A Plan of Action

The next day, they had a quick breakfast, then Opa took them out to the barn to meet with the others once again.  “This is not how I imagined your summer with me,” Opa said, as they all got out of his car.

Konrad shrugged.  “I’m sure that Tevas never imagined that we’d have to face down a horde of Singers when he took us camping,” he said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “Unfortunately, this is the life that we’ve got.”

“At least it’s never boring,” Liesel said, shrugging.  She scampered ahead of them to hold the door for everyone.  Then, she followed them inside.  Malcolm was already there with Ainsley.  David was there, as was Ryan.  There were also several other people that she didn’t know by name, but she recognized them for the previous night.

“You all know why we’re here,” David said, addressing the group.  His brows furrowed.  “I don’t think any of us suspected there was more to this than… just a misunderstanding.”

“We know different now,” someone grumbled.  Liesel looked over as an older man shook his head and glanced over at Ainsley.  “A Hammer, attacking her own Star…” he trailed off for a moment.  “I never thought I’d see the day.”

“Never thought I’d see the day one of us dragged outsiders into our disputes,” an elderly woman said.  She looked over at Opa and shook her head.  “They had no business putting a portal in your garden, Richard.”

“Grandson took care of it,” Opa said, ruffling Johannes’s hair.  “I’m more concerned with the here and now.  Do we have an idea how many we’ll be dealing with?”

Malcolm grimaced.  “Are we assuming everyone in the Eden Community aside from those gathered here has been tainted?” he said.  When Opa shrugged, he grimaced.  “With that assumption in place, they’ll outnumber us.”

“Good times,” Liesel said, grinning up at Konrad.

He grimaced.  “Not so much, no,” he countered.  He heaved a sigh and shoved his hands into his pockets.  Turning to David, he frowned thoughtfully.  “How much do you figure we’ll be outnumbered by?” he asked.

“Going by the same assumption as Malcolm, it’ll be something like four to one,” David said, nodding once.  Then, he shrugged.  “It may not be a valid assumption, though.  We might find that, the moment we start purifying them, and the inevitable reaction starts among them, a bunch of them are actually on our side.”

“From your lips to the Great Father’s ears,” Markus murmured.  He looked around at everyone.  “Would someone please tell me that we’ve got some sort of plan in place?”

“Spoken like a proper Staff,” Ryan said.  He shrugged.  “Right now, we know that everyone will be gathering at the community center.  The Elders have called a meeting and, in fact, we’re supposed to be there…” he trailed off to glance at his watch, before he finished the thought.  “In about twenty minutes.”

“We’ll try to time our arrival so that we’re the last ones in,” David said, nodding.  “You come in behind us, so that they don’t…” he hesitated.

“See our Cross and immediately know that we’re up to something?” Konrad finished.  He smiled when David shrugged helpless.  “That’s when the Stars among you and our Cross will start singing?”

“That’s the plan,” Malcolm said, nodding.  Several others in the room murmured in agreement.  “Does it sound at all workable?”

“Make sure that you protect your Stars,” Liesel said, looking around at everyone.  The wind ruffled her hair and she tidied her curls.  Nodding, she said, “You protect your Stars and we’ll protect our Cross.”

Frieda heaved a sigh and looked at her, meeting her gaze.  “Are we going to get to try out our super powers this time?” she asked, her voice soft.

The wind ruffled through Liesel’s hair again and she grinned.  “Survey says, yes,” she said, giving her sister a playful wink.

“So,” Johannes said, looking around at everyone, “we have a game plan and everyone knows it.  Liesel’s my Hammer, so if she’s saying to protect your Stars, she means it.”  He turned to David and added, “Let’s head out.  We’d hate to keep the Elders waiting.”

“He’s only seven years old?” David murmured, looking over at Opa.  He smiled and eyed the man critically.  “Are you sure?”

“That’s what his father tells me,” Opa said, spreading his hands helplessly.  Then, they all piled into vehicles and headed back into town.

As they neared the community center, Opa shook his head.  “I can’t believe that I never even noticed that this place was here,” he murmured.  He looked over at Konrad.  “I’ve lived here all my life and I never knew this place was here!”

“The Elders hide them,” Konrad said, shrugging.  He looked towards the place and shook his head.  “I can’t get over how much it looks like a community center from a Haven community.”

“Eden, Haven,” Liesel said, shrugging.  Her eyes twinkled as she added, “Potato, potato.”  She smoothed her curls and said, “Six of one, a half dozen of the other.”

“Apparently,” Konrad said, nodding.

Opa piled his vehicle in beside David’s van.  Then, he waited while everyone piled out of their cars and vans.  When Konrad got out, Opa followed.  He looked at Johannes and said, “I sing better than your father does, Hans.  Stay close to me.”

“Yes, sir,” Johannes said.  He smiled when Opa took up position just behind him, while his other siblings formed a proper ring around him.  Then, together, they followed the others into the community center.

“You’ll have to forgive us for this small irregularity,” David said, as soon as he stepped into view of their Elders.  “Current circumstances seem to demand action.”  Then, he began singing in a clear, rich tenor.  A moment later, the other Stars joined in with him.  Johannes joined in last, his voice firm and high.

Frieda summoned her lance when several of those gathered – including a couple of the Elders themselves – clutched at their heads, as though they were in pain.  A few surged to their feet and began trying to attack one of the Stars that was singing.

Frieda’s gaze went to the Elder Star, a young woman sitting between two Elder Defenders that were now recovering from the initial shock.  Frieda ran two steps and then jumped.  Her first leap took her over the heads of the nearest people.  Her second landed her in the center of the Elders’ table.  Using the blunt end of her pike, she struck one Elder and then the other, knocking them flat.  She looked at the Elder Star and frowned.  “Are you all right?” she asked.

“I think so,” she said, looking from one to the other.  Then, she grimaced and looked around at the gathered stars.  With Frieda still standing on the table as a guard, she joined her voice with Johannes and the others.  Once the Elder Star had begun singing, other Stars joined in as well.  Soon, the purification song was ringing through the room.

Slowly, but steadily, the fighting came to an end.  Those that had been tainted came back to their senses and lowered their weapons.

Liesel cheered loudly and then cackled when she realized that she’d startled several people with her outburst.  “We won,” she said, shrugging at Konrad.

“You could say that,” Konrad admitted, nodding slowly.

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