In 1975 Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson published The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It remains a seminal work of conspiracy fiction. Today, The Omnivore continues a serial-fiction experiment: Illuminoimia.
Everything You're Afraid Of Is True.
Evergreen wants to meet with Brin's 'magician.' She has something she thinks he wants ... and maybe he has something very, very hard to get that she wants. But is she playing with fire?
Previously On Illuminoimia
Ch 16: The True Kings of the World
Ch 17: The Second American Revolution
Ch 18: Angels In The Architecture
Ch 17: The Second American Revolution
Ch 18: Angels In The Architecture
Evergreen had a problem: when you are one of the most easily recognized politicians in America how do you hold a meeting that is secret from (a) your senior management, the Commander in Chief of the United States, (b) will not become a story in the next six hours on Politico.com, (c) does not appear on the books of your regular schedule--or any other official record, (d) is not going to be tracked by the NSA, the FBI, or your potentially corrupt Secret Service detail so that (e) you will not be discovered and plunged into an unimaginable hell by the Secret Kings of the World.
She held two fingers to her throat as her limousine slid out of the parking lot at the Ford House Office building and merged smoothly with the 395. She was under 100 beats per minute: She was doing okay. In her diplomatic bag she held a secure document folder she had taken from the Black Budget Office in the basement of 441 D Street SW. It contained the details of one of her master’s greatest failures. If she were caught with it--caught distributing it--things would be set in motion that were unthinkable.
So she didn’t think about them--at least she tried not to.
The Ford House Office building was one of a group of massive industrial looking office structures in Washington DC. It had once housed the FBI, and now housed the Congressional Budget Office. It had a number of structures below ground--which was where she had gone--that were not generally known to the public.
One of these was the Black Budget Office. The black budget applied to programs whose existence were classified and existed only as a series of obscure code-names or acronyms and were approved in bulk--not by congress in general--but by select elite committees. These “special access programs,” once approved by the president to appear on the list, could be funded to the tune of billions of dollars without further oversight. It was also here that Their projects took their funding. It was in this building that imaginary money was created, massaged, distributed, laundered, and otherwise used to conduct the will of the Secret Kings of the World.
She had just come from a Black-Budget review. She had gotten out slightly early: this would create her 46 minute window with which to meet with someone who ought not to exist.
She checked her watch. Communication with her counterparty was tricky: it was ludicrously minimalist. It was insanely covert. She had used an extrapolation of Charles Brin’s Keys and Codes to make the initial contact: that was risky if they were being monitored. The response had been clever: Sky writing. The letters CJT.
Evergreen should not have been sufficiently studied in the occult to have been able to understand what came next--or even what the three letters meant but she had attended Yale and Eagle was a member of Skull and Bones. The learnings were usually kept from women--but in this case--and in deep secret--not always.
Whoever had decided to make contact with her had known--or guessed--that she might have the skills necessary to receive encoded communications. She did. Cain, Jehova, Typhon. What came next in the sequence was Seth and then Enlil. The writing, seen by millions, meant for one, indicated a response: an Arcoamatic cipher. The term came from the ancient Greek meaning mysteries that were communicated orally only to initiates. It meant that the message would have an esoteric component--the payload and an exoteric one, the face-value implications.
In the Arcomatic world each deity was a concept and a letter in the divine alphabet. Each story held seven levels of meaning, the 7th, and most esoteric, being the combined message--all inclusive, all complete. It was said that the stories of myth were all arcomatic ciphers, each story of gods, demigods, and heroes an envelope to multiple layers of hidden messaging. Each one deconstructing to the basic alchemical truths on which Creation was founded.
In Evergreen’s case she just wanted to know where she could meet with the agency that had encountered Charles Brin--and given him the one piece of information that would have convinced her to keep him alive and relatively unhurt: the fact that he might be able to lead her to a secret so deadly that she dared not dream of its implications.
The message had come in a full page advertisement in the Washington Post. When trying to find such messages you had to know where to look--and when--she had recorded various channels of TV (including channel 23, a Spanish language channel) and looked for omens or messages in billboards her car passed (it helped that she didn’t have to drive). She believed--and was right--that the agency would use a channel to contact her that she would see--assuming she would see.
