TSoA: Chapter 37, Part 1: Need to Know
Okay, now things get confusing. At the end of the last chapter, we get the following:
When [the Nerd] regained consciousness, [Fearless] was feeding him a glucose drink and the rest of the team were huddled around.
Murphy was the first to speak. “Where’s [Señor SEAL]?”
“He’s gone,” said [Fearless] simply.
“What do you mean gone?”
“He dies trying to save [the Nerd].”
Murphy winced. “In don’t know what to say.”
“No, you don’t understand,” [Fearless] said, his voice choking with emotion. “Someone cut his rope. He was murdered.”
Okay, so now we readers and the whole team know what happened. I didn’t think this was a big deal until the beginning of this chapter. It’s the next morning:
At dawn the others [everyone except Murphy] struggled out of their tents. It didn’t look as if anyone had had much sleep. They slowly gathered together in the cooking area and shared mugs of steaming tea…
These people need to learn to pack enough cups for everyone. This is just gross.
…waiting for Murphy to address them.
Speak to us, Wise One!!!
“Okay, listen up. I’ve got some bad news to share with you. [Fearless] thinks [Señor SEAL's] death was not an accident. Somebody deliberately cut his rope. He was murdered.”
There were gasps from around the campfire.
But…wait…DIDN’T THEY ALREADY KNOW THIS???
The Dick freaks out, so I guess not.
BUT THEY SAID…
…the rest of the team were huddled around.
So…what, Murphy and Fearless didn’t tell anyone else through the whole evening and overnight? Not even Token Turk, WHO TOOK A WATCH IN THE NIGHT???
That might have been information that he would have been interested in having.
Anyway, Murphy gets a tad impatient when Token Turk and the Nerd start asking questions. After all…
“I told you before,” Murphy said. “There are people who want to stop us from finding the ark. Or maybe they want us to lead them to it, and then…” He trailed off.
“Dr. McDonald and I have had some experience of what I can only call evil forces at work in the world. Powerful, ruthless people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. I believe they could be responsible for [Señor SEAL's] death. And I have no reason to think they’ll stop there,” he added grimly.
“The fact is,” Murphy [said], “somebody knows about this expedition and doesn’t want it to succeed. Right now I can’t tell you who that somebody is. But I can tell you that they are ruthless and will stop at nothing to get whatever it is they want.”
So, Murph, you ready to tell the rest of the team “who that somebody is,” NOW THAT A MAN IS DEAD?
Murphy calls for a vote—leave or stay. The Nerd leads the charge for staying, given that a man lost his life for him. Which is kinda sweet.
What’s not so sweet is this:
“We’ve made it this far. Might as well go the distance. We all want to be famous, don’t we? said [The Dick] with a forced laugh.
I admire the way the Dick always manages to be so dickish.
Murphy, meanwhile, begins to wonder about the possible ulterior motives of the other team members.
Note: this is what a badass mystery-solver looks like:
(The incomparable Geraldine McEwan in The Moving Finger. ZOMG watch it!)
And you, Michael Murphy, are no Jane Marple.
The rest of this day is given over to moving everything to a yet-higher camp.
Oh, and Vern shows up.
No, not to help them move the shit up the mountain or anything. Just to reassure them that Señor SEAL’s body is irretrievable because it fell too far.
Seriously, Vern flew up the mountain to check on the fall of Señor SEAL, then to fly over the team and wave at them…then to leave.
Murphy and Vern chat on their satellite phones:
“Murph, I’m going to head back. There’s not much I can do here. Keep in touch. I’m praying for you guys. If you find the ark, let me know!”
“Thanks, Vern. It’s good to see you flying. We’re looking forward to a comfortable ride home in a few days. Over and out.”
Um, so if Vern can’t help with anything but the ride back down the mountain, why was such a big deal made about his lack of permission to go up the mountain?