Publishing about the historical connection between Christianity and psychedelics is fascinating and all, but it starts to get dangerous if you live in a world where the Vatican recently conquered most of continental Europe.

After Hiro was forced to abandon his excavations in Greece when the Vatican's army of Nigerian cyborg princes invaded, he found himself fleeing across the world in his semi-hovering minivan. But now there was a brief time window to touch down in Iceland where his sister Mesha was staying.

"Iceland is a nice place," Hiro said, "very few people to bother you and plenty of raw nature to disappear in."

"You eternal dork," Mesha teased, "but at least you keep on visiting your big sister. Although not nearly often enough."

"Maybe I would drop by more often if you decided to build a nice homecrate in between the vulcanoes here, wouldn't you like that?"

"Nah, I am just wrapping up my research for the Vulcanic Energy Consortium here and then moving back home. But you have a point though, these vulcas are so immensely cute! I just don't think I could miss my homecrate in Mount Fuji."

Hiro shook his head with a smile.

"Hey," Mesha piped up from a lava sample she was coaxing through a series of tests, "did you hear about the Ojos del Salado two days ago?"

"Hm what? I am not the vulcanology nerd that you are sis."

"Dork. No it is terrible. Its magma chambers collapsed. Some eco-terrorism that escalated. The bastards. Ojos del Salado is nothing more than a smoldering caldera now."

"Oh, and?"

"Ugh, anyway. A colleague was nearby and yesterday he called me in particular. Not about our work though. Apparently, while going through the remains, they have found more of the wine glasses and cups you have been publishing about recently."

That got Hiro's attention. "Really? I thought I wouldn't have a chance of investigating those anymore after what happened in Greece." He zoned out for a moment. "But of course, the early Inca people must have gone through similar rituals as the Greeks and the Christians. I need to get to them before the Vatican does."

"Please be careful Hiro," Mesha said, "I'm sure the Vatican wouldn't want to see you picking up your research again. I dare not think about what they would do to you then."

"I will sis, it is just.." Hiro hesitated, ".. I just need to know. Not just for myself. Also for mother."

"Hey, I know.. you told me already so many times," Mesha said. Her eyes puffed a bit red, but not from the countless hours of peering over hot lava.

Hiro decided to leave that same evening again. Though he had originally planned to stay one night, he felt an immediate pressure to get to Chile as fast as he could. With his backpack thrown in, plenty of fresh water and canned beans stocked, and his makeshift tandoor salvaged from a Punjabi wedding properly cleaned again, Hiro closed all doors and set his hydrogen cells to fuel up. Looking back at his sister, he saw her wiping the dirt and soot from her cheeks. Hiro hugged her as if it might be the last time they would see each other.

Then he was off.

The winds across the Atlantic ocean seemed to be picking up strength, causing a few seagulls to make emergency landings on the roof of Hiro's minivan. Waves reached higher, trying to lick the wheels. But the minivan was hovering at a comfortable enough height, speeding across the blue vastness. It would take Hiro slightly longer to reach the South-American continent now though. Best estimates told him he would be there in twenty-four hours.

It gave him some time to reorganize his research. Hiro sifted through his chemical analyses of the ritual cups and glasses they found in Greek spiritual sites. Traces of hyoscyamus niger, datura stramonium, and other hallucinogenic plants. Greeks mixed them with a beer from barley. They seemed to play an important role in spiritual temples where people from across the area came to experience a sort of death before death. And there was archaeochemical evidence of warriors consuming these drinks in rituals meant to take them on a journey "to the Beyond."

With its significant role in the spiritual side of life, the same vision-enducing rituals must have been present at the time large parts of the Bible were being written. Hiro had been connecting the two in a few recent publications, until the Vatican decided it didn't like the direction he was going. Truth was that he needed to collect more data and evidence anyway. By finding out more on these rituals, he might come closer to undermining the de jure divinity enforced by the Vatican.

Hiro drifted off for a couple of hours. When he awoke again, his minivan had brought him to a small settlement of tents not far from the base of the Ojos del Salado caldera. Looked like the campsite of the researchers Mesha was in contact with. He jumped out and was met by a middle-aged woman with heavy eyebrows and a bronze tone.

"Hiro, isn't Mesha with you?"

"Ehh excuse me? No I left her a day ago in Iceland."

"Shit. Then it might be true after all." The woman streaked a hand through her hair shakily and averted her eyes constantly, never having them rest anywhere for longer than a second.

"What is it?"

"You don't know?"

"I've been crossing the Atlantic ocean."

"Ah of course." The woman continued, "We received message that Mesha has been abducted. A few hours ago. Somalian assassins. People say it was the Vatican."

"What... why?"

"I'm sorry, but, people say it is because of you. The Vatican is trying to get to..."

But before the woman could finish her sentence, she was cut off by screams from the campsite. Wildly looking around, Hiro now saw what others clearly saw too. Out of the caldera came a stream of black flying vehicles. Still smoldering, they picked up speed and headed straight for the campsite. There was no doubt about what they were as Hiro noticed the unmistakable shape of the popemobile, but then sleeker and deadlier. The personal guard of the pope. They most likely didn't want to peacefully investigate the psychedelic wine glasses with him.

Hiro dashed back to his minivan and kicked off. While he was zooming low over land, the popemobiles diverted course to follow him. Hiro, thinking of his sister, set his jaw. After that, it was just a chase scene.