Introduction to WHITE SMOKE, BLACK FIRE! c 1986, 2001

an online novel
for these times


    It was a time of antithesis.

    The new millennium had arrived with much fanfare, but little noticeable consequence. For consequence had already evolved. It was the new 'Enlightened Age' to many of high-tech, scientific persuasions; a new 'Dark Age' to those who saw beyond gadgetry and genetic cross-breeding and cloning to the reign of the one who, for all time had been foretold would arrive and reveal himself in the darkest hour as the antichrist.

    Worldwide terrorism, epidemic diseases, a tsunami of moral depravity had washed the world in a gray matter of ambiguity and malaise. The entire global culture had become a cesspool of an amoral value system that could, quite easily, if one were so inclined, be justified in the Holy Book itself.

    In the latter part of the 20th century dramatic changes had occurred in the world power structure. A metamorphosis few even saw, even fewer realizing the future ramifications. The spoils of innumerable revolutions, civil wars, corruption and the fatigue of virtue had laid bare the victim, exposed the body of man to the pollution of power and made him prey to the pull of the beast. Animals all, embattled and embittered, in a battle for survival of the fittest.

    One beacon of hope stood above the swirling sewer of modernism, extending her beam universally, offering refuge to the wanderer, to the lost. The lightkeeper, vigilant through the centuries, began to lose focus. The rays became dimmer as the storm grew stronger. In recent times, maintenance of the lighthouse had been neglected. Cracks appeared in the walls. The once impenetrable fortress on the rock began showing stress signs. The stable gate buckled, the seams became a sieve. The structure was wavering as the waves lashed against her foundation.

    Though crippled and caring, proud and poor, indigenous and infinite, she would not fall. Leaning perilously to port, she wavered on the edge of the precipice. What would it take to topple her? Quite possibly a cataclysmic event that would send shock waves of terror through the foundations of faith.

    As the years, months, weeks and days passed, a nefarious legion waited and plotted for this very consequence which would shatter the total spectrum of the world's structure as it had been since recorded history had begun.

    Details of how were scarce. That is how the legion worked. It took unprecedented wisdom to glean the particulars for goodness was a rare commodity. Still, those few who possessed this attribute were powerless to stem the tidal wave crashing down on an unsuspecting world, so engulfed by the forces of darkness.

    The few just men - far fewer than of Abraham's era - could do nothing but recoil in muted horror. Fewer yet would be able to combat the clandestine Legion of the Basilisk with the only weapons they had left: cunning, tenacity, and the discovery of an inner strength of their own faith. These few noble heroes would realize their own limitations, and also the accuracy of Genesis 3: 1, "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."

    The portal for the serpent had been provided through the generations who had clamored for Liberty, Equality, Gay lifestyles, Immorality, Oppression and Nihilism. The acronym for LEGION. It had festered before the French Revolution, brought to a boil during the Bolshevik, Nazi and Soviet terrors and now had developed into a full-fledged malignant cancer that infested the entire world. The rotting carcass had been made ripe for the maggots of depravity.

    The clash of ideologies had only fed the antibodies of tolerance and compromise, fear and loathing, pride and prejudice, envy and egalitarianism, inordinate sensual passions and passivity, anger and angst, voracity and violence, indolence and insurrection. These deadly germs metastasized every nation, engorging the bulging tumor of a one-world order - a one-world religion - masked behind the verbal engineering of "globalization" and "ecumenism."

    On the dawn of a late autumn in the early part of the 21st century the masquerade was almost complete. The venomous virus was exacting the desired symptom as the world media congregated on a massive field between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers - near where Abraham was born and near where the original Garden of Eden was believed to have existed. They were there for a global ecumenical event that would be of biblical proportions. The influential religious leaders of the world were there on a circular stage 200 yards in diameter to all sign an historical document that would seal the uniting of all religions under the Magna Carta of the third millennium "One Eucharist." This agreement, forged by all parties, had been rewritten many times until all were in covenant with the words that would give universal recognition to all faiths while still allowing each creed to preserve their cultures and rituals and share them with others. It was the modus operandi of the times.

    It had come to this, so starved was a world longing for peace. There had been none. As China mounted a threat in the East, Russia, ripped from within by insurrection from an economy in ruins, turned to the west. The European Charter had been an uneasy alliance that caved in the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem, most of which lay in ruins. It had been the last hurrah of the despot of Iraq, aided by Arab terrorists. His own people rose up against him, stealing within to assassinate him enroute. There were few tears and his death opened the way for the pope to finally complete the one missing link of his much ballyhooed pilgrimage retracing salvation history.

    The bishop of Rome had worked so hard for so many years, painstakingly laying the foundations of forgiveness in striving to arrive at this crowning moment when East and West would be one again, along with every apostate that had bolted true Christendom. Friend and foe, spent from battle and mistrusting as ever, had reluctantly come to the table. All other alternatives had been exhausted.

    In the days leading up to this historical summit all seemed quiet. But was it? Few sensed the serpent, heard the hiss, or smelled its stench as it skulked into the chief rabbi's humble abode near the rubble of the wailing wall, crept into the sacristy of the Russian Orthodox patriarch; wound its way through the Mecca inner chambers of the Grand Imam; coiled beneath the colorful Hindu icon of Ganesha in Calcutta; sprung from the sterile stone relief of Buddha in the palace of Burma, oozed out of the marble crevices of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican, slithered through the gothic eves of the archbishop's residence in Canterbury, sprung from the shadows at the unsuspecting president of the Synod in Germany, and, basically penetrated every chamber of every creed…all in the darkness of neglect.

    As the cock crowed on the morning of November 1st, the cockatrice crept into place. Television networks zoomed in on the international event. The world waited with baited breath. Catholic and Orthodox, Arab and Jew, Hindu and Moslem, Protestant and Buddhist were about to unite. As the world viewed it, the major principals were all there, putting on their best face. The masks were still in place as the clock struck twelve leaving All Hallows Eve behind in the United States.

    The world would never be the same.

    The vast majority of civilization knew not the catastrophe that would take place or the immediate repercussions. It was better that way. Safer. Kinder. It would have been extremely difficult to reach a society so mesmerized by the media and modern mores. They wouldn't believe it. Their virtual world was about to be shaken to its roots in a very real video game they could not escape.

    They were about to experience a meltdown of all they had hoped for, all they believed in. Little did they comprehend they were mere kindling for an explosive combustion of White Smoke, Black Fire!

      Coming August 6, 2001: Episode One

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