Many people seek the truth about the world, about their mission, about their place and about themselves. They feel, that their own mind is limited, it carries the burden of logical thinking, assumptions, worries and past bad experience. Sometimes, they need somebody else, somebody spiritually strong, to show them the light of an alternative opinion, to show them a suitable direction, to confirm them, what they just sensed, or even to change their stances. And since the ancient times, fortune-tellers are the persons, sought by many, including rulers and kings, for consultancy and original advices.
Although the practice fortune-telling is strictly forbidden in some countries, it’s still a firm part of the cultural heritage in many regions of the world. Many people despise this activity, but another individuals feel attracted and inspired by this ancient, mysterious craft, bringing something above our rational thinking, “external” and material way of life and approach to the world. It seems, that the truth and inner peace lies somewhere between these two poles.
The alleged special PSY abilities of fortune-tellers also attract many security services around the world. It seems very tempting, to use this PSY powers to predict the future, so the critical decisions of the higher state interests can be made. There are also rumors, that many powerful and influential figures of the past, and even the present, consulted their steps with fortune-tellers, to break the limitations of the wordly relations and circumstances, to see deeper into the future state of things, to gain advantage over others, to rise in the ranks of structures of influence, to fulfill their dreams of achieving the absolute power.
And where the power and influence are, you can bet, that Mr. Joseph Svejk is not far from there, circling as an eagle. One day, after almost one year of preparations, he was ready to personally accomplish his most courageous and also the most dangerous mission, to become recognized by the Military and the state: he volunteered to acquire the most precious asset for the matters of higher interest. But the stakes will be high and the adversary will be the most qualified. Joseph Svejk will have to enter the realm, where no one ever succeeded, including fully qualified operatives of Military Counterintelligence…
It was Friday morning and sunny weather, so every inhabitant of Prague felt really great, happy, healthy, full of optimism, that this will be the day worth living.
The offices of the shell business corporation ‘Agency for Special Projects’, established unoficially by the Military for executing special tasks in the civilian environment, were still silent, only the director, in fact the commander of the ‘Special Unit C102: PSYOPS’ with the rank of First Lieutenant, named Lukes, was present.
He noticed an unmarked envelope, inserted in the post compartment. It was sealed with a tape, so no unauthorized person could examine the content. The officer didn’t like envelopes like this – usually, they brought some new hard challenges, and related complications for him, as the person, fully responsible for the Unit.
He breathed deeply, to relax, to prepare for the worst, and he opened the package. There was just a single sheet of paper inside. First Lieutenant started reading, and he suddenly started thinking about an early retirement. But what else could he expect, with that fool Svejk in the work team, than only a mess and never-ending turbulences?
Classified – matter of special importance!
Operation “TRIAL OF FAITH”
Situation: there are old rumors in the Intelligence Community about an unique individual with alleged unusual and deep PSY skills, including alleged ability to predict the future, residing in Prague-Karlin city quarter, and using advanced security means to prevent any infiltration attempts by security forces. She is known to provide consultancy for the most important figures from the politics, business, arts and sport, but no direct participant of those sessions is willing to provide detailed answers about this individual, even under deep pressure. Possible use of advanced PSY means and direct participation of foreign Intelligence services, to influence the highest national interests.
INTEL: The official identity and origin of this individual are not determined. She is known only as “Madame Gabrielle”, allegedly from Italy, about 60 years old, and she never leaves the basement of her house, so no security check can be made without a warrant. Her wide family, residing in the same building, provides 24/7 thorough security supervision. There are rumors, that local law-enforcement units are deliberately avoiding this house, worried by alleged PSY abilities of Madame G., that she can allegedly enter the unconscious part of mind of any tresspaser of her private residence, causing severe PSY consequences. All Surveillance attempts failed – the security personnel reported unusual unease after just several hours of their presence in the vicinity of the house, requesting to be relieved from duty immediately.
Mission: 1) to discover the truth about identity, origin and motivation of this individual, including her possible connections with foreign interests 2) to test her alleged PSY abilities 3) to persuade her to serve for the future interests of the Military.
