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The Scarecrow's Dance

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    The Scarecrow's Dance

    Ammm a somewhat confused and hopefully interesting background to some workouts...

    Week 1
    Day 1
    In the city of Selunerini everything was happening. It was one of the new world marvels. After the nation states have collapsed, taking the mega-cities of old with them, there were only a handful of places in which someone could feel safe. But the city was ruled with wisdom and cooperation between the Mayor, Economic Committee and Protection Crews. The citizens had a lot of power when it came to personal life and their Neighborhood Associations held regular elections. That makes a person feel good that they live here instead of in one of the subordinate supply villages or worse, at the "in between" zones.
    The nice feeling you get from thinking about the grand history of the city and your fortunate situation as a city dweller shrinks as the fuliginous skyline penetrates your thoughts through the train window. You wonder how you'll manage to find the time to read all the reports about the new illegal zones in the city, map all of them out and assign it all to the surveyors, all by yourself. Then there's also the Neighborhood's Association- you need to call them about renewing your habitat permit. You've been chasing money since you graduated, not seeing your old friends anymore, not to mention finding someone new. Suddenly, life on a faraway farm or even a tent in the wilderness don't seem so bad.

    As the train slithers along the tracks, the little screeching noises that arise from the train's floor are "getting a bit loud aren't they?" as someone standing near the faraway window mentions. Yeah, they are, you think to yourself but it doesn't last long - lights on the train go off and there's a loud bang. Next thing you know you're rolling around and thrown out a broken window…
    The ground is cold and wet. You get up and seem to be fine, miraculously. No broken bones as far as you can tell. Far away you hear the sound of sirens and close to you a startled voice says, he's up! Let's go man. You turn around and two young gentlemen have taken the liberty to sort out your bag for you. Hang on, says one of them, in a different voice. The bag only had this stupid calculator and his phone, the chips are probably on him. The man pulls out an electric rod and slowly moves towards you. "Okay, hand them over" he says.
    I haven't fought since section training and that didn't involve weapons, you think to yourself. Hey, listen (well why not try to reason with them) that's a very expensive calculator, there's a reason it's its own device, and you could probably get more than it's worth. Oh yeah, it's got a mayoral logo on it man, they'll be on to us before we can make 16 steps*. Just hand over your fortune chips and we'll be on our way. I don't have any chips on me you tell them (and that's true, people think if you work for the mayor you're wealthy… then why am I taking the train???). I don't believe you but I don't mind checking he says. The two figures approach, there's only one thing to do now%

    [*A Selunerinian reference to the assassinated Mayor Parkview who was poisoned and managed to get to the screen (phone) which was 16 steps away from his chair to alert his bodyguard, but still died.]

    (%Remember, when fighting two or more people, keep moving so you won't get between them and fight one at a time. If you can, grab a hold on one – choke and knee that person while using him as a shield against the other one/s and get away when you can)

    You manage to fight them off, moving around all the time. The gentleman with the electric rod gets injured by one of your kicks and falls over. Shortly after, the Purple Boots arrive (finally, man, I'm really out of shape) Everybody down one of the purple boots bellows. You take out your employee card and out of breath you hand it out to one of the soldiers. After a short questioning they take you to a nearby hospital. So many things left to do but the anesthesia is powerful… tomorrow, maybe.

    Day 2
    You wake up and try to remember where you are. Everything hurts and your eyes don't really want to open but anxiety makes you sit up and open them. The hospital corridor is full of other beds with more patients and people in white coats walking around. One of them notices you and comes over.
    Sorry we couldn't find you a room. I just need to do some more tests and decide if you can go. Okay look at the dot on my screen please… Wait, what happened, how long did I sleep? A day and half, you were at the crash, you're not concussed but we couldn't wake you up… A day and a half!?!?! I have to go, I have things to do… If you're referring to your job, don't worry, they already took your stuff. Now I have to do these tests or you can't go. What do you mean "took my stuff"? They said it's government property and gave us a form, something top secret, it's funny you don't remember being "Top Secret", I'll add another brain scan. Now would you look at the flipping dot and you can ask questions at the desk, later.

