An unholy alliance
With Ithis still incapable of helping them sort out the next artefact’s location, until she had got over the physical and mental shock of encountering her deadly nemesis, thanks to the mental torture he had inflicted upon her, Kolya ordered the whole group home to Cernigov in the Ukraine. At least back there, Nick and David would be well protected until they had time to formulate plans for the next target of their continued quest. David was dreading being back in Katya’s insatiably sex starved clutches. Nick and Kolya welcomed a break from the frenetic search through the rapidly growing list of possible archaeological sites, and the immense difficulties, and possible dangers involved with each one. As for Nicolai, he was glad to have Nick as his guest once again. He was looking forward to spending many evenings talking about ancient Sumerian archaeology with him. Nick related all that had happened, leaving out the accident David had endured for both Kolya and Victor’s sake. When it came to the almost accidental discovery of the creator of the Order and his sinister organization’s great age and growth worldwide, both aspects bothered Nicolai greatly. Asima’s incredibly powerful mind, and the way he had used it against Ithis, was something else that also disturbed both he and Nick. If he could influence a group of people to form themselves into a powerful fighting force from the sealed confines of his living tomb, what else might he be capable of in the future?
Katya and David spent all of their time, much to his relief, under the watchful eye of Victor, newly promoted by Nicolai as protector and chaperon to his future nephew-in-law, after he had been told of Victor’s heroic leadership of the villagers. Katya resented having the gentle giant constantly there in the background, frustrating her insatiable sexual need for David, making it practically impossible for her to be alone with her man. But even she dare not disobey her loving uncle’s desire for old fashioned propriety.
Kolya had been given time off, glad for the chance to visit his family for a few days while Nick and David turned their minds to far more pressing matters. It was Nicolai who one evening sowed the seed of an idea in Nick’s mind, when they were discussing Asima’s Order and its implications for the future of their quest, and now at Nick’s suggestion he put it to David. “What if a prominent journalist could be persuaded to take up the story by exposing the Order, making their existence public knowledge to the world? Hopefully somehow or other, because of the story we could convince the Vatican, and the leaders of all the other major religions worldwide, that your blog is actually a serious warning about the followers of the antichrist in his guise as Asima, and not just another crackpot conspiracy site? What better way could there be, to publicly lean on the more religiously inclined among the political leaders of the world, and at the same time, embarrass them into action against the Order? And through that same journalist, hopefully expose the members of the Order’s inner circle. To begin with, if Malcolm Davies and Professor Randle are exposed as the joint heads of its English chapter, showing the world that they are willing and fanatical followers of Asima by their very actions so far, then hopefully that will be the first positive step towards closing down the Order worldwide. If somehow the journalist could convince the Vatican that your blog had already actually exposed the Order for what it really is, months ago; and that in order to silence you, it had tried unsuccessfully through its willing ranks of hired killers to assassinate you on no less than two separate occasions recently David, wouldn’t that create enough of a diversion to allow you and Nick to continue – yes?”
David sat deep in deep thought for several days and nights, thinking over every aspect of Nicolai’s intriguing possible solution, totally ignoring Katya’s constant pitiful pleading for his attention. There were far more important things to consider than her insatiable animal needs. The big question was who in the journalistic world would be able to take up such a challenge? Who among their number had the ear of someone sufficiently high enough within the tight circle surrounding the Pope to start the ball rolling? Then as if a bolt of lightning had suddenly struck him, his face lit up as the heavy veil was lifted from his mind. He knew the answer. Of course it was blindingly obvious – Miles O’Shea! Miles is the Vatican correspondent for the Times newspaper based in Rome, and a long time silent supporter and anonymous contributor of sensitive information to his blog. Miles has the perfect inside contact in his old and trusted friend – father Patrick O’Neal. Patrick had come to the notice of the senior ranks within the church, early on at the beginning of his vocation. Because of his diligent application to his holy vows, and his natural ability at sniffing out fanatical antireligious groups that posed any kind of threat to the immortal souls of the faithful, Patrick had enjoyed a meteoric rise within the church’s hierarchy. Under the mentorship of his friend and former teacher in the seminary, the newly appointed member to the College of Cardinal’s – Ricardo Spinoza, a man who could put the fear of god into god himself if need be, Patrick was the golden boy of Catholicism. The Cardinal had taken young Patrick with him as his deputy, when he was appointed as leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Despite its new title, the institution still invoked great fear among the devout throughout the Catholic Church. Formerly run by the previous pontiff, in its original incarnation it was known and greatly feared throughout medieval Europe as the Inquisition.
Through Nicolai’s many contacts beyond the Ukraine, a meeting was quickly arranged between David and Miles at a secluded, well-guarded dacha, hidden deep within the heavily forested outskirts of Moscow, home to Nicolai’s old friend Dmitri Nedvilev, the undisputed leader of the ruling triad of mafia families that runs all organized crime in Moscow. Kolya and Victor would escort David on the perilous assignment. Nicolai would fully acquaint Dmitri of the reason for the meeting, and ask for his unconditional support in his future nephew-in-law’s fight against an enemy so powerful, that even the politicians of the world bowed down to him in fear of their lives. Nicolai realized that the last part would sound a bit over the top. But if Kolya and David were to succeed in convincing Miles of the gravity of the situation, maybe, just maybe an unholy alliance between the Catholic church and the worldwide underworld network was needed. With luck on their side, as well as the most feared organisation within the Vatican, hopefully they could flush out enough of the Order’s cells to create the diversion they so desperately needed. Above all, no mention must ever be made of Ithis by any of them. To do so would place the whole exercise in serious jeopardy.
