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Son of perdition, p.29
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       Son of Perdition, p.29

           Wendy Alec
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  He studied the ten stapled-together pages of shaky black handwriting, then flipped through to the end. He stared at the signature.

  ‘Hamish MacKenzie. The Gables Retirement Home’.

  Jason started to read . . .

  Chapter Thirty-five



  Gables Retirement Home, Isle of Arran, Scotland

  Professor Hamish MacKenzie sat at a writing desk in his bathchair. He gazed out through the window at the vast loch glimmering in the early-morning mist at the edge of the manicured lawns of the Gables.

  He picked up his pen with trembling fingers . . .

  30th December 2017

  To James De Vere

  Please do not dismiss what I am about to disclose to you as the senile ramblings of a very old man. As I write this I am ninety-seven and my time on this earth is complete. They cannot harm me now.

  I am not a religious man. My god was the God of Science. But before I meet my Maker I feel it essential that I divest myself of the great burden of conscience that I have carried for over three decades.

  Proof of these incidents has been lodged with my lawyers for decades, but my lawyers were paid huge sums of money to mislay them. What you have in your hand is the only actual proof that any of the events I am about to disclose to you ever happened.

  When I was younger, like many genetic scientists of my era, I placed science and the pursuit of knowledge above ethical considerations . . . to my shame.

  MacKenzie dipped his nib in the violet ink and continued his meticulous scratching.

  In 1962, I concluded the successful nuclear transfer from a diploid cell of a frog to an unfertilized egg cell from which the maternal nucleus had been removed.

  From there my work came to the attention of global intelligence agencies. And to the attention of the Directorate of Operations, the branch of the CIA that ran covert operations – UFO design and testing, HAARP technology, anti-gravitational propulsion research and a host of Black Ops initiatives, including a highly advanced covert eugenics and biogenetic engineering programme.

  For over two decades I conducted thousands of macabre experiments in the military’s deep underground bases – the core of the Directorate’s operations and the military-industrial complex. I journeyed between Groom Lake, Dreamland, Area 51, Los Alamos – Dulce to name just a few.

  We performed gruesome experimentation on thousands of abducted and supposedly missing children. We used young women as incubators for our grisly hybrid experiments. We conducted alien/human genetic research in our covert laboratories far below the surface of the earth. I will spare you the lurid details, only to say it is a part of my life I deeply regret. By 1976 I was regarded as the top genetic scientist in the world.

  Unknown to the general public, in 1974 we had already successfully cloned five equivalents of ‘Dolly the sheep’ and were just weeks away from the first human cloning.

  In February 1981 my Black Ops handlers were approached by their extremely powerful masters – a covert organization controlled by a mysterious Jesuit priest.

  I was personally offered multiple millions for my research to insert a genome provided by them into an unfertilized egg whose genes were to be removed. There were mutterings about the Immaculate Conception.

  I was not a religious man. I asked no questions and obeyed my masters. I did as I was instructed to the letter.

  By December of 1981, I had one ambition – to leave the depraved world of covert biogenetics behind.

  With the money I had earned from this project, I planned to create my own foundation – The Aveline Foundation for Genetic Research – and return home to my native Scotland.


  The De Vere Mansion, Belgrave Square, London

  Jason scrabbled in Lilian’s desk drawer for a pack of cigarettes. She didn’t smoke, but he knew she still kept a pack of James’s favourite brand even years after his death. They were there, just as he’d thought.

  ‘Aveline.’ The name rang a bell. He shook a cigarette out of the packet. Julia had always disapproved of his smoking. C’est la vie.

  He took out James’s lighter and lit the cigarette.

  ‘Of course – Aveline was the name on the back of the photograph his father had sent Nick.’

  Jason looked at his watch, then picked up his phone and dialled.

  * * *

  St Bernadette’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner

  Adrian stood over Lilian. Her face was covered by an oxygen mask. His mobile phone rang.

  ‘Yes, Jas,’ he said, smiling down at Lilian. ‘Relax. Mother’s fine. I’ve sent Rosemary off to get some shut-eye. Of course I’ll stay with her until she wakes. I’ll let you know as soon as there’s any change.’

