The Atlantean Federation - Cover

The Atlantean Federation

Copyright© 2024 by KKindle

Chapter 22

They walked behind the guards as they led the way to the cathedral. The place was massive and almost looked like a castle of sorts. Just like in Corinth, the cathedral had an enormous plaza in front of it for people to congregate for his sermons from the balcony.

It was disturbing seeing the blood covered stairs in front of the cathedral, as many adults were shielding the eyes of their children. The grisly sight making Mark wonder how many people the Pope had murdered to protect his lies?

The guards fanned out and covered the front entrance and a few of them ran around and covered the back entrance as well, as Mark had drones also covering both doors.

They locked the doors from the inside, so the Pope must make his last stand, but what could he possibly do from inside the cathedral?

Mark simply waved his hand and the massive front doors disintegrated into black dust, allowing him entrance to the building, calling, “Come out, come out wherever you are, you vile little psychopath. I’ve got a nice comfy cell set aside for you ... and it’s even got a room service button.”

As Mark walked into the cathedral, several assassins were waiting inside, but the drones had them incapacitated before they could even do anything. Gyges went outside and asked some guards to come inside and detain the Pope’s incapacitated minions.

Marshall, the Captain of the Guard, came along figuring he could guide Mark since he knew the cathedral’s layout. Mark thanked him for his help and followed him past the pews and to the offices in the back. The Cardinal was still nowhere to be found. But there was a set of stairs back there that went down to the dungeons, and a ladder that went up to the bell tower.

Marshall looked at the ladder and then at Mark, before ordering one of the other guards to check the bell tower. They waited for the man to return, saying the bell tower was empty, then they proceeded down into the dungeon.

In the gloomy dungeon, they found several people in cells. Fortunately, Marshall knew what everyone was in there for and some were violent criminals. For the people being held for blasphemy or some other stupid crime, they were released, but they left the more dangerous criminals in their cells until they could be dealt with properly. Still, after scouring the dungeon, they could still find no sign of the Pope.

There was a lot of moisture in the lower levels, which prompted Mark to ask if there was a drainage system under the cathedral, and the Captain confirmed there was. He led them to the drainage tunnels and, while there were bars over them, they were loose and could be easily moved. Mark was upset that the Cardinal must have escaped through the drainage system, but he was a wanted man now, so they would catch quickly him if he showed his face in any Federated community.

They reversed their way back through the dungeon, picking up the dangerous prisoners along the way and escorting them outside. The guards had their swords drawn, but were simply pointing them at the prisoners, who likely didn’t know that the guards would be downed if they tried to harm them. The actual security was something they couldn’t see.

As the group emerged empty-handed, Mark announced, “There is no sign of the Pope, there are some drainage tunnels under the cathedral that he must have escaped through. Have no fear, though. He knows he is a wanted man and if he shows his face in the city again, my security will take care of him.

In the meantime, since this cathedral is a reminder his reign of terror and oppression, plus it looks like you would like to have an outreach centre, I propose we repurpose the material in this cathedral and turn it into the new outreach centre, but we shall not remove it from existence. We shall build a monument to remember the cathedral and the events that happened there. History should be remembered, even if it’s bad. If you remove everything pertaining to a terrible event, it will eventually be forgotten. Seeing a monument or statue of something bad is a constant reminder of that event and those reminders will hopefully prevent it from ever happening again. Is there anyone opposed to destroying this cathedral and replacing it with a monument?”

After two centons, no one had spoke up, so Mark announced, “So be it. I declare this site the location of the Federation outreach hub.”

Upon his announcement, Cricket started disintegrating the cathedral as everyone started on in awe. Even though it was a stone building, the stone appeared to turn black and rot as the cathedral collapsed into itself. Once the cathedral was nothing but a pile of black material, the new outreach centre constructed itself. The plaza in front of the building changed to the light brown material right under everyone’s feet. There was even a small monument that looked like one of those point of interest signs along the side of a highway. Currently, it only showed an image of the former cathedral, but the information placard was blank—to be filled in later.

While the outreach centre was under construction, it seemed like much of the city was now present in the plaza, so Mark asked if there were any nominations for who should take over the interim leadership of the city until they can hold an election.

Over the next 10 centons, 6 candidates were nominated, although 2 of them declined. The ones that accepted the nomination made their way through the crowd and joined Mark as he was standing just beyond the construction zone for the outreach centre.

At that time, they had already built much of the external shell of the building, so Mark had Cricket use the front of the building like a scoreboard, as Mark asked the candidates to introduce themselves and what they did. Gary and Rob were both merchants, Evan was an engineer and Paul was the current city planner.

Once the introductions were done, Mark said they were going to hold an impromptu vote just by a show of hands. He then called for the tree fairy, as she could fly over the crowd and count hands. She didn’t really need to do that, but it would look more believable than the reality of using the drones.

Mark stood beside Gary and asked, “Put up your hand if you vote for Gary as your interim mayor.” Many people put up their hands, Cricket did her fly around, and announced, “251!”

Mark repeated the process with Rob, with Cricket eventually announcing, “328!”

