The following week went by in a virtual blur. All Cecilia’s team members were busy ensuring the arrangements for the General Assembly Meeting were properly organized and communicated. Cecilia had extensive communication with Secretary Morrison’s office, after explaining what had transpired with the game and its outcome. Cecilia was candid in expressing her concerns about Ishmael and his ultimate objective, currently undefined but likely not pleasant. But the Secretary had full confidence in the security systems in place, both at the United Nations and within her own organization. She and her team would provide reinforcements to that agency’s security system, to ensure no problems arose.
The day of the meeting was at hand. The US Ambassador to the UN, Angelina Jolie, had assembled her team, all of whom would be in attendance. The Secretary of State, Geoffrey Pyatt would also be there. Both Russia and China had sent emissaries to attend. The world was holding its breath, about to hear the truth about the helium-3 hoax, directly from the hoax’s perpetrator. At this time, nothing was more important to all countries involved.
Promptly at ten am, a man was ushered into the General Assembly hall by three burly security men. He approached the dais, and looked at the assembled crowd. A hush fell over the group. “Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ishmael. Ishmael is Hebrew, and translates to ‘God heard’. It doesn’t matter what my last name is – I don’t want to endanger my parents by revealing it. But let me at least provide you with some essential details about who I am and why I have done what I’ve done.
First, let me say I am an Israeli. My parents emigrated to Israel in the 1980’s. They were the children of Holocaust survivors. All of my grandparents were exterminated in the Holocaust. I have no brothers or sisters, as my parents were too afraid that history would repeat itself to risk having more than one child. I was taught at a young age to believe that the world was not to be trusted. Otherwise, how can one explain the extermination of 6 million Jews between 1933 and 1945? There really is no other explanation. The world did not hear their cries. God did not hear the cries of the six million, sent by evil men to be starved, beaten and killed in concentration camps like Dachau, Treblinka and Auschwitz.
But back to the matter at hand. I am here to confess to all of you assembled here that I am, in fact, the perpetrator of a hoax. That hoax involved making the world believe that the Chinese were mining helium-3 on the dark side of the moon. The Chinese were not and are not mining helium-3 on the dark side of the moon; at least not yet. There may come a day when they will succeed in their efforts to do so. But I readily admit that at this time, no such activity is going on. I alone perpetrated this hoax. No one else was involved.
At first, I tried contacting a reputable scientist, Dr. Cecilia Vasquez to try to get her to lend credibility to my made-up story. Because she is a woman of science, she refused to believe me until I had proof of my allegation. Since this effort was unsuccessful, I tried another path: the media. I contacted a reporter for a reputable daily newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. As you all know, the owner of this newspaper is a man with a background and history in tabloid journalism. It is for that reason I selected that particular media outlet. I provided absolutely no proof of my allegation. Nonetheless, the reporter printed verbatim what I’d told him. It didn’t take long for the entire world to believe that this activity was taking place. Further, the world immediately assumed..” Ishmael emphasized the word ‘assumed’, and paused to look around to ensure the use of the word was noted by the assembled group. “It was assumed that the Chinese intended to use their resource to enslave the rest of the world. All of you know this is true. Unfortunately, that proves just how easy it is to fool the people of this planet.” Ishmael took a sip from a small flask he’d had in his pocket, returned the flask, and looked up at the crowd.
“I find the situation at hand to be very ironic. In 1925, when one Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf was first published, no attention was paid to it. The book was ascribed as the ravings of a madman. That same madman became Chancellor of his country a mere eight years later. It only took eight years to go from being a madman to being a politician – the leader of a country brought low by the conspiracy of the victors to deprive its people of the basic necessities of life, as well as their dignity. That made those people oh so vulnerable to the sly propoganda of Hitler and his henchmen.” Ishmael paused, took out a small white handkerchief, and touched his brow with it. He returned it to his jacket pocket.
“By 1933, Hitler was a millionaire from the sale of his book, filled with hatred for and threats against Jews. But still, none of the countries all of you represent..” At this point, Ishmael paused to look around the room, and make an arc with him arm to show that everyone was to be included in his next statement. “But still, none of the countries all of you represent – none of your fathers – lifted a finger to do anything about this man and his cohorts who committed unspeakable crimes. It would appear that nobody cared enough about this subspecies called Juden..” Ishmael paused, after emphasizing the German word for Jewry. “Nobody cared enough about Juden to intervene and stop the attempted extermination of an entire race of people.”
Ishmael paused to take another sip from his flask, and looked around the room. “Except for those that committed suicide, almost none of the perpetrators were punished for their heinous crimes. The world moved on, and quickly forgot about what happened. But then: it happened again. It happened again in Cambodia in the late 1970’s. It happened again in Rwanda and also in Bosnia in the early 1990’s. And all of you in this room were alive then. All of you were working in positions where you could have taken a stand and stopped these acts of barbarity. But you did not. You let these genocides occur. You went to work. You went home to your families. You ate dinner at nice restaurants. You didn’t even give a second thought to the mindless killing of innocent men, women and children. Did you respond to their pitiful cries for help? You did not respond. Did God hear the cries of those slaughtered Cambodians, Tutsis and Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica? God did not hear.
My hoax was designed to frighten all of you. I wanted you to be worried about your economies, about the quality of your lives and about your children’s lives. I thought it possible that you might find ways to work together to prevent occurrences such as I mentioned. But no. What did you do? All of you threatened China with military action. That is always your first instinct. Destroy. Annihilate. Take that which is not yours if you have the power to do so. Threaten or kill those that are weaker in order to acquire resources for your small patch of this blue planet.” Ishmael took one final sip from the flask, and then threw it against the wall behind him. The security detail began to slowly walk toward him, with their hands on their weapons.
“I don’t believe the people of earth are worthy of life. Your planet is one of only a handful in the entire galaxy capable of sustaining life. And what have you done with it? You have tried desperately to snuff life out. You clearly do not understand the importance of life, with all its wonderful diversity and meaning. Therefore, I have a gift for you. It would appear to fulfill your fondest wish. A collection of people who desire death so desperately should receive it. Goodbye.”
With those parting words, Ishmael bowed his head and touched his breast. There was a powerful roar, and an enormous explosion. The entire half of the building occupied by the General Assembly room was destroyed. Within minutes, the entire building was aflame. Legions of police and fire arrived on the scene, desperately fighting the fire. After the flames subsided, rescue workers began looking for survivors in the building. A few individuals struggled from under the debris. Nikolai and Feng Tian managed to escape, as they were standing in the very back of the room between two pillars. The US Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN were both killed, as well the Russian and Chinese emissaries. Cecilia was gravely wounded with a massive head wound and multiple fractures. The only reason she was alive at all was because just as Ishmael was about to touch his chest, Emily screamed in her ear, “Get down on the floor!”
Cecilia was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Brain Trauma Center, after a priest on the scene was asked by a young man to administer last rites to her. The young man watched as EMT’s carefully placed Cecilia’s bloody, broken body on the stretcher. The priest touched her forehead with oil, saying “Through this holy unction may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed.” The young man smiled and looked up at the priest. “My work here is done.”