  The De Vere Mansion, Belgrave Square, London

  Jason clicked off his phone, then continued reading.

  * * *


  Gables Retirement Home, Isle of Arran, Scotland

  I had never seen genetic material like that before. Not even in my experiments with alien DNA. The genome was unequivocally not of human matter. Its genetic make up was like nothing I had ever encountered.

  Hamish MacKenzie gazed out at the still grey surface of the loch.

  I well remember the day when he came to the safe house in Marazion. He was dressed in the black robes of a Jesuit priest.

  I never knew his name.

  But I will never forget his face . . .

  Chapter Thirty-six

  Nightmare Hall


  Northern Gate, The Asylum, Marazion, Cornwall, England

  The rain lashed down onto the antique Rolls-Royce Phantom as it purred past the towering iron gates of the Asylum. It turned into a narrow cobblestoned lane, its headlights illuminating the forbidding walls of the Gothic mansion positioned against a vast disused copper mine.

  A blinding flash of lightning crashed through the heavens as the Rolls drew to a halt under the gaze of the monstrous stone griffins perched on the turrets on either side of the northern entrance.

  Two clean-shaven bodyguards in full military uniform alighted. The first opened the passenger door, the second stood to attention.

  Two feet in a pair of black, Tanino Crisci, limited edition patent shoes set down on the gravel, followed by a silver cane held in a gloved hand. The tall robed figure walked up the short pathway to the entrance, his features hidden by the circular brim of his cappello Romano hat.

  He paused to look out past the griffins into the black Cornish skies that loomed above him as a myriad of strange spherical objects flashed in the sky overhead at lightning speed, then disappeared.

  Lorcan De Molay smiled in approval. He smoothed his black Jesuit robes and adjusted the large crucifix that hung around his neck.

  This was the abode of his Dark Slaves of the Race of Men, who ran more than a thousand of the Brotherhood’s underground cities, and the abode of the Fallen. He nodded to his bodyguard, who knocked loudly on the wooden door.

  Slowly the façade slid open, revealing a one-foot-thick steel door that opened in turn. De Molay walked into the yawning vestibule, where ten soldiers in full battledress stood at attention.

  De Molay nodded to the Serbian officer. ‘Colonel Vaclav.’

  Vaclav saluted, trembling visibly.

  De Molay removed his hat. He nodded to a tall, flat-faced Russian. ‘General Vlad.’

  An ear-splitting siren sounded. Vlad saluted nervously as two thick steel doors slid open on the far side of the vestibule. De Molay removed his black leather gloves as Moloch and seven more of the Fallen lumbered towards him.

  Moloch towered over the terrified Vlad, leering, his long black stringy hair masking his contorted craggy features. He grasped Vlad’s throat with one monstrous hand and held him two feet off the ground Until De Molay raised his hand. Scowling, Moloch instantly dropped the suffocating Russian to the floor.

  ‘You spoil my sport, Master,’ Moloch growled, his voice a mi
xture of dark discords.

  ‘You will have your sport later. Where is the Halfling?’ De Molay demanded.

  ‘The Halfling awaits you, My Lord,’ Moloch growled.

  A thick-featured Germanic woman, dressed in a black siren suit, appeared behind him.

  ‘Your communication inferred that the nuclear transfer has been successful, Frau Mahling – is that so?’ De Molay asked tersely.

  Frau Mahling saluted, staring up at him in terror.

  ‘Jawohl, Your Reverence. Professor MacKenzie has been successful.’

  De Molay nodded and Mahling led the way down the huge corridor, then turned sharp right to where a posse of black-suited soldiers stood guarding the entrance to an underground tunnel.

  They saluted De Molay as one as he rounded the corner. The party boarded a large silver railcar and strapped themselves in. The railcar powered ahead at Mach 2, passing the lights of hundreds of other railcars as it sped through the tunnel beneath the surface of Cornwall and under the Atlantic to its final destination of Reykjavik, Iceland.

  Ninety minutes later the railcar stopped outside a steel gate which opened into a cavernous city.