The process repeated for Evan, which took longer as he ended up with 2,402. Then for Paul, which took even longer as he totalled 5,206.

Upon the overwhelming support for Paul, Mark introduced him as their new interim mayor.

Paul stepped up and quietly said to Mark, “While I appreciate the support, I’ve decided I enjoy being the city planner and no longer want the mayor’s job.”

Mark turned to Paul and asked, “A good city planner is a valuable resource. Would you be OK with Evan as the interim mayor and you remaining as the city planner? Do you think you two can work together?”

Paul agreed and Evan, who was standing nearby, had overheard their conversation, was nodding in agreement.

Mark turned to the crowd and said, “It appears I may have been hasty with the announcement. Paul says he would rather remain as the city planner. We’ve spoken with Evan since he had the second most votes, and they agree they can work together, with Evan as the interim mayor and Paul continuing as the city planner. So I introduce you to your interim mayor, Evan!”

A cheer erupted from the crowd. It was a win as both of the popular votes were going to be running the city.

Within a few centons of the impromptu vote, the lights in the outreach centre came on, and Mark announced the outreach centre was now open.

Mark spoke to Evan and said, “The first thing that needs to happen is we need to get people identified, for without identification, they won’t be able to access many services. First off, let’s get both of you identified so you can access your offices. Do we have a record keeper or identification records in this city?”

Paul said, “Joshua and his son Liam are the official record keepers of the city.”

Mark said, “That’s great! We need to get them to bring all the records to the identification office and they can run the identification office.”

“They are in the library building. It’s an entire building, with shelves and shelves and shelves of books. They can’t be moved here.”

Mark just shrugged his shoulders. “Oh well, then we need to build an identification office in their building then. People will need to go there to get identified so they can access the services of the outreach centre, either that or we just allow people to identify themselves, it is a faster process, but it’s also prone to corruption if people give false information as their identity. It can be changed, but in the Federation it’s a criminal act to provide false information to an administration.”

Evan said, “Let’s expedite and allow people to identify themselves. If there’re any liars, they’ll eventually be found and can spend a few nights in jail.”

“Let’s go get you two registered then,” as they walked toward the registration booth in the central part of the outreach centre.

Cricket’s hologram was manning each registration booth.

Evan stepped into one booth and Paul stepped into the other. Cricket began her speech, “Welcome. Registration is a requirement to access services provided by the Atlantean Federation. These services include, but are not limited to medical, transportation, volunteering and more. The Federation will open a bank account in your name and they will compensate you for registering. It is illegal to provide false information to a municipal office. Failure to provide accurate and truthful information will be considered a criminal offence and will be punishable by Federation security. Do you agree and understand the terms?”

They both answered yes and then Cricket asked for their names and displaying them in the booth for them to verify the spelling. Mark then had Cricket upgrade their roles to their municipal administration roles as mayor and municipal planner.

Marshall was nearby, so Mark asked him and some of his guards to go through the identification process.

A half dozen of them went through each booth, then Evan asked, “So what happens if someone tries to register using a different name?”

Mark smiled, “If they were not registered, that becomes their permanent identity. If they were registered, and try to use a different identity, it automatically adds a legal charge for ‘falsifying information to an official’ and they will be lowered down to the prison.”

A bit surprised by that information, Evan asked, “There is a dungeon under this building?”

Mark laughed. “Not a dungeon, it’s a prison or jail. Which reminds me, we should have the guards watching the dangerous criminals and assassins bring them in here. We’ll get them identified and down to the prison.”

The identification office was the one office that was near the middle of the outreach centre, mainly because it was a pass-thru booth. You entered on one side and, after identification; you were free to go elsewhere. The process for criminals was different. They were taken to the identification booth, which locks them between the force fields. Their identity is confirmed, or provided by security, then security can specify what the charges are against the person. If there are active charges, the exit force field is actually on the floor and lowers them down to the prison level.

There were 4 dangerous criminals and 4 assassins being escorted in by a dozen guards. Once the first criminal was in a booth, the security officer places their hand on a pad to confirm their identity and then they get to verify the felon’s identity and they get to select the charges from a list. Marshall used himself as the arresting officer.

Once they processed the first criminal, Mark led Evan and Paul to the elevator and down to the prison level, explaining that the public cannot go to the prison levels, only municipal administration and security.

The prisoner, contained in a tinted force field bubble was floating down the hallway to a cell that had the force field disabled. Once inside the cell, the force field appeared, leaving the prisoner in the cell. It was a completely automated process, which meant it didn’t require staff to run the prison.

Evan and Paul looked over one cell, with Evan chuckling, “This is nicer than my house! I think I’ll just stay here.”

Mark said, “That’s not the right message to send starting your interim leadership. If the city votes to join the Federation, like so many communities across the country have, your houses will get upgraded to basic Federation standards, which are a lot nicer than these cells.”

Evan said, “So, how do we join the Federation?”

“Let’s go back upstairs to your offices and we can talk about that.”

The three men hopped into the elevator and rose to the second level. Mark pointed Paul to the municipal planner office and pointed Evan to the mayor’s office, then suggested they meet in Paul’s office.

