Cardinal Wilhelm Claes sat pensively in the Presider’s Chair. In mere moments, the Cardinal was expected to make history, declaring an open revolt against the Catholic Church. Despite his confidence, Claes took in the silence of the empty Church to contemplate things. This was no small moment, and, for that he needed to feel its essence. He prayed and then meditated, because, in his head he did not wish to rush such a momentous moment, lest he flub his speech and someone takes the wrong idea. He already had enlisted the Samarians for the capture of Jerusalem, asserting that he wished to create a new, powerful Rite of Christianity centred at the Church. Thus, Cardinal Claes wouldn’t be content with only Jerusalem- no, to assert his own brand of Christianity, Cardinal Claes needed to expand his base- and he looked no further than the Papacy itself.
Content in his thoughts he emerged outside from the Church doors, ready to give his scheduled speech.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” began Cardinal Claes, “I will begin by reading a passage from the Great Bishop of Carthage, St. Cyprian, because it is this passage that best captures what I am feeling today:
“If the Church is one which is loved by Christ, and is alone cleansed by His washing, how can he who is not in the Church be either loved by Christ, or washed and cleansed by His washing? Wherefore, since the Church alone has the living water, and the power of baptizing and cleansing man, he who says that any one can be baptized and sanctified by Novatian must first show and teach that Novatian is in the Church or presides over the Church. For the Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honour of the priesthood, the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way. (Epistles of Cyprian, 75:2-3)
“It is here that I present to you that the Antichrist that Cyrpian talked about, Novatian, has returned, in the flesh, claiming he has been ordained to serve in the Church, but he has not. He has succumbed to the Devil’s desires in accepting his ideas of policy in advocating sexual empowerment and challenging gender roles and identities, as well as refusing to take a hardline stance on the vices of humanity, such as partying and capitalism. It is therefore my duty to contest the unlawful ordination of a one Adrian VII and assert the throne that is rightly mine, and I will capture said throne in any way possible. For it is I, Petrus Romanus, Peter II the Roman, who will come as the Great Prophet St. Malachy predicted, to preside over the Church and ready it for Christ and His Ultimate Judgement. Good day.”
Roman Special Crimes Headquarters, Rome
It had been a long flight for Derek Morgan. The Behavioural Analysis Unit member was in Rome on the behest of FBI Director Lucius Black, who wanted to start his own Roman criminal profiling team across the entire Empire, with Morgan tagged to lead it. As he walked into the RSC offices for the first time, he decided to take a small break before going up to meet with Black, who had an office at the RSC. He checked into a visitor’s computer terminal to check his E-Mails and read some news when something caught his eye.
“Is he...am I,” said Morgan with shock. “No...he didn’t just...”
“It looks like he did,” said Morgan’s colleague, Dr. Spencer Reid, who just happened to be at the terminal beside him. He was reading the same story.
Morgan was still flabbergasted. “Who excommunicates the Pope? Are they nuts?”
“He’s obviously a narcissist...taking on such a public persona is a clear attempt to draw attention to themselves in order to mask their own deficiencies...in this case, I surmise it’s because Cardinal Claes lost in the election of the new Pope, so he’s retaliating.”
“Yeah, but Reid...Cardinal Claes has to know the consequences of this action...the whole world is going to go ape***. Narcissist or not, this is political suicide.”
“Perhaps he knew about the consequences and he’s prepared to deal with them.”
“Or he’s delusional with a severe Napoleon complex and doesn’t understand fully what it is he’s getting into.”
“Either way, these next few weeks are going to be a bit of fun.”
Morgan logged off and placed his hand on Reid’s shoulder. “In any case, it’s not our problem. Let’s go see what Director Black wants.”
Reid nodded his head, logged off and went off to join Morgan.
The Office of the Pope, The Curia
“Oooh! Bouncy!” said the new Pope, Pope Adrian VII, getting used to his desk chair after sitting in it for the first time. “Hee hee!” He was thoroughly enjoying how bouncy his chair was when Cardinal Jesse Newman entered his office.
“Your Holiness,” said Newman, 60, genuflecting. “Congratulations on your electoral victory. I see you’re quite enjoying your new chair.”
Adrian, one of the youngest Popes in the modern age at 42, reacted with unbridled glee while continuing to bounce up and down. “I’ve never sat in something so liberating!”
Newman closed the door to the office, slowly.
Adrian’s smile was replaced by a face of concern. “Did...did something happen? I...I...just started...can’t people wait?”
Newman spoke sternly, to emphasize the gravity of the situation. “Cardinal Wilhelm Claes has excommunicated you and declared himself the new Pope.”
Adrian whimpered, befuddled. “He...he...but...me...wait...um...”
“Yes, I know...he can’t legally excommunicate you...he’s trying to usurp your power.”
Adrian curled up into a ball on his chair, scared, whimpering even more. “I just...I just...I just started...it’s...it’s too early for this...no!” He started to cry.
Newman put his head in his hands and wiped his face, frustrated. How’d this guy get elected? He then loudly placed his hand on the Pope’s desk, jarring Adrian. “Get a hold of yourself Your Holiness! We can figure this out! You’ve got the entire world to help protect you! This man is an imposter and he’ll go down quickly! We just need you to start thinking straight!”
Adrian was still rattled. “but...but...but...I’m...just me...”
Newman threw his hands up in frustration. “Oh come on now! If I know my history, you’re the guy that once took down an entire squadron in Mali with nothing but your bare hands! How can you be scared of the village idiot?”
Adrian just stared blankly into space, still frozen with fear.
Newman sighed, frustrated. “Okay, I’m going to let you think things over...I’ll catch up with you later.”
Newman left the office, knowing he had to take charge. He wrote a communique for Adrian declaring a worldwide Crusade, the Ninth Crusade, inviting them to the Curia. He also placed a call to Black.
“Hello, Director Black?” Newman asked through the phone.
“This is Director Lucius Black,” responded Black.
“Your profilers are here, right?”
Black sensed the urgency in Newman’s voice. “Yes, yes they are. What’s wrong?”
“I need them to talk to the new Pope. He’s nothing but a cowering mess since he assumed office, and we need him to be strong. Something happened...something shook him up and he’s not himself...I need your guys to figure it out.”
“Anything your Excellency.”
FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
David Rossi was nonchalantly enjoying his sandwich. The senior BAU member had quite the morning after coming back home from the Mongol Khanate, having sent off five profiles for police officers just before lunch.
Nothing like the sweet smell of success, thought Rossi, pleasantly chewing away. It was at this point where Rossi’s boss and longtime friend, Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, entered his office.
“Hey Dave,” said Hotchner, greeting Rossi. He was taken aback by Rossi’s smug eating. “What are you doing?”
“Masticating,” explained Rossi, still eating. “What are you doing?”
“Have to review Patrick Jane’s background file before I can give the green light to get him on the team.”
“Oh. Did something come up?”
“No, it’s just procedure.”
“Where’s Morgan, Reid and Hawkes?”
“They’re in Rome, meeting with Director Black. Morgan’s been tapped to start a Roman profiling team.”
Rossi smiled, happy for Morgan. “Finally, after all these years. What happens when he leaves?”
“We’re still sorting that out. People are going to get promotions...I might get the Director’s chair if Lucius Black moves to Rome full time...Prentiss might get the BAU Chief chair...have you made any decisions?”
“I’m old...I think I’d rather stay here. Although filling an administrative role in Rome would be fun.”
“Nothing is set in stone yet, but things are moving.”
“Changes are coming. Let’s just enjoy the ride.” Rossi and Hotchner exchanged smiles as Hotchner departed Rossi’s office.
