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.
Rex and Theo reach the seat of power and run into a guy who works for the Secret Masters of the World ... in a New York ad agency.
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
Chapter 25: The Nicest Man In The World Part 2
New York City, New York. Christmas Eve
Snow flurries whirled around us as Rex and I exited the vehicle. He’d asked me what happened in the back of the dark SUV in the private parking garage and I’d told him I didn’t remember. He wasn’t surprised.
“That was a Hierophant,” he’d said--he looked as shaken as I could imagine him looking--which wasn’t very--but was disturbing anyway.
“A … high priest?” I clawed at my memory to place the exact definition of the term. If only I had my smart phone …
“Sort of. One who brings people into the presence of the holy.” He said. We were outside a massive skyscraper with warm glowing lights of Christmas shopping at the ground floor and a single, nondescript set of security-glass revolving doors with thick, shaded polycarbonate thermoplastic armored glass and biometric sensors to let us in to the artery of elevators that would take us to the top floors.
“I told you we had recorded encounters with an ‘Elohim,’” he said, not looking back, “The Hierophants facilitated that. You can’t do it without being … prepared. Something--” he paused. “We don’t really know. That stuff is either lost or they’re keeping it under wraps. In any event it’s no longer relevant--but they know things.”
“That guy was like--a priest!?” He’d gone through the shadowed doors and then triggered something inside so that it let me in. The revolving glass was more than an inch thick but slid effortlessly.
He walked down the hall, removing his gloves and jacket as he went. The floor was marble and there were small engraved metal boxes along the way with key holes in them--like mail boxes or safety deposit boxes. There was a security station at the end of the hall, surrounded by bullet-proof glass--but it was dark and empty. I saw a flicker of something in his face as he looked at it. Concern?
“No--not a priest. He doesn’t--probably doesn’t--worship the holy. They’re like us--kind of. But they aren’t us. They don’t rule. Think of them as our ‘Research and Development’ department.”
He looked back at me. “They observe but don’t interfere. We ask them for guidance when we’re trying to do something tricky.”
“If he wanted to talk to me?” I asked. “Then what? What does that mean? Does that mean They know what we’re doing?”
He’d summoned the elevator. The door was gilded with gold plate. It showed some kind of design--a pyramid reaching up to a sun--with human figures holding dishes of food aloft towards the sky.
“Yes,” said Rex, stepping in. “It means We know.” He didn’t turn. “Or at least he knows--but he’s supposed to tell if we’re a threat.”
I felt a different kind of cold than the chill outside. How fucked were we? I didn’t want to ask as the elevator, at a frighteningly high rate of speed, ascended. Inside it was old-world: wood panels and brass. There was a lit arch of lights at the top with an arrow that swung smoothly between them. The elevator served about 12 floors--all at the top. There was a padded leather bench with polished rivets in case we wanted to sit.
The elevator stopped and I followed Rex out, looking around.
The landing, on Christmas eve, was deserted. There was carpeting and wood--a large window that showed us the spires of the snow-covered city. The lights were soft and warm. There was a reception desk that was curved and marble topped with framed pictures behind it. Antique chairs and benches sat around tables of expertly worked tables. There were no magazines. Set into the walls were flat-screen TVs showing silent news channels of the celebrations. I could see the White House, all lit up, with scrolling banners about the upcoming ball. In the air there were the faint notes of chamber music. I felt my stomach turn: They were playing the Goldberg Variations.
There was a grand hall and at the end double doors--open. I could see an office, if you could call it that. The desk was massive--but more modern than some of the outer trappings and held two huge monitors off to one side. I followed Rex, who now wore the dark blue power-suit he’d had on under the winter gear as he strode to the door. He looked crisp and perfect even after days of riding the train. His hair was perfect.
Behind the desk was an older man--balding. I could see right away this guy was not one of Them. But when he looked up, I knew he knew Them. It registered in his eyes: a bright knowing hate, a cagey sense of alarm, and a very very slight primal cringe of submission. If he saw me at all, I didn’t register.
“Hal,” Rex said, “I want you to meet my friend and interpreter, Theodore Odell.” He gestured to me. I discovered that I really, really didn’t want him using my real name here, even if that was logically ridiculous.
“Your father is here, sir,” said the man, rising--but with a subtle posture--a lowering of the head. He wasn’t rising in challenge--but rather in deference. “He is going to kill you, I think--or worse. Perhaps for all of us.”
The man’s voice was clear and solid--factual--but there was a hiss underneath it--a dark sense of despair and helpless anger. It was the sound of a man who was coming apart. I looked around the office--his office--clearly, I could see the framed photographs kids (married, grandkids, golden retriever dogs). The wife (second wife? Not young enough--but still beautiful). There was even a framed picture of a classic sports car.
“I know--I recognized protocol on the way in,” Rex said. He stood in the center of the office, hands easily behind his back, looking through the man at the picture-window behind him. I could see us all in ghostly reflection. I felt the bottom of everything dropping out around me. Rex shot a look over his shoulder at me. “No normal security downstairs,” he said. “That usually means one of us is ‘in-residence.’” He winked.
