Chapter 45 The kick off

“Women, it's time to take control of your lives,” 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 to it with a tunnel. Take control of it, search the structure and find the tunnel if it exists. Stun and tie up anyone you find especially those that come through the tunnel. Please 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 so both of you get ten stunners each from Lora. You are both going to take control of the Cathedral and its mansions. Let no one leave. Holi, you're going to continue on taking the gate into the Security Forces compound and then help find the crowd stunners in the headquarters building. I will give you both an update when you reach the south wall of the Cathedral. Like I told Lim, be very quiet when you move.”

Skirting the edge of the square the Marshal's stomach twists as he gets a whiff of the now pervasive odor of excrement. People are waiting in lines at the handful of still working public jakes. Looking across the square there is a small crowd the other side all staring up 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 gets the best of him. He moves closer and then stares transfixed as he watches the ornate door to the Sacred Chamber swing open. Davin pushes a wheeled crate into it and closes the door. In about a minute he understands what the young woman's fate is destined to be as she screams out in agony, and he turns away from the images in disgust.

Movement several blocks down the street catches his eye. A large group of bare-legged women is crossing an intersection. “It's begun. I need a vantage point to watch without being included in the fray,” he thinks. Staring at the closed vendor's stalls an idea occurs to him. “I could hide in plain sight.” He picks up a fist-sized rock and counts up nine stalls. Walking over he slips behind them. At the tinker's stall, he waits until one of Davin's victims screams again. He bashes the padlock off with the rock and slips in. Pulling a rag from his pocket the old oil gets wiped from his face and hands. The shutters are taken down and neatly stacked. Sitting down behind the counter he pulls his cap down low and slowly starts to sharpen one of the many knives in the basket.

“Okay, Holi and Jans. Move your groups to Lora collect your stunners go to the south wall of the Cathedral. The routes I have marked will keep the guards from seeing you and be very quiet.”

“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 go, run through the Security Compound gate. Lora and Holi will direct you to specific barracks. Disarm and tie up the troopers. Take their stunners for yourself.”

“Colini and Tami. You will be waiting on the east side of the square. When you see Lora's group leave then both of you move into the square and take control of it. Stun or wack into submission anyone who is a problem. There is a 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 there 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 fearsome. Let's all show the Elders what women can really do.”

“I take it 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 actually works, the blast radius will be about five miles. To do any real damage to us it has to be within two miles or fewer. 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 couldn't easily be seen from the air. I would send the drones into the forest at about 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 peers around the corner and looks at the stand-alone building. It's sturdy and windowless with a ramp leading up to a large door. A small door is set off to the side of the ramp. It looks forbidding and dangerous to her. Ducking her head back she gathers the five that have stun guns. “Three of us are going to be on each side ready to fire at anyone who comes out. I'll check to see if the door is locked. If not, I will use my staff to push it open. Then we will see what happens. You three take the side that is closest, the other two come with me.” 

The women silently move into place. Lim quietly steps up to the side of the door and gently pushes on the door lever and it moves. Slightly opening the door just a touch a cracking blast splinters a hole the center of the door. Lim throws herself to the side as it's kicked open and a trooper charges out looking for a target and then both he and Lim both collapse.

Lim's eyes slowly open with a crowd of women standing around her. “What happened?” she asked sitting up. One of the women gave her a lopsided grin. “It seems you got stunned in the process. We have the building. Come and see what we found.” Lim struggled to her feet and grinned down at the tied up trooper. Following the group inside there were three more tied up troopers. “They were too sick to even try using their slug throwers. Come down into the basement.” said another woman.

Down the basement was a badly soiled Elder trussed up and maniacally singing over and over. “They will be seeing the stars and the Oneness forever.” Lim gawked at the old man and then recognized him. “Celeste, we have the Senior Elder.”