10. The Parliamentary

March 27, 2007

Every detail had been orchestrated.

The Parliamentary would convene and read through the proposed legislation reforming labor rights. After a Gaia-hour or two indulging the delegates’ inevitable political posturing, the Assembly would then ratify the package.

To add historical urgency, omegaMarat Seneca would accept sanction and step down as House omega’s chief designate. She’d be permitted to stage one of her fiery reactionary vigils in the peristyle of the Acropolis. No one would know she was the reforms’ actual principle author.

Consul Edmund etaSade would ride his reputation as a trusted Fellow in the Guild Brotherhood and the dependable ally of the powerful eta Matriarchy. He would take all the credit and, as far as the peoples of Aideena were concerned, be prosperity’s hero. As champion of the male suffragetry, etaSade would be awarded control of The Parliamentary’s largest coalition of Guild political parties, elevating House eta from economic decline to a house to be reckoned with once again.

For some mystifying reason, the eta delegate decided to step outside his designated role.

As Faith’s moderating official, Reverend Cardinal Paul Christian iotaTao could only sit and listen as etaSade picked apart everything that had been accomplished. The secret meetings between himself, the activist omegaMarat Seneca, and the former Guild-Boss; the long hours of carefully constructing a reform package to satisfy Faith, the matriarchy of the Houses and fraternity of the Guild Brotherhood; all evaporated—as if they never happened at all. The Old Gentleman of The Parliamentary experienced something new in his forty-year career as Faith’s master mediator and grand manipulator. The Reverend Cardinal was thoroughly dumb struck.

Then suddenly a dark cold veil descended…

An expansive black flurry of feathers landed with delicate precision on the center podium. Immediate hysteria ensued.

Archangel descends on The ParlimentaryPanicked delegates bolted, diving for cover. Courtly matrons and Guild-brothers leapt over desks and stampeded over one another. Then, everyone just stopped.

Perhaps it was the beauty of the creature that had descended upon them. Or perhaps it was the fear and anticipation of what might happen next. Whatever the reason, the congress’ flight reflex suspended momentarily. No one seemed to breath. All eyes locked spellbound on the podium and no one dare move a muscle. The silence of the Parliamentary formed an almost anathematizing vacuum.

The wings parted and revealed beautiful dark skin that obscenely shelled a classically Herculean figure of perfect maleness. Its angular face carved a sinister intense mask. The Archangel’s scowl scanned the great cella, searching its tiers of desks and gallery above.

He looked one way, and then the other. As Parliamentary-stationed Templar erupted into the vomitory, sidearm pulsons drawn, and cautiously assumed flanking positions, the intruder took no interest. He stood there, looking for something.

Slowly, the delegates began to move. Shuffling and hushed voices broke the silence. Their frozen panic turned to intrigue.

Reverend Cardinal Paul Christian iotaTao banged his gavel. He appealed for order and calm. He asked the assembly to resume their seats and the Templar to holster their weapons. They cautiously complied.

The Old Gentlemen rose authoritatively. “Divinity honors us with His presence,” iotaTao addressed The Archangel. “This august body receives you. How may we serve?”

Paul Christian waited. The Archangel did not answer. He did not sway from inspecting the room with a troubled stare. He did not seem aware of the Reverend Cardinal at all.

The Faithful elder cleared his throat and spoke louder, “Divinity, you are in the company of a Templar detail, aren’t you? I suggest we collect them and retire to the Altar Room. This august body can then continue its proceedings and you may observe in more appropriate surroundings. Allow me to escort you.”

As if homing in on a beacon, the meta-terrestrial sprinted down one of the vomitories, overrunning Parliamentary Templar, and out the assembly cella. Delegates followed after, instantly scrambling for the exits. The Reverend Cardinal hammered his gavel and ordered the congress back to their seats.

This time, no one heeded.

Select media, Parliamentary staffers and the Faithful, and dignitaries congregated within the large lounging vestibule outside the assembly cella. The area waded deep with auxiliary officials of all sorts both supporting various House and Guild representatives and those merely wishing to be nearby while The Parliamentary held it auspicious session. The Archangel burst onto the pronaos, trailed by delegates, and ignited pandemonium.

He plowed through the panicked crowd, searching and examining their numbers as though they were inanimate objects to be inspected for defect and discarded.

Templar Faithful Paul Sebastian and Michael Constantine came into pronaos, sweated and out of breath from their rapid descend.

“Clear the Hall! Keep these people back,” Paul Sebastian shouted to Parliamentary-stationed Templar as he and tauValez pushed through the confused swarm.

Sebastian and Constantine cautioned upon The Archangel. He scanned from one person to the next, oblivious to his Templar detail’s arrival.

“Divinity, what is the alarm?” asked Michael Constantine. “Please, let us get you away from all these people.”

The Archangel shook, as awakening from a peculiar daydream. Seeing Constantine and Sebastian, His brightly glowing grey eyes suddenly registered recognition and His demeanor transformed before them. The press of people surrounding them seemed to startle and unnerve the meta-terrestrial.

“My Faithful, someone here is intent on murder,” He said.

The two Templar looked at one another, shaken.

“Who is going to be murdered?” Paul Sebastian spoke up.

“As yet unknown, my xiDuang” He answered.

“Who are you reading, Divinity,” Michael Constantine queried.

The Archangel strained a look around, scanning the faces closing in. He shook His head, defeated.

“Such rage…so much vengeance!” He channeled and then with deadly certainly The Archangel said, “He is close, very close.”Said Paul Sebastian absently, “My ancestors be damned…”

TO BE CONTINUED

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