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Authors: Philip K. Dick

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I will rise high above the cloud-banks
and make myself like the Most High.

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
to the depths of the abyss.

Those who see you will stare at you,
they will look at you and ponder…

 

"You see?" Elias said. "
He is here
. This is his place, this little world. He made it his fortress two thousand years ago, and set up a prison for the people as he did in Egypt. For two thousand years the people have been crying and there was no response, no aid. He has them all. And thinks he is safe."

Emmanuel, clutching the old man, began to cry.

"Still afraid?" Elias said.

Emmanuel said, "I cry with them. I cry with my mother. I cry with the dying dog who did not cry. I cry
for
them. And for Belial who fell, the bright morning star. Fell from heaven and began it all."

And, he thought, I cry for myself. I am my mother; I am the dying dog and the suffering people, and I, he thought, am that bright morning star, too … even Belial; I am that and what it has become.

The old man held him fast.

 

  7  

C
ardinal Fulton Statler Harms, Chief Prelate of the vast organizational network that comprised the Christian-Islamic Church, could not for the life of him figure out why there wasn't a sufficient amount of money in his Special Discretionary Fund to cover his mistress's expenses.

Perhaps, he pondered as his barber shaved him slowly and carefully, he had too dim a notion of the extent of Deirdre's needs.

Originally she had approached him—no small task in itself, since it involved ascending the C.I.C. hierarchy rung by rung—ascending without falling entirely off before reaching the top. Deirdre, at that time, represented the W.C.L.F., the World Civil Liberties Forum, and she had a list of abuses—it was hazy to him then and it was still hazy to him, but anyhow the two of them had wound up in bed, and now, officially, Dierdre had become his executive secretary.

For her work she blotted up two salaries: the visible one that came with her job and the invisible one doled out from the substantial account that he was free to dispense as he saw fit. Where all this money went after it reached Deirdre he hadn't the foggiest idea. Bookkeeping had never been his strong suit.

"You want the yellow removed from this gray on the side, don't you?" his barber said, shaking up the contents of a bottle.

"Please," Harms said; he nodded.

"You think the Lakers are going to snap their losing streak?" his barber said. "I mean, they acquired that What's-his-name; he's nine feet two inches. If they hadn't raised the—"

Tapping his ear, Harms said, "I'm listening to the news, Arnold."

"Well, yeah, I can see that, Father," Arnold the barber said as he splashed bleach onto the Chief Prelate's graying hair. "But there's something I wanted to ask you, about homosexual priests. Doesn't the Bible forbid homosexuality? So I don't see how a priest can be a practicing homosexual."

The news that Harms was attempting to hear had to do with the health of the Procurator Maximus of the Scientific Legate, Nicholas Bulkowsky. A solemn prayer vigil had been formally called into being but nonetheless Bulkowsky continued to decline. Harms had, sub rosa, dispatched his personal physician to join the team of specialists attending to the Procurator's urgent condition.

Bulkowsky, as not only Cardinal Harms but the entire curia knew, was a devout Christian. He had been converted by the evangelical, charismatic Dr. Cohn Passim who, at his revival meetings, often flew through the air in dramatic demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit within him.

Of course, Dr. Passim had not been the same since he sailed through a vast stained-glass window of the cathedral at Metz, France. Formerly he had talked occasionally in tongues and now he talked only in tongues. This had inspired a popular TV comic to suggest that an English-Glossolalia dictionary be brought out, so that folks could understand Dr. Passim. This in turn had given rise to such indignation in the pious that Cardinal Harms had it jotted down on his desk calendar somewhere that, when possible, he should pronounce the comic anathema. But, as usual, he had not gotten around to such petty matters.

Much of Cardinal Harms's time was spent in a secret activity: he had been feeding St. Anselm's
Proslogion
to the great Artificial Intelligence system Big Noodle with the idea of resurrecting the long-discredited Ontological Proof for the existence of God.