    Okay, I think you were just exhausted. Everything reads normal. Do you have any questions, regarding your medical condition! Well I have these pains sometimes in my back. That's normal for someone who sits around all day. Here! Do these whenever you have the time. The white coat shows you a diagram of exercises and your release file and sends it to your personal directory via the barcode on your wrist. She continues: I recommend you take up some more exercising and go down to only 3 cups of coffee a day, our tests showed an irregularly high amount of caffeine, even for someone from the civil service.
    The white coat turns and leave. You get to your feet and to the front desk. There, you scan your wrist on the screen and it reads back:
    "Report to main services at 08:00 (yesterday).
    Your habitat permit is no longer valid. Your belongings will be kept at your place of residence for 5 more days.
    Have a Productive Day".
    Great, can't even get into an accident without being considered a burden. Might as well get started on those exercises.

    You renewed your permit with only a minor fine for being late. The human clerk at the special requests office said "regardless of your accident, documents should be filed regularly, surely someone who works at the Mayor's office should know that". At least it's all over, I guess it's back to normal now.

    So he got there by complete chance you say? It would seem that way sir. And he has no idea who those muggers were? No sir, it's kind of lucky that he kept them there for the Purple Boots to find really. Lucky you say, inspector Slarick? I don't believe in luck. Keep the surveillance on him inspector. Even if he doesn't know anything, the in-betweens may try to get to him…


      Day 3
      You woke up, went to work did the reading, reporting, mapping, computing… all those stuff. But somehow, everything was different. You had a strange kind of energy, which is funny considering you hardly slept and everyone kept stopping you in the hallway and bobbed their heads into your cubical to ask how you are. It must be the feeling from that fight. You had no idea you could perform so well, for someone who's last spar was during those 3 months at university when mandatory civil protection duty came up. You tell yourself you have to start training again, for the sake of pretending you can kick ass in the very least.

      You get up to go home but a couple of steps into the lobby, one of the guys at the newbies room comes up to you. Hey there, he says. I heard you fought off some scumbags who tried to take advantage of the crash victims, I heard there were five of them, that's seriously impressive, I think. How did you do it? A bit confused, you turn to him and say, well there were only two and I don't suppose they were very good at violence or I wouldn't stand a chance. But thanks man, I appreciate this, I need to go though, nice talking to you. You turn and haste to leave (who would want to spend the extra 10 minutes waiting for the train because someone they don't know wants to hear battlefield stories). Sure man, you take care now… but I heard you still have something they want... You turn abruptly back to him but he's no longer there… You look around the lobby trying to find him but he simply vanished. Your heart rate rises a bit but you tell yourself it's probably a stunt… the fresher's team probably had a bet or something. You go out and look up at the sign alerting when the next train would arive… Great, you missed it. 20 more minutes – infrastructure works delays. Now they remembered.

      You decide to go to a nearby bar. You need a drink anyway. There's one a block and a half away with dim lights and a band, well, there was one last time you were there. You start walking. The evening is cold but clear. As you walk you remember some of your training and look behind your shoulder every few steps. Nothing out of the ordinary. People with office, plastic, back-packs, just like yours are hurrying up and down the streets… Wait! was that the guy from the lobby??? You stop to hide behind a bridge pole, just leaning against it casually. Surely enough, a few seconds later the guy from the lobby passes you. He stops, looks behind and spots you. You don't know why but you turn the other way and hasten your pace – You can get to a busier street and take a different train. You look back… he IS following you. Should you start running and draw attention to yourself? That's not the best idea. People who usually stayed to serve on the Protection Crews were not very sharp but had magnitude on their side. They wouldn't mind beating anybody up, for good measure, even if that's the wrong person. You can take a shortcut through the back streets, walking fast, crawling and climbing over fences and pieces of furniture…

      You can still see him behind you. He's definitely in better shape than you but a train is at a stop a few steps away and its doors are closing. You run and skid inside. The doors closes and you get up to peer through the narrow window. He's outside, standing, looking composed, as if he has missed his train but, it's okay, he'll just grab a drink at some bar until the next one shows up.

