power of healing. During the march into Washington, John Parker, Luke's father, had been hit by a brickbat, sinking to his knees under the blow. He had risen to march on, but there was blood on his clothing and a terrible ache in his skull and, once the revolution had been completed, John Parker had fainted and they'd put him down on the old Capitol steps and Colonel Ed Baxley, himself, had knelt beside John Parker to feel the big knot on the skull and to wipe blood, then, from his hand. And then Brother President, who wasn't President then, but who became the Second Republic's first after Colonel Baxley declined the honor, came and healed the wounded man. Help for pain. That was a gift that the Brotherhood emphasized. And the first Brother President had healed John Parker, with the help of magic ointments, wrapping the wounded head in white cloth to hide the miracle-working of the healing. The story had been told to Luke Parker time and time again. He knew it by heart. It had been inspiration to him during his youth when John Parker, as an original, fire-gun bearing member of Baxley's Army, lived on a lofty government pension and drank Soul Lifter with impunity and talked about the good old days and the way his son, Luke, was to be a genuine Brother. For all first sons of the members of the Army had automatic appointments to the new Academy, University One, The Brothers, founded by Baxley himself and used as a breeding ground for the leaders of tomorrow. University One. And Luke a tender kid of ten going in for the first time with all the sons of the Brothers looking down their noses at him because he was common Lay. John Parker had never bothered to take his study to become a Brother. It had been enough, the pension, the unlimited supplies of Soul Lifter. So Luke was not Brother, but just Army and that made him a target for pure hell. The cadets, Brothers by birth, scorned him, taunted him, drove him into an isolation which ended when he discovered the power of Soul Lifter, found that there are no troubles which cannot be at least temporarily conquered by old S.L., himself. He was called before the Dean Brother after the second time he made formation while still high. He was warned. He was lectured. The cadets laughed. He poured his last bottle of Soul Lifter, stolen from his father, down the sink in his shared room and worked hard. He completed his first year and was awarded the magnificent rank of Apprentice Brother, Third Class. Then Kyle Murrel decided he wanted Luke's doll. All of it came back to Luke as he knelt beside his bed, praying sincerely for the first time in a great number of years. The two-day war seemed like ancient history to Luke when he was first old enough to listen to the tales his father told. But in a world of color cartoons on television, rough-and-tumble play on the crowded streets of Old Town, long hikes down the crumbling canyons on steamy August days when smog and the fetid vapors of massed people made the air seem thick like old-fashioned molasses, a delicacy Luke tasted once, the glorious march into Washington to throw the rascals out, made for exciting listening. The fact that John Parker's role in the bloodless revolution was enlarged with each telling only pleased young Luke the more. He was the only kid in his section of Old Town whose father had contributed to the new freedom. The fathers of other kids drove buses or worked on the subway or moved garbage for the city. A few of them worked in the plants doing jobs which could have been done better, and were done better in the more modern facilities, by machines. Some parents were old and gray Tired, having put in their twenty, and now drew well-earned pensions. But

of all the kids, Luke was the only one whose father had actually been a part of the foundation of the Second Republic and Luke was the only kid who would go to school. Luke never tired of hearing his father tell about the march. «What they did,» his father would say, «was force us to fight, boy.» «How'd they do that, Dad?» «Well, they done things like make kids go to school.» «All kids?» «Every last one.» «Gee.» «And they made 'em go to school with people they didn't want to go to school with.» «Who?» «Oh, I dunno. Fare kids, I guess.» Luke had nothing to do with the Fare kids in the neighborhood. Fare parents never worked, never marched with Baxley, never did anything but sit back and draw the Fare checks and fight with knives and complain about the government, although not out loud. No one complained too much about the government, because you never knew when the Brotherfuzz would be listening and, although the Brothers were fair to all and gave equal justice to all, Fare, Tired, or Tech, talking against the government just wasn't done. When Luke heard a couple of Fare kids complaining, he told them if they didn't like it they could go off to South America or somewhere. And then he told his father and his father said, «Some people are never satisfied. Back in the old days, people like the Fares had to beg and steal and stand in line to get pennies from the government. Wasn't like it is now when the Fare checks are delivered once a week to the mailbox and no man has to go hungry.» As Luke approached ten, time to enter the University, he did some serious thinking. He went to the library and looked at film and saw how, back in the bloody days of the First Republic, people actually fought each other on the streets of the cities and marched in protest and went out on strike. Going on strike, he guessed, although it wasn't clear to him, meant that the Techs wouldn't go to work and the assembly lines came to a halt and the new ground cars didn't come rolling out and, he guessed, people didn't get a new car every year. That was a terrible thing. Even the Fares who never worked got new cars once a year. They didn't get the big, fancy models like the Techs and the city workers, but they got cars, all new and

