Vatican Abdicator, page 1
(VATICAN ASSASSIN BOOK THREE)
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
VATICAN ABDICATOR: VATICAN ASSASSIN: PART THREE
Copyright 2008 by Mike Luoma. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the express written consent of Michael Luoma except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Michael Luoma at:
FIRST SMASHWORDS EDITION
Dedicated to my sister and brother, their amazing and wonderful spouses, and my nieces and nephews. I love you all!
CLASSIFIED REPORT to Ibn Al-Salid, Universal Islamic Nation (UIN) from the UIN Intelligence Office, April 20, 2011.
INTELLIGENCE DOSSIER SUMMARY on Pope Peter the Fourth of The New catholic Church (NcC), aka Bernard Campion, aka “BC”
BORN 2080, United States of America
FMR AFFILIATION (prior to reunification & the NcC in 2104): Holy Redemption Church of Jesus (appears to have been cover for some sort of smuggling operation)
DANGER TO UIN: EXTREMELY HIGH! The Intelligence Office understands your holiness’s interest in engaging in a dialogue with Campion. We advise against this most vigorously, on the basis of the threat posed by Campion as detailed below.
BERNARD CAMPION is an unlikely Pope. Recently elected by a plague-depleted College of Cardinals, Campion (now known as Pope Peter the Fourth) was formerly an agent in the Office of Papal Operations (OPO) under the previous Pope Peter the Second. Campion is known to the Universal Islamic Nation’s Intelligence Office to have been a Vatican Assassin answering only to the Pope himself. Campion is the likely assassin of Lunar Prime Governor Meredith McEntyre at the Lunar Peace Conference on July 12, 2109. Compromised former UIN Intelligence Office Agent Nita Bendix was publicly blamed for the governor’s death. See additional file summary on BENDIX, NITA, an apparent triple agent now known to be ANITA CAPITUNA of Van Kilner’s Project and a close confidant, possible lover of Campion’s.
Campion is also the likely assassin of the cult figure known as THE LIGHT whose followers previously occupied FORTUNE STATION until their leader’s death in November of 2109. The evidence is only circumstantial. Campion was known to be on a mission for the OPO at this time and disappeared for approximately two months. He was rumored to have been on Fortune Station for that length of time, and his return to Lunar Prime coincided with the death of The Light. The UTZ moved in and evacuated the cult at that time, relocating the surviving members to Dubuque, Iowa, United States of America, UTZ. The Intelligence Office has unconfirmed reports that high dosages of psychotropic drugs were administered to Campion by the cult on Fortune Station, resulting in Campion’s chronic, debilitating headaches (which have been witnessed and reported). These headaches of Campion’s could be a useful weakness to exploit if needed.
After Our Great Retaliation of Christmas 2109, and the death of Pope Peter the Second, Campion’s activities apparently became more peaceful. He was named acting and then full Vatican Ambassador to Lunar Prime by Peter the Second’s successor Pope Linus the Second and began organizing the recent series of peace conferences on Lunar Prime.
As the last of the conferences ended with biological warfare and the infection of our delegation with the current plague that has wiped out a third of our population, it may be that Campion’s “peace conferences” were merely an attempt to get us close enough to be infected. Granted, the UTZ’s population has also been severely affected, but the accidental infection of their own population cannot be ruled out. The Intelligence Office cautions his holiness to regard this latest explanation that the plague is of extraterrestrial origin with some skepticism.
At this time, the Intelligence Office believes Campion’s appointment to this highest office displays desperation on the part of the NcC leadership, and perhaps interference in the church’s processes by Universal Trade Zone (UTZ) CEO Richard Wentworth. The alliance between the UTZ and the NcC
lasted for many years before the declaration of the church’s neutrality by Pope Linus last year. Given his past history, the Intelligence Office feels it would be unwise to assume that the NcC will remain neutral under the leadership of Bernard Campion, Pope Peter the Fourth.
2 Corinthians 10: 3
For although we are human, it is not by human methods that we do battle. The weapons with which we do battle are not those of human nature; they have divine power to demolish fortresses!
The Moon… Our bright light in the night sky.
Pope Peter the Fourth, Bernard Campion, looks up at the full Moon and sees the glint of light that marks the main dome of Lunar Prime.
The dome over the atrium… I wonder… How tall are the new trees under there? How much have things grown back? How long has it been? Feels like only yesterday. As he watches, the stars around the Moon begin to burn brighter and brighter, nearly blinding him.
That’s not right!
Suddenly, one of the stars drops out of the sky, disappearing below the horizon. Other stars follow, first one by one, then in a brilliant cascade of falling stars!
After the last star falls, the sky is left blank and black save for the bright, full Moon. The Moon explodes! It shatters like glass! Sharp white shards glisten as they fall from the sky and pierce the ground around him.
BC looks up and sees a shard coming straight down at him. It pierces his shoulder and slices right through him! He’s ripped in two by the shard of falling light from the full Moon.
BC wakes up in a chilly sweat, realizes he’s in a seat on the bridge of a ship. He collects his wits, remembers he’s on his way to Wentworth Station on board one of Wentworth’s ships. Richard Wentworth. Guess I owe him one now.
