Reads: 15

With terrorism on the rise, the time has come to test the new defense system. The U.S. southern coastal waters have been under constant attacks, with ports looking more like the ruins of some ancient civilization. And it’s the driven industries who’re working feverishly to put an end to all. Typically, these empires consider time to be money. But in the case of international hemorrhaging, currency is no longer an object and today is the day that it all goes online. Because on this day, the U.S. president receives a call from the National Security Council to throw on the switch. And when the order is given, Mr. Remington executes the system, and the entire grid comes alive.

Under the supervision in each location, both droids and cam units begin scanning the grounds for aggression. And while sharing information, this automation starts to visualize a three-dimensional layout of the surroundings. When complete, the cyborgs have a virtual view of the stairways, hallways, and even landscapes in and around the compound. Nothing can get past them without detection. No bigger than the smallest rovers on Mars, it gets around on all six wheels, with flexible suspensions for the stairways. Lightweight and agile to the maneuver, they can spin on a 360-degree turn without hesitation. And with increasing threats, it’s the ideal defense system for these primary facilities.

One afternoon, at roughly fifty-four miles east of Orlando, FL, the Port of Canaveral is under heavy attack by five hundred determined assassins. Anticipating the same tactical strategies used earlier, these programmable droids are prepared to take on the very best. And when these extremists storm the parking lot, they run into a gauntlet of fire without mercy. In methodical sequence, the enemy drops row after row, ending their reign of terror. And just like animals to the slaughterhouse, they never had a chance. With minimal losses to the droids, the new defense system appears to be working well. One port after another has them in full retreat until all terrorist activities have ceased completely. As a result, the Europeans soon follow with the success of their own.

In Washington, D.C., Hillhouse has ordered an emergency meeting with her staff. The administration gathers inside the Oval Office, while the video conferencing establishes its uplinks. And with everyone in attendance, the session begins. At first, the president compliments her staff for a job well done and quickly changes the subject.

“For as long as this tyrant is still around, the world can never be secured. So our focus must be on him.”

However, the security council has a need to clarify the reality of the situation.

“Well, ma’am, we can only strategize on what we know about him. Unfortunately, the tactics used up to this point are all we have of this individual, and I seriously doubt he’ll use them again. Outside of that, our next move is an educated guess at best,”

“General Felton, who’s your best field commander?”

“I know where you’re going this ma'am, and the U.S. Army isn't equipped for this kind of urban warfare.”

“And why not? You’ve fought them before.”

“Not without a high casualty count; and not without obliterating towns. This is America we’re talking about, not some foreign soil.”

“Very well, then. What about where he may be hiding? Think about it; if you were in his shoes, where would you go?”

“Again, we’re talking about a criminal and not a field officer. I believe these questions are for the CIA to answer.”

“Unfortunately, General, they’re not having much luck either.”

“I understand, ma’am.”

 Suddenly, it dawns on her that a staff member may be able to help. She pans over to the wall monitor and sees the U.S. secretary of state quietly listening in. An Aristotle of her time, Madam Gilbert is gifted in the area of strategical thinking. And while eyes still focus on the U.S. secretary, the president shares her thoughts with the rest of the room. “You know, now that you mention it, I think I know of someone who might be well suited for the job.”

Knowingly, Gilbert responds, “And who might that be, ma'am?”

“…What do you say, Brenda? Would you like to have a shot at it?”

Gilbert could never turn down a challenge and quickly accepts the offer. In her mindset, she sees an opponent worthy of competition and is not about to let a golden opportunity slip away. Finally, after going over several details on national security, the president dismisses the room, with the exception of Gilbert.

 “Brenda, tell me what you know of this leader.”

“Well, the CIA is unable to trace his origin. As a matter of fact, they don’t have much to go on at all. But, if I were him, I’d use layer tactics to secure communications with all my cells around the world.”

“What are layer tactics?”

