| Home | | Italian | || English || Extract vol.1 | | Extract vol. 2 |  
   Extracts vol. 1

The Presidency Golf Club was the most prestigious in Bombay and was founded by the British during the occupation. Finding an 18-hole club inside a city was a rare thing, thought Giorgio. At the entrance he showed the invitation and the man in charge of the control with extreme deference addressed him in a low voice: "Welcome Mr. Relli, I will immediately accompany you to the reserved area". He was accompanied, by a young trotting waiter, to an area of the playing field, at hole 4, which had been specially fenced and where a huge gazebo with sofas, chairs and tables had been set up. In the center of the gazebo stood a superb buffet that could have fed all the Bayhorse crew for a month. The place was splendid, surrounded by greenery and secluded. Ideal for confidential interviews as Giorgio expected. Evidently it was too early for the reserved area to come alive so he got a Vodka Martini from the well-stocked bar set up next to the buffet, he chose a corner table and waited.
It was almost 7pm and he was sipping his second Vodka Martini when he heard a noise from the sky that made him think of a helicopter. After a few minutes, a few hundred meters from the gazebo, a big helicopter appeared from the treetops and landed gently on the grass. When the huge propeller stopped, two small vehicles appeared from the thicket of the trees surrounding the clearing, traveling close to the lawn without touching it. Giorgio had already seen the hovercrafts that crossed in the English Channel between France and England but he was amazed to find them there and, above all, so silent. Five men and a woman got off the helicopter ladder and took their places on the hovercrafts. While he was watching the approaching vehicles, he noticed that other guests were coming from the club and took their places at the tables so the gazebo began to come alive. The vehicles stopped about ten meters from the gazebo and the passengers, except for the blonde who walked towards him, took their places at the large low rectangular table placed in front of the buffet, surrounded by elegant white Chesterfield armchairs.
Giorgio was not at all surprised to find her there and he greeted her politely as if he were seeing her for the first time. He had decided to keep a detached demeanor. She approached him saying: "Welcome Mr. Relli, soon I will introduce you to a very important person who wants to meet you" and with a smile she walked away towards the other tables that were filling up. Giorgio looked at the people who were talking sitting on the armchairs around the table. One in particular struck him. He had a very tall slender figure that was noticeable even when seated, with Caucasian features, he wore very white, wavy, rather long hair and was apparently the oldest and perhaps the most important since all the others turned to him when they spoke and one could see him nod or answer briefly. Giorgio decided he was the boss. But what amazed him most was the fact that he could hear nothing of their conversation, not even an incomprehensible buzz as he managed, with his trained hearing, to pick up conversations from much more distant tables. He was pondering this when the blonde approached him again and sat down at the table. “In a short time I will accompany you to that table that you have certainly noticed but, before, I must warn you not to be surprised when you enter the acoustic dome” . “ Acoustic dome?” Giorgio repeated “Yes, you see that table is located under a special dome thanks to which all the sounds produced inside cannot go beyond the invisible walls of the dome. When you’ll enter you’ll hear only a very brief buzz and then nothing more from the outside” she looked at him to make sure he understood. “This is the explanation for the strangeness that I had noticed earlier and that amazed me. Who is that old man with white hair?” He asked “He is the person who wants to meet you. He will tell you himself” she replied smiling.
The tables under the gazebo were all occupied and many had dishes from the buffet that looked delicious. The blonde accompanied him near the special table and passing Giorgio heard the loud voices coming from the numerous tables around him. She stopped and motioned him to continue. Giorgio felt for half a second the buzz she had announced to him and then nothing more. He entered a hushed atmosphere where no noise was heard. The other participants had left and the white-haired gentleman was sitting alone in his armchair on the short side of the table. He stared at him with disconcerting eyes, which Giorgio had never seen before, of a very light gray color, almost white, and pointed with his hand to the armchair next to him, telling Giorgio in a tone of voice that seemed authoritarian and cordial in the same time: “Please take a seat, Mr. Relli. You will have been amazed by several things I imagine, starting with our acoustic dome that allows us to converse with confidence even in a crowd. Do you know we also have an individual portable version?” “Sir, I am no longer surprised at anything” he said with a smile “since the young lady mentioned the technologies used by The Phoenix”. “Ah, the young lady you mean is the Duchess Alexandra von Hohenstaufen, descended from an officially extinct dynasty but which actually still exists and has been part of The Phoenix for many years. She is one of our most precious collaborators” and after a short pause he continued in a friendly but firm tone that sounded like an order disguised as advice: “I would propose to avoid the terms Mr. or Sir in our conversations. It will be easier. I will call you Giorgio and you will call me Morgan and we will continue this way as all the other members do.” Giorgio agreed as he was not very interested in the definition of the formalities in use and asked: “Listen Morgan, can I ask you some questions?” And at his nod he went on “On the acoustic dome I have nothing to ask you because it is simply amazing and the technical details would be beyond my understanding but I would like to ask you about the hovercrafts I noticed upon your arrival. They have an electric motor right?” Morgan just smiled and replied nonchalantly “Oh those... are electric toys that we need to test a new type of batteries that we are developing. You think that one of those vehicles can definitely run for a year with the newly developed batteries it has on board. We discreetly place them in suitable places just to test battery life. Some of our designers say the lifespan could be up to two years and we are checking it out. But I must tell you that you have deceived yourself by calling them hovercraft. They actually have a propeller on the bottom but it only serves to make it pass for a hovercraft and avoid indiscreet questions. In reality those vehicles travel on a magnetic cushion that keeps them off the ground”.