A large black armoured limousine stopped outside the door to the heavily protected dacha, where its two occupants got out and were immediately escorted inside by armed guards. They were shown into a room at the centre of the wooden building and the door was shut behind them. All around the dacha, armed guards patrolled its grounds. Hidden trip wires, minefields and lasers stood ready to prevent intruders from gaining entry. The two men sat in silence at the table in the centre of the room, patiently waiting. A few moments after they had been shown into the room, a panel in one wall of the room silently slid open allowing Kolya, David and Victor to enter.
“David, it’s so good to see you again my friend, I’d like you to meet father Patrick O’Neal.” Patrick stood to shake David’s hand, and then Kolya and Victor’s. Patrick’s fierce black eyes bore into David and his two companions from his unsmiling face making all three men extremely nervous. Years of experience in the art of intensive interrogation, combined with the subtle and sometimes, brutal questioning methods carried out on behalf of his boss Cardinal Spinoza, had taught him how to put anyone not intimately associated with the Congregation, and its holy mission to root out evil, immediately on the back foot even before a word had been uttered.
Patrick sat down and opened the attaché case he had before him on the table, silently making a great show of his power over their immortal souls while withdrawing a sheaf of papers, his bible and fountain pen. “So David, Miles has filled me in on your blog about time being reversed, and about this organization you refer to as the Order. Are you absolutely sure of all your facts?” Patrick inquired, without once shifting his penetrating gaze from David’s face. Kolya fidgeted uncomfortably on his seat, clearly nervous in the presence of this Vatican inquisitor, more unnerved by him than by anyone he had met before in his entire life. It was as if the priest could see deep into his soul. Victor in his childlike innocence merely sat there, oblivious to the priest’s sinister gaze. David and Miles both recounted all the information they had gathered over the years and months leading up to the discovery of the Order. David told of his friend Nick, and how between them they had made it their personal mission to search the world’s archaeological sites for artefacts to prove the theory about time being reversed. He left out any reference to it really being a protection system for the entire solar system, and made no mention of Ithis and the Crypto-terrestrials who had set it up so long ago.
“And what is your involvement in all of this?” Patrick suddenly asked, directing his question at the already nervous Kolya like a bolt of lightning.
“My boss has placed me in charge of protecting David and Doctor Nick while they are inside sphere of Russian Federation influence,” Kolya managed to say, before he totally lost his nerve under the withering gaze of the priest, signalled by the fact that he had now soiled himself out of fear.
“Tell me about this tomb you have just sealed please David, and why you believe it is the Sumerian deity Asima who you claim set up the Order to do his bidding. I also need to know its exact location,” Patrick said coldly, shifting his steady unnerving gaze back to Miles’ old friend once more. The coldly clinical interrogation by the inquisitor went on into the late evening as each point of the story about the Order, and the various attempts on David and Nick’s lives, by the Order’s goons were gone over in fine detail. When David casually injected into the conversation that they also knew the names of the two highly placed English members of the Order’s inner circle, it made Patrick’s eyes almost gleam with pleasure. Now having his complete and undivided attention, David told him of Davies and Randle’s involvement, in particular, Randle’s deliberate action to discredit Nick to the world of academia, before the hunt for the artefacts had even begun. Here at least were two targets he could start with at the beginning of his official investigation into the Order. Further research on his part about Asima, would wait until he was back in the hallowed confines of the Vatican library, which is still the best of its kind in the world when it comes to knowledge gathered down the centuries on demonic beings. Kolya tried hard to regain some of his normal composure. He hesitantly suggested that his boss Nicolai, and others within the various criminal families across the world, would gladly act as Patrick’s eyes and ears, in penance for their many sins. He informed Patrick that Nicolai was already speaking with the heads of all the crime families within the Russian Federation and the rest of the former soviet countries about that very subject. Patrick barely nodded his acknowledgment in response to Kolya’s proposal before turning back to David and Miles once more. “Very well, I have all I need for now gentlemen. I suggest you return to wherever it is that you are hiding for the moment. I have no doubt that Kolya and his boss have you well protected from this Order and its henchmen. In the meantime Miles, I suggest you stay here in Moscow acting as liaison between David and me, until I have completed my investigation. Now I must get back to Rome immediately to report to his eminence.” Patrick looked at Miles, David, Victor and Kolya one last time before he left the room. He was positive all of them were hiding something. But for now he would leave them to get on with their hunt for the archaeological proof they needed, if that was indeed the true purpose for their investigations – only time and persistent detective work on his part, would tell.
Once Dmitri’s man had informed them that the priest had been driven to Moscow’s main airport and put aboard his flight to Rome, Miles, David and Kolya finally relaxed. Victor was the only one who wasn’t nervous. All he cared about was David’s safety. “Ok David, fill me in. Just what the hell is this all about?” Miles said as they sat drinking and eating courtesy of Dmitri’s staff. Between them, David and Kolya related the whole saga from the time when Nick first became aware of the time lag at Stonehenge, and how he and David met and formed an alliance to reset the Solar Defence System with the aid of Ithis. Miles almost choked on his food when mention was made of her and what she was, as well as the true purpose of the system her people had constructed. By the time they had finished, Miles sat deep in thought, struggling to believe even half of what they had told him. Both Kolya and David made him swear never to reveal anything of the conversation they just had. It went against his journalistic principals to sit on a story like this, but he reluctantly agreed. As the four men left the room in Dmitri’s dacha, none of them had noticed the electronic bug stuck beneath the table.
Patrick smiled to himself in his seat aboard the Rome flight as he removed the headphones of the receiving unit from his ears. His first order of priority was the Order and Asima. He would deal with David, Nick and Ithis later. While his clear instructions regarding the extraction of confessions differed somewhat from those of his predecessor’s in centuries past, who used excruciatingly cruel physical torture in their quest for the truth, he had the advantage of twenty-first century technology to aid him in extracting pertinent facts.