Execution: the Operative F82 of the Special Unit C102: PSYOPS will use any means necessary to get a private audition with Madame G., and once inside the building, he will improvise to achieve the mission goals.
Backup: a Military Police Rapid Deployment Unit (24 SPECOPS assets) will be on stand-by until the successful exfiltration of the Operative F82.
Notes: as the Madame G. is known to use Tarot cards for her predictions, it is highly recommended, that the Operative F82 enters the building deeply briefed about Tarot card reading, related knowledge and techniques. As the known non-negotiable price of a session with Madame G. is 5000 USD, the Operative should be equipped with the necessary cash, to cover the expenses.
Be advised – any failure won’t be tolerated. If the Operative F82 will stand up against state interests, he will be reprimanded with the most severe means.
“I knew, Svejk, that you won’t leave our Unit without a proper goodbye,” the officer Lukes shook his head. “But I would never imagine something as preposterous as this… please, tell me frankly, how could you persuade our wise superiors to accomplish this complete nonsense? What PSY skills? That Madame G. is just another con artist, and nothing else!
And I can’t believe my own eyes – the Military wants to give you 5000 USD of the tax-payers hard-earned money to pay for this comedy! Don’t forget, you miserable fool, that I am still the commander here, and I have the last word here! And I am absolutely against this silly idea! No pressure from above will make me to sign this paper and to send you, loser and fool, into this meaningless, stupid and absurd operation!
This is the last day of your work here, and I am not pleased, that we can’t part our ways peacefully and with mutual understanding! Did you think, that I will be soft on your last day here, and I will be generous, I will overlook things? You were completely wrong, Svejk! You are not going anywhere, and you will spend this last day doing important office duty, organizing our archive documents!
Start now, our office manager will appoint a work for you! And get out, or I will throw something at you, a paperweight perhaps! And why do you smile so lousily again, you fool? Dismissed!”
Svejk was really smiling, maybe even laughing. “I report obediently, Herr Oberlieutenant, that I am no longer under your command. This is the joint operation of the Army and Military Counterintelligence, as the highest places have deep interests in this affair, you know. So I just came to say goodbye properly, as you said correctly… I didn’t come for your approval, I am afraid.
But for me, you will always be the commander! So much we experienced together, do you remember? It was a long year… but any tale must have its end, and this operation will write the last entry with my famous name into the chronicle of our famous Unit! And that is making me so sad, believe me! It was so good times… but you will have four new recruits now! Our Unit will grow!”
“Oh, don’t tell me about this news, Svejk! All of them are women! This will be no diverse workplace! You are a traitor, to leave our Unit now, to pursue some questionable career at McKinzy!” Lukes complained openly. He was really not sure, how to manage the new team.
“Don’t worry, Herr Oberlieutenant, I brought something special for you, a textbook, where you can learn everything necessary about their souls, so you can rule them, and they will respect you!” Svejk said, and handed over a wrapped package.
“By the way, this book was my basic information source for the upcoming operation. I found a suitable way there, how to get past the advanced defenses of my adversary today. Never in my life I could learn so much about the female soul, like in this small publication! So use it to your advantage, Herr Oberlieutenant, and wish me luck today. This will be a tough one! But I feel fully qualified and prepared! I waited so long for this moment, you know… all that dreams, desires, resolution… and it paid off!”
When Svejk left, the officer opened the package with curiosity. Inside, there was a box with a set of tarot cards and an explanation book. It was called “Witch Tarot – for young witches”.
“That moron,” the officer thought, but he started reading.
Leaving the building, Svejk met accidentally with his female colleague, Denise. “Good bye and good luck, Joseph! It was nice to serve with you!” she said to him, but she seemed to be in a hurry.
“Till we will meet again, Denise!” he called at her, trying to be poetic.
She turned her head to him, and looked at him for a moment. As if she wanted to say something. But she kept her mouth shut eventually, and she left.
Svejk forgot her quickly – another woman, who was waiting for him, fully occupied his mind!
