The trip to the baserri was uneventful. Marina guided Kepa through dark tunnels until they came to a fork. There she handed Kepa off to another woman, dressed in the same dark robes as the men and women he had met earlier.
“Don’t worry,” Marina said as she left down the left fork. “It is best to split up for the time being, to throw them off our tracks. Latxe will take you from here.”
Kepa gave a numb nod, not really caring where he went at this point. All he could do was think about Maite.
Latxe led Kepa down the right fork. While she was hidden behind her robes, her voice was soft and gentle as she spoke. “Everything will be alright. Olatz has kept us safe so far.”
“Not all of us,” mumbled Kepa.
Latxe stopped, putting her hand on Kepa’s shoulder. “I know this is hard. I lost someone back there too. But we’ll get them back. And it will all be worth it.”
“What will be worth it?” replied Kepa. “What are we trying to do?”
“Change the system. Preserve our freedoms.”
“I only just got here,” said Kepa, “but it seems to me everyone up there -” he pointed to the ceiling, indicating the masses of people he imagined swarming around on the ground above them “- are happy. Do they want change?”
Latxe glanced up, as if she could see those people. “Sometimes, people don’t know what is best for themselves.”
“But you do?” asked Kepa.
Latxe turned back to look at Kepa. She pulled off her hood. Kepa was shocked to see that her face was covered with a jagged scar that ran down from her forehead, down the bridge of her nose, and across her left cheek until it stopped at her lip. Her brown eyes trembled with emotion.
“I don’t, to be honest. But what I do know is that things can’t stay the way they are. Any voice that speaks out, that dares questions the way things are, is violently silenced.” Latxe ran a finger along her scar. “I got this during a raid on my parents’ apartment, when I was barely a teen. My parents were advocates for change, for the freedom to question the way things were. They wrote articles and even appeared on the feed a few times. But, they got too big, I guess. The government burst in and took them, leaving this as a reminder when I tried to get in the way. I haven’t seen them since.”
Kepa just stammered. “I’m so… sorry.”
Latxe sighed. “All I’m saying is that, while the people think they are happy, it’s only because they follow the lanes set by the government. Any time anyone questions what lane they are in, or what direction they are going, the government is there to stop them. And, if that power gets in the wrong hands…”
“Zalazar,” whispered Kepa.
Latxe nodded. “In the wrong hands, it could get so much worse.”
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