      What, is going on you ask yourself. You should report this. You take your phone out of your bag and pause. You give it a few moments and call an old acquaintance, someone who stayed to serve on a Protection Crew rather than finish academic training.


        Day 4
        Miro was enthusiastic when you called, but that's the kind of guy he was, happy. Not being stuck in an office all those years since your ways parted seemed to amplify his positive radiance… but, he can't see you tonight. "They're not telling us what's up but we're all doing overtime. I have some time tomorrow morning". Okay but I have to say Miro, I don't feel comfortable going back to the office, or home. "I'm sure you're exaggerating like always, but since you won't tell me what's up I can suggest taking trains all night". Okay thanks. Where do you want to meet up? "Tell you what, I'll find you. If you're worried enough not to go home I don't want to give out details over the phone". Okay, well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow. "Take care."

        Surely I don't have to be on trains ALL night. I can move from place to place… you get off and walk into a market center. After loitering about you spot a "Free Leisure Zone – for public use". You take the opportunity and head to the sports corner. Not really sure how to use the machinery, you start a simple workout next to it.

        That was not even at the same level as first week basic training but it's a start. You walk into an all-night deli and order pasta with a vegetables side dish. And… well why not, "I deserve a treat"; the double dark chocolate cake. Getting in shape is one thing, I'm not actually overweight (excuses, excuses …). You pay with tokens, rather than give chip points and get a funny look from the counter keeper. You don't look like the type for tokens, not with an office bag and suit. You find the stop for the train going on the outer ring of Selunerini. It's old and has compartments, not to mention a really long route. You find a compartment and try to fall asleep on the bench which, proves not difficult at all considering the evening you went through.


          Day 5: rest

          You slept all right, visions of little children taking you through the forest and into a derelict structure where their skin turned inside out and teeth started coming out, filled your night. Your back hurts, your knees are screaming at you and Miro is nowhere to be seen… well why would he be here, he was probably winding you up. You get out of the compartment and see Miro waiting in the corridor… "hey, I didn't wanna wake you". You should have, that was horrible. Well anyway, he starts speaking looking solemn, I activated the tracer on you last night after we talked… he glance to his sides and gets closer… and it was already on from a user name outside the Crews.

          What?!?!?!... Look, we have some time – I hacked one of the lower crew's authorization codes and "sent you" to help on an urgent project. You need to take the shuttle to Old View and from there get to Farm 2… wait what? Don't interrupt. I need to be back to "Sky-ers"* morning briefing but something is definitely up. I don't understand, you tell him. I'm not important at all. Why would this happen? Are you winding me up?- because I don't care if you're in the Crews, I will Fff… e-F you up… or something. Miro puts his hand on your shoulder to calm you down. I'm not joking, I'm afraid. I need you to calm down and trust me. You are working on mapping Illegal Zones within Selunerini right? Yes, you looked it up? Yeah, well there's something going on in there, I don't know what it is yet but your terminal was feeding an outer source. You mean criminals? No, it came from inside the Glass Tower#

          Since you left Miro on the train, some four hours ago, you couldn't stop that overwhelming sense of doom growing inside you. "My life is a pulp fiction, conspiracy novel, except it's real". You remember that one time you explained to Miro where the term pulp fiction came from, he thought it was about orange juice… funny, the places your brain runs off too when it can't take the current situation anymore…

          *Special forces of sorts… A capable, intelligent, highly trained and dangerous Protection Crew Unit.
          #The Mayor's office, building of government.


            Some more background

            The train finally got to Old View. It used to be a resort town for the wealthy before the collapse of the old ways and the train station was built right on the coast. Now days it served as the only connection between the farms and the metropolitan region of Selunerini, unless you meant to walk around or through the mountains to get from place to place. The urban governments controlled their respective surroundings. Everyone travelled by rails unless they were permitted to use vehicles. Nature was restored in some places and paved asphalt roads were destroyed. The different metropoles signed treaties and lived in relative peace. Their governments or Mayoral Offices* held military pacts to keep control over farm lands and natural resources, leaving just enough to anyone who lived outside the cities to sustain themselves and not raise a successful armed resistance

            *since they were effectively modern city states they had Mayors but they are home to tens of millions to hundreds of millions citizens, which is more than a lot of the old countries.

