The Prologue to Book III:
Pa’Kevutu: Yakrutich, Kevutu, The Tower of the Supreme Magnate
Seloreger 6 “Selo” set his work bag on the floor and knelt down behind the great wood podium situated at the far side of the room. He was nearly finished. The cabinet door was open so he could access the wiring and hardware inside. Coated wires of various thickness and colors twisted and turned from the bottom of the platform through a variety of boxes and circuits before they made their way up through the top and into a collection of microphones. He was not interested in any of those. His attention was focused on the device he carefully put into place in a section of the podium he had carved out.
This was the culmination of many sperons of planning and preparation. He managed to get himself hired on the preparation team and convinced them he was the one who should do the final work on the speaker’s podium. It wasn’t a hard sell. He had a long resume that described him as a competent worker throughout the city of Yakrutich. That, too, had been part of the plan. He was carefully placed with high-end citrans of the city sympathetic to his cause. His reputation was carefully and painstakingly groomed. By the time he applied for the job, he was perfect for it.
Selo removed a hidden cover inside the podium, The cavity behind it was exactly suited to his needs. Careful planning again. Each time he came here to do work on the wiring, he took some extra time to carve out this space in the wood and cover it with a panel that matched the interior. He pulled his bag closer to himself and dug through some tools and wires. He pulled a hidden handle and the tools all came up and out of the bag. He reached inside and carefully pulled out an odd-looking item. It was a simple yet effective device made of three clear cylinders, a solar-charged battery, and several wires and knobs. He turned the device so that two of the cylinders were lined up vertically next to a taller cylinder. Reaching within his bag he pulled out two containers. From one container he poured distilled water into the top of the vertically aligned tube until it was full, added a metal float and attached a wire to it, then sealed the whole thing with a specially designed cap that allowed the connected wire to move. He attached a second wire to the metal plate situated at the bottom of the second cylinder and carefully added the liquid from the other cylinder into the longer tube and sealed it. He took a deep breath and then, with meticulous care, he set the whole device into the pre-formed cavity. With a light touch he turned a valve situated between the two smaller tubes and watched as water dripped. The final step was to arm the device, which he did by connecting the wires to the solar charged battery. The whole mechanism was covered over by the fake panel.
All of this was done while scores of people walked around the large and elegant room. They couldn’t tell what he was doing inside the wooden rostrum though they had seen the long bushy haired man working with the speaker’s equipment many times before, so they paid little attention to him. The abundant hair, both on his face and his head, was nothing more than a disguise. After it was all over, witnesses would say they say a shaggy unshaven older man near the stand, but that man would never be seen again. Selo was looking forward to the time when he could finally lose all this itchy hair and be himself again.
Selo leant back and admired his handiwork. There was no visual hint whatsoever that just behind that panel was a simple yet potent mechanism designed to go off in about eight horons: just as the scheduled speaker would take the stand. The design was elementary, really. When the water in the top tube dripped out, the two plates would touch and complete a circuit sending an electrical signal to the explosive mixture in the long tube. The target speaking at the podium would be eliminated. Mission accomplished.
Selo closed the cabinet under the podium and put his tools away. He grabbed his bag and walked away from the podium in the way he thought an old unkept maintenance worker should move. It was hard not to bounce along with a light step; it was hard not to reveal a wide smile. So much planning, so much work, so much risk went into executing this one moment and now it was done. All he had to do was walk away and wait.