The Straight had been one of the finest avenues of old Cora. Ten thousand spans long with the magnificent Municipal buildings blocking the landward end, it pointed to the docks, source of all the wealth on show. The grandeur faded before the Glacier war and the bombers that gutted the Municipal had signalled the end.
On a normal day, Commerce Square would be bustling with the stalls of fresh produce and black imports. The stalls were up, but none of the hawkers were present. Bags of pulses had been piled up into barricades behind which riflemen scanned the mouth of the Straight.
The Municipal was a fortress. New stairways were camouflaged with ash and chokepoints and kill zones had been established on every floor. There were even escape routes across to nearby roofs. Shara and Fynn were atop the Municipal with the finest sharpshooters the city could provide. Shara was forming the most accurate sabots she could imagine, ready for a psychological blow with her first shot. “They are forming up at the end of the avenue.” Fynn announced into the field telephone.
The mobile command post pulled up side on behind the first company of infantry. The crew rushed out, unlatched the whole of the side panel and removed it. “There are six people around a map table, one of them is in civilian clothes, four radio operators and three clerks.”
Aurile relayed the information. “The civilian is the leader. Kill him.” Gerryl said.
“No.” Everyone looked at Aylo. “The man is an incompetent. But he has very good military advisers. You should kill them.”
“You are sure?”
“It will also scare him, and he can only make worse decisions when he is scared.”
“Very well. Who should she target?”
“Either side of Janssen should be officers with squares on their breast pockets. One of them would be best.”
“Or both. Shara likes to show off.” Aurile spoke the order into the telephone.
Shara locked her arm and steadied herself. Fynn stood beside her, touching her arm lightly and guiding her aim. There was a light pop, then another, and Shara stepped back and started flexing her arm.
The sharpshooters and their spotters kept their lenses on the command vehicle. They calculated windage, drop and flight time. One of the figures by the map table dropped, then another. There were gasps from the snipers, then silence and finally applause.
Shara and Fynn looked around at the sounds of appreciation. They had been staring at something else. Far out at sea, off white spikes were climbing into the sky.