A New Space Iteration


    Andrew Odlum as Bishop Aidan Cleary

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    Join date : 2011-05-31

    Andrew Odlum as Bishop Aidan Cleary

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:48 pm

    Bishop Aidan Cleary’s office in the Roman Curia of the Vatican was not large, but it was well-appointed. Everything was comfortable and immaculate, and a small Manx cat curled itself on the windowsill that overlooked the courtyard. When Lilan Dia was shown in, he rose and inclined his head toward her. “Miss Dia. I was surprised that a celebrity had come all the way to Holy See just to meet with me.”

    The actress smiled and moved to meet the Bishop, taking his hand and kissing his signet ring before straightening. “Thank you for giving me some of your time, Your Excellency. I promise I won’t take long.”

    Cleary gestured to a chair opposite his wide desk, and Lilan settled herself down. “I’ve asked for tea to be brought in,” the Bishop said as he reclaimed his own seat. “I hope you’ll stay long enough to enjoy it with me. Now,” he began, folding his hands on the desk, “what brings the toast of Broadway to Rome?”

    Lilan chuckled. “Business, if you can believe it.”

    “Business with the Holy Mother Church?” Aidan’s brow lifted. “Interesting.”

    “Not with the Church. With you, Excellency.”

    Aidan’s smile was gentle. “We are, in most ways, one and the same, Miss Dia.”

    Lilan nodded. “I beg your pardon. I wanted to talk to you about Jenny Lindt.”

    The smile vanished. “Miss Dia, that was a very long time ago and not only is it something I do not wish to revisit, it is something I am not permitted to discuss.”

    “I understand, but please believe I’m not here to tear into your old wounds. I’m here because I believe what happened was real, and I believe what you did was not only necessary, but right.”

    Aidan sat back slowly. “You’d be one of the first to take such a stance. I’m not sure how you even know about the incident. The coverage in the media was explosive, but stifled quickly, and it was over forty years ago. You weren’t even born, I wager, at the time.”

    Lilan nodded. “I know. But I came across the story and was intrigued. More than that – I was sympathetic. They didn’t give you much of an opportunity to defend your actions, though.”

    “Can you blame them, really?” the Bishop asked, shrugging. “Jenny died. I fought a battle and I failed. I wagered everything, even my place in Heaven, on my faith and lost.”

    “You also kept a secret that could have proven you were right,” Lilan noted.

    Aidan stiffened, shocked. “I don’t…I don’t think I know what you’re talking about.”

    “I know Andromeda, Excellency,” Lilan stated simply. “She and I had a long discussion when I visited her at the Tuscany oubliette. She loves you very much – you’re family to her. And she hates that you were falsely accused.” Lilan sighed. “Bishop – why didn’t you just tell them you were a Ghost?”

    He was still tense, still rigid. “No one, no one besides Meda, was ever to know that, Miss Dia.”

    “Why not? You were an orphan, so I understand how you wouldn’t know yourself for a time, but once you realized…”

    “Once I realized, I was already at the seminary. I was getting ready to take my vows. The Catholic Church forbids Ghosts from entering into the clergy. It was either confess what I was, or fulfill the calling God had placed in me. I’ve always known I was to become a priest, Miss Dia. Even when I was a small child. It was in my soul from the beginning. I would have lost myself had I been forced out of the clergy. I decided it was better to simply hide the fact.”

    “And even during the time with Jenny Lindt? When you learned they were going to excommunicate you for interfering in her sickness?”

    “She wasn’t sick. She was possessed.” Aidan looked away. “I could see the spectre inside of her. I couldn’t tell them how I could see it, but I could.”

    Lilan leaned forward. “Is that your Ghost ability? Seeing the dead?”

    Aidan nodded. “Yes, that and telepathy. I can sense the resonances of those departed from the world. Sometimes it’s an actual apparition; sometimes it’s just ephemeral residue. But with Jenny…something had taken hold of her and was hurting her. I was forbidden to do anything. They thought she was an epileptic and just needed medication. I saw her getting worse and worse. It was killing her. I couldn’t stand by and see it happen any longer. So I intervened.”

    “They say you kidnapped Jenny and, when the police found you three day later, Jenny was dead,” Lilan murmured.

    Aidan closed his eyes at the memory. “We fought hard, that thing inside her and I. It was pure malice. If I hadn’t been sure it was a spirit, I would have named it a demon. Exorcism is a dangerous thing, Miss Dia. The process is so much more than people think, so much more than simply chanting words from a book. It’s a contest of wills, a great war of Good and Evil. I lost that war. It killed Jenny before I could defeat it.”

    “And the parents blamed you.”

    Everyone blamed me. I was called psychotic, a pedophile, a killer. The only reason I wasn’t convicted with murder is that the autopsy showed she’d died of a heart attack. They had to settle for kidnapping and assault. I served six years in prison and was excommunicated. It was a decade before I could be considered by the Pope worthy of repentance, and another five spent earning it. I can never achieve a higher rank than Bishop, no matter what may happen. And yet, my troubles are nothing. Jenny paid the real price.” He opened his eyes to look at Lilan steadily. “She was only ten years old, Miss Dia.”

    Lilan nodded. “I know. And I’m sorry you’ve had to bear so much, Bishop. I came here today to see if I could help. I…have a proposition.”

    “What sort of proposition?”

    “You’re sixty-five, eligible for retirement. I’m assembling a crew for my ship, the Embry-Riddle[/i, and I need a ship’s counselor and a tutor for my engineer, who’s sixteen. They’re good people, but they’re like you – lots of shadows in their past. In fact, one of them reminds me a great deal of a grown Jenny Lindt: she faced a harrowing experience when she was ten, too. I think you’d be very happy aboard the ship, and I think you could be a great help to all of us.”

    The Bishop was silent for a time. “What is the E[i]mbry-Riddle
    ’s mission?” he finally asked.

    Lilan grinned. “Transport of goods, occasionally charters for passengers if needs be. She’s going to be a jack-of-all-trades frigate. Nothing illegal, nothing too morally questionable. I can’t promise there won’t be drinking aboard – my bo’sun is Vosch.”

    Aidan had to laugh at that. “Oh, the two of us will get along marvelously,” he said.

    “And you can be who you are, Bishop. No-one will judge you and no one will tell anyone outside the crew what you are.”

    With a nod, Aidan rose slowly. “All right, Miss Dia. I’ll see if it works. You might not like having a decrepit old priest aboard your ship, though.”

    Lilan winked. “Somehow, Excellency, I think you’ll fit right in.”

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