The city quarter Liben is one of the last remaining enclaves of the old times in Prague. Originally a peripheral quarter, where many negative social phenomena were concentrated, and honestly, that situation persists in some extent to this day, but concurrently, any present visitor or tourist can experience something special and even mysterious there.
Rumors, tales and strange local personalities and figures are, what makes Liben so unique. If you visit any local pub, you can get introduced to the local folklore, and if you pay some drinks for the thirsty locals, they will be glad to share some interesting stories with you. (But rather watch your wallet!)
One of such tales always attracted Svejk himself. It was about a mysterious person, a fortune-teller, who will summon you to her, if you rise on the social ranks high enough. One related rumor said, that every really important person and VIP visited Madame at least once, and it was the clear confirmation of their VIP status. Of course, that many of VIPs pretended, that they were there too, but it couldn’t be proved. The knowledge Madame gave to her clients was completely personal and not transferable, so you could never know, who speaks the truth, and who only makes himself or herself interesting in front of the others.
Madame Gabrielle had one special rule: you could never ask for her services. Only she was the one who chose her clients. Even if you would offer her an attractive amount of money, she would ignore you. Of course, that her price of 5000 USD was high enough – but everybody who went to visit her knew, that this amount is the best investment in their life. After all, what is the value of knowing the future? Absolutely priceless!
Not long ago, she called for Svejk himself – his local reputation and importance really rose in the last few months. And that was the most famous day for Svejk, when a family member of Madame G. approached him, and told him to come, on some exactly set day and time. In that moment, Svejk knew, that he was somebody special. And that his growth to the stars was certain!
No wonder, that the Military approved his suggestion for the Operation Trial of Faith without any objections. He was the only option, how to get to the mysterious Madame: and it was the biggest paradox of life, that the dumb Svejk had suddenly the immense value for the highest state interests! And they decided to use this unique opportunity completely.
If Liben quite survived the impacts of gentrification, understand, that hungry developers buy a local property and change it to luxurious flats and expensive offices, so the old residents have to move out, the adjacent Karlin was really hit. Once a dirty and sad quarter, but today, there is a lot of new, shiny buildings, where well dressed men and women make their big international careers.
When Svejk entered the street, where his destination was, he saw something strange – between all that new structures was a block of old houses, and it was unusual, that the developer didn’t transform it to a modern architecture too.
That was the clear demonstration of Madame G. power: she was able to prevent it. So this island of the old times remained between all that glass, steel and concrete, and nobody even tried to change that.
When Svejk entered the target house, it was like entering a completely different world, some fifty years ago. The courtyard was full of trees, and there was some strange scent everywhere. And there was a lot of people, young and old, sitting and running, talking and playing, the members of Madame’s extensive family.
Since the moment Svejk came in, several strong men escorted him through the building. They directed him to the entrance of a basement, dark and wet, only dimly lit. But Svejk didn’t rely on the SWAT backup team, waiting in several vans outside, prepared for rapid deployment, to get him out, if things would go wrong – he came here, voluntarily, to find his destiny.
In the basement, there were no candles or similar spiritual tools and decorations, as Svejk expected. Just one table lamp, and a table with two chairs. The men ordered him to sit, and they handcuffed him firmly to the chair. He was completely unable to move. Only then, the men left, and left the visitor alone in that haunted room.
Svejk was waiting, and his heart beat rapidly. He lost his usual calmness in that moment. It was all so close, all his dreams fulfilled, his future clearly shaped, his darkest desires becoming the reality… every passed second brought him closer to a man he should be, instead of that loser he was just yesterday, deep in the mud of disappointment, emptiness, doubts, inertness, passivity, lost directions, life mistakes, brought by alleged rational thinking and letting the opinions of others to directly and widely influence his life, his fate.
But this all should end soon, and a vision of pure, simple future of this man, who will be allowed to touch the stars of the society, was so close!
His mind was full of dreams in that moment. It had to be – Madame was close, hidden in the shadows, reading his mind, his face, his eyes, evaluating him, considering his possible benefits for her own interests.
This will be a tough mission yet…