“A defense system of several inner rings that communicates to the outer layers across the globe. I’d also use motivational schemes, forcing totalitarianism in and around the closing boundaries of those circumferences. Meaning that no position is secured, and execution is a means of termination. Moreover, are the executions of family members in the name of treason. Something I read about in Nazi culture. No one is to feel safe in fear that someone might turn them in. And the chain of command should flow from the inner circle to the outer, giving orders to those willing to die for their leader. Furthermore, this form of communication is through word of mouth only without the use of technology. And as far as getting any support from anyone, it would be with a country sympathetic to my cause. That would make Jordan the primary candidate. The king broke off diplomatic ties with every country in the world with the exception of Russia, who by the way, is currently an ally of the United States. And because of this alliance, it would force me to seek refuge just beyond the Jordanian border in an area quarantined from the rest of the world. Not even the U.S. is allowed there. Do you have any idea where I’m going with this, ma’am?”

“…You don’t mean the West Bank, do you?”

“That’s correct. It would be the most secure place on the planet for me right now. And I would make it somewhere near the Dead Sea, where my Jordanian friends are populating there. However, this is all just pure speculation.”

“But a damn good one at that, Brenda. Look, I know you have a lot on your plate right now, but I need for you to go after this guy, okay? So, I’m gonna go ahead and give you the authority to move the military around at your discretion, understood?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll make it the highest priority.”

“Do not abuse it, Brenda.”

“No, ma’am.”

“Very well, then. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you again.”

“And to you too, Madam President.”

After the session, Gilbert pivots away from the webcam and goes into a realm of deep thought. Inside the complexity of her mind, she starts to see a future in a way she had never seen it before. And as if almost by divine right, Gilbert finds herself on center stage of world events while deciding its fate. Indeed, she feels virtually invincible at the heart of power. And inside her office, Gilbert looks on with a gleam in her eye.


In the holy city of Jerusalem, the U.S. team is licking their wounds after the West Bank fiasco. They’re getting the much needed R&R and a new assignment they’re to take on in a couple of days from now. And because of the shift in command, General Felton will be taking tactical orders from the U.S. secretary of state, which means the team will be working closely with Madam Gilbert while on reconnaissance. It’s a temporary solution to an unusual situation, from a valley known only as the corridor.

With three unique conditions in need of constant updates, it’s up to the elite team to provide the necessary information. The first and foremost is an anomaly that somehow neutralizes an attacking force. To say anything further on this topic would be pure speculation. Another is the dark entity that appears to be indestructible against anything they can throw at it. And third is a fanatical leader hell-bent on world destruction. It’s believed that this individual uses the corridor in favor of the king’s desire to take Jerusalem. For through this valley is a quick way to strike without being flanked by the opposition.

During this time, General Felton has taken it upon himself to add another to the team. His name is Lieutenant Thomas Barron, whose seen every war in the last couple of years. While specializing in the field of reconnaissance, he’s also known to fight in every major battle - such as Syria and North Korea. A veteran in the military, he’s experienced the true horrors of war with many losses around him. And in the most devastating event of his career, he had to watch a good friend die as he layed there in his arms. But inside the general’s mind, he’s that perfect piece needed to strengthen the team’s resolve.

With a new assignment in hand, the U.S. team is to escort a religious unit that calls themselves the Angelica team. The destination no doubt is the corridor. But before setting off into the desert, they’re to meet up with this group for a quick debriefing. And confused over the objective, Warfield asks his superior what’s so important about a relic. “I find it hard to believe that the Vatican would go out of their way just to excavate at the most dangerous site in the world, sir.”

But, as usual, he keeps getting the same answer. “You’re on a need to know basis, commander, and right now, you don’t need to know.”

And it’s Jaworski who steps in with a suggestion. “Perhaps if we could better understand the mission sir, things could go a little more smoothly.”

“All I can tell you sergeant, is that the U.S. secretary had a very long discussion with these two Vatican members.”

“And what about that thing out there? What if it comes back?” Warfield adds.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, commander. The U.S. Secretary has made it clear that the mission is to move forward at all costs. It’s imperative to bring back any information about that valley.”