            A picture I guess of Old View Train Station
            Click image for larger version  Name:	oldview_train_station.PNG Views:	4 Size:	486.5 KB ID:	626437


              Week 1
              Day 6

              You arrive at the train station on the coast of Old View. You're not really sure what to do next. There were no signs explaining how to get to any of the farms and you don't want to ask anyone from the city how to get there, or worse – one of the info machines. Miro told you not to contact him until you'll get to farm 2 and then "someone will tell you what to do". Yeah but how am I supposed to get there? You see one of the local Protection Crew official heading your way. Should you run? Miro didn't give any clues as to how to behave… "I spent too much time trying to calm you down man, I have to go now but don't worry, someone will look after you". The woman in grey and brown uniform (the local camouflage) stops right in front of you and says in a loud voice "we were expecting you yesterday, the cart is outside. This way". You have no choice but to follow her, hoping no one other than Miro knows what really is behind this.

              She takes you through the station's exit and you can see another rail in the distance. Suddenly she turns to you. I don't know what Miro was thinking but we're not going to let you get into to the farm so easily. A group of people in civilian clothes get out from behind a building and start to encircle you. One of them, with a beard and massive boots says, "don't worry, if you're any good you'll be safe behind field and garden#. Good at what? Standing up to yourself. And if I'm not? We'll pack you up and send you to our friends at the in-betweens… Don't worry sweetheart, the woman in uniform says, you'll only fight one of us a time...

              it's finally over and you stood your own. "This way" the man with the beard starts walking and everyone else follows him. Just another day in your new incomprehensible reality. You wonder what tomorrow would bring.

              #local phrase…


                Week 1
                Day 7

                You walk onto the train leading from Old View to Farm 2 with everyone who just attacked you and after half an hour of listening to their agricultural humdrum you snap! Do you mind, all of you… tell me, please… what the HELL, was that… about? Because out of nowhere you say "we're gonna fight but don't worry if we won't like you we'll just throw you to the wilderness". Is that the usual "high-regard" to human life you have on the farms or is it just anti-Urban bigotry?
                You obviously caught them by surprise since now they're all quietly staring at you. The girl in uniform finally goes, "city-kids", skittish aren't they? And everybody laughs.
                "Hey, you can't really blame him, they know how to tame people between all of them concrete and glass monstrosities" says someone who looks about 15 years-old. The guy with the beard from before continues "well I suppose that wasn't the best of welcoming committees but we had to see if what made you come all this way was false pretenses". I have to say, you're out of shape and probably tired but you kept going and your technique is a bit rusty but all in all… well, good enough to work with. "Uniforms" added, if this was a scheme, making you fight when you're tired is a good way to notice if anything is up. My name is Brigid by the way and this is, she points to the "the beard", Brad… we just call him Beard. The rest introduce themselves and you get to the Farm Station. It has many isolated carts instead of actual sized trains. You're still angry and more tired than you ever were. Beard takes you to his house and leads you to a back room. All you see there is a mattress on the floor but you're just glad you can sleep laying down tonight. "Sorry about the basic conditions but I didn't have time to find a proper bed". That's perfect Brad, thank you. Stretching would be a good idea before bed.

                …after releasing your sore muscles you just collapse onto the matt.


                  Week 2
                  Day 1 (Day 8)

                  You wake up when the sun is high in the sky. Now that you slept for what seems like a week, your body reminds you that it needs to feed. You go into the next room but there's no one there. You go outside and the rocky, sun- scorched landscape dazzles and blinds you for a few moments.

