Castle Roland

Book II - Global Explorer

by David McLeod


Chapter 35

Published: 7 Sept 15

Global Explorer II

by David McLeod

Resolution … and Retribution

Anconia Virginia Compound
Tom Pershing's Office
June 8, 2018

The message was brief: "Lennox entered _____ Bank, Zurich at 1000 local; exited at 1115 local."

Tom's message to огнемет was also short. "Does UFC have account at _____ Bank, Zurich?"

It took огнемет nearly fifteen minutes to crack the bank's servers. His reply confirmed Tom's suspicions: "Not until an hour ago. Balance $10,000. On watch list now."

Tom's people continued to report Lennox's movements, and огнемет continued to report new accounts.

Washington Standard, June 11, 2018: President Calls IRS On The Carpet. President Hawkins, citing hundreds of complaints of violations of the law by non-profit organizations, has served notice to the Internal Revenue Service that no one and no organization is exempt from the law, including those claiming religious status. "The First Amendment was designed to keep the government from either supporting or punishing any religion," he said. "It is the position of this administration that only if all laws are applied equally to all persons and institutions in this country will we live up to both the spirit and letter of the First Amendment and the rest of the constitution."

_Global Explorer_
Ensign Macon Randolph's Stateroom
June 11, 2018

Alexander had given me access to the system logs. I didn't have much free time—Alex had been serious about my added responsibilities. I had four Sea Cadets who I was supposed to "mentor," a bunch of Maritime certificates to earn, and "on the job training" on the bridge. When I could spare a few minutes, I scanned the messages between my father and me. Then, I caught it. The sender had made a mistake. It wasn't enough to identify him, but it was enough that I knew the message wasn't from my father. That bastard! He had someone on his staff write his emails to me!

_Global Explorer_
Alexander Anconia's Journal
June 11, 2018

Aunt Helen handed me a single piece of paper on which were the eleven names from the test tubes I'd given her.

Alexander, Nicky, Jonathan, Davey, Leonid, Lukas, Alberto, Carlito, Demetrio, Bobby, Tommy

"Before I tell you what I found, I want to caution you that the human genome is still very much unexplored territory, and we know that most aspects of our phenotype are the product of more than one gene. It is logical that the same thing would apply to whatever it is you are examining.

"The first nine people on the list had six genes on the Y-chromosome that are different from the last two people. I assume they were your control?"

I nodded, and she continued. "These six genes are different from any in the literature. Since seven of the nine samples are from family, I have destroyed my laboratory notes except for one copy." She handed me a flash drive.

"Whether to destroy this is your decision, Alexander, although I encourage you to consult your father. And someday, when it is safe to do so, will you tell me what I found?"

Senator Zinio's Residence
UFC "Boarding House"
Washington, DC
June 12, 2018

The building was much more than a "boarding house." Luxury apartments, a staffed kitchen and business center with computers, printers, and secretaries. As a "mission" of the Universal Fundamentalist Church, it paid no property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, or any other kind of taxes, and could easily afford property in the best area of Washington, DC.

Although Senator Zinio was not a member of the UFC, the church gave him quarters, both in the hope that he might be recruited to their cause, and for less obvious but more immediate reasons. This evening, the Senator met his sister's husband in the dining room. No more all-you-can-peel-and-eat shrimp, the senator had vowed.

"Your friend Randolph needs to secure his servers," the brother-in-law said. "Please don't tell him that, of course. It would only make my job harder."

"What have you found?"

"His son is pissed. He somehow found out that his daddy's loving notes and email messages weren't from daddy, at all, but were written by an aide. He … the kid … sent Daddy a snotty message." He slid papers across the table.

"Well how about that," Zinio said, and then filled his guest's wine glass. "How about that." And what can I do with this news?

In the basement of the adjacent building, the UFC employee who was listening to the conversation wondered, what can the Bishop do with this news?

Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC
June 12, 2018

The staffer's face was ashen. He had bad news for the senator. The man had been known to shoot the messenger in the past. Not literally, but a blackball from Senator Macon was the end of a career in Washington. Still, he had to tell the man.

