Wednesday, 6 April 2016

"In the name of the Storm" Volume I

"In the name of the Storm"

Volume I:

"Metamorphosis"



“I became one by a quirk of fate...”

These are the words Katrina said in her experience during the storm.

Seeing all the burning tires and bloodied plackards strewn in the streets, policemen arrested some protesters, mostly wounded ones yet continued to be beaten by these bastardly men. She find it awkward that time since she came from a rave party inside the school wherein outside its gates was that street battle.

And worse, she was arrested by mistake, arrested by a cop craving for a position, arresting everyone with no regard to one’s innocence least they were at that premise. Katrina even showed her ticket and her identification for the sake of innocence, but still, that cop was acting deaf, and while in prison had undergone questioning, no one from her friends could even help if not promising without any fruit at all. “Damn those people!” as what she thinks of.

But that experience made her feel a changing.


I

Years earlier, Katrina Mae Mendoza had been the least person to fit in that description such as a “Revolutionary”, if not an “Anti-norm”, or even “deviant”. Born and raised in a family of technocrats in Manila, a middle in the children of three, all seemed fine with all the relative comforts and bliss thinking that her parents were well-to-do.

However, behind these comforts lies problems. Katrina got good grades like any other studious kind of girl, yet her mother, happened to be a perfectionist, insist the highest one thinking that her grades isn’t even enough in her standards, or let’s just say she wanted her daughter be “first honour” and nothing else. She tries to engage in extracurricular activities, yet most of the time were at home if not at the library to study if not lessening her stress through reading.

Yet despite her problems, she became well-known in her school for being an editor of a campus paper, cheerleader, member of the student coucil, anything that makes faculty members and students think “she is the best student they ever had”, strange isn’t it? But these extracurricular activities, especially those of being a writer in the campus paper made her express through words.

And like any other contemporaries, she also wanted to study in big four schools, especially in the University of the Philippines, to get a well-paid job, to have a boyfriend, and eventually to have a family.

Yet, instead of UP, she end up studying at San Sebastian College in Manila. She didn’t passed the UPCAT, she was late filing for USTET or ACET, she doesn’t even like La Salle despite insistence by her parents; but then, she felt contented studying in “Baste” and taking up Tourism. And like any other girl coming from the bourgeoisie, she had friends, enjoyed parties, while at the same time she joined the campus paper and became member for a pep squad.

She quite fair well both in academics and extracurricular activities although she had problems in Math that made her parents argue with her as in the past if not pressuring her to focus on academics alone (thinking that the latter as its factor) or even shift to a course “pleasing to their eyes” like Business Administration. There were even times that she felt so shamed and devastated, that despite having passed grades still not enough to impress her parents who were thinking negative towards their own daughter.

But still, she continued both her academics and extracurricular activities, enough to please herself and her parents, if not gaining some friends and acquaintances in the campus. But those times seemed a changing, there werre turbulent times enough to create an ire on the side of the old; that in the news one would hear protest in the streets, that Katrina once sought demonstrations at Mendiola yet she has less interest if not trying to understand their cause “out of curiosity”. The war in Syria has been shown in various papers if not in the television, so was the struggle in New York, Paris, Berlin, London, to the “Gates of Hell” called Manila.

Yet, despite being reluctant to heed such issues, Katrina had interest in political affairs despite not emphasised by her course. True that Tourism seemed like any other public relations course in promoting the country, yet, she find interesting what goes behind the society, such as those of politics, coming from her professors happened to be from UP or PUP, or at their best- as former activists in the youth-student sector.

But a further sharp turn really turned further when she met someone at Baste's Captain’s Galley. At first, she find him strange given his smart casual getup, of reading papers at a young age, and talking with the crew as his friends despite being a customer.


II

It was her first time to meet Robert Paul Villanueva at Capitain’s Galley. At first, that smart-dressed guy, with newspaper in his table was quite so shy as he stared at her instead of his friend, Alvin, who happened to be chef in that said restaurant. Katrina thinks of him first as strange that why was he staring at him while waiting for his order of breaded porkchops in which she overheard from Robert talking with his friend through the kitchen window.
And after talking with the chef, and seeing Robert reading his papers, Katrina then went out of the kitchen and approached him at the table. Robert again stared at her closer, and said:
"Sorry if I looked at you behind Chef Alvin."
And he returned to reading. Katrina, still looking at Robert, said:
"Isn't it that rude to stare at the lady as if undressing?"
Robert again looked at her and replied:
"That's why I say 'I'm sorry', pardon me if I see you and be amazed by your beauty."
Katrina, thinking of it as a compliment and at the same time looking at the guy's sketches in the table, looked at him, nod and left away, leaving the smartly-dressed guy reading his papers. Chef Alvin then came from the kitchen, having a fist bump with Robert, and asked:
"Is there anything wrong? Seems that Katrina's talked to you."
"Huh?" Robert said. "Nothing, I just apologise to that girl for staring at her. By the way, who is she?"
"That girl's name is Katrina." Chef Alvin said. "Do you like her?"
And Robert, blushed on what the Chef said, replied:
"I don't know, maybe yes?"
"Hmm..." Chef Alvin said as he nod. "Well, I have to go back to the kitchen."

And he went back to the kitchen while the waiter, coming from that same room, served what Robert hath ordered. The latter couldn't resist remembering the charm of the girl whom he sought at the kitchen window as his plain notebook has some of its leaves featuring sketches of her.


III

While at her Social Science class, Katrina was looking at the window imagining something. Her friend and seatmate, Gracielle, whispered her and asked:
"What's wrong Kat?"
Katrina looked back at her, and replied:
"Um...nothing, I just recalled something."
Then she reverted her attention to the lecture. Her professor, Maruice Rosendo, was asking a question:
"Well class, in our lesson about culture, do you think today's culture is decadent or not?"
Katrina then raised her hand, professor Rosendo looked at her hand raising and said:
"Yes Mendoza?"
"Sir," Katrina said. "I think that today's culture is all but confusing. True that it may be classified as decadent, but how come the system has tolerated all these?"
"Hmm..." professor Rosendo said. "Sounds interesting. Obviously, the system has also invested on culture, particularly those of mass media. For sure as a tourism student like you, you wanted an image of a country that is positively appealing, but given the actually-existing status of the country as stunted in its growth, the system is trying to use culture as a means to deviate people from the reality, no matter how crappy it is being shown least trying to deviate people from the issues such as corruption and social injustice. Can you tolerate having a crappy image of the society?"
"No sir." Katrina said. "All of us wanted a positive and uplifting image."
Professor Rosendo nod on her message, however before he started to speak his response, the bell rung, and said:
"Ow...class dismissed."
And everyone went outside. Katrina stayed for a moment, that made the professor asked:
"Is there anything wrong ms. Mendoza?"
None." Katrina said. "Just thinking about something, or someone."
"I see." Professor Rosendo said. "Got to go."
And the professor left away.

Few minutes after staying alone in the classroom, Katrina went to the library. While walking briskly on the library to look for books related to her assignments, she saw the same "smart dressed" guy talking to some of the students at the corridor, overhearing topics about "reform", "revolution", "the system", and its related topics enough to enlighten a private school petitbourgeois. Books about Marx and Guillaume Faye were being placed at the table so were the papers for their research work.

After the "lecture", Katrina went to the table, sat, saw some sketches, that made her asked the smartly-dressed guy making his writeup:
"I find your topic interesting. Are you a professor?"
Robert then looked at the girl whom he sought three days ago, and said:
"Me? I am a researcher. I used to visit your school library through a friend of mine who is a professor here."
"Who?" Katrina said.
"Do you know professor Maurice Rosendo?" Robert said. "He used to teach here for few years."
"Ya?" Katrina said. "He's my professor on social sciences."
"I see." Robert said. "He's a fellow classmate of mine in the University of the Philippines. So how is he and his class? Do you find interest in his topics?"
"Um... ya?" Katrina said. "In fact, I just came from his class, leaving me some questions beside those of his topic about culture."
And Robert asked:
"Tell me, and I can help you answer it."
Well," Katrina said. "I was wondering about the rallies outside. How come they are protesting? And what are they protesting all about?"
"Land, bread, peace, justice..." Robert said. "Too many to mention, but their calls are very factual than those being babbled by the government and its apologetics."
"How come?" Katrina asked.
"Well," Robert replied. "What if I say most petitbourgeois care less about these proletarians saying? These workers, peasants, those who pay less, those who are really burdened by debts, all of them felt the suffering, yet most of us who happened to be learned care less about them, and instead enjoy our fantasies as we afford to pay for it."
Katrina just nod on what Robert said, and asked:
"What else?"
"Hmm.." Robert said. "Seems that you want to study the current state of this society."
"Why not?" Katrina said.
"But at first, what is your name?" Robert asked.
"Ow.." Katrina said. She offered her hand for a handshake, and announced herself:
"I am Katrina Mae Mendoza. And you?"
Robert then took her hand for a handshake, and replied:
"Robert, Robert Paul Villanueva."
And shook their hands together. And Robert, as he recalled something about her beauty, asked:
"If not mistaken, are you the girl whom I had stared at Captain's Galley few days ago?"
Katrina then smiled at him and replied:
"You still can't get over from it since few days ago? I know you are the smartly dressed guy who's reading the newspaper and waiting for his order of breaded porkchops from Chef Alvin am I right?"
"Yup." Robert said. "If you want, care for a lunch at my table at Captain's Galley?"
"Sure why not?" Katrina said. Along with a smile.


IV

While at the Galley, Katrina and Robert seemed enjoying the chitchat as they wait for Breaded Porkchop and Gambero. The latter's Katrina's favourite dish while Robert chose to order his usual former. Chef Alvin, came from the Kitchen, saw the two and said:
"Seems that both of you know each other eh?"
"Yup." Robert said while Katrina's smiling at the Chef.
"So Katrina, do you have problems with him?" Chef Alvin asked.
"No." Katrina said, "I find his topics interesting, and it seems that this guy whom looked at me seemed nice."
And the Chef simply nod on what Katrina said, and asked Robert:
"Well, enjoy talking with Kat."
And he returned to the kitchen. The waiter, newly came from the kitchen, went to the table to serve what the two hath ordered to them.

