Act Three Chapter thirty four
Up the Cable Railway
-‘subvert them, seduce them, bamboozle them! –
-‘Good luck to you Mister Barney sir, goodbye now sir.’-
The bus was really getting there on time.
-‘Pardy, my name’s Pardy now..Okay then, bye bye lads I’ll be seeing you.. Come on everybody they’re waiting for us to get off.’- I said loudly -‘Can you all double check we’re leaving nothing at all on this
-‘Duncantry cable railway. This stop!’-
-‘Can you open up the side?’-
I had three boxes of provisions stowed inside, and a fold-up trolley to move them. Plus a second trolley with big mountain wheels, carrying the folded white Eagle flying suit I’d been learning with. It was light, but gigantic.
I was acting like an Explainer to the class of De-Schoolers on the bus. But really I was just on my way back from a Defense meeting. This group would take the line all the way to Eagle Park quarries at the top, they wouldn’t come down to Ice Haven for three days. Then I would have to do Explainer all right, so it was better to play the part and I acted the tour guide from the start. Ref 10 De-schools
-‘Here below us on your left we can see the world famous Air Factory facilities. Where they bottle compressed air, and make ammonia fuel as well. You’ll be helping out there for a shift on your way back..’-
-‘Excuse me do you know what time the cable train leaves?’- It was a chubby red faced boy, or was he, or she, a girl?.
-‘The platform is up here. There’s three cars, they stop the line, clamp on securely. And off you go when you’re ready. So there’s no fixed time. I’ll show you. This way everybody. I’m waiting for my family, they should be here by now and we’re only going as far as Ice Haven anyway.’-
-‘We’re going to Ice Haven on, er, Saturday.’- said the boy with goggle glasses.
-‘I’ll be showing you round when you come down the gorge on the new Adventure Way. It’s really scary but you’ll love it. And you’ll stay in the Eagle Park self service hostel.’-
-‘Yes yes, but isn’t there a road up there?’- A good question.
-‘Not to Ice Haven. See this line of cliffs it goes right the way round the base of the mountains, like a castle. There’s donkey tracks up all right and there used to be a village up there. This cable railway is the easy way up, it’s a wild reserve, coppice farms and cliffs, enormous caves…’-
We were outside the station. I had two yunkers pushing my trolley of provisions. Then Nancy Williams, the coordinator appeared, I was greeting and chatting with her.
While fending off the plethora of questions..
Turning I peered carefully down the valley and spotted another bus, weaving its way up round the base of the basalt cliffs from the other side.
–‘The other bus is going to arrive.’- I said. -‘We’ll wait a few minutes so you can all go up together.’-
Our lot were beginning to gather, to scatter Maggie’s ashes.
Maxie and Macker should be on that bus, bringing me Moonbeam! And Lucia had promised to come, I would see her at last!
With her two teenage children and Bernie and Sol and their Mexican friends who would join the D-School trip. Plus our very own CLAN support group, including, Damo, Tessa and Danny, Maxie’s brother. They had to try the new Adventure Way.
It was all arranged and working out. On the Sunday we would finally sprinkle Maggie’s ashes in the prehistoric caves.
-‘Papi papi I’m going in the train with you! Papi papi!’- said Moonie, hopping down from the bus.
How great to have a daughter who jumps into your arms and wants to be whirled around.
Maxie and Macker would come up two days later, they had volunteered to do scout duty up on the border, so we saw them for only about one minute, they stayed on the coach.
They were laughing a lot, clapping happy and chokey jokey,.
-‘What are they so excited about?’- I asked, waving back at Maxie, who was shaking Macker’s T shirt out the window.
-‘Ha ha HA! Wait till you hear the latest!’- said Bernie.
I never guessed then that Maxie was pregnant. I was really looking for Lucia, and there she was!
Our gazes locked on, like laser targets in a video-game, the moment she jumped out of that bus! At least she didn’t jump on top of me this time, maybe because her big children were present. I hadn’t seen her in the flesh for six months.