"Sir, a message came in on the old email account, the one set up to communicate with your son." He faltered, and then handed the paper to the senator.

Hi, "Dad,"

I know whoever has been monitoring this account and creating your messages to me will tell you when this message comes in. You told me to erase all messages. I did, because I was an obedient son. However, the system kept backups. I have them all. I don't think there's anything in any of them that is incriminating, but the corpus would certainly raise eyes in the right quarters, wouldn't it?

There was no signature. None was needed.

Senator Randolph thanked the aide, and slid the paper into the cross-cut shredder at his side.

After the aide left, Randolph picked up the telephone. When the call was answered, he said, "I have a task for you."

_Global Explorer_
Alexander Anconia's Journal
June 12, 2018

I had asked the triplets to join me in the conference room. "We've figured out that five boys who had sex with the dryads have become telepathic. Colin said you weren't gay. But, your DNA has the changes that come from the dryads. It's important to know how that happened."

The three boys exchanged looks, and I knew they were thinking—hard.

"You know we didn't do boyfriend things with Colin, Hansel, and Alberto," Carlito said. His voice was flat, level, and completely emotionless. I felt some puzzlement, though.

"No, I don't think Colin would lie to me. And you know it wouldn't matter if you had."

Carlito continued to speak for the three. "We didn't but we did do something. Please don't be mad!"

"Guys? I know better than to get mad with you. You are even sneakier than our sister!" That seemed to lighten the triplets' mood. I got three grins before Carlito spoke.

"We made them our blood brothers. We cut—"

"We said we wouldn't tell!" Alberto said.

"Alexander is our first brother. He has a right to know."

"You don't have to say anything else, guys. I can figure it out, and I'm happy that you and the dryads are brothers. They've actually been members of our family for a long, long time, but I'm sure they were happy when you confirmed that."

The boys eyes opened, and I felt a sense of wonder. "That's what they meant," Alberto whispered.

Winter Palace
Davey Jones's Journal
June 12, 2018

I asked Jonathan, Jaf, Vitaly, Leonid, Yuri, and Spartak to meet in Jonathan's office. It was the most secure room we had, and what I had to say needed all the protection we could give it.

"Alexander's Aunt Helen has figured out how we got telepathy from you. When we have sex, something in your semen changes us."

"It's that of us which you take within you?" Leonid asked.

"That's what it looks like."

"So the more you take within, the stronger you get?"

"There's no evidence of that," I said.

Jaf giggled "No, but that might be fun."

I was glad to see that Jaf was over his embarrassment at being gay and loving a dryad.

Francisco Anconia's Journal
June 12, 2018

Alexander's call on the secure phone was not unexpected. He'd told me that his Aunt Helen was sequencing the DNA of boys and dryads.

"Dad, I promised to find out how the dryads do what they do, where they get their power. Actually, there are two separate questions—maybe more. First is where does the dryads' power come from. The second is how do non-dryads get the ability to use that power.

"We have solved maybe the second one.

"We know how guys become telepathic. And we're pretty sure it's just guys."

I explained about Aunt Helen and the genes on the Y-chromosome. It was a little harder to explain to Dad exactly how Jonathan, Nicky, Davey, and I had been changed, but I used polite words, clinical words. That helped.

"The triplets did a blood-brother ritual in the Grove," I said. "They never …" I let my voice drift off. Dad didn't say anything, so I continued.

There was something else; something I didn't want to ask. I believed that I had been a little telepathic before I had met the dryads. I had asked Aunt Helen to sequence my somatic cells … sperm. The changes were present there. That meant I would pass them on to my children, if I were to have children. It also meant that I'd probably gotten my first telepathy from Dad, and given it to Jonathan.

As if he were at this moment reading my mind, Dad smiled. "You want to know if I …

"No! Really, Dad! No!"

"Just remember, Alexander, that I was once a 12-year-old."

Pennsylvania Citizen-Almanac, June 13, 2018: Recall Election Approved. The Secretary of State announced that she has received enough valid signatures to force a recall election for Governor Christianson. The move to recall the governor was started by several unions, including those representing the state's remaining coal miners and steel workers, based on their charges that the governor was receiving illegal campaign contributions from the Universal Fundamentalist Church. The governor's press secretary, when contacted, simply denied those charges and assured us that the governor would vigorously contest the recall.

