Miles Bell was now standing on another space platform.
Great, just great, thought he. Out of the frying pan, and into the fire. He had escaped one platform, only to reach another. Nevermind that this one was a church, accessible for most denominations, the fact remained that WDMD officials were hot on his trail, and, like al his other adventures, he was once again, dumped off.
But, this one was quite different.
“Thanks, madame, for the-”
“Shut up, you son of a bitch.”
Miles was slightly taken aback. The fear was creeping up on him again, as he felt that his rescuer could have been one of them.
“I’m sorry, I just-”
“Look, just shut the fuck up, and let me drive, okay ?”
Two hours then passed, as the woman crossed over a few continents in her shuttle until she reached a small orbital platform, with a few shuttles, and one or two ships docked on it. The shuttle slowly lowered itself onto the docking area of the platform. The woman then turned round from her driver’s seat to talk to Miles.
“Listen, Mr. Bell. Down here there is one ship you must look out for. You have one task, and only one task, and that is to stay on that ship. And don’t think you can run away…”
‘Why are you doing all this ?”
“It’s not just the WDMD that’s on to you. Others are. And, as of this moment, your only refuge is on this one ship, whose name I’m about to tell you now. Whatever happens up to you next is up to you.”
Miles could hear the ringing of the beel, as he looked round. The name of the ship rang clear, as the shuttle sped off, away from the platform.
Joel’s head was slightly groggy.
“Where the hell am I…”
As he came to, he found Firdaus, and Parker, standing. Joel slowly got up, his heavy body trying to assess the surroundings. The area seemed to be a sewerage area of some sort, with pipes leading all the way. Joel’s eyes traced along the pipes…. Until he saw three women.
He instantly recognized who they were.
“The Blessed Trinity ? But, I thought you were-”
‘Dead ? It was smart move they made.”
“A pity that Brother Dominic had to not only pay the bribes, but allow computer generated footage to let people assume that we were dead at the hands of the Harlequins.”
“Brother Dominic did what he had to do, Sister. AT least he managed to escape, and we were fine.”
It was here that Parker chipped in.
“Yeah,a nd Firdaus was in on all this, and we didn’t know.”
‘Dei, brudder; they just turned up this year, before the tournament.”
‘Wait- that means you..”
The first sister, the leader of the trio, who answered Joel earlier, gave a reply.
“Parker, do you REALLY think that a business contract can me made overnight ? NKS was already losing money since last year, and Marduch was already interested in furthering his vile competition by getting himself into a larger market. Plus, he had the money, so al he had to do was buy what was a respectable and reputable martial tournament, and turn it into the massacre he wanted. All he had to do was make it inaccessible to the public eye, but available to anyone via pod cast.
Thing was, we were in on it for a while now.”
“We ? Who’s we ?”
“Us. The Vatican.”
“Wait, that means that you took part this year just to-”
“No, we’ve always been taking part in the competition, ever year. You’ve seen us before, and you know how we fight. We honour God, and we honour the art of stopping fights. However, Marduch and his cronies are just interested in furthering their agenda and their pockets.”
‘You shouldn’t be so harsh, Siter…”
“Oh, quiet Sister. I know what I’m talking about. And while I don’t believe in death, I hope Marduch gets locked up for every one of his dastardly deeds. It is aazing he hasn’t exposed the nanotech people yet, and the Tran humanists-”
“Wait, he knows all this ?”
Parker gave a questioning look to the elder nun.
“Marduch knows about this. He knows what Thomas Williams is. At the same time, he has his eyes on a few members of the Catholic Church. I’m surprised that Fr. Anton is still alive, what with the stigma going on with him and Avignon-”
The three started to have a quizzical look on their faces.
“Wait… what does Marduch have to do with Avignon ?”
“You really don’t know anything, do you ? The WDMD is not the only ones doing their investigations, the Church has its own agents, though minor. What bothers us is why factions of such differing ideologies are working together.”
“I assume you’re talking about the Prince, sista.”
“Yes, Firdaus. It is not only revolting, it is insane. Why would an Islmaic terrorist, a corrupt Catholic cardinal, and two White supremacists collaborate together ? Three of them hate coloured races, and this union seems all the more too unusual. And, if what they say about Mercutio is correct, then it is getting all the more ridiculous.”
“You’re saying it is all ridiculous, then, what else can it be ?”
“Let me tell you what WE think. The Cardinal may want to recreate the Papacy in Avignon, but he’s hardly the sort to be a madman. There’s no real point in trying to bring the papacy to Avignon, but I have a hunch that he’s in on all this. Mercutio also seems to be funded by the Cardinal and Marduch, but his operations were already well-funded even before this elaborate union. “
“So ? Whata re you getting at ?”
“I’m getting at this: something else, something bigger, and larger is controlling all these men. Some people think it’s Marduch, but I think that’s bullshit-”
‘Shut up. It’s bullcrap. Marduch doesn’t have the foresight to think up something big, let alone the demise of Clarke. When the massacre at Olympus Mons happened a few days back, some South Americans were found to be guilty of collaborating, but aside from Mercutio, all hands pointed to something bigger.”
Parker had enough of this.
“Fine. What ahs this got to do with us ?”
“I suggest you three be careful. We arranged to meet the three of you, now, before it’s too late. We’re going back to Rome, and see what we can do there. But be wanred; Marduch has his eyes on all of you, especially you, Sun Kwan Park.”
“SO, what about me ? I can just throw fire. Big deal.”
As the two sister continued to walk back, the third sister turned back, and said something to Sun.
“You’re real name’s not Sun Kwan Park, isn’t it ? Do you think we don’t know what you reallya re ? What runs through your blood ?”
Parker’s face was blank.
“And, what you were even before you were fighting in these tournaments ? Not everyone knows about your past, Parker, and the thing is, not even you do. Not even we.”
Joel was bothered.
“Look, he may have amnesia, but-”
“Pay attention to your dreams, Sun Kwan Park.”
And with that, she promptly left, to follow the others.
Firdaus was silent throughout all this. He finally spoke up.
“What were they talking about ? What is your past ?”
“I don’t know, Firdaus. I don’t really know.”
The Terabithia was leaving the platform, as Dudley, Raghast, Terence and the Colonel were returning from the Mass. As Josiah left the ship on autopilot, with L5 as it’s intended destination, Josiah walked out of the control room. He was walking, down the passageway, when he heard a distinct sound.
It was coming from the cargo area, and it was not very loud, but, for some odd reason, Josiah could hear it. Slowly, he made his way, down various stairways, and pass certain doors, he reached the main cargo hold of the Terabithia, a giant space, mostly empty because the expeditions of Jameson, which usually met the requirements of one, tow, or, at the most, eight people, were not the same as the ship’s maximum for twenty people.
And, with this, Josiah was able to make out that a figure was hiding in one of the crates. It was a light tapping, but, experience taught him before.
As he grabbed forth the man hiding inside the crate, he was quite surprised to see who it was that was hiding there.
“What the…. You’re…”
“Yes. Mr. Bell at your service, a man framed fro a crime he, sadly, didn’t commit.”