This story started here.
Jan Sleet had created the runners and, while she no longer had direct involvement with them on a day-by-day basis, she did still feel somewhat proprietary about them. A couple of times, in private, she had referred to them as her "irregulars." Of course, this was not exactly how they saw themselves.
In theory, sounding "Runner's Call" meant that all of the runners had to assemble at the given time. In practice, in the absence of a general emergency, you wouldn't get them all. Which was okay, in this case. To have insisted, simply to solve a mystery, would have opened us up to the accusation that this case was getting special attention because our daughter was involved. The runners were, after all, our telephone system and our post office, and to take them off the streets even for an hour was not something we did lightly.
In the beginning, during the chaotic first few hours and days after the founding of U-town, the runners had been our only means of communication, and most of their time and energy had gone to locating people who had been wounded in the bombing and getting assistance to them. Since then, as things had become more stable, they mostly conveyed mail and messages. This was not the most efficient postal system ever (occasionally, in frustration, we declared that it might be the worst – but that wasn't true either), and we had been glad when Ron had taken over handling our mail.