EPILOGUE OF THE FIRST LIVE

RAD CITY – ENTRANCE SECTOR D – THREE WEEKS AFTER

– Still nothing? – Mh.

Demetrius gives a beer to Trevor without adding anything else. Cold and delicious, the landseeker takes it with a nod and gulp it down in a sip. Cold beer. Here’s something that is worth fighting for.

-They would already have attack, I think,-adds the manager of RØADHOUSE.

– It’s not for sure. It is almost certain that they know they have been intercepted. Consequently, they are probably reorganizing. No healthy mind would face Trauma Korps without having to rely on the surprise effect.

The big bartender shakes his head looking at the outside view, where the heat brings the smell of dust to the nostrils.

– So you think it will take time?

– I think so.

– Do you think they can give up the attack entirely?

The landseeker shakes his head, part of him would like to believe that suffices so little. But he has seen too much of the Postworld to know how nobody gives up on a substantial dish so easily. Too beautiful and definitely impossible.

– Not even remotely.

– Good.

– Yeah.

– If Citizens didn’t find the radio …

– But they did. Needless to overthink now. Consider it as a gift from the Saint, and make sure we don’t waste it.

The eyes of the two men move to the east, where the desperate crowds crawling through the doors of Rad City expect to enter. A tiny black line flies in front of them, with vehicles and weapons labeled by the Cross, which the two now know very well.

– I saw the bleeding are continuing …

Trevor nods.

– Naturally. He needs new people. The more Citizens we will have, the more the City will be safe. Also because some have left.

– In theory they will come back with reinforcements.

– In practice, many will not come back at all.

The two remain for a while looking at the Vastness. Far away, the sound of screams of victory and pain, coming from the trials of aspirants, is the background to their thoughts.

-It’s worth fighting for Rad City,-Demetrius says at last. It’s not a question.

-It’s worth dying, for Humanity,- adds Trevor.

They empty the glass and throw it over the line of defense. Without saying anything, they get up and get up. A meeting is waiting for them.

RAD CITY – 15 MINUTES LATER – CITY HALL

Heston nods when the bartender and Landseeker come in closing the door. They are the last. Eleven and Nine block access and mount on the towers to make sure no-one disturbs the elder Citizens meeting. No one else, not even the Ministers and Councilors of the Mayor, was admitted. It’s still too early for confidence. The Mayor shifts his eyes on the present, some don’t want them here, some would prefer them cold and horizontally on the ground. But Trauma is not enough to make a city, and it is precisely on this group that the structure of its dream is based.

Turns to Viktor. Reliable, modest Viktor. A nod of the hand is just enough to make it clear to the secretary that it is time to start.

– All right – Kovalenko starts. – We’re all there. We open the meeting. First of all, how are Citizens behaving?

Seven swallow the last bite of dried meat and answers.

– Many have settled in the neighborhoods of the city. Someone is still in D, reluctant to abandon him despite our exhortations and the fact that it is almost without resources. They like being near the entrance … in the event arrived enemies.

– How they live the imminent attack?

-With trepidation,- says Five. – And impatience.

– Very well.- The secretary picks up something on his sheets, then nods to the Cicada. – What about the radio, Trevor?

The Landseeker barely looks up and shrugs.

– Nothing. There is no way to go back to the origin of the voice, nor to understand the exact source of origin. Slaughter, Mutants, Mandala Adepts, could be anyone.

-Maybe the hyenas,- suggests the Mayor, seriously and ironically. Her gaze moves to Kurt, who merely grins.

– If the Effendi wanted Rad City, he would just take it.

– You know very well that is not so. Rather … could he helps us to defend it?

A laugh is all the answer that The Fox deserves to give.

Dallas start to talk, as always calm and relaxed.

– We value the thing. Rebuilding the radio was a good thing. We captured a message, but we don’t know how far away. We probably have weeks, maybe months. It depends on what they can do.

Heston nods. All right, or at least believe it. He isn’t a warrior, he has never been. Only an explorer who had a shot of luck, many years ago.

Malena seems to have the ideas much clearer, from under the cover of her hat raises her strange eyes on the Mayor. Unlike Moses, she knows what a war is.

– The Citizens … are motivated. They will defend this outpost against any incoming danger. For many of them out there is nothing but death, and they are ready to fight for their home.

Will they, girl? – Malabranca’s voice is a poisoned knife. The Bride’s gaze slightly snoops on him, as if concealing an inner fury ready to blow up Seraglio’s man.

– Some of them perhaps deserve something, but others have not even understood the extent of what is required . I do not know who is attacking us, but these people will be torn apart … and devoured. They not here for a home but they smell what the city hides and want to have each one’s own slice.

-Not all of us are like you,” Dream Man, “says Tharax. – There is courage here, and ingenuity. Give us sufficient material and we will make impenetrable defenses.

Diana screams at her approval, radiant for Brother’s words.

 – The material … the material COST, Tharax. – Kastor’s effort to remain polished is obvious, while his body struggles between oblivion of the drug and fear for his life. Athena at his side snorts and shakes her forehead. -We could always leave them out here and retreat to the center of the City. You always get in time to find other Citizens.

– You’re wrong! – Nastassja is definitely determined, probably more to contradict the rival than real zeal – Saint blesses this place. You will not allow something to happen to her devotees! We fight and resist! -Just a few words, as always, but decided as the column of a cult.

-Bullshit – replies the woman of the Church of Internal Self Combustion as she taps the King of Commerce’s wrist, making sure that his beat returns smoothly. – Bullshit for lower minds. We are here because there is no way to exploit the territory and the material, but nobody trades with the dead.

-It’s not true, -MJ adds, shaking his colorful hair with all his noisy nubs.-For many Citizens this is home to them as much for us. They didn’t give up when they understood the horrors and mysteries that the city hides, snatched their arms and fought. They deserve to fight, and we’ll be at their side. Fighting for the right to live under the sun, we will not stop ’til they’ve lost and we’ve won – The last part marks it like a psalm.

– The Gulag is ready to serve. – The voice of Wolff is cold as the metal of a scalpel, the frost necessary to put an end to the ongoing discussion, and her coat is dirty with blood and interior. The Gulag continued to work uninterruptedly while bleeding was proceeding. Even Citizens now admitted were a constant source of obols, while the Pandemonium shouted by administering the justice of the arena. -Whatever is coming, it will end up on our table.

Everyone had spoken, but the doubt remained: what would they do now? Who would trust them? What to do? To whom do you care?

In the end, there was only one answer to find. “Who commands Rad City?” Heston again thinks, the question that so many times put to himself and to others.

A really stupid question.

– Dallas, organize your men. Talk to the Minister of War and Exploration to co-ordinate patrols. Those bastards must have some avant-garde, somewhere. Find them and put them in pieces. Also, talk to the Citizens and to them that the City requires new efforts.

-Thank you Heston. I just needed you to remember how to do my job.

The answer is as hard and dry as ever, but the Mayor notices the slightest smile at the corner of Kommander’s mouth, something that only those who know man long ago might notice .

– Rad City remains safe, Carter.

-It will.