In the end, it was a black and white ad with a girl in a shock-blue dress that got her attention. After that, going through the alchemical wheel on the face of the watch was simple. There was to be a car at exactly 1:13 on the 395. Evergreen would enter it. After that? She wasn’t sure. She did not generally go armed--but today, inside the diplomatic pouch, she carried a .38 special Smith and Wesson 642 and six +P overloaded rounds.
Under the bridge ahead, off to the side of the road, was a limousine. The Secretary of State folded her phone.
To the Driver: “Stop here, I am changing vehicles. You will wait for fifteen minutes and then return to my quarters and await further instruction. You will notify no one. This is a direct order--do you understand?” She checked her pulse: her heart-rate was over 120.
The driver, a relatively new Secret Service agent she had been using, seemingly at random for several weeks, was horrified--but Evergreen had a reputation for being difficult with the service and the detail was an important one. When the limousine parked next to its twin, a serious looking man wearing dark sunglasses held the door for her and she exited, leaving everything electronic in her possession behind, and stepped quickly into the new vehicle.
The interior was done in a custom burgundy leather. It smelled, slightly, of expensive tobacco--or maybe something more exotic. She sat across from the large man in his bespoke suit. His jewelry gleamed in the dim lighting. He wore a red textured shirt, a black Hermes tie, and glasses with round lenses that sparkled slightly.
The car picked up speed and merged. She let herself sit back. She didn’t want to be the first one to talk: It gave away your power--and here, in his place, she needed all of it. But she felt his gaze on her and she felt, or thought she could feel, him stripping away her protections--uncovering more and more of her story as he waited, observing. This was his temple, she decided. She would talk first.
When she opened her mouth, he raised a finger.
“This will very likely,” he said, in a deep rich voice, “be the last time we ever meet. Will you drink with me?” The car’s ride was ridiculously smooth and completely silent. Her mouth was dry.
“Of course,” she said--and it came out as a rasp. If anything was worse than speaking first, it was being told to shut up.
His hands moved like a stage magicians as he set out two crystal glasses and poured red wine into each. She could smell it in the closed cabin of the vehicle and it had an intoxicating scent to it. He handed her one and she took it by the stem. He placed the bottle back.
“I have had the fortune,” he told her, his voice still a rumble, “to have tasted the rarest wine in existence,” he said. She felt a faint adjustment in gravity as the car shifted. “A red wine is said to last decades in a wine cellar but the truth is they can last longer than that.”
Evergreen said nothing, watching the man.
“The oldest bottle of wine commonly known is one thousand six hundred and fifty years old. It was buried with a Roman noble near the city of Speyer in 350 AD. It was still liquid when unearthed--and not spoiled … micro-biologically speaking.” He smiled--a closed lipped smile, but one that still extending to his eyes.
“But it would not have been pleasant to taste.” He took a sip. So did she. It was, she thought, very, very good.
“This bottle, though,” he continued, “had that one beat by some three hundred and thirty odd years. It was smuggled out by a little Jew attending a wedding at Cana. We don’t know whose--the lucky bride and groom are lost to antiquity--as is the location of Cana itself. But we are told that there were six washing tubs of water--”
Now Evergreen spoke: “And Jesus, attending the party as a young man, turned them all into wine.”
The man nodded. Behind his spectacles, his eyes twinkled. “What do you know of the Biblical story?” He asked her. The engine of the limousine was a steady, even purr. The traffic outside the occluded windows was completely silent.
Evergreen shook her head, unsure where this was going--unsure even with who she was speaking--her life was at stake here. Her Masters hardly monitored her every movement--that was not how they operated--but the slightest hint of disobedience and she would become transparent to them. They could know anything they chose.
This was a test: she wracked her memory. “It was Jesus’ first miracle,” she said. “There were six washing tubs. The guests were surprised that the hosts had saved the best wine for last?” She shook her head. “That’s all I remember.”
The man nodded. “Well enough. The number six is one short of perfection in Biblical numerology--indicating that, perhaps, The Nazarene’s maturity as an agent of miracles was not yet complete. To a degree, he even says as much to his mother, calling her ‘woman’ instead of ‘mother’--perhaps somewhat annoyedly--and telling her explicitly his time is not ‘now.’ There is symbolism in the inclusion His first miracle appearing at a wedding--indicating the divine interest in matrimony …” the man trailed for a moment. He waved his hand as though shooing away files. “There is distancing Mary, the human, from the Father--the divine’s influence. The lack of wine symbolizes a lack of joy.” He shook his head. “There are levels of meaning encoded--embedded--in everything. Here as well as any other event anywhere--on any given day.”