He had gone right back to Anselm and the original statement of the argument, unsoiled by the accretions of time:

Anything understood must be in the intelligence. Certainly, too, the being greater than which none can be conceived cannot exist in the intellect alone; for if it were only in the intellect it could be conceived as existing also in reality and this would be to conceive a still greater being. In such a case, if the being greater than which none can be conceived is merely in the intelligence (and not in reality), then this same being is something than which one could still conceive a greater (i.e., one which exists both in the intelligence and in reality). This is a contradiction. Consequently, there can be no doubt that the being greater than which none can be conceived must exist both in the intelligence and in reality.

However, Big Noodle knew all about Aquinas and Descartes and Kant and Russell and their criticisms, and the A.I. system also possessed common sense. It informed Harms that Anselm's argument did not hold water, and presented him with page after page of analysis as to why. Harms's response was to edit out Big Noodle's analysis and seize upon Hartshorne and Malcolm's defense of Anselm; viz: that God's existence is either logically necessary or logically impossible. Since it has not been demonstrated to be impossible—which is to say, the concept of such an entity has not been shown to be self-contradictory—then it follows that we must of necessity conclude that God exists.

Upon fastening onto this weary argument, Harms had dispatched a copy via his direct line to the ailing Procurator Maximus as a means of instilling new vigor in his co-ruler.

"Now take the Giants," Arnold the barber was saying as he valiantly tried to bleach the yellow from the cardinal's hair. "I say you can't count them out. Look at Eddy Tubb's ERA for last year. So he has a sore arm; pitchers always get sore arms.

The day had begun for the Chief Prelate Cardinal Fulton Statler Harms; trying to hear the news, meditating simultaneously on his enterprise vis-à-vis St. Anselm, fending off Arnold's base-ball statistics—this constituted his morning confrontation with reality, his routine. All that remained to make it the Platonic archetypal beginning of his activity phase was the mandatory—and futile—attempt to pin down Deirdre regarding her cost over-run.

He was prepared for that; he had a new girl waiting in the wings. Dierdre, who did not know it, was about to go.

At his resort city on the Black Sea the Procurator Maximus walked in slow circles as he read Deirdre Connell's most recent report on the chief prelate. No health problems assailed the procurator; he had allowed news of his "medical condition" to leak its way into the media so as to ensnare his co-ruler in a web of self-serving lies. This gave him time to study his intelligence staff's appraisal of Deirdre Connell's daily reports. So far it was the educated opinion of everyone who intimately served the procurator that Cardinal Harms had lost touch with reality and was lost in harebrained theological quests—journeys that led him further and further away from any control over the political and economic situation that was pro forma his purview.

The fake reports also gave him time to fish and relax and sun himself and figure out how to depose the cardinal in order to get one of his own people into the position of chief prelate of the C.I.C. Bulkowsky had a number of S.L. functionaries in the curia, well-trained and eager. As long as Deirdre Connell held down the post of executive secretary and mistress to the cardinal, Bulkowsky had the edge. He felt reasonably certain that Harms owned no one in the Scientific Legate's top positions, owned no reciprocal access. Bulkowsky had no mistress; he was a family man with a plump, middle-aged wife, and three children all attending private schools in Switzerland. In addition, his conversion to Dr. Passim's enthusiastic nonsense—the miracle of flying had of course been achieved by technological means—was a strategic fraud, designed to lull the cardinal deeper into his grand dreams.

The procurator knew all about the attempt to induce Big Noodle to come up with verification of St. Anselm' s Ontological Proof for the existence of God; the topic was a joke in regions dominated by the Scientific Legate. Deirdre Connell had been instructed to recommend to her aging lover that he spend more and more time in his lofty venture.

Nonetheless, although wholly rooted in reality, Bulkowsky had not been able to solve certain problems of his own—matters which he concealed from his co-ruler. Decisions for the S.L. had fallen off among the youth cadres during recent months; more and more college students, even those in the hard sciences, were finding for the C.I.C., throwing aside the hammer-and-sickle pin and donning the cross. Specifically there had developed a paucity of ark engineers, with the result that three S.L. orbiting arks, with their inhabitants, had had to be abandoned. This news had not reached the media, since the inhabitants had perished. To shield the public from the grim news the designations of the remaining S.L. arks had been changed. On computer printouts the malfunctions did not appear; the situation gave the semblance of normality.