At the meeting, the cardinal goes over the priority list to ensure everyone’s on the same page. And during his presentation, something becomes clear to the team. A reality foretold by an entity that has Warfield whispering into Romanowski’s ear. “That’s got to be the disciple the angel was telling us about.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

To provide a safe passage through the valley of shadows has finally revealed itself. And after the meeting has ended, the commander approaches the two members and explains the task that was given to him. The cardinal soon makes the connection. “Yes, you’re the escort warriors that Jesus spoke of in my dreams.”

 And with increasing certainty, Warfield realizes his destiny. “You have my sword, Your Excellency. I’ll do whatever it takes to give you and your team safe passage.”

Smiling, Sodano puts his hand on the commander’s shoulder and confirms. “That’s all God asks of us. To love others as you would want to be loved.”

The following day has the two groups packing and heading down to the lobby floor for a final meal. Afterward, they board the drones for a quick flyover to the new outpost and transfer their equipment onto armor vehicles. Between both teams, there’s a total of fourteen members on the expedition that divides the two groups into separate vehicles. The Angelica team consists of seven individuals, with Noam Spiro and Israela Yedidyah as added members. And possessing the same number of scouts is the U.S. team, whose covert name is Maximus. After collecting the much needed equipment, they get into their armored vehicles and head off for the corridor. 


At the same time, another dawn delivers a new project team called STIR. And under pressure, they’re to turn a theory into reality before the deadline of next month.

With the completion of a monumental installation, the new Particle Detector is ready for a bench test. Another critical component is the TMP which is designed to burn a small piece of the shroud for the collision of its particles. Both are in need of success if they’re to stay on schedule. And using a small piece of cloth from an old t-shirt, the team finalizes the configuration for the particle run. In the meantime, Schmidt and Woodson are setting things up in the observatory control room. There, they meet up with ORION, who’s completed the uplinks to those androids significant to the task. And as the hour draws near, they interface the mathematical algorithm to the Collider. And with the checklist in hand, the project leader of STIR goes over a few things with the supercomputer.

“ORION, what can you tell me about the condition of the Hadron?”

“The Hadron is fully functional and well within safety parameters, Professor Woodson.”

“Have you interfaced the data equation with the Particle Photo Sensor?”

“Yes, it is currently online and is fully operational.”

Woodson looks over to Schmidt on the opposite side of the room and gives him a thumbs up. Next, he orders the team to leave the droids behind and evacuate the accelerator tunnels. Soon, the TMP begins working its magic and burns a piece of the cloth down to its protons. And while flying in opposite directions, their trajectories draw closer together as they approach the speed of light. Now reaching maximum velocity, the tunnels begin to reverberate with a low humming noise associated with the magnetic field. And it's then that ORION turns up the energy to full power and starts the countdown. “3, 2, 1.”

Suddenly, the room is overwhelmed with silence as the supercomputer analyzes the condition of the Hadron. And what seems like a never-ending pause, abruptly ends with ORION voicing over the intercom. 

“Impact detected… Data transfer complete… Calculating... Calculating... Success… Success…”

The entire room explodes in celebration with overwhelming hugs and handshakes. And just after, the two professors make their way to the virtual settings.

“I got a great feeling about this one, Charles.”

“I hope to God you’re right, Alwin.”

When they arrive, they see the executives waiting for them there and enter the holographic room together. Inside, they find themselves in a subatomic world of pure wonder. The holographic recording shows the fabric of space in quantum flux, repeating the impact over and over again. And within the collision, they see brilliant colors of tiny spheres of various sizes that dance around the room. As they walk through these ghostly phantoms of light, they appear to be alive somehow. Some are binary, while others independent. And in between the smallest particles are the gaseous states of several colors representing the field, known only as the Boson field. This is where particles are born - hence the phrase, the God Particle.

“Look over here, Alwin!”

“Yes, I see it, Charles.”

Schmidt orders ORION to bring the quarks into view, and suddenly the room is magnified immensely. His hypothesis appears to be correct. The smallest existing particle is not a perfect sphere after all, but in fact, a teardrop that fades off into the fourth dimension. Yes, these quarks are actually stretching out of existence. It appears as if matter from this reality cannot exist in the next. That is, once it crosses over, math simply breaks down. Thus, an event horizon. Thanks to the modified subprocedure known only as the Trinity formula, the photo sensor was able to focus on the field with perfect clarity. Next, it’s onto the burial cloth.