I don’t like owing him anything! The man’s a snake! I may be the head CEO of the Universal Trade Zone, but he’s certainly the power behind the throne. At least he sent his pilot Drex along with this ship to save my ass when everything went wrong on Mars.
He was supposed to meet with Al Salid on Mars but the man threw him in a cell instead! A disguised and undercover Fiza helped BC escape and helped him hook up with Wentworth’s rescue ship.
Fiza! Finding her alive changed my mind about Wentworth. First he said she was dead, then he let me believe he was keeping her as a drugged up sex slave, or worse! And all along he had her working as an agent for him deep undercover in the Universal Islamic Nation on Mars.
“Mornin’ sunshine,” Drex the pilot says, greeting BC. “You dozed off for a second there. Then you shouted out, ‘The Moon!’ or something! Then you screamed. Musta been some dream, anyways, huh?”
“Yeah, some dream. A dream about the Moon.”
BC tries to clear his head of the vivid images.
Guess I’m worried. What’s not to worry about?
My plans are falling apart!
Well, not all of them. Wentworth says he’ll work with me. With us. That’s good. Maybe I can bring the Project and the UTZ together.
It’s all falling apart.
Thought Al Salid and I were going to be able to bring the UIN and the UTZ to the table together. Didn’t expect Wentworth would have to send a ship to rescue me!
Al Salid… The guy threw me in a cell!
He wasn’t himself. Didn’t eve
Is it Dolomay? On Mars? Felt like he was there, when he was in my head, when I was in Al-Salid’s office!
Dolomay is on Mars. The Eldred lost track of him. Told us to find him And all signs point to Mars.
It felt like he mentally attacked me on Mars.
Those have to be the greater powers the Eldred said the Ancient Enemy possessed. Mental powers! And who knows how powerful the guy is?
The way the UIN is acting it has to be Dolomay pulling the strings. The UIN is now under his control.
“You know, after you freshen up on the station, talk with Mr. Wentworth, whatever, I can take you anywhere you want to go. You don’t have to go back to the Moon,” Drex offers.
“Why wouldn’t I want to go back to the Moon?” BC asks.
“I don’t know. Just the way you shouted ‘The Moon’ before, there. Anyways, I can take you back to the Moon, if you want. Or anywhere on Earth. Or in orbit. Doesn’t matter to me, anyways. Not back to Mars though, right?” Drex chuckles at his own joke.
“Right,” BC agrees grimly. “Not back to Mars,” he mumbles, still grateful Drex rescued him from the planet’s dusty surface after his plan to meet secretly with Al-Salid went horribly wrong. That whole mission was for nothing! Although, I did find out Fiza was okay. That was a surprise and a half! Hope she still is. Mars is a dangerous place. It has to be Dolomay!
So… where to next?
“Just back to the Moon, Drex, I guess,” BC tells the pilot. “Unless something changes while I’m here. Thanks.”
“No problem, padre.”
BC settles back down in his seat and looks out the viewport at the carpet of stars. Good. They’re all staying put.
What a strange dream. Killed by a shard from a broken Moon. Wonder if that means anything?
BC watches out the viewport as the rescue ship arrives at Wentworth Station, watches the station loom larger as the ship approaches.
It looks like a camera floating in space.
The station has two sections. The lower, boxy section looks like an office building, topped with a shining, rotating cylindrical section. They approach the camera “body”, the “lens” rising up into the “sky”. Rotating for gravity… the original section of the station. The lower boxier part has artificial G. That’s probably where we’ll dock.
Drex maneuvers the ship in to dock with a walkway extending from the lower section. He directs BC to the airlock, then tells BC he’s staying on the ship.
“I’ll wait for you. I’ve got everything I need onboard.”
“I don’t know how long I’ll be here…”
“That’s okay. Long as it takes, I’ll be here. I can wait. Don’t have much else to do, anyways,”
Drex assures him.
“See you when I get back, then.”
BC leaves the ship, walks down the walkway and enters the station alone. It seems nearly deserted.
He stands in the lobby for a moment and takes in his surroundings: Marble floors, carpeted walls, tapestries…
Not much has changed. Same color scheme, black and red. And silver. Or is that chrome?
A greeter, a woman in a black and red environment suit, appears from behind a pair of sealed doors, and welcomes him aboard. She leads him down a red and black corridor. There’s still no one else around.
BC follows the woman into a small, square room with blank gray walls and a wall-sized mirror opposite the entryway. There is a table with a single chair in the room. Utilitarian.
The greeter ducks out and the door closes behind her, leaving BC alone in the room. BC hears a voice say, “Clear!” The mirrored wall clears to transparency. It’s now a window onto a nearly identical room. Richard Wentworth stands on the other side of the window, all business in his black three piece suit and slicked back gray-black hair.
He hasn’t changed. A snake in human skin.
At least he’s on my side, for now. For so long as it benefits him.
“Different. Love what you’ve done with the place,” BC says with some attitude.
“Precautions,” Wentworth says. “You are a disease carrier. And I still have not been exposed.”
