P2

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P2 - AIRBURST

Del knew everyone in her 2190-person battalion by name, somehow. Che said to Brand, I recognize a few of our people here. Find out who isn't hurt too badly. Find out who is with me and quietly, father. Keep it quiet.

Brand managed to round up eighteen men and women whose wounds had been treated and who felt they were ready to get back in the fray. Seeing Del tend the fallen had done the trick. No wide-load sitting back at a desk in Suez City was che, but one willing to share their hard-ships and carry hez own burden. To go back to Israel on a pussy chit now seemed unthinkable.

Brand repeated to Del the scraps of information he had obtained from the wounded. They only hold ten grid squares centered on Gineifa. There is a fragile stalemate on the ground. We surround them on three sides but there is such a build-up in the area it could tip either way very soon.

A call from Shyla came in for Del on her portable micro and she spent a few minutes exchanging information. Before che even terminated the connection the east lit up brilliantly, like a camera flash that extended on and on. Don't look at it! Del shouted.

Brand locked eyes with her instead. Nucdet.

Bigger than that, father. Antimatter. Nothing but gamma rays, wavelengths proton short. That means a pile of cooked Egyptians but no fallout and even their tanks might still run after we scrape out their ashes. After twenty seconds the light faded rapidly. There was no mushroom cloud.

What does it mean, Major?one of the walking wounded asked.

I think now the country is safe. But that doesn't mean the war is over. Much blood remains to be shed. And we're way behind schedule. We were supposed to be hitting Deversoir an hour ago.

Del led her little platoon about a mile east over loose desert sand until they stood on the western shore of the swollen Great Bitter Lake, which was thoroughly mixed with the salt water of both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. With field binoculars she scanned the waters. This was the Reed Sea spoken of in Torah, confused in the popular imagination with the Red Sea.

Here, exactly here, Del knew, El Shaddai had parted the waters of this lake to let her escaping people cross to the other side, according to the account in the second book of Moshe. Hez grandparent Lilith said the part about the ten plagues was true, but Pharoah never chased after the Israelites afterward. In those days this lake was an extension of the Gulf of Suez, and the Hebrews simply waited for low tide and made a crossing on foot. And the part about conquering the Canaanites afterward was embellished too. It was the cusp between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age when nomads were settling down in permanent settlements across the Levant. The Hebrews slid in there with the rest of the folks. In a sense, the Israelites were Canaanites all along, just ones who didn't raise or eat pigs.

The Greek cargo ship Galatea was just now steaming into the lake but Del, despite hez reverence for El Shaddai, knew she couldn't count on a parting of the waters to get to the ship before it passed them by.

They all stood around looking at her. Del froze for a minute to let the gears of hez brain-case turn for a while. Finally che began stripping off hez uniform, right down to hez black panties and bra, revealing a surprisingly voluptuous but compact body. Che couldn't hide the bulge between hez legs but it wouldn't matter anymore, this was Del's final campaign. The men and women gaped at her at first, then came to and followed her example.

Del said, What is watertight? The lasers? Strap them on. Get rid of everything else, and 'Follow Me'. We're going for a swim.

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