Another go-around between the reporters and the Defense Minister.
The Defense Minister denies the charges of violating international law, on account of a nuclear disaster at Itu Wan that resulted in a fierce standoff with the Asian Coalition.
Zerchi feels pretty down in the dumps after that news broadcast.
Then Brother Joshua enters and is shown the message. The Quo peregrinatur, the Church's very own spaceship (aha, it's a spaceship owned by the Church, of course), will be launching to the Alpha Centauri colony with the Memorabilia.
The kicker? Zerchi wants Brother Joshua to lead the Leibowitz Order into space.
Brother Joshua doesn't know what to say, so he's given three days to decide. Maybe less. Depends on how that whole World War IV thing goes.
The two head for the new refractory, crossing the deadly, multilane highway to get there.
They bump into Mrs. Grales, who wishes to offer a tithe to Zerchi's poor box and ask a favor. Mrs. Grales wants her "sister," Rachel, to be baptized.
Zerchi says that's a matter for Father Selo, back at her own parish. During the conversation, Joshua swears he sees Rachel smile.
People say Grace at the new refractory. During dinner, Father Lehy informs the monks that "'Lucifer is fallen'" and other war announcements are given (25.145).
Zerchi tries to assure the monks that all-out WWIV might not be imminent. The leaders of the world have seen nuclear war before, they know what will happen, and this might keep them from fighting.
At the beggar's table, Zerchi spies an old man smiling at that claim.
After the talk, Zerchi asks the man who he is, and the man replies, "Call me Lazarus" (25.162).
That night, Joshua dreams of a surgery meant to separate Mrs. Grales from Rachel, but the head comes alive, stating it is the Immaculate Conception right before the scalpel comes down (25.170). Freaky.
Elsewhere, an entire city is wiped off of the Earth.