WHITE SMOKE, BLACK FIRE! c 1986, 2001

Part II:
White Smoke, Black Fire!
The Smoldering

Fifth Chapter

      Episode Five

             A cknowledging that life is a universal chess game was the first step in alerting Patrick Gallagher of the dire predicament the world was in. How cleverly, insidiously, maliciously the father of half-truths had maneuvered the pieces - his demons - on the board of life. At every instance seemingly blocking God and the goodness of His people. Fasif Khadid continued to relate to Pat and Niki Andriopoulos why. He explained that man, weak and fallible, had kept trying to move into position God's pieces, placing them where man thought they should go, where man wanted them to go. Free will, that gift given to every man at conception, kept getting in the way. No matter how much more knowledge man garnered, no matter the scope of technology, without God there is a void. It is a void so chasm-like that the great black hole of the Milky Way pales in comparison.
             Fasif revealed how, because man allowed free will to get in the way, man literally cut the Almighty off at the pass for man has control, reveling in his own power of intellect and action. Khadid explained that the Supreme Being - the Source of goodness - will never overstep man's God-given privilege of free will. Because of that conundrum, the universal chess game has gotten out of hand. Evil had forged forth.
             He explained how the pawns were the seven deadly sins of pride, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, and seven added by an eighth accomplice: complacency. These pieces could only move forward one square at a time. They were countered by those on the side of light by mere drops of water for separately they were helpless. They could, by their own finite ability, only move in the same manner. The only way they could be effective were to pool their resources in one giant flood of faith. Because of their position on the board, this had been impossible.
             The dark rooks represented division and confusion, wrought by racism, hatred, the lack of respect for human dignity through the acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, and genocide. They were opposed by the depleted forces who tried to reinstate respect for human life in all its stages, but, because they had been so battered by the overwhelming rejection of good, they had been greatly weakened.
             Likewise the white knights of Sacred Scripture and of the Church established by Christ Jesus Himself. Over the past century the forces of the black knights of war and pestilence, and despair had worn down the voices of justice and right.
             The bishops of the dark side represented apostasy and schism in the Church wrought by those who had embraced the Luciferian ideals of Freemasonry, as well as occultism and the growing new age that had so engulfed society. Their thrust diagonally unhindered across the tableau of life had greatly trumped the weaker white bishops who represented the honored traditions of the past that had been trampled on and degraded as superstition, as outmoded in a modern world where man knew better. Because of that mentality, their movement had been greatly limited.
             The dark queen was Lucifer disguised. This was how the Legion of the Basilisk moved clandestinely, always in disguise, permeating boardrooms, political chambers, religious houses and institutions of every creed, temple, mosque and church. No one was immune from the siren of hell that beckoned so many to the lures of the world, the flesh and the devil. The queen of light was the woman clothed with the sun, the woman of the Apocalypse with the crown of twelve stars who would confront the red dragon with the seven heads, ten horns and seven diadems. Much was still a mystery but as Fasif unraveled the trail of the basilisk, Pat understood better the severity of the situation.
             He explained to this Metroplex Mirror reporter and the Greek how all of his legion were making way for the king of the darkness - satan himself - who would reveal himself as the beast in all his hideousness and ultimate ugliness of heart. He would do so only after his minions had toiled for him, sacrificed for him, accomplished all he desired, deceiving them by the riches that awaited those who had sold their souls for a fleeting moment of power. Waiting for him to expose his everlasting grotesqueness and vileness was the great White King - God Himself. Fasif elucidated how He was represented by Jesus Christ, Who had promised He would come again as the scriptures bear out. He reiterated how this Mystery of Faith was no myth. When and how was the great mystery.
             And so Fasif this day illustrated how it came down to the very principle of Zoroaster - Good vs. Evil. He restated how he believed with his entire heart and soul that good would win out. But at what price? The million or so souls that had perished exactly 24 hours ago was a heavy price for the wages of sin. Yet, as difficult as it was for Patrick to comprehend, that was only a harbinger of things to come.

      Dateline: Fasif Khadid's Oasis Villa Estate, November 2, 10:50 a.m.

