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The Fight for the White Smoke

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Tuesday, December 4, Year of Our Lord 2018


The wooden stairs creaked on the way down to the unfinished basement as Matthew and Elijah climbed down the stairs.  The room was well lit, with several overhanging lights illuminating the lower level.  The stairs laid out from one corner and descended downwards, leading to an open and medium sized basement.  It was unfilled, save for a nice washing machine and dryer in front of Matthew and to the right of that in the other corner a TV next to a couch and some chairs.  Other people filled the couches and chairs as the TV was tuned to the popular cop show SBC: Minotia.


Matthew stepped onto the basement floor and walked towards the group, while the group greeted Matthew and Elijah as they made their way towards them.  One of the guys on the couch, Nathan, invited Matthew to sit next to him on what appeared to be the “lead” couch, with the senior members of the Circle of Matthew, Nathan, and another one, Elizabeth, sitting there.  Elijah sat on the floor in front of the TV while the others sat in the assorted chairs and turned towards Matthew as he sat down.


Matthew cleared his throat and begin as someone offered him a bottle of beer, which he took.  He began in a somewhat serious tone, “Thank you for coming, ladies and gents, just have a few updates to discuss.  Firstly, we have everything set to make Monsignor Kevin the new Bishop of St. Paul.  Obviously, this is huge for us, and we should have him christened in a week or so.”


Matthew took a swig of his beer and continued.  “In other news, the arms we ordered recently have arrived and are being stored in the complex.  The meeting with Cardinal Melku from Orioni is expected to happen in around two weeks, which is where the payment will happen.  Monsignor Kevin has got that.  That brings us up to having the secured the vote of around 30 cardinals, including the chamberlain of the college of cardinals, Cardinal Bertone.


That’s all I have to say.  Nathan?” The bald, older man to Matthew’s left shook his head.  “Elizabeth?” She repeated the action.  Matthew nodded, “Alright, sounds good.  Now be quiet- this is my favorite episode.”

  *       *        *
Saturday, December 8, Year of Our Lord 2018
Monsignor Kevin walked hurriedly on the crowded sidewalk in downtown Minotia, the noise of honking cars and talking people drowning any other noises out, as rush hour in big cities tended to do.  Rogers wore his clerical shirt, accompanied by his black pants and dress shoes, and carried with him a briefcase.  The heat and humidity made him and the other commuters sweat, however were partially helped by the clouds covering the sun.  


He hustled along, bumping into the shoulders of other commuters walking to their apartment or to the metro on their way home from work.  Coming to an intersection, he found his destination on the corner across the street, an apartment building many stories high that instead of just occupying the corner spread to either side, allowing for more apartments and rooms.  The pedestrian light illuminated green as Rogers approached the crosswalk, and he continued without missing a step as he took a left across the busy intersection.  Coming to the door of the building, he opened it and took a step inside.


The cool AC relieved the Monsignor of the oppressive heat and humidity.  The lobby he had just entered through was filled with some cushioned armchairs and couches to both his immediate left and right which surrounded coffee tables, while the desk and receptionist lay straight ahead.  Behind the desk, to the left and right, were hallways that went away from the lobby with doors set in them, which Rogers reasoned to be an assortment of apartments and custodial closets.  The desk itself was square in shape and being in the middle of the room, not against the wall, with the wall straight behind the desk being occupied by a twin set of elevators.  

Monsignor Kevin nodded to the receptionist while walking past her, reaching the elevator and pressing the up arrow button to the right of it.  He waited until the elevator opened, then entered it and pressed the “3” button.  He ascended, the elevator opened, and he exited.  Rogers walked down the hallway, the classic refreshing scent of hotels filled his nostrils as he took a left and walked away from the elevators down the hallway.  He stopped at a door near the middle, which read “305,” with a plaque next to it also reading, “Anthony Figorio, P.I.”  Rogers nodded his head to himself, and hesitating for a second, knocked on the door.

