Episode 34 - The High Commissar Arrives
by Camille LaGuire
"The relief train has arrived," said Tralkulo, as she met Rozinshura in the front hall. "And the car is back from the mountain."
Rozinshura sent her to fetch the car and the sergeant. The station was not far, but it was up hill, and with his limp, it would be slow going. Besides, he needed to talk to them both as they went.
The sergeant reported that they had accounted for more names. All of the missing crew members were dead, as was one of the four foreigners.
"Winston Argoss?" asked Rozinshura.
"Yes, Kinchin Captain. It appears he was shot by the bandits while he ran away. He was found in the woods."
"I want to hear from whoever found the body. I want to know of anything unusual found in the area. Also, if anyone has found lost clothing."
"There's a lot of clothing in the debris, Captain."
"I mean away from the debris. Something... dropped. Anything that does not belong in the woods." He paused. "And we must find out about this Cussar girl Pookiterin arrested. Is she from a village, or did she come across the river?"
He glanced at his sergeant. The man was exhausted, and in despair over the additional orders.
"Never mind; She's long gone. We may find her later," he said. "For now, everyone to the kitchen to eat, and rest and help Niko."
Rozinshura considered the note from the book. With no one to explain it, this was all the information he would get: A coup. A bomb to kill High Commissioner Vshtin, tomorrow. And a list of names.
If it could even be called a list. The names were scattered and squeezed in, as if the person who wrote them were taking notes and didn't know how many there would be. They seemed to be in two groups. People to be assassinated? The assassins themselves? People to trust or mistrust?
There was only one name there whose part was obvious. Vshtin. The High Commissioner could be a zealot, but not so much that he would assassinate himself. But, for all Rozinshura knew, the traitors could be on the train too. It would be best to tell Vshtin without alerting anyone else. Rozinshura could imagine a bloodbath on the station platform, if they thought their plot was uncovered.
He sighed and climbed out of the car.
The platform was covered with security men. That in itself was alarming, but there were also regular soldiers and workers unloading relief supplies from the train. Still, Pookiterin might already be there, giving his tale of traitorous locals.
If so, his best defense was to cloak himself in duty and self-confidence. He grabbed Tralkulo and bulled his way in among the workers. He took their reports. They had supplies and workers and even two doctors. Good doctors it seemed, but he had no time to see if they were surgeons.
He made a great show of his authority, and directed them all to where they should be. And then, having built up steam, he headed over to make his entrance on the platform.
The guards were not impressed when he told them he was the district facilitator.
"No admittance!" they said.
"By whose orders?" he replied, pretending astonishment.
Sochir's name was on the list, set aside a little from the others. Still, good or bad, he was closer to Vshtin than Rozinshura.
"Where is he? I must speak to him at once."
"He is busy."
They stood there like stone, three young men trained to yield nothing. They were prepared for any assault except, perhaps, for being asked their opinion.
"Then I'll report to you," said Rozinshura. He took a deep breath, prepared to tell a wild tale of impossible problems, but just then a voice from the other end of the platform hailed them.
"Kosha Rozinshura! My kinchin!" called a strong voice; the voice of an orator.
And there came the High Commissioner himself, hailing him by his nickname, as if they were old childhood friends.
Stay Tuned for Thirty-Five: "The Cussar Sword"
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