Curse of Cortes'

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Chapter 7: Lords of Ascension (Aruk’ Yuum)

Túumben Epoca, Northern Cayman Trench

June 17th 1:58 pm | 89 hours to Mayan chaa

Juan Perez carefully watches the high-speed helicopter approach his 85-meter mega-yacht Túumben Epoca (Epoch Arising) shuttling the last set of guests for the final pre-summit council meeting. Checking the interior cabin video he wants to make sure the visitors arriving are the ones he expects, wary of surprises. Admiral Valdez from Colombia, General Chavez from Bolivia, General Basque from Brazil, Peruvian Admiral Velasquez, and Mexican General Panera, the last five of the nine military council members. The economic council and others already lounge in the luxurious ship salon. For the past several years, the ship has served as the unofficial headquarters for a secret government. Tonight’s meeting will be the last before chaa.

One of his most prized possessions, the custom ship features a helipad, a six zodiac garage, jet skis, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a gourmet kitchen, a theater, a spa and twenty luxurious staterooms with a 900 square meter master’s suite. Hidden behind the state-of-the-art bridge lie the target controls for an Uran-E ASM anti-ship missile system. Under the hull, an empty ten-meter sub bay sits empty since he scuttled the last sub in the Cayman Trench to eliminate isotope evidence. Every crewmember is a trained mercenary, both well-armed and committed to his protection.

He lights a cigar as his encrypted cell phone buzzes from Shay. He sent the Syrian moron back to Roatan after the complete failure of his last mission. He should have shot him on the spot after he lost a man over a damn empty box, but there will be time for that later. Other loose ends must wrap up in three days and Golan still has a purpose.

After a deep drag, he answers, “Do you have the blade?”

“No and we tore the house apart,” Shay admits. “The bitch wasn’t at home or the hospital, but we tracked her to La Ceiba. She boarded a flight to Los Angeles an hour ago.”

“Los Angeles,” he bellows, surprised by the development.

Given her experience at the Belize Museum, she may be spooked, and seeking a U.S. buyer. Unable to sneak the artifacts through US customs, she must have left them behind somewhere.

As if reading his mind, Shay continues. “I leaned on Boyles to learn the woman visited a lunatic uncle on Isla Barbareta yesterday. I can send a team under darkness. We either find the blade, or take the old man.”

“Do it, the chopper will pick you up in an hour,” Juan Perez orders. “Call LA to have a man shadow the woman, and keep me informed. Bag her as soon as she’s back on our turf. Between the bitch and her uncle, one of them will break.”

What started as a simple and easy operation has grown into an expensive and multi-team endeavor at the worst possible time. It doesn’t matter, he won’t allow an American university to own the most sacred artifact ever found. It would be a sacrilege, and rob him of a priceless omen of his coming success.

He changes the subject. “What about Cozumel?”

“We buried Buluc Chabtan,” Shay reports, “and the two divers.”

He had ordered Shay to sabotage the re-breather gear to ensure the divers did not return. Early in life, he learned to eliminate witnesses, all of them. Golan looks forward to the pleasure of silencing Gahard at the right time, and yet the fool thinks himself safe.

“Give Gahard until morning, and then clean the site,” he orders, ending the call.

He inhales several deep breaths to re-center his persona, consciously putting on the mindset, the humor, and the charm of the man like an actor donning a costume, until he becomes the character. It gets easier and more natural each time, and soon it will be his dominant persona. He’s maintained dozens of personas over the years, part of a never-ending masquerade, a chameleon infiltrating into the elite circles he will soon control. Soon, only one persona will matter.

Stoking his cigar, he descends the spiral staircase into the central ship salon to greet his new arrivals with a gracious, warm smile. As massive as a luxury hotel, and just as elegant, he watches the eyes of over thirty men turn to take notice of his entry. A round of applause spontaneously erupts.

“Gentlemen, welcome back to the Túumben Epoca, the future will soon be ours. Tonight we celebrate.”

Dressed in Armani casual attire, linen shirt, and silk trousers, he acts magnanimous, holding an open palm toward the plush armchairs and lounges. “Please, amigos sit, make yourselves comfortable.”

Young women serve cocktails, expensive cigars, and gourmet hors d’oeuvres. Speakers play festive indigenous music as other women mingle and flirt. Tonight will be the last chance to inspire his council before the flames of anarchy scorch the continent. Excitement mingles with pride for how far he has come from such humble beginnings.

“Senor,” General Panera steps up and lowers his voice. “I need a word in private, por favor.”

“Of course General,” he shakes the large hand, “and excellent job yesterday. Island security appears impenetrable.” He leads them toward the aft deck pool for privacy. “What’s on your mind?”