In the bullpen, the rest of the BAU, Emily Prentiss, media liaison Jennifer “JJ” Jareau and Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia were simultaneously playing Tetris.
“Look at that!” Jareau boasted, “Level 42!”
“You cheated,” said Garcia, stuck at Level 1.
“I just think you’re unlucky,” said Prentiss, rubbing salt in Garcia’s wounded ego.
“Grr!” Garcia said, frustrated as yet another game went by the wayside.
“So Emily,” said Jareau, “how are things between you and Jane?”
“Oh they’re great,” said Prentiss. “We’re on the same page about everything...we couldn’t click any better.”
“That’s great,” said Jareau, “but what will you do when he joins the BAU?”
“There’s a chance he’ll join Morgan’s team,” said Prentiss. “In which case, I won’t have to worry about that. Besides, we’re professionals...we’ll make this work.”
“Well,” said Garcia with a smile. “I’m happy for you.” She then grunted in frustration at yet another loss. “Eventually this game will give me some love.”
The ladies just laughed as they continued their game.
The Caesar’s Office, Roman Senate
“Sir, you have a Cardinal Jesse Newman here to see you,” said the secretary for Caesar Valerius IV through Valerius’ intercom.
Seriously? What now? Valerius sighed before giving instructions to let Newman come visit him. Despite being one of the most popular Caesars in recent memory, the Catholic vote was one that eluded him, and Cardinal Newman often led that charge. Still, Valerius was a man of duty, knowing he had to put the interests of the country before his own. Even if it didn’t come across that way.
“Cardinal Newman! So great to see you!” Valerius exclaimed with mock excitement, holding out his arms for an embrace.
“You disgust me, Valerius,” said Newman, stonewalling him.
Valerius responded sarcastically. “So I guess you’re not ready to apologize for writing that wonderful article in The Vatican Times.”
“...and I guess you’re not ready to apologize for stifling free speech.”
“I’m sorry, but there’s a difference between ‘free speech’ and ‘slander’ and you went for the latter. The judge said as much.”
Newman clenched his mouth in frustration and sighed heavily. He thought about continuing the debate, but decided against it since it would be counterproductive- he wasn’t in a position of strength.
Valerius smiled smugly. “Since I know you’re not here to discuss the past over coffee and biscuits, why don’t you tell me why you’ve decided to bother me at this hour of the morning?”
“Sir, it’s Cardinal Claes.”
Valerius scoffed. “Oh, so you expect me to pay attention to some loony in Samaria?”
“He’s not some loony...he’s raised an army capable of unsettling an already tenuous peace in the Levant.”
Valerius laughed dismissively. “He’s just some crazy that’s just out for a desperate plea for attention that everyone will stop paying attention to in two weeks. Just you watch.”
“Sir, there are already a multitude of nations gearing up for an assault...this is serious business. Can we get your help?”
Valerius was curt. “Nope.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do I need to make like Dr. Evil and spell things out? Because I’ll do that.”
“You sicken me.”
Valerius waved mockingly. “Bye!” Newman then left in a huff.
A few minutes later, Valerius’ Foreign Affairs Minister Jomo Marea walked in to his office to discuss some matters, noticing Newman.
“Your Majesty,” started Marea, befuddled. “Did you just blow off The Vatican?”
“Marea,” started Valerius, leaning forward purposefully on his desk. “I need you to understand something. We’ve got a diverse Empire, and no matter what kind of a nutcase Peter II may be, we can’t appear to be taking sides. The enemies of Catholicism, and there are many, will seize the opportunity to strike at us if we lend the Vatican our support, and if we lend Peter support, we draw the Catholics against us. It’s a lose-lose situation. Our Empire has survived for over 2600 years by not creating needless enemies...I’m not about to start now.”
“Sir...he’s got nukes.”
“Yes, and he knows it’s suicide to launch them. I’m not worried. We’ll monitor the situation, still, and make sure he does not take an aggressive stance against Roman soil and react accordingly, but not a moment sooner.”
Marea was still concerned with the Caesar’s dismissiveness. “We need to say something. We can’t just stay silent...we house the Vatican...we need to act.”
“Okay, let’s do what we normally do.”
“Declare our neutrality, say we’ll monitor the events closely and invite the parties to resolve the issue diplomatically, even though we both know these guys are way too trigger-happy to even consider the peaceful solution.”
“Exactly. We save face because we at least made the effort and then get back to our own business and let the kids play in the sandbox.”
“Okay. I’ll go release that statement.”
Lucius Black’s Office, RSC Headquarters, Rome
“Hello gentlemen,” said Black, leaning back in his chair greeting Morgan and Reid. “Have a seat.”
“Trying to keep things light today, huh?” Morgan said with a nervous smile, taking his seat.
“I think you’ll learn, Derek, that as a leader you can’t let things get to you,” explained Black. “When you’re in charge so many things come at you at once...you have to take things in stride. It’s not easy, but you have to do it- an exasperated brain is one that does not think clearly.”
“I hear ya,” nodded Morgan in agreement. “Hotch really needs to learn that.”
“He will,” concurred Black. “You have to remember, he was thrust into the job haphazardly and had to learn on the fly...he’s done remarkably well, considering.” Black then leaned forward, pointing his finger momentarily to draw attention to his next words. “Anyway...you two have a case.”
“Already?” Reid exclaimed, surprised.
“Yes,” said Black. “The Vatican called me and explained that the Pope has been acting strange lately...and, given that we have trouble brewing in Jerusalem, we need you guys to figure out what’s troubling him and get him out of his panic attack.”
“We should call Jane,” said Morgan, referring to Patrick Jane, the erstwhile psychic and mentalist detective the BAU wants to recruit.
“I already did,” said Black. “He’ll be here later today. I meantime, I need you to observe the Pope and interview Cardinal Newman, the Pope’s right hand man, and see what you can come up with.”
“We’re on it,” said Morgan, assuredly.
January 9, 2013, Lecce Marina, Lecce, Apulia, Italy
Carla Perotta needed a smoke. Most of her morning was spent hauling boats that had been cast adrift by the previous’ nights winds and securing them properly back in their docks. It was tiring work, made even more difficult considering the fact Perotta had to cover for the laziness of the night time manager of the Marina, who never seemed to properly fasten the boats the right way.
As she took her break, she couldn’t help but notice a man standing beside his Rolls-Royce parked in the visitor’s lot. He was a dapper gentleman, adorned in a pinstripe suit complemented by a grey fedora. His demeanour was cool and his delivery every bit as slick as his clothes were. The hazel-haired Perotta, clad in nothing but a dusty T-Shirt and overalls, couldn’t help but be taken by the man and approached him playfully but with a purpose.
“Hey,” said Perotta warmly, her ivory skin brightening up. “Come to pick up your boat?”
“No,” said the man, who spoke with an alluring gruff, “I came to see you.”
Perotta was pleasantly surprised. “Me? What could you possibly want out of me? I’m just a simple girl. You on the other hand…”
“You may be but a simple girl, Carla…but you are a simple girl with potential. It is one you don’t realize that you have.”
Perotta was too smitten by the man to notice that he had used her real name even though she never offered it to him. “Well…I suppose…but I like it here at the Marina…I have no regrets about my life.”
The man shifted a bit alongside the car, inching towards her. “Do you really like it here? You have a dead-end job…sure, you’re in a union, but you get no respect. What if I told you that I have a job where you can earn that respect, and then some, as well as utilize your full potential?”