Edited by Sancti Imperii Catholico
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Wednesday, December 8, Year of Our Lord 2018


Rogers stood in front of the door, waiting anxiously for someone to open the door as his palms began to sweat.  He was nervous about to see his old colleague, one he had fallen out with many years ago during their time together in the Marines.


The door opened suddenly, a barely clad woman standing in the door frame with a cigarette stuck in her mouth.  The woman took no lengths in trying to cover herself up, even to people who could potentially walk past the room.  The scent of the room streamed past the woman and smelled heavily of tobacco and alcohol.  
The women eyed the Monsignor up and down before asking in a tone of annoyance, “Who the hell are you?”  Rogers got past his moment of surprise, and trying to avoid looking down, he looked into her bloodshot eyes and answered, “Monsignor Rogers.  I’m looking for Anthony.”  The woman rolled her eyes before turning her head over her shoulder and yelled, “TONY! Someone’s at the door for you.”  Rogers heard a man yell, “LET ‘EM IN!”  The woman backed out of the doorframe and let Rogers through.
Rogers walked through the door and took in the room.  The kitchen lay to his left, with some chairs and a counter separating it from the hallway.  The hallway led down to the living room, where Rogers could see a TV playing a movie and a couch facing the TV, where he saw the back of someone's head.  The hallway also had two closed doors in it.


Rogers walked down the hallway towards the couch, where the man stood up and looked behind him to say Rogers.  The man’s faced morphed from annoyed to boiling anger.  The man clenched his teeth and said, “Kevin.  Get the f*ck out of here. Now,” the last bit wavering with anger.  Rogers took a deep breath to calm himself before replying, “Anthony.  I have business.  This is nothing personal.”


Anthony approached Rogers bare-chested.  Rogers almost gagged from the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke and brandy.  The man replied through gritted teeth, “I don’t give a sh-t, get the hell out of here!”  With this, he reached into his pants pocket.


Rogers calmly patted the briefcase, and said to Anthony, “I said business, Tony.  Something to pay rent with.  I am not here to talk about your choice in prostitutes.”  

Anthony’s face looked like it was as if the Monsignor had punched him square in the jaw.  Fuming but interested in what his former partner had to say, he slightly relaxed his jaw and took his hand out of his pants pocket to motion for Rogers to follow him.


They moved towards the kitchen and sat down at a small table just before the entrance towards the kitchen.  Still mad, Tony nodded his head to Rogers, indicating he should speak.  Rogers opened the briefcase, revealing the contents to be wads of cash.


“Tony, I feel I am trouble.  You obviously do not care, but I can pay you 50 grand and I think that’s all that matters.  There’s a man named Joseph Reed, his address and contact information lies in the briefcase.  He works for some secret group called Ordo Sacra Gloriosa. I have never met these people, but I’ve worked with them through this Joseph.  If I am to give you this money, you must find out who this group is.  I think you are the only one capable of this job, Tony.”


Tony looked at Rogers with one eyebrow cocked, slumping in his chair, “You think I will try and track some random secret organization that I have no clue about and expect success... for 50 grand.  75.”
Rogers fired back, “60.”
“70.  Or I’m not doing the job.”  Anthony read the Monsignor’s face and smiled slyly.  Rogers was not as happy, and stifly replied, “Fine. Nothing more.  The rest will come to you by next week.”  After finishing, Rogers stood up, leaving the briefcase on the table as he headed towards the door.
_________________________
[SECURE TRANSMISSION]
To: Amir Paulos, assistant to Cardinal Edris Melku of @Orioni
From: Matthew Fisher
Hello again,
Rogers has the payment.  Will meet at 0300, corner of Frederick and Ave Rd.  Make sure Melku is 100% up for this.  No turning back.
-Matt

 

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Posted (edited)

Thursday, 16 December, Year of Our Lord 2018 

Joseph walked down the two-lane road outside his suburban neighborhood.  The clouds shielded the hot sun, allowing the tall man to go on an afternoon walk without the oppressive heat.  He worked from home today, and so the roads and sidewalks were almost completely absent of cars or other people, save the lone stay-home mom on a jog or group of teens skipping school.  He cherished the empty space as one of the only places he had the time to think. 

