From the author: HE has come! Will the ruling elite crucify him? Find out in this thriller about the coming a Jesus-like figure to the modern world.
It is inconceivable that those with power and wealth would not band together with a common bond, a common interest, and a long-range plan to decide and direct the future of the world.
- William Cooper, Behold a Pale Horse
And there was a group of evil men that formed in the ancient times, who to this day secretly maintain their immoral rule over the sons and daughters of Man.
- The Book of Jude 2:1 Gospel of the Church of Cristos
Biannually during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, owing to an ancient decree, the Supremacy Council convened to decide issues of import in its secret rule over mankind. Since the early 1700s, these summits had been held at Steinvikholm Castle, on a small, rocky island jutting out of the fjord adjacent to the Skatval Peninsula in northern Norway. Built from 1525 to 1532 by Olav Engelbrekttson, Norway’s last Roman Catholic bishop, the stone fortress remained virtually impregnable to the present day. Accessible from the mainland only by boat or helicopter, the castle’s grim, dark chambers were ideal for secret deliberations.
At nine on the day following the vernal equinox in late March of that year, the Council’s twenty-eight members sat stiffly on elaborately carved, high-backed wooden chairs, like thrones, with soft, red upholstery, around a long mahogany conference table dominating the castle’s gloomy main meeting chamber. The financial, political, national, geographic, mercantile, corporate, and religious interests presently represented by these members were determined by a shrewdly devised scheme adopted centuries ago by a small group of men—kings, princes, warriors, and priests—who had dared consolidate amongst themselves control over the political power and wealth of mankind. This ruling elite had come to be called the Supremacy, and its Council was authorized to deliberate and take action in order to maintain such control.
At the head of the conference table was the largest chair, reserved for the Council’s long-time chairperson, Lord Harry Winston. He was a white-haired, staid British aristocrat now in his late seventies. Hailing from a storied family with lineage, it was claimed, that went back to the legendary King Arthur, Lord Winston’s varied financial holdings presently exceeded two billion pounds.
At exactly 9:00 a.m., he stood at an ancient podium and banged a gavel on an equally old wooden block, formally calling the meeting to order. Doing so immediately silenced the polite chatter among the Council members as each looked up and now gave Lord Winston the undivided attention that was merited. Over the next two hours, their deliberations would affect the lives of every man, woman, and child on Earth.
Roll call was unnecessary, of course, since a ruling interest never failed to send a representative to the biannual conclave. On the table before each member was a leather binder containing the minutes of the biannual meeting held the previous autumn, the agenda for the present meeting, and reports from various officers and committees in charge of monitoring and controlling world economic affairs, conflicts among nations, political happenings, social trends, and technological advances. After a motion was approved accepting the minutes of the previous meeting, Lord Winston proceeded down the list of agenda items.
There were several developments since the last biannual meeting—wars, terrorist attacks, economic seizures, the upcoming American presidential election. Lord Winston had witnessed all of it before. There was nothing new to excite or worry him.
As usual, after nearly two hours, Lord Winston reached the end of the agenda except for the Intelligence Report, always given last by Gregor Margolis, the director of the Supremacy’s spy agency, the World Intelligence Network, or simply, The Network, as it had come to be called.
Margolis, of Macedonian descent, had been the Network’s director for twenty-two years, longer even than Lord Winston’s eighteen- year tenure as chairperson. At seventy-two, he was still a vibrant figure, a towering man, six-foot-three with a solid chest, wide shoulders, and thick arms.
That morning, Margolis slowly got to his feet and stared crossly at his colleagues for some moments. They looked tired after nearly two hours of listening to reports and debating this or that issue, but were still attentive. The Intelligence Report was a highlight of the meeting, usually offering something surprising about an already surprising world.
Margolis finally launched into it, methodically reviewing various major and minor threats to the Supremacy’s control in his slow, deep, monotone. The Network based its assessment of the severity of these threats either upon direct observation or statistical algorithms of Network intelligence analysts, or a combination of both.
Margolis spent the majority of his time that morning detailing the continuing conflict in the Middle East and the Supremacy’s failure to adequately control it. He also brought up the continuing civil war between Muslims and Christians in the tiny, otherwise insignificant African nation of Zandoria as well as several lesser threats, including non-Islamic rogue terrorist groups and religious cults currently being monitored or infiltrated.