Perotta was intrigued, but she was still skeptical. “Okay…but why should I believe you?”
“Look at this.” The man extended his arms to show off his car and draw attention to himself. “My opportunity bought all this for me…and it can buy it for you too.”
“Oh!” Perotta’s eyes shot wide open. “Please, tell me more!”
“I’d rather I show it to you.” The man gave Perotta his card, telling her to meet him after her shift.
After her shift, Perotta excitedly drove to the place the man talked about. As she drove, all she could think about were the riches she was about to obtain, her thoughts kept her from paying much attention to the road. She skirted a few accidents, but she didn’t care- even if she got into an accident, the man’s opportunity would more than compensate for that.
When she arrived at her destination- an office plaza with an underground parking garage that the man owned- she parked her car in the spot the man told her about. She then exited her car and waited…and waited. What’s taking this guy so long? I’m on time…why can’t he just show up? Perotta thought. She then got worried, wondering if she made a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong garage, before confusing herself even more when she realized the garage was exactly the way the man described it should be.
After a nervous hour, the man emerged from an elevator door, handbag in tow, and walked towards Perotta. Her smile soon turned into an anxious gasp.
“Don’t shout,” barked the man, pointing a gun at her with a silencer on it. “Get in your car.” Perotta, still afraid, didn’t even question the man, dutifully re-entering her car cowering in fear, but awaiting further instructions. The man soon followed, still pointing the gun at her.
“Take off your clothes,” he barked. Perotta quivered, stunned with fear. The man was unrelenting. “I’m not going to say it again!” This time Perotta complied.
The man twisted Perotta onto her back and got on top of her, digging his knee excruciatingly into her back. He grabbed her hands and placed them behind her back, tying them together. He also bound her feet and cleave-gagged her. He then proceeded to beat her senselessly, raping her for good measure, beating her face into an unrecognizable pulp. When she was unconscious, the man opened a window and stepped outside of the car, shooting Perotta dead. He then drove the car back to the Marina’s visitors’ lot, leaving it there, but before he left, he pulled a power drill, marked only with the number 10, from his handbag and put it in Perotta’s hand, forcing the drill into a screw that bolted a piece of fabric onto the floor.
Present day, Roman Special Crimes Headquarters, Rome
“Such an amazing quote,” said Galla Claudia, 34, a seasoned veteran of the RSC who was taking the classes the Behavioural Analysis Unit were teaching in Rome in order to help build an Imperial profiling team of their own.
“Which quote is that?” said Zoe Hawkes, of the BAU, as she passed by.
“It’s from Decius Tarsus,” explained Claudia.
“Oh, the billionaire…the richest man in Rome,” said Hawkes, intrigued at what Claudia had to present.
“Yeah,” said Claudia, reading from her computer screen. “One day, he was in Egypt. As you know, women are forbidden from working in Egypt, due to their rather archaic laws.”
“I don’t quite understand that,” said Hawkes, concurring with Claudia’s point.
“Anyway,” continued Claudia, excited. “Four fifths of the audience were men, with one-fifth being women, separated with a partition. During the engagement, a man asked what Egypt could do to break out of their economic depression, to which Tarsus supposedly replied, ‘if you’re not using the talents of half of your workforce, you’ll never get out of it. Operation of a power drill knows no gender.’ Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Yeah,” said Hawkes, deadpanning. “I guess it is.”
“What’s wrong?” said Claudia, confused. “You’re a feminist…I thought you’d love this.”
“I like the quote, don’t get me wrong,” said Hawkes. “However…there’s just…something about it that seems off.”
Claudia was intrigued. “What would that be?” she asked.
“I really don’t know,” said Hawkes, who quickly changed the subject. “Anyway, we’ve got some work to take care of…we’ll worry about that later.”
“Okay,” said Claudia, acknowledging the point.
St. Peter’s Square
“Tell me, Father, when did you first meet Adrian?” asked Reid, as he, Morgan and Newman were observing Adrian greet followers after Mass.
“He was an altar boy I had,” explained Newman. “I moved to Rome from Calgary over 30 years ago, and fresh-faced Adrian was one of the first people I met when I started celebrating Mass in Rome.”
“His full name is Hadrianus Cornelius,” said Morgan, recalling his notes. “He’s the first Pope in quite a while who used his given name.”
“Funny how that worked out,” said Newman. “Adrian wanted to have a Papal name, but couldn’t think one up in time- so he just reverted to his given name. I know you guys would call that ‘narcissistic’ but Adrian reasoned, eventually, because he felt like he had nothing to hide- if he assumed a Papal name, there would be people who would only know him by that name, and wouldn’t know his past...Adrian felt that his past was relevant, since without his past he wouldn’t have become Pope.”
“So when did the panic attacks start?” asked Morgan.
“The day after he got elected,” said Newman. “He was never the most assertive of men to begin with...a wonderful orator, sure, and great at appearing strong, but deep down inside was someone who was terribly insecure...in fact, ever since he came back from Mali during a stint in the Roman Army in his twenties, he’s been prone to episodes like this, but never on this level.”
“He’s a bit less of a goofball in public than he is in private,” noticed Reid.
“I coached him a long time ago on how to hide his insecurities,” said Newman, “so that, at least in public, he’ll appear somewhat dignified. I helped him get elected...I was his liaison with the press, and I coached him on the proper things to say at interviews and in press conferences...of course, Papal elections are not nearly as vicious as Roman elections and interviewers are far more sympathetic than the curve-ball throwers we get on CNN.”
“So when he made all those points at the Papal Debate,” said Reid, “that was you who wrote them?”
“He gave me the ideas,” said Newman, “but yes, I phrased them, and whenever there was a recess I chatted with him.”
“That also explains why, at the debate, he flubbed a few lines,” said Reid, “because he’s better when he can anticipate things and his challengers threw him a few curve-balls.”
“Yeah, the election was tough sledding,” said Newman, “but we made it, mostly because Adrian ran on a ticket of reform and reaching out to disillusioned Catholics.”
“The antithesis of Claes,” noted Morgan.
“Yes,” said Newman.
“So Claes loses the election to Adrian,” said Morgan, analyzing. “So he runs off and forms his own Papacy.”
“Seems to be the course of events,” said Newman.
“Okay,” said Reid. “Let’s backtrack for a second. You said, Father, that Adrian’s panic attacks started because of his ascent to Office, right?”
“Roughly speaking, yes,” nodded Newman in agreement.
“Did the attacks get more pronounced after Claes ran off to Israel?” asked Reid.
“Now that I think of it,” said Newman, reflecting, “they did. We both didn’t know what Claes was going to do but we had a feeling he was up to something. Claes invited Adrian to his office shortly after the electoral victory and confronted Adrian...from then on, Adrian has been a nervous wreck.”
“Explains a lot,” said Reid.
“So Pope Adrian has anger issues,” noted Morgan, “and Claes set him off.”
“What happened in Mali?” asked Reid. “You said, Father, that his unassertive streak started then.”
“He’s never talked about it,” said Newman, “not even to me...and I’m his closest friend.”
“Repressed memory,” said Morgan. “Happens within post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“Did he mention anything about Mali?” asked Reid.
“Nothing,” said Newman, who didn’t understand Adrian’s actions himself. “All I heard about was in the news...Adrian wouldn’t discuss the episode with anyone, not even when he received his Eagle Award.”
“At least we’ve got something to tell Jane,” said Morgan, who placed a phone call.
“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with hypnosis,” said Newman, waiting in a hallway with Morgan and Reid after Adrian’s time with his followers was finished.
