Coffee and Cardinals

May 13, 2015:

While Magdalena comes to grips with coffee machines, religion makes strange bedfellows back in the Vatican.

St Paul's Cathedral and the Vatican


NPCs: Pope Clement, Cardinal Pech, Colin Jeffries


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…


Pope Clement and Cardinal Pech are strolling through the Vatican gardens on a lovely spring day. The flowers are blooming; an ordered patchwork of colours and scents that bring a smile to the face of the older man. “I much prefer it when God shows us the beauty He is capable off rather than the destruction” notes Clement as he stops to smell some roses. “Mmm…lovely. Has the Magdalena settled in?”

“As well as can be expected, Your Holiness” Pech replies, stopping but merely admiring the flowers from a distance. “It will take her some time for her to get acclimatised to her new surroundings. She is a warrior after all. One should not expect her to suddenly slip unseen into society.”

“Perhaps not, Cardinal, but I believe a warrior is at their best when they understand what they are fighting for” replies the Pope before straightening and resuming his walk. “She is God’s instrument to protect the souls of his children, whether they believe in Him or not, and I believe she is better off amongst them than in some secret base where she is occasionally unleashed like an animal. I also believe we should look into how we train the Magdalena. They learn war. They learn languages. They learn occult knowledge. But do any of them really learn to live? And life is the most precious gift that God bestows.”

“I shall look into it, Your Holiness” Pech bows. “We can start with the current candidates if that is your wish?”

The Pope considers a moment before nodding firmly in the affirmative. “In the meantime, let us hope that the current Magdalena is a quick learner.”


St Paul’s Cathedral Library. Maria Sophia Esteban, also known as the Magdalena, has been staring at the coffee machine for five minutes now. She stands there with a five dollar bill in her hand and a growing annoyance at whomever it was that scratched off the instructions. There seems to be a slot for the money…so far so good…but all these buttons, what are they for?

“Can I help you?” asks a young man’s voice. Magdalena turns to see Colin Jeffries, one of the volunteers who have been cataloguing the vast library since the records were destroyed in a freak fire…that only destroyed the records.

“Father Elazar asked for a coffee” Magdalena explains. “He said this machine would dispense it but…I am afraid I do not know how to make it.”

“It can get a bit complicated” nods Colin with a smirk before reaching for the bill in her hand. “May I?” She gives it up and he slides it into the machine. “Did he mention what kind of coffee?”

“Short black?” Magdalena replies, unsure if that is actually a type of coffee. She doesn’t touch the stuff – it is a drug after all. And the stench is like Hell’s armpit.

“That would be this button here” Colin smiles, pressing the third from the left. “I think someone should put some signs back over the buttons.” The machine gurgles to life. “You’re the PhD student from Argentina, right? Maria…”

“Esteban” Magdalena completes for him as she eyes off the machine as it now starts to shake. “And you are Colin Jeffries, twenty-five, resident of the Upper East Side and volunteering while also completing a doctorate in Philosophy at NYU.”

“Umm…yeah…that’s me” Colin replies, trying not to look confused. “I guess Father Elazar mentioned me…in detail.”

“Hmm?” Magdalene replies before a slight pause and then, “Oh…yes…he told me all that information.” A Styrofoam cup drops down in the machine and is then filled with the coffee as requested, the smell making her wrinkle up her nose in distaste. “So I just take it when it’s done?”

“Yeah” Colin nods, “Though don’t forget your change too.” He nods to the change bay. “It won’t give you that until it’s finished though. So you’re a PhD investigating some of the old books and Elazar has you fetching coffee.”

“/Father/ Elazar was busy and I don’t mind” Magdalena replies before reaching for the cup…and then pulling away as another squirt of coffee hits it. “There is no task that is beneath any of us, Mr Jeffries.”

“Please call me Colin” he smiles. “I think it’s finished now.”

Magdalena takes the cup and then the change. “Thank you for your help, Mr Jeffries” she smiles before heading off back into the depths of the library in search of Father Elazar.

“Colin” he reminds before adding, “Maybe we could catch up later…” But she is gone. “Or not” he sighs before attending to his own coffee needs.


Cardinal Pech stands on the balcony of his quarters, staring out at the lights of Rome beyond the Vatican walls. “And so the world sleeps away in ignorance once more” he states quietly but with more than a hint of frustration.

“And you would change that?” asks an electronically modulated voice from the darkness of his rooms.

“God’s light needs to shine” Pech nods. “It needs to purge the evil from the world. It needs to remind humanity of its true place…cowering before His might.” He takes a deep breath, still not looking back at who…or what…he is talking to. “The Magdalena is in New York. She will not be able to protect His Holiness when the time comes.”

“And the others in training?” asks the voice, a black gloved hand emerging from the dark to offer a plastic card that looks like a credit card. “You have them under control?”

Pech glances back and takes the card as he nods. “They will obey me when the time comes.” A quick glance at the plastic before he slips it into his dressing gown pocket.

“Then we shall be in touch when our plans are further progressed. Good night, Your Eminence. Hail HYDRA.”

“Hail HYDRA” Pech replies as if he is fighting the urge to throw up…but if God decides that the sheep must lay with the lion for His will to be done. Then so be it.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License