Silenced: Chapter 20, Part 2: (Silly) Spy Games

The morning after his “incidentals and courtesies” conversation with Jae, Paul is called (presumably on his skull this time) by Lothair, the French Leiutenant.  ChappellShow is still so upset by Random Woman’s death that he doesn’t want to see Paul or be part of the plot to catch Magnor.  Paul berates Lothair, but Jenkins makes sure to let us know there is “a whine” in Lothair’s voice.

“You know, Lothair, I wish we were all still teenagers and that this was some silly game.”

Speak for yourself, Paul.  Your games are not silly, just stupid.  The games I played as a teenager were way more fun.

Like this one.

Turns out that the problem, and thus the reason for the stupid word games, is that ChappellShow is right there, listening in on the skull phone call.  So Paul and Lothair do the old routine that always happens when someone is listening in on a call.

“Listen carefully.  Yes or no.  Can you tell me categorically that Magnor has not tried to call Chