Rebels of Darkness, Chapter 15

“Really?” Bernadette responded to Riley in surprise. “I didn’t get the impression that anyone at Vulpes Press would ever help us on purpose!”

“They wouldn’t,” Riley let her know, “but I heard those two guys talking about an article someone wrote. They said that it made Carter’s approach to Venenatus Sanguis sound too humane, and they were trying to think of a way to make him sound like a radical with far fetched ideas.”

John grimaced at thought judgmentally. “He’s trying to treat sick people like humans and they wanna shame him for that?”

Emorick put in, “That’s horrible, but how does that help us take down Rialowe?”

“Don’t you see? If Jimmy Carter can overtake Rialowe in the polls, then Rialowe’s message won’t reach as far!” Riley expounded on his idea.

“So, you think we should campaign for him?” Kierram surmised.

Riley affirmed, “Exactly!”

José questioned, “That’s true, but how do we do that with just the ten of us?”

“He has a point,” Naama tacked on to his point. “Rialowe has a newspaper that goes out all over the country, not to mention all of the ads that he can afford to put on national television, how do we compete with that? Oh sure, we can get a few people going door to door, but how do we gain enough supporters to really have an impact on Rialowe’s fan base?”

“We can’t, but we can find someone who can!” Gwynivara declared. “Someone out there is bound to have the right connections, so if we do enough canvassing, we can find someone who’s friends with influential people, or we might even find a journalist who has more integrity than anyone at Vulpes Press! If we can get them to show everyone just how dangerous Rialowe is, then they can use whatever resources they have to warn everyone about him! Like, imagine if we knocked on the door of a news anchor- if we make our case compelling enough, they could go on air and expose his secrets! Then, any commercial they played of his after that wouldn’t do him much good!”

The other Rebels could clearly see the validity of her argument, but no one seemed totally sold on the concept yet. Rebekah brought up, “But wouldn’t that put us in danger? We’re all wanted criminals now, so wouldn’t people recognize us and turn us in?”

Emorick reassured her, “If you alter your appearance even slightly and avoid causing trouble, it’s unlikely that anyone would realize that they’re talking to a fugitive! Even police officers wouldn’t know they’re talking to one if that person doesn’t give them any hassle! It’s possible that a few detectives specifically assigned to catching us might spot us doing this, but that’s a risk we gotta take! We won’t get anything done by hiding in a cave all day! We can’t do this alone either! Gwyn is right- we need to recruit an ally to assist us with our mission!”

“And we may even find someone who can help us get the cure out there!” Cody enthusiastically added.

“Those are all wonderful possibilities, but what if it takes us too long to find somebody?” Niqun posed to everyone. “Rialowe is gaining supporters on a daily basis, so each day that goes by just adds to the number of followers that wretched snake gets! Not to mention all of the people who will keep getting infected from all of his super spreader events! If we waste too much time, more people will follow him to their deaths!”

Kierram politely shot back, “We don’t have any other plans right now though! We could keep trying to give a cure we don’t even know how to use to doctors, but there’s no guarantee that we’ll have anymore success in other hospitals than we did at Saint Bosco’s! It may be a bit of a long shot, but a small chance is better than no chance! While we think of another way to do this, we might as well give this a try!”

The Rebels all agreed with his viewpoints, so Emorick concluded, “Then that’s settled! We’ll do a supply run to get disguises we need, and Carter paraphernalia too, of course!” Emorick cringed a bit at that last instance. “It feels weird for me to be supporting a Democrat! I’ve always voted Republican, and never in my life did I think I’d even consider anyone else, but obviously Ford’s ‘Identify and Capture’ tactic is a complete failure, and I gotta do what’s best for defeating this virus! I doubt I’d agree with most of his ideas, but I can hardly let Rialowe win and have all of humanity get wiped out!”

“There’s nothing wrong with votign for a candidate based on their ideas!” John told him. “I’ve never voted along party lines, just whoever is right for the job.”

“I never cared who won ’til now,” Bernadette conversed. “I tried to vote when I was in college, but the poll workers wouldn’t let me go in unless I took a reading test! I got mad and left, and I never wanted to try voting again! But if voting for Carter will help save the planet, then naturally I’ll do it!”

Niqun chimed in, “When I first came to this country, women weren’t even allowed to vote yet. When they finally were allowed to, it surprised me how many women still didn’t! I was always happy to cast my vote! I worked hard to get my citizenship specifically so I could participate in democracy! I didn’t have the kind of freedom in China as I do here, so I was proud to get the opportunity to take part in the protection of our liberty! And now, that pride will only increase with the knowledge that I helped preserve the human race as well!”

“I’d vote if I were old enough!” Cody commented. “I’ll still feel good helping other people vote for the right guy though!”

“I’ll definitely vote if I can! But… are we allowed to vote?” José inquired. “The government is looking for us, so if we show up to vote, won’t they just turn us away?”

Gwynivara replied knowledgeably, “Felons can’t always vote, but none of us have gotten convicted of anything, so we still can. If Agent Cecilio or whatever detective assigned to catching us knows we’re going to a specific place to vote, they could arrest us, but frankly, I don’t care! If I get captured while I help prevent a murderous sociopath from taking power, then it’ll be worth it!”

Everyone shared that sentiment, and then Emorick added, “There’s still time to get rid of Venenatus Sanguis before Election Day, so let’s act with the hope of getting to vote as free people! So, once we get everything we need to do some canvassing, what neighborhood do we wanna start at?”

A young man opened his dormitory door to see two women in Jimmy Carter ball caps carrying a clipboard, and he instantly guessed why they had come, so he coldly regarded them, “Not interested!”

“Not interested in saving lives?” Gwynivara spouted before he could shut the door.