And as the dishes been served, Katrina asked Robert:
"I noticed that you usually ordered Breaded Porkchops and Pilaf for lunch."
"How come?" Robert said.
"Back before we met I see you alone ordering that food." Katrina said. "And you want it with more gravy."
"Huh?" Robert said. "Oh...okay. Then how about you?"
And Katrina replied:
"I usually order pasta, especially Gambero here in Galley."
"I see." Robert said, "Anyways, let's eat."

While eating, Robert asked:
"So what makes you busy besides academics?"
"Writing at 'The Sebastinian', part of the Cheering Squad..." Katrina said. "too many to mention."
"Sounds interesting." Robert said. "So you are like any other girls in the campus?"
"Maybe." Katrina said. "Why, what do you think about the campus scene?"
"Well," Robert said. "Nothing. Like any other school, loves sports, enjoys parties like any other well-off kid, open to today's trends..."
"What else?" Katrina said.
And Robert replied: "I just remember someone."
"I see," Katrina said. "By the way, seems that you love to draw."
"Yup," Robert said. "I love to draw, what made you take interest in my drawing?"
"I just saw your sketches when I first saw you here, besides at the library." Katrina said.
"Thanks for the compliment." Robert said. "I am just inspired lately to draw."
"Oh, I see...Um..." Katrina said. "I'm sorry to ask this, but...Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Before? Yes." Robert said. "Nowadays, I just focus on my paperworks."
And Katrina asked:
"Why?"
Robert then looked at Katrina, and replied:
"Not yet my time to love again."
"Huh?' Katrina said.
"I mean, painful memories. Three months of nonsense, she did not help me actually."
"Tsk..." Katrina said. "Quite saddening."
"It's okay with me." Robert said. "It's easier to break up with that person than sorry. Maybe it's not yet my time to love again. My entire life is in the struggle, and I put love in it."
Katrina simply nod on what Robert replied to her, and said:
"well, I'm just wondering that you are focused on paperworks, unlike other boys do."
Then Robert asked:
"How about you?"
"Yes." Katrina said. "But he's a jerk who focused too much on drinking sprees with his friends, like any other guys do, he doesn't even help me at all, but anyways, we separated last month."
"I see," Robert said. "What about your family background? Are they rich?"
"My family background?" Katrina said. "Well, I belong to a family of technocrats. My father's an economist, my mother's an accountant having a higher position in one of the companies within the corporate world. I just find their lives focused on their careers, almost forgetting family life while at the same time being perfectionists that costs a relationship between a parent to their children. You have comforts given their highly-paid lifestyles, but that's all. How about you?"
"Me?" Robert said. "I belong to a family of landlords, yet they value education and higher careers. Like you, they do have higher positions in the bureaucracy like dad, who happened to be in the Ministry of Public Information."
"And how about your mother?" Katrina said.
"Well, she's in the field of education." Robert said. "Teaching History."
"I see, " Katrina said. "But are they strict on you? Are they pressuring you to follow their careers?"
"Yes." Robert said. "Like any other bourgeois kids, parents like to have their kids as their assets, their second in line in their respective fields. I finished sociology in the school where your professor used to study, worked in a weekly newspaper for for a year, then this."
"I see," Katrina said. "Well, I am just a tourism student, a third year tourism student, soon to be graduating. And my parents are still pressuring me."
Robert simply smiled and replied:
"Well, at least, we enjoy our lives together without them, you enjoy writing in the campus paper, being in the cheering squad, enjoying the parties. What else do you think about me this time Katrina?"
"The papers and research works I presume?" Katrina said, along with a smile.


V

At a library-cafe at Calle San Sebastian, known by its name "the Wounded Heart", Robert, whilst sipping his coffee and reading his favourite Letov's, was waiting for Katrina. And in his table were papers he had edited out of Katrina's research drafts, most of which were for her thesis work in which he had took interest to read and edit upon.

An hour later, Katrina went to the bookshop where she saw Robert still reading his Letov. She then approached and poked him that made Robert looked and said:
"Oh! How are you Katrina?"
"I'm okay," Katrina said. "And you?"
"I'm fine." Robert said.
"Seems that you didn't eat at the Galley today." Katrina asked.
Robert smiled and replied:
"Just got preoccupied with reading here in my friend's library-cafe. By the way, your papers are at the table, you may get if you need it."
Katrina then gathered the papers and placed in her bag. She then looked at the cover of the book Robert's been reading and asked:
"What book is that?"
"'It's me, Eddie', by Eduard Limonov." Robert said.
"Eduard Limonov?" Katrina said. "Who is he? Is he like Dostoevsky or Gogol?"
"Hmm..." Robert said. "Somewhat he is."

Jeanne, as she saw the two from the office window, came out from her work just to meet them. Robert then greeted her and asked:
"So how's the 'Wounded Heart' going?"
"Fine." Jeanne said. "More books, more costumers, and more coffee to consume, and this Marie Jeanne Encanta has to work for more."
"Oh! By the way Jeanne", Robert said as she presented her friend. "Meet Katrina Mae Mendoza, a tourism student."
"Nice to meet you Jeanne." Katrina said.
"Nice to meet you too." Jeanne replied. "Just call me Jeanne instead."
Along with a handshake.
Katrina then faced Robert and said:
"By the way, I need to go back to school, and thanks for the papers for my thesis."
Robert then nod and said:
"Just pass it to your prof, if there's any problem, ask me."
Katrina then bid goodbye and left away.

Jeanne, after seeing Katrina leaving the building, seriously confronted Robert and asked:
"Well, so you are moving on with that girl you've been with?"
"I don't know." Robert said. "But she's interesting since the day we met, and we even enjoy each other's company at Captain's galley."
"How come?" Jeanne asked.
"I find her nice, understanding, beautiful." Robert said. "Why? What's wrong if she's with me, if not she's from the same school as yours years ago?"
"I see nothing wrong with it." Jeanne said.
"But seems that in your facial expression shows that you are immediately judging her on the first place." Robert said. "And since you said that there's nothing wrong being with her besides that I am helping for her thesis or in her academic work, just because she is interesting and good to be with does it mean she is like any other girl such as before?"
"So do you want to be with her then?" Jeanne said. "I know you have moved on from the past but..."
"What really makes you worry Jeanne?" Robert asked.
"I just don't want to see you unhappy like few years ago." Jeanne said. "For sure you remember your former girlfriend who doesn't even help you before. Do you remember she didn't visit you in your birthday? For sure you still remember her for the debt she didn't paid till you break up with her. She used you on the first place."
Robert nod on what Jeanne said to him and said:
"But Katrina is not like Cheka or any other person I have met those times."
"I know." Jeanne said. "But are you sure that girl is okay with you?"
"Look at what you see with her lately." Robert said. "She helped me, I helped her. What else do you ought to say about us anyway, that she is using me like what Cheka did two years ago?"
"Change can't be brought overnight Robert," Jeanne said. "No matter she is helping you, it does not mean she is supporting you or even us and the cause. And for sure despite forgetting that two years ago you are still recalling those painful memories such as Cheka leaving you for granted!"
And Robert simply nod on what Jeanne said to him whist sipping his coffee, and said:
"I have learned my lesson Jeanne. But I certainly hope that Katrina is not like any other person I have met in that school besides you."
Jeanne then replied:
"I am really, really, worried about you Robert, fine that you want to be with that girl, but in a petty bourgeois world comes a series of choices, but most chose to join what is convenient like your ex's."
Robert simply nod on what his buddy hath said, but he replied:
"But there's a time that she will think skeptically about anything around her."
Along with a sip of coffee.

Meanwhile, at her Social Science class, Katrina, in passing her papers, sought a drawing of her's in clipped in the papers Robert gave to her. She simply took it off that made Professor Rosendo asked:
"What's that miss Mendoza?"
"Um..." Katrina said. "nothing."
"Care to look?" The Professor asked.
Then Katrina showed Robert's sketch to her, that made the Professor asked:
"Hm... nice sketch, made by your boyfriend?"
"Nope." Katrina said. "Just a friend of mine."
Then the Professor said:
"Well, just keep it. Maybe he's inspired by you to draw that."

After her class, Katrina and her friends went to the Galley. While ordering their meal, Nicolai, one of her friends, asked Katrina:
"So are you prepared for the event tomorrow?"
"What event?" Katrina said.
"The student's night?" Nicolai said. "You forgot?"
"Oh!" Katrina said. "Yup. Why?"
Then Graciel said:
"A friend of mine will join with us, perhaps he'll see you there."
"Who?" Katrina said. "Another suitor to be?"
"No...no..." Graciel said. "But promise, he's better for you."
Then one of Graciel's friends came through the main door of the restaurant, somewhat smart looking yet flashy, enough to be recognised by the gang.
Graciel then said to Katrina:
"Kat, meet Franco Bahamonde."
Franco then offered his hand to Katrina for a Handshake, and said:
"Nice to meet you."
Katrina then shook his hand and said:
"Nice to meet you too. So you are the policeman Graciel has talking about?"
"Yes." Franco said. "I am assigned at the headquarters at UN Ave."
"I see." Katrina said.
"If you have any problem, just text or call me." Franco said.
Then Nicolai asked Franco:
"So how's being a Policeman?"
"Tough." Franco said as he looked at Katrina. "But good."
And Nicolai looked at Katrina and said:
"Seems that Franco is looking at you."
Then he asked Franco:
"So you like Katrina?"

However, Katrina, trying to disregard what they're talking about, saw Robert at the corner, sketching and waiting for his carbonara. She called him:
"Robert!"
Robert, as he heard Katrina's voice, approached them and said:
"Is there anything Katrina?"
Then Katrina said to her friends:
"Meet Robert. The guy who used to eat here and does research at the library."
"So these are the friends you are talking about?" Robert said. "Nicolai? Graciel? Carol? Alex?"
Nicolai then asked:
"So you must be the guy Kat is thinking about?"
"I don't know." Robert said. "Why?"
"Uhm... nevermind." Nicolai said.
"So... Robert," Katrina asked, "Are you open for tomorrow?"
"I don't know." Robert said. "There are so many tasks to do. Why?"
"I and my friends are inviting you to go to the party tomorrow." Katrina said.
"Um..." Robert said. "I'll think about it."
Then he returned to his table where Chef Alvin himself served the carbonara he ordered. The chef then looked at his sketches, and asked:
"Seems that I know whom are you sketching for."
And Robert simply nod in the chef's statement.


VI

Student's night.

