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Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10
“Impossible,” growled Jude, pacing back and forth the small room he and Irene were staying in. “We've been sent back in time to kill Jesus Christ?”
The doctor and the entire team sat in silence.
“Why on Earth would Alexander send us back to kill Jesus Christ?” Jude howled. “Are you absolutely sure it is him?”
Irene nodded. “As much as I hate to admit it, it seems very likely. Same period. Same location. I mean, Yēšûă is a very common name at this time, but it also happens to be the Hebrew name given for Jesus. I suspected as much when I began delving into the material Alexander provided on your target. And then he goes and says that - straight from the Gospel of Thomas. That confirms it. He has to be Jesus.”
She searched the faces in the room and continued. “And the Maria we met, or Mary, is also a very common name, but there were quite a few Mary's who were close followers of Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary of Clopas. And of course his mother, the Virgin Mary, although that woman was much too young to be his mother.”
“That does sound like mounting evidence,” muttered Spider.
“That is the real reason I came on this trip – to confirm my suspicions, and talk you boys out of it,” she said.
“Couldn't it just be another teacher of the time?” asked Jude. “The name could be a coincidence, you did say it was common, and they could both just be spouting the same old wisdom of the time. And, are we even sure Jesus Christ actually existed, let alone is right here right now?”
“There is significant evidence to suggest he did, Mr. Stone,” Irene said flatly. “More accounts than other historical figures we take for granted to have existed. Mind you, these other people are more believable because they don't claim to walk on water before turning it into wine. The usual practice being walking on grapes, of course. Followed by...”
“Does it matter whether it is Jesus or not?” Spider spat, standing up and throwing his tattooed arms in the air. “Killing someone in history has never been a problem for any one of us bar little miss know-it-all over there. I mean nobody would be here, changing the past, if they believed in God or the bible or any of that. There is no God. He ain't the son of God. And if he were, then he could use his magic powers to stop us, right?”
Irene shook her head. “I may think the prospect of God or a man who performs miracles is very unlikely, but that doesn't mean I can't see the benefits of the Christian teachings. Teachings that will surely die out if we were to kill him.”
“Good riddance to oppressive ideology,” scowled Spider. “That is obviously why Alexander sent us back here. We are here to stop that message from spreading like the plague and preventing the rot of social and scientific progress.
“You look in the bible and what do you see, justification for the crusades, for wars, for slavery, for murder, for anti-Semitism, and for abuse and torture. What kind of message are you protecting? I mean really, doctor, you know this better than all of us. For God's sake.”
“What I know, Spider, is that human nature is human nature,” Irene started. "People start wars, religion is only a vehicle, a tool, an excuse to dominate others for resources and power."
Spider groaned. “Not that human nature bullshit argument. Everything I said is as clear as day in the bible.
“And don't say that it did more good than bad either. Alexander and his researchers are the ones with that hologram thing. They can see what is best for the world.”
“I don't care what you say, killing Jesus is not going to prevent the awful acts justified by the bible from happening,” said Irene, raising her voice. “But that's not Jesus' message anyway. His message is of love, community spirit, inclusion, personal and social empowerment, forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance. It was Jesus who spoke out against those acts you talk of, and in fact, Jesus who challenged the religious establishment of the time. He wanted peace on the Earth. His influence surely only had a positive effect on the world.”
“He wanted peace on the Earth?” Spider sniggered, looking at each of his fellow soldiers. “My mum sent me to Sunday school because it was a cheap babysitter while she went out dating different men each week, and that's where I learned atheism.
“I remember two quotes from the 'Prince of Peace' which made me wonder whether I was the only one in class actually listening to this bile.
“The first says something like, 'I didn't come to the Earth to bring peace. I didn't bring peace, but brought a sword. I came to divide every family and set them against each other. He who doesn't love me more than his children and his parents isn't deserving of me. Let go of your life and follow me blindly. Amen.'
“The second says something like, 'I have come to cast fire upon the Earth, and I wish the planet was already burning.' Then it goes on about dividing people, hating everybody including yourself and your own life, and setting everyone against each other. And finally instructs people to 'sell their coat and buy a sword. Bla bla bla let's blow yourself and everybody else up. Amen.' Sounds like a message that breeds terrorism to me. Just as the report we were given said.”
“I know the passages you talk of,” stated Irene. “They are from the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew. But when the passages are understood in context, understanding the occult Hebrew symbolism of the time, they are actually passages of personal transformation. The bible in my opinion can be split into three areas: the law of the time, a documentation of the history, and a manual for self-transformation, often using allegory. This is the latter.
“These passages, I believe, warn that when you challenge the way most of society think, you will come up against opposition, even in your family. They state that if you hold strong to these ideals you will find heaven on Earth. A change in ideas can change the world around you.