“The Catholic Church doesn’t have an opinion on it, from what I understand,” said Reid.
“My objections are not religious,” said Newman. “I’m just not sure it will work.”
“This guy is the best at it,” said Morgan, trying to ease Newman’s tension. “Patrick Jane can unlock even the most beat down of memories...whatever is troubling Adrian Patrick will find it.”
“...and now that we know where to focus the search,” explained Reid, “it’ll be easier.”
“All right,” said Morgan, receiving a call on his cell phone. “Send him in.”
In a few moments, Patrick Jane descended into the hallways, walking in with a cool bravado that he was known for.
“He’s going to fix the Pope?” said Newman, befuddled.
“Don’t mind him,” said Reid. “Patrick’s not one for subtlety. You’ll get used to it.”
“Hello gang,” said Jane, greeting the trio. He continued with his trademark smirk. “We should have some fun today, will we not?”
“How are you going to approach this?” asked Morgan
Jane chuckled cockily. “Trust me Derek...I got it all figured out.” Jane then spotted Adrian coming out of his office and darted towards him. The agents and the Cardinal sat in confused silence.
“Hey, Adrian, how ya doing?” exclaimed Jane in excitement. He then slapped his arm around the Pope as if Adrian were simply a childhood friend and let him to another room, which Jane locked from the inside and reinforced it by pushing a cabinet in front of it.
Cardinal Newman was apoplectic at what he saw. “What is he doing?” said Newman, enraged. “He can’t just put his arm around the Pope! He is a heretic! Does he have no sense of decorum?”
Morgan was similarly disgusted. “I did not see that,” said Morgan, angrily. “Let it be known Father, I didn’t approve of that...nor will I.” Reid, too, was shocked, but he refrained from getting angry since he had a feeling this was just another of Jane’s tricks.
“I didn’t think you approved that,” said Newman. “You are a man of honour, Agent Morgan...I can tell.” Newman angrily pointed down the hall. “That...he is not even a man, he is a monster!”
Morgan didn’t waste any time. He approached the room with Jane and the Pope with purpose, and tried to unlock the door. When that didn’t work, he then tried to kick it down like he normally did, only for the door to not even budge off its hinges.
Meanwhile, inside the room, Jane was making progress with Adrian.
“Close your eyes and concentrate. I need you to listen to the sound of my voice,” said Jane, softly. “You are entering a trance...you will soon leave this place and enter into the dark abscesses of your mind...we need to go on a journey...back to Mali...something happened there that you don’t like to recall...something...we need to find it.” Jane continued to hum softly, to keep Adrian in his trance. Eventually, Adrian started to talk.
“I’m in Bamako,” started Adrian. “The town is deserted, save for rebels who have infiltrated the city and forced the town’s inhabitants to flee to refugee camps. We were there to save Roman hostages, and I led a century. Our century was ambushed by the rebels...most of us managed to flee, but my contubernium was in too deep in the city and thus all of us died except myself...meaning I had to go at it alone. I see myself fighting the rebels, all at once, and I won the fight quite handily...then...” Adrian began to slip.
“It’s okay,” reassured Jane. “Think...you’ve fought the rebels...now what do you see?”
“I see a cellar...I open it...inside there’s this little boy...but, as I reach for him, I’m hit in the head. I turn around and there’s a rebel, twice the size of me. We grapple...I pin him to the ground momentarily but he manages to escape...the boy...no! The boy...” Adrian began to sob.
“It’s okay,” reassured Jane. “You’re doing wonderful...no need to blame yourself...you were tricked.”
“He unsheathed his sword and killed the boy right in front of me,” said Adrian. “Then he ran off, but I was too distraught to chase him. I sat there, clutching the dead boy in my arms...crying...if only I had been smarter...I could have saved him.” Adrian started to breathe heavily, and put his head in his hands.
Jane saw that Adrian was distraught so he ended the session by snapping his fingers. Adrian broke his trance.
“So,” said Jane, smiling. “How do you feel?”
“I feel,” said Adrian, who sounded very relieved. “I feel like this weight has been lifted off my shoulders.” He then got up, seemingly to shake Jane’s hand in gratitude. Jane got up as well and extended his own hand.
“Well, I’m glad I could help,” said Jane, grabbing on to Adrian’s hand.
Adrian, though, wasn’t going to give Jane a pass. After taking Jane’s hand, Adrian took his other hand and flipped Jane onto the table in the room.
“Let that be a reminder that if you ever disrespect me again,” said Adrian, menacingly. “It’ll be more than just the marble on that table you’ll be tasting.” Adrian then fixed his frock, pushed the cabinet out of the way and greeted Newman, who saw a new man in the Pope.
Jane needed a moment before he could think about getting up from the table after taking that hard hit. Morgan, however, wouldn’t relent.
“What was that all about?” scowled Morgan. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“You needed me to fix his head,” said Jane with a smirk. “I did that.”
“By disrespecting the Pope! I’m going to fire you right now!”
“No you won’t.”
“I just did.”
“See, after you hear my explanation-”
Morgan didn’t care for Jane’s explanation. In mid-sentence, Morgan lifted Jane over his shoulder and carried him outside of the Curia, throwing him onto the steps. Jane grimaced from the hit, as he still hadn’t recovered from the hit Adrian gave him, but he did manage to set himself straight to sit on one of the steps.
He continued to sit on the step, waiting. Despite the fact that Jane had been, until now, tabbed by Morgan to be a part of the Roman profiling team, Jane wasn’t worried. Ten minutes later, Jane received a phone call.
“A very sore Patrick Jane speaking,” said Jane, answering his cell phone. “Oh hello Morgan.”
“I don’t know how you do it,” said Morgan, exasperated.
“See, that’s what I was trying to tell you,” said Jane. “I knew the Pope felt that someone had overpowered him earlier in his life, which is why he second-guesses himself. Since he’s the Pope, he never dealt with someone who was openly disrespectful of him, so I had to be to unlock the hidden assertiveness that he had inside. Once he figured out that he did have someone he was mad at, unlocking his assertiveness was easy. That’s all it was.”
Morgan sighed, having to acknowledge that Jane’s unorthodox tactic worked. “Okay, fine,” said Morgan, “I’ll let it go. Adrian told us to let it go. However, the next time you want to pull a stunt like that, at least run it by me. You should know us by now...we know about your antics...it’s why I want you on this team; but if you’re going to be on this team, we’re going to have to work together, not against each other. I’m not like your former employers at the CBI...I trust you...you gotta repay that trust. Is that understood?”
“Yes, that’s understood,” said Jane, realizing that Morgan was right. “Next time I want to do something like that I’ll run it by you...you guys have treated me fairly...it’s time I repay that.”
“Thank you,” said Morgan, as the two ended the call.
February 17, 2013, Groningen, Netherlands
“Hello,” said the plumber, greeting the receptionist, Lisanne Meijer, at William of Orange High School. “I’m here to see Julia Winters.”
“Ah yes,” said Meijer. “The drain in the boys’ bathroom has been acting up lately…Ms. Winters…she’s done all that she could…she really needs your help.”
“Well, I’ll be glad to provide it,” said the plumber, who flashed a polite smile.
“I’ll page her,” said Meijer. In a few minutes, Winters arrived at reception and greeted the plumber, and escorted him to the offending bathroom.
“I’m glad you came,” said Winters, the fair-skinned brunette walking with the plumber to the bathroom. “Sewage came up from the drain and exploded onto the floor…I’ve done what I could to clean it up and unplug it, but I need more advanced tools than the school is willing to give me.”
“You don’t normally call plumbers, do you?” said the plumber.