Katrina, along with her friends were at the school in its festive mood. Like a party in the club, disco lights and techno music been blared at the quadrangle aside from picture takings and dancing.

But the festive mood inside the campus seemed to be countered by the noises outside, as the protesters, confronting the riot policemen, singing strongly and in full voices:

"...No more tradition's chains shall bind us,
Arise, you slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth will rise on new foundations:
We, who were nothing, shall be all!

But the party continued with its still in spite of the militant noises outside. Protesters continued singing, followed by speeches from various leaders from student and labor sectors, but after the last speaker finished his speech, riot policemen banged their truncheons as they marched towards them; some protesters felt cowed by the sound of truncheons being banged, but most seemed willing to confront the cops, even carrying stones, if not oil bombs to throw against them. The sound of the rave party had clashed together with the voices of militant struggle within the district.

And as the event finished with everybody in the festive mood, As Katrina left the school premises, she sought wounded protesters if not riot policemen chasing if not beating those whom being captured. Plackards bearing slogans full of hope and struggle were strewn in the road while other protesters had to ride in a jeepney trying to escape the onslaught given by the cops. A cop suddenly stopped her from walking at the pedestrian lane, that made the latter asked:
"Why sir? I'm not even part of them!"
She even took out her identification to show as she tried to unblock her way, but the policeman didn't believe her, and instead she had been arrested along with the others, and herded immediately at the police vehicle.

While on the police vehicle, Katrina sought wounded, if not avenging arrested activists sitting if not lying on the floor. One of them was screaming in agony because of the pain inflicted both by the truncheon and baton of the policemen. And out of mercy she had took out tissue from her bag and handed over to the wounded protester, trying to stop bleeding from the wounds given to him by the cops. The fumes coming from burning rubber tires continue to rise o'er the streets.

But as she stepped out of the vehicle, and went straight to the police station along with others, Franco, who happened to be a part of the riot police, sought her, and said:
"What's wrong Katrina?"
"I don't know," Katrina said. "They arrested me, mistaken for a protester in the street, I had even shown identification to the cop but instead he had put me on the van".
"Don't worry," Franco said. "I'll say to that person whom had arrested you, or even the superiors, that you aren't involved in the scene, so that you may free to go."
"Ok..ok." Katrina said, and she sat down on the bench along with the arrested others, followed by going to the prison cell waiting for "freedom".

Whilst waiting for release as promised, Katrina heard an activist reciting his poem while others were listening:

"In the darkness of the prison
Our hopes remained outstanding
'Gainst the man armed with the truncheon
And the system terrifying

Shackled in chains faced with tortures
Hatred casts in dark shadows
But despite the pain and sorrows
Casts off all those no remorse

But our sorrow soon comes anger
Will broke chains and comes disaster
Prison bars will break and killers
Will face justice by the avenger

With the red flag someday flying
Over barricades, all roads crossing
Call for freedom is worth singing
And our struggle everlasting"

And the poem was followed by some protest songs enough to keep their morale firm inside the prison cell.

The prison guard, felt disrupted from sleep in his desk had urged them to stop, but the imprisoned protesters continued singing songs aloud while other prisoners made noises in their cells. Katrina at first didn't mind what they're singing knowing that she's mistaken to be one of them, but seeing their unrepentance in spite of pain she eventually sung with the others, as well as trying to understood why they are fighting, and one of them asked her:
"Why are you here despite you aren't part of the protest action?"
"I don't know," Katrina said. "I just came from a school party. I tried to say to them that I am not a protester but still they put me here."
Suddenly, Pedro, one of he imprisoned protesters, said:
"As long as we are young and passionate they didn't understand us. You have afford to enjoy, but you still have a heart the way you gave a tissue to my wounded friend."
"I just did it out of compassion." Katrina replied. "Strange that at first I had to disregard altogether the reality, that I can afford things people matter most, only to see people willing to confront out of their common desire."
The protester simply nod on what Katrina hath said, and replied:
"Well, we hope that you understand why we fight, if you are mistaken by the police for a protester like us, then we apologize."
"No need," Katrina said. "I want to learn, I want to understand more."

And the imprisoned protester, along with others, smiled at her. For a few hours they discussed their situation, from being poor to why they are resorting to protest. Katrina Eventually they've been released after intervened by its paralegal team and protests outside, leaving alone and few imprisoned others with petty crimes.

Pedro and others bid Katrina goodbye, and said:
"If you want, we can help you release."
"No thanks," Katrina said. "I have to wait for my friends here, they promised me to visit and help me for my release."
"Okay." Pedro said. "See you again soon. Hope to be with us."


VII

After long hours of being confined in the prison cell alongside other detainees, the police called her for questioning. At first, Katrina thinks of it as a means to clear her given that her friend, a Policeman, will help secure her release. However, things turned different as instead of an office, she entered a dimly-lit room wherein two Cops were waiting with prepared questions.

And inside the interrogation room, the police grilled Katrina so relentlessly that despite asserting her innocence they couldn't believe in her.
"State your name." Says the interrogator.
"I am Katrina Mae Mendoza." Katrina said.
"Your age? Birthday?" The interrogator asked.
"19" Katrina said. "And I was born on November 9th"
The interrogator simply nods on her answer, and asked again: "Profession?"
"I am a third year college student at San Sebastian." Katrina said. "Taking up Tourism."
"Hm..." The interrogator said. "So you are a catholic schoolgirl then?"
"Yes." Katrina said.
Then the interrogator asked the first few questions he used for the captured activists:
"Tell us the names of your comrades."
"I don't know about those comrades." Katrina said. "I just came from a rave party at San Sebastian. Here's my ticket and my identification telling that I am part of that event."
Yet the interrogator cares not to believe in her words:
"You should better cooperate."
"I'm sorry but I am not part of that protest sir." Katrina said. "My friends can testify in it."
"You'll be in more trouble that you think if you can't state it all." The interrogator said. "You are captured on that scene on the first place."
Katrina, remained defiant, replied:
"Go on sir, make my day."

The interrogators can't extract everything from her about the recent protests given her innocence. Threats and rewards being said time to time that made the one typing her confession telling about everything from Katrina and to the cops who hath grilled her.

Then the interrogator asked:
"If you are from San Sebastian, then haven't you noticed that San Sebastian is also a hotbed of mass struggle?"
"I didn't notice that sir." Katrina said. "As I said a while ago, I just came from a rave party. That same day is also the day when that protest happened."
"But the way you speak does not make you from San Sebastian." The interrogator said. "Are you from Philippine College of Communism? Or from Stalin University?"
"It is you who say that." Katrina said. "Am I look like a communist?"
That question made another cop wanting to beat Katrina out by his rattan stick only to be stopped by another.
"Okay..okay..." Said the interrogator as he and others saw the futility of making a girl confess to being a "communist".

They just wrapped up the interrogation and the interrogator said:
"Okay miss, why not sign this paper and you will be under custody until your lawyer gets you out of jail."
"Jail?" Katrina said. "For what?"
"For being a communist!" The cop said. "And I don't even care for a woman like you in order not to be beaten out."
"Stop your bullshit 'mate!" Said the interrogator as he looked at his fellow policeman. "You scared her on the first place!"
"I will not sign that document." Katrina said. "As I said a while ago, I am not in that Rally. Your fellow cop mistaken me to be one of them. For sure you have seen my ticket, and my identification indicating that I am a student and a participant in a rave party inside the school."
"Blah...blah...blah..." Said the cop. "If I were you, I have to sign it or I'll be in jail for long."
"Sirs, isn't it that unconstitutional to sign a document by force?" Katrina said. "Besides that, I need a lawyer."
Then she tried to ask the other policeman if he knew about Franco Bahamonde, only to be replied with:
"He's at his break. Why?"
"He's a friend of mine." Katrina said. "He promised to help me release due to an arrest by mistake."
"Is that so?" The Interrogator said. "But we are here to help you release, let's just say, we represent him. He's also my friend and that guy too."
"He can tell you that I am part of the occasion at Bastê, at the party." Katrina said.
"But why are you arrested?" The interrogator asked. "And why are you here talking with us?"
Katrina didn't speak.
"I can shorten your sentence if you sign this document." The interrogator said as he looked at her appearance. "Besides that, you are beautiful to be mistaken for a communist."
Katrina was so flattered from those cheap words from an interrogator, and said:
"Still, I need a lawyer if not waiting for Franco to come here."
"Well," the interrogator said. "Until your lawyer or that Franco comes, you need to sign the document."

Katrina, paused a bit, seemed compelled so as to "get out of jail" with the interrogator's promise of freedom, then said:
"How can I even sign when I am cuffed at the back?"
The interrogator simply nods, and he ordered the cop to uncuff her.

The signing was about to materialise when Robert's friend, Atty. Rolando Solidarios, came. Happened to be a defence lawyer, "Ompong", as his friends called him, went to the room and asked:
"What's happening here? And what's this all about?"
"We just captured a communist". Said the interrogators.
"What communist?" Ompong said. "Who is this communist you are talking about?"
"Right here, sir." the interrogator said, pointing his finger at Katrina.
"That girl is a communist?" Ompong said. "Look at her! She is too beautiful to be a communist! That girl's even too rich to be a communist! Remove her handcuffs, set her free, or else..."
The policemen, felt the fiscal's strong order, end compelled to set the girl free. Afterwards, the student and the lawyer immediately went out of Jail. Outside, Ompong then said to Katrina:
"I was called by your friend about this."
"Who?" Katrina said. "Franco Bahamonde?"
"No." Ompong said.
Then Robert came and asked:
"How is Katrina?"
"I'm okay." Katrina said. "So you're the one who freed me? How do you know about this?"
"A friend of mine who was freed from prison a day ago talked to me about you, he told me that you are wrongly imprisoned. By the way, are these policemen trying to press you for charges?"
"Yes." Katrina said. "I don't know why they couldn't believe me. By the way, thanks for setting me free."
"By the way," Robert said. "Atty. Ompong is a good friend, I asked him for your immediate help after I have heard your problem there."
Katrina simply nod on his message, and said:
"I thought a friend of mine who is a policeman would help me for this. In fact, no one even my Family would afford to help set me free after long hours of being imprisoned without any reason besides this."
"Forget about it." Ompong said. "You may go home. I can tell your parents that you are with your friends to avoid another problem."
"Okay." Katrina said.


