he mind, like a steel trap, can clamp down on hard, concrete facts, but when logic melds with superstitions and suppositions it can forge new molds that cast an entire different blind to uncover even greater game, a breed of explanations that few could comprehend, let alone knew existed. This was Pat's state of consciousness as he stood at the mirror in his bathroom. He and Niki had ambled the expanses of Fasif's villa estate for a half-hour or so while waiting to resume his discussions with Fasif and his new found Greek friend. Ah, yes, Niki. He seemed even more of a mystery than he had been when Pat met him last night at that morbid field of scoriae. Who was he really?
Where was this all leading? Why? What had Pat gotten himself into? Why had he not received a confirmation from Vic on his ReflectorReceive file? This time he'd bring his briefcase into the meeting. It would make quite a story. After all, that's the only reason he was here. He felt a sense of accomplishment and acceptance as he toweled off his face and extracted a few of the fig strands between his teeth before gargling with some Listerine. Ah, the instant refresher. Why didn't the code work when he scanned it this morning? What was jamming his system from sending word to Corrie? Who had put a block on it and why? The more questions he asked, the more questions cropped up. His brain was on overload and he knew he had to unzip even more memory to accommodate the data to come. Resigned to this task, he grabbed his form-fitted briefcase with camera and Reflector computer on board and headed downstairs for the afternoon session of Basilisk 101.
Dateline: Fasif Khadid's Oasis Villa Estate, November 2, 1:00 p.m.
Fasif was waiting patiently along with Niki as Pat entered.
"Ah, promptness in a reporter. That is an excellent quality in you, Pat." Fasif was all smiles as he rose to welcome the Shreveport native.
Pat set his briefcase on the table with the side down so the camera lens was in strategic position to capture every word Fasif would say. With his Reflectorcode card he made a slight swipe over the beam to activate the computer. "I hope you don't mind my gettin' this for posterity and for my editor?" Pat matter of factly asked Fasif.
Fasif smiled. "A little knowledge can be very dangerous. If too many have it, it becomes a catastrophe. You'll notice the green light is not on. So, no, I do not mind if you leave your Reflector kit there, though it might be better on the floor to afford you room for your ashtray and a beverage later."
Pat was puzzled. "How do you know about the Reflector and why won't it activate?"
Fasif's smile widened, "You are a font of questions, my dear Patrick Gallagher. Let us just say I have my sources and you are in good hands. From here on in we cannot allow you to communicate further with Mr. Van Wess or anyone else at your publication, for your safety, and for the cause."
"How'd you know Vic?" Pat was startled.
"Relax, my son." Fasif advised. "All these questions will be known in due time. We have much to cover and I would like to proceed with where we left off. Agreed?"
Pat nodded, assenting to hear him out, resigned that he would not get the scoop he had hoped for.
Fasif picked up with the very question Pat asked before Elias had appeared. "You asked how that could all happen, I believe? Let me answer you, Pat, with another question. What is the one institution that is most widely respected and trusted in the world?"
"Whffff, lemme think."
Realizing time was of the essence, Fasif would not give him the luxury of guessing. "The Roman Catholic Church, my friend."
Well, I guess, by deduction...yeah, I mean the popes and all. Everybody loves a pope, or should I say did. He's dead now, too."
"Yes, more proof that the Legion will stop at nothing to achieve their end. Think about it, Pat. The ecumenical document "One Eucharist" could not have been possible without the cooperation and advancement by Rome."
"You mean they got to the pope beforehand?" Pat shot back as he jumped out of his chair.
"Well beforehand, my son." Fasif said matter of factly.
Niki stirred in his chair. "You better sit down for this, Pat." He knew where Fasif was going next.
"It began well over a century ago," Fasif began. "The forces of evil knew the only way to defeat the Church of the Son of God was to strike from within, slowly but surely. They realized during the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII and Pius X that they were on notice and could not effectively penetrate the sanctuary, and so they, like Hitler, began with the youth.
They trained countless fifth columnists to slowly saturate the seminaries and clergy. They knew it would take decades, but if they were persistent, they would be successful. Most of the popes through Pius XII were vigilant. They knew of some of the operatives but not all. Yet the Roman pontiffs were prevented from concentrating more fully on the infiltrators because of other immediate distractions like World War I, the aftermath, the Spanish Civil War, recession, and World War II to name a just a few."
"Okay, now wait a minute," Pat was quick to interject. "What are you inferrin'?"
"First, that the Legion helped spawn both world wars of the past century and many other insurrections," Fasif was adamant. "Remember, my friend, wars do not start on the battlefield. They start in the mind and then move to the heart, which can so easily be blackened by hate and dishonesty. The Legion has always played on jealousies and envy, and that in turn is fed by the other deadly sins. Remember the chessboard? Devastation, despair and casualties are the effects of war, not the cause."
"The master of the Legion is an expert in psychological warfare," was Niki's short input.
"He's right, Pat." Fasif continued. "We have definitive proof, as I related earlier of various incidents.
Of which Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and high-ups in Britain and the U.S. were all puppets for the Legion."
"Whoa, you mean Hitler and Roosevelt were in cahoots?" Pat was perplexed.
"We do not have definitive proof on the president himself, but many around him, yes. And, as for Hitler. Definitely. But such alliances continue up until present time. For instance, Vietnam was not about fighting for democracy and freedom. It was about establishing and controlling the lucrative and necessary poppy industry for the morphine and cocaine trade in the 'Golden Triangle.' This had three purposes. First, to create a distraction that would enable the revolution of the sixties in America and Britain; two to keep the military from destroying the poppy fields."
