The 13th Kat

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Chapter 17

“What are you up to, Nads?”

Nadalia looked up from the radio receiver. “Just scrolling round a few frequencies, see if there’s anyone on the air this morning.” She had been awake all night, unable to get memories of Korian out of her head long enough to fall asleep. “How come you’re up so early, Lev?”

Levon shrugged. “I woke up. Didn’t see the point of staying in bed, so I thought I’d come down. You want some food?”

Nadalia nodded distractedly and Levon shuffled off to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast. She was having difficulty concentrating on anything. It was a year to the day since Korian had been assassinated, and Nadalia was remembering the figurine he had given her when he proposed. She thought it would be nice to get it back, if Saphrax and his lot hadn’t thrown it away. A voice on the radio pulled her out of her reverie.

“Good morning listeners, this is Tsoline back on the airwaves after an extended stay in those wonderful cells of Saphrax’s. I’ll be talking about that later, but first, I have a message for any of the rebels who might be listening.

“I’m backing you all the way guys, and if there’s anything I can do to help out then message me on my usual frequency. Also, I’m staying with a friend of yours for the moment, and she’d like to get back to you all as soon as. Okay then, so who out there wants to hear about the lovely conditions Saphrax keeps his guests in?”

Nadalia went to tell Levon about the message. “Hey Lev, you remember Tsoline?”

“The news girl? Sure, she got captured a while back, didn’t she,” Levon said, glancing up from the pancakes he was cooking. “Has she escaped?”

“I assume so. She’s on the radio, saying she’s behind us all the way. She said something about a friend of ours who would like to get back to us, and if she can help we should message her. You reckon she means another escaped prisoner?” Nadalia asked.

Levon shrugged. “Possibly. Didn’t one of the Disciples’group escape a few weeks ago? Could be who she’s talking about,” he said, expertly flipping the pancake over. “Bet I couldn’t do that again.”

“Might be. I’ll ask them when they wake up,” Nadalia replied, becoming lost in her own thoughts again.

“Nads, you okay?” Levon asked, flipping the pancake again and missing the pan entirely. “You seem a bit odd today. Something bugging you?”

“No. Yes, maybe.” She blinked. “It’s a year today since Korian was…”

Levon forgot about the pancake and hugged Nadalia. “We could have some sort of memorial thing tonight, if you want,” he suggested after a few moments of silence.

Nadalia sniffed. “That would be nice. I think everyone would appreciate it, after all he was the world leader.”

Levon was suddenly aware of something very hot to his left. He looked and saw the pan he had left on had caught fire. “Oh bugger!” he cried, seeking something he could use to put the flames out. “Assuming I don’t burn the place down with my lousy cooking skills first, anyway. Nads, it’s not funny,” he scolded, as Nadalia cracked up laughing.

“I’ll do this, go on. See if you can get a message back to Tsoline, her frequency is 81,” she said, throwing away the blackened pancake and starting to make another one.


“Melicia, there’s something we picked up last week I think you need to hear.”

“What?” Melicia walked over to the recording station. “More of the Kat’s transmissions?”

The worker shook his head. “Same frequency, but it wasn’t the Thirteenth Kat broadcasting. Listen to this,” he pressed play and Mari’s voice came out of the speakers.

“Hi Nads.” The recording crackled for a second. “It’s good to know you’re okay. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things since meeting you at the river, and there’s a few things I’d rather not explain over the radio, but I want you to know I’m alright now. I’ve been doing some things to help the rebels, and I’d really like to see you again. Also, could you explain why we’re using the Thirteenth Kat’s frequency?”

The worker pressed stop and turned to his superior. “What do you think? Is it genuine or part of a plan?”

Melicia thought for a while before responding. She wasn’t in on everything her lover did with his operatives, not anymore, and the recording could easily be explained in several ways. “I’m not sure. Give me the recording, I’ll deal with it,” she said, and took the cube from the machine.

Saphrax, meanwhile, was reading a report from an enforcer in the yellow district of Region Two. Apparently there had been a few ‘suspicious characters’ wandering around over the last few months, and he wanted some reinforcements to investigate further. The enforcer in question, however, was a very paranoid lizard. He had also been known to submit reports of live hemsepans walking around, which was utterly ridiculous. Saphrax was about halfway through the report when his reading was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Come in… Vasag, this is a surprise. I wasn’t expecting you back for another week.”

“I wasn’t expecting to be back, but I have no group left. The Disciples have gone,” Vasag said, clearly confused.