VIII

The arrest and the prison experience few months ago had made a once comforted girl really felt the change. Although she maximised her time and energy to studies and extracurricular activities, she seemed interested more in studying the society like her friend who had met in the restaurant a year ago. She knew that few of her friends, be it Graciel or Mina on the block section, or even Carol from the cheering squad remained friends with her while most, especially those who made her "famous", had made her an object of intrigue given her experience in the jail for hours out of a mistaken arrest.

Katrina was able to use dance practises from the cheering squad, if not drinking sprees from her friends, as alibis for long meetings, discussion groups, and various forms protest actions be it at Plaza Miranda or at Mendiola. Robert seemed surprised to see her in one of the meetings if not asking various questions a typical bourgeois dare to ask. These involvements gave her a sense of fulfillment, the feeling that despite her upper class upbringing, she was being of help to her people, contributing a little to their struggle "for national and social liberation", and their desire to express their democratic aspirations. The combination of research work, educational discussions, marches, and various forms of actions have lent an idea for her remolding, enough to raise the red lantern to guide the willing and perhaps the backward.

The next day, Katrina, while listening to her professor on French, was interrupted by Graciel, and asked:
"So any plans for tomorrow?"
"None." Katrina said. "Mostly at home. I feel so alone and left out."
"Nevermind about it." Graciel said. "Why not let's have a coffee instead?"
Then Katrina simply nod on her friend's suggestion. However, the professor sought the two and made asked Katrina:
"Ms. Mendoza?"
"Oui Monsieur?" Katrina asked as she stood up.
"Vous s'il vous plaît lire à la page 35?" Said the professor.
Then the girl read what the professor said to her.

After the class, Katrina was approached by Carol, and asked:
"Seems that you aren't practising lately don't you?"
"Yes." Katrina said. "Been busy these past few months."
"Carol simply nod on her answer, then asked:
"If not mistaken, are you invited at the party tonight?"
"Ya," Katrina said. "But I have decided not to go."
"Why?" Carol said. "Is there anything wrong?"
"For sure you know about the situation." Katrina said. "Enough for me not to join the event besides decided to lie low from the cheering squad."
Carol nod at first, then said:
"But, who's gonna train the new ones?"
"I know you can." Katrina said. "I have to self-reflect for now besides focusing on academics and the paper. In fact, I also felt troubled on what should I focus through given my schedule. And I still can't get over on why am I not being freed by Franco."
"Sometimes, Franco is preoccupied with his task as a policeman." Carol said. "Why the worry? Look are you, you are at school! For sure Franco will issue an apology about your problem months ago."
Katrina then replied:
"No. He is such a show-off. He's like any other jerk yet can't even help. And do you know who helped me out of that cell? Of having me interrogated if not trying to sign a paper enough to frame me up?"
"Who?" Carol asked.
"The guy who used to be at the galley. Thanks to him, he immediately sent his lawyer-friend of his to free me from that situation." Katrina said. "Franco failed in his promise, while that guy who happened to be sitting at the corner, reading his books, sipping coffee, had helped me get out."
"So what's the relation of that experience and resigning?" Carol asked.
"I need to reflect besides focusing on academics, otherwise, ask those who seemed wanting me to expel for they talk bad issues about me." Katrina said. "By the way, I have to go, maybe let's meet at the library cafe instead tomorrow."
And she left away. Leaving her friend thinking what goes on with her.

As she went outside school, Katrina went to "The Wounded Heart" only to saw Robert reading Eduard Limonov's "The Other Russia" in the sofa. Atty. Ompong and Professor Rosendo, and some of their friends were also there on the other table discussing important matters.
There she approached her friend, gave a pat in the shoulder that made Robert looked at her and asked:
"So what brings you here?"
"If not mistaken," Katrina said. "You called me to go here after class."
"Oh I forgot." Robert said.
Then Professor Rosendo looked at her and asked:
"Oh Ms. Mendoza, so you know Robert don't you?"
"Yes." Katrina said. "I met him at the Galley months ago."
Then the professor asked Robert:
"So is this the girl you are talking about?"
"Who?! Who?!" Robert jokingly said.
And everybody laughed about it. Then the professor said:
"Well, perhaps shall we start by going to the office as according to our friend ms. Encanta?"
Then they all went inside with Robert at its last, for he locked the main door of the cafe with the sign "sorry we're closed" being shown.

Inside the office, Professor Rosendo asked Katrina:
"So how are you this afternoon?"
"I'm okay." Katrina said. "Although I still can't get over with that goddamn prison experience."
"What made you can't get over?" The professor asked.
"Being imprisoned without any reason, of not being helped by friends, of disregarding my innocence what more of being accused of being part of those events that eventually I understood thanks to those who really faced the problem and why they fight against it." Katrina said.
"Hm..." Professor Rosendo said. "Sounds reasonable for a girl who typically lives in comfort."
"In fact, while inside for hours, talking with those imprisoned protesters made me clear that the protests in the streets are necessary to assert the agenda of the people. Or am I sound like one of them?" Katrina asked.
"Not really." Professor Rosendo said. "I still remember you statement that today's culture as all but confusing if not exploitative in its very nature. What more of this society as you actually observe why people fight."
Katrina simply nod on the professor's statement.
"But, in order to create change, this country needs people capable of asserting a common aspiration. Of having land for the landless, jobs for the jobless, national and social liberation in other words. What do you think?"
"I certainly agree about this." Katrina said. "Or perhaps I am willing to throw an oil bomb for this."
"And since you agree about what your professor said," Robert asked. "Are you willing to be part of it?"
"Why not?" Katrina said to them.
"Well, in fact," Robert said. "I, atty. Ompong, and your Professor, as well as others here, are members of the special group known as 'The Red Orchestra'. And we are here to organise the people in the city against the system and asserting people's rights."
"How come?" Katrina asked. "You don't even look like armed men; you even look neat. Are we arming with tech gadgets?"
Robert smiled and said:
"We came from various sectors of the society. We happened to be well to do, yet we are binded by a common cause such as to overthrow the junta and to bring freedom to the people. For sure you heard about the 'Philippine Liberation Movement'?"
"I heard it in the news about it, and seen its graffitis." Katrina said.
"I see," Robert said. "The Red Orchestra is part of that group, but specifically, we are trying to build contacts, gather intelligence, and undertake support for the people on the countryside."
"What countryside?" Katrina asked.
"For sure you heard about the 'National Peoples Army' and its urban counterpart, the 'November 9 Movement' in the news." Professor Rosendo said. "These armed groups has made numerous offensives even in this so-called 'State of Emergency' under this military dictatorship."
"I heard about it." Katrina said. "Mostly in news, in the radio, about captured members and military men killed by these fighters in the provinces."
Then Jeanne came, saw Katrina, and asked curiously:
"So Katrina, what brings you here?"
"I used to visit here, if not your friend of mine invited me here in the cafe." Katrina said.
"What else?" Jeanne asked.
"Well," Katrina strongly said. "I came to join the struggle. I can write manifestos, conduct research, organise people, and if possible, I am willing to take the gun."
Then Robert, confronting at Jeanne, said:
"Is there anything wrong about Katrina? In fact, we are talking about her joining the movement. Why not just give her a chance to show who she really is?"
"I see," Jeanne said as she looked at Katrina. "Seems that Robert is right about you. Preferring to be called witty than pretty."
Katrina then smiled at Jeanne and replied:
"Thanks for the compliment ms. Encanta. Robert did help me in my research work for some time, and made me help in making aware about the society."
Then Robert said to Jeanne:
"What brings you here in this meeting?"
"I am here to help Katrina." Jeanne said. "I can help her in her research work, and perhaps, acting as full-time organiser at Baste."
Professor Rosendo then faced Jeanne and said:
"Jeanne, if you want, I will refer you to my friend who is a member of the Recollect order. Certain members of the group 'Christians for National Liberation' are also there to help you in organising the students and the laity against the dictatorship."
"But," Jeanne said, "How about Katrina?"
"Katrina," Professor Rosendo said, "Make articles on 'The Sebastinian' about the crisis as well as the recent protests to make the paper given an idea on social issues."
However, Robert disagreed on what the Professor suggested, and said:
"Why not make a manifesto instead and be distributed as leaflets? Haven't we forgot that 'The Sebastinian' is controlled by the administration? It may find it difficult to publish such works knowing that the paper goes under scrutiny, specially coming from those priests. Look at their articles!"
And he showed a recent copy of 'The Sebastinian' to the professor. Katrina then nod and said:
"I agree on what Robert said. We may insert certain articles. But on the other hand, whom should I get contact with the allies within the Recollect order?"
"Jeanne will help you for that, or even Maurice, I mean Mr. Rosendo who happened to have contacts from our friends from the clergymen." Robert said. "Just be careful."
Along with a warm embrace and he whispered:
"Be careful my dear."
Then Professor Rosendo asked Katrina:
"So what will be your alias?"
"Sandra." Katrina said. "Sandra Bustamante."

IX

While at the office, Prof. Rosendo sat at his desk and curiously asked:
"Sorry to ask this, but what made you and Robert know each other?"
"Well," Katrina said. "I was at the restaurant when I first met him. He was talking with his chef-friend when he looked at me. At first I find it awkward, but he apologised after and returned to his writing work. If I remember, that the table where he used to stay lies some books, papers, and I find it amusing. And days later, I saw him again at the library, having a research and lecture with some students. As they left, I approached to meet and talked to each other. There we became friends."
"Oh I see," Professor Rosendo said. "But besides that, did he go to your campus?"
"If not mistaken," Katrina said. "He used to be in an event inside the school's assembly hall, a forum if not mistaken, about socio-economic issues. Long before I met him. He's quite outspoken but since I used not to be like these I just disregard it."
"I see." Professor Rosendo said. "So you were not much interested in those serious topics back then. I just find it strange that you end having friends with that writer. In fact, he had friends in that school where you're studying. Once had a girlfriend, almost had a fistfight with a bully, there so many stories about his life in visiting San Sebastian the way he visited the University Belt."
"Ow..." Katrina said.
And Professor Rosendo asked:
"And if not mistaken, you used to sing and dance am I right?"
"Yup." Katrina said. "I used to be a part of a cheering squad back then. But I gave up and focused on writing at 'The Sebastinian' if not most of the time studying lessons since I am in my last few semesters before graduation."