The man took a sip. Evergreen tasted her wine again as well.
“But there were, in fact, seven washing tubs. Our Jew, a wine-merchant, stole the 7th. They were large--but it was the third day of a three-day wedding by which point everyone was already quite drunk.”
He placed the wine-glass down on a leather covered side-bench and turned it slightly--the way one might position a chess piece. He looked back at Evergreen.
“Please hold still,” he said. “There is a snake in your lap.”
She felt a shock of terror. A rattlesnake--brown with darker diamonds--dry and scaly with its arrow shaped head coiled in her lap. She froze, her heart seized as he reached across and took the diplomatic pouch. He opened it, easily, despite the eight digit lock, removed the cellophane security envelope and then the gun, which he set aside in a small cabinet to his left. The snake was gone.
“Y-you drugged me,” she snarled, her breath still only coming in tiny asthmatic gulps.
“Of course not,” said the man. “Hypnosis. And it is better that things such as your firearm not come between us. It could be awkward.” He returned the pouch. She clutched it as she might a purse, even though it was now empty of her only bargaining chip. She stared at the papers on his lap: She was sure even if she tried to make a grab for them it would do her no good. She was trapped in an armored car with no communications and they were taking her who-knows-where. She could vanish and even her Masters might never find her again.
“Drink the wine,” he said. “It is excellent. I can tell you of that other bottle? The one almost two thousand years old? It had not aged. I hesitate to use the term ‘divine’ to describe its flavor--but I can hardly resist.” He eyed her. “Exquisite then? I am told, of that entire wash-tub, only one bottle remains. And,” he continued, "being exposed to the air as it were, that wine itself should only have lasted three days ..."
He settled back, clasped his fingers.
“I know who’s responsible for the cracks in their plan,” Evergreen said. She forced herself to remain expressionless--to look into his eyes. “That document contains the raw data. You will need my help to understand it. You want to know where your ‘crack in the cosmic egg’ is? It wasn’t Charles Brin--who is now in my care--but someone else.”
The man smiled and this time he projected good humor into his face. A faint laugh--a nod.
“Tell me,” he asked her, “are They very afraid?”
In the Black Budget Office she had sat before one of their encrypted terminals looking at a set of three wide-screen TVs turned on their short ends so that shadows of Them could appear taller as they addressed her. She was unsure of the method but she knew in that steel enclosed basement if she displeased them they had the facilities there to have her executed. It would be a mercy to be killed cleanly, of course. Such events were usually held for negligence not rising to the level of outright disobedience.
There she had lied to Them again. She had lied about the force which had been holding the weapon for six months, dug in out in the desert--taking payments and awaiting orders. She told them the truth on three counts: 1. That the force holding the weapon had demanded to speak to Brin. 2. That she had arranged the conversation via satellite. and 3. That when the time was ready they would behave and hand over the weapon. She had started in motion the movement of ‘The Coffin.’
‘The Coffin’ was a TN 28 VT Transport Flask outfitted with aluminum shock absorbers, a thick shell of carbon shield, and then coated with a polyester resin to block any possible radiation leakage. It was designed for the safe transport of high level nuclear waste and it would enter Israel en-route to the Negev nuclear reactor. In this case, however, it would be holding the bomb.
“No,” she said. “They are very annoyed. Mary’s constitutional crisis lawyers are making trouble for Them. They want him shut down quickly and it seems that even with unlimited ammunition and whatever special dirty tricks they have the Department of Homeland Security isn’t a match for a bunch of militia rednecks and some AWOL regular army.”
She shrugged. “No one thinks they’ll last past the winter though--if they even make it that far.”
The man nodded--but he was amused. He looked at the sealed packet. She eyed him--she’d lied about the contents being obscure: if he opened it and started reading he’d probably learn everything he needed to know within moments--and then he wouldn’t need her anymore. She felt fear--and then anger coil in her gut.
“What can you tell me,” she asked, “about their plan.”
“What do you want to know?” He asked, mildly.