                  Okay sweetheart, you hear Brigid's voice while you blink out your confusion. "It's time to practice" What? But I just woke up, I could really use something to eat. "You could really start working on your survival skills actually, it's better to train when you're hungry. You should feel lucky we let you slumber for so long." You reluctantly follow "Uniform" to another shack and there she opens a trap door. "In you get" and again you are left with no choice but to obey.

                  When you get down the stairs a tall cavern reveals itself. It is full of people on mattresses, throwing dolls, punching bags, rings hanging from the ceiling and an impressive hanging wall full of weapons. "We'll start you off in no time." You try to raise your hands and ask more questions but the session has already started:

                  Out if breath you realize you were lucky until now. "How did I let myself go out of shape like this?" okay, not bad for a first timer, fresh out of the city. Now we eat. The last thing you can think about now is food but by the time you get to the dining hall you don't even care that everything there is vegetables and legumes. You eat and try to see how you can get 'seconds' but Beard says "you need to lose some extra load man, you're not too bad or anything – he adds quickly – but you could do without all of that on your sides and middle… you know what I mean.

                  For the rest of the day the crew there, which as you learn has no intention of following City Orders, questions you about your entire life. "If your answers are to our satisfaction, we'll answer some of your questions."



                    Week 2
                    Day 2 (9): rest

                    As everyone are convinced you stumbled upon a most misfortunate string of events, all you can think about is getting some rest. Time has been absolutely crazy lately. But there's that unrelenting unease in the back of your head and the depths of your gut. Why were you followed by the Glass Tower, why would a clerk doing some mapping on illegal zones in the city would be troubled by the people who ordered him to work on it? Not to mention a million other questions. So, you join that kid from your train ride to Farm 2 who's just sitting on an outside rocking sofa in front of a shack, sipping a suspicious smelling drink. Hi, Jake right? Actually it's Just, it's short for Justus. Oh, sorry. Don't worry about it, most people don't get it. After that he just stares at you and you're not sure what to say until finally you go "I smelled that drink from afar… amm I was just (you stop for second there) amm wondering what it is?" it's tea, Just replies. Really! Oh okay, thanks. A bit more awkward you turn to walk away when Just continues "it's a bit special, local brew see." Oh, is it a plant or… No, he says. It's kind of a secret you see. If people in the cities knew about this they would demand it and we would have to work hard to supply and we won't have any left for ourselves… like so many other things… okay, you think to yourself, this is good he wants to talk. You look at him quizzically in the hopes that it will get him to keep talking. Well you know, he continues, the better vegetables, the meat, not that I mind personally. I grew up with cows see, on Farm 5. I can't bring myself to eat them… that's horrid man, like eating my dog or something. Anyways, this is a special mushroom that grows here. You give him another look. "Oh, don't worry it's not hallucinogenic. He adds quickly. But it is very relaxing and good for your eyesight and your gut and a whole bunch of other stuff, according to Beard anyway… all I can say is, it is very, very relaxing. Perhaps it gets you talking as well, you hear yourself say and curse yourself for being so careless. Defiantly man, he says. Even just being around it, smelling it and he adds a wink, would do that. But don't worry, it only lasts a few minutes and then the brain, like adjusts or something.

                    You sit with Just and talk for almost an hour until Brigid calls him to prepare tomorrows run. You wonder about that for a minute after Just bids you goodnight and then you try to process all the information from your conversation. Some of the Farms are trying to take over the in-betweens to get away from under urban control, but not Farm 2. People on Farm 2 think the cities are rotten but they don't think it’s a good idea to go out against them. And, there are people in the in-betweens and they are not savages as they told you in primary education up on School Tower G401 when you were very young and later on still, when they insisted on you reading and writing about the fall of Civilization and the dreadful people who refused to join the new, urban world, the criminals who were ex-communicated, the mentally insane, the murderers and basically any other form of human shaped monsters who lived there. The In-Betweens. You will be going there, and meet them. That's what Just said Beard had in mind. You are abruptly awaken from your thoughts when you hear Brigit's voice. "You should go to sleep, more training tomorrow."