The plan, in rough outline, was this: the office we were in was one of the “strings” by which the True Kings of the World controlled everything. This was where ‘EVENTS’ were planned and executed. It was a stint in the arterial pipeline of the world-mind--the media control point through which messages and commandments were injected into the populace. There were other methods, of course--direct access to power, puppet politicians, and so on--but the global consciousness was one of their most valuable and powerful assets.
Just as kings, Rex had said, could be toppled by banks--so could regimes be toppled by consensus. The Kings of the World understood this and guarded their techniques closely. The language of their domination was an ancient one of symbols and signs that had powerful if subtle resonances. This place was one of the repositories--the secret vault--containing contingency plans and other greater mysteries.
We were going to do something that had never been successfully attempted--and never even envisioned on such a mass scale: we were going to Unwind the Pyramid. This was Rex-Speak for creating, in the public consciousness, a concrete understanding of Them--and, at the same time releasing an order to STOP. HALT.
The basic components, he said, had always existed: the True Kings of the World had methods in place to redact certain plans that were failing. Indeed, he’d said, they often failed in their attempts--they just relentlessly kept trying and adapting. That was one of the reasons They were Them. Unwinding Pyramid would mean things like exposing Their secret locations--the villages with rings of security where they raised their young in womb-like happiness until they could be harrowed. It would mean exposing the frameworks behind pop-culture--and telling the lies--but doing so in a way that wasn’t an expose--it would not be done in a way that “revealed” what was happening but in a way that implied everyone had always known it.
Unwinding the Pyramid would be done in the language of the illuminati. Once done, he said--once the commands were out there--across a spectrum that was too broad to call it back to and too wide to fully comprehend at a glance--the damage … would be severe.
“I’d sell all your stock,” he’d said on the train. “Get your money out of banks and into gold. And I’d plan to live off the land for a few months at least. Cities will burn--Our cities. Our citadels. Once this is out there--once the Secrets are out in the open? There will be campaigns of terror.”
He estimated hundreds of thousands would die in the immediate apocalypse. That millions might die in the collapse of logistical supply lines.
But mostly? They would die. Identities and locations were part of his payload. Strongholds, safe-houses, and back-up plans were to be included as well. He was going to push specific buttons and release information that had been secret when mankind was worshiping snowman-like collections of rounded stones meant to resemble a pregnant woman. He was going to tell tales that were whispered on fear of execution when King Nebuchadnezzar the first invaded Elam on the banks of river Ulaya under a darkening sky.
He was going to reveal things caesars had suppressed and facts presidents had obfuscated. He was going to talk about the inverted pyramids, made of the gold taken illegally from Fort Knox, buried upside down on the moon. These Truths would be naked, he’d said--not wrapped as they had ever been in layers of anagrams and allegories. He didn’t know everything--but he knew enough. He was going to Speak Truth to Power and the world, he told me, was going to burn.
With a mega-storm off the coast, Europe and Latin America in a catastrophic economic collapse, rumblings of war with China it wasn’t hard to think this might happen anyway. It was monstrous and apocalyptic and bringing down the house didn’t seem like a worse option than letting it all go the way it was headed anyway. Rex assured me that Sarah would be safe--that the collapse scenario would leave the West Coast in, more or less, one piece. He’d also said that if things went right he’d be able to pull some strings before the collapse actually hit. We’d ride it out in style.
The idea that Rex might’ve totally lied to me--or that at very, very least nothing was going even close to right was beginning to hit home in me like a numbing poison spreading out from my gut.
“No one,” Rex said, “is going to kill you--or me--or Theo.” He fixed Hal with a look--and a grin--that gave me chills. “I’m,” he said with a grim humor, “taking over this operation. Take us to the vault.”
Hal didn’t move. He stood there, waiting--clearly … terrified wasn’t the right word … but it wasn’t far from it. “I need to hear it from your father,” he said.
“You don’t want to do that,” Rex told him. “Oh, sure--he might kill me--and then take some awful vengeance on Theo … and then get to you. Sure--but do you know what he’d do to you and yours for refusing a direct order from one of us no matter how fucked up it was?”
“He’d make an example out of you.”
Rex’s voice had totally changed when he said it. The words fell flat and hard like a stone tablet dropped from a height. Hal visibly withered.
“The mistake,” Rex said to me, not taking his eyes off of Hal, “that you people make is assuming they will be rewarded for loyal service. Americans, at any rate, make that mistake. Europeans and Asians usually know better. The assumption is that if they do everything right and stand up for their masters they will be taken care of--like loyal dogs. They assume their fidelity is valued. It isn’t. You don’t value someone giving you what is already yours. We don’t tip waiters--not that we have real waiters or anything like that--but if we did we wouldn’t tip the good ones. We’d flay the skin off the bad ones, leave the best ones generally alone … but once in a while? Once in a while we’d flay a good one--maybe even a great one who felt secure that they were so good they were valued. We’d do it to show the others that they weren’t indispensable--that they weren’t safe.”
He looked at Hal. Hal was pale--ghostly pale.
“Take. Us. To. The. Vault.”
Hal began to move--a bow? But then he froze. I heard the clapping from behind. Measured beats. Clap. Clap. Clap.
It was like ice water down my back and a clamminess crawling across my skin. Behind us, visible in the mirror-window was a beautiful man with piercing frigid eyes. He was looking at the boy who had to be his son.
They had arrived.
Continue to Chapter 26: The Washington Christmas-Eve Party