shiny, and if they were careful, a car would last a whole year until another new one came and the old one was pushed or towed outside the city to be loaded onto the big, flat-bottomed barges for dumping outside the harbor. Some of the really old films fascinated Luke. He especially liked the ones which showed the country as it was when everyone ate animal meat. Now and then, when his father was feeling plush, they would have real

fish, tender little morsels fried gently in oil until they browned and tasted like pure heaven. However, he had never tasted actual animal flesh and didn't know anyone who had. There was one film in particular which Luke liked. It showed vast, unpeopled mountains and clear streams and weird-looking animals such as those which were preserved in lifelike poses in the museum alive and running around. It was a truly old film, made long before the last big war. It was in a place called a national park. Luke talked with the librarian and the old woman told him that there wasn't any more national park, because the space had been needed, after the great influx, for people, and that made Luke sad. «Why didn't they just tell the people to live somewhere else?» he asked. «There were too many of them,» the old woman said. «After the great Communist powers had their war, whole continents were made uninhabitable. All of Asia was a radioactive wasteland. Most of Europe was also contaminated. People were dying by the millions and our government.'—-she paused—'I mean the First Republic, because the people were dying, took them in. Millions of them. Would you like to see films of that?» He watched the films. People. People. People with suppurating sores and missing limbs and bald heads. People dying from the radiation sickness, but mostly people who would live and cause the cities to build upward and outward, swelling the already overblown population to disastrous proportions. But they came. By huge planes carrying hundreds, by ships carrying thousands. America, the last uncontaminated area, was the bloodbank of mankind, taking in the Europeans, the Asians, the Africans. They brought with them what wealth and technology survived the war, but it wasn't enough to cushion the blow to the American continent. Cities doubled their size in a decade, grew, and reeked with uncontrolled rot. The medical system broke down under the overload. Those who had been exposed to radiation died by the thousands, the millions. Those who didn't die passed along their weaknesses to their offspring. The nation existed in a state of anarchy with the effete government of the First Republic trying to fight the change with outdated methods. Out of chaos, the Brothers were born. Luke liked the historical film which told of the foundation of the Christian Party. The man who talked had a good voice and he made you feel it. «It was clear.» the man related. «to some, that old values had to be discarded, that old methods were sadly insufficient to cope with the anarchy. The influx had brought with it millions who had no sympathy with the Republican form of government. For long years, the nation teetered on the brink of anarchy. Communism, or worse.» Luke didn't really understand Communism, except that it was what caused the war and left all but the Western Hemisphere unfit for humanity And he knew that Communists hated God. «At first,» the man who talked on the film said, «those who saw no hope except in radical change called themselves the Silent Majority. That was a phrase coined by a President of the First Republic in the last thirty years of the last century. It indicated the solid people, the Godfearing people, those who, even in early times, deplored the Godless demonstrations of drug-crazed young people, who cried out against the abuses of big labor. The Christian Party actually has its foundations in the twentieth century when a few brave pioneers fought the Communistic leanings of the leaders in minor actions such as resistance to a governmental order saying that their children had to attend school, sometimes by being transported out of their own neighborhoods, with people they didn't like. The first advance of the party came in the complete breakdown of the public school system, thus removing the youth of the country from the leftist influences of the central government. However, progress was always slow and painful until,

sixty years after the influx, it became clear to thinking people that action had to be taken. For the New Republic of South American had developed the same weapons which had decimated the Old World and threatened the Republic with nuclear war. At home, the Godless Communists were in the process of taking over. The Communist Party was predicted to win the Presidential election of 2058, having come close in 2054. Almost one half of the elected representatives on a federal level were Communist, members of the American Party. They were in favor of treating with the Republic of South American, of appeasement.» The next part was Luke's favorite part of

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