"Well anyways," Professor Rosendo said. "since you are now with the struggle, and having the talent to write, are you prepared to guide the youth and students? Are you willing to fight alongside the people and against the system?"
Katrina just simply nod on his question, and replied:
"Yes. Why am I here anyway?"
Armando simply smiled at her, and replied:
"Well then, here's the typewriter, type it on."

And Katrina started to type her first statement:

"Nothing is so unworthy of a progressive nation as allowing its own people be contented in its repression. To be governed with injustice, to live in fear, especially by an irresponsible clique who afforded to babble progress and order.

That, despite alleged rising economic rates, modern buildings, modern stuff, everything that makes a nation progressive, age old injustices remain. Days ago, protests against rising prices of commodities end in bloodshed, earlier, protests for land and social justice led to a series of scuffles, is this what everyone call progressive?

The legislature has nothing to do except to babble, otherwise, they truly represent a class that benefits from the backs of the oppressed. And if people chose to remain contented with all the fantasies this so-called system has created and offered, of what is freedom, justice, democracy to fight for?

I do belong to a class who doesn't even care about this, but reality compels me to say that this person had enough of this illusion. Soon or later the sound of revolution coming from the countryside and factory will be heard strongly throughout the city. If earlier we don’t care much about, if not complain about the messages sprayed over innocent walls, maybe it's time to understand why are they fighting against the order.

After all, deep inside, we are all victims of repression if not our silence. It's now time to fight alongside them."

Along with her nom the guerre as its signatory.

And she took off the paper from the typewriter and gave it to the Professor. The latter find it amusing for a girl to make a draft for a leaflet, and said:
"Hmm...Where do you get those thoughts?"
And Katrina, looking at Paul through the mirror, said:
"Him."
"Who's him?"
"At your back."
And Professor Rosendo looked at Robert, abit surprised, and said:
"Oh! So it's Robert! I'm sorry, so it's him whom you got the idea in your writeup?"
"Well," Robert said. "It seems that the former cheerleader has cheered us for our cause."
Katrina then looked back at Robert, approached, gave an embrace and asked:
"How is the protest? Is everyone safe? Did the policemen arrest most of us?"

Robert didn't answer, but instead simply caressed Katrina's head. The draft had been risographed afterwards as three rims of paper hath being copied through the machine.


X

The next day, Katrina and Jeanne carried their suitcases as they enter the campus. In the building, where classes were still in session, they set about putting down stacks of leaflets near classroom doors. As time continues to run fast, the two continued to place every rim in every corner, climbed the staircase to the top floor, and in a "Sophie Scholl" fashion, Katrina flung the last remaining leaflets into the air while Jeanne guards her for possible onlookers.

And as the bell rung and students came out of their rooms, the two briskly walked out of the area and went to the library. They were lucky that no one looked at them doing their action. Students, professors, everyone including the friars inside the campus sought and picked a copy of the statement scattered from hall if not beside the door. Guards were quite surprised that they were being reprimanded later for being lax in monitoring the school premises that made a "mess" such as those of scattered leaflets full of subversive messages.

As everyone grab a copy of the statement, Katrina and Jeanne simply went to the restroom where they left their suitcases at the corner and afterwards went to the library, staying near the shelves until Graciel saw Katrina and asked:
"Seems that you're spending here in the library."
Katrina simply nod and said:
"I see nothing wrong reading books. Why?"
"Um..." Graciel said. "Nothing. By the way, do you have a copy of your assignment?"
"Nope." Katrina said. "I don't know if we have an assignment to pass today."
Then Graciel gave to Katrina a paper and said:
"After you finish this just give to me to copy it."
"Okay." Katrina said.

As Graciel left, Jeanne then asked Katrina:
"Seems that you forgot to make your assignment."
"Yes." Katrina said. "And perhaps I have to do this immediately."
Then Jeanne looked at her watch and said to Katrina:
"Ow, I have to go. See you around."
And Jeanne left away leaving Katrina searching some books for her assignment to deal with.


XI

On the morning of November 9th, Robert woke up from his sleep when he heard a radio broadcast via shortwave. As he had a presentiment about the issue, he seriously listened to a short wave radio as the message says:

"The state of siege has been broken! Spontaneous protests against the military junta has gone mad as students, peasant and workers organisations, converged at the main thoroughfares protesting against the rulers of the country. Many of them are beaten by the riot police only to be responded by oil bombs..."

Robert felt amazed to hear the news about the protests, and even called his colleagues through the phone as he felt the excitement yet different from a surprise. Not because of what the two had presupposed has been realised, but the fact that with all the crisis and repressions, of what are the actions taken by the junta if instead arouse anger? True that the it was natural for the sentiments be realised through the protest, and lucky that as the station afforded to broadcast the news the entire nation must have felt the growing tremor of people's anger as they tune into their radio sets.
But although it is quite astonishing, it is also felt concerning as there are people who end wounded in the scuffle against the policemen. If not for the eagerness of the latter to raise their sticks and push everyone with their truncheons, it would end rather peaceful; but with the stubbornness of the system through a "state" known for countless repressions, perhaps "the dark clouds came on the people's behalf so are the storms" as the elders described.

But, as he heard the doorbell ringing, Robert immediately went down, opened the door, and sought Katrina, along with her friend, Carol, who seemed injured from a run. Katrina then asked:
"Is it okay to bring her here for awhile?"
"Sure." Robert said.
Then he helped her friend out from the apartment door to the living room. Whilst carrying Carol, he asked Katrina:
"Why's she injured? Training?"
"No." Katrina said. "Been running away from the riot police due to the protest earlier."
"I see." Robert said. "It's good that both of you got out from the scuffle. You may rest here for a moment. Sorry if the place seemed to be filled with books and papers."
"It's alright." Carol said. "So you are the Robert Katrina is talking about?"
And Robert simply nod at her question.

And while Katrina was preparing lunch at the kitchen, Robert was organising his books at the living room. Carol, sitting, asked:
"Seems that you love reading don't you?"
"Yup." Robert said. "The way you love dancing."
"So Robert, are you with Katrina?" Carol said.
"Nope." Robert said. "We're just friends."
"So you are here alone?" Carol asked.
"Yup." Robert said. "Although sometimes I go home, at my parents in Sta. Ana."
"I see." Carol said.
"Well," Robert said. "I have to go to the kitchen for a moment."

Robert then went to the kitchen and helped Katrina preparing for lunch. While helping, he asked:
"Kat, thank god you are safe. how's the protests there?"
"It turned out to be a battle like any other action. However, our friends are able to resist as they retreat."
"But," Robert asked. "How do you know my place?"
"Don't you remember you gave to me your address?" Katrina said.
"Oh I forgot." Robert said. "Anyways, it's good that you came at the right place. If not, both of you be arrested haha."
"Those damn policemen." Katrina said. "Just find them eager to arrest if not to beat us out. We've been tired after running, and Carol got tripped and fall down. Thank god we got here."
"By the way," Robert said. "Tomorrow will be a forum and you are one of it's speakers. Is it okay?"
"Sure." Katrina said. "And where's the venue?"
"Glorietta de Manila." Robert said.
"Oh!" Katrina said. "Okay."
"Hope to see you there." Robert said. "Anyways, let's bring out food at the living room and start our lunch with Carol."


XII

Glorietta de Manila. November 10th. 5:00 P.M.

Entering the hall, everyone encountered a warm, stiffling aroma of beer and tobacco. The hall was hot. A lively roar of voices filled the hall. People were packed in tightly. Then the speakers reached the podium only with difficulty. Katrina sat beside Robert as the forum "On the 'Philippine Crisis'" been started. And every speaker did tackle about the status of the country, be it economics, politics, even culture, anything to justify the society as contrary to what the system been trying to show with.

But as the lecture paved way into a forum, a spectator first asked Robert:
"How com amidst arrests the protests continue? And how come most of you bear red flags? Aren't you scared about the repercussions coming from the Police especially a policy such as 'Calibrative Preemptive Response'?"
"To answer your question, it may sound almost mythological that the protests against the rotten order meant a dawn of a new era for the country." Robert said to the spectators. "With the blood red flag rose on the hands of the masses, a light has been shown over the darkness the system has created. If the system afforded to beat them before, these fighting people continue to rise and fight against them. The red flag continues to fly in their march, if not in their barricade, in their factory, in their community. Let's help them the way we say 'we are tired of repression both in your campus and in our streets!"
Although some afforded to clap and others waved their flags, Mocking laughter was the answer from the others. Insults flew toward the platform from every corner of the room. People growled and screamed and raged, such as  her friend, Nicolai, happened to be one of the audience, stood up from his seat and arrogantly asked:
"But how? Aren't we supposed to be focused in our academics? Much more that most students here are rich and afford to enjoy as long as we are young. Life at school life has less to do with liberation what more of revolution."
Then he pointed his finger at Katrina and said:
"You're even a candidate for laude honours, so why not focus your efforts more in your studies instead?  Its their problem on the first place! Look at you? You're even a rich, and you are supporting these people? Why not start a charity? Why not give them groceries the way Maria Llanes did?"
Then Katrina rose from her seat at the table and strongly replied:
"All of us are silent while outside we hear their noises, where were you on the day these people almost killed at the scuffle? Are our hearts and minds silent in these issues despite having this school near that goddamn street leading to hell? Yes, we want to finish our studies, but it does not mean we have to hinder our education such as the willingness to support the people's interests. Yes, I belong to a well to do family, but I and you are part of this goddamn society that made this school putting its effort to make us well rounded and capable of spearheading change, including what you said, liberation and revolution."
But despite what Katrina truly spoke from her heart about her views, some of the audience babble: “don’t get all worked up, little girl,” and made other jokes about her, describing her as a "prisoner by mistake", that somehow made the girl point her fingers on the person and asked:
"Well then, since this prisoner by mistake been here discussing, then what do you understand about this lecture-forum then?"
"Does it make you an activist then?" arrogantly asked Nicolai. "I only remember about you is that besides academics and the cheering squad, you drink and make parties, and now this? You are just wasting your time fighting!"
Katrina then smiled and replied:
"No wonder why there are jerks and assholes as if self-righteous yet in fact it is not. Nicolai, and to those who did not even afford to help this person freed me from jail after being arrested by mistake, where were you?"
Jeers has been pointed at Nicolai and the others, as Katrina further said:
"Perhaps, it is my choice to understand the people especially after I seen the protests, if not talking with the imprisoned activists on why they fight. Good to hear that some of us afforded to have good education, that we enjoy our lives, but how about the million others who are destitute? Who are hungry? Living in fear? You even studied in a school whose outside is full of beggars in the streets, but instead you rather brag about your car and how you spend time at parties be it at Makati or Tomas Morato; I see nothing wrong about your lifestyle, but the way you see the people like here in this forum as if bullshit? It makes people think you are disgust as the system is."
Everyone suddenly understood her statement, then Katrina, with her microphone in hand, shouted with a left fist:
"Smash the system, Freedom for the People!"
And everyone changed their initial moods as they clapped on the statement. Nicolai looked back at Alex and said:
"Katrina has really changed a lot. I don't even understand why she babble these?"
And he left away. But since he felt his ego beaten by a girl's strong statement, he looked back, returned, and trying to go to the rostrum just to disrupt the session, only to be booed, pulled, and even knocked him away by the people themselves. Katrina and the rest then shouted:
"Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!"

