Eucharist for a Sinless Mankind
by Bertil Falk
Chapter 2: The Not-Sinning Ones
part 2 of 7
That was the situation when Cardinal Mervil Tojas applied to the permanent secretary of the curia, a partly translucent and asymmetrically structured Trappist monk of it-gender from Perka, a twin planet of Gutta. Reluctantly but dutifully, the Trappist carried through its assigned task. It would have rather remained inside La Trappe, where it devoted eleven hours every day and night to religious reflection and eight hours to such manual labor as a Perkan is capable of in the Earthly environment.
But it knew its place, and when the Vatican called, it came. Even now, it began its day at two o’clock every morning. It missed the pains it used to devote to the grave where it should be put at some time within the upcoming hundreds of years.
“Memento mori,” the Trappist greeted Cardinal Mervil Tojas, who replied in a slightly angry tone: “You are always harping on thinking of death. But right now there are actually more important and pressing things at stake.”
The mighty secretary motioned to Mervil Tojas to sit down. It stood up. Mervil Tojas knew that even though Trappists were taciturn, they were better listeners than anyone else in the Church. Their prohibition against speaking unnecessarily made them suitable as carriers of secret knowledge, like mother confessors, or father confessors, or sister confessors or whatever the term was for beings of the it-gender. And they were very good at gathering information about problems of a less common nature.
For a very long time, the Trappists had taken listening to the level of high art, and there were scholarly dissertations, penned — computers were unthinkable — by assiduous Trappists, who congenially described the finer qualities of silence and listening.
The android and Personiter Mervil Tojas went into great detail about the disappearance of Cardinal Saulcerite. Meanwhile, the permanent secretary of the Holy See listened with the emulable acuity that is the hallmark of the Trappists.
When Mervil Tojas at long last came to an end, it asked a question. “Who is Urbanus Collectus?”
“As I mentioned,” Mervil Tojas said, “he belongs to the Order of the Celibateurs. He was my pupil, and by chance he stumbled upon this new mankind, which is said to be sinless.” And he hastened to add, “Which seems improbable. The whole Christian Church would collapse like a house of cards if that turned out to be true.”
With an unmistakable movement, the Trappist indicated that it did not share the android’s opinion.
“But just think of it. What would people believe?”
“Don’t worry. The Church will survive,” the Trappist said calmly. “Irrespective of teachings, the institution has put down unshakable roots over thousands of years. It’s more difficult when it comes to doctrines and faith, but it does not have to fare badly, either.”
“Explain yourself, brother,” the Personiter said, wondering inwardly if a being of it-gender were fish, flesh, or fowl. Maybe “sibling” was the right word?
“God is Almighty, right?”
Mervil Tojas more felt than perceived what the Trappist was trying to say with this succinct comment.
“The problem is under the supervision of the Bureau of Mother Saulcerite,” Mervil Tojas replied, “but now that she has disappeared, and honestly...” He paused and grasped his chin with his left hand before continuing, “There is no one at the Bureau who can devote its time to the problem with the same energy as Mother Saulcerite. And now she is gone.”
“Are not able.”
“I had only a passing contact with him when we got the information during a Mah-Jong party.”
“Xavier Pascal?” the Trappist wondered.
“He is truly the X-factor in this matter.”
“Examine him. Use the successors of the Inquisition. Find Cardinal Saulcerite and Urbanus Collectus.”
“Who will lead the investigation?”
The Trappist tampered kindly with something that might have been a kind of mouth. “You! Who else?”
Mervil Tojas had never become accustomed to the behavior of the immaterial ones; therefore he felt a certain uneasiness at the same time as he understood that the conversation was over. The it-thing slipped through the wall and disappeared into the inner sanctum sanctorum of the Vatican in order to brief the Holy Father.
Mervil shook off a shiver, but at the next moment he shuddered again, for all of a sudden a classic beauty with blonde hair came walking straight out of nowhere, and behind her a man with a moustache like Charlie Chaplin’s came crawling on his knees feverishly kissing the spots where the woman had put down her feet.
The two forms moved across the room about half a meter above the floor and almost immediately disappeared into nowhere. Mervil Tojas shook his head in despair and went to have a dram at the brothel cum tavern at the base of the Vatican.
To be continued...
Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk