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SYNOPSIS OF Board of Directors of Wars
From the 1950's through the 1990's, baby-boomers saw that many famous deaths worldwide had never received thorough investigation. Early television showed variety shows, but later TV exposed scandals in government, church, and corporations. Politicians, starlets, billionaires, and royals made news involving sex, sin, death, and murder. But what if all those deaths had been orchestrated by one group? And what if an Italian mobster on his deathbed became willing to expose the group? When Kirk Wildman travels with Marie to southern Italy to conduct 'a routine interview' with that Mob killer, they stumble blindly into the crossfire between one ready to expose a group's past, and that group's willingness to kill any who interfere with their plans to trigger World War III.
"Directors of Wars struck me as 'The Da Vinci Code' meets 'The Most Mysterious Deaths of the Last Fifty Years'." -M E. Tran, New Pathways
Excerpt from The Board of Directors of Wars
September, Current Year
Melito di Porto Salvo, Italia
The dying patient's circumstances included the elements of any beauty and beast story, the view of the Mediterranean Sea from his window providing the beauty and the clinic supplying the beast by way of a nurse more dedicated to killing than to healing. The early morning rays of the sun penetrated the overall dimness of the room in a linear, diagonal fashion. The glow entered the ground floor window obliquely since the ancient structure faced south, looking beyond the beige beach and across the azure sea. The open window, recessed several inches into the stone wall of the earth-tone building, also admitted the earliest stirrings of the day's first breeze. The flimsy cloth curtains with their faded embroidery trim, originally pure white, now matched more closely the beige stones on the outer walls of the health center. The patient twisted to his opposite side from the position he'd only assumed moments before, enabling him to see the curtains fluttering more to the horizontal, reaching into the clinic room toward him, toward the man moaning in his physical anguish and his mental misery.
Totally delusional, he saw no fluttering curtains but murdering men instead, all climbing through the open window and intent on killing him. In his salad days, he stole his way into rooms surreptitiously and robbed the life of his many victims. Now, the thieves of life would steal away that most priced possession from him, and he knew they numbered his remaining days with single digits. With the faulty reasoning of his advanced age made more unclear by the effects of slow-working but fatal drugs, curtains could easily become killers in such a declining mind.
The treatments administered by the nurse had rendered him nauseous, paranoid, and suicidal. If not sleepy, he suffered an impaired memory; if not forgetful, he felt dizzy and slurred his speech. In a heightened state of paranoia, he looked back toward the window. As the curtains fell, then rose again in his direction, he screamed forth a blood-curdling shout, certain that they had found him, convinced that they had finally come to finish him.
A black shout of "Help! Help me!" exploded from the sufferer.
At her station only twenty feet away from his door, Nurse Lucia Milotto turned two more pages of her Italian movie star magazine before even lifting her eyes from the pages. She looked toward the room from which the shouts rose again.
"Help me! God, somebody help me!"
Lucia, ignoring all except the magazine on the table before her, read slowly as the bold print headline of an article faded into a smaller font. As her eyes followed the trail of words onto the next page, she folded the magazine in half and leaned back in her chair to continue her reading and to continue ignoring the patient's pleas for help.
A man pulling a wheeled stand with an attached IV asked Ms. Milotto if she intended to respond, in order to "Shut up Vidotta, once and for all." She smiled, but over his words, or over the possibility, Either way, a palpable sense of death hung in the air of the clinic as the dark noise from Vidotta's room filled the space.
The shouts grew louder, finally forcing Lucia to act. She approached a storage room, fumbled through a handful of keys, inserted one slowly into the lock, and once inside reached to a top shelf. Removing a small, unmarked vial, she inserted the needle of a previously-used syringe into the rubber membrane atop the bottle, and withdrew the inner plunger of the hypodermic to siphon a liquid into the body of the syringe and fill it completely. Locking the door behind her, she moved across the sullied tiles on the floor of the corridor and entered the room with its ethereal curtains, fingering their way toward Giorgio Vidotta and reaching in a ghostly fashion for his neck, so he thought.