“What?” The young man’s confusion stopped him in his tracks.

Bernadette rattled off, “Jimmy Carter is the only candidate with a plan to defeat Venenatus Sanguis! It’s a deadly disease that’s-.”

The young man interrupted her spiel, “Yeah, I know, it’s a horrible thing, but I have a test in an hour that I can’t fail, so I’m gonna go back to studying now! Bye!”

He shut the door in their faces, but Gwynivara and Bernadette didn’t seem fazed by it. Gwynivara simply marked that room off and then noted, “Well, that’s the last door in this dorm! Onto the next one!”

“Can we take a break?” Bernadette requested. “My feet are killing me!”

“Mine too! Okay, let’s take a quick break,” Gwynivara relented. “But let’s not hang out too long in case one of these kids calls the campus police on us!” Bernadette nodded, and they went outside.

Gwynivara and Bernadette sat at a round table made of stone located outside of a classroom complex. Gwynivara theorized, “Maybe we need to work on our sales pitch! I don’t think we made too much of an impact so far.”

Bernadette shrugged. “I dunno. I’ve never done anything like this before. Hell, I haven’t even paid much attention to politics at all ’til now, so I wouldn’t know a good campaign from a bad one!”

“Me either, but my parents used to do this kind of thing!” Gwynivara fondly recalled. “Well, not exactly like this. They would do fundraisers and stuff, and now that I think about it, I don’t think anything they did there would be very helpful to us. They were pitching to people who thought like them already so they could donate to a cause they already support.” She sighed, but then she smiled as she savored the memory of her parents. After a few seconds, she realized something. “They always campaigned for the Democratic candidate, so I bet wherever they are, they’re helping us get the right person elected!” She grew wistful at the reminder of the fact they had to go far away from her, but it buoyed her spirits to share that connection with them. After she processed all of these feelings, she entreated to Bernadette, “Don’t tell Emorick that! I don’t want my political ties to disqualify me from seeing his son!”

“Of course I won’t say anything!” Bernadette obliged. “But I don’t think that would be a deal breaker. He obviously thinks very highly of you.”

Gwynivara remarked, “Yes, and I’d like to keep it that way! I don’t want anything to change that!”

Before Bernadette could broach the subject any further, they heard a familiar voice from behind them growl, “Ladies, you wouldn’t be the ones soliciting on this campus, would you?”

A chill went down Bernadette and Gwynivara’s spines, and their eyes grew wide in disbelief. The last time they heard that voice had been on that mountaintop during the battle with Rafeneita, but they thought he had gotten killed during the combat! Gwynivara found it shocking that he had lived through getting stabbed in the back, and she didn’t understand what he was doing outside of Great Dismal Falls either! She didn’t think he had come across them on accident, and neither of them dared to turn around and reveal themselves to him. They both kept their heads low, and Gwynivara sincerely hoped that they wouldn’t have to use incantations right then! Abigor had formidable skills in that arena, and the last thing she wanted was to cause a noticeable commotion at a prime recruiting place for them!

‘You know, soliciting goes against the PHC safety guidelines,” Abigor seethed. Gwynivara and Bernadette said nothing, so Abigor went on, “You could spread Venenatus Sanguis without knowing it, and we can’t have that, now can we?” Gwynivara gritted her teeth knowing that he had remained loyal to Rafeneita and had, most likely, come to this campus to do her bidding! In addition to worries about her own safety, she grew deeply concerned about the well being of the students who attended here! She could sense the arrogant smirk on his face as he informed them, “I’m afraid that I’m gonna have to ask you to leave!” He extended his arm and got within inches of touching Gwynivara…

“It’s okay, they’re with me!” An older man with a white beard that ran into his white hair and a plaid suit with leather patches on elbow inserted himself between Abigor and the two women. Abigor stared at him with a totally flabbergasted expression, so the man urged him, “You can go now, boy! Go on, git!” Abigor seemed reluctant, but he couldn’t seem to come up with a sound reason to counter him, so he begrudgingly left the area.

The man muttered, “That’s right, you miserable little snob! Take your bunk elsewhere!” He shook his head as he sat down at their table and lit a cigarette. “I swear, I’m gonna file a complaint to the FBI for that clown’s behavior!”

“The FBI?” Gwynivara echoed.

“Yeah,” the man confirmed, “he claims he’s part of some Disease Safety Unit they created to combat Venenatus Sanguis.” Bernadette and Gwynivara exchanged gloomy looks upon hearing that, and although the man saw this, he interpreted it as something else. “Yeah, I don’t buy it either. I don’t see him putting a stop to all of the parties that go on, but he likes to show up and harass my students doing minimally risky behavior like chatting in the hallway or playing Frisbee on the lawn! Then, he has the nerve to try and educate me on the disease! Me, an anatomy professor! He thinks he knows more than I do about how it works? Psh! Something isn’t right! I don’t trust him!”

Gwynivara couldn’t believe their luck! Not only had they stumbled across a scientist with a lot of influence over people, but he already seemed prone to side with them on this issue! Gwynivara couldn’t have been more delighted to hear his mistrust of Abigor too! She had so much to tell him that she didn’t know where to begin, but before she could come up with anything, the professor misinterpreted their silence. “I know, I know! Why is an anatomy professor smoking when he knows exactly what it’ll do to his body? Well, I-.”

Gwynivara assured him, “No, no! We weren’t thinking that!” She did find it a bit odd after he mentioned it, but she had much more urgent matters to deal with to pay it much mind. “We have something important to tell you…”

3 thoughts on “Rebels of Darkness, Chapter 15

  1. ShiraDest says:

    Nice start! Funny, and draws into an important topic!

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