But what will the Shroud of Turin show? If a resurrection did indeed occur, then perhaps multitudes of these event horizons should be visible, allowing the particles of the body to pass through. Of course, this would constitute a miracle since a phenomenon like that is an impossibility. Such a place is so unstable that each particle of the human body would have to steer itself through the moving dynamics of an atomic world while disobeying the laws of physics, not to mention the power it takes to create these wormholes. Nevertheless, the team is in celebration for the evening, followed by the next phase of the project. 


Inside the West Bank, the sun has disappeared over the horizon, giving way to the stars on a chilly night. And it’s these two unlikely partners traveling together, who’re looking for answers to an anomaly that refuses to go away. During this time, Warfield has himself running through the checklist while calling out to the team in the other vehicle. 

“Maximus to Angelica, come in.”

“This is Angelica; go ahead.”

“It’s time for another headcount. Please sound off.”

 The team leader, Amon Saul, responds with the correct count, and Warfield puts his tablet away. As they continue toward the valley, the hills on the east and west side begin to take rise, which is an indication that the corridor is near. And after only a few minutes, they observe something they haven’t seen before. With a moonlit on a clear night, the view is like some other world from a distant galaxy. The atmosphere now glows in a deep blue that domes over the corridor. And as if breathing, the aura seems to pulsate with every flux. It’s an eerie feeling that grows with each passing moment as they look on with mesmerizing effects. Awestruck, the cardinal and priest express their thoughts on the mystical valley.

“Oh my, Your Eminence. Have you ever seen anything like this before?”

“No, never…Not in all my travels. There’s something very unusual about this place. Something not of this world.”

Saul quickly capitalizes on the moment. “What the hell happened out here?”

“He’s right. There’re no animals, no insects, nothing on my instruments to indicate life out here,” Ms. Shine adds.

With such remarks, the cab becomes quiet with the exception of the vehicle running in the background. Then Rigoli remembers a book he once read. “You know, the agnostics once believed that the spiritual world of God and this one could actually merge together, creating strange anomalies from within.”

“How do you mean, brother?”

“…Well, they believe Heaven to be adjacent to this one. That it’s always been here, but we just can’t see it. Perhaps the anomaly in the corridor is understood to be God's work.”

“If this is true, then maybe the Almighty is preparing for his return, right here in this valley.”

“Yes, you could be right, Your Excellency. That would explain a lot of things.”

Again, the cab is silent to the humming noises of the electromagnetic engines running in the background. No matter how they look at it, it’s as if the corridor is trying to speak out to them. And just as they were about to enter, the American vehicle abruptly stops in front of them.

Punching hard on his breaks, Levi manages to stop short of the leading vehicle. “What the hell is the matter with these guys?! ...Oh, my apologies, Your Eminence. Pardon me.”

“You’re pardoned, Mr. Levi. Now, what is it?”

“I’m not sure, but I think there’s someone standing in front of their vehicle.”

 Upfront, Warfield and Smith are staring at an individual who’s staring back at them through the windshield. Meanwhile, the rest of the team quickly arm themselves and wait for orders. After several moments of contemplating, the commander comments, “Who the hell does this guy think he is?!”

“Sir, perhaps it’s an ambush. He may have reinforcements beyond the shadows.”

“Jaworski, what does your instrument tell you?”

“I don’t see anyone out there, sir.”

“Okay then, he’s alone.”

“No, sir, that’s not what I meant. I don’t see anyone at all. Not even that guy.”

“Check your instruments.”

“…It appears to be functioning fine, sir.”

Taking a moment to think about it, the commander orders half his team out of the vehicle to ask what he wants. He also throws on the headlights. The three outside carefully assemble themselves between the stranger and the transport. And while observing this figure, he has the appearance of a medieval monk, complete with a black robe and hooded outfit. Not appearing to be armed, he has this cold personality to him. One of the soldiers suggests that he’s probably some poor bastard high on opiates. Still, there’s something odd about him that creeps everyone out. Finally, Lieutenant Barron firmly questions the stranger, “What the hell are you doing out here?”

