The table erupted in a chorus of angry voices. There came shouted disagreement from everyone at the table with the exception of Bayani, who remained silent and motionless in his flowing white robe, and the bleary-eyed Haushofer. The shouting was quickly joined by a roar of disapproval from the gallery. DeVrees was too wrapped up in his own outrage at Raylene's speech to bother trying to bring the meeting to order. It was as she had expected.
Raylene held up her hand, waiting patiently for the screaming to abate. It took more than a minute before DeVrees, realizing that the chaos was accomplishing nothing, began hammering is gavel as hard as he could on the black surface of the table. Another minute passed before the last curses from the gallery died away into silence.
"Order! In the name of Horus, order!" DeVrees lisped as he shrieked, pounding the gavel so hard on the table that the hammer broke free from the handle. "The lady wishes to salvage her speech! Please allow her to further humiliate herself for our amusement."
A few laughed in the gallery, others took the opportunity to throw out a few more curses.
"I ask each of you what you have to offer me," Raylene smiled. "DeVrees, you seem as eager as those in the gallery to behave like a child. What forces can you marshal to defend our world? What great legion will you suborn to our mutual cause?"
"Untold thousands!" DeVrees sputtered before regaining his spiteful keel. "The Illuminati has several secret orders devoted to matters martial. I can think of no greater cause for them to serve than in the defense of our world, but no fool shall ever lead them. The Illuminati offers nothing to such as you, honored matriarch."
Raylene cocked an eyebrow, her smile never wavering.
"A coward too, DeVrees?" Raylene laughed to the fat man's consternation. "Perhaps a true warrior might be more suited to the task? Sir Hunziker, what of the Knights Templar? Do they march to the great kettle drum?"
"Of course milady," nodded the hulking Hunziker. "I hope to lead the attack on the enemy in France personally! The remainder of our Knights march at this very moment, their instructions received from the great generals of our order. Though it pains me to say it, they will fight beneath no banner but that of the Knights Templer."
Raylene turned her attention to the shifty and red-face Donald Christy, who was blotting at the sweat on his face with a monogrammed handkerchief.
"I have great confidence, Mr. Christy, that the Trilateral Commission will be swift to act in our interests under these difficult circumstances." Raylene could no longer hide her sarcasm.
"Well, uh, yes, of course Miss LeVeaux. The uh, the National Guard units are being mobilized, and uh, some of our security forces have been incidentally engaged. I, uh, I will of course have to put a motion before the Commission when we hold our next meeting. If it passes I am sure we could coordinate with your offices to, uh, to best meet the needs of all parties involved. You, uh, you of course will have my full support for that motion."
"And when will the Trilateral Commission convene to discuss your most generous motion?"
"Well, uh…" Christy opened his briefcase and fumbled through various folders until he located a leather bound day planner. "We are, uh, next scheduled to meet in three weeks, but I can have my people make some calls. I would guess ten days? Two weeks, tops?"
Raylene nodded in mock gratitude and Christy beamed, falling back into his chair with relief.
"Chairman Ariwara, I'm sure that the various military interests of Tetrahedron Amalgamated can offer invaluable assistance to the New World Order. When can we expect your aid?"
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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