“I don’t…usually I can fix everything myself, just with my ingenuity and my limited tools…I think I know what’s blocking the drain but I can’t get to it.”
The plumber flashed a wry smile. “That’s what you have me for…I unclog the permaclogged.”
After making sure the bathroom was empty- easy because the stench from the drain meant no one wanted to use the bathroom anyway- the plumber and Winters got to work.
“This drain is wedged in pretty tightly,” said the plumber. As he started to unscrew the drain, the plumber heard the lock on the bathroom door get undone. A service man then entered, locking the door behind him.
“I was told you guys needed some help,” said the service man.
“Yes, yes we do,” said the plumber.
“Who are you?” asked Winters, confused at seeing the service man. She was only expecting the plumber.
“I work with the City of Groningen,” explained the service man. “Every time there’s a drain problem, I need to investigate for health issues.”
“Shouldn’t you wait until we’re done?” asked Winters. “We know about the risks and we’re cleaning it up right now.”
“I don’t have time for this,” said the service man, reaching into his pockets.
Out came a gun with a silencer.
“Don’t scream or I’ll shoot you both,” threatened the service man. “Put both of your hands behind your back and lie down on your stomachs.” Neither the plumber or Winters took any chances, complying with the request. “If I hear one peep out of you, I’ll shoot you.”
The service man then knelt on top of Winters, making sure he incapacitated her hands. She did her best not to scream, though she writhed in pain. As he knelt on top of Winters, he tied up hands, knees and feet of the plumber and gagged and blindfolded him with zip ties. He then got off of Winters and tied her hands and feet together, though he only gagged her.
After incapacitating Winters, the service man put his hands around the plumber’s throat and squeezed. He applied as much pressure as he could, with fierce intensity in his eyes and watching with enjoyment as the plumber writhed in pain. However, he looked up and noticed the open toilet, and decided not to take any chances. He dragged the plumber and plunged his head into the toilet bowl, making sure his nose and his mouth were submerged. After a few minutes the plumber drowned to death.
Winters watched, gripped with fear, knowing that she was next. The service man wasn’t going to make quick work of her though. He turned her over and ripped off her clothes with a knife. He then raped her, having his way with her body and held her close to his so that she could take in the stench of her attacker and remember, as her last memory, of who was the one who defiled her. After he was finished raping her, the service man took her head and violently smashed her face several times against the wall, leaving it a bloody pulp. To finish her off, he then submerged her head into the other toilet, waiting until she drowned to death, which, afterward, the service man defecated over Winters’ submerged head. He then undid the ties to her hands, placing a power drill with the number “10” marked on it, changed the drill bit and wedged it into a screw he had on him.
BAU War Room, FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia
“We’ll be logging a lot of miles, guys,” said Jareau, as she started the presentation for the team’s newest case. “Our latest case has us flying out of North America again.”
“Again?” said Rossi, surprised. “Are serial killers in North America taking a break or something?”
“Lucius Black wants us on the case,” explained Jareau. “He’s afraid that something bigger is at play here and we’re his best crime fighters.”
“So that’s why Morgan, Reid and Hawkes are in Rome,” said Rossi pensively.
“Actually they’re in Rome for something completely unrelated,” responded Jareau.
“For now,” said Prentiss. “These cases seem to have a strange way of connecting, don’t they?”
“Right now, we can’t comment on that,” said Jareau. “As far as we know, what we’ve got is a European serial killer who has so far claimed ten lives, all women except for one man. They’re all working class women, they were found naked, raped and beaten after being restrained and gagged. Each of them were also found holding a power drill with the number ‘10’ emblazoned on it, with the drill being inserted into a screw.”
“In Groningen, Julia Winters got defecated on?” said Prentiss, not hiding her disgust and shock at the information.
“I wish I was making that up,” said Jareau, agreeing. She paused and then continued. “Our latest victim is Cecile Beaufort, 36, of Djon, Burgundy. She was a taxi driver, found in a state like the other women, only this time she was murdered in her own car.”
“Judging by the victimology,” said Hotchner, looking at the notes, “our UnSub seems to have issues with a certain woman, and these women are surrogates. They’re all from the same background and have the same appearance.”
“The ‘10’ and the power drill have some significance, though,” said Rossi. “Last year, Decius Tarsus, Rome’s richest man, is reported to have made a statement in Egypt condemning the country’s policy forbidding women from working, and a power drill was specifically referenced in the quote. I believe these murders are tied to him somehow.”
“You don’t think he made the comments?” asked Prentiss, intrigued. She always thought Tarsus did.
“There’s only one source for the quote, and that’s an opinion piece in The Roman Free Press,” explained Rossi, “however, the piece is vague about whether or not Decius actually made the quote, but I haven’t seen any other news reports that independently verify Decius’ speech.”
“We’re going to talk with him anyway,” said Hotchner. “Rossi and Prentiss, I want you to interview Decius, and see if you can get a lead on his next target. I’m going to go to the latest crime scene, where I’ll be joined by Gideon, who I’ve called to help out on this case. We’ll also rendezvous with Morgan, Reid and Hawkes while we’re there- they’re still working security detail on the Pope, so right now they’re unavailable for the case but we’ll keep them posted.” Hotchner then closed his file folder and started to get up to leave. “Wheels up in 30.”
“Sorry for interrupting your vacation at your chateau, Jason,” said Hotchner, greeting BAU Alternate Jason Gideon at the Beaufort crime scene.
“Nah, it’s okay,” said Gideon with a wry smile. “Who doesn’t like a busman’s holiday?”
Hotchner laughed before getting down to business, observing the cab. “So Cecile Beaufort has been driving a cab for ten years.”
Gideon took a closer look at the body. “Would have been ten years next week.”
“So the UnSub gets in the cab, and then threatens her in some way to gain control of the vehicle.”
“I think the UnSub gets control of the vehicle before he steps in. He holds a gun in his pocket, tells her not to scream, she gives up the driver’s seat and he drives her here, where he can beat and rape her without detection.”
“How would the UnSub know if the cab he’s approaching is Cecile’s though?”
Gideon continued to look around the car. “My guess is that he stalked her, memorized her route and struck at the best moment. This crime scene is carefully planned.”
“I will grant you that.” Hotchner stood, folding his arms and cupping his face pensively. “However, what do you make the timing of the killings? If all of these are planned, how did one UnSub pull it off?”
“That’s because there isn’t one UnSub. There’s nine of them. Nine highly trained and highly disciplined serial killers.”
“So we have an organization of international killers. I find it interesting that they’ve all repeated the pattern of crimes…usually with multiple killers some deviate more than others.”
“Just look at the overkill, Hotch. Julia Winters got defecated on. This poor lady had her eyes torn out. Carla Perotta, bless her soul, was lucky enough just to get a beating.”
“It’s clear that the UnSubs have a particular woman in mind as their ultimate target. All the victims look similar and have similar ages. This woman is also hated- you can see it through the overkill, as well as the rape.”
“Hotch.” Gideon waved Hotchner over to the passenger seat window, where Beaufort was draped over holding the power drill. It had the initials “GC”, for the person who made it, Gaia Cornelia, pressed on the bottom. Gideon recognized the initials, having used a similar drill himself, but didn’t think too much of it, since the “10” was much more prominent.
“Yes, Jason, what do you see?”
“Look at this.” Gideon picked up the drill and tried to wedge it into the screw, but the drill wouldn’t fit. “Wrong bit.”
