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Gunther Glick had assumed control of the computer from Chinita Macri, who now stood hunched in the back of the cramped BBC van staring in confusion over Glick’s shoulder.

“I told you,” Glick said, typing some more keys. “The British Tattler isn’t the only paper that runs stories on these guys.”

Macri peered closer. Glick was right. The BBC database showed their distinguished network as having picked up and run six stories in the past ten years on the brotherhood called the Illuminati. Well, paint me purple, she thought. “Who are the journalists who ran the stories,” Macri asked. “Schlock jocks?”

“BBC doesn’t hire schlock jocks.”

“They hired you.”

Glick scowled. “I don’t know why you’re such a skeptic. The Illuminati are well documented throughout history.”

“So are witches, UFOs, and the Loch Ness Monster.”

Glick read the list of stories. “You ever heard of a guy called Winston Churchill?”

“Rings a bell.”

“BBC did a historical a while back on Churchill’s life. Staunch Catholic by the way. Did you know that in 1920 Churchill published a statement condemning the Illuminati and warning Brits of a worldwide conspiracy against morality?”

Macri was dubious. “Where did it run? In the British Tattler ?”

Glick smiled. “London Herald. February 8, 1920.”

“No way.”

“Feast your eyes.”

Macri looked closer at the clip. London Herald. Feb. 8, 1920. I had no idea. “Well, Churchill was a paranoid.”

“He wasn’t alone,” Glick said, reading further. “Looks like Woodrow Wilson gave three radio broadcasts in 1921 warning of growing Illuminati control over the U.S. banking system. You want a direct quote from the radio transcript?”

“Not really.”

Glick gave her one anyway. “He said, ‘There is a power so organized, so subtle, so complete, so pervasive, that none had better speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.’”

“I’ve never heard anything about this.”

“Maybe because in 1921 you were just a kid.”

“Charming.” Macri took the jab in stride. She knew her years were showing. At forty‑three, her bushy black curls were streaked with gray. She was too proud for dye. Her mom, a Southern Baptist, had taught Chinita contentedness and self‑respect. When you’re a black woman, her mother said, ain’t no hiding what you are. Day you try, is the day you die. Stand tall, smile bright, and let ’em wonder what secret’s making you laugh.

“Ever heard of Cecil Rhodes?” Glick asked.

Macri looked up. “The British financier?”

“Yeah. Founded the Rhodes Scholarships.”

“Don’t tell me—”



“BBC, actually. November 16, 1984.”

We wrote that Cecil Rhodes was Illuminati?”

“Sure did. And according to our network, the Rhodes Scholarships were funds set up centuries ago to recruit the world’s brightest young minds into the Illuminati.”

“That’s ridiculous! My uncle was a Rhodes Scholar!”

Glick winked. “So was Bill Clinton.”

Macri was getting mad now. She had never had tolerance for shoddy, alarmist reporting. Still, she knew enough about the BBC to know that every story they ran was carefully researched and confirmed.

“Here’s one you’ll remember,” Glick said. “BBC, March 5, 1998. Parliament Committee Chair, Chris Mullin, required all members of British Parliament who were Masons to declare their affiliation.”

Macri remembered it. The decree had eventually extended to include policemen and judges as well. “Why was it again?”

Glick read. “. . . concern that secret factions within the Masons exerted considerable control over political and financial systems.”

“That’s right.”

“Caused quite a bustle. The Masons in parliament were furious. Had a right to be. The vast majority turned out to be innocent men who joined the Masons for networking and charity work. They had no clue about the brotherhood’s past affiliations.”

“Alleged affiliations.”

“Whatever.” Glick scanned the articles. “Look at this stuff. Accounts tracing the Illuminati back to Galileo, the Guerenets of France, the Alumbrados of Spain. Even Karl Marx and the Russian Revolution.”

“History has a way of rewriting itself.”

“Fine, you want something current? Have a look at this. Here’s an Illuminati reference from a recent Wall Street Journal.”

This caught Macri’s ear. “The Journal ?”

“Guess what the most popular Internet computer game in America is right now?”

“Pin the tail on Pamela Anderson.”

“Close. It’s called, Illuminati: New World Order.”

Macri looked over his shoulder at the blurb. “Steve Jackson Games has a runaway hit . . . a quasi‑historical adventure in which an ancient satanic brotherhood from Bavaria sets out to take over the world. You can find them on‑line at . . .” Macri looked up, feeling ill. “What do these Illuminati guys have against Christianity?”

“Not just Christianity,” Glick said. “Religion in general.” Glick cocked his head and grinned. “Although from the phone call we just got, it appears they do have a special spot in their hearts for the Vatican.”

“Oh, come on. You don’t really think that guy who called is who he claims to be, do you?”

“A messenger of the Illuminati? Preparing to kill four cardinals?” Glick smiled. “I sure hope so.”