“The reason Jesus was saying that he is not bringing peace, is because he was coming to stir the pot with a metaphorical sword, and create an ideological change. He was telling his followers to be strong, and take the ideas of peace and love to the people with a metaphorical sword.
“A sword that cuts through the status quo. You must remember that at this time in history life was filled with much more terror than the world we know - at least in most places around the world. That might be a ‘metaphysical’ interpretation, but it is the only one that makes sense.”
She added under her breath: “If you want to kill anyone, kill Emperor Constantine and all those who attended the Meeting of Nicea. He was the one who first used Jesus' teachings to enslave the population, and outlawed and buried the 'heretical' teachings of empowerment.”
“And your research tells you that? Or that’s what you want to believe?” hissed Spider. “It seems like a long bow to draw, and an interpretation that was lost on millions of people since.”
Irene shrugged. “Well, maybe we can ask him himself. But if this wasn't his meaning, then Jesus must be the most bipolar man in history, because it goes against everything else he is supposed to have preached.”
Spider grunted. “Whether or not there is a hidden meaning behind the words that we do not understand in the 21st Century, it was and is still responsible for atrocity after atrocity.”
She paused, her curly dark hair bouncing as she took in quick, deep breaths. “It was never the bible that created the wars or the torture, but mankind ... our greed, perceived lack of resources, fear of others, innate animal aggression. If there wasn't a bible, they'd be using something else to sway the masses.”
Spider laughed and shook his head. “Don't get me wrong, I am not so ignorant to say that the teachings of the bible were the sole reason. Naturally, human instincts and desires have their place. But convincing the masses to do something awful is a lot easier thanks to this little phrase, 'it says to do it in the bible'. You'd be hard pressed to find any more used excuse for these acts.”
“I never knew you were so passionate about this stuff,” laughed Zhang, an ex-commando, leaning against the wall. "Especially for someone whose day job is killing people."
“I'm here to do my job, and if that means proving this bitch wrong, then so be it. Some noob who lives in her books instead of the real world won't get in the way of this mission now,” Spider roared. “The research team have done months of investigation into the effects of taking Jesus out of history, and they believe it will be an absolute certain positive effect. And I agree. Getting rid of Christianity will get rid of half the atrocities of the past two thousand years.
“But you know what? It doesn't matter what this guy did in my books. Our orders are our orders. As a soldier, we follow them, and hope that the guys at the top know what they're bloody well doing.” Spider got right in Irene's face. “Tell me, sweetheart, is there any good reason at all why we should go against orders and not kill him? Hey? Why your quick assessment and ethic dilemma should be valued over months of solid research from scientists with much better qualifications and brains than you?”
“First, they don’t have better qualifications or brains than me. Second, you shouldn’t just follow someone because they are supposedly more qualified to think.” Irene looked at the hardened faces in the room. “What I find disconcerting is that I'm the only one here who thinks we shouldn't kill Jesus Christ. This is ridiculous. Think for yourselves for once, guys.”
“There is a good reason not to kill him,” said Jude, staring at the back of his hands that rested on his knees. “I lived in a shanty town run by a drug lord in Brazil. The easy option was to get into the drug world in some way.
“Christianity seemed to be the only thing that gave people the faith and strength to choose another option. The church also was the only organization I knew of going deep into the favelas to help street kids get over some of the worst drug addictions you’ll ever see.
"These people weren't soldiers. These were ordinary people. Ordinary people showing extraordinary bravery because they had something to believe in.”
Spider stood still with wide eyes, a furrowed brow and a gaping mouth.
Jude continued: “As Doctor Hadar said, you don't have to be Christian to see the value the belief system brought to the world. You just have to look past the history books, and to the millions upon millions of cases where Christianity has helped the individual. You can't measure that.” He paused. “And it doesn't seem right to kill a man who had this same bravery in preaching peace during very violent times.”
The room was silent.
“Are you meaning to tell me you are agreeing with Doctor Hadar?” Spider said. “I knew you were a bit of a loose canon, but this... Nobody else is buying into this quack, are they?”
There were murmurings in the room and the shaking of heads.
“I never said I wouldn't kill him,” Jude said. “Our orders are to kill him, so we will. I've never cared about our targets or the reasons behind our missions before, why should I now? I'm here to do my job, and so I will.” He paused. “I was just saying the doctor wasn't a nut job. But it would pay, Doctor Hadar, to keep your pretty mouth shut on this theoretical debate so we can do our job and make the hit.”
Spider grinned and made a cartoonish sigh of relief. “You never cease to surprise me, mate. We'll go ahead as planned. Tonight Jude will spill Jesus' blood.”
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