The Marine and the Monk: Part Two

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The following is Part Two of a serial story about a woman Marine and a  Monk.  Click here to read the first installment.

“How is it going with your situation with the Church, Lucas?”

“I have to go before the Archbishop this Thursday. I had planned on Jo standing in for me….”

“She can still do that for you, Lucas.  We discussed it and she does not want to make your life difficult, Lucas. She will remain your grad assistant until the end of the semester. I suggested that she advise me at that time what she wants to do. That’s how we left it.”

“After Thursday, I might not be here any longer, Nan.”

“Go into see the Archbishop as humble as you can be. Tell him you’re not leaving the Church, just your role in it. But, I’m sure the Advocate has prepared you and he will be with you throughout this whole matter.”

“Yeah, he’s been very understanding. Listen, you know who I am, and I know your role in this, Sister, so let’s cut to the chase….”

“I really did not expect to see you tonight, Jo, after asking for a divorce from me as your advisor.”

“Just as my advisor, Lucas.  Especially after the way you acted today in the lecture.  We have a disagreement and you take it out on me in front of the class. Not the smartest way to hold onto me.”

“You mean, we’re still together, Jo?”

“Yeah, Lucas, the Marine and the Monk.”

“I won’t be a monk for long, Jo. Maybe. I didn’t want you to know beforehand, because I didn’t want you to feel guilty, thinking that I’m leaving the Order only because of you.  I started this before we even met and it seemed even more important to accomplish once we got together. Now, after several months it’s coming down around me and when Sister Kildare told me you didn’t want to be my assistant….”

“What you haven’t told me is why you wanted to leave the Order.”

“When I was a kid, my Uncle James was a monk. Back then things were changing and he warned me not to join. I know that sounds pretty lame, but he was right.  As a Marine you went to the wars to defend the country–to protect lives. As a Brother I went to the wars to defend the Church. I flew a gunship, Jo. People were killed.”

“You killed the enemy, Lucas. That’s what you and I did.”

“I guess I’m not making myself clear. I’m a Templar Knight, Jo.  I took a vow to protect Solomon’s Temple–what was left of it.  And now it’s gone and I know too much.  I was stupid enough to try to leave the Order through regular channels, which has only made me a target.  Jo, there are still places we could go that are not touched by the wars. Come with me, Jo.”

“What about my doctorate, Lucas?  I’m nearly there….”

“Screw the doctorate, Jo. I’m talking about our lives here. You still have this dream of using the Bible as a road map to ancient ruins discovered hundreds of years ago and then lost again. Jo, the biggest ruin of them all, Jerusalem, is gone. It’s dust that has now mingled with the desert sands. War is going on around where it once stood. It’s too dangerous to go anywhere near the area. Even if you could, all you would see is a huge, radioactive hole in the desert, that no one can approach without a rad suit for a thousand years.  I’ve said too much.”

“Everyone thinks it was bombed with incendiaries, Lucas. Are you sure about the radiation? I mean, both sides have nuclear warheads that won’t leave behind ionizing radiation for more than ten years. Lucas, are you sure?”

Lucas was sitting on the sofa, his hands covering his face. “I’m sure. I saw it with my own eyes.  I beg you not to pursue this through any channels whatsoever.  It is imperative that you come with me. We have to get away from here, Jo.”

“Where, Lucas?  Where will we go?”

“The last place they would think to look for us.”

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Join me next time for the conclusion of The Marine and the Monk

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