The Cadre: Part I

By Maurice Lane


(With apologies to Eric Alfred Burns, who may be regretting bringing this up right about now)

The espionage service run by Marc, Litheroy and Zadkiel is, of course, dependent on humans - both living and blessed souls - to operate. The right mortal in the right place can make all the difference, after all. However, there's a problem: there are times when an operation needs someone with inherent abilities greater than those of even a Soldier, but still capable of acting in the Symphony without disturbance.

In short, they need a Saint. Unfortunately, Saints are rare, and most of them are already spoken for. Besides, most Saints are more interested in helping specific individuals than in being a generic troubleshooter, and their Archangels don't argue. If only there were a group of organized blessed souls, versed in a wide range of subjects, comfortable with technology and inherently predisposed towards shaking up the established order...

Oh, wait. There is one of those. The trick is prying them out of either the Library and/or the Halls of Progress.

"The Right Honorable St. Robert's Cadre of Malakim" is a bit of a misnomer: there's only one angelic member, and he's an Ofanite. St. Robert didn't start up the club, either: it got its start with St. Jules and St. Herbert (both of whom have since ascended the Ladder) as a sort of combination reading society and celestial writer's workshop. However, when St. Robert showed up in Heaven, he galvanized the group into something a little more - vigorous. The current name stuck after their first corporeal 'mission': apparently, the surviving demons are still convinced that they were dealing with the Virtues, not a bunch of former genre writers.

The Cadre doesn't precisely meet: it's more like that there's always a few around in the public stacks of the Library, a particular section of the Halls of Progress, or (most likely) the nearest bar convenient to either. They keep meaning to gather in one place, but, well... you know how science fiction writers can be (especially when every book ever written on Earth is inches from your trembling fingers).

The Cadre started off as a warehouse of information: while most celestials have a superior (pardon the pun) memory for data, mortals usually have a better idea about what's actually important - and, besides, angels are notoriously bad at fathoming human motivations. So, if anyone asks, the Cadre can make excellent consultants. Marc asks quite often. From there, it was a small step to consulting in the field. The Cadre enjoys that quite keenly.


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