”Death of illusions”
Spain – Brussels – Rome
The palatial room, filled with priceless gilded antiquities, lay in shadow, only lit by flickering candles and the sharp blue light from medical monitors.
In a hospital bed, violently clashing with the other furniture, lays POPE JOHN PAUL II. The familiar group of inner-circle clergy, save for Soforza, is gathered around it. They look at each other searchingly, then nod.
Miguel Cipriani folds the clear plastic oxygen tube in his hand and squeezes. They watch as the breathing mask over the pontiff’s face starts to fog. The pope tries to breathe, each breath more laboured and panicked. Then with a gurgle, the elderly man stops breathing. A few heart beats goes by and Cipriani releases the tube, carefully smoothing it out. The men smile at each other.
The royal summer villa is heavily guarded by Spanish security forces. Carriera’s limousine is let through without problem.
Inside Carriera is greeted by the ROYAL COUPLE in a glittering hall furnished with scattered sitting groups. Proceeding into the room, he is served a glass of champagne by a passing WAITER. PEOPLE come up to greet him. The news of the Pope’s death is high on the list of conversation topics, but politely, no one mentions the scandals involving Carriera.
A beautiful woman, MARIA SANBOTO – the notorious ETA ”angel of death”, greets him. He takes her by the elbow and leads her to a secluded place where they can talk. He brings out a small leatherbound Hèrmes notebook and a Montblanc pen, writing down a number. He gives her the note and says he deposited $50 million in the Credit Suisse account. He compliments her on the latest ETA-bombings and tells her to keep the good work up. In return, she gives him information on the whereabouts of Jean.
We pass on to another GROUP discussing the succession of the throne of S:t Peter. The group is worried about Miles Militis Deus seizing power.
AN OLDER MAN questions whether the secret conclave really dares to elect Miguel Cipriani after the recent media scandals. A WOMAN agrees and asks if Carriera really is stable enough to be the force behind the throne. Eyes glance darkly in the direction of Carriera.
A MAN naively asks what she means. Escrivarria is the head of Miles Militis Deus. The rest of the group stare at him like he is an imbecile. After an embarrassing moment, the older man tries to lighten the mood by saying that maybe they worry too much. Cipriani has a well known heart condition and maybe he doesn’t even last the record-short reign of John Paul I. The woman falls into the mood by retorting, ”or maybe somebody makes the world a favour by killing him.”
The naive man looks at her in disbelief. She spots Henri de Lorraine standing on the stairs at the entrance and smiles. ”Now this will be interesting,” she remarks.
Carriera also sees de Lorraine being greeted by the SPANISH PRINCESS. The princess greets de Lorraine as her dear cousin. Taking his arm, she wants to present him to somebody. She leads him toward Carriera. The two enemies stare at each other, then manners kick in and they politely shake hand. The room quiets.
They chat politely but the underlying threats are hardly concealed. The princess realises she has made a major mistake and breaks up the conversation, leading de Lorraine to yet another group. The room slowly starts to buzz again.
Home from the party, Carriera calls the Vatican and speaks with Cipriani, CARDINAL LEFEVRE, the Vatican’s foreign minister, and MONSIGNOR TERRANOVA, the security chief. Carriera needs passports and support from local priests for the ratline running war criminals out of Serbia and Kosovo. Lefevre is amused that Carriera continues the proud family tradition. With a sneer, Carriera reminds him the CIA is paying serious money for this.
In another part of the Vatican, in a sparse room far from the pompous splendour of the official offices, a mixed group of Jesuits and liberals gather, joined only by the common fear of Miles Militis Deus. They are headed by Cardinal Soforza.
The group is deeply worried about the news of the pope’s death and the question of succession. Miles Militis Deus seems to have a stranglehold over the inner circle and the curia from which the secret enclave responsible for the election will be chosen. They fear that even if, against all odds, Andrea d’Annunzio gets elected, there will be a replay of the John Paul I reign: murdered by Miles Militis Deus after 33 days.
The liberal, MONSIGNOR GRAVES, suggests that they might call in de Lorraine. In the heated discussion that erupts we understand that de Lorraine has the power to tip the election in favour of d’Annunzio, but it might also bring down the whole of Christianity.
In Madrid, Spain, Catherine Sinclair meets with the Spanish prosecutor, BALTAZAR GIRZON, responsible for the original extradition order of Pinochet. Sinclair admits she had to make a deal in order to get inside information on Carriera. Bringing him down will remove the root of evil.
In another part of the Spanish capital, Ghost retrieves the couriered CIA-folder at the drop, a small bookstore. Walking a block, and window shopping on the way to detect any tail, Ghost enters a bar and orders a beer. Sitting down at a table he starts leafing through the folder, stopping at the photos of Jean and Carriera, studying them carefully.
At a small taverna in an alley, Jean is silently crying for his mother. Madeleine tries to comfort him by caressing him and talking to him, even though she is in pain from the bullet wound in her arm. Alain’s watchful eyes are darting everywhere for a way out. He tells them to stay put.