With overwhelming confidence, he gazes at the three from left to right and calmly answers the lieutenant, “I am a messenger from God, who’s here to warn you of impending dangers you’ll receive tonight. That is, if you enter the corridor you see behind me.”

“…Oh yeah? Well, you sure hell don’t look it, pal. You’re blocking an investigation warranted by the U.S. and Russian alignment. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave, or I’ll have you removed. Do you understand?”

The stranger takes one step toward the lieutenant and removes his hood.

Well-groomed, his appearance is that of silky black hair, shining down to his shoulders, with a complexion of light brown skin. And appearing as a Middle Eastern tycoon, his entire outfit looks to be perfectly clean and well-pressed. During this time, the individual pierces through the lieutenant’s soul and the two become connected. And uncertain of what’s going on, Romanowski puts a hand on the stranger’s shoulder to push him away. “Alright, that’s enough. Back off and stand fast.”

With a touch of evil coursing through the sergeant’s soul, it’s as if death has warmed all over him with thoughts of suicide. As a result, the creature momentarily looks to Romanowski, causing the connection to break free from the lieutenant. And when Barron comes back to his senses again, he quickly raises his weapon at the stranger’s head. “You got just three seconds to back off, or it’s lights out for you, pal.”

Turning back on the lieutenant, the creature smiles while staring down at the barrel of his gun. Meanwhile, the commander in the vehicle can’t believe what he’s seeing. He quickly turns to his subordinate for verification. “Sergeant, do you see a weapon on that man?”

“No, sir.”

“Then what the hell is Barron doing out there? Has he lost his damn mind?”

“Do you want me to get out and check?”

“No, I got this one. Just remember, if it’s an ambush, I want you and the Angelica team to turn back as quickly as possible; you got that?”

“Yes, sir!” 

The commander then gets out of his vehicle and approaches the confrontation.

“What the hell is going on out here!”

“He claims to be a messenger of God and won’t move out of the way, sir.”

“And so you put a gun to his head?! What the hell’s wrong with you, lieutenant?! Have you lost all sense of reality!”

“Sir, you don’t understand. He’s not what he appears to be, and whatever you do, don’t touch him,” Romanowski warns. 

The commander then looks at the stranger and asks for his name.

“My name is Thaddeus, meaning the gift of God.”

“I don’t care what it means. Now, what the hell are you doing out here?

He tells him that during an attempt to heal Barron, his suicidal thoughts transferred over to Romanowski momentarily. But while shaking his head unconvinced, the sergeant rebuttals, “No way, I’m not buying into that at all, pal. Don’t trust this guy, sir.”

The commander then explains the three visitations they received from an angel. Two in the desert, and one inside the basecamp. The same outpost that Michael defended against the creature. He further explains the divine warmth they felt from his presence. He then takes a step toward the dark man and asks a simple question, “Why aren’t we getting the same vibes from you?”

Saying nothing, he just sits there, staring at the commander.

“…Well, what’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

Warfield studies the elusive expression on this man’s face and begins putting it all together. Out in the middle of nowhere, and looking like something that came out of a medieval period is unusual enough. But when he claims to be a messenger of God who’s done nothing but spook his men, the commander questions him further, “…Why don’t you just wipe that stupid grin off your face and tell me what you’re really doing out here?”

Through free will, Thaddeus knows he can’t stop them from entering. So, he tries a different approach. “True, the one you encountered earlier was God’s beloved angel. An angel who commands the angelic forces. He’s known to some as God’s leading warrior and others as his messenger. He’s the one who cast out the devil after Moses's death and delivered God’s message to the prophet of Daniel. And although I don’t possess the same powers as Michael, I am God’s divine messenger, Thaddeus, whose only responsibility is to protect the Messiah’s return. An arrival that centers right here in this corridor you see behind me. I am the divine protector of this holy land. And I must plead with you to turn away so that God can continue his work.”

All four soldiers begin to reconsider Thaddeus’s claim, but not without suspicion.