After the forum, and everyone had packed up and went out of the hall, Robert then said to Katrina:
"A prisoner by mistake that became a muse fighting for the people's sake."
"Is that so?" Katrina said.
"Why not?" Robert said.
"Anyways," Katrina said. "We have more work to do."
"But..." Robert said. "How about let's have a drink for a moment?"
"Sure why not?" Katrina said.


XIII

While at Troika, and with the music of Kliche's "Masselinjen" played, Robert and Katrina were drinking craft beer brought from the bar. And like any other drinking pals,  they enjoyed chatting as they continue drinking the home made ale enough for a respite from a week of work. 

Robert, as he looked at Katrina drinking her beer, felt so mesmerised by her recognisable beauty that made the latter looked at him and asked:
"What?"
"Um...nothing." Robert said as he opened another bottle. "I felt so mesmerised by your beauty. Sorry if I care to look."
"Why sorry?" Katrina said. "Its okay, least you appreciate who am I. Besides that, we've been friends for a year, so why not let's drink to that!?"
And the two raised their bottles, and Katrina said:
"Cheers!?"
"For our coming victory." Robert replied.
Along with a clink of their bottles.

"Kat," Robert asked. "Is it okay to say that..."
"What?" Katrina said.
"Um.." Robert said. "Nevermind."
"Don't be shy." Katrina said.
Robert cleared his throat and asked:
"Is it okay to say that I love you?"
"How come?" Katrina asked. "You're drunk."
"I'm serious." Robert said. "I do really love you."
"Well," Katrina said. "Tell me why."
"The fact is that, from the day I met you, it seems that I am felt inspired by your beauty, however, I also think twice since you are one of the recognised face in the campus, that you are adored by the boys, while I am just simply sitting at the corner, writing, reading, and perhaps drawing you in every sheet of paper." Robert said. "However, as we meet each other, talk, enjoy, I felt more than the beauty they used to admire you, and its because you are kind, intelligent, adventurous kind of girl that perhaps I idealise with."
"Really? Thank you then." Katrina said. "But there are so many girls in Bastê, in UP, or even the movement, but why me?"
Robert smiled at her, and said:
"Why should I look at others if there's Katrina Mae Mendoza in this place?"
"But how about Jeanne?" Katrina said. "For sure she will get negatively about this. Besides that, she seemed beautiful, she's been in the movement for years, why not her?"
"Jeanne?" Robert said. "She's more of a sister figure to me, besides that, she has a boyfriend already."
"Is that so?" Katrina asked.
"Ask her." Robert said. "She has a boyfriend already, a skater; and she has a daughter from that guy. In other words, they're in a live-in relationship."
Katrina, abit drunk, simply nod on his reply, and after drinking another bottle of craft beer, she look at the paintings, and said:
"Quite rare to see a gentleman in a world full of jerks."
Robert then asked:
"How come?"
"Well, reality bites. I remember those times people be like admiring or even befriending someone only to treat them like fools." Katrina said.
And she looked at Robert, she further said: "But obviously? Of all the boys I met, perhaps you really seemed nice to be with. You happened to be serious in your work, if not waiting for someone to be with."
"Like who?" Robert said.
"Me?!" Katrina said. "Here I am. The one whom you ask if I am okay to say that you love me."
"Just like few years ago?" Robert said. "Of dark chocolate milk when you were lonely if not Oranges when you were sick?"
"Yup." Katrina said. "Dark Chocolate Milk and Oranges."
Along with a kiss.


XIV

As Katrina's time had been devoted both into academics and the struggle, her friends found her most of the time writing, studying, if not at the rallies in the streets and discourse at the shop. Her internship in a travel agency referred by Robert did create some help for the "Red Orchestra" with some technical work such as writing for the underground and currying support from the so-called "middle forces" sympathised with the struggle.
However, most of her time seemed devoted to cultural work at Troika. Unlike her past days, Troika means music and poetry sessions, especially with Robert who also loved to write poems and be given melodies through interesting yet unfamiliar songs.

One day, after her work, he went to Robert's place where she sought him writing a poem. With the song played by Naomi Shemer played in the turntable. She then approached and asked:
"Robert, so you're making a poem?"
"Yup." Robert said. "And trying to make it singable to that tune."
"From a Jewish song?" Katrina said.
"Why not?" Robert said. "It doesn't matter if the melody was made by a Jew, perhaps because the melody seemed nice."
"Oooh..." Katrina said.
"Will you sing it?" Robert asked.
"Why me?" Katrina said.
"Um..." Robert said. "I just find it better for a girl to sing that like Naomi Shemer, and perhaps I found it through you!"
Katrina then smiled and she sat beside him. She corrected some of her friend's work, and with her good voice, she sung it pretty well with Robert playing its melodies through the piano.  The latter find it pleasing to hear her singing his own work, whose tunes being borrowed from an old Jewish tune.

And on the next day, with everyone enjoying beer inside Troika, Katrina then sat at the stage seat, played a guitar, and sung a poem whose borrowed melody came from the late Naomi Shemer:

"My love, who used to from afar
I greatly miss you as I am inspire
Through you, you gave me hope and strength
As I face my foes creeping from the dark
I want to shout your name to the skies and to the stars
Whose glow will lead to you and to your lonesome heart
For I greatly missed your warm embrace and your loving kiss
Enough to bring me ease and bliss

My love, whose concern is undaunt
Unwavering beauty tempered with thy strength
Like roses whose petals and thorns
Whose colour red is the colour of blood when bled
Through caverns, trenches, to the hills and in the dusty ways
Carrying your memories for it will never lead me astray
Make me inspire through you whose love enough to surely miss
Enough to bring me ease and bliss

My love, enough to be refuge
In endless battles companion worth true
Amongst thy colleagues and friends called
I know you're willing for reply is sure
Somewhere in the depths of the night and someone intent lies
Together we will put an end this treacherous blight
Make me inspire through your love just like this song I sing
And a promise of hope worthy bring"

People find it amusing to hear a beautiful girl singing a somewhat "love song", while Robert, as he heard her loving voice singing his work, wept.

Then on the final part, Katrina stood up and said:
"Let's stand up and join with me!"

And everybody sung the final part of Robert's poem:

"Woe upon them We'll fight,
Woe upon them to end their break;
Woe upon them who seeks our lives to take!"

Everyone clapped as Katrina finished her song. Robert, after wiping his teary eyes, then approached Katrina, gave roses, a warm embrace, and a whisper:
"Thanks for singing my work."
Followed by a kiss in her cheek.


XV

"It seems that everything is well-prepared these days."

Said Katrina to her "comrade-boss" as she finished her Internship yet  focused heavily in supporting the underground by means of paperworks in a company owned by a sympathyser.
Like her earlier task, with a typewriter if not a laptop computer to type, a printer to print and a mimeograph or photocopier to copy, her task seemed nothing to do with her course as a tourism student, but rather supporting the cause with all the paperworks and helping comrades in their "infromation gathering" amidst the enemy's attempts to crack the Red Orchestra-November 9th Movement only to be replied by its Armed City Partisans.

At one day, jeepney and bus drivers, led by a drivers group "PISTON" staged a strike to protest the increase of five pesos in oil prices. The Ministry of Energy as well as the Ministry of trade and Industry tried to lessen the situation, with some press releases justifying their neoliberal reluctance to their demands as well as a call for negotiations.
however, the drivers, as well as the workers from the Republic Telecommunications Company (RETELCOM) who happened to be not given a decent wage and its administrator's failure to adhere in its collective bargaining agreements, joint together and called for a notice of strike.

As Katrina went out of school, supposedly to meet her friends, she sought drivers, urban poor, as well as workers of RETELCOM marched from Recto to Mendiola. Like any other event, there were riot policemen prepared as if in a state of paranoia, with all their truncheons and swagger sticks facing these people armed with placards, streamers, flags, and their voices chanting against the price hikes and for wage increase.

That somehow made the maiden went through and interact with them. She sat on the asphalt road like all the other protesters, listening to their leaders voicing out their grievances in front of the policemen as well as from the people around Mendiola. She even talked to a striking worker, who happened to be a former Sebastinian who end stopped from school and instead working in the establishment for two years yet having low wages and insufficient benefits.

However, after the speech and of singing their final protest song, the riot police under the Metropolitan Command charged with their intention to break the demonstration "right away." Truncheons and swagger sticks clashed with flags and placards, pillboxes and stones with tear gases that made most run if not trying to save their beaten colleagues out of the scuffle.

At the height of the battle, Katrina, as well as few of the striking workers and drivers, with the riot police in hot pursuit, rushing into a protestant church under the "Desciples of Christ" in Gastambide. As the policemen trying to enter the premises in search of the protesters, the pastor, who happened to be at his office and looked at them through the window, went through and faced the men in uniform. Katrina then followed the clergyman as the latter asked:
"What brings you in this sanctuary?"
"We are here to arrest these people who entered here lately." Said the officer whilst pointing his swagger stick to the door, whose inside were the protesters who trying to seek refuge in the church.
Then the pastor said:
"Who are they on the first place? Did they done something wrong?"
"There are lawbreakers inside." The officer said. "Protesters".
"I did see people inside, but I did not see malicious nor any unlawful action coming from them." The pastor said. "Or is there any order having these people be arrested?"
The officer, sensing that he's talking to a priest, had nothing to say, and instead they immediately backed off from the church premises.
The pastor then looked back, went inside the worship hall, sought at the exhausted protesters, and asked:
"What brought you here?"
"May I speak on behalf of them?" Katrina said.
"Yes you may." The professor said.
"These people happened to voice out their grievances when these policemen simply attacked them." Katrina said. "For sure sir you know about the joint strike of the jeepney and bus drivers as well as workers from RETELCOM?"
"I heard of it," the Pastor said. "Sounds unfair for these people nowadays especially that they worked hard. I have a statement coming from the drivers union opposing the price hike and the oil deregulation law."
The people seemed quite agreed on what the pastor said.
"They happened to be exhausted after that action that made them enter your church." Katrina said. "Sorry if we enter here."
"No worries." The pastor said.
Then he had them enter the kitchen where he filled a glass of water for the exhausted. He then asked one of them:
"What made you march and vent grievances there?"
"We just want a fair share." A worker from RETELCOM said. "However, my bosses failed to adhere on the collective bargaining agreement. But instead we just being given threats of termination."