             "It was not easy, my friends," Fasif related, "to find a pattern or even a clue as to why certain events happened and were followed by other events which stemmed from the first, and so on. But I had contacts. One of them, " here he paused and smiled. A little sadly Pat thought and wondered why as Fasif took a deep breath and explained, "was a beautiful woman who held a high political post in the Israeli government. Naturally there were many times it was necessary for me to interact with the Israeli operatives, and thus I came to know this woman."
             "Ah, you speak of Helene Shenneker," Niki nodded, adding his own affectionate smile. "I've only met her on that one occasion, Fasif, as you know, but she is truly remarkable."
             "Pardon my ignorance, but who the hell's Helene Shenneker, and what does she have to do with all this?" Gallagher demanded.
             "First of all, she is more than a dear friend. She is my wife, or should I say was," Khadid confessed, and to Gallagher's look of shock and puzzlement, added. "I am a Christian, a Maronite Catholic with Chaldean connections. She was born into Judaism and converted to Catholicism. I work for my government. She works for the Israeli state, or what is left of it after the destruction of Jerusalem earlier this year."
             "So?" Pat grilled.
             "We were never able to reveal our marriage to anyone. Both Helene and I believed that we could better serve mankind and God by remaining at our given tasks, a fact which would have been impossible had our matrimonial bonds been known. We did consummate the marriage in the late 70's and have been celibate since. The fruits of that one night was a beautiful, loving and loyal daughter."
             Addressing Pat, Niki enlightened him further. "That would be Karel, a dark-haired raven of beauty."
             Before Pat could respond Fasif continued. "Without going further, let us say we reached a mutual and beneficial agreement that we would each take the vow of celibacy for reasons that were of grave importance to the mission we have embraced. While she remains a rose on my heart always, this charge I have been given must take priority. I will say no more for now on that."
             Pat could tell there was much more Fasif could have said, but declined. Khadid determined it was not germane to the point he was trying to convey to Pat. This man of mystery picked up on his previous trend of thought. "Regardless, it was Helene who was able to find the first tangible clue we needed to be certain these disciples were controlled by a master who was not just some power-hungry madman from a corner of the world who wanted control of the planet. She had people working for her. Astute, educated people of great faith."
             "And what exactly did they discover?" Pat queried then realized the obvious, "Don't tell me a lizard?"
             "Exactly," Fasif replied emphatically. Documents, records and photographs were studied, interviews conducted with people who had been involved in some of the more notable events over the past forty years or so. Our first break came when we examined the death of the late Pope John Paul I - Albino Luciani - in the fall of 1978. If you'll recall, he was in office for only a month and died suddenly, leaving the Church in a very tenuous position. Helene's agents in the Mossad discovered that at the time of his death Luciferian operatives had already penetrated deep within the Vatican.
             "Something rotten in Denmark," Pat opined.
             "Except this was rotten to the core inside the very seat of Christianity - Rome," Niki asserted.
             Fasif continued. "It is customary at the death of a Roman Pontiff that the doors of his apartments are sealed prior to a new election, that the deceased's papal ring is smashed. Though this was done, it was done clandestinely and a different symbol was uncovered, a water mark that was, according to his closest confidantes, not placed there by John Paul I. In fact, in further research it had been imprinted during the reign of his predecessor Paul VI and had gone undetected. We have since discovered that John Paul I had discovered this and was about to expose the Satanists within the Vatican."
             Pat couldn't resist probing, "I remember that conspiracy theory, but I had believed he was going to reveal those who had been operating the Vatican Bank. That's where the scandal laid."
             "And that's what they wanted you to think, to believe," Fasif said emphatically. "Corrupt operatives of the American CIA, the Soviet KGB, The Red Chinese Secret Service, the Mafia, Mossad and an organization known as Propaganda Due or P-2 composed of business leaders, bankers, hit men, highly placed political leaders and religious leaders, including many in the Roman Curia, had all conspired to dispose of the new Pope and floated the rumor of the Vatican Bank."
             " Pat shook his head at the realization of this decoy. "The ol' distraction ploy. Magic and mirrors."
             "Yes, and their password, their secret identity was-"
             "Let me guess," Pat interjected, "a lizard!"
             "Precisely. Your astuteness is improving, my son," Fasif nodded as he picked up where he left off. "It is a set of lines, actually. At first that is all you see. But if you study closely the form, the shape of the lizard is present. This is their secret code."
             "Just as the ichthys formed the fish for the early Christians," Niki injected, "so also these lines signify the Basilisk."
             "Satan has always sought to mock God in every way." Fasif had Pat's attention fully now. "We were able, through a unique special laser beam our resources intercepted, detect the watermark that linked so many documents over the past forty years. We discovered through a filter in the lens that by reviewing footage of past events the cockatrice was easily identifiable."
             "Where to the naked eye one couldn't see it?" Pat was coming around.
             "Exactly," asserted Fasif. "For example, when Khomeini overtook Iran and there was so much tension between his country and yours. In viewing tapes of the U.S. Embassy hostages taken, the image of the lizard can be seen on papers, discreetly displayed on banners held by those incited to riot, on many Arabic and Farsi placards that were always in abundance to stir up the crowds. The symbol has shown up in almost every country at some point over these past four decades. Vietnam, Nicaragua, Libya, the Philippines, East Timor, Beirut, Jerusalem, Palestine, Syria, Baghdad, Russia, throughout Europe, Australia, Canada, South America, the Caribbean and especially in the United States. No continent has remained untouched."
