Chapter 34 Davin's ire

As the tractor approaches the village, Ungar slows it to a crawl. People are staring, and several have taken off at dead runs for the village. A few minutes later Ungar encounters a wall of scowling women blocking the road and comes to a full stop. Ungar looks back at Casi and gives her a weak smile of reassurance, takes the letter from the box and climbs down from the tractor. He walks a few steps forward. “Honored women of Gaia, I am Ungar and my partner Casi is in the carriage. We requesting shelter for a short period. The Captain of the starship Celeste has sent us here hoping you would be able to help us.” Ungar holds the envelope above his head. “Celeste said I was to seek out Lyn the Chronicler and give her this missive.”

One woman leans over to a man, speaks to him for a moment, and he immediately trots off towards the village. Ungar walks back to the carriage and helps Casi out, and they both stand quietly together looking at the now growing crowd. Shortly two women come walking down the road and the crowd shifts to let them through. They walk towards Ungar and stop a few feet away. The shorter one with the blonde hair said, “I am Lyn, and this is Susi the newly elected Head Counselor of Gaia.” Ungar bows, “I am Ungar, and this is my mate, Casi. Celeste said this missive is for you,” as he hands her the letter.

Lyn takes the letter, walks away a few paces, and opens it. “Lyn, things will be changing for the better in Eauland over the next couple handfuls of days. Much of this is possible because of Ungar's help, but this has come at great personal risk to himself and his family. Starting today there should be no contact with anyone from Gaia with Eaulanders for any reason until I say it is safe. Ungar is a good man, and I would appreciate your assistance in providing him shelter. He has a tablet for you. Use this to talk directly to me and I will be able to give you more information.”

Lyn walks over to Susi, shows her the letter, and the two talk together for a few moments. Susi nods her head, and Lyn looks over at Ungar and Casi, “Welcome to Gaia, we will grant you shelter. Follow me into the village, and we will get you both settled.”

“Hello,” said a tentative voice. “Hi, Lora. Thank you for calling me. It's very late for you,” said Celeste. “I know, but my tablet is well hidden, and others had to be asleep or away for me get at it. I saw it was blinking.” “Some things have changed and it's now very dangerous for your parents. I have sent them to Gaia where they will be safe. I'm concerned about your safety too and I can arrange to have you join them.” After a long pause, Lora said, “No I can't go to Gaia. I have a thousand women depending on me. I will go into hiding.” “How can you do that Lora?” “I'm just a faceless woman who looks like all the others who all wear a plain black shift with hair cut down to a nub. If I rub some dirt on my face and have a broom in my hand sweeping a curb no one would even look at me. I have many women who will help me find places to spend the night.” “I understand. I think you have until noon today to meet with your team at the warehouse Then you should leave and not return there. You have the ear communicator, call me every morning, and we will talk about the future.” “Thank you, Celeste, I need to go.”

Ben, wake up, Come join me in the salon. I have a cup of cafe ready for you,” whispered Celeste gently in Ben's head. Ben pulls on his robe, gets his cup of cafe, sits down next to Celeste and looks at the hallway scene on the vid. “It's early, and you seem to have been at it even earlier this morning, said Ben” “Yes, I just spoke with Lora, and she is going into hiding. I sent a drone out last night to put the fungus into the tractor's refueling tank, and Davin is going to be free soon.” The hallway was a hive of activity filled with the constant clanging of steel chisels chipping stone. A dozen troopers were standing by with Marshal Jorn. Old men in black robes were nervously talking in low voices and a woman trying not to twitch was holding a tray with food and drink. 

“That's good enough,” screeched Davin. The men with chisels jumped away. His two hands stuck out through the hole. “Pull me out now,” yelled Davin. Two troopers rush forward and start to pull Davin through the hole. With additional screaming from Davin and jerking by the troopers he popped out and laid sprawled on the floor in a torn dirty robe. Standing up while trying to brush off the stone dust he glares at his assembled staff. “What are you all staring at.” “Sir, you have blood all over your face,” said a trooper. “Do I look like I'm stupid? Find me a damp cloth so I can wipe it off.” Looking closely at the group of robbed men Davin turned to Marshal Jorn, “Where is Ungar?”

“I believe he is touring the warehouses today Senior Elder.” “And how would you know that Marshal?” said Davin with a sneer. “He came to my office yesterday about midday and dropped off 100 stun guns. You were at the time indisposed. He mentioned it during our conversation.” “Marshal, take every sodding trooper we have and find Ungar. Bring him to me in chains. I'm going to my quarters now, but I want to know immediately when he is found” “Yes Senior Elder.”

“Looks like your instincts were correct Celeste.” “Yes, it was statistically likely. He tossed his pendant down the shaft early this morning too. Now I know where the bottom is. It's a furnace room in the sub-basement that burns garbage. In the past, this was used to dump garbage from the upper floors. All references to Lora and her nine friends are now erased from their computers. This will help some.” “What's the plan for today?” “The micro drones are now ready to spread the bugs tonight. After they are done I'm parking them in higher locations so we will have some a real time camera views of the city center. I'll deploy them well after midnight. Would you like to have breakfast, I'll cook.” “Sure,” said Ben, “It's not going to have teeth, is it?” “Maybe,” said Celeste with a big grin.

Marshal Jorn looked up from his desk hearing the knock. “What do have to report Captain?” “We haven't found him yet Sir. His tractor and carriage are missing. We located his driver who was still drunk from last night. He said he dropped Ungar off around midday, and he gave him a fist full of coins. Told him he wasn't needed until midday today. His house was locked. We broke in. It's neat as a pin with nothing out of place, and his computer has been disabled. His partner is missing too.” “And his daughter? I know they were close.” “She is a cleaner, and we can't find her either. There are no records about her anywhere in the system.” “Thank you, Captain, keep looking.”

The Marshal leans back in his chair and closes his eyes. Ungar's words from yesterday played back in his mind. “If things get too perilous, look to the stars.” He bolts straight upright realizing, “Ungar most likely is in Gaia and the people on the ship helped. It's the one place Davin can't get to him. Something is getting ready to happen, and likely soon. If I tell Davin this, it easily could cost me my head. I have to stall.” Marshal Jorn called out to his aide who sticks his head in the door. “Tell the Captain to send a squad right now up to the mines to look there for Ungar. If they run across Marshal Bard, make sure they bring him back alive.” “This will buy me a couple of days, and we will see what the future brings,” he thinks hoping. “Maybe I need a backup plan.”