She glared at him, trying not to grind her teeth. She was fighting despair: that he might tell her everything she wanted to know and it would be worthless. That he might lie and she would never be able to tell. That he might be working for them and was going to deliver her into their clutches. Unthinkable.
“I want to know--” she started. But again, he stopped her with a grin, opening his mouth. She fell quiet. Then “Do you already know everything I’m about to say?” she asked. She felt drained: you could only be terrified for so long.
“I know it usually just before you start,” he said. “It is a learnable talent if you have the inclination and the years. Allow me.”
“Do go on Mr--”
“Brahms,” he said, “will do. It is an alias but I use aliases more than my original name--so which is the True one? Mm? Very well. Let me … “ he smiled--and this time there were teeth and it was not nice “... let me illuminate you.” His voice crackled like broken glass when he said this.
“In Israel, today, a group of rabbis are taking stones cut not by steel--but by actual diamond--and stockpiling them for the creation of foundations. This same group are training Rabbinical students in the arts of animal sacrifice. You know why?”
“To rebuild the Temple of Solomon,” she said. “To rebuild the temple where the ancient Hebrews spoke with God.”
He nodded. “That is why they think they are doing it--”
“But the dome of the rock--that land is already occupied--” She said.
“It is--and will continue to be. A close enough location will do for what our Kings of the World have in mind.”
She … nodded. When she had looked into the Abomination of Desolation she had learned about ongoing plans to build a new temple--to the specifications of the old one as closely as they could be determined--slightly further down the mount.
In 167 BC Antiochus Epiphanes attacked, and sacked Jerusalem. On his arrival he engaged in a slaughter: men, women, children, virgins, and infants were put to the sword. Upon reaching the temple he despoilt it. The priests were force-fed pork--and then broken on a Tympanum: a circular drum-like rack. Women found with circumcised sons were paraded around the marketplace, their dead babies hung from their necks--and then thrown over the wall. Men were dismembered and, while still breathing, fried in hot oil in a pan while their mothers watched.
Finally a pig was sacrificed to a pagan god on the altar in the Temple of Solomon. A statue of Zeus was erected: the Second Temple of Solomon--Herod’s Temple--was no more.
She had read about this when she researched Brin’s warning.
“They wish to build a new temple and then, what?”
“Profane it--in a very specific fashion,” said the man. “In the right hands, with the right tools, the Prophecy is not a vision of the future--but rather an operating manual.” He waited--to see if she grasped what he was saying. Her mind was spinning.
“Will be used in the end--no longer is our icon to be Zeus--the father god with his long beard, his angry scowl, and his lightning. Today the symbol is that of the mushroom cloud promising annihilation in fire rising above the holy land and then darkening the sky. We have progressed beyond Zeus,” he told her.
She clutched the empty diplomatic satchel tighter to her.
“Then …” she shook her head. “Then what? Why--Why would anyone do that?” It seemed unthinkable. But of course, They trafficked in the unthinkable.
“As you may remember,” he said, as though speaking to a bright student--in the way They often did, “the book of Matthew holds that we will know the antichrist when he performs the abomination of desolation, yes?”
“Yes--but--” that was two different readings--the Jewish interpretation and the Premillennialist one--but then, she thought, couldn’t all these stories be interpreted as anagrams? Mixed and remixed, turned upside down and sideways until meaning emerged? That was what had brought her here after all.
“Our petty little Kings of the World do not wish to identify the antichrist by his actions in the Third Temple,” he said. “They wish to create him. An antichrist under their complete control.”
She … she couldn’t believe it. She shook her head slowly.
“They wish to manufacture … the antichrist?”
“They have already manufactured him to an extent,” said the man, amused. “He is, today, not what he appears to be, is he not? A manufactured creation? A media personality? A man beloved by all who do not know him and despised by those who do? An empty man of intellect and ability but filled with nothing but empty hubris and the ambition to do nothing.”
Understanding came to her on a cold wave from her extremities inwards. She felt a chill through her organs and her spine.
“No,” she said, shaking her head faster. “No. You--you have got to be--”
“It is your boss,” said the man. “He will do their will and he will become their tool--in their final chapter on the primacy of mankind.”
Then they talked--and after he examined her document and was satisfied, he gave her what she came for: a magic trick.
* The World's Oldest Bottle of Wine