So I had to be introduced, half in Spanish, to her kids, Duna and Paco and their refugee friends Lila and Rafa, and all without really looking at them, because I was in -‘lock-on-mode’- with Lucy, tripping over their luggage and laughing.
She kissed my face, sniffing and kissing off her own tears. Her silky hands in mine.
Kissing my missing finger as well.
-‘It’s a funicular railway. We don’t hang in the air or anything. It uses the quarry line that was here already. The Air Factory. Three stops, the Air Factory, Ice Haven and Eagle Park.’-
-‘It’s amazing! Like a time machine or something. All new but it looks home-made.’-
In fact it was pretty full, with eighteen teenagers plus Nancy and all our lot. Lila and her brother Rafa would go with the educational trip, but Lucy wanted her kids Paco and Duna to come with us, to get to know the family.
-‘The carriages are made from big rock buckets cut and welded together. It’s very safe they say.’-
At that moment it jolted violently, throwing Bernie to her knees and sending Moonie’s mountain pram zooming up the aisle. Where Sol deftly apprehended it.
-‘Everybody put on their seatbelts please.’-
-‘But there are no seatbelts!’-
We were off, and we completed a hard day’s climb in less than fifteen minutes. It’s a wonderful form of transport. While Sol filmed, hanging out a window, and the rest all marveled at the cliffs and pinnacles, and the vegetation hanging off them. Bernie quizzed me on the Defence meeting I had attended.
-‘I hate those meetings.’– I said. –‘The older ones are all showing respect and calling me Sir. Just because my family were rebels and I got hurt by the police!’-
-‘But you get a chance to get our ideas across.’-
-‘The ideas are accepted already, from the Assemblies and online voting. It’s just organizing everything for going underground. But a hell of a lot of it!’-
-‘What about the invasion? Aren’t they afraid?’- asked Lucy.
-‘Everybody’s bored and yawning with the idea by now. It’s been on-off-on-off.’- said Bernie .
-‘Well uh, they have supply routes and depots set up, like, with backup social services, media and computer nets, and making things disappearable um, down here they have surplus of everything. At least everything edible. Despite the impossible weather..’-
-‘Because we don’t have to support armies of bloodsuckers.’-
-‘That’s what they say all right.. ‘
-‘Look look look..‘- Moonbeam was yelling.
Seven black vultures were wheeling round the craggy tower in a line. Soaring right past us. One by one, without flapping a single wing. Ignoring the clanking cars. This was the first year the vultures had ventured so far north.
-‘Eagles! How amazing!’-
-‘They’re vultures actually, but there are human eagles whizzing round this mountain.’–‘Me and Maxie and Macker have our Eagle Certificates.’-
-‘Are you saying me you can fly?’- asked Sol.
-‘Look look a boy, he’s flying.’-
-‘Yes you’re right, you have an airbag, just in case.’-
-‘In the suit, like this one. Your arms are about nine times stronger.’-
-‘But not for long, you have to glide and soar.’-
-‘Can we go to Eagle Park Uncle Barney?’- asked Josie again. ref 13 flying
-‘No but we’ll go for a swim okay.’-
-‘So tell me.’- Sol was intent on quizzing me. -‘Is the invasion finally gonna happen now?’-
-‘And what about the resistance? We know you’re going to resist the invasion.’- Lucy asked,
She was explaining in Spanish for Paco and Duna, who more or less understood English anyway. She quickly gave this up.
-‘Maybe they’ve got cold feet.’- I said. -‘It’s the corporations and the banks want the invasion. The public in the coalition countries aren’t keen.’-
-‘Thanks to all our wonderful supporters everywhere.’-
-‘And with the depression. war isn’t so good for business right now, it seems.’-
-‘But I thought the invasion was certain.’- said Lucy.
-‘Yes yes, they’ll come in hard I suppose and take over. But after that, um,..probably they’ll have little cash and contradictory orders.’-
-‘We’re gonna subvert them, seduce them, bamboozle them! Didn’t Sol explain to you?’-
-‘Every day they don’t invade our resistance plans get less important, and the subversion programs more organized.’–‘Fantastic. So there won’t be a war?’- she said.