  Mahling led the way past NATO military guards and into a metal lift. As the operator powered up, hundreds of crystals emitted a purple-bluish light and the lift car plunged downwards at high speed past four levels. It stopped abruptly at level six.

  Lorcan De Molay and Frau Mahling exited from the lift and walked through a second energy field. Armed Nephilim – genetic hybrids, part human and part angelic – covered their faces from him as he passed. He stopped before a huge pulsing screen that read LEVEL SIX – GENETIC HALLS, HUMAN – NOT HUMAN in English, Icelandic and in a language of angelic symbols.

  De Molay marched through the NOT HUMAN entrance, through another steel gate and into the lobby of level six.

  A thousand bloodcurdling screams of insanity echoed through the maze of winding corridors.

  ‘Nightmare Hall,’ De Molay murmured. ‘The Twins have excelled themselves, don’t you think, Frau Mahling?’

  The corridors of Nightmare Hall were lined with hundreds of barred cells occupied by mutant inmates. As De Molay strode past, multi-limbed humans and seven-feet-tall humanoid creatures shrieked in terror. They passed a large cell occupied by children with severed limbs and strange staring blue eyes.

  ‘We finish the work begun by our medical hero, Josef Mengele – the Angel of Death, Your Reverence,’ Mahling whispered in awe.

  She inserted a pass key in a scanner, then waited while the doors clicked open. She headed straight for a second set of doors at the far end of the research laboratory marked ‘PSYCHOSURGERY – RESTRICTED ENTRY ONLY’ guarded by nine-foot Nephilim.

  The doors opened to reveal a small laboratory. On the glass door panels was written ‘GENETICS DEPARTMENT’ in large black letters.

  Frau Mahling bowed and turned on her heels, leaving De Molay alone with an elderly man who was huddled intently over state-of-the-art cloning equipment.

  De Molay surveyed Professor Hamish MacKenzie with mild distaste. MacKenzie’s baggy old cardigan was wrongly buttoned and his worn trousers were sagging at the knees. There were day-old egg stains on his shirt.

  ‘Has our “special undertaking” been successful’?

  MacKenzie ran veined fingers through his sparse white hair; a strange exhilaration lighting his watery blue eyes.

  ‘Successful beyond all imagining, Your Reverence,’ he murmured. ‘Precisely one hundred and twenty days ago, I inserted the genome of alien matter into an unfertilized egg whose genes I had removed.’

  De Molay’s gaze moved from the unkempt MacKenzie to the state-of-the-art laboratory filled with centrifuges, thermocyclers, molecular phosphor-imagers, cloning cylinders, hybridization chambers and plating devices.

  MacKenzie walked to an unmarked door where a small machine instantly emitted a purple laser directly into his iris. The door opened.

  De Molay followed MacKenzie through a smaller laboratory that opened into a glass-domed chamber some twenty feet high.

  As De Molay entered, the laboratory plunged into darkness. The only light came from the solitary glass incubating chamber, covered by a muslin cloth.

  MacKenzie removed the cover to reveal a prototype artificial womb.

  The four-month-old foetus was suspended in a translucent fluid-filled sac, its heart visibly pumping, sleeping as soundly as if in its mother’s womb.

  ‘The fertilized egg is now growing and developing with only the donor’s nuclear genetic code’ MacKenzie said, his eyes gleaming. ‘It is of alien matter and yet . . . ’

  ‘And yet it develops as a human,’ De Molay murmured. He took a step nearer to the incubator. The foetus’s heart began to beat more rapidly.

  MacKenzie stared at the foetus, confused. The monitor’s readings were escalating out of control. Trembling, he checked them. The foetus’s heart was now pounding at 300 beats per minute.

  De Molay placed his hand on the glass dome and MacKenzie watched in horror as the heartbeat rose to 340, 360 . . . 400 . . . A bright purple light pulsed from the foetus’s chest cavity. MacKenzie was flung to the floor, temporarily blinded. He pressed his hands to his ears, screaming from the excruciating pain that coursed through every cell of his body.