Hearing the shuffling of Nurse Milotto's feet, Vidotta rolled back to his left; his screams intensified as she advanced. More than his dread of the deadly apparitions at the window, he feared his fate at the hands of the lethal Lucia. His screams for help transitioned into screams of "No! No! No! Stop her!" He strained against the leather straps that coursed from wrist to bed frame, drawing taut their slack that allowed for bodily shifts but restricted any further movement. She ignored the putrid smell that rose from a bed gone far too long without a changing of urine-soaked sheets.
Walking past the window, she looked beyond the fluttering curtains as their movements made visible occasional flashes of the glittering beach in the foreground and the sparkly blues beyond. She paused, enjoying the sight of the Mediterranean Sea with the pale blue sky above and the soft, white puffs of clouds suspended over the azure waters. She treasured the waters and longed to sail across their indigo surface, wishing for the presence of the one she loved and longing to drift silently in his boat, in his arms. Vidotta's screeches cooled the imagined heat of the combination of her lover's passion and the Mediterranean sun. His howling whisked her back into the coldness of a room chilled by the breath of death that lingered in the sunless shadows in the corners.
He shifted his body to impede access to his buttocks but Nurse Lucia grabbed one of the straps and wrenched it up hard, easily forcing the frail, emaciated body to flip to its opposite side and face away from her. The shrieks that followed exceeded in volume all his preceding cries, and the trained eye of any careful observer would note that the needle penetrated neither buttock but fell painfully in between. As she departed, she looked back to see the man writhing in pain in his off-white metal bed, the one with a brown wooden crucifix mounted over its head rail, revealing another also in torment and pain. She smiled and closed the door. Oh yes, she thought. The pain, the suffering. It's all so good!
By the time Giorgio Vidotta's moaning had finally subsided some fifteen minutes later, Nurse Milotto had long resumed her reading. One would now have to stand in his room to hear Giorgio's mumblings, trying to warn Giovanni and regretting their part in operations that involved "Cinyras II" and especially "Galatea."
Excerpt from The Board of Directors of Wars
March 1, 1960
Mexico City, Mexico
As the seven men entered the private room in the back section of a small hotel in the historical district of Mexico City, two other men rose from their seats as if in homage. The men in the column did not look toward the duo that remained on their feet but marched instead toward the chairs arranged behind a table covered in linens. Actually, to fulfill a request for a dais, management had pushed several smaller tables together and covered them to create the appearance of one long table. As the seven each stood between table and chairs, the three on the left, the three on the right, and the two to his front looked directly at the man standing at table center.
He lowered his head, found a serving of cheap champagne poured into a glass intended for serving highballs instead, and raised it for a toast. Holding that pose, he looked left, then right, then to the front. Satisfied that all had assumed the same stance, he lifted his glass a few inches higher and explained with an accent not of Mexico, "Mars was the God of War. He preceded the army into battle. Like our namesake, we shall precede the armies of the world, for they must contact us, and do business with us before they can go to their wars; therefore, to the success of 'Operation Mars.' From this day forth, the first day of March, that month named for our God of War, we shall designate as the High Holiday of our assemblage." Obviously, he had searched for and found the label that henceforth would refer to their group. While some had spoken of a Komplott, the founders decided that the idea of a group gathering for conspiratorial purposes carried a negative connotation, so the chairman evidently had found a softer term. "Assemblage" they would use. He continued, "We shall meet annually and share wondrous reports of our success in engineering beneficial terminations that will foster hostile climates across the entirety of this globe, manufacturing atmospheres which we pray may perpetually prove conducive to everlasting, international war. Prost!"
"Cheers!" one shouted. "Yeah, salute, dere," another added. And with that, they drew their glasses to their mouths in unison in a toast to the opportunities for profiting from war.