And that was it. After less than fifteen minutes, the director concluded his report with a nod to Lord Winston and sat down.
Late that afternoon, with the sun already having dipped below the western horizon, Margolis and Lord Winston sat on two wide chairs facing a large stone fireplace in the chairperson’s spacious bedroom suite on the second floor of the castle. An icy wind howled outside, and the sky was an ominous leaden gray. Snow was a certainty at some point in the evening.
The crackling fire raging before Margolis and Lord Winston provided some warmth, but not enough to entirely take the chill out of their old bones. It was not unusual for the two longtime friends to meet and discuss this or that on the afternoon of the biannual meeting. Sometimes, it remained strictly personal, inquiries about their wives, children and grandchildren. Other times, the conversation was mixed. That afternoon, it was all business.
Lord Winston had offered Margolis a brandy to warm him. The director sipped it now as he stared into the flames.
“What else is bothering you, Gregor,” Lord Winston said.
“A matter I did not raise with the Council,” Margolis replied.
After a sip of brandy and a shrug, Margolis said, “Because presently, it seems inconsequential.”
“Yes, seems. My intuition tells me otherwise, disagrees with my analysts.”
“So tell me what it is,” Lord Winston said. “You’ve put me in great suspense.”
“Does the name Pantera mean anything to you?”
Lord Winston frowned. After a moment, it came to him.
“Pantera, the father of Jesus?” he asked. “That Pantera?”
What of it?”
“There is a man preaching in America the past few months,” Margolis went on. “His name is Cristos Pantera.”
“Cristos Pantera, did you say?”
“Yes,” Margolis replied, “Cristos Pantera.”
“Go on,” Lord Winston said and sipped his brandy.
“He’s traveling up the southeastern coast,” Margolis went on. “He started in Key West and has now reached Charleston, South Carolina. He claims to be the messiah.”
Lord Winston glanced at Margolis and, after a moment, laughed dismissively.
“Yet another?” He sighed and asked, “How many followers does he have?”
“Very few,” Margolis said. “One hundred fifty.”
“Not much of a threat.”
“At present,” Margolis said. After a sigh, he added, “But there’s this to consider- he’s descended from the Nazarene.”
Lord Winston turned to him with a scowl and asked, “You’ve confirmed this?” With a nod, Margolis said, “Yes. A DNA match.”
The chairperson looked away, then shrugged and took another sip of brandy. After another moment, he turned back to Margolis and said, “But you said your analysts are unconcerned.”
“Yes,” he said with a shrug. “Despite the Jesus connection, their probability equations gauge his threat as minimal. Insignificant.”
“But you’re not convinced,” said Lord Winston.
“As I said, they’ve been wrong before,” Margolis replied with a sip of brandy. “There’s something in my bones telling me...well, perhaps I’m growing paranoid in my old age.”
“One’s intuition should never be ignored,” Lord Winston said. “No matter how old one gets.”
“There’s another thing,” Margolis went on. “We sent an agent to monitor him. She shouldn’t have been sent. Too young, too inexperienced. It was through her we confirmed the DNA link, and his claim of being the messiah. But a few weeks ago, she defected—joined his movement; has, in fact, become a close adviser. Possibly his lover. Therefore, he knows about us.”
Lord Winston frowned, thought a moment, then turned to Margolis and asked, “You’ve done nothing about that—her betrayal?”
“No,” Margolis said. “Not yet. My first inclination, of course, was to eliminate her. Would be easy enough to do.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“There’s no advantage in it,” Margolis told him. “Killing her might only highlight our existence. Instead, I’m sending in another agent. He’s on his way as we speak. A most reliable asset.”
“Well, no matter,” Lord Winston said. “This self-proclaimed messiah will likely fizzle out like the rest of them, and your intuition be wrong this time.”
Margolis nodded enthusiastically and both men stared into the fire for a time. Finally, Lord Winston turned to his old colleague.
“Tell me, Gregor,” he asked, “what does he preach, this one?”
“Oh, the usual,” Margolis said. “Love thy neighbor. And, of course, our overthrow.”