The pastor simply nodded on the worker's message, then replied:
"Well, for now you are safe here. You may rest for a moment."
The people then expressed thanks for letting them stay at the church's kitchen. Katrina then followed the pastor to his office and curiously asked:
"Sir, are you from the 'Promotion of Church People's Response?'"
"How do you know that?" The pastor asked.
"I had seen you before in a rally." Katrina said.
"I see." The pastor replied. "I am a member, and you are?"
"I am from PIGLAS, a group in San Sebastian." Katrina said.
"Oh I see." The pastor said.
And Katrina whispered:
"And by the way, I am from the Red Orchestra."

The Pastor simply nod on what the maiden said, and asked:
"So are you related to Robert Paul?"
And Katrina simply nod on his question.
"Well," the pastor said. "Say regards to your friend. By the way, I am Lisandro Bocobo, just call me Leslie."
"Okay sir Leslie." Katrina said.

Such experience from that protest she had "sat in" and heard their statements has made Katrina, facing the typewriter, making another statement using her "Sabrina Bustamante" as her signatory:

"It seems that only remaining ray of light in the cultural wilderness of today's society is the colleges and the universities, and this time the system has wanted to take it out same as those from the factories and in the streets just for the sake of "order" and "stability".

As it was in the past, it seems that the system has willing enough to shed its pretensions of democratic processes like what happened against the workers and drivers who happened to be struggling against fare hikes and for wage increases.

And this time, as the youth has trying to break away from the cycle and getting aware on what's going on in their society, the system has trying to block them over in a way they want to keep the youth in their child-like conditions, "enjoying in their imaginative happiness" than be enlightened by the realities as any other countries do. Most have not yet aware on the increasing prices, on the increasing repression and censorship, and if the system afforded to block freedom inside colleges and universities, what kind of "peace", "reform", "restructuring" and even "freedom" has the present society has taken pride about?

The peace the system wanted is the tranquility of the cemetery.

The reform they have insisted is the one that benefits the ruling compador and landlord class and not the labouring masses

The restructuring being babbled is those of layoffs of workers, if not contractualisation and seasonal employments

And Freedom? Freedom to exploit the people, all in the name of progress the ruling classes has benefited.

Such realities has made the masses willing to fight against the system as possible thinking that the latter has done wrong than right.

After writing her notes, a radio broadcast has been heard in the office radio, and it said:

"Workers from the Republic Telecommunications Company staged a picket protest in front of the Ministry of Labour this afternoon days after the scuffle at Mendiola..."

Katrina simply nod on the report, and made another statement, a longer one trying to call the "armed forces" and the "police" to change their hearts and support the growing underground. Her increasingly militant attitude after those stormy periods made her say what the late Ulrike Meinhof said:

"Protest is when I say this does not please me.
Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more."




XVI
Graduation day.

The master of ceremonies called out Katrina's name and announced,"summa cum laude".

Amid warm applause, the rector handed Katrina a small box with a gold medal together with her diploma, and congratulated her. Beaming with happiness and pride, her mother rose from her grandstand seat along with her dad, then hath her daughter wore the medal.

The award, or perhaps the title meant so much to Katrina's parents, given that they are professionals and thinking about high standards to their daughter. And despite countless arguments between her and her parents, Katrina tries to overcome those hindrances to her personal ambition and her strive for excellence.

But as she was called again for her address, she went at the rostrum the surprise of everyone, Katrina removed her medal, and strongly expressed:

"I don't need this, for I just did my part as a student, if not it has nothing to do with my remolding."

Then she placed her medal at the rostrum.

"At first, I just treat my academics as my outlet to be a well rounded individual, enough to respond to the call of times. And I took tourism with the idea of exploring the world, although actually, more of least for the sake of finishing a degree and to show to my parents that I did what they want to see me such as having a citation, a medal, and a chance to speak at the rostrum.

I'm sorry if I have offended all of you but, there is life more than trying to make the best grade. The call of reality demands us not just to get contented as grade conscious individuals, if not trying to get enough of our petty desires thinking that we only live once and instead spend our lives enjoying, given that we are all young, and most of us have lived sheltered, comfortable lives. But instead, as what I have heard before, to serve the people, especially the less fortunate yet willing to engage in pursuit of building a new society.

Over the past few months, we have witnessed to a storm, perhaps even greater than few decades ago, that on our TV screens, we've watched how protest rallies have turned into riots, and street battles. We've seen how policemen have beaten up demonstrators, fired their guns, and filled up prisons including those who are innocent yet still disregarded of its innocence. We've also seen how protesters responded with stones and oil bombs against those whose objective is to restore order by any means necessary.

Because of that, we call to condemn violence and insist sobriety. But this is as far as we've got. Obviously, our gains were limited, if not seeing our efforts diffused.

In fact, I even wonder why I afforded to say this as a once tourism student. Sorry mom and dad, as well as others in this occasion, but saying those words deemed inconvenient in our ears is also a product of liberal education, if not this school's Christian values such as faith, hope, and love. Good to hear that everyone studied hard so as to get the best grade, of gaining medals, but how about our character and understanding of realities? Did we try to revisit our character and understanding given that we cultivated it with our intellect? Most for sure forget it as if it is like any other elevator music thanks to our apathy within our sheltered lifestyles. We may have studied theories, but have we forgot how unjust this present social order that made everyone clamour for socio-economic reforms if not revolution? Perhaps while we look at the actual protests outside if not at the TV screen, we are preoccupied with our individualist ambitions in life during and after college, studying lessons enough to pass our grades and later on trying to get a job with a decent pay to spend, enough to escape from life the way we leave politics to our old friends at the session hall.

But to think that we are indeed products of both liberal and christian education, then we should start going to the people. And since most of us are Christians then maybe Right was the late Pope Francis that we must learn how to weep and beg, and in it must learn how to be selfless when it comes to expressing love and hope. Knowing that we have undergone years of self-reflection and perhaps even remolding as citizens although we chose to shrug it off in favour of our fantasies not even knowing that the world outside is more complex, less open to innovation, more resistant to change, wherein principles and ideals are valued only in so far as these do not conflict with profit or gain. And us? Which way to go?

That's all. I have nothing to say further about this. "

Then she raised her fist and strongly said:
"Except this: a call for Freedom, or death."

Everyone seemed silent as she returned to her seat, but some did clapped their hands knowing that she is right. The rector simply nod on her statement and said to his fellow friar-administrator:
"I think she expressed far from any other graduate with laude honours we have."
While another asked the Rector:
"Her statement sounds like the statement from the leaflet I saw scattered in the hallway a year ago."
"Maybe", the Rector said. "But to paraphrase what the late pope said, who am I to judge specially in this age of distress?"

After the ceremony, her mother saw Katrina removed her toga in the corner, and asked:
"What brings you to do that?"
"Just my choice." Katrina said. "I see nothing wrong in doing this."
And she handed her medal to her mother. The latter felt fulfilled as her daughter finished her degree with a citation and of course, a medal bearing a highest academic honour.
Then her father asked:
"So since you finished college, what will you do afterwards?"
"I have decided to move out." Katrina said, carrying her backpack. "And I don't want to argue further both of you. I just did my part anyway."
Her father then said:
"So you have nothing to ask for a gift? I and your mom decided to have a dinner plus gift for your graduation."
"No need dad." Katrina said. "I have really decided to move out, I have enough money to spend, and as said earlier, I just did my job. In fact, I don't even want gifts nor anything, I just want to be myself from now on. Think of it this day as any other ordinary day, for next day we'll have work to do."
Then she left away carrying her bag leaving her parents concerned about her life as her mom then said to her husband:
"Well, she is really your daughter."
"Our daughter." Her husband said. "And she has really walked the talk for this. Since she wants that, then so be it."
And looking at Katrina's medal from his wife's hand and her diploma, he said:
"At least she finished college anyway, summa cum laude".

As Katrina left the building and rode in a taxi, she sought her own leaflet placed beside her, and read:

"On whose side are you?
The people or the system?

The Philippines has been ruled by a malevolent junta that intensifies a centuries-old repression.What interest have you in common with your master? Even if he is your fellow patriot, a fellow countryman, even if he is of the rank as you are, does it mean it prevents not from uplifting you? Does that prevent him from making you work as many hours as possible, out of some few benefits as possible? Not in the least.

Whether in war or in peace, when most of you coming from the labouring class, are sacrificing all your lives, as the system have continued to exploit you as well as your families. 

Remember, the sole aim of the system is to keep their interests. That bureaucrat capitalists, Landlords, has earned profits as much as possible be it through food, uniforms, of imported guns, various properties to exploit with. Most of you even treated as security guards for their properties in case of an hacienda owned by a landlord connected to the Junta itself. Meanwhile, the masses been exploited throughout their lives, all for a meager income. What has been for the masses the cause of death, destruction, ruin, and despair, has been for the system as a means of piling up their colossal fortunes now and then. From the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita to the Workers of San Miguel, all profit is wrung from them, from their blood, sweat, tears. 

Thus, no wonder why the revolution remains unfinished. Again, the people or the system, on which side are you supporting?

Regardless of their so-called benevolence, of so-called development to brag with, the system, emphasising interests, has less to do with uplifting the people. There is no patriotism for them as they always remain loyal to their interests. AS against the working class, they collaborate with fellow Capitalists, Feudalists, Compradores, Oligarchs around the world, what more of understanding Class War itself. Remember: There are two camps, those of the workers, and the Capitalists. 