For Giorgio such batteries were unimaginable and amazed him much more than the acoustic dome, while for Morgan they were both curious toys. He didn't ask for more about the magnetic propulsion system to avoid migraines. It was already too much for him to imagine those fantastic batteries. “Well...” Morgan said with a smile “Now it's my turn to ask questions” and becoming serious he began: “You have shown Alexandra your identity of views with the final objective that The Phoenix intends to pursue. But you did not do it regarding the means by which we intend to reach it” he paused and staring at him with his light gray eyes continued: “Our experts who have carefully examined your behavior have already given me an answer but I would like to hear from your voice how far you are willing to go to collaborate with us” Giorgio stared into his eyes and replied: “Before I answer you, let me ask you if your interest in me is a prelude to a closer collaboration with The Phoenix and some assignment you has in mind to assign me.” Morgan, impassive, assented with a nod of the head and Giorgio continued “I want to be honest with you as is my habit especially when it comes to important topics. I fully agree with the objective of the Phoenix and I consider it the only possible solution to create a balanced civilization that spreads well-being among all the inhabitants of the planet. I am also sure that the path will be very difficult because we will be in conflict with mainly economic interests but also with political and power interests that will oppose by any means. Precisely for this reason I would have no scruples in acting with such determination. Sacrificing a few to save many can be considered ruthless on a moral level but it is the most logical and pragmatic solution that can be adopted to achieve the intended purpose”. He stopped and waited for his interlocutor to speak who was staring at an indefinite point beyond the gazebo. After a couple of minutes, Morgan spoke again: “Well, Giorgio, that was what I wanted to hear from you to confirm the information already in my possession. We will meet again in a few months when you will visit our base in the USA”. He slowly got up from his chair as if absorbed in who knows what thoughts, greeted absently with a short wave of his hand and headed out of the gazebo towards one of those vehicles that looked like a hovercraft.
Giorgio returned to his table and shortly after he heard the sound of the helicopter taking off. He stayed at the table for almost an hour, delighting himself with the buffet dishes and reflecting on the interview, while the other tables were slowly emptying. He looked around for Alexandra but didn't see her, so he went back into the club building and asked for a cab.


Lupo met Maria Luisa Altoforte von Hohenstaufen by chance when she was assigned to follow Lupo's parents who had retired to their ranch in Arizona. Like all other members of The Phoenix who were outside the base, they were constantly guarded and protected by the Security. Periodically Maria Luisa went to visit the ranch as if she was a relative, showing up in the village and often chatting with the owner of the store who knew Giorgio well, having seen him arrive to his shop aboard the hovercraft that now no longer made news to Franklin. She drove a big pickup truck like everyone else in those parts and often joked with the owner of the emporium about the eccentric Giorgio who drove that strange vehicle. Lupo knew of the distant common lineage of Maria Luisa with that of his mother and one day he decided to accompany her.
After the pick up stopped in the clearing in front of the ranch, they stayed in the car because the Doberman, named Dax, had approached and sat in front of them, watching them carefully, in silence. Alexandra recognized Maria Luisa's pickup and said something to the dog, gesturing for them to get out. Entering the house, she hugged Lupo, beaming with happiness: “You've finally made up your mind to come and see your elders, it was time” to his attempts to apologize for his commitments, she continued: “I know, I know you are an important character but sit down, Giorgio should be here in a moment he went out with the hovercraft in the desert, together with Gip, our Bull Terrier who is a great hunter of wild rabbits.” Surprised Lupo commented : “Really strange, because Bull Terriers are not hunting dogs” . “In fact, it would prefer to fight with coyotes but in the absence of anything else he is satisfied with rabbits.” She replied smiling. “You know that last month he mauled two young coyotes, poor animals...”.
They were chatting pleasantly when the engine sound of the fake hovercraft was coming. Giorgio entered and after greeting Maria Luisa ran to embrace Lupo. Gip, who entered behind him, sniffed everyone and sat down in a corner waiting for orders. “Any news from the Council?” Giorgio began but then immediately changed the subject because it was not the case to touch on matters of the Council outside of it even if they were in the family. “I have a trouble with the hovercraft” he said, also addressing Maria Luisa “Often the internal combustion engine does not start and when this happens I cannot move on the magnetic cushion without attracting attention. You should send someone to take a look or replace the vehicle”.
