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Chapter 46 The kick off

“Women, it's time to take control,” said Celeste. “Lim move your group to Lora's warehouse. Pick up five more stunners and then follow the route I marked. Directly behind the Cathedral's wall is a building. I think it's connected with a tunnel. Take control, search the structure and find the tunnel if it exists. Stun and tie up anyone you find especially any that come through the tunnel. Leave right now and be very quiet. Keep your staffs low and don't speak to anyone ”

“Holi and Jans, You're next. When I say, each of you takes ten stunners each from Lora. You're going to take control of the Cathedral and its mansions. Let no one leave. Holi, you're going to continue with Jans help and secure the side gate into the Security Forces compound. Then help Lora find the crowd stunners in the headquarters building. I will give you both an update when you reach the south wall of the Cathedral.

Skirting the edge of the square the Marshal's stomach twisted as he got a whiff of the pervasive odor of excrement. Even this early in the morning some people were waiting in lines at the handful of still usable public jakes. Looking across the square, there was a small group all staring at a public vid. “Why are they watching it? They only show propaganda on it, and no one bothers to look at them.” His curiosity got the best of him. He moved closer and then stared mesmerized as he watched the ornate door to the Sacred Chamber swung open. Davin pushed a wheeled crate into it and closed the door. In about a minute he understood what the young woman's fate was destined to be as she screamed out in agony. He turned away from the images in disgust.

Movement several blocks down the street caught his eye. A large group of bare-legged women was crossing an intersection. “It's begun. I need a vantage point to watch without being included in the fray,” he thought. Staring at the closed vendor's stalls an idea occurred. “I could hide in plain sight.” He picked up a fist-sized rock and counted up nine stalls. Walking over he quickly slipped behind them. At the tinker's booth, he waited until one of Davin's victims screamed again. He bashed the padlock with the rock and entered. Taking a clean rag from his pocket, he wiped the old oil from his face and hands. Shutters are taken down and neatly stacked. Sitting down behind the counter with his cap pulled down low he slowly started to sharpen one of the many knives in the basket.

“Okay, Holi and Jans. Move your groups to Lora. Collect your stunners and go to the south wall of the Cathedral. The routes I have marked will keep the guards from seeing you," ordered Celeste.

“Elena, Yana, Dona, and Mora. You're all going to be holding one block short of the north side of the square. When I say, run through the Security Compound gate. Lora and Holi will direct you to specific barracks. Disarm and tie up the troopers and take their stunners for yourself.”

“Colini and Tami. You wait on the east side of the square. When you see Lora's group leave move into the square and take control. Stun or wack into submission anyone who is a problem. There is a tall man in the square currently in a vendor's booth. Ask to see his coin and then leave him alone. He will help you as he can.”

“Lora, you keep the remaining stunners and go to the south side of the square. Hold until Holi and Jans have the Cathedral gates secured. Split off a few of your team and have them secure the Security Forces main gate. Take the rest of your team and join Holi. Both of you go through the connecting gate. Take the headquarters building and get the crowd stunners. All of you are truly fearsome. Let's all show the Elders what women can do.”

“I gather you have had no luck with finding the crate? I have an idea.” “I'm listening Ben.” “We are likely Davin's target. If the bomb works at all, the blast radius will be about five miles. To do any real damage to us, it has to be within two miles or closer to us. That's just a little over 12 square miles. It's not likely on the Gaian side, so that leaves us with 6 square miles. I would hide it so it would not easily be seen from the air. I would send the drones into the forest at around six feet off the ground and run a search pattern based on a radius from us. If we are not the target, it would be too easy to hide it in a building anywhere in the city, and we can't do much about that.” “It's a good idea, Ben, I'm doing it now.”

Lim peered around the corner and looked at the stand-alone building next to the wall. It's sturdy and windowless with a ramp leading up to a large door. A smaller door is set off to the side of the ramp. It looked forbidding and dangerous to her. Ducking her head back she turned to the five with stun guns. “Three of us are going to be on each side ready to fire at anyone who comes out the door. I'll check to see if the door is locked. If not, I will use my staff to push it open. We will see what happens. You three take the side that is closest, you two come with me.” 

The women silently moved into position weapons in hand. Standing off to the side Lim gently pushed on the door lever, and it shifted. Slightly opening the door just a touch a cracking blast splintered a large hole in the center of the door. Lim threw herself sideways as the door slammed open and a trooper charged out looking for a target. They both collapsed unconscious.

Lim's eyes opened with a crowd of women standing around her. “What happened?” she asked slowly sitting up. One of the women gave her a lopsided grin. “Seems you got stunned in the process. We have the building. Come and see what we found.” Lim struggled to her feet and smiled at the sight of the tied up trooper. Inside there were three more trussed up troopers next to a tractor and the Senior Elder's carriage. “They were too sick even to try using their slug throwers. Come down into the basement.” said another woman.

Down in the basement, there was a trussed up soiled Elder maniacally chanting over and over. “They will see the stars and the Oneness forever.” Lim gawked at the old man and then recognized him. "Help me drag this scum outside, he stinks. Celeste, we have the Senior Elder, and there is a tunnel.”