“As you know, the US Navy discovered the Thai Maersk last week,” the General begins, lowering his gaze in shame for his failure to sink the ship. “The US just raised Defcon and ordered sonar sweeps of the Gulf, urging Lanza to cancel the summit. I convinced Lanza to rebuff the Americans, but he ordered a search of the reef and increased sonar. Buluc may be at risk.”

Out of necessity, General Panera knew the original plan to bury Buluc Chabtan under a reef. Out of the same necessity, he has no clue the plans have changed.

“Nonsense, Buluc remains safe,” he retorts with a chuckle. “Search the reefs and sweep the oceans,” he sips his cocktail unconcerned. “Do what it takes to make Lanza and the others feel safe, but we must have full attendance.”

Panera’s face distorts in confusion, wanting to ask a question, but unwilling to cross a line.

“Senor, I’m confused,” complains Panera.

“I do not require your comprehension General, only your trust,” exhorts Juan.

He sees no reason to inform the general of the new details, and in fact, keeping him in the dark may be the only thing keeping him alive. There can be no witnesses or lose ends.

“Yes, of course,” Panera bows his massive head. “I will make it so.”

“Good,” Juan Perez smiles and pats the large man’s shoulder. “Now let’s join the others before they gossip that we are planning a coup.”

A trusted member of his war council, the nine warlords of Bolon-Yokte, General Panera, along with eight other military men maintain control over a vast sleeper cell militia. The other men represent his economic council of senior bankers and CEOs each of whom are eager to assume total control of a Putin style oligarch system. Each man groomed, corrupted and absolutely under his control. Like him, they each share a mixed blood ancestry with a strong, cultivated loyalty to their indigenous birthright. Fervent passions he has skillfully sharpened into a powerful unifying vision.

“After the chaa there will be widespread chaos and economic uncertainty.” Senor Tito Pena leads a discussion while sporting his ubiquitous Harvard tie. “To prevent a run on the banks, we will close them until the military has a firm control. Once we can introduce a new currency then we begin industrial consolidation.” Tito delivers the plan in a matter-of-fact tone.

Within a few days, the Banco de Mexico Nacionale board of directors will nominate and elect Tito to replace Salazar de Aguilar.

“Buluc Chabtan will bring widespread unrest and bloodshed,” interjects Juan Perez, testing them. “Let the crisis escalate and allow blood to flow in the streets. Eliminate those who build a following, but wait for the second signal, sleeper cells must execute together. The world must see us as salvation to restore peaceful order. If we feed this perception, neither the U.S. nor the UN will risk more than harsh words or temporary sanctions.”

Looking each man in the eye, he searches for an unquestioned loyalty.

“Today, gentlemen, you are among the most powerful men of your nations. Soon, we will combine our forces to become one of the most powerful nations on earth. Separate, they dismiss us on the world stage, but united, we will demand respect. Separate, we are the remnants of invader colonies. United we become a new world power,” he bellows his own genuine passion.

Chests swell, nostrils flare, and grins grow wide behind sunglass-hidden eyes. He has dreamed of this moment since his youth. When others scorned him, he turned his rage into subversion. When his enemies pronounced his demise, he resurrected to eliminate them. Placing his palm gently on the shoulder of each man and feeds on their energy, making eye contact as he speaks.

“Never again will they treat us like a small banana republic to be intimidated by our European or American masters,” he boasts defiantly to nodding heads.

“No longer will Latin America identify us with an invader. Soon, world maps will feature the continental empire of ‘Xibala’, home of the Xi’ peoples,” he shouts. “Ko chaa túumben!” (On the solstice, we arise).

Spontaneous applauds sweep the men up in the anticipated glory, wealth, and power. “Ko chaa túumben!” comes the full-throated response.

For over twenty-five years, he’s built the foundation for his vision to unite Mexico to Argentina under a single flag, and his rule. An investment of billions to develop sleeper cells within military, police, industry, banking, and government will soon pay-off. Decades of maneuvering elections, and corporate boards, blackmailing or seducing politicians, eliminating or outright buying the media. Armies of hackers and surveillance experts form an illicit, dark web network.

Even as a boy, when others spat on him, he dreamed big, a place in history big, world-changing big, millennia-long legacy big. He will change maps, change minds, and change the global balance of power. Tired of hiding his face, feeling ashamed of his identity, afraid of being invisible, forgotten by the world, he vows the world will remember, celebrate, and emulate his life.

Soon, with the sacrificial blade of the maker as his omen, he will celebrate his success. He will be the one to fulfill the rebirth of Chilam Balam, and bring the darkness of Bolon-Yokte. He will rule over an empire of his own making.

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