Zero, Part Three

Continued from Part Two

Snyder located his gate. His row was called, and he made his way to his seat on the massive 747. He found his seat near the back of the plane. He settled in, pulled a holobook out of his carryon bag and resumed reading The Count of Monte Christo.

Five pages in, two cheery flight at-tendants gave a presentation on what to do if the plane crashed for the twentieth time this year. Listening to this four times a trip had to be his least favorite hazard of intro-ducing churches to the gospel of modern encryption.

“Thank you for flying Empire Air,” one flight attendant said as the plane began to climb.

Snyder glanced around the half-empty cabin. A few chairs ahead, across the aisle, a middle aged woman knitted over a purse with a gold zero emblazoned on the side. Next to her, a young, black-haired woman in a ladies’ suit sipped from a wine glass.

Snyder yawned, his eyes heavy. He shut the holo-book. Unless he was the pilot, he never got to enjoy a flight other than take off and landing.

He entered a great hall like his grandmother’s living room only far larger, with large tables set up. Each one seated saints, dead war heroes, and Founding Fathers. Only one table, far as he could see, had a seat open. He approached it and blinked at the golden card. Reserved for General A. L. Snyder.

This surely had to be intended for some other Snyder. Nonetheless, he took the seat and peered at his tablemates: St. Joan of Arc, President George Washington, General Patton, President Eisenhower, and Mel Gibson dressed as William Wallace from the original Braveheart movie.

St. Joan said, “There’s injustice and violence everywhere.”

Washington nodded. “Indeed, every-one does injustice and no one stands to oppose it.”

Gibson/Wallace said, “We’ve sought diligently for someone to make things right.”

Snyder asked, “Why don’t you do it? You’re the toughest people in history.”

Gibson/Wallace sighed. “Lad, we’ve finished our courses. The call must go to each generation.”

Snyder sat forward. “I can do it.”

Washington leaned back. “You have no idea how much it will cost.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“It will, but you must stay the course. That’s your charge.”

Snyder saluted. “Yes, sir.”

“Hey!” shouted a voice from outside the room.

Continued Next Thursday

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