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White Snows


PresidentDavid
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White Snows

 

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The air of Vatican City was fresh and crisp like no other Sunday morning for a very long time. The Castel Sant' Angelo was no longer a museum like it had been for about 300 years before. The grounds now rumbled with the boots of Swiss Guardsmen who marched throughout and around the ancient fort. The same fort built in 123 AD by a Roman Emperor - Emperor Hadrian. The same fort that Pope Clement VII seeked refuge in 1527 after 147 Swiss Guardsmen gave their lives to allow the Holy Father time to escape. The castle was a crypt, the castle was Roman, the castle was Catholic, but above all the castle was historic and belonged to the ages. And now, like it did so long ago and so many times before, it was bringing a new life to an army and an new chapter to history. 

 

Pope Anthony had issued a Papal Decree ordering the creation of a true standing army for the Vatican - one that would be 50,000 men strong and that was just to start. Next would come an Air Force, a Navy, and - God willing - more men who would be willing to defend the faith. Anthony was not looking for an aggressive Vatican but one that could defend itself in its hour of need or come to the aide of others only in the most dire of situations. Now that the Pope had to protect hundreds of thousands of people he needed serious manpower and weaponry to do so. The Church which he led would be one of peace but would not stand down to any attack or unlawful or otherwise uncalled for advance. No, Christ's church would defend itself and its new citizens of The Vatican when necessary. 

 

While the new troops trained, Anthony pondered these things which had been on his mind since the fall of Athens. A nation which had its harsh and unforgiving days but was otherwise respectful and stood in defense of the Church in most instances. Such a mighty empire which lasted for so long under unique leadership. Perhaps that is what had saved the Church from destruction. Uniformity and tradition are not always desirable in appearance but almost always stand the test of time. Tradition makes followers who believe in the practice and also followers who would die for the practice. Jesus had said that the gates of Hell would never impede upon his Church and destroy it in hellfire. 

 

But what of the scandals that rocked the Church before? What of the Popes who did not represent God but only themselves and their lusts for power? Anthony knew the answer to that common quote of the doubters. No man is perfect, including the Pope. This must also mean that no church is perfect including the Catholic Church that Christ founded Himself. There were sure to be times where corrupt men took advantage of their free will and others took advantage of the defenseless but this was not even comparable to the true evil that was out there prowling the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Not even close.

 

The Holy Father was confident that he would not be one of the forgettable popes of the past. Though, after all, he was Pope Anthony, so surely his name would not be lost to the ages. He would be remembered for something more than being the leader of the Church. It was time for him to take action. Mistakes would be made but not great man did not fail. Failure breads success. Perhaps the only thing standing in his way was his fatal flaw. Everyone has their own cross to bare after all.

 

"Holy Father, I am sorry to disturb you in prayer... Should I come back later?" A young nun, about ten years younger than Anthony at the age of 23, modesty had her hands folded before her and shyly bowed when the Pope raised his head to address her. "Sister Patricia, I always have time for you. I was just pondering some of the complexities of our Church. What is the matter?" Anthony rose from the kneller and took the Sister out of his private chapel. From there they walked the halls and spoke modestly. "There are many matters that need to be addressed Holy Father, but I believe this one should take precedent; at least for the time being. Science is something that has not grown the same as our borders in these past few weeks and many have take notice of that. The world knows the Church for its past, but it needs to know it for the present." 

 

"Who put you up to this Sister? You don't strike me as a person who prefers star gazing over feeding the hungry or clothing the naked." Patricia took note of the beautiful artwork surrounding them while they explored the little seen areas of Vatican City. "I'm simply trying to look out for the best interests of the Church like you asked me to do Holy Father. And while astronomy is a noble pursuit, I have been told that there is another field we could invest in which could help everyone, medicine. In order to stick with tradition we will need to increase funding for... star gazing, but like I said it is a noble pursuit as well." Anthony was impressed with the studying and research Patricia must have done. Making her an adviser , but really more of a friend, would perhaps turn out to be a good decision. 

 

"I will talk to the Vatican Bank and see what we can allocate. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, sister." Patricia bowed respectfully, "The pleasure was all mine Holy Father." 

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The Vatican now consisted of many unique lands and places such as the Balearic Islands, Malta, and Monaco. Vatican City itself was a special and sacred place that was like none other. But even with all of the accomplishments made so far, Pope Anthony still had greater plans for the Vatican and the potential lands she would control. France, Italy, and Spain were all getting back to their feet after the fall of the modern Roman Empire. The Holy Father was happy that organized government was returning to Europe without too much trouble but the world was a scary place nonetheless. 

 

While diplomacy waged on around the world, the Vatican was looking south; far south. The Navy, with direct orders from the Pope himself, would sail out of the Mediterranean for the first time since the Papal States commanded their fleet hundreds of years ago. The flag of the Vatican would be raised of Saint Helena, Ascension Island, and the small group of islands known as Tristan da Cunha. The purpose these islands would serve is to be a refueling station between Europe and Antarctica. Expanding the study of science would equate to medical funding and increases in astronomy - both of which would be done in Antarctica, the perfect place to study medicine without fear of killing billions of people from accidental exposure. 

 

Once the islands were named for His Holiness, the troops would travel to the Antarctic Peninsula along with supplies to begin building in the warmers places of the frozen continent. Two colonies in specific would be founded: one at the very tip of the mainland Antarctic Peninsula and the other on Deception Island at the sight of a former whaling station. Each colony would be staffed with 250 people that mostly consisted of scientists but also included some clergy and 20 members of the Gendarmerie Corps. A statement would later be made of what lands now were under the administration of the Vatican including the peninsula. Friendly countries to the Church would be invited to participate in scientific research such as Auxm.

 

Both colonies would be outfitted with a small observatory and a separate research facility for medicine. The facility on the peninsula itself would have a strong focus on cancer reasearch while the other would have a more broad and open approach. Things like human experimentation would not be acceptable and that would be mad perfectly clear. 

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