                    Did you find him yet? No sir, he was called for an emergency survey on farm 4, at least that is what the system is telling me but he doesn't appear to be there. FIND HIM, someone is messing with MY plan and if I can't find out who, I'll take it out on whoever. The tall skinny figure bowed and left the room in a bit of a run. I can do this, it told itself. I just need to calm down, follow the steps, activate the agents… the figure took another deep breath and hastened down a staircase and out to a tube-elevator…


                      Week 2
                      Day 3 ( Day 10)

                      Okay sweetheart, today we'll talk about getting through actual terrain in a hurry… tough you won't be doing that for a while. Hey Brigid, can I ask… Questions are for when I say you can ask questions! We can't have someone useless lying around. Now shut up and listen. As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted… using a fitness machine is okay for the city but it doesn't apply anywhere else on earth, get it? You nod your head a little offended, thinking that Brigid is not fully aware of indoors or tower machines training technologies and capabilities since Selunerini is keeping the Farms Protection Crews at a deliberate disadvantage. It's important, she continues, to be able to run but running in a steady pace in a straight line isn't good enough. You need to be able to twist and turn, duck and jump, sprint and be able to go into a fight right after… we also need to talk about your stay here. You need to start working but we can't send someone out to the fields when that someone can't take care of themselves. You resist the urge to retort and instead ask, what would I need to run from? I said questions are for when I permit them. Now, see that hill over there? You node again. Good, run to the top of it and meet Just on the other side, he'll explain what to do.

                      You start to jog and get to Just. Hey, okay see that obstacle course he says, you need to do the yellow ones, so just get there and get going. You can see a compound of different colored contraptions. Well you are their guest you tell yourself. What choice do I have?

                      That was interesting, you think to yourself all puffing and huffing and sweaty. You see Just coming towards you. "Very well, that was good. Now Brigid and Beard want to see you, to talk about, I don't know, where they are assigning you to work or something… but stop by my shack first and take a shower, it'll be faster. I'll wait for you outside". I wonder what I have to do next, you think quietly to yourself…


                        This one is a bit long
                        The Scarecrow's Dance
                        Week 2
                        Day 4
                        (Day 11)
                        You see the shack with the hidden cavern but before you can go in Beard comes out to you and says follow me. More orders you think to yourself… I really need to start doing things for myself you ponder, remembering that book you started before you were snatched from your old life. "Are you listening man?" Sorry, what? Man you need to focus around here or you won't make it. Can I ask something Brad? Yeah, and it's Beard, no one calls me Brad unless they're from the city… Well I am from the city but that's not the point. What do I need to watch out from? I mean the city runs and pays for a protection crew, the nearest In-Between is miles away and according to you lot it's not even dangerous… what is there to watch out from? Beard looks at you and replies "The people you ran away from".

                        Beard takes you to an old structure that looks well-kept if a bit run down. A girl that looks about 12 is waiting for you there, looking anxious. Hey Ket, how are you? Beard asks her. Busy, she replies. And you're late. Yeah well, this one likes to ask questions. Ket looks at you and finally says, "That's good, because he doesn't looks like he can help with the lifting." Beard laughs and turns to you. You will be helping Ket with the machines and books. You look around at the empty room and say "I suppose that's also underground?" yes it is, we keep there anything that's too delicate from the sun above and the humidity coming from the west, Ket answers. And from people? You add. Beard replies "I don't know what you are talking about – punching bags and throwing knives back in that shack are very delicate things… and perfectly legal… as far as we can imagine. Now let's stop wasting time Ket says – Beard, I need you to show him how to get inside the archive, I'll wait for you on the other side and Calev is already there.

                        Okay man just follow me up here – you see Beard moving a slab of wall and crawling inside. You follow him and see that the other side is like an inside of a building's internal service shaft but without all the computers. A lot of old metal structures with ladders and pipes. Once inside Beard continues "right now we're taking it in shifts to carry things for them because they're too little but you can also help with the papers and computers I suppose." You want to ask what are they doing exactly but then a boy, younger looking than Ket greets you. "Hi I'm Calev, you can't call me kale. It's about time, I need to get a box to the scanner". Well I'll leave you here, Beard says, make sure you knock before entering tonight. Bye Calev – I'll see you later.