             "Yeah, but how does the lizard make the difference?" Skepticism returned to Pat's voice.
             "It's the common factor that, due to Helene's devoted efforts, we've taken hold of and tried to track down, for we need to discover its exact meaning and from there to destroy its origin."
             "Though it may not make sense, Pat," Niki inserted, "it is an interesting depiction, no? You are not unfamiliar with the Holy Book, Fasif? Does this not strike you as even more significant, that the sign of these disciples of evil should be that of a lizard?"
             "I was struck, Niki, right to the core of my soul." Fasif's answer was a solemn testimony to his belief.
             Yet Pat put a monkey wrench into the conversation once again. "Well, I'm not quite sure that I buy all of this. You tell me of events that have long been publicized, and then add that in all of them there was this covert symbol of a lizard, which is supposed to be the symbol of the Antichrist himself. I thought this Antichrist, if and when he or it came, would come dressed in sheep's clothing, or at least bear the number 666 somewhere easily detectable."
             "Do not mock this, Gallagher," warned Khadid. "The time for joking and cynicism is at an end. What happened on the Field of Abraham, now the Field of Death, says more eloquently than ever I could that the reign of the Antichrist is upon us. I do not know if we can yet halt it. But I am going to try. I believe Niki will try also. I had hoped you would, too."
             "I'm working on it, Fasif," said Gallagher bluntly. "Pays to be skeptical. Besides, if what you say is true, how do I know that this king of evil isn't you? Or that you and Niki are not disciples of this lizard?"
             "The Basilisk," replied Khadid nodding. "That, my friend, is the proper name given this lizard. And, no, you're right to be skeptical. I only wish, somehow, to convince you that I speak the truth about the Basilisk."
             "What is this Basilisk? Have you ever seen it?" Pat machine-gunned questions at Khadid.
             "Fortunately in its real form, no," Fasif fielded his adversarial inquisitor. "Only in the deeds it leaves in its deadly wake."
             "The Basilisk is supposedly a legend." Niki informed his skeptical American friend. "One of those tales from ancient times that has survived. But it is also as old as mankind itself, appearing even in the Bible."
             "The eleventh chapter of Isaias , verse nine and the eighth chapter of Jeremias, verse seventeen of the Latin Vulgate, Douay-Rheims version," documented Fasif.
             "The lesson, Pat," Niki encouraged, "is that the apostles subdued kings and philosophers, without, I might add, any finite advantage. The evil that will be conquered symbolizes the Basilisk. In other words, if you have God, Pat, you can conquer the demons even when things look the darkest. And right now they do."
             "I'm afraid, Niki, it is not merely a representative or a symbol. It has taken on the very flesh of the Basilisk for on the scientific side, the basiliskos is a lizard reported to between two and one-half to three and one-half feet in length. It originated in the African desert. In legend it is said its breath and glance are fatal to all living creatures."
             "Wonderful," sighed Pat dryly, "a death dragon, so to speak."
             "That is not a bad description," Niki approved. "It is of the genus Basiliscus and has a dilatable pouch beneath its throat and an erectile crest along its head and spine. When ready to strike its victim, the basiliskos is indeed a sight to cause death."
             "Even more," Fasif added, "the meaning of basilisk, over the years, has taken on other significant meanings. For instance, it is the diminutive of the Latin basileus which means king."
             "Ah," added Andriopoulos, "the connection becomes even stronger. Do not forget, my friend," Niki said to Khadid, "that the bible speaks of an unnamed serpent which hatches from a cock's egg. A Cockatrice. The etymology of that word alone increases the evidence that the Antichrist is indeed ready to assume a king's role...for first the Antichrist must hunt down and destroy its enemies. That is its source. That is what it is doing now. Hunting and destroying."
             "Then it must destroy the religious leaders?" Pat deduced. "They walked right into the serpent's den."
             "Exactly!" Fasif emphasized. "You're starting to see the light, Patrick. In order to get to that point, much planning and deceit, infiltration had to be engineered. Many converts to the dark side had to be made. The great majority had to be fooled and accept what was proffered."
             "How so?" Pat quizzed.
             Before Fasif could answer,Elias appeared at the door. "Pardon me, sir. The call you have been expecting has just come through. Shall I tell them you will call back?"
             "No, Elias my good man, I'll take it. In the meantime, serve our guests some of your famous spiced pomegranate and some figs as a mid-day repast. Gentlemen, I would recommend you stretch your legs for we have much more to discuss. Let us take a short hiatus for now. Niki, feel free to show Pat around. We'll meet back here, say at 1 p.m.?"
             "Yeah, I'm fine with that." Pat agreed, looking forward to the break and trying to drink in everything he had heard to this point. Little did he know Fasif was just getting started.


      Next issue: Fifth Chapter - Episode Six

"White Smoke, Black Fire!" is an original work, registered with the Writers' Guild and all rights are the exclusive rights of The DAILY CATHOLIC who owns the copyright. Because of the nature of the internet and the importance of sharing, we hereby give the reader permission to collect and disseminate by e-mail each episode as it is presented in each issue of The DAILY CATHOLIC, provided that one includes this 1986, 2001 copyright statement and source - www.DailyCatholic.org - and take nothing out of context, nor reproduce it for profit. This work, fifteen years in the making, is a work of fiction that replicates the reality of today in many ways. However names, characters, places and incidents are used fictionally and any resemblance to actual persons and events, except those recorded in history, are purely coincidental.

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