For the next four hours Frank and the Monsignor were basically quiet.  The Princess seemed very restless and I could tell she was not use to being kept in a small confined space.  The only break was a steward who brought some sandwiches and coffee.  It was not until the end of four hours that Colonel Mann and Captain Rabein came to talk to us.  He walked everybody back to the conference room and called on the phone for five dinner trays to be delivered.

Then he turned to us and started talking as if he were debriefing a superior officer, “Satellite intel has been going nonstop since we chose Lutts as a target.  As you know he pretty much handed us our ass.  That foam was something we have never seen.  We tripled our attack group to deal with the possibility of this foam defense.  We programmed our drones to attack any visual or auditory sensors we saw.  The objective was also impossible to get any pre-attack intelligence.  Lutts seems to have used his foam to line many of his control areas and so we could not pick up any radio or computer data.  What we did not know was that this foam is very flammable.  Under the right conditions when it is warmed up it can be explosive.  Most of the explosions you heard were not our stuff, but the foam and certain equipment going off. 

The Monsignor interrupted the Colonel and asked, “What about our two Terrance Lutts?”

“I will be getting to that.  We realized that the areas of the ship that were dark to our intelligence must be important, so we directed our forces there first.  As a result in the first ten minutes we had Sir Terrance captured and neutralized.  However, due to the independent nature of our drones they saw the second Lutts and proceeded to try and capture him.  Unfortunately, they sensed he was armed and therefore switched from capturing mode to use deadly force.  Since we had what we believe to be the real Sir Terrance we took a DNA sample and checked out the dead guy.  To our amazement they matched perfectly.  All our background information says Lutts did not have a twin.  Is that true, Princess?”

“I never knew of any until today.  We thought it was just a look-a-like” she said in a rather unhappy tone.

“The Lutts we captured first has refused to talk until he sees his wife.  What I wanted to ask you three is if you would meet with Lutts and try and get some answers out of him.  We want to know if he is the real Lutts and where are his launching points for these nano-vectors he plans on using.”

Frank then spoke up and asked, “Have you gotten anything out of Dr. Larson.” 

“We didn’t have a chance to ask her anything.  When she came to she grabbed a molar in her mouth that contained a cyanide capsule and committed suicide.”

“That does not surprise me” the Monsignor said out loud. 

“I agree,” Frank seconded, “she would have felt at home with the Nazis.  I interviewed the woman a couple of times and found her emotionally cold as ice.  The only thing that has been between her legs is a bar of soap.”

The Monsignor choked out a laugh and then tried to recover his demeanor by asking, “Does Lutts know Larson and his double are dead?”

“No.  We kept that under wraps.”

The Princess asked, “Can we tell him?”

“Yes, but try and use it for your advantage.  Lutts is a not one to show his cards.  Maybe we all can learn something if we can get him off balance, the Colonel said with a look of doubt on his face.

The Monsignor looked grim and finally put into words what he was thinking, ”Do you think, Colonel, that with the destruction of what seems to be his command center that you have stopped Lutts?”

“I don’t know.  Until we get to where he has those damn nano-vectors anything could happen.  Maybe he can only attack part of the world.  He might be desperate enough to just settle for that.  I’m assuming that we may still not have the real Sir Terrance.  With every move we counter it seems to reveal a whole new level of complexity.  So, Monsignor Pietro, I hope you and your friends can squeeze out a few more pieces of the puzzle.”

With that the Colonel went over to the phone and gave the order for Sir Terrance to be brought to the conference room.  He said they would be listening in another area of the sub.  That said, the Colonel and the Captain made a quick military retreat so they would not be seen by Sir Terrance.  About a minute later two Master-at-arms with pistols drawn brought in Sir Terrance with his hands in irons.  Once they had him seated they removed one of the manacles and locked it to the chair arm.  That done they wordlessly retreated.

Once the hatch was secured Sir Terrance smiled and said, “Reunited again with my lovely wife, how cracking.  And it is good to see your friends are safe and sound.”

“Seriously, Terrance, don’t you realize the situation you are in?” the Princess said frowning.

“It would be unwise of you to think I have been vanquished by the Israeli army.  My congratulations to you, Monsignor, in getting the Israelis to do what the Swiss Guard is incapable of doing.”

The Monsignor did not have any facial expression on his face.  He knew how to have a poker face.  If you can’t control your facial expressions you don’t belong in the spy business.  The Monsignor shot back, “Who are you?”

“I am Sir Terrance Lutts, as you well know.”

“I saw Sir Terrance Lutts’s head blown off on the main deck.”

It was now Sir Terrance’s turn to keep his look of smugness without any cracks of surprise.  He without a pause said, “So you met one of my twins, I take it.”

“So there is more than one clone?” the Monsignor asked.

“I do not look upon him as a clone.  He was as much the original as I am.”

“That is not saying much.  Are you the real Sir Terrance or just another clone?”

“He was real.”

“So you are a clone.”

“On that I will keep you guessing, but you don’t fully understand the genius of having multiple copies of yourself.  Imagine having a room full of Einsteins.  That is what we have done.  If one of me does not see a solution to a problem perhaps one of my other me’s will.  You have heard the old adage, “If you want it right do it yourself.”?  We took that to heart.  Whether we are the original Lutts or not, we treat all the others as equals as they do me.  To be honest, I have forgotten who the original Lutts is.  For all we know you may have seen him killed, which would be a shame, but not a total loss.  When one of your cells dies in your body you do not lower the flag to half mast.”

“Does it bother you that the Israelis will probably lock you up and throw away the key?” Frank asked while shaking his head.

“We are more optimistic on my future, Mr. Huntington.

“You don’t think that now all the world’s governments probably know your plans and that they will round up every Sir Terrance they see?” Frank asked in his reporter voice.

“Do you think our plan has been stopped?” Lutts answered Frank’s question with a question.

“You’re still hoping that all will be forgiven when everyone wakes up an atheist.” Frank parried.

“Indeed, we do, Mr. Huntington.  We may have to spend several million pounds on lawyers for a few months, but we will soon be seen as heroes.”

“I think there will be plenty of unemployed religious leaders who will hold a grudge for a long time and will want your head on a platter.”

“Perhaps, but they will not have their heart in it.  To the public it will look like sour grapes.  We would not be surprised if we won’t get the Nobel Peace Prize for this in the end.”

“Do you really think they won’t find your nano-vectors?” Frank asked.

“Maybe a few launching locations will be destroyed, but we planned on the need for redundancy.  Even if they were lucky and found 20 or 40% we would still cure over 65% of everyone from the scourge of religion.  That would be enough to change the world.  Those few areas of the world where religion would remain would be absorbed by the secular majority in a few decades, but we are still hopeful that penetration will be 100 percent.  You forget the best minds in the world have planned this.”

Frank turned his head and was not looking at anyone in the room and said, “Well, Colonel, you have your work cut out for you.  Better get cracking.”

Lutts gave out a deep chuckle and said, “Yes, Colonel Mann, time is running out. We are almost ready.”

“Just one thing, Sir whoever you are, was I married to the real Sir Terrance or was I a committee project?” the Princess asked with a look of rage on her face.

“Gentlemen never boast, my dear; they never boast,” Lutts said with a half smile on his face.


Chapter XXXIX




















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