                        You look at the little boy with what you hope is a friendly expression. He looks at you and says, this way… there's actually more than one box and Beard sent a message saying you went to a university in the city so I guess I'll show you the papers as well. Before you have time to ask anything Calev opens a door to another room full of boxes and paper books and some familiar looking computer panels on the walls. Calev, are these actual, old books? Yeah, what of it? We only have e-books in Selunerini. Oookay… he says. We need the boxes that start with the label F-4 and end with the number 708, got it? Got it, but… Good, there should be about 5 of them so make sure you find all of them and then follow this map back to the control room – he hands you a schematics of the structure with your current location marked red "You are here" and the rout marked with a bracketed line all the way to the center of the structure and the end is marked with "Get here". Do you understand this? Yeah, I think so, hey, in this bit here, do I need to crawl? You show Calev the map. Yeah, don't worry, the box would fit, just push it ahead of you and slide it down, then go back. Only take the slide yourself with the last box – unless you fancy the climb back up. Okay I think you got this so I'm gonna head back… if you think you're lost just pull one of the emergency levers on the walls – we have at least one in every room. K' bye, and he runs off before you can say anything.
                        Well, better get started but you look around at the books first… survey's, community logs, tax details… oh great – those aren't real books you think to yourself. Just documents. Well at least they look nice. Okay find the boxes then carry them across the structure… the room is big and the boxes don't seem to be in any kind of order, they're just randomly structured all the way from the floor to the ceiling and across all four walls. At least they're labeled clearly…

                        [maybe this should be something else that would better fit the background…]

                        You get the finale box through. That wasn't too bad you tell them. Now what? Well, if you don't mind, Ket starts, we need to put some information into some charts. Start opening the boxes and find the binders, then get to a computer and build charts for the info. Can you do that? Can I do that! You reply… It's what I've been doing since graduation, well part of it. May I ask what for. "Great" you hear Calev saying… "Remind us that you went to an actual university" while we're stuck here with cows and farmers. We don't have cows here Calev. You know what I mean… since they completely ignored your question you ask another…why are you here. Shouldn't you two be in school? We're too smart for school Ket replies. So they hid us and put us here. Otherwise, Calev bursts, the city would have taken us to work on top secret projects or run experiments on us. The point is, Ket continues, the city can't know about us so we work here and basically do what we want. I'm from Farm 3 and Calev is from Farm 5 originally. They told them we died before we got to age 7 so we're not chipped and no one came looking. Okay, you think to yourself… working with unregistered, genius kids, hiding from the city… again, how did this happen? You start working and after a few minutes of silence you ask Ket, so you like cats, Cat (hoping that this would lead to asking more questions)? Yes, but how is that relevant? It… was kind of a joke… because of your name… Oh, she replies. My name is Ket it's short for Keturah. Nothing to do with cats. Oh! You say. That's an interesting name… And, I would appreciate some quiet, I need to concentrate. She says without looking at you. You turn back to the screen and continue working in silence.
                        (go do some work – school related, work related, tax related, read or whatever).


                          The Scarecrow's Dance
                          Week 2
                          Day 5 (Day 12): Rest

                          With everything that has happened you feel exhausted. When Beard says it's time for another session you tell him you're not feeling too well. Okay man, sure. Just take it easy today and I'll send Just later with some tea. That tea… great idea. Now back to kicking back –there won't be lots more opportunities to do that.

