Friday, November 13, 2009

Absalom, 5

The journey to Campino was just as uneventful as one might expect when driving through Rome in the middle of a weekday; traffic aplenty with Vespas zipping through traffic like they owned the road. His driver apparently had some skill and experience with Roman traffic and spent most of the drive continuing the interrupted discussion about football, even once in a while throwing a question or statement back towards the back seat. Absalom gave them some non-answers, having decided he wasn’t going to be mocked for his good taste in teams, by these Polentone. Actually, he wasn’t even Italian, but having had Rome as home base for as long as he had, it was the only home he had. Now, if he only managed to persuade the Cardinal to give him a palazzo of his own, he’d have nothing to complain about.

The car pulled past the normal parking spaces of Campino Airport, barely stopping to show the security guards their badges and pulled onto the private part of the runway. While most air-traffic into Rome had been redirected to the Leonardo da Vinci at Fiumicino, the Church still kept its fleet of smaller planes here since it was closer to the Vatican. They pulled up next to a Gulfstream V, a stewardess with a gorgeous face, trim body and long legs, waiting outside. “They must be in a real hurry since they didn’t stick me with Easy Jet,” he thought to himself. He stepped out of the SUV and smiled towards the gorgeous blonde. She smiled back, her teeth perfectly white, said that his luggage was already on board and they were ready to leave. He jestingly offered her his arm, she accepted, and together they boarded the plane.

She led him towards a wide and comfortable leather seat, where she already had put a bottle of Krug Rosé in a silver ice bucket. “Man, this is going to be a good trip. I might as well enjoy it for as long as it lasts”, he thought as he stretched out in the seat, letting his eyes wander all over the stewardess who was closing the door. Noticing she had left two glasses by the bucket, he poured champagne into them both and offered her to join him for a pre-flight toast. She smilingly agreed and took a seat opposite him, instead of one of the standard crew seats.

They chatted for few minutes, while the plane was pulled out onto the tarmac and the pilot did his pre-flight checks. Before long, though, they were in the air. The flight was only going to take about two hours, so even though he really wanted to chat up the beautiful blonde, he had to get some work done. Excusing himself, she stood and walked forward into the crew area, her back and hips moving seductively. “Maybe I can try to get a few days in Copenhagen with her, once this business is done”, he figured as he picked up his PDA from the seat pocket.

He opened his e-mail program and downloaded the information the Order had sent him. There were two attachments; the Video he had already seen and a PDF-document. He opened the PDF and started reading it. First there was a geographical description of where he was going; Skåne, the southernmost part of Sweden, was apparently mostly flatland and rolling hills, farmer’s fields and forest. He’d never been to Sweden before, having spent most of his adult life in the southern parts of Europe, with a few visits to the southern and eastern part of the Mediterranean. It struck him quite odd that he was the most suitable Archangel for this mission, considering he didn’t know a lick of Swedish or anything else about it for that matter. Actually, the only thing he did know about Scandinavia, was what he had learnt from a very friendly Danish girl he’d got to know a few summers ago. “No time to let the mind wander…” he thought as he returned to the briefing.

The next chapter was the report from the Bishop. It didn’t look to be very special and didn’t contain any of the normal watch-words; the Bishop was then not part of the Order. It was mostly hyperbole about the video and how this should be interpreted as the coming of Armageddon. Pretty much what a Lamb would write when confronted with the existence of the Powers of Darkness. He couldn’t blame the Bishop, but still found it rather amusing, considering what he knew about the matter at hand.

Next came the interesting part. This part was written by the Deacon and he seemed to be much more in the know regarding the workings of the Order and its struggle. He had managed to locate the outbreak at the lands of an old but still inhabited castle in the middle of Skåne with his only suspects being the landed gentry who still lived there. Their name was “af Mååndag” and they had owned the land since the early middle ages, apparently managing to hold on to their lands even when the region had gone from Danish to Swedish hands. The report described the current lord of the land as a very reputable farmer in the region; happily married for twenty years to a local talent, two teenage children who both attended boarding schools, a couple of dogs and cats and he even drove a newish Bentley. He couldn’t become much more of a landed Nobleman if he tried.

The last thing in the report was a notification that the Deacon was going to pick him up in Copenhagen; it did however not mention if he was going to do it in that beat up Volvo. If he was, Absalom was going to add to his expense account by renting something more proper.

Basically, what the report came down to, was that there had been a zombie outbreak in the middle of a farming region and the only suspect were a couple of Lambs who probably weren’t aware of what was going on. So this was why the Cardinal didn’t want to send in the Potestas. Well, the least he could do was pay them a visit and see for himself before he’d go on to cleanse the local graveyard where the zombies had come from. And if he was lucky, he’d be able to add a few notches to his belt while at it. “Not a complete waste of time”.

The stewardess gently knocked him on the shoulder and told him they were about to land. He put down the PDA and offered her another glass of champagne, which she delightfully accepted, yet again taking her place opposite him in the plane. The plane landed without any problems at all; probably still on autopilot for all he knew and he rose to grab his luggage from the overhead compartment. He said his farewells to the stewardess with a kiss on the cheek and said that he hoped he would have the chance to meet her again before long. Agreeing with his words, she walked with him out of the plane, wishing him a safe stay wherever he was going.

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