodded. “And you want to prove yourselves? Join the Blues?” The nods were more vigorous. “How would you like to ride up front with Eem and me?”

     “Yes, Sir.” They replied in unison. 

     “I have a task for you.” Rechat took out a spike knife and pulled short stake from the platform handing one to Hett and the other to Jaye. “I want you to go inside,” he pointed to the open door of the station house. ”And rip a big hole in every one of tires still in there. Boys think you can do that?” 

     Hett and Jaye bumped elbows and  hopped off the platform with a, “Yes, Sir,” and disappeared through the station house door with their weapons. 

     Rechat climbed on the lead platform and pulled Eem up behind him. At the rear of the platform, Rechat lifted a handmade megaphone turned to his followers, “Bend your backs to it Ladies and Gentlemen of the Blue. Soon the leadership will change in Lakal.” A wave of silence passed down the formation to the last pump-trolley. “Sagra and the Kalam dynasty is coming to an end. We are the future. We are the future.” Rechat grabbed one of the pump bars. Eem the other. “We’ll set the example.” She pushed. He pulled. 

     “We are the future!” rang out. Blue caps flew into the air. “We are the future!” Chorused louder and louder. Rechat raised his arm and pointed toward the mountains. The column lurched forward.  

     Eem gently nudged Rechat and above the chant whispered. “What about those kids?”

     Rechat smiled. “Never trust the Napped. Children of the Violators are only cute when they’re young.  And only useful to add to the gene pool.  Sagra and his cronies never should have tried to limit childbirths. Adding menta-birth-inhibitors to our water was their second mistake.” 

     Rechat took a quick glance at the open door of the station house as their trolley moved past. “Sagra, Hanar, and the Red Witch will find something interesting for them when they discover what the Napped did to the remaining pump-trolleys.  A functioning Tineke tire can take a long time to make.”

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