-‘As of now the war is practically confined to mining all the roads with plastic remote code detonation mines. Only dangerous if activated. They’re still putting in thousands of them.’- I explained, only realizing the change myself.
-‘Apart from being able to blow them to bits if they go outdoors, the plan is to keep them high and happy and get them on our side, I’m not sure I get it myself.’- said Bernie. Ref 21.Resistance. Sabotage. Insurrection.
-‘Excelente!! This is possible and realistic, their mandate is a fatal political compromise, we can really do it!’- said Sol suddenly.
-‘See the cliffs up on our right, that lean outward. Under them is the way to Ice Haven and on to the southern Lapwings. That’s where we get off.’- I said.
-‘It’s a super impressive place, but what are you doing up here really, Barney? Are you dropping out because they killed Maggie?’- asked Lucia directly.
-‘Who’s Barney? Oh well I give up.’- says I, shrugging. -‘I like it here that’s all, see, we used to er, play at being guerrillas, with the Earth’s Revenge group. And, uh, helping my uncle Mick with the archeology and.. Now we have electricity and the net, the cable railway and the adventure trail and, and Maggie’s Kitchen, it keeps us busy..’-
-‘Maggie’s Kitchen, up here?’- Lucia broke in.
-‘It’s the self-service hostel for all the young people coming through. It was her idea you see.’-
-‘Maggie’s Kitchen! Nobody told me that.’-
-‘Because only Barney calls it that.’– said Bernie. Pulling her head back in the window.
-‘Look! There’s an Eagle, oh she’s disappeared.’-
-‘I’ll call it Maggie’s Kitchen as well.. And what’s up the top, what are the kids going to do?’-
-‘I have the program here. The top stop is there, Eagle Park, near the quarries. There’s a hostel refuge where they stay and a coppice and fish farm. Then after lunch getting samples from the lower crater, for the geology project, writing it up in the evening. Plus sending messages to their families and.. In the morning they go to the Air Factory quarries, um, a picnic lunch there. One group does measurements for the climate change study, others start their coppice project and do Free-Uni classes.’- I stopped for breath. ref 10 DeSchooling , Un-Schooling, Online Free University.
-‘I am wanting to go also.’- said Paco.
-‘The best part is the next day. They come down the amazing new Adventure Way!‘- I said proudly. -‘Look here’s the platform coming now. Press the button again, Josie, just in case they forget to stop it!’-
The line suddenly slowed and gradually stopped, the carriage swaying sideways.
-‘Mama I want to go with Rafa.’- said Paco to Lucy in English. -‘Please please Mama is a super oportunidad for me I have to go!’-
Lucy was already digging out a jumper. Draping it round her tall son and kissing his cheeks.
-‘Va lay va lay. Okay okay, but Duna you are staying with us today.’-
We’d reached the little platform and I swung open the gate, which locks on the main brakes. Then we were maneuvering out my provisions and eagle suit, with Moonie in her pram.
-‘Is that all right Nancy then? Paco here will come with you lot, he’s Rafa’s friend and he speaks English.’-
-‘Prometeme Rafa hijo, que tendrás mucho cuidado, vale..Promise me Rafa you’ll be careful okay?.’-
Sol was nodding my attention to Duna and Lila, saying a tender tearful goodbye at the gate.
-‘Come on Duna you’ll see her Sunday.’- said Bernie. -‘We’re holding up the Air Factory line.’-
But it was this girl Lila who was clinging onto Duna.
And when she broke free I saw she was really sobbing.
I jammed my boot in the gate as it closed. It automatically re-opens.
-‘Venga Lila. You come with us, usted puedes venir con la Duna.’- I ventured in my crap Spanish. And she grabbed her bag and came running out.
-‘Okay Nancy, you’re back to eighteen now, all right?. No need for her to suffer.’-
She just smiled and nodded and was taking notes. As the gate finally clicked shut.
And then she disengaged the fail-safe brake.
- Serial of The Free. Ch 33 KAZOO (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)
2 thoughts on “Serial of The Free Ch 34. Up the Cable Railway”
We would not wish to risk our skin for possible damages as it will beat
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