Hotchner was enlightened by the observation, having seen something in the police reports. “So our UnSubs are killing working-class women to prove they’re incapable of performing the jobs that men can do, because each woman is positioned holding a drill with the wrong drill bit. They’ve also been denigrated and beaten beyond recognition as a symbol of how weak they are.”
“We’ve got a ‘social revolution’ happening…and it’s not going to stop any time soon.”
“Unless we stop it.”
Decius Tarsus’ Residence, L’Aquila, Roman Republic
“Welcome,” said Tarsus with a full-bodied grin as he greeted Prentiss and Rossi at the door of his mansion. He heartily shook Rossi’s hand before grabbing Prentiss’ hand and kneeling down to kiss the top of her hand before Prentiss pulled it away.
“Flattery ain’t going to get you anywhere honey,” snapped Prentiss.
“Ooh,” said Tarsus, maintaining his cool. He slicked his already gelled-hair back. “You play hard to get.”
“I play impossible to get,” scowled Prentiss. Tarsus just chuckled, deciding he needed more time to try to woo her.
Ornate wouldn’t begin to describe Tarsus’ house. Gold statues of bulls of various sizes littered the floor space, with the counters made of the finest marble and the walls made with magnesium oxide wallboards. The colours were earthy in tone, with lots of blues and greens, giving it an ambient, vibrant feel. The look wasn’t the only part Tarsus didn’t spare expense for- if there was a fancy technological gadget or two, he had it in his cavernous abode.
His narcissism didn’t end there though. At every point possible hung a monument or a wall decoration aimed at celebrating Tarsus’ many entrepreneurial achievements. Tarsus’ business empire spanned many different products and fields, from household care to electronics to even alien research. He was most famous, though, for the Sabre automaker brand, which he launched in Brampton, Ontario in 1966 and built it into the Roman Empire’s second largest carmaker, just behind Fiat Auto.
“To say this guy loves himself is an understatement,” whispered Prentiss to Rossi, who chuckled in agreement.
They eventually made their way to Tarsus’ expansive living room, taking seats on opposite leather couches.
“Italian leather,” Rossi couldn’t help but note, given his own fondness for Italian leather.
Tarsus called three of his many maids over.
“These are three of my finest maids,” said Tarsus, slapping each emphatically on their butts. “Would you guys like anything? Sandwiches? Tea? Coffee? Oh wait! I know what you want! Steak!”
“Actually I think we’re okay,” said Rossi, declining.
“Oh come on,” said Tarsus, egging the agents on. “I have the finest materials in the world…you’ll love it.”
“No thanks,” Prentiss repeated for Rossi.
“Suit yourself,” said Tarsus, who ordered one of the maids into the kitchen to fix a steak. The other two women then knelt down in front of both Tarsus and Rossi and planted their heads in between their legs and started to undo their pants.
“Excuse me,” said Rossi, shocked. “What is she doing?” Prentiss could only look on in sheer disgust.
“I thought it was a long flight for you,” replied Tarsus, smugly. “I thought maybe you could use a little…’pick me up’.”
Rossi furiously put his pants back on. “We’re two federal agents on official business,” scolded Rossi. “We’re not here for ‘pick me ups!’ In fact, we need you to start showing some class this instant!”
“Well,” chuckled Tarsus with a smirk, “maybe I’ll let that go for you. For me…you’re not going to get any co-operation from me unless I-” Tarsus could feel the sensations of enjoyment oozing through his body as his maid pleasured him. “Unless I…ooh…unless I get my pleasure. Ooh she’s good…ooh yeah baby, work it! Work it for me! Ride that bull!”
“Dear goodness,” whispered Rossi to himself, putting his head in his hands, “the things I have to work through to do my job…”
St. Peter’s Square, Rome
“Are you sure, Your Holiness, that you want to say Mass from the Obelisk?” Hawkes inquired, scoping the intended place for the Altar in the middle of the Square at the Obelisk.
“You guys may call me Adrian,” said Adrian. “We’re friends now, and yes...I know it’s not the safest position...but I campaigned on being an ‘accessible’ Pope...I’m not about to change that now.”
“Okay,” said Hawkes. “Fair enough...if we need to change anything, just let me know.”
Hawkes then joined Reid, who was also observing the setup. Reid was at the southeast corner, right in front of the Friezenkirk, or the Church of Saints Michael and Magnus.
“The Pope likes being risky,” said Hawkes, approaching Reid.
“It’s a risky job,” responded Reid. “However, I admire his determination...even in the face of all of these threats, he’s holding strong.”
“Oh he’s at the RSC firing range...Morgan told him he needs to have a gun so he’s practicing.”
“I thought he hated guns.”
“He still does, but at least he recognizes what needs to be done.”
Hawkes then noticed someting about the Vatican flag being draped over the corner. “The left ring...it’s positioned too nicely around the window of the Church.”
“This can’t be good.”
Decius Tarsus’ Residence
Rossi and Prentiss were uneasy with Tarsus having oral sex right in front of them, though both knew they weren’t exactly in a position of power so they had to go along with the ordeal. Keeping their composure was a challenge.
“Mr. Tarsus,” started Rossi, fumbling his speech a little. “As I understand from our records, you’re quite the champion for women’s rights.”
“I love women,” said Tarsus, still enjoying his maid’s service. The other maid came by with his steak, which he gladly started to eat. “Can’t you tell?” Tarsus said, with a smug smile.
“Yes, we really can,” said Prentiss sarcastically.
“Hey Emily,” said Tarsus playfully. “Once you deep throat this,” he said, pointing to where the maid’s head is, “you’ll love it forever.”
“It’s Agent Prentiss,” snapped Prentiss, “and no I will not.”
Rossi was still confused. This was not a man who looks like someone who championed women’s rights.
Prentiss soldiered on. “So what organizations have you helped out with?” Prentiss asked.
“Oh I have a long history,” replied Tarsus with a pleased series of smiles. “My proudest moment came with the Vestal Virgins...I’ve been contributing to them for over a decade now...I’ve really gotten behind them, if you know what I mean.” Tarsus winked, then silently moaned enjoying the oral pleasuring.
“The Vestal Virgins,” said Rossi, chuckling. The group no longer actually requires its members to be virgins, in fact becoming the Empire’s foremost proponent of responsible sex, contraceptives and abortion. The irony of their name does get pointed out, but the Vestals kept it for brand recognition.
“So that’s why you were so quick to defend women in Egypt,” said Prentiss. “The Vestals loved that quote of yours.”
“It’s a golden one,” said Tarsus, smiling with appreciation. “One of my favourites...the din of that concert hall fills me with joy every time I think of it.”
“I didn’t know it was in a concert hall,” said Rossi, not following Tarsus’ logic. “The quote talked about a partition separating the men and the women...quite hard to partition a concert hall.”
“None of our records even indicate you were in a concert hall when you were in Egypt,” said Prentiss. “In fact, you weren’t there at all when you were claimed to have uttered the quote.” The maid pleasuring Tarsus looked up at him with a bit of bewilderment, but decided to keep going anyway.
“Hey, don’t slow down!” said Tarsus to the maid, sensing she had eased up a little. He then answered suavely. “Anyway, Agent Prentiss…if I wasn’t in Egypt the day of the quote…where was I?”
Prentiss pulled up a story on her cell phone. “You were arrested for assaulting a Vestal Virgin and making derogatory comments about them,” said Prentiss, sternly flashing the story in front of Tarsus. “In fact, you covered it up with millions in ‘hush money’, and a day later you were claiming you were in Egypt teaching them about respecting the talents of women.”
“Judging by your treatment of women,” said Rossi, smugly, “it seems like the only ‘talent’ of theirs that you respect is sexual.”