                          Any news Slarick? Well sir, progress was made. It seems that the problem is bigger than we first thought. The tall, slim figure of Slarick cowered a bit but continued quickly to present the holograms. As you can see sir, "Scarecrow" is sending regular signals from the charting center near Farm 4. No doubt, whoever is helping him thought it will be a good location. So, obviously they have no idea what the true purpose the charting center… Get to the point Slarick. Of course sir, the point is, it is not a mole because they would know that it is pointless trying to send fake signals from there, trying to hide him. More importantly, they would know that once we got the signals from Farm 4 we would be able to check with our crew there, if they are real. That means… (Slarick looked at the impatient expression on his leader's face and sped up the presentation…) that the person we are looking for has to be from one of the three higher Protection Crews so I need to find out how much they know… Just find him so we can get on with it and don't bother me again until you do Slarick, I don't have time for pointless reports, I have a system to bring down. Slarick bowed and got out.
                          Yeah well… if it takes too long he might think I'm turning against him… Damn that Miro, what is he playing at?


                            The Scarecrow's Dance
                            Week 2
                            Day 6 (Day 13)

                            How are you feeling? Beard wakes you up with a great smile. Amm… good I guess. Good, because we need to get to the cave. Chop, chop, no time to waste.
                            You get to the shack with the trap door. Everyone is standing around on the matt. Some are stretching, some are talking… Okay everyone, Beard calls. Today we only have half the official protection crew, as you can see and all of the unofficial crew but we also have a new member, at least for the time being. Beard points to you and continues. Some of you already met him, for those of you who haven't, he's a stand-up guy – don't go easy on him. You look around and see that Brigid isn't there… oh well. Let's get started you hear him call. Beard turns to you – just look at the screen on the wall and follow the instructions.


                            The joint session is finally over. It's harder when you can't rest for as long as you like… Maybe Brigid was right about training methods.
                            Okay everyone, Beard starts again. It's back to work, see you all for some fine dining later in the hall. Everyone gets out and you head to the Control Room to see what Ket and Calev need from you today.


                              The Scarecrow's Dance
                              Week 2
                              Day 7 (Day 14)

                              You start your day with a relaxing drink of tea out on Just's porch. Then he heads to that hill and you start your way to the Control Room which is actually an elaborate building and underground structure but Ket and Calev call it the Control Room.

                              Hey Ket, what's this map here? Oh that's Selunerini before it was built and anything that was there before, she answers. You look at the yellowing map and don't understand. But… you continue, there are cities and towns from the mountains and the plain all the way to the ocean. How can this be the same place? Ket gives you a pitiful look… they really have you under control in the city don't they? What do you mean? Ket continues – you don't know about the war that created the new world do you? Of course I do… you start resenting but Ket cuts you off. "The Peaceful Plain was made by a bomb."
                              You keep staring at her for a few moments… but how can a bomb erase… all, all of that? A great, big, bloody one, you hear Calev saying from the door. This is… horrible. Yep, but it's all behind us, it's in the past and it doesn't matter anymore. But… you try to remember history courses, did they even talk about this? Did I ask? Ket looks at you. I think you need to read the rest of it. It's in the books – you know, the paper ones that they can't edit or erase. Not without great effort anyway.
                              You run to the archive and start taking out whatever seems relevant. Those community documents for example, places that once were and are no longer… after a few hours Beard comes looking for you. Hey man, Ket called and said you were… amm, in a bit of a state. Come on, time to take a break. Let's go back and get you some food and something to drink, maybe a bit stronger than tea.

                              You follow Beard back to the shacks but what you learned just won't let you go. Did you know? Know what man? About, before, "The Last War", what happened? Well... farm schools are not so tightly watched and my grandad told stories so yeah I probably know more than you. How come no one ever said anything? Beard pauses for a few moments and then say "they needed to build a new world didn't they? You can't do that on debris so, they cleared them all away. Makes it easier."

                              You walk in silence for the rest of the way. Beard gets you to do an easy stretching session with him, to relax.


                              Now, when your workout or lesson rather is over he says, "drink this. Beard hands you a mug full of brandy or something similar. You think what you smell is alcohol in any case*. You feel better but your mind is still loud. If it happened once, it can happen again. But it hasn't for centuries… why would you think something like this? Who had that power, who can make more bombs… who would want to? Your buzzing mind would simply not let this go. You resolve to find out more… Tomorrow, there will be time tomorrow you think to yourself as sleep takes over.

                              *It doesn't have to be…