“I do love a true believer,” I said. Even if it isn’t what I believe.
“Well I am a true believer and in the same things they believe,” Jerrod informed me.
“Well let’s find Juan and Williams then get the hell out of here. So ask around down there. I expect them to know where we should look. We can try to get them out before the Government finds them and kills both.”
“I’ll ask around and get back with you in a bit,” he said. “I think the priest here will introduce me farther up the food chain.”
“That is probably what it is going to take. Please be careful Simon,” I begged. I did not want to explain his loss back home.
While Jerrod went up the command chain of the Shining Path, I went back to work on the Government.
“So maybe we need to talk about why Williams would be arming the opposition,” I said to the Captain.
“That has nothing to do with me. My job is to find out his fate. What he was, or was not doing, means nothing to me,” the Captain said.
“So, if the Army is being used by a cult of Devil worshipers in order to persecute Christians, you would be fine with that?” I asked.
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“The bad guys don’t need to raise an army Captain. Not if they can hijack yours,” I said it smiling at him. “If you don’t look at what you are doing, then you may be a Devil Cult’s army.” I said.
“You are insane,” he said. “We are not promoting anything, we are only looking for Williams.”
“Why are you looking for Williams. What exactly is it he has done?” I asked.
“He has done nothing that we know of for sure. We are only trying to rescue him.” the Captain informed me.
“So, if Williams walked out of the jungle tomorrow, all would be forgiven?” I asked.
“Well now there is the matter of his selling weapons to the Shining Path,” the Captain said.
“Yes, but if they are not really rebels, where is the harm in trying to defend themselves.” I asked.
“You don’t know that they are defending themselves,” he said.
“You don’t know that they aren’t. Okay, so you would take Williams in for trial. If you come across Juan, are you going to take him in for trial as well?” I asked.
“If we find he has committed a crime, then yes we will,” he said.
“Then you and your bosses are going to have no problem with me requesting a United Nations Investigation of the Shining Path and your treatment of them?” I asked.
“Of course not,” he replied somewhat tentatively.
“Good,” I said that as I opened the Satellite phone. “Jennifer, can you get hold of our friend in the stagnant water navy for me. Ask him to call one of his contacts in the UN. I need an immediate and priority investigation of The Shining Path in Bolivia or wherever I am and the government’s treatment of them.”
Making that call not only put the UN on the job, but it was also a report back to the farm. Two spy agencies with one stone, my idea of economy.
Find out who the hell this Devil Cult is… I demanded of the controller.
It’s news to us, but we will take a serious look at it for sure. These guys could be up to some serious shit, if they can subjugate a complete army.
We need to find out how far behind we are… I suggested. Then we need to do some serious catching up. It could also be just a unit or two not a whole government but who knows…I added silently.
Maybe it isn’t as bad as those priests make out. You know they are considered dissidents. It might not even be for real… just some dreamed up shit… Lets just see before we go off half cocked… the controller messaged.
That’s why I had Jennifer arrange a call to the UN… I replied silently.
Something I don’t think is going to go over all that well here… the controller informed me.
Oh well sometimes the bear eats you… I said.
Yeah and it isn’t always fun… came the reply. Then they just shut down.
The captain had heard none of that silent conversation. He had heard me request the UN investigation. He would be reporting that in a hurry. Of that I had no doubt. So, if they didn’t try to jail me, the official response would be interesting.
The phone rang again. “Yes Jerrod,” I said.
“They swear down here that the army is preparing to attack them. Not soon but very, very soon.” he said.
“We are not here to save some religious nuts Jerrod. We are here to find Williams and get him out.” I suggested.
“You know better,” he said. “If we walk away from this and these people get slaughtered how will we sleep at night?”
“I can’t discuss this now, but we need to discuss it before you make any decisions.” I demanded.
“We can discuss it till hell freezes over. If the army pulls up and a fire fight breaks out, I’m not running away.” he informed me.
“Jerrod that is crazy. You know those priests don’t have a chance against a trained military unit, even if they are a third world unit.”
“That would be a bunch of priests and a Legionnaire, against a third world army unit. Sounds about even to me,” he replied.
“Oh shit, I’ll be there with our weapons just as soon as I can find a cab and pick them up. Just tell me where, then tell your new friends to have Juan and his ass bring Williams wherever you are. We can try to mount a rescue and press awareness campaign from there. Get the word out and maybe something will change at least for a while. Long enough for us to get out and take Williams with us.”