Mark said, “Since this city is not part of the Federation, you have limited functionality with your offices. Typically, Paul, as the planner, you would have a complete map of the city on the wall and the ability to upgrade or build buildings and services all over the city. Remember how the surface of the plaza changed under our feet? The pathways are how this outreach centre communicates with the rest of the city. Think of them as the roots of a tree, but they run along the ground. Let me show you how things work in the Federation.”

Mark then sat in the desk chair and logged in to the computer, “He went into the Municipal Planning Software and a map of the city appeared on the wall across from the desk.”

“Oh wow, this is incredible! I love my job!” Paul said in amazement as he stared at the detailed city map on the wall.

Mark laughed. “Let me show you what will be possible once the city joins the Federation. It will be more efficient to have multiple outreach centres scattered around the city. The outreach centres are where people can go for food, water, medical, identification and transportation. Transit stops are areas where people can go to get a ride to other transit stops in the city, which makes it easy to get from one side of the city to the other.”

Mark got up and was looking over the map, asking Paul and Evan questions about what he was seeing. It was nothing like Corinth in design, because they had space, with the city built among the trees on the edge of the mountain range at the end of a valley, with a river running through the middle.

With it spread out the way it was, the current location was the centre of the city, so there only needed to be 3 other outreach centres, one to the north of the main outreach hub for everything that was built in the valley between the mountains. Then one in the southwest section of the city and then one in the southeast section of the city as the city widened considerably along the foothills.

Mark went back and sat at the desk. He picked the basic outreach centre design and then selected the three locations in the city that they had just identified as the best locations and clicked BUILD. He then picked some basic transit stops from the various types, then selected spots all over the city, before eventually clicking the BUILD icon.

Paul’s mouth was agape. “That’s it? That’s how you build things in the Federation?”

Mark nodded. “Yup, although there are some rules which become more apparent once citizens are registered. For instance, it will allow you to build schools, but it limits the number of each type of school based on the population, etc. It’s all explained in the municipal planning software. There’s also certain types of buildings that only appear once a municipality has reaches a certain stage or population.”

Evan then restated his question. “How do we join the Federation?”

Mark said, “We’ll need to choose an official election date and announce it to the public. There needs to be a period for people to come forward and declare their candidacy and register. Then there has to be a campaign period for candidates to sway citizens to vote. Then we hold the election and officially vote for a mayor and ask whether to join the Federation.

The mayor position simply goes to the most votes, but the decision to join the Federation needs to have over 80% of adults over the age of 18 registered in the Federation system as they are the only ones that can vote. Then you need at least 75% of registered voters wanting to join the Federation. The biggest hurdle right now is getting everyone in the city registered. Now that the other outreach centres are up and running, the identification process should go much faster.”

Evan said, “How do we get people registered faster?”

“In Colonia, they had town criers that went around ringing their bell and informing people when the vote was and that they needed to register to vote for their future. Do you have anything like that here?”

“Yes, we have bellmen, which sound like the town criers you mentioned. They could deliver the message. So how soon can we hold an election?”

“Corinth had theirs within ten days. I came back after 2 days and met with the candidates, then we held the election on the 7th day. People can vote at any of the outreach centres, but we must identify them to access the library kiosks.”

Mark showed Evan how to make an announcement, both a textual one that would advertise on the library kiosks and a video message that would also display periodically on the kiosks. So candidates needed to meet Mark at the main outreach hub at noon in two days. Then the election would be in seven days’ time.

With Alexandria playing catch-up, Mark, Maren and Gyges returned to the shuttle, which was still parked by the knowledge tree.

As they neared the tree, Mark recognized the dirty, brown-haired girl with tattered clothing. She was the reason they even came to Alexandria today.

Cricket informed Mark that she had been at the tree all day talking to her. She had no family and no place to live. After they murdered her sister, they burned the house she was staying in. For the past few days, she’s just been sleeping on the streets.

Seeing Mark, the girl’s face lit up. “Thank you for dealing with the Pope. After they burned our house, I really had nothing to lose, so I hoped the tree would save me.”

Mark motioned to the tree. “She tells me you have no place to live and no family. Is that true?”

The girl looked down at the ground, afraid to show her eyes. “It’s true.”

Mark hugged the girl, “First off, tell me your name.”


“How old are you, Serena?”

“I am 13.”

“Well, Miss Serena, why don’t you stay with us tonight? We’ll get you all cleaned up, some new clothes and a good night’s sleep. Then we can figure out what to do with you tomorrow. There are lots of options available.”

“Thank You!” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes.

Mark smiled. “Get on board. I want to go home.”

Serena was gawking out the windows as they left the atmosphere and was completely ecstatic as they approached the Galatea.

Everyone came to meet them in the landing bay, but upon seeing Serena, Annabelle whisked the girl off to get her cleaned up. Which reminded Mark that he could use a shower also since hanging around in the hot temperatures and then crawling around the musty dungeon.

Ra’ki announced tonight they were having a fisherman’s feast of lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels, vegetables and a clam chowder soup. Something she saw from an Earth restaurant on the Internet inspired her.

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