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©02 The Media Desk
I was waiting outside a small unmarked office in an old building on the outskirts of Washington DC.
I was nervous.
I. Was. Very. Nervous.
I walked down the narrow hall to the men's room one more time.
I splashed some cold water on my face before I went back to the office that simply said 'Consultants' on the door.
"Go on in." The receptionist told me without emotion as I walked into the waiting area.
And there he was.
No disguise. No makeup. A short thin man in a good quality suit.
He was far older than I expected. He must have been eighty, if not more. His gray eyes had a tired look to them. His remaining hair was pure white.
A small rather outdated typewriter sat on a desk in the corner with a stack of papers near it.
The telephone was a rotary dial unit.
"You are really the Bishop aren't you?"
"In a manner of speaking."
My confusion must have showed.
"I'm Bishop Forty-One. The immediate predecessor to your Bishop. The forty-first person to occupy this office. And actually the thirtieth to call this very office 'home'." He smiled a false teeth smile. "I am the actual holder of the Mandate." He gestured to a framed document above a wooden filing cabinet.
"You mean the code name Bishop has been used..."
"Since the beginning in the 1860's. It was the Department of War's code name for the first Director."
I sat in the old wooden chair he gestured at.
"I'm retiring." He said without preamble.
There was nothing for me to say about that.
"The mandate will pass to Bishop42. Your bishop."
I nodded. It made sense.
"He will come here and assume my duties. Which means Command and Control will need a new officer to do the behind the scenes work for Centre."
A slow chill spread from the back of my neck down my spine and through my arms and legs.
"No sir. I do not want the job. I enjoy the field too much. I don't know..."
"It's useless to protest Hunter." A voice said from a concealed speaker.
"Welcome to Command and Control Bishop43." The old man said extending his hand for me to shake.
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