Dan moved his hand along the radio tuner, slowly testing each frequency. Miko had come up with a brilliant plan but the plan did require more work than Dan had ever dreamed. He had to work fast to get it all done in time.
Miko had seen that Dan’s radio’s could be tuned to do more than just chase shadoween away; they could be used to force army men away as well! This could be the surprise punch that would allow them to change the game. Dan just had to fingure out which frequency was the right one.
He experimented; moving the dial this way and that; looking for the perfect pitch to send objects moving at great speeds. Another tricky experiment would involve aiming the pitch and sound at the object that needed to move. Dan could not have just any objects moving at great speeds, taking out anyone and everyone in their way. He needed a percise instrument...
Dan messed with both radio dials and antinea. He tried using music and frequencies to change the aim of the radio weapon. He wanted to turn it into a weapon and not just a trick act. He wanted what he did to really matter. So far, his work was only a way to get people talking. His radio surprised them and made them think but it would not continue to surprise them. A surprise only worked once... after the first time it would no longer be a surprise.
“You doin’ anything up there, boy? It looks like your messing around but not accomplishing much!” Miko had a way of saying things that cut to the quick of the problem.
“I’m sorry to say that it is starting to feel that way. I think I am up here accomplishing nothing!”
“My papa used to say that the greatest things take patience. Just try to be patient and good things will come.”
“Good advice,” Dan agreed dryly.
“Don’t get fuzzeled now, boy!” Miko commanded. “What you need is a break and then you can come back and look at the thing with fresh eyes.”
Dan nodded and followed Miko out. “We’re all relying on you, ya’ know?” Miko reminded him.
“Hard to forget...” Dan tried to ignore all the lives that were dependant on this invention. He knew from the beginning that it would save lives but he was not aware that the lives would be so close to home. He did not know that he would know the people personally! Dan felt the weight of their need and dependance even more accutely. He had doubts. “Do you really think Raven will suspect anything?”
“Raven thinks that everyone is like him. He thinks that everyone is greedy and sly. I let him believe that I feel the same way. The truth is that I want to help others. I want Raven to see justice and never be able to hurt anyone else again! You need to believe that I will do whatever it takes to get back at him!”
“What did he do that was so horrible?” Dan asked in shock.
Alice pushed down the fear she felt for her brother. She could not imagine what Hamish was doing to dear Tim! Raven assured her that no harm would come to Tim but she was sure that Hamish was doing something to her brother. Timothy had warned her that they would drug him so strongely that he would not be able to talk. Unfortunately, she doubted that Hamish would stop with the drugs.
Alice tried not to drive herself crazy thinking about all the things that could happen. She focused on keeping those things from happening in the first place. She needed to get help from the raiders that had helped Timothy in the past. Timothy had said that their parents were with the raiders in Kingston. Surely, their parents could help. Alice just needed to get a message to them.
Unfortunately, leaving Raven’s home to get a message proved more difficult than she had anticipated. Anytime Alice walked near a door or window, someone would appear and escort her to her room. Alice tried walking to Timothy’s room with the same result.
“You seem restless, Alice,” Raven noted as he walked Alice back to her room.
“I feel cooped up. Do you expect me to stay in this house until I die? Can’t some of your guards escort me around the block; just to feel the fresh air?”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Raven chided her with a grin. “I can understand feeling a little overwhelmed. Some time outside might be in order.”
Raven left her in her room then but the next day he came to her room with four heavily-muscled men. He smiled at her with a twist to one side of the mouth. “I’ve taken your request to heart. You’ll be allowed an hour out each day -- with your guards, of course -- so that you do not feel so trapped.”
Alice smiled and said thank you as politely as she could. Alice knew that this could be her shot to help her borhter but she did not want Raven to get nervous. He would add to her guard or maybe not even let her leave! She needed to make him think that she was an absent minded girl -- that she was no threat at all. She needed him to underestimate her...
She walked slowly and told him how greateful she was. She tried not to even look in the messanger’s direction but she knew that nothing could be done without help! Little did she know that Raven already knew that she had been sending messages and was not bothered in the least.
The original message that Raven had sent had gotten a reply. The message refused to take the reply unless Raven payed him. He called Raven as soon as the reply came in to demand payment. Raven was surprised by this.
“You were given extra money when my message was sent. No more should be needed for a reply.”
“I gave you a deal by offering the Kingston message at half the rate!” The messanger yelled back in anger and exasperation.
Raven was silent for one moment before asking, “What Kingston messge?”
“The girl you sent needed two messages sent out; one to Rockport and one to Kingston.” The messanger was obviously trying to hold his temper... Didn’t the man even know what he had sent out?
“I only mentioned the Rockport message in my contact with you. In the future, only send out the messages I contacct you about. Hold on to any other messages but don’t send them.” Raven was clearly planning something but the messages was still unsure about what that something was.
“Why are you sending people to me if the only messages you need are ones we already talked about?”
“Don’t question me!” Raven snapped. “The guards would flay you alive for all the laws you break; bending even one deminsion! Your life hangs in my hands and you will follow the simple instructions that I give you.”
The messanger nodded his head inthantically, only to relize that Raven couldn’t see him. “Yes, sir. Of course, sir! But what should I do if the girl comes back and asks about replies?”
Raven thought for a moment. “Tell her that their only reply was to send a rose. The raiders use dead flowers and dried herbs as common responces.”
“Pardon me, sir, but that girl don’t look like the raiding type.”
“She is trying to contact family. They are the raider type. Keep me informed and I’ll keep you alive,” Raven promised before hanging up on the messanger. Now, all Raven had to do was get the girl to go back to the messager to send something that could be intercepted. Alice herself had geven Raven the oppertunaty he needed after asking for time out of doors.
“Alice,” Raven called. “I need you to run another errand for me while you are out today.” Raven handed her the message he needed sent.
Alice tried to hide her excitement but Raven saw through it in seconds. This was just what he wanted, The girl would send a letter for sure. He had to hide a smile while the girl walked away into the city, her guards walking a pace or two after her.
Alice enjoyed the sun but she was in a hurry to get to the messanger’s hut so she did not spend the time that she should have to sit in the sun and think. She walked right to the hut and into an unknown trap.
“I came from Raven,” Alice anounced. “He wants to check for replies and send another message or two.”
“The Rockport party sent this in reply,” the messanger said, handing her a folded envelope. “The Kingston party sent a white rose in reply. The thing was dead when they sent it. The poor thing fell apart minutes after being sent.”
“I know what the rose meant. There’s no need for me to see it,” Alice assured him. “I do need to send a reply though.”
“Write out the message and I’ll send it to Kingston. Will Rockport need a reply as well?” The man was asking the questions casually but Alice could see sweat running down his neck. The man was nervous about something... He might just be worried about the guards who accompanied Alice. She tried to put suspicion aside as she wrote out a reply.
“Raven will need to read their reply before making one of his own. The Kingston reply should be all for today,” she said as she folded the reply and handed it to him.
“I’ll need payment in full before sending anything.” The man had said the exact same thing the last time Alice had sent a message. The repetitive rhythm of the words relaxed her.
“Here’s your money. Just send the message as quickly as possible.”
The man placed the message in his pocket and swiftly went to Raven.