Castle Roland

Book II - Global Explorer

by David McLeod


Chapter 19

Published: 30 Jul 15

Global Explorer II

by David McLeod

Orphans and Enemies

Viktoria Romanov's Diary
March 9, 2018

The Chudov Monastery had been destroyed by the communists in 1929, and then rebuilt by the KGB in the early 21st century as part of their drive to woo the Russian Orthodox Church. Work had been completed just before the execution of the premier. In the confusion that followed, only a caretaker staff had moved in. They were, for the most part, elderly monks, although several nuns from Orthodox communities in Poland, Germany, and the United States arrived after Jonathan took the throne.

Spartak and Leonid seemed upset. They whispered to Jaf who took me aside. "The religious—the monks and nuns—are hungry. They are poor. What little money they have is sent from churches outside Russia, and that is not enough. They do not have enough money to buy gas from Gasprom to run the heating system. They are afraid you are here to evict them."

"Bozhe moi!" Victoria's voice carried, earning frowns from two of the robed women. She turned to face the assembled monks and nuns.

"My name is Viktoria," she said. "My son is Jonathan I Romanov, Tsar of Russia. He is a good boy who has never refused a request from his mother."

She turned to the soldier in charge of her escort. "Colonel? Would you please contact the closest army unit and have a field kitchen set up in the courtyard. It should be capable of feeding at least 350 people for some time, perhaps several weeks. I would like that to be done in time to serve supper this evening."

Three city officials had attached themselves to the entourage when Viktoria's train had arrived. They had hoped to suck some glory for themselves. That hope died when Viktoria declined their invitation to visit showcase facilities, and directed her motorcade to the gymnasium. Now, they paled when she addressed them.

"Mr. Sobyanin, please arrange busses to transport here the orphans we saw in the gymnasium along with any of the adults who were caring for them who wish to come. I would like them and their belongings to arrive intact in time to settle them by suppertime. And have someone contact Gazprom to have the gas turned on."

She turned to the clutch of monks and nuns. "Members of the religious community? You have approximately two hours to prepare to receive 300 orphans and perhaps a score of adult caregivers. The army will feed them—and you—until we can make other arrangements. You will be responsible for providing shelter. This facility, this monastery, is now an orphanage under my direct and personal authority. You are welcome to stay as long as you are willing to work. You will have the necessary funds and support to do that. Will that be satisfactory?"

One of the monks stepped away from the others, but stayed a respectful distance from Viktoria. He bowed.

"Your Grace, I am Vasili Saltykov, the eldest of this community. Only 300 orphans? We know there are more. Of course, we all will work as necessary to care for them. You must understand, however, that we have little money and that the Prelate of the Church has his own ideas about this facility. He has ordered us to be absent in three days."

Viktoria thought hard at Spartek. Please find out why. Tell me or tell Jonathan, as you will.

"Brother Saltykov, your offer is accepted. Do not be concerned about the prelate's plans. I think that I outrank him." Viktoria smiled, although her lips were tightly pressed together.

The religious immediately began whispering. By ones and twos, they darted away. Their steps were purposeful. When the orphans arrived, bedrooms and linen were ready. The furnaces had been turned up, and there was hot water.

"Brother Saltykov, would you chat with me? I would like to know more about why you are here, and why the prelate doesn't want you here," Viktoria asked.

It took only a little conversation to uncover the reason: these aging religious had rejected the leadership of the Patriarch of Moscow—the one Jonathan had cowed into submission.

Brother Saltykov summarized his story. "You have given us an opportunity to live our dream of service without the burden of sin that the church tried to put upon us. We have disassociated ourselves with the church, even the remodeled church, for we believe that they hope to regain their old power with their superstitions."

It was confusing, but relatively easy with the cooperation of the mayor and the army, to transfer the 300 orphans from the gymnasium to the monastery, where quarters and, from the children's perspective infinitely more important, supper, was waiting for them.

I was surprised, at first, at the cooperation of the monks from the Russian Orthodox Church who remained at that monastery. After talking more with them, I understood.

They were all committed to service to others. But they had become disillusioned with the message of the church.

Three days later, when we returned to St. Petersburg, Jonathan told me what had been discovered. During the rebuilding of Chudov, vaults whose existence was known only to the KGB and the church, had been constructed. After Jonathan's assumption of the throne, there had been time to fill only one with the treasures of the church. The prelate knew of them, but we got to them first. Their sale created enough wealth to keep the orphanage operating for at least a decade. It was our hope that by then, we might no longer need orphanages.

_Global Explorer_
9 March 2018

Our next schools conference was scheduled with three schools from South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Three red states, I thought, and figured it would be bad.

It was worse.

After I asked for questions, a kid in Georgia read his question from a card. "Dr. George Summers at Libertine University has shown that aerosols infected into the atmosphere can reduce global temperatures by more than enough to compensate for any so-called global warming. Why aren't you doing that instead of attacking energy companies?"

Libertine University? Infected into the atmosphere? I glanced at Davey. He grimaced, and turned his attention to his computer.

"I don't know of Dr. Summers or Libertine University, but I do know about aerosols. We saw global temperatures drop a bit after Mt. Pinatubo put aerosols into the atmosphere. That part of the theory is correct. However, rising temperature is only part of the problem. That's why we say global climate change and not just global warming. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more gets into the ocean, is turned into acid, and affects corals and other sea life."

After two more questions, we switched to Tennessee. The first kid read from a card he held. "Dr. George Summers at Libertine University has shown that aerosols infected into the atmosphere can reduce global temperatures by more than enough to compensate for any so-called global warming. Why aren't you doing that instead of attacking energy companies?"

Davey had put one word on a computer screen, "Libertine UFC college."

