Cardinal Richelieu predicts Russia’s victory in Ukraine

NEW YORK—The custom-designed Oculus headset that a masked monk delivered to my door appears to have malfunctioned. The château at the Place de Vosges reappeared in the Metaverse but in black and white instead of bright cartoonish colours, with less furniture and fewer pieces of art, with drab walls unadorned with the paintings I admired at our last meeting.

A bit unsure of my feet, I wandered around the virtual reality residence until I almost found, or rather walked, the ghost of Cardinal Richelieu, the evil genius of 17The tenth France century and strategist of the Thirty Years’ War.

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