The offices of the Arch Bishop Pedro de Pietro were Spartan, at best. He did not pride himself like most clerics with the importance of his office but rather wanted those that entered into his offices to notice his passion for learning. Three walls surrounding his office contained shelf after shelf of hundreds and hundreds of old fashion books; they all contained leather bindings, parchment and ink.
His library impressed de Pietro’s first guest of his morning’s busy schedule, the Grand Master of the Hospitallers Esteban de la Valette.
“Please be seated Grand Master,” de Pietro said mildly.
“Thank you Arch Bishop,” he said while looking around the room. “I had no idea that you were so interested in the written word.”
“It's a small pleasure that I have treated myself to over the years,” admitted de Pietro.
“Yes, but one wonders why?” de la Valette asked. “I mean you have your own mechanical drone that has been with you since, when?”
“He has been with me since my senior year at the Jesuit’s college,” de Pietro replied.
“I see.” He said. “But yet you still read books?”
“I find that holding a book, feeling the pages and experiencing the written word releases more of my mental faculties than being spoon fed via a drone, Father,” the Arch Bishop informed him.
“I’m sure the Master of the Order Father de Acebo would find that fact most illuminating,” stated de la Valette.
“Our Brother would find many things most illuminating if he would take off those blinders that he insists on wearing.”
The Grand Master chuckles as he says, “He prefers to call it single mindedness. But I would agree with you on that Father.” “The Superior General has asked for you to join me today so that we may go over some issues that may come up,” de Pietro said.
“Issues, Father?” de la Valette asked.
“We know that the Drone Council called on you early in their deliberations regarding their plan.”
“Yes, they did,” admitted the Grand Master. “I was struck dumb at the scope of what their plan encompassed and told them so.”
“I’m sure you did, Father,” the Arch Bishop said. “Since then have you reflected further on their plan?”
“I have,” the Grand Master simply stated. “Although their plan carries risk beyond our knowledge to comprehend, I can see no other option than to follow their guidance.”
“As do the Jesuits,” the Arch Bishop stated. “I have heard, through solid sources that the Drone Council also talked to you about other things besides their planned expedition.”
The Grand Master looked above the shoulder of the Arch Bishop and saw his drone hovering there.
“Yes, they did,” he simply said.
“And what was your reply?” asked the Arch Bishop.
“I believe you already know that answer, Father.”
“No, we do not,” replied the Arch Bishop. “We are not the Dominicans and do not casually listen in on private conversations or go behind the backs of fellow priests to gather information. We treat all conversations as inviolate and therefore private.”
“So the Council did not inform you as to my decision?” the Grand Master asked.
“No, they did not, Father,” answered Alsecka. “The Council’s business is private and they don’t tolerate eavesdropping easily.”
“I see, well then let me inform you as to what my reply was,” he began. “I told them that their plan was risky but if it were to succeed then I would do anything in my power to make sure it does.”
“His Eminence will be most pleased with your reply, Father,” de Pietro said. “But in taking that stand you will be under the highest scrutiny that your order has ever been under.”
“I realize that but what else can be done?” he asked.
“Good question, Father,” admitted de Pietro.
“Alsecka, could you please let the Grand Master know the next part of the plan?” the Arch Bishop asked.
“Yes, Sir,” Alsecka replied. “Another secret member of the Drone Council will be placed within the ranks of the military units sent out on this expedition, Father.”
“Specifically within the piloting ranks to monitor all actions taken by the military,” added de Pietro.
“I see, so the Council is stacking the deck?” de la Valette asked.
“For the most maximum effect at the pointy end of the stick, Father,” replied de Pietro.
“It’s good to know that our necks aren’t the only one sticking out,” admitted de la Valette.
“You have all the weight of the Jesuits, my office and the offices of the Black Pope behind you on this, Father,” stated the Arch Bishop.
The Grand Master stood as the Arch Bishop rounded his desk, and reached out his hand.
“May God be with us,” de la Valette stated.
“God’s will be done,” replied Arch Bishop de Pietro.
The second meeting of the morning took place shortly after the Grand Master left the Arch Bishop’s offices. This was the first time that Brother Ricardo Alejandro Delgado was ever on this side of the Jesuit’s offices. He was still wondering why he was sent for when he entered the offices of the Arch Bishop.
The Arch Bishop looked up from his desk and smiled.
“Thank you for coming on short notice, Brother,” de Pietro stated.
“There is no need to thank one as lowly as me your eminence,” Delgado replied.
The Arch Bishop chuckled and said “And there is no need to place me on a higher pedestal than where I sit, Brother. I am no eminence but a lowly priest as you Brother Delgado.”
“You do me great honor, Father. Thank you.”
“You may not think so after we are finished talking, Brother,” de Pietro began. “Please take a seat. There are many things we need to talk about.”
Brother Delgado had just noticed the two drones that were hovering, in the corner of the Arch Bishop’s offices when they slowly made their way over to the desk.
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