Sunny beaches, I thought. It's the same question, with the same typographical error!

"Son? Someone in Georgia just asked that question. Is it your own question, or did someone give it to you?"

The kid stammered. "My teacher . . ." he said. He dropped the card, and sat.

I answered the question—again—and terminated the conference.

@sciencetruthnolies: ufc hoisted by its own petard anyone know what is a petard

"Those a-holes!" I said. "Are you sure about Libertine?"

"Absolutely," Davey said. "Right name, several papers published in their so-called science journals, peer-reviewed by people whose only degrees are from that university."

"Are they accredited?"

"Only by a body of similar schools . . . bible-based understanding of the universe is one of their themes."

"How can we win against that kind of . . . of . . . whatever?"

"Maybe we should just give up on the red states?"

"That would mean giving up on millions of children, and we can't do that."

"Yeah, I know."

Winter Palace
Davey Jones's Journal
March 10, 2018

The next сирота воздушных перевозок or orphan airlift plane, this one an American Angel Flight from Dover AFB, had a special package for me: new November-circuit phones. They were modified iPhones, and were connected through an automated switchboard. We could call, conference, text, and email anyone who had one of the new phones. Equally important, they would not operate unless held by an authorized user. It would be up to me to key them to users—Jonathan, Jaf and his father, Viktoria, a very few of our special forces, and me. I think we would all be glad to replace the huge and heavy models we'd used until now.

The neutrino system was expanding every day: it included Mr. Anconia in Virginia; Francesca in Montana; the _Explorer_; the control rooms of the power plants in Nunavut and Arizona; seven US and British attack submarines; and a few special people in both the USA and Russian governments, including Jonathan's team. Jaf just about had an orgasm when I gave him his own N-phone. He immediately called his dad (whose office was just down the hall from Jonathan's) to let him know.

After Jaf ended the call, I saw him hugging Leonid as they left the office. It almost looked as if Jaf were supporting Leonid, but I didn't give it a thought—until much later.

Warren Cathedral
Washington, DC
March 11, 2018

The sermon at the Warren Cathedral on this day reinforced the notion that science and religion were incompatible magisteria, even though that might not have been the intent of the UFC Prelate of Washington. He reminded the congregation, as well as the worldwide television audience, of the evils of science, including rational thought, critical thinking, evolution, nuclear reactors, and the atomic bomb. Then he dropped his own bomb.

"Now, science has created an even greater danger. Just as the hydrogen bomb was a greater evil than the atomic bomb, so hydrogen fusion is a greater evil than nuclear reactors. Scientists from Anconia Industries have built hydrogen fusion power plants in northern Canada and in the middle of Arizona. Our scientists predict that when those plants blows up—and they will blow up—they will poison—"

The watch officer at the Anconia compound made sure that the recorder was operating before he turned down the sound and picked up the telephone. "Mr. Anconia? The UFC has declared that Anconia Industries built hydrogen fusion plants in Canada and in Arizona. The Reverend Fallmuth, Prelate of Washington, has made it the subject of his sermon. It is on Cable Channel 281.

"Yes sir, the computer alerted us and began recording as soon as he mentioned Anconia. It looks as if they put these sermons out as a podcast; I will send you the whole thing as soon as it's posted.

"Yes sir. I will notify the Explorer."

The watch officer hung up and turned to his deputy. "Eric? Start recall, and tell everyone that we're going to full staffing, worldwide, 24-7. The UFC has been unhappy with Anconia for a long time; how, they're letting people know that."

"Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
and until they have rebelled
they cannot become conscious."
—Winston Smith
in George Orwell's 1984.

Winter Palace
March 11, 2018

"Davey? I've not forgotten," Jaf said. "The UFC? I've found a bunch of their bank accounts in Barbados, the Channel Islands, and Switzerland. I've also found at least one transfer to a Russian bank, but that's a dead end."

"Let's send that information to Tom. He'll know best what to do with it."

In Virginia, Tom Pershing read Jaf's message. Then he picked up the telephone and scheduled a squash match at the DC Athletic Club with a friend. A friend who worked in the IRS Enforcement Division. A friend whose discretion could be counted on.

_Global Explorer_
Alexander Anconia's Journal
March 11, 2018

I shut off the speakerphone that had carried the call from Dad's command post. Nicky was already looking for the podcast of the sermon.

"There's nothing here, yet. It looks like they take at least a day to get the sermons out as podcasts," he said.

"Probably run them through a couple of editors, first," I said. I pictured someone like Winston Smith in 1984, sitting in a cubicle making sure what Fallmuth said was what he meant to say. Or what he was told to say. I wasn't entirely surprised when Nicky asked, "Alex? Did you ever read 1984?"

"Yes," I said. I knew what Nicky was thinking. "But once they put it out on the internet, they can't change it."

"Let's see what Francesca thinks," I said. Nicky frowned, but got over it quickly.

Francesca answered immediately.

"What are we going to do about the UFC?" she asked. She didn't even say hello.

"First thing to do is find out how they knew and how much they know," I said. "Anything on the dark net?" It was Francesca's job to monitor the UFC's darknet site and provide us summaries and alerts.

"The dark net already has talking points based on the sermon and instructions to flood social media and the press with them. Nothing on how they found out. I'm working on their open web site."

"Any idea what we can do?"

"To start, I'm going to hack their website, and redirect every 10th person trying to log on. They'll be sent to a website that looks just like the UFC's, but which contains the truth," she said.

"Wonder how long it will take them to catch on?" I giggled. Francesca giggled back. It was one of the few times she and I had seemed to be in synch.

Actually, I knew my sister was amazing! And according to the dryads, she wasn't telepathic . . . just smart.

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