“You really know how to make a guest feel welcome! But it’s sensible, I guess,” BC admits. “You really don’t think you’ve come in contact with the Eldred’s plague yet?”
“Apparently not. I’ve tested negative for it. Best to be careful, eh? We keep ourselves alive by being sensible. Cautious. Careful. You understand,” Wentworth explains. Thanks for the fancy treatment. Only befitting the Pope and the chief CEO of the UTZ, huh? Trying to show me who’s in charge?
“Is this what you call working together?” BC cracks. “Great way to start…”
“Precautions… So,” Wentworth continues, “on your way here from your debacle on Mars, you said on the com that you believe… you’re convinced… a million-year-old intergalactic war is about to flare up here in our ‘backyard’, as you put it?”
“I do believe it,” BC confirms.
“An ancient, intergalactic war? Being a bit dramatic, aren’t you?” Wentworth lectures him. “You’d have us focus on some vague alien threat? What about the UIN? Should we just ignore them?” BC hears the sarcasm in Wentworth’s voice.
“Not at all. They’re part of it,” BC replies calmly. He tries to keep his cool. Hard to work with a guy when you have to constantly struggle not to punch him! Arrogant prick…
“I see. And these aliens you’ve mentioned before, they’re behind it, I gather, from what you wouldn’t say over the com?” Wentworth deduces. “And this goes above and beyond the plague they’ve already hit us with?”
“They are called the Eldred, and they are most definitely a part of it. And it most certainly does.”
“But you say there might not be anything we can do to stop it.”
“You say you never like to say never,” BC reminds him.
Wentworth paces back and forth on his side of the glass, thinking. He stops, looks across at BC.
“You think there’s some new player on Mars who has something to do with this ‘war’?” Wentworth asks.
“I not only think there is. I know he’s there. And he does,” BC admits. He knows something… What does Wentworth know about Dolomay?
“Fiza’s told me a little about this new ‘player’,” Wentworth says, nearly answering BC’s unspoken question. “I gather you know more?”
“What do you know?” BC challenges him. “I’d rather not repeat information.”
And I want to know what you know that I don’t!
“Huh,” Wentworth grunts, surprised by BC’s tone, but he continues. “Fiza says there’s a new advisor to Al Salid, one who’s not a Muslim. According to her, he just showed up one day, after Al Salid returned from a secret journey.”
“That ‘secret journey’ was Al Salid’s trip out to Eldray to meet with the eldest of the Eldred. We each went out to meet with them, individually. And he and I had decided to secretly meet with each other after he got back,” BC explains. “That’s why I went to Mars.”
“That plan went well, then, eh?” Wentworth chides him.
“I think this ‘new player’ got in the way of the plan,” BC says.
“Fiza says they keep this ‘advisor’ out of sight, for the most part,” Wentworth informs BC. “But she’s seen him. ‘Course, Fiza is good at getting into the kind of places where people who don’t want to be seen go. Places people don’t want her to get into,” he says with a chuckle. “She said he had blonde hair when she first saw him, but he dyed it black soon after.”
Well! That just about confirms it. And the descriptions I heard of him on Mars certainly matched the artist’s rendition we have of him from The Eldred. Dolomay has to be on Mars. And he has Al Salid’s ear… and maybe his mind! Maybe he’s somehow controlling Al Salid
Maybe it was Dolomay in my head!
What did he learn in there?
Has it been him all along?
That first time, too, on Fortune Station?
That was different.
“What is it, Campion? You got quiet.”
“Hold on. I’m thinking.”
“What do you know, Campion? I know you know more than you’re telling me!”
Might as well fill him in…
“I know a lot of things,” BC says. “When I met with the Eldred, Wentworth, I discovered that the human race is descended from a brutal race of galactic conquerors a million years dead, now referred to only as the ‘Ancient Enemy’.
“The Eldred helped overthrow the Ancient Enemy a million years ago, but the Ancient Enemy sent out
‘star seeds’ as the Eldred called them, small bundles of Ancient Enemy DNA and such, when their homeworld exploded.
“One of those star seeds landed here.”
“Okay…” Wentworth says cautiously. “Interesting story. But why didn’t the Eldred try to just wipe out these ‘star seeds’?”
“They did try! They have been trying,” BC tells him. “They told me they didn’t know at first that the star seeds even existed. When they began finding them, they started wiping them out.
“But it turns out some other alien races interfered in our case, kept our star seed hidden somehow after the Eldred paid their first visit to Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago.”
“The Eldred were here before?” Wentworth asks.
“They might have wiped out the Neanderthals,” BC says. “That’s just a theory.”
“And they’ve been trying to wipe us out with their plague, now that they’ve found us,”
Wentworth realizes, the truth dawning on him. “Now it makes some kind of sense… Not that I like it!”
“They say they’re only trying to ‘contain’ and ‘control’ us, that the plague won’t kill all of us,”
BC tells him. “They want us to stop killing each other and confine ourselves within the orbit of Jupiter. If we agree to do that, they say, the plague will stop. They just want to keep us, um, manageable. They want the UTZ Council and the UIN to agree to their conditions.”
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