“You know what I else I find funny Rossi?” said Prentiss, tapping Rossi’s shoulder. “He claims he loves women but the only women he can get to show him any love are the ones he pays. There must be a reason why a good looking, 50-year-old guy never did get married.” She continued with a smirk. “Oh yeah…it’s because you have no class.”
The maid had enough of what the agents were saying, stopping her servicing of Tarsus. “I was a Vestal Virgin,” she exclaimed in disgusted horror to Tarsus. “I was enamoured by you ever since you apparently made that quote…I can’t believe I’ve been living a lie my entire life!” She then went down over Tarsus’ penis and bit down hard on it, but not enough to draw blood. She then flipped Tarsus’ steak dish off of his lap splattering it all over the floor before leaving in a huff.
Tarsus, still writhing in pain, had unintentionally left himself exposed.
“Looks like big money isn’t enough to get you a big package,” said Rossi, who couldn’t help but crack a joke at his expense. Prentiss bawled over with a belly laugh, agreeing with Rossi. Rossi then got up and put his coat back on, while Prentiss followed the maid into the kitchen.
“Hey,” said Prentiss, finding the angry maid. “I’m sorry for what happened.”
“It’s okay,” said the maid. “I have to re-evaluate things…I can’t stay here anymore. Thank you for making me see the light…I felt so dirty being nothing more than a prostitute to this guy.”
“Listen,” said Prentiss handing the maid her card, “if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call.”
“Will do,” replied the maid, happily.
St. Peter’s Square
“Hello Your Holiness,” said Newman, greeting Adrian, getting ready inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
“My first Mass as the new Pope,” said Adrian, sitting in his chair pensively. “I’m pretty excited…I get to show the Catholics of the world why they voted for me.”
Newman smiled warmly. “I’ll let you be. It’s great to see you happy again.”
“I agree, Cardinal.” Newman left Adrian alone, allowing Adrian to open a drawer he had been eyeing.
“I didn’t think I’d have to use these,” whispered Adrian to himself, “but I can’t take any chances with Peter the Roman running around.” He then put on a bulletproof vest and hid it under his shirt and took out a small, military-grade handgun, the same one that Morgan had, concealing both under his smock.
When it came time to start the Mass, Adrian joined the procession like he was supposed to. Meanwhile, Morgan met up with Reid and Hawkes by the Obelisk.
“What’s wrong?” Morgan said with urgency.
“Look at the flag,” noted Reid.
“Yeah, so?” Morgan said, confused.
“The left ring on the flag,” said Hawkes, pointing it out. “It fits too nicely around the window of the Friezenkirk, and aims directly to where Adrian would be standing for Mass.”
“You guys waited until now to tell me this?” Morgan scolded. “We can’t stop the Mass now.”
“They only put it up ten minutes ago,” said Reid. “There was nothing we can do.”
“We’ve tried to find out who installed the flag,” explained Hawkes, “but the commanders don’t know.”
“We’ve got an inside job,” said Morgan with grave concern. “How did we miss this? We should be catching things like this.”
“Morgan,” said Hawkes. “We were only given the case a few days ago, our focus was the Pope and ultimate command is with the Vatican Army, not us. We didn’t have the opportunity to vet any of the soldiers, since it wasn’t our job and we’d be stuck with them anyway.”
Morgan sighed then got back on track. “I know what our job is,” he said authoritatively. “We can profile the soldiers now and see which ones were in on the job. I’m going to focus on the Pope. Hawkes and Reid, I want you guys to profile the soldiers and do it discreetly. Once we identify who did it then we’ll know who we can trust to go in that Church. Hurry, because we don’t have much time.” Morgan cussed in frustration, which drew some shocked reactions from people nearby but Morgan was too stressed to worry about decorum.
Morgan saw the Pope walking towards the Altar, ready to start the Mass. Morgan began to run to the Pope to tackle him out of harm’s way, but as there were too many people to wade through, Morgan’s chase would be slowed. His worst nightmare then happened.
A shot crackled through the air and struck Adrian in the back, knocking him down, face first, onto the ground with red oozing out of his clothes.
Morgan panicked. “Get the paramedics! Get the f***ing paramedics!” Morgan hollered, “Pope down! Pope down!” He breathed frantically and heavily, wanting to cry in sadness but there was no time for that. He knew where the shot came from and pushed his way towards the Frienzenkirk.
Meanwhile, Reid and Hawkes had to work impromptu crowd control, but it was bedlam. There was confusion in the crowd and even in the Vatican ranks, as some of the dishonest soldiers were undermining the work of the honest ones. Some of the corrupt soldiers even started to open fire on the civillians, hoping to create an even bigger tragedy. This forced Hawkes and Reid to abandon crowd control, since they weren’t equipped for a firefight. The Vaticans fought between themselves, civilians and soldiers alike. Reid called in the Roman Army but it would be a while yet before they could attend to the situation.
“That door will lead us to the Friezenkirk,” said Reid, pointing to another passageway.
“Good idea,” said Hawkes. “We can’t get close to the Obelisk or we’ll get shot too.”
Meanwhile, Adrian heard in the background that the fighting was getting closer to the Obelisk. Still smarting from the gunshot, he took off his smock- which had a few splattered ketchup packets attached to it- and headdress and got up gingerly, but as soon as he was on his feet he regained his energy. Several in the crowd stopped running watching in utter shock that Adrian had gotten up, largely unscathed, from the gunshot, with many, including Newman, doing the Sign of the Cross.
Adrian, though, wasn’t paying any attention. He pushed himself through the crowd, shooting down two attempted assassins and knocking out another that jumped him with a well-timed punch (as, by now, the corrupt Vaticans had realized that Adrian wasn’t actually dead) and escaping towards the Friezenkirk. Just outside the Church entrance, he found Morgan, engaged in hand to hand combat with ten different soldiers. He was holding his own, but Adrian knew he had to give him help.
“Adrian,” said Morgan, relieved, as Adrian assumed a battle stance next to him. “You just might make me believe in miracles.”
“Let’s show these guys what the Power of God can do,” said Adrian, grinning.
The two engaged the group of corrupt Vaticans in earnest. It was a difficult fight, since they were dealing with trained soldiers, but Morgan and Adrian were trained fighters in their own regard. The two of them were in the middle, encircled by the mooks, but they wore but the slightest of concern.
Eventually, one of the corrupt soldiers started forward, causing the rest to come forward as well. Adrian responded by clotheslining the first soldier to get to him while delivering a roundhouse kick that leveled two other soldiers. Morgan flipped his first challenger over his shoulder and kicked him in the face after he landed, before grabbing another challenger and using him as a baseball bat against another soldier.
Over his shoulder, Morgan noticed Hawkes and Reid coming towards the Church. Hawkes thought Morgan and Adrian had the situation under control so she darted into the Church, with Reid following in the pursuit.
“F***!” Morgan said outloud. He knew neither agent were seasoned fighters and feared the worst, but there was little he could do given his preoccupation.
The soldiers kept coming. One of them got Morgan with a kick to the face, but he rolled over and punched the guy from his stomach, before getting up and leveling him again with another punch. Meanwhile, Adrian got jumped from behind, and the soldier restrained his arms allowing another soldier to get a few free shots at him. However, Adrian used his upper body strength to pull the soldier from behind him and strike the solider in front of him, knocking them both out.
“Morgan,” called out Adrian, “crouch down, I’ve got an idea.” Morgan nodded, and followed Adrian’s instructions.