In which camp are you then? 

The interests of the Filipino masses, as is in other countries, are the same. Regardless of the country, yet you are a workman, you are under a master to "serve" with, and he will only employ you if he can obtain a profit out of your labour.

These masters, sadly, are opposed to the desires of the laborers, with the latter resorted to a justified kind of action: In England, United States, to those of Hacienda Luisita, create strikes are now proceeding, and it is more than fighting for their wages, for their working conditions, but "real freedom" in which their masters never provide as such. 

And that real freedom will be achieved on when the workers, the farmers, the people, overthrow the system and take control in their own hands. Look at the example of the Soviet Union? Of People's China? Of Argentina and other newly-liberated countries? They have abolished Capitalism and Landlordism the way they established a just government. The Liberated Zones of the National Peoples Army has also imposed revolutionary governments wherein Revolutionary Justice been served. 
Yet your system, upon seeing such tremendous changes, insist that the revolution is a menace to them. They fear that the workers will follow the example of its newly-liberated counterparts who afforded to gain political power and impose revolutionary justice.

The are, therefore, supporting the system against us. They are determined to destroy the unfinished revolution which was started in 1896. They are determined to retain the status quo of repression, of making prevail the power of the landlords, compradores, oligarchs that made the repressive system enforce such unjust policies.

And you have been brought here for that purpose, or as what the motto says: "TO SERVE AND PROTECT THE RULING CLASS"

Hence, what are you? Are you for the masses or for the oligarchs? 

If you are a workman, then you must be on the side of the masses, for they are also working people too. Regardless of their backgrounds, yet sharing the same repressive conditions, they are of the same interest of redeeming themselves and their societies. Learn from the capitalists? There's nothing to learn in a society wherein lies a dog-eat-dog existence. 

If you help to crush the struggle, you will only be helping to intensify repression, what more of fasten the shackles of slavery and repression more firmly on yourself.


SANDRA BUSTAMANTE,
Red Orchestra-
November 9th Movement- 
National Peoples Army"

After reading it, Katrina simply nod as she reaffirmed her decision to join the struggle as a partisan, the driver looked at her, and asked:
"What do you think about the leaflet? I just read it after someone gave it to me while waiting at Avenida."
Katrina then smiled and said:
"I have nothing to say, except that what if the statement is true?"
Then the driver simply nod and went straight to their destination at Sampaloc through Lepanto st. 


XVIII

That same evening, Katrina went to a safe house somewhere in Sampaloc district near Don Manuel, Quezon City, where Robert and the rest of the Red Orchestra awaited her to set the plan of action against the Junta. Katrina at first asked:
"So what shall we do now?"
"We are preparing for a partisan action as members of the November 9th Movement." Robert said. "And by the way, happy graduation Katrina."
Along with an embrace and a kiss.
Meanwhile, Pedro called her, that made the girl enter the room along with Robert, Jeanne, and few people around the room. The Philippine flag with the red on top as well as the Red flag bearing the Hammer, Sickle, and the AK47 were shown at its walls.

Katrina then asked Pedro:
"What brings me here?"
"Katrina, under the name of Sabrina Bustamante, you are being called by the movement to become a partisan." Pedro said. "With all your actions taken against the system, and your commitment in supporting the cause of the people, you are a member of the November 9th Movement."
"But how about the Red Orchestra?" Sabrina asked.
"The Red Orchestra is part of the organisation that includes the MN9 and the National Peoples Army." Robert said. "I am a member of the organisation, as well as the others whose goal is to liberate the people from the ruling system via the Junta."
Katrina simply nod on his answer, then said:
"I will. And I have decided to join the movement."
Everyone clapped their hands as Katrina joined the group. Pedro then ordered Katrina to face the flags, raised her left fist, and swore an oath as said by Pedro to her:

"I, Sabrina Bustamante, joining the ranks of the November 9th Movement, before my friends in arms, before my long suffering homeland, before all people, I solemnly affirm:

to unquestioningly fulfill the task of the organisation until the last fascist bastard on earth will be destroyed.

To avenge for all the burned towns and villages, for the deaths of our children, for the torture, violence, and ill-treatment of my people, I swear to retaliate brutally, ruthlessly and relentlessly.

And in the name of liberty and justice for our people, I swear that I shall be disciplined, persevering and fearless, all for the liberation of the country and of its long-suffering people.

I swear that I will/would rather die in a brutal battle with the enemy, than give myself, my family and the entire people into injustice and slavery.

Death for death! Blood for Blood!"

After her oath, Jeanne gave her a sawed-off Garand, then said:
"Happy graduation, and welcome to the organisation."
Then Robert gave her a red rose, and said:
"Here's a rose, as what any other admirer do to someone especially as she finished college and enter a new life as a partisan."
Katrina then smiled and said:
"Thanks. So what shall I do then?"
"Why need to be in a hurry?" Pedro asked.
And everyone laughed.

Afterwards, the night of fear has just begun as Katrina went underground that after the graduation ceremony. In the safe house somewhere in the suburbs, Katrina and some of the new recruits of the "November 9th Movement" were creating "bombs" as a "start of a renewed struggle in revolutionary history".



Epilouge

It was early morning before the demonstration, when Katrina, along with Robert, were in front of a cafe in the corner of the road. People stroll by in twos and three's, and few costumers sat on the tables waiting for their meal or sipping a nice cup of coffee. A cigarette-cum-newspaper vendor calls in a gloomy voice "Cigarettes! Candies! Tabloid!" while a drunken soldier staggers on, cursing at bystanders and passers-by "damn these rebels! I'll shoot you all!" then picks up a bottle of beer then drains it, wanting to throw it towards the people but suddenly, a police whistle shrills three times, making everything as thrown into confusion while the soldier runs off.
One of the Customers at the shop, as he sought such events, then said to himself:
"Police whistles, gun shots, drunken soldiers. A fine feature of our freedom and democracy!"
Then sipping his coffee till empty. However, as he sought a hobo passing-by, he shouted:
"A hell of a society is this!"

Meanwhile, Katrina, along with Robert, entered the cafe, sat down and ordered a cup of coffee. Miguel, while waiting notices the customer on the other table winding his watch, then asked:
"Sir, what time is it today?"
"It is nine o' clock." The Customer said.
"Ah...ok, thank you." Robert replied.
Then the customer said:
"No need to worry about."
And he hurriedly got up from his seat and left. The waiter then came and served the coffee the two ordered. As Robert sipped his coffee, Pedro sought the two through the window, entered, met, and asked:
"What brings you to the town Robert? Katrina?"
"I have some important business here Pedro," Katrina said. "Its just that Robert is also here to help me too. How come you've got time to go here Pedro?"
"Um... sort of a business." Pedro said.
"Business?" Katrina asked.
Pedro then whispered Katrina and Robert:
"Katrina, Robert, I am here for a help in assassinating Leopoldo Alcover, the chief propagandist of this mess."
Katrina, as well as Robert, simply nod down upon hearing what Pedro said.

"So when?" Robert asked.
"Later, in the plaza." Pedro said. "There will be a mass demonstration of the stupid wingnuts, and I was assigned by the partisan detachment to do it."
Then Robert, after facing Katrina, looked back at Pedro, and asked:
"Why not Lorna instead?"
Pedro, looking at Katrina, then asked:
"Katrina, can you help us?"
"Um... I will," Katrina said. "After all I had enough of his foul mouthed statements to justify state terrorism. Why not? I use to see every battlefield around the village and reading books about assassins, so why not I take the opportunity?"
Pedro then laughed at first, then said:
"Sounds weird but true."

After a brief talk at the corner, Pedro then handed over a racket bag (inside a rifle with a scope and ammunition) to Katrina, then bid farewell to the two. Katrina and Robert then finished drinking their coffee and left the cafe.
The two then went to a hotel, checked in and went to a room whose window overlooking the site where a gathering taken place. There Katrina cautiously preparing the gun while Robert monitors outside.

Meanwhile, people, mostly members of a so-called "Concerned Citizens Groups" assembled in the plaza wherein the loudmouthed Minister of Information, Leopoldo Alcover, led and went to the stage for his speech:
"We are gathered here to unite against the destroyers of our society, the scum of the earth! The devourers of our race and heritage! These people are here to destroy our lives, our liberties, our homeland and our democracy. Are all of you accept this country being destroyed by these lowlives carrying rifles, killing our people in the provinces and in the cities!?"
"No!" Said the demonstrators.
And Alcover strongly said:
"Since all of you are opposing them, why not join the Armed Forces, or support the actions in destroying these lowlives? We must remember the massacres made by these people, who killed our loved ones and plunged the entire country into a deepest crisis that they blamed upon to the government who fed, clothed them. I have been in the revolution for years, but I decided to surrender and join here for the Revolution is meaningless-after all what they did much is to ruin the nation! Our unity!"

The demonstrators then clapped, and some shouting "No to Revolution! No to Communism! Yes to Peace!"

As the event continues at the Plaza, Katrina, was aiming at her target while Robert continues to monitor. The minister of information's drunk-like voice seemed irritating despite it's appealing message:
"All of us must unite, we must never lose in fighting against these rebels and keeping the peace!"
And everyone, especially the system's own enthusiastic supporters, clapped. Alcover then raised his right first, and shouted:
"Long live democracy! Long live the motherland! Long live the armed forces! Long live..."

And Katrina fired her gun and killed Alcover through the head. At the same time, leaflets calling for "National and Social Liberation" from the November 9th Movement's "Sabrina Bustamante" were showered from the hotel's window.

Many people then reacted negatively as they ran in fear, and some afforded to grab a copy of the scattered leaflet. Soldiers, as well as guards end dispersed seeking to find the person who killed the official, while Katrina, along with Robert, immediately ran and left away from the room, leaving the gun. They ran through the fire exit towards downstairs, and reached the exit, a narrow road.
Katrina then asked Robert:
"Where are we going then?"
"No need to worry about Katrina," Robert said. "Let's hurry before everyone sees us!"

As the two escaped from the hotel and into the bustling thoroughfare towards , the police continued searching for the assassin, They searched the buildings, including the hotel situated near the plaza where the minister of education killed. They searched the rooms, until they found a gun. A statement, calling for the overthrow of the regime has also found, with the signatory 'Sabrina Bustamante' written in it.

And that's the beginning of her action as a partisan, all in the name of the storm.


TO BE CONTINUED...