“I don’t know, sir. I don’t trust this guy. When I touched him, all I felt was despair.”

“Only because your emotions were that of Barron’s,” Thaddeus adds.

“Hey, speak for yourself, pal.” Barron cutting in.

Soon, a major discussion erupts between soldiers while Thaddeus continues to tear their will apart. And during this time, the Angelica team becomes impatient.

“What’s going on out there?”

“I don’t know, Your Eminence, but we’re told to stay in this vehicle, and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.”

And while Warfield’s men continue to argue with each other, Father Rigoli becomes self-aware of a presence growing from within. A familiar feeling he had on that faithful night with God. And after several minutes of fencing with each other, Saul finally gives into Sodano’s request and decides to investigate the incident. But just as he was leaving the vehicle, Rigoli grabs his shoulder. “No! Everyone must stay here. I’ll go instead.”

“Forget it, Father. That’s out of the question,” Saul argues.

Rigoli then turns to Sodano for support, “Trust me when I say that God is with me, Your Excellency. I can feel his presence. Those men out there are in danger.” “How do you figure, Father?”

“Because God told me so, Mr. Saul. Now, please move out of the way, so his will can be done.”

“…Okay, but I’m coming with you.”

“No! He’ll only get to you too.”

Against his better judgment, Saul finally steps aside and allows Rigoli to vacate the vehicle. And while approaching the group, he starts to eavesdrop on a conversation poisoned with deception. The beast speaks of a new task from God and how the West Bank is to be established. To initiate a peace treaty by surrendering to the Jordanian army in good gesture. They’re also to break free of a lie that’s held them in bondage since the beginning of the war. To disclose the outpost they’ve hidden in the holy land, would unchain them of their captivities. As God is his witness, it must be this way.

“And it all starts right here, my brothers. For God is with—”

Suddenly, Thaddeus loses the utopian connection when he sees a priest approaching from the evening shadows. And before Rigoli could introduce himself, the creature beats him to it. “I know who you are and the task our Father has given us, my brother. We’ve been waiting for your arrival. Now that the inner circle is complete, we must act quickly before it’s too late.”

And then he offers his hand to Rigoli. “Go ahead and take it in the name of God. If you do, I'll show you a paradise that awaits you on the other side.”

No longer under his influence, Barron quickly raises his weapon back on the stranger with a single comment in mind. “My God, you’re smooth as hell!”

Jaworski snaps out of it as well. “Whatever you do, Father, don’t touch him!”

Turning back to dark tactics, Thaddeus warns Jaworski of the hell that awaits him and brings his attention back on Barron. “I understand your pain, my brother. The loss of your friend was an unnecessary one in a war that could’ve been avoided. Yes, I was there when he died in your arms that night. And now look at you. All I see is a broken man. Believe me when I tell you that he’s safe with me in Heaven now. And if you follow me, you can join him there. But stand against me, and it’ll be damnation for all eternity.”

Having had enough, Father Rigoli confronts the beast with his own perspective. “The God we know is of pure love. He’s not in the business to damn anyone. When Jesus died on that cross, he forgave every single soul throughout time. Even when the Romans tore out his flesh and spat on him, he still offered them a home in his Father’s house. Since his resurrection, the entire world has always been welcomed in his paradise. All one needs to do is possess a desire to believe in him, nothing more. And as far as you’re concerned, Thaddeus, you can never be an angel of God. You’re merely the residue of something ugly, produced by the dark side of humanity. A toxin to the soul that’ll soon fade from existence…”

It's a dose of reality that brings an abrupt end to the confrontation. And while sitting there infected with anger, the demon’s smile begins to fade as the grueling returns from its mouth.

“Yes, that’s right, Thaddeus. God has revealed yourself to me. You’re simply an echo of the wicked, unable to take on a life of its own. And the only threat you have is to convince us otherwise.”

Soon everyone gets out of their vehicles to gather with the rest. And before Rigoli could bring them up to speed, Thaddeus takes a turn for the worse. His face now becomes disfigured, with toxic eyes burning of bright orange. And with the awful sound of the devil himself, his voice reverberates against the desert walls as he begins to fade from this reality. Next, he leaves them with a final note. “You can’t defeat that of which has always been here since the dawn of man! Man and violence are one and the same. I will always live on forever!”

