September 30th, One Year to Revolution
Being on the phone to one of Oktyabrina’s lieutenants is one of the scariest things I’ve ever come up against. They speak in permanently clipped tones and they are honestly terrifying to listen to – your hesitation could cost you your life.
I spoke quickly and quietly, my voice broken by the icy wind that sliced at my throat and the fear that was gripping at my chest. I wondered blithely, as I hung up and crossed the road to wait for the cab that would pick me up, whether I had been seen by anyone. I doubted it – security was lax in the Plaza - after years of breaking the populace into submission, they assumed we would nod and smile and be on our way without taking in the tiny checkpoint, the single, unarmed guard manning it, and the seven security cameras with their lenses trained everywhere but at the small, skinny grille that would easily allow us to get in.
They hadn’t thought that we would have the strength to do this, that our determination would win out.
I had stood at the street corner for at least twenty minutes, feeling uncomfortably like a prostitute as I waited, my coat drawn around me, for a ride that didn’t seem to be coming any time soon. Checking the time on the screen of the phone they had given me, I saw that I had been gone longer than I had thought. It was five minutes past midnight, and I shut my eyes, trying to remember the last time I had slept. I was exhausted enough to collapse in the street, but I thought that would be the worst possible idea. The broken grate and my presence would neither be helpful to the Resistance nor subtle to the Establishment, and just by being here I could be a risk to the whole operation.
I cringed as I thought about it, but there was a short burst of engine revs around the corner, three in quick succession, and a longer one, and I heard somebody whistle. I turned to see the car I had been waiting for, and practically sprinted through the slush to climb into the back, hoping for some warmth and company, but being met by silence and a serious stare.
“Where am I taking you?” I wanted to laugh. Was he trying to trick me, or just playing his part as a cabbie all too well?
“You know all too well.” It was a conversation we had all practised, one of code and secrets, of safety and certainty and protection.
“Perhaps I do. It is but a day away, after all.” October. Oktyabrina.
“Indeed.” I sat back and closed my eyes as the black car roared out of the turning and took me around the corner, taking me back to base, and hopefully to a coffee.