Saphrax frowned. “Gone? What do you mean, ‘gone’?”

“I mean they have all disappeared. Vanished. Evanesced. The Disciples are no longer at their hideout, nor are they at any other hideout I know of. They are gone.”

“But where? And why?” Saphrax paused. “Never mind. I’ll put someone on that in a little while. Did you have anything else to tell me?”

“Yes. It’s about your sons,” Vasag said. “I haven’t found out where they are, but I have discovered that they are working with the rebels. I listened to several old recordings of transmissions, and pieced together the little bits of information I could glean. It’s most likely they are staying with the Thirteenth Kat.”

Saphrax was stunned. “Alright Vasag. Thank you for telling me. Go and see Yeva about getting some quarters, since the Disciples have disappeared there’s not much point sending you back out yet. Come and see me tomorrow, I’ll get you working on something else,” he said as Vasag turned and left. Working with the Kat? They wouldn’t be… then again, I can see why they might be working with the rebels. I’ll have to try and contact them sometime soon, he thought, returning to the paranoid lizard’s report.


Tsoline waited impatiently. “They should have been here by now,” she muttered to Isolde. They had arranged to meet up with a couple of the rebels near a clothing shop in Region Two, but they seemed to be running late. “If they’re not here in another five minutes, let’s go. We’re attracting too much attention as it is.”

“They’ll be here, stop worrying.” Isolde sat calmly on the edge of a wall. As she spoke, two people crept round the corner opposite where they waited. “See, that’s probably them now.”

Levon and Rehan double checked there were no enforcers watching, and ran over to the two women. “Sorry we’re so late,” Rehan said when they stopped. “We had to ditch a couple of people who were following us. It was probably nothing, but it’s best to be sure.”

“I’m Levon, by the way. This is Rehan, she’s with the Rowsers.” Levon paused. “We should probably find somewhere more private to talk, I don’t like being out in the open like this for too long.”

Everyone present agreed, so they headed towards a nearby lecture hall. There were no lectures on, so the place was more or less deserted. They found themselves a small study room and shut themselves in before anyone spoke again.

“So you two escaped with help from Nyneve?” Rehan asked while Levon double checked the window and removed the light bulb.

Isolde nodded. “Nyneve and Mari. I’ve got something to tell the rest of my group, too. Would it be possible to go back with you two?”

“Sure, that was the plan anyway. We were going to head off when we get the signal from Mihran that it’s safe to move,” Levon said. He was staring out the window, watching for something.

“While we’re waiting, do you know anything about how Alaric is?” Rehan asked. “Only, we’ve heard some rumours that he’s dead.”

Tsoline answered. “He’s not dead, or at least he wasn’t a few weeks ago when we escaped. He’s seriously ill though, I’m not sure what’s wrong but…”

“That’s the signal!” Levon interrupted, obviously seeing something out the window. “Let’s go, quickly!”

They all ran outside, heading for the transport station. Once they got out of the hall, they could see several broken shop fronts down a side street, and someone with a flaming torch in their hand running away from the scene. Several enforcers were following the fleeing figure, leaving the immediate area unsupervised for a while.

“That’s a distraction we set up,” Rehan said, noticing the other two were watching what was happening. “Mihran’s the one with the torch, he’ll ditch it when he gets round the corner. Come on, while they’re dealing with that they won’t be watching us.” She sped up to catch Levon, who had run ahead.

They caught the transport without incident, and reached the rebel base fairly quickly. Mihran was already back when they got there.

“How did you manage that?” Levon asked him as Rehan went to get the rest of the Disciples.

Mihran grinned. “It wasn’t me with the torch. I found someone else willing to do it, and came straight back. I figured I’d be more useful here than in a cell,” he said, indicating the ever-increasing pile of books in the next room. “It would take Ovsanna forever to get through all those books alone. Hey Isolde,” he greeted the cetacean still standing in the doorway.
“Hey Mihran. Are all the others here too?” she asked. “There’s something you should know about Vasag.”

Mihran nodded. “They’re through here. Tsoline, I think Thirteen wants to talk to you about something. She’s down in the caves, Levon could probably find her for you,” he said, taking Isolde into the main room.

“Looks like I’m escorting you downstairs then,” Levon said to the confused Tsoline.

“What caves?” she wondered aloud, following Levon into a basement. “Why do I get the feeling there’s a lot more going on here than Saphrax suspects?”

“Because there is,” Levon replied with a smirk. “Here, you’ll need a candle. It’s dark down there, and if she’s where I think she is, we’ll be needing a lot of light.”