Joseph stopped suddenly in the sidewalk.  An asphalt path to his right led into a small woodland downhill, until meeting a bridge and crossing a creek before turning left and losing sight from the main road.  It was nothing special, although Joseph had never gone down there before.  And something was pulling him.  He shrugged and decided to make the little detour. 

It turned out to be a nice secluded area.  Quiet, with the birds chirping and little other noise.  Thinking he had the whole space to himself, Joseph further relaxed.  Unbeknownst to him, Anthony had been trailing him since he left his house.  Surprised by his obliviousness throughout the journey, Anthony took Joseph’s trail through the woods as a gift of an easy beating.  No witnesses, no problems. 

Anthony waited until he took the left turn before sprinting towards Joseph.  Joseph apparently heard this, turning his head around in confusion, but it was too late.  Anthony lunged and tackled Joseph, quickly putting his hand over Joseph’s mouth and a gun cocked to his head. 

“Listen motherf*cker, I got a big job and you’re a part of it.” 

Josephs showed fear through his eyes.  He remained tense and simply nodded.  Anthony nodded quickly, still slightly out of breath, heavily breathing through his nose. 

“Good.  I need the info of a certain group.  Flowery group, if you know what I’m talking about.” 

Joseph’s eyes widened further then what they already were.  Anthony could just make out through his hand, “How do you know about that?” 

Anthony simply stared back at him.  “Let’s not delve into details kid.  Except about this group.  Spill the beans or I’m capping your ass.” 

*          *          * 

Monsignor Kevin Rogers was no longer a monsignor, but rather a bishop.  While the ordaining of a bishop was usually a celebration of a pious man taking the seat of what the apostles once held, the mass was arranged to be a rather quiet affair.  Cardinal Edris Melku, from @Orioni, had even made the trip to ordain him, or at least that was the story told to the public.  In reality, he had been brought over for an exchange, his support for money.   

The path for Rogers had been planned out before the Ordo Sacra Gloriosa had even met him.  The order needed a man willing to infiltrate Church ranks.  Their goal was to get rid of papal authority, through electing a man sympathetic to their cause or through some other method.  They found the man they needed in a young and upcoming priest in the city of St. Paul.  A more liberal man, he had been heard by some to denounce the papal authority in the government.  The order found the man- now a monsignor- and contacted him.  The order had then used him to secure endorsements, funds, and other supplies necessary for the task.  While the inner circle was small, the whole Ordo Sacra Gloriosa numbered some thousand, and so used other connections in other places to do the same.  They had gotten 4 to the office of bishop, and dozens of others hastily ordained to the priesthood. 

Bishop Rogers now stood by the front door of the rectory where it all began.  He had come back to pack the few belonging that remained to finally head to the home where he would stay.  The local church members had organized a barbeque in the backyard to celebrate his time here, and with the guests all gone hours later, Rogers began to leave.   

The other priest that had stayed with him and would become the pastor approached him to give one last goodbye.  Kissing him on each cheek and hugging him, he bade farewell and good luck. 

“Good luck out there Kevin.  May God bless you.” 

Rogers nodded solemnly, “And as to you.”  Turning to the door, Rogers opened the screen door and stepped outside.  He walked down to the driveway, where a car was waiting for him.  When he reached the car, he looked over his shoulder and yelled over to the other priest, who still stood by the screen door. 

“Leo, do not forget Judas and the wolves.  Many times they are very close to you.  Stay on guard.” 

Before Father Leo could reflect on what Rogers had said, Rogers had got in the car and drove off. 

 

Edited by Sancti Imperii Catholico
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