“Any word from Olivetti?” the camerlegno asked, looking drained as Rocher escorted him back from the Sistine Chapel to the Pope’s office.
“No, signore. I am fearing the worst.”
When they reached the Pope’s office, the camerlegno’s voice was heavy. “Captain, there is nothing more I can do here tonight. I fear I have done too much already. I am going into this office to pray. I do not wish to be disturbed. The rest is in God’s hands.”
“The hour is late, Captain. Find that canister.”
“Our search continues.” Rocher hesitated. “The weapon proves to be too well hidden.”
The camerlegno winced, as if he could not think of it. “Yes. At exactly 11:15 P.M . . . if the church is still in peril, I want you to evacuate the cardinals. I am putting their safety in your hands. I ask only one thing. Let these men proceed from this place with dignity. Let them exit into St. Peter’s Square and stand side by side with the rest of the world. I do not want the last image of this church to be frightened old men sneaking out a back door.”
“Very good, signore. And you? Shall I come for you at 11:15 as well?”
“There will be no need.”
“I will leave when the spirit moves me.”
Rocher wondered if the camerlegno intended to go down with the ship.
The camerlegno opened the door to the Pope’s office and entered. “Actually . . .” he said, turning. “There is one thing.”
“There seems to be a chill in this office tonight. I am trembling.”
“The electric heat is out. Let me lay you a fire.”
The camerlegno smiled tiredly. “Thank you. Thank you, very much.”
Rocher exited the Pope’s office where he had left the camerlegno praying by firelight in front of a small statue of the Blessed Mother Mary. It was an eerie sight. A black shadow kneeling in the flickering glow. As Rocher headed down the hall, a guard appeared, running toward him. Even by candlelight Rocher recognized Lieutenant Chartrand. Young, green, and eager.
“Captain,” Chartrand called, holding out a cellular phone. “I think the camerlegno’s address may have worked. We’ve got a caller here who says he has information that can help us. He phoned on one of the Vatican’s private extensions. I have no idea how he got the number.”
Rocher stopped. “What?”
“He will only speak to the ranking officer.”
“Any word from Olivetti?”
He took the receiver. “This is Captain Rocher. I am ranking officer here.”
“Rocher,” the voice said. “I will explain to you who I am. Then I will tell you what you are going to do next.”
When the caller stopped talking and hung up, Rocher stood stunned. He now knew from whom he was taking orders.
Back at CERN, Sylvie Baudeloque was frantically trying to keep track of all the licensing inquiries coming in on Kohler’s voice mail. When the private line on the director’s desk began to ring, Sylvie jumped. Nobody had that number. She answered.
“Ms. Baudeloque? This is Director Kohler. Contact my pilot. My jet is to be ready in five minutes.”