They found Nadalia in the visual disc cave, watching a recording of lots of hemsepans shooting at each other. “Hey Nads, Tsoline’s here,” Levon called through to her. “She’s been watching a lot of these over the last week or so. I think she’s planning something, but I’m not sure what yet.”

Nadalia switched the recording off and stretched. “Hi Tsoline. Let’s go somewhere a bit more comfortable, I want to ask you a few things. How much do you know about visual transmissions?” she asked, leading the other two back upstairs.

Before they reached the basement, they heard cursing from upstairs. “That treacherous bastard!” Eznik shouted. A few more indistinguishable words, then “… strangle that git when I get my hands on him!”

“Sounds like Isolde’s told them about Vasag,” Tsoline said, climbing through the access hole back into the basement. “He’s the one who dragged her in for questioning and tortured her.”

Levon blinked dust out of his eyes. “We’d heard some rumours about it, but we weren’t sure what to believe. The Disciples thought they’d try and find out some more information before making assumptions.”

Zeb, another of the rats from the caves, came running downstairs on all fours. He saw Levon and Nadalia and stood up. “Them Disciples aren’t happy. Someone’s been really nasty to them and told all their secrets. I’m going to get out the way of the shouting,” he said, and ran past them into the caves.

Nadalia exchanged a glance with Levon. “Zeb has a point. We should go straight upstairs and let them sort out this treachery thing amongst their own group before we go interfering. Come on Tsoline, we can talk upstairs. There are a couple of other people I need to introduce you to as well.”


“I think I’ve got it right,” Nazar said uncertainly. After a very convoluted route, he had got the information he needed to repair some of the ancient weapons in the caves. First David had looked through the books to find the ones that could help, then Mihran and Ovsanna had translated them. There were several parts they weren’t sure about, so Loras had tried to translate them verbally after David and Ryan read parts aloud for him. After all those translations and revisions, it was likely the information had been altered a bit. He had done the best he could with the knowledge provided, and his own intuition of how things should work, but he couldn’t guarantee anything.

“I’ll put it with the others,” Levon said. “You need any help at all? I don’t mind giving you a hand,” he offered for the twentieth time.

His brother glanced up from his seat at a makeshift desk. “Thanks Lev, but I know you’re more comfortable with electronic repairs than stuff like this. I’ll be fine, it’ll just take a while.”

Levon headed upstairs. “We’ve got another one ready. Naz still won’t accept any help though. Do you know anyone who might be able to convince him we need to get them fixed quicker? The longer we stay here, the more risk there is of being found out. That lizard is getting very suspicious already,” he said to the rebels gathered in the kitchen.

“My dad’s good with fixing stuff, and he can be very persuasive,” Nadalia said. “I’m sending him a message later today anyway, you want me to ask him to come and help out?”
Levon agreed. “If you think he’ll be able to help, that would be great. We need to get moving soon.”

Nadalia disappeared to send her father a message, and Levon took her seat at the table. Mihran looked up from the book he was reading. “Ovsanna’s on to something with these ‘fiction’ books. They might be utter nonsense at times, but they do make good reading.”

Levon smiled. “I’ll take your word for it. Maybe when this is all over you could translate a few so everyone can enjoy them,” he suggested.

Mihran considered. “I might just do that. I could write down some of the old verbal stories as well, so they don’t get forgotten in years to come,” he said thoughtfully, and lost himself in contemplation.

Nadalia was upstairs on the radio. “I’ve got the plan pretty much figured out now, we just need to put it into action,” she said. “We’ve had a development here as well, do you think you could make it here to help out? We can finalise our plan then too. Message me as soon as you can.” She sat back and waited for her dad to reply. She only had to wait a few minutes.

“Naddy, it’s me. I’ll come over tonight, I’ll take the waterways and be there about midnight. I’m glad you’ve got the plan sorted, we can talk about that later too. I’ve got a bit of gossip for you as well, you won’t believe it when you hear it! Anyway, I’ll see you later,” he said, and cut off the transmission.

Nadalia went back downstairs. She bumped into Eznik on the way into the kitchen, who was still fuming over the discovery of Vasag’s treachery. “I can’t believe I let that little upstart trick me. I swear, when I find him…” Eznik wandered off into the lounge muttering.

“My dad’ll be here at midnight. He says he’s heard some gossip we might be interested in,” Nadalia said to everyone.

“Any idea what sort of gossip?” Demile asked as she poured drinks.

“Not sure. Anyway, we’ll find out later,” she said, getting a drink and roll for herself.

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