"So, the military provided the troops plenty to keep 'em stoked up. I know about that." Pat concurred, drawing from his own journalistic investigations.
"You're catching on, Pat." Niki enthused.
Fasif drew deeply on his cigar. "Not only to keep them, as you Americans say, 'stoned', but to inflict an addiction that they would depend upon when they returned to the United States. They would be the seeds of the great drug culture that has so devastated your country and much of the world. All the work of the Legion. The same with the South American wars, the Contra and Sandinistas, Virgilio Barco Vargas and the Cali drug cartel. Control the drug trade and set up cartels that would administer it. Keep the flow coming to blunt their consciences first and foremost. That would allow for every kind of sin, every kind of perversion to come to the fore."
"Do you have proof on the politicians involved? I can use that for a story." Pat eagerly inquired.
"I'm afraid, Pat, it goes much, much deeper." Fasif's tone turned somber. "There is no aspect of society that the Legion has not penetrated. From the music and entertainment industry to school curriculums from pre-school through Ph.D's, from influential business leaders and companies to military leaders, from politicians locally, nationally, and internationally to religious men and women at all levels. Now, the third purpose has been the most devastating and complete one. Remember as I said, just prior to Vietnam and the revolution of the 60's there was another revolution afoot. The former were merely decoys, distractions to avert awareness away from what the Legion was truly doing."
"And what, Fasif, was the cloak and dagger stuff goin' on?" Pat inquired facetiously.
"Oh, if only we had not taken it so lightly then." Fasif was now very serious, almost a pain in his voice. "Over the first part of the 20th century the Legion had patiently groomed their operatives for the time they would be able to penetrate the sanctuary. That happened with the formation of the Second Vatican Council called by John XXIII on January 25, 1959. His liberality in allowing dangerous elements into the mix played right into the Legion's hands. He had already been programmed to be naively sympathetic to many of the humanistic ideals being promoted. The various schematas sent out to the bishops in preparation for the council enabled the Legion to gain a foothold. Their mark was all over the conciliar documents, so cleverly couched."
"The watermark of the Basilisk?" Niki inquired.
"Confirmed." Fasif acknowledged. "In an effort to compromise and seek out alliances for good, the pope himself enabled men, who could rightly be called heretics - men tainted by the Legion, were promoted to key positions of policy and enforcement. They were so clever. They pulled the ruse so successfully. They depicted the battle on the surface as a fresh 'new Spirit' - aggioriamento it was called - vs. the old Roman guard. The first thing to do was to divide. Whether that be families, nations or cultures, Satan is so devious. The media, for the most part, was already owned by the Legion. Many of the bishops as well, in addition to scores of chancery officials of influence. Therefore their propaganda portrayed the resisters - the Rominita or Traditional segment as radicals, as loonies, as disposable and ill-advised roadblocks to bringing the Church into the modern age. Where in truth a solid bloc was in place to defend the millennia-old doctrines and traditions, the campaign against them caused many casualties within the ranks. Power and coercion were used to intimidate and deflate their efforts. Just as the homosexual element today portrays their numbers to be much larger than they actually are, so also the Legion was successful in conveying to the masses that the Traditional movement were only a few where, in truth, they were many."
"So what happened to them?" Pat asked, his interest now piqued all the more.
"Good question, Pat." Fasif flattered. "Remember the Italian contingent was the strongest of the Traditionalists. There was a strong representation from South America and Eastern Europe as well as France and Spain with leanings to defend the Faith at all costs. One of the forces Pius XII had fought so hard to fend off was Communism. He knew its dangers and he knew it had a solid foothold in Italy. That is another reason he had to remain neutral during the war because while he was praying for the defeat of the Third Reich for the sake of mankind, he was equally praying for the defeat of the Soviet initiative for he feared the worst. Papa Pacelli indeed had the gift of foresight. That is another reason he so meticulously kept in check those heretics who were unleashed after his death. Yet one man could not do it all."
"What's that got to do with the Traditionalists?" Pat groused.
"I'm getting there, my good man." Fasif showed a noticeable irritation at Pat's interruption. "Whereas one pope resisted at all costs, his successor surrendered."
"If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em." Pat mused awkwardly, trying to alter Fasif's mood.
Fasif was not amused as he said gruffly, "That would not be funny when you consider the damage done then and since. I would recommend we take a five-minute break. Consider carefully what we are divulging to you. If you wish to continue in our good graces, you will take this very, very seriously. If not, then we can terminate any thought of you joining us. Though we all will be the lesser for it if that is your decision. It is your decision. Choose wisely, Pat."
With that Fasif and Niki rose and left the room, leaving him stranded so to speak with more thoughts racing through his head. Oh, if only he could talk to Corrie. If only he had the guiding approval of Ben, then he might be able to handle all that Fasif and Niki were throwing at him. He looked toward the crucifix hanging on the wall. The dilapidated corpse on the cross was Christ and He seemed to be beckoning Pat to come closer. Pat rose and moved over under the vivid image of the suffering Savior. There in the solitude of his heart he asked for a sign, something that would give him direction to either stay or move on to the assignment Vic had given him. While still standing there in contemplation. Fasif returned.
"Patrick. Perhaps a few words will help your decision." Fasif beckoned him to come.
The bewildered reporter followed him into Fasif's office where he handed him the phone. Who was on the other end? What was going on? Those two immediate questions would be answered in short order as Pat took the receiver. It would be the sign he had asked for just seconds ago!
Next: PART II: The Smoldering FIFTH CHAPTER, Episode Seven
"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, seventeen 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.