"Gosh, why do we have to work so hard every day? Jeez, I wish I was a little kid again; they don't have to do all this heavy lifting." Jane complained as she lifted a big box fill with who-knew-what. My friends and I were out helping load all of the food supplies into the market booth at the local market in Sector 14. We were pretending to be normal workers, helping distribute goods and supplies to the food companies and such, so people could buy them.
"Jane, you are a little kid!" I pointed out the obvious, grabbing my own heavy box. At least, she acted like one half the time. She was short enough that she could have passed as one, too.
"You can't do heavy lifting anyways, just like little kids." Rickie rolled his eyes. "But there is another thing you guys have in common..." Rickie flashed a mischievous 'Rickie-The-Troublemaker' grin.
Jane shot daggers at him. "And what would that be?" She inquired, though she looked like she didn't really want to find out.
"You guys are weak!" Rickie finished matter-of-factly, grinning hugely, as if it was the simplest concept in the world. Ella let out a snicker, clamping a hand to her mouth. Jackie grinned hugely just like her twin, squeezing her eyes shut, as if it would keep her from laughing.
Jane let out a grunt, placing her heavy box down rather harshly. "Well, since you think I'm so weak, why don't you carry this darn box and see how you like it!" She seethed.
Rickie just shrugged. "Whatever. But you're still weak."
"Alright, you two," I jumped in. After seeing the murderous glare Jane was giving Rickie, I had decided to intervene before Jane pounced on him in front of the watchful eyes of the NGO. I knew it would happen one of these days; Jane and Rickie would be at each others throats and all hell would break loose. We definitely didn't need another dose of that!
I scanned the crowded market, making sure everything was in order. I continued to scan around me until I found Blake, clear on the other side of the marketplace square, organizing the baker's supplies of bread. His dark blue eyes met mine and he nodded once, indicating he was ready and waiting for my signal. I nodded back; it was show time.
For the past week, Blake had been fitting in quite well. As expected, Alec argued the idea of Blake joining our group, and once again, Sal shot him down, and Alec - once again - was left to sulk. What a jerk.
Blake and I hadn't talked much since we helped out back in New Ferry, which I wasn't complaining about. The less opportunities to embarrass myself - the better.
Blake had stationed many of the rebel guards throughout the crowd. Our guard section had grown in number as well, as a ton of kids got recruited and our guards were about restored - all thanks to Blake.
Picking up another box, I brought it to the booth where a guy was selling makeshift jewelry, the cheap stuff. No wonder the box I was carrying was so heavy.
Next, I took a couple boxes to a vender who was selling straw hats. Who would buy those?
Just then a burly guy came up, chasing a scrawny slave girl - did I mention that the N.G.O. allowed slavery? - through the bustling crowds.
"Get BACK here, you- " he yelled, running past me. I stuck my foot out right when he ran past, making him collapsed onto the pile of straw hats, and they flew everywhere. The owner wasn't a happy camper. I watched the slave girl disappear into the crowd. I really hoped she made it out to freedom.
I had one more box to bring back, so when I came back with the box, the owner, who was a small women with a fiery attitude, was busy cussing the big dude out in Japanese, screeching at him. It was all I could do to hold back my laughter at the big guy's red face. Don't mess with small Japanese women. The guy grunted and stomped away. Before I knew it, the little Japanese women rounded on me, barking at me to pick up the scattered hats - in English thankfully.
Setting the box down, I did as I was told and gathered all the scattered hats and bravely attempted to arrange them as neatly as possible. I didn't want to be cussed out by the lady, too; Heaven forbid I make her even more mad!
As I organizing the wayward hats, I overheard two adults whispering over in the next stand, behind a small mound of wicker baskets. Something about bombing a certain city...
Scanning out into the crowd, I locked eyes with the only person I could find: Blake. I motioned over with my head to the booth next to me and he nodded, grabbing a box and made his way over there. Setting down the box and opening it, he brought out its contents and placed them where they belonged; wicker baskets that ranged in all sorts of sizes.
I motioned to my ear, indicating he should listen in. It didn't take him long to spot the two gossiping women behind the big wicker baskets, and together we listen in to the conversation.
"...the Government invested a lot into those demolitions, I hear ...Whole wages, too!" said one woman.
"Yeah, and they were high grade. New Ferry wouldn't have stood a chance." Said the other. I glanced at Blake, who was still engrossed into the secret conversation.
"I heard they threw a party," the first woman said, cracking like a witch. I wouldn't be surprised if she had green skin. "Yeah, since that's where they suspected those troublesome kids to be hiding. They've been disrupting and sabotaging the NGO's efforts on bringing order to the Sectors. They're brave kids, but brash. They're gonna be destroyed if they're not careful."
Blake's eyes met mine and we shared incredulous looks at the recent information we'd just heard. Was all this true?
"I hope that bomb killed most of them. They deserve what's coming to them." Said the second lady.
After that, the two ladies left, going their separate ways. I finished up organizing the hats and left as well before the little Japanese woman could yell at me some more. Blake and I made out way back to the delivery van that was parked a block away, hidden from the watchful eye of the evil NGO. There, we met everyone else.
"There you guys are! Took you long enough." Jackie hollered, heading over to meet us. When she saw my expression, the smile that was plastered on her face disappeared, replaced by confusion. "What's wrong?"
"I've got bad news. I need to see Sal immediately." was all I said.
"They what?" Sal asked in bewilderment after Blake and I told him what we had overheard at the marketplace. Blake and I stood before Sal in the big conference room, while my friends waited outside for us. I had already told them everything in the back of the delivery truck on the way back.
"Exactly. We were as stunned as you are." Blake said.
Sal ran a hand through his light brown hair nervously. "It's horrible that this had to happen to the innocent people of New Ferry. They shouldn't be punished for stuff they didn't do."
"I agree with you on that, but we can't go down without a fight." I insisted.
"It'll only be a matter of time before the N.G.O. finally discover our true location. I say we take immediate action." Blake added, and I agreed wholeheartedly with that plan.
"But how? Where would we start?" I asked the million-dollar question.
Sal began pacing. "I don't know!" he grumbled in frustration. "Just, give me some time to think. I'll call a meeting as soon as I formulate a plan. For now, just go on with whatever you were doing." Sal turned to Blake. "Get all the guards and strike teams ready, in case we have to fight on a moments notice."
Blake nodded. "Understood." Once we were outside, my friends swamped me.
"What did Sal say?" Jackie asked me. Rickie, Ella, Jane and Bailee leaned in, waiting for my reply.
"He's all flustered about it. Who could blame him, though? He says he'll think about it and come up with a plan." I said, telling them exactly what happened.
"Well, we need to prepare ourselves! Blake, can you teach us some defense moves or something?" Rickie asked Blake.
"Yeah, sure. There are few things I could teach you." He said.
"Awesome! Then let's do it!" Jackie said, excited. "Let's start today. How about, let's say, in two hours? Down by the old food court."
Blake along with the rest of us, nodded. "Good idea. It'll work." I said.
"See you guys then, I guess. I gotta go do some things first. I will meet you there." said Blake. We all turned to leave. I was actually looking forward to our training.