The street was empty save for a huge pile of broken furniture. There was a huge piece of black material tied to a piece of broken lamppost sticking out of the top of the pile, and people moved slowly around the scene. All in all, the place looked like something out of a Les Mis barricade scene.
Almost, but not quite: as Rouben moved from one place to the next, helping the building, encouraging one, correcting the other, another came out of apparently nowhere, pointing a camera straight at him, and saying, –Rouben! Have you anything to say for the vlog?–
What had Tatjana said? Be nice to the vloggers. Publicity is your friend. Rouben adopted a less exhausted and more serious face, hoping that he looked a bit like a twenty-year-old Karl Marx. Already, he felt like a pop star: posing, empty-brained. –What would you like to know?– he asked.
–What is the current situation?– asked the pubescent vlogger enthusiastically.
–Unfortunately, I can't tell you everything, but we're building a barricade. It will provide a good lookout post.
–Cool,– said the vlogger, who didn't seem to grasp the tactical necessity of a barricade. –It looks just like something out of Les Misérables!– He obviously liked the sound of his own voice, too, though Rouben.
–Barricades had existed long before that. This isn't a Les Mis reenactment, this is an actual uprising: and serious stuff.
–Of course, of course,– said the vlogger. Rouben was glaring at him, and he tried to change the subject by adding: –What are you expecting in the short run? Will the State attack?–
–Listen,– said Rouben, forcing the camera to turn over the barricade, and back to him. –This Revolution isn't a fad, or a short-term thing. These men and women aren't resting until the barricades are built, until the State and Government buildings are seized, until Anarchy reigns in this country. This, everyone, is true insurrectionism. This is direct action.– He turned back to the vlogger. –It's a long-term goal, and I guarantee that it is worth it in every way.–
He turned away from the vlogger. He looked across, past the black flag, to the clouds and the glacier-blue sky. –In every way,– he added, to himself, and then left. He had no patience with vloggers.
That night, Rouben nominated three men to keep a lookout, and went back to the huge, abandoned dock building, up to the hospital ward, where many lay on the floor, supported by mats and sheets fro the cold concrete. Rouben was greeted with cheers of Long Live Waletzko! from some of the conscious patients, and he greeted each one of them.
When he eventually reached Dragomir, that young Insurrectionary was lying behind a makeshift curtain, half-awake, and he greeted him quietly.
–How are you doing?
–So-so, I'm afraid.
Rouben sat on the ground next to his friend. –This'll soon be over,– he said. –All of it.–
–How reassuring. What's 'all of it' to you?– Dragomir asked as he shifted.
–The struggle, the bloodshed, the State...
–The State. You talk of nothing else.
–I live for the Revolution,– said Rouben, and for the moment his voice became slightly softer as he visualised the taking of the Government buildings, the glory he had imagined and re-imagined every time he had a moment alone. Coming back to reality, he added, –They're rising up in the Country too, all over the place, and are marching to the City in droves, apparently. Yesterday the West Gate was stormed successfully. I wonder if any vloggers caught it on camera,– he added disparagingly.
–The vloggers aren't our enemies, Rouben...
–I'd like to think so.
Dragomir looked up, frowning. –What do you mean?
–I'm having doubts as to some of them, that's all. I mean,– he said, –how do we know they put it all on YouTube or similar sites? We only have their word.–
–They could all be spies.
–With access to some very sensitive information, about who's involved, and who's doing what.
–That's why I hate them. They could be undermining the Revolution.
Dragomir seemed to think about this. He seemed to think for such a long time, Rouben thought he had fallen asleep. Then he said, –I agree. I mean, most of them are OK, but perhaps we should only have a few trusted vloggers...I mean, what Tatjana said was right...
–How do we know that Tatjana, or Cyril, for that matter, are trustworthy?
Dragomir was silent.
–Not that I don't trust them,– said Rouben coolly. –Anarchism's about unity. But they're sometimes a bit suspicious. I mean, you're with me, on the fact that we shouldn't really have vloggers, or anyone else that tracks our immediate process?–
–I'm with you.
Rouben was just about to get up, when a young woman drew back the curtain. She seemed to be in a state of great agitation. –I've looked for you everywhere,– said. –We've just discovered where Krasimir is.– Rouben began to get up. –He's in prison, being interrogated.–