“You are crazy, but meet us at a place called St Marie Tomas. They tell me they can get Williams to us there,” Jerrod said.
“Be ready to go when I get there. We can make a lot of noise and some headlines, then we have to get the fuck out of there.” I suggested.
“Of course,” he replied.
After talking to Jerrod I called Jennifer again. I did that because the Admiral was a master at playing the international press. I trusted him more than the people on the farm when it came to moral issues. Unlike them he had a moral compass that was always working.
“Jennifer, now that you have the facts get this moving for me, or I’m likely to die her in Bolivia or wherever I am,” I said.
“Butch there is no way, they are going to kill you down there again.” she promised.
I hadn’t even thought of Bolivia as being the place Butch Cassidy and the Sun dance Kid had died. Well I damn sure didn’t want a repeat of that. I figured we needed to hold out about a week to milk it for all the press we could get. With the admiral telling the priest’s side of it everyday, the world should unite around the good guys for a change.
“Well I don’t think the people here are bad, and I don’t think the government is bad, but someone has managed to convince some good people to do bad things, it seems.”
“Well honey, I hope you are right. So give me the details and I’ll be sure the word gets out.” Jennifer promised.
The next call I made was to Olivia. “Hello,” I said when she answered. “How about meeting me for coffee?”
“Is it going to cost me my career?’ she asked.
“It just might, or it might put you on the fast track to being president, or whatever they have down here.” I said it with a smile because I knew she wouldn’t be president or dictator for life either. She was most likely flushing her career down the toilet, but she could always move to Aster.
“So what can I do for you?” she asked once she was seated in the restaurant. She had picked me up at the apartment complex. I left the army unit in favor or coffee with Olivia. Judging from the looks given her by the soldiers, I had made the popular choice. She was cute for sure.
“I can’t believe how much patience you have. You drove all this way without a single question. You are amazing,” I said.
“Okay but I have asked now so what is it you want from me?” she asked.
“First of all let me tell you that you can’t stop me. To even try would be foolish, so just listen then make up your own mind.” I said.
“Very well, so what do you want?”
“I want you to be our outside man.” I went on to explain what I had in mind and what I had already set into motion. “Now I know you are not the evil empire. I also know that this is being replayed all over the world. There has been a loose affiliation of anti religious organizations for years. First they pitted one against the other, now they are moving on all of the religions. Their new strategy is to convince governments around the world that organized religion is actually a form of rebellion.
The shining path is the first to be attacked, but it won’t be the last, not by a long shot. If they are wiped out, then the evil guys win the round. I can’t allow that. I need you to investigate while we make a lot of noise for the world press. We need to have the press alert the rest of the governments to this conspiracy.”
“Are you insane? Surely you don’t believe this nonsense?” she asked.
She didn’t look nearly as surprised as her words made her sound. “Jerrod believes it and according to him, Williams did as well. That is what was going on according to the priests,” I informed her.
“So what are you going to do now?” she asked.
“Why hell Olivia we are going to a monastery and make a joyful noise, of course.” I grinned at her as I spoke.
“The two of you and a few priests are going to make a stand there. The army will overrun you in a day,” she said.
“God I hope not,” I replied. I didn’t tell her, but I was worth a hell of a lot more than the priests. The US government would not be willing to have me taken prisoner by any other government, no matter how close or strained their relationship. There would be a rescue mission. My guess is when the first shots were fired, there would be talks in progress. Everyone would know what was coming thanks to the Admiral and Olivia.
“So you are going to this monastery to challenge my government?” she asked.
“No I am going there because my friend Jerrod is there. He believes the priests and I believe him. If there is a Devil cult, and they are out out to convert the world to their way of thinking, then I’m against that.
See I don’t believe in organized religion, but I don’t think I believe in organized religious haters either. Unorganized haters, I can deal with, but to put them into their own little groups, with meetings and rituals, well it’s just a little too much.”
“You do know you are crazy and likely to get killed?” she asked.
“Crazy for sure, likely to be killed only if you don’t convince the government that this is going to be lousy PR for them. In the end they should just let the three gringos go. As for the Shining Path, they are going to resist you whether we are there or not. You are not going to be able to call this a rescue of Williams, because his story will be out there. The only win for you is to not play the game at all.”