Cardinal Richelieu foresees Russia’s victory in Ukraine

NEW YORK – The custom-built Oculus headset delivered to my door by a hooded monk seemed to malfunction. The palace on the Place de Vosges appeared once again in the Metaverse but in black and white rather than bright cartoon colors, with less furniture and fewer objects d’art, with drab walls unadorned by the paintings I had admired at our last meeting.

A bit uncertain on my feet I wandered about the virtual-reality residence until I nearly stumbled on, or rather walked through, the translucent ghost of Cardinal Richelieu, the evil genius of 17th century France and master strategist of the Thirty Years’ War.

“Please accept my pardon for my reduced circumstances,” the Cardinal said after we exchanged the usual pleasantries. The budget has been under strain since Meta’s stock price collapsed.

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