Adrian jumped on top of Morgan and placed his hands on Morgan’s back. He then kicked up his feet and used his arms to twirl himself around perpendicularly from Morgan’s back, his legs fully extended, striking each of the soldiers several times in a circular motion, knocking them all out simultaneously.
“Good work,” said Morgan, tossing Adrian some zip ties to use as handcuffs. The two of them restrained the soldiers before darting towards the Church to join Hawkes and Reid.
Near the Church, Hawkes and Reid had their own difficulties. As soon as Hawkes darted up the stairs that led to the Church, her excitement got the better of her and she got struck in the face by the barrel of a rifle from a soldier guarding the first entrance. Hawkes fell to the floor, dazed with her face bloodied by the attack. The soldier then took out his revolver, and was about to shoot Hawkes dead before Reid picked up his discarded rifle and struck the soldier on the head.
“What happened?” Hawkes said, groggily with her senses hazy.
“You got lucky,” barked Reid, handcuffing the felled soldier.
Reid barely had a chance to catch his breath when another soldier came from behind and jumped on his back, tackling him to the ground. As the soldier wrestled with Reid (with the agent getting the worst of the fight), Hawkes, recovering, slowly got up, cocked her gun and shoved it right against the soldier’s back.
“Back off or I will kill you,” Hawkes snarled. The soldier’s moment of hesitation was all that Reid needed to flip the soldier on to his back, allowing for another arrest.
After shooting down two more guards (and having to rescue Reid from being jumped again, although this time he held his own a bit better), Hawkes and Reid got inside the Church. Hawkes was ready to run in before Reid stopped her.
“Wait,” he said. “There’s a sniper in there…he knows we’re coming.”
“You’re right,” said Hawkes. “We need some cover.”
A few moments later, Morgan and Adrian arrived.
“Guys,” said Morgan. “The Roman Army is outside…they’ve got their own guns trained on the sniper. Let’s move in.”
The team moved up the stairs, eventually getting to the top of the tower where the sniper was. When they descended upon him, they found a sniper who was still rattled by the arrival of the Roman Army and the BAU, and he was even more confused when he saw the Pope staring down at him, his own gun raised.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” barked Morgan, his eyes belying the intensity of the moment.
“I don’t…I don’t understand,” stuttered the sniper. “I thought I killed the Pope.”
“The LORD is on my side,” replied Adrian. “He told me to get the Kevlar and the ketchup…just to throw you off your game.”
“You really fooled me,” said the sniper, still rattled. He hadn’t left the observatory thinking he had accomplished his task, and stayed amidst the confusion of his henchmen getting beaten up. He then pulled a knife out of his pocket, which Adrian shot right out of his hand, causing him to writhe in pain. Morgan called for paramedics as he formally arrested the sniper, with the Army arresting the other corrupt soldiers inside the Square and in the Friezenkirk.
As the Army attended to arresting the corrupt soldiers, Morgan attended to Hawkes and Reid at the Church’s First Aid quarters.
“He got you real good,” said Morgan, who has a St. John’s Ambulance certification, cleaning up Hawkes’ bloody face. Her nose was broken and swollen, welding her glasses, which only got a scratch, onto her face, with her left eye being blackened.
“I didn’t realize how much it hurts until now,” said Hawkes, wincing in pain as the adrenaline that kept her going had worn off.
“You gotta be more careful,” said Morgan. “You can’t just run in with guns blazing...you’ll get into trouble.”
“You go on impulse too, though,” said Hawkes.
“I’m experienced,” said Morgan. “I’ve been in more dangerous situations than anyone could ever dream of...I’ve learned how to assess danger and do it quickly. That moment will come for you...you just need time. In the meantime, think before you act.”
Adrian came in to check on things.
“Are you okay?” Reid, also being treated by Morgan, said, clutching onto Hawkes’ hand.
“I’m fine,” said Hawkes, reciprocating Reid’s gesture. “Morgan is taking very good care of me.”
“Morgan is great like that,” said Reid, smiling.
“You took a shot from an AK-47,” said Adrian, examining Hawkes’ wound. “Tough girl.”
Reid had a closer look at the wound. “Good eye,” he commented, commending Adrian on his observation.
“Been an Army guy most of my life,” said Adrian. “I can spot an AK from a mile away.”
The paramedics then arrived to take a look at Hawkes and Reid, allowing Morgan to have a word with Adrian.
“Ketchup and Kevlar, huh?” Morgan said with a smirk. “Looks like your hunch worked.”
“I had an inkling Peter II wanted to strike at me,” said Adrian, “so I set him up. That’s why I wanted to preach from the Obelisk, because it was just daring him to come at me...and it worked. I wanted to see what kind of a man he was...late last night he called for peace...so I wanted to see if I could trust him. Turns out I can’t.”
Morgan smiled, impressed that Adrian seemed like an adept, if raw, profiler. “Where’d you learn your profiling skills?”
“I met a priest...I’m sure you know him...Father Frank Dowling. He’s from Chicago, just like you, Agent Morgan.”
“Father Dowling...he helped me when I had my issues with Carl Buford...he encouraged me to become a cop. I owe him a lot.” Morgan took another look at Hawkes and Reid before scratching his head and breathing heavily out of concern.
“Your agents will be fine,” said Adrian, picking up on Morgan’s concern.
“I know,” Morgan sighed, still concerned for them. “I just realized Lucius will grill me for what happened.”
“No he won’t. You guys are crime fighters...you’re not trained to fight an army. Given the circumstances, you did the best that you could.”
Morgan lamented. “I still allowed two of my least seasoned combat agents into the Friezenkirk without backup. Granted, both have got a mind of their own and get carried away rather easily...but still.”
“What were you going to do? Leave me alone with those soldiers? Your hands were tied. Besides, they’re young...they’ll eventually see the error of their ways and be more calculated. It just takes experience. Give them time.”
“This just in,” bellowed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as Hotchner watched on TV. “Mere minutes into Pope Adrian VII’s first Mass we are reporting that Adrian has been shot amidst a firefight that has erupted in St. Peter’s Square...it is absolute bedlam and anarchy in there, requiring the assistance of an entire Roman Legion. To fill us in a little more, we turn to our Roman correspondent, Sextus Pilus. Sextus, what can you tell us?”
“Wolf,” started Pilus, who spoke with a distinct Scottish accent since that is where he learned his English, “there isn’t much that we can tell you at this stage. I do know the Romans have managed to retake control of St. Pete’s Square and that the corrupt soldiers, including the sniper that shot His Holiness, are all in Roman custody. The situation on the ground is, as I am told, just getting back to normal but other details, such as the condition of the Pope, are unknown to us at this stage.”
“So we don’t even know if he made it out alive?”
“There was a lot of confusion, Wolf, after the shot. Some witnesses report that His Holiness managed to escape and left his smock behind, while others contend that they saw the body of the Pope being dragged out and that the person witnesses saw running was an apparition...it’s very hard to get a clear account of what happened at this stage.”
“Did the Army say where the shot came from?”
“Witnesses are saying they heard the shot from the southwest corner, in the direction of the Friezenkirk observatory...indeed, that’s where the sniper was found. As far as who attacked the Pope, the authorities are not divulging any information at this time...what I do know is that there were Vatican soldiers, or people dressed as Vatican soldiers, who opened fire on the crowd...estimates vary on the dead and injured, with totals as low as 53 and as high as 1075. Roman officials have promised us to clarify this at a later time.”
“Thank you Sextus.” Hotchner then heard something that caught his ear.
“Thank you Sextus.” Hotchner then heard something that caught his ear.