In a related story, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which has taken on new and unprecedented authorities as part of the Department of Homeland Security, announced that arrests had been made in the bombings at the homes of a union steward and an accountant in the employ of the UFC.

The Pennsylvania legislature saw the writing on the wall. They didn't wait for the recall election, but passed their own Pro-Hydrogen Power bill by a veto-proof majority. Other states quickly followed suit, or made sure that everyone knew that there was nothing in their code that would prohibit or restrict the construction of hydrogen power plants.

June 14, 2018

Protectors' silenced pistols fired on the four men in the lobby. Only one bullet to the brain was both necessary and sufficient. These Protectors were from the regiment that had been sent to Siberia, and they had zero tolerance for anyone who abused children.

A cadet gestured. The commander of the Protectors saw, and nodded to his men. Two followed the cadet up the stairs and, when he paused by a closed door, kicked the door open.

The men didn't need orders. One grabbed the man who was on top of the little boy, and threw him onto the floor. The other Protector fired the two bullets that ended Colonel Ulinov's life. By that time, the cadet was comforting the child, wrapping him in a sheet from the bed, and leading him to a place where he would be welcomed and healed.

Alexei Romanov Children's Hospital
St. Petersburg, Russia
June 15, 2018

In the beginning, the construction crew had been all Becker employees. It had not been hard to find men and women who spoke Russian and had worked in construction. Becker was, after all, the biggest construction company in the world. As work progressed, more and more Russian workers were recruited. Within a month, the ratio of Becker to Russians was 80:20. By the time the building was completed, the ratio was 10:90, and all the supervisors were Russian.

That did not, however, help find people to staff the hospital. The communists and then the KGB had followed the pattern established by the oil-rich kingdoms of the Middle East: minimum care at local hospitals and send the big-wigs to the USA or Switzerland when they needed serious care. Or, in some cases, fly in a team of surgeons and nurses from the USA. Russia was seriously lacking in skilled medical professionals.

It was Alexander's mother who helped us solve the problem. She answered Viktoria's call on the N-circuit.

"Viktoria! How lovely to speak to you."

"And you, my dear friend. I'm afraid our sons have created another problem for us." She explained the need for hospital staffing.

"You remember," Mrs. A responded, "meeting Dr. Freeman?"

"Yes, of course. He was quite the gentleman," Viktoria said.

"He is not only a gentleman bachelor and a surgeon, but is also the man behind International Partners for Health. He was, to say the least, fascinated by you … I mean, of course, your plans to build a pediatric hospital … and has kept in touch with me. When I told him of the need for staff, he nearly broke down the gates to see me. He was quite anxious to travel to Russia to make his offer to you in person."

The two women giggled like schoolgirls.

"He will arrive in St. Petersburg on Monday. Elizabeth has provided the Becker plane," Mrs. A said. "Naturally, you'll be there to meet him."

"But of course," Viktoria said. The women giggled, again.

"He will bring a team that includes doctors, physicians assistants, nurses, and other professionals sufficient to staff the hospital. He will ask you to provide support staff—orderlies, food service, janitorial, that sort of thing. This should give Jonathan time to create the vertical structure Russia needs. The team are all volunteer members of Dr. Freeman's organization," Mrs. A concluded. "Will you provide quarters for them? He will underwrite other expenses for at least one year. Will that be sufficient?"

Viktoria agreed.

When the call was over, she went to Jonathan's office to give him the news. "I will plan a reception for the team on Tuesday. I hope you will attend."

"A dinner party, perhaps?" Jonathan asked.

Viktoria smiled. "The team will be quartered, and fed, in the Nevsky Monastery. Dr. Freeman and I will have a private dinner, here."

Chapter endnote: As of 2014, the USA spends, on average $12,000 per person per year on health care. Liberia before and for months after the 2014 Ebola crisis was spending $108. Russia under the late premier: less than $500. Figures for USA and Liberia from Al Jazeera web site, 28 September 2014, Earth Analogue III.

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