They spent the day in joy and Lupo greatly appreciated Maria Luisa's attitude towards his parents. Thanks to his mental faculties, he felt a sincere affection she felt towards them and, to his surprise, a certain attraction towards him which, in his turn, found her delightful as a woman and extremely efficient as his collaborator.
They were greeting each other at the door when a large white Chevrolet SUV with the Greenlee County Sheriff's emblem on the doors pulled up into the lot in front of the house. A big, tall man, in his sixties, with a beige uniform with the star pinned to his chest and the typical brown western Stetson on his head, got out. With a slow, swaying pace he approached the group, greeting Giorgio: “Good evening Mr. Relli” and then bringing two fingers to his hat and addressing Alexandra with a sketch of a bow: “Mrs. Relli…”.“ Good evening sheriff “ said Giorgio “I would like to introduce you my son and his fiancee who came to visit us” The sheriff sketched another bow with his fingers on his hat towards Lupo and Maria Luisa who looked at each other with a smile thinking that they had been introduced as engaged but they weren't very sorry.
Mr. Relli” continued the sheriff “we have been informed that a rather dangerous prisoner has escaped during the transfer to the Tucson prison and is thought to be around in these parts, in the counties near the border with New Mexico. This subject is a violent and dangerous Navajo offender who faces a 25-years sentence for murder. I recommend the utmost caution and prudence if you see him around and, if so, please call me immediately”. “Giorgio amazed replied “Thank you for the warning sheriff, we'll keep our eyes wide open “. The sheriff greeted everyone again with his sketch of a bow and two fingers on his hat, got back into the SUV and disappeared in the direction of Highway 70, leaving behind a cloud of dust. Lupo and Maria Luisa were worried about having to leave the two elders alone since Giorgio was 71 and Alexandra 74 but Giorgio reassured them with a smile “We have dogs, I have a shotgun and a beam gun, you can rest assured that I'm not just a poor helpless old man“.
Three days later, a Methodist pastor arrived at the ranch that no one had ever seen around there before. He was a man in his thirties, very tall with very short blond hair. He arrived driving a hovercraft identical to Giorgio's and after a few hours he left with the same vehicle. No one noticed that the pastor's hovercraft emitted only a slight hiss when leaving.
After visiting the ranch, Lupo began to look at Maria Luisa with different eyes than before. She periodically sent him her reports on surveillance of Security-controlled outsiders, including Lupo's parents, and the reports were accurate, complete and comprehensive. Sometimes they met by chance in the common areas and both seemed to like and want to prolong the conversation that ensued. Lupo felt more and more the attraction that she felt for him and realized that he reciprocated. One day, he decided to invite her to dinner at the traditional restaurant.
Life on the ranch went on quietly for Giorgio and Alexandra who, in love as they had always been since the first meeting, enjoyed the isolation that made them feel even closer to each other. One night Giorgio, due to age and fatigue after a long excursion in the desert in the company of Gip, was unable to complete the intercourse and they fell asleep embraced without doing anything else. The next day Giorgio went out unexpectedly early and returned after a couple of hours with a huge bouquet of wild flowers that he handed to Alexandra sketching a bow: “Duchess... to make me forgive for what I didn't do tonight“ She looked at him with an infinite love in her eyes and hugged him tightly, murmuring: “You are a stupid radio operator”.
One night they were awakened by the angry barking of dogs and Giorgio immediately thought of some poor coyote that he would soon become a victim of Gip but, this time, the barking was different. The dogs, while barking, did not move from the front door and looked in the direction of the fence to the south. Giorgio came out with a powerful LED flashlight in one hand and the beam weapon in the other and took a few steps with Gip beside him. By the light of the torch he saw, along the fence, a poorly dressed man who after a short run fell to the ground in silence and was immediately joined by a tall figure dressed in dark. The efficiency of the external agents was perfect, he thought as he returned to the house and went back to sleep.
The next morning, a tall, robust Methodist pastor dressed in black showed up at the sheriff's office in Clifton, holding by the arm the fugitive Navajo who, dazed and staggering, was stammering nonsense. “This lost sheep” the pastor said to the sheriff, looking at him with his icy eyes “Came to me to seek comfort for his sins that he wants to atone with the just punishment while waiting for the Lord's forgiveness.” The sheriff, who had been in Vietnam and had been part of a special unit of the Marines, evaluating with a single glance the pastor, who looked more like a former fellow soldier than a religious, thanked him saying: “Thank you Reverend and also God will reward you for capturing this dangerous thug. Did you know there is a $ 20,000 bounty on him?” The impassive pastor replied in a detached tone that amazed the sheriff “Sheriff, no capture, only a lost soul that came to me in search of redemption and as regards the money... I only deal with souls.” He greeted with a wave of his hand that looked like a blessing and walked away leaving the sheriff thoughtful.
A few days later, the Navajo was interned in the Tucson prison but he was never able to explain to anyone nor to himself how he had been captured after wandering for many days in the desert.

| Home | | Italian | || English || Extract vol.1 | | Extract vol. 2 |