At least we did eliminate Cohn Passim, Bulkowsky reflected. A man who talks like an aud-tape of a duck played backward is no threat. The evangelist had, without suspecting it, succumbed to S.L. advanced weaponry. The balance of world power had thus been made to shift ever so slightly. Little things like that added up. Take, for instance, the presence of the S.L. agent duked in as the cardinal's mistress and secretary. Without that—

Bulkowsky felt supremely confident. The dialectical force of historic necessity was on his side. He could retire to his floating bed, half an hour from now, with a knowledge that the world situation was in hand.

"Cognac," he said to a robot attendant. "Courvoisier Napoleon."

As he stood by his desk warming the snifter with the palms of his hands his wife, Galina, entered the room. "Make no appointments for Thursday night," she said. "General Yakir has planned a recital for the Moscow corps. The American chanteuse Linda Fox will be singing. Yakir expects us."

"Certainly," Bulkowsky said. "Have roses prepared for the end of the recital." To a pair of robot servants he said, "Have my valet de chambre remind me."

"Don't nod off during the recital," Galina said. "Mrs. Yakir will be hurt. You remember the last time."

"The Penderecki abomination," Bulkowsky said, remembering well. He had snored through the "Quia Fecit" of the "Magnificat" and then read about his behavior in intelligence documents a week later.

"Remember that as far as informed circles know, you are a born-again Christian," Galina said. "What did you do about those responsible for the loss of the three arks?"

"They are all dead," Bulkowsky said. He had had them shot.

"You could recruit replacement from the U.K."

"We will have our own soon. I don't trust what the U.K. sends us. Everyone is for sale. For instance, how much is that chanteuse now asking for her decision?"

"The situation is confused," Galina said. "I have read the intelligence reports; the cardinal is offering her a large sum to decide for the C.I.C. I don't think we should try to meet it."

"But if an entertainer that popular were to step forth and announce that she had seen the white light and accepted sweet Jesus into her life—"

"You did."

"But," Bulkowsky said, "you know why." As he had accepted Jesus solemnly, with much pomp, he would presently declare that he had renounced Jesus and returned, wiser now, to the S.L. This would have a dire effect on the curia and, hopefully, even on the cardinal himself. The chief prelate's morale, according to S.L. psychologists, would be shattered. The man actually supposed that one day everyone associated with the S.L. would march up to the various offices of the C.I.C. and convert.

"What are you doing about that doctor he sent?" Galina said. "Are there any difficulties?"

"No." He shook his head. "The forged medical reports keep him busy." Actually the medical information presented regularly to the physician whom the cardinal had sent were not forged. They simply pertained to someone other than Bulkowsky, some minor S.L. person genuinely sick. Bulkowsky had sworn Harms's physician to secrecy, pleading medical ethics as the issue, but of course Dr. Duffey covertly dispatched detailed reports on the procurator's health to the cardinal's staff at every opportunity. S.L. intelligence routinely intercepted them, checked to make sure they painted a sufficiently grave picture, copied them and sent them on. By and large the medical reports traveled by microwave signal to an orbiting C.I.C. communications satellite and from there were beamed down to Washington, D.C. However, Dr. Duffey, in a periodic fit of cleverness, sometimes simply mailed the information. This was harder to control.

Imagining that he was dealing with an ailing man, and one who had decided for Jesus, the cardinal had relaxed his stance of vigil regarding the higher activities of the S. L. The cardinal now supposed the procurator to be hopelessly incompetent.

"If Linda Fox will not decide for the S.L.," Galina said, "why don't you draw her aside and tell her that one day on her way to a concert engagement her private rocket-that gaudy plush thing she flies herself—will go up in a flash of flaming fire?"

Gloomily, Bulkowsky said, "Because the cardinal got to her first. He has already passed the word to her that if she doesn't accept sweet Jesus into her life bichlorides will find her whether she wants to accept them or not."

The tactic of poisoning Linda Fox with small doses of mercury was an artful one. Long before she died (if she did die) she would be as mad as a hatter—literally, since it had been mercury Poisoning, mercury used to process felt hats, that had driven the English hatters of the nineteenth century into famous organic psychosis.

BOOK: The Divine Invasion
6.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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