And suddenly, the creature vanishes without a trace. But for several moments, nobody says a word until Barron finally speaks up, “Does anybody want to tell me what hell that was all about?”

“Oh, yes. You’re the new soldier they’ve been talking about,” Sodano replies. “Well, you’re about to find out that the corridor is an entrance from this world into the next. Something wonderful is going to happen out here.”

“What does that mean? What’s going to happen out here? And what the hell was that thing we just saw!”

The commander informs the lieutenant he’ll bring him up to speed for the duration of the trip. In the meantime, they’re to climb back onto their vehicles and continue into the corridor as planned.



Wearing a black turban and gown, he goes by the name of Malik. He has this long black hair that reflects the sunlight with its brilliant shine. He also possesses the color of brown eyes that share the skin of olive. An individual that keeps to himself in isolation, he speaks only when needed. And although he’s an intelligent leader with confidence, he possesses a burning rage that sometimes interferes with his work. However, with a considerable amount of discipline, he’s learned to control that anger.

Brought up by the Afghan rebels, he was raised to believe in the old cultural lifestyle. Claiming that the newer society is a western infestation that split the Middle Eastern world in two. And growing up with the earlier influence, he quickly rose through the chain of command during his adolescent years. Soon, his predecessors began noticing a leader on an unprecedented scale. He was never trained in the art of combat and yet had this ability to solve unique problems when they present themselves. Like Alexander the Great, he was educated by the masters in humanities who eventually took that knowledge to another level. In effect, he’s genuinely a self-taught predator in his own right, waiting for the opportunity to knock on his door.

Inside his layer, deep beneath the desert floor, Malik has set up a video conference with the Jordanian leader. The emperor has been working closely with the king to make another attempt on the holy city. Only this time, Malik has been studying the corridor thoroughly. And with this unique insight comes several million extremists that Nasser values dearly. He also has people on the inside of Tel Aviv with knowledge of Israeli movements. In return, the Jordanian leader agrees to support Malik’s enterprise by sending in heavy supplies for his war machine. And although the caverns are located just inside the West Bank from the Dead Sea, it poses no problems for the supply line. Malik had enough foresight to tunnel underneath the body of water, sending supplies back and forth undetected. And with an escalating war growing in the West Bank, he’s made them large enough for military vehicles of all sizes to get through. It’s this kind of alliance that’s perfect for the two. By design, Malik has managed to master a treaty that’ll put him on top of Middle Eastern control.

However, there are always two sides who thirst for power trying to gain the upper hand over the other. And when ruling the world, it's never big enough for the two. One will eventually have to go. But for now, they need each other and maintain a certain level of trust with hidden agendas. It’s a dark policy that goes with the territory.

“I know the location of the U.S. outpost you’re so eagerly interested in, comrade. However, before I tell you, you mustn’t at­tack it at this time. If you do, it’ll expose my operation out here. No doubt they’ll be combing the desert for me. Keep in mind that they already suspect we’re work­ing together.”

“…I’m curious, Malik. How were you able to obtain such in­formation?”

“Let’s just say I have reliable sources on the inside and leave it at that, shall we?”

“It wouldn’t be coming from the allies, would it? I would hate to think that you worked out a deal with them.”

“I find your accusation insulting, comrade! Destroying the alliance is all that I’m about!”

 “…We shall see, Lord Malik. We shall see.”

After the meeting, Malik finds himself free to think, and while gazing into a holographic waterfall, sinks into the realm of dark deeds.

“…Everything is unfolding exactly the way he said it would. …I wonder how he knew?”

Submitted: November 24, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Scott Roman Simpson. All rights reserved.

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The Shroud of the Second Coming - Second Edtion

Here’s a novel based on facts about the Shroud of Turin, the Hadron Particle Collider, Spiritual interventions, and Governmental involvements. With so many stories written in the opinions of the author’s minds, they’ve all left out the critical descriptio


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