  De Molay caressed the glass dome and the foetus’s eyes opened. De Molay stared, mesmerized, into the creature’s violet gaze.

  ‘My only begotten son . . . ’ De Molay murmured. Then abruptly removed his hand.

  * * *


  Gables Retirement Home, Isle of Arran, Scotland

  MacKenzie stopped writing. He shuddered, then leant back in his bathchair, fighting nausea. He took a deep breath and picked up his pen.

  * * *


  The Laboratory, Reykjavik, Iceland

  Instantly the lights and electrical apparatus switched back on. The foetus’s heartbeat slowed to 80 beats per minute.

  MacKenzie, paralyzed with terror, stared up at the Jesuit priest.

  ‘As per our agreement, you will receive fifteen million dollars,’ De Molay said. ‘One third transferred to your account on the clone’s birth, the next instalment when he turns eighteen. In the event of your death by natural or any other causes, on his fortieth birthday the final instalment will be transferred to your scientific foundation – the Aveline Institute.’

  * * *


  The De Vere Mansion, Belgrave Square, London

  There was that name again. Aveline.

  Jason took a sip of whisky and turned the page.

  * * *


  The Laboratory, Reykjavik, Iceland

  MacKenzie rose to his feet, trembling visibly.

  He looked at De Molay who was still staring at the clone.

  ‘Forty million dollars,’ MacKenzie said. His voice was very soft. ‘I have deposited copies of every piece of correspondence relating to our agreements and my procedures with lawyers in London.’

  He glanced at the foetus, then back to De Molay.

  ‘I recorded every conversation anyone in your organization has conducted with me months before my work here began. Every cloning blueprint has been scanned and transferred to my outside sources.’

  He stood staring at De Molay. ‘I remain convinced that you and your minions will go to extreme lengths to ensure the secrecy of this project.’ He hesitated.

  ‘Your organization’s name is mentioned, as is the head of MI6, Piers Aspinall, along with seven others. I think the few remaining nobler elements of the British and US governments will find the incriminating evidence precisely what they’ve been hoping for, and will connect it with Los Alamos.’

  The scientist smiled. ‘You see, Your Reverence, I am many things – a coward, perhaps . . . ’ He looked into De Molay’s pale gaze. ‘ . . . but not a fool. In the event of my untimely death or disappearance, this information will be communicated to every opponent of your shad
ow government in the Western and Eastern hemispheres. Your operation will be permanently jeopardized.’

  ‘You have no idea who you are dealing with,’ De Molay said evenly.

  MacKenzie brought out a large handkerchief and wiped his brow.

  ‘I have no next of kin to blackmail me into submission. My life is dedicated only to science.’

  De Molay studied MacKenzie intently.

  Finally he spoke. ‘Forty million . . . ’ He paused. ‘You are no fool, professor.’

  ‘And you . . . ’ MacKenzie stared straight into De Molay’s eyes, ‘ . . . are no priest.’

  MacKenzie turned back to the foetus. When he looked up a moment later, De Molay had vanished.

  * * *


  The De Vere Mansion, Belgrave Square, London

  Jason stubbed his half-smoked cigarette out in an ashtray. He turned the page.

  I am ashamed now, so many years later, of my greed. But I was a most ambitious man. And the money set my foundation up for my lifetime. And the next.

  Thirty seconds after I successfully delivered the clone I was escorted by security agents to Stansted Airport in London. I was flown back by an unmarked jet to Area 51.

  The next day, a mysterious fire broke out in the laboratory in Iceland and years of research documents were destroyed. All my staff suffocated in the fire.

  Eight days later, the first ten million was transferred to my account.

  Jason reached for the papers with the bank account numbers. There it was in black and white. A transfer of ten million dollars on 29 December 1981. He shrugged. He still didn’t get it. What did this have to do with anything? Especially with his father?

  Unknown to the whole world, at 2 p.m. on 21 December 1981 the world’s first nuclear genetic clone was succesfully delivered.

  I retired from my intelligence work two months later and relocated to Scotland where I set up my research quarters in Edinburgh.

  Chapter Thirty-seven

  A Death in the Family

  St Bernadette’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner

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