He exits the taverna and then the alley, venturing into a small, quiet street. A car is parked beside a house. He quickly crosses the street and feels the door handle. The door opens and he quickly gets in. With a vicious looking knife he breaks the ignition keyhole and hotwires the car. As he backs out of the parking, a woman appears in the doorway of the house, screaming at him.
He quickly drives into the alley, shouting at Jean and Madeleine to get in, and then drives off in a cloud of dust.
Virgil and Lombard stroll chatting down a street in Brussels. An elderly but still vigorous man, the CARETAKER, sees them and approaches them. He motions them into a newsagent. He tells them someone is in Virgil’s apartment. He has called the police and urges them to stay until the police has arrived.
In a distance they hear police sirens, and TWO MEN hastily exit the apartment building and get into a car parked in front. It eases out into the traffic moments before the first police car arrives.
Mayhem meets Virgil and Lombard as they enter the apartment with the caretaker and TWO POLICEMEN in tow. The whole apartment seems to have been turned upside down. The police start asking questions.
In his Madrid mansion, Carriera sits watching old black and white films of nazi-footage. Licio Melli suddenly appears in an SS-uniform beside Adolf Hitler. The two men greet each other with warmth. The scene abruptly shows Melli, dressed casually in fifties fashion, playing with a small boy in a distinctly South American setting.
Bucci enters and tells Carriera that several of his companies suddenly have had major shifts in their holdings. Upset Carriera calls his business associates demanding to know what is going on. They try to placate him with fancy words, but he isn’t buying it. Something is going down.
In front of the Vatican, an excited TV-JOURNALIST reports that the secret conclave is now being shut in to elect the new pope. It may take hours – or months.
Inside the Vatican, the conclave sit down in a room that looks very much like a traditional British men’s club. They do not mention the election with a word, instead concentrating on increasing the future profits of the Vatican. It is clear that Miguel Cipriani already has taken office.
Catherine Sinclair slowly steps out of a cab, looking perplexed at the smoking ruins of Casa Telavera. At the other side of the lot, Ghost appears, taking in the scene. At the third side of the ruin, a car stops and Jean, Madeleine and Alain exit. Both Sinclair and Ghost stare at Jean and start to walk towards him. Alain whips out his gun, swaying the aim between the two persons approaching.
Sinclair states that she knows Jean, although he probably doesn’t remember her. She hasn’t met him since he was a small boy. Ghost briefly explains his story and Alain lowers the gun, but is still tense and watchful.
Jean suggests they go somewhere to talk. At that moment Madeleine spots an old man silently crying at the sight of the smoking ruin. They approach him. He was the OWNER of the house. After winning his confidence, he tells them there is a rumour that the original of the book they are looking for may never have left Languedoc, but has remained hidden, guarded by the descendants of the Cathars.
In an almost empty taverna the group gets to know each other. Sinclair clearly comes out as the leader. She has the knowledge, insight and mandate of de Lorraine. Jean is not too enthusiastic about going to Languedoc to search for an old book.
Sinclair takes him aside. For the first time Jean gets an explanation of his rather unusual life; demanding studies at the best schools the world has to offer, followed by the virtual imprisonment at Chateau Montrazés.
Jean’s family are descendants from Frankish rulers the Merovingians, as is many of the royal houses of Europe. He is the last of the direct line from Jesus whose decendants married into the Merovingian royal house in the 5th century. And that blood is prophezised to be of utter importance for the future.
Torn between disbelief and a desire to trust Catherine Sinclair, Jean decides to follow her to Languedoc. While Jean processes the information in the care of Madeleine and Alain, Ghost has a serious talk with Sinclair about Carriera, the great threat to Jean. Sinclair tells him about the connection to Licio Melli, a k a Enrico Carriera, the puppetmaster of Europe, and the father of Hernando Carriera.
It is clear that Jean and Madeleine have got closer to each other with every passing day. Alain, who has gone off to make a quick phone call, unseen by the others, doesn’t look too pleased by the development.
Ghost produces a big roomy car and together they all set course on Languedoc. After a long drive they stop at a roadside restaurant to eat.
When they all have entered the restaurant, a nondescript car pulls up beside their own. Two FRENCH-SPEAKING MEN exit the car, and while one keeps guard, the other attaches a small transmitter to Ghost’s car.
Inside the restaurant, Ghost and Sinclair sit by themselves as Ghost demands to talk to her without the others hearing. He produces his small tape recorder and plays back the rantings of the dying Nigel Crowley. Sinclair’s face looks more and more serious at the labourous tale of corruption, money laundering, illegal arms deals and clandestine power brokering. Ghost starts to tell her his own conclusions. He informs her that he used to be with the CIA, and while he thought he was working in the best interest of his country, the Crowley confession made him realise how he was used as a tool for shady deals.
Sinclair makes a call to Lorraine to report Ghost’s findings.
The restaurant’s TV suddenly breaks the soccer match to report that a new pope has been elected. Miguel Cipriani steps out on the balcony overlooking the Vatican.
The website of Virgil and Lombard publish more damaging information on Carriera.
Interested in producing? Contact Annika Lidne
© Annika Lidne & Henrik Jansson 2002 – WGA reg no 857741