77 Invitation

February 12, 2029, City Square, Rome, Italy


Benjamin and Janet’s “perfect weekend in Rome” gives way to an exciting Monday for the American duo. The morning after they watched Pope Kellan deliver his blessing in St. Peter’s Square, a surprise invitation was delivered to their hotel. The Pope asked to meet with them before the Religion Roundtable begins. As instructed, Benjamin and Janet arrive to one of the Vatican’s private entrances. For the first time Janet can remember, Benjamin is the nervous one. He’s checking his watch every few minutes and gulping liters of water. She watches him fill his cheeks like a chipmunk and then swallow big.

He clears his throat and begins chattering in high speed. “This may be the most exciting day of my life—besides my marriage and the birth of James, of course. Who would have thought my job would be the thing to get me into the Vatican to see the leader of my religion?”

“So much for separation of Church and State, right?” Janet’s laughter relaxes him. “What are you carrying in your pocket?”

“It’s a Catholic zucchetto.”

“A skullcap? Why?”

“Pope Kellan is continuing the tradition of accepting and wearing a gifted zucchetto and giving you his in return. Can you imagine taking the Pope’s cap home?”

“That is very cool. I’m impressed.”

One of the Vatican’s priests approaches Janet and extends his hand. “Greetings Ambassador Jagger and Mr. Hume. May God’s blessing be upon you today. His Holiness is looking forward to your visit. He is staying on schedule with his busy morning, so we appreciate that you are on time. We will be going on a bit of a walk through some long hallways and navigating a few flights of stairs. Will this be acceptable?”

Janet knows she holds the higher rank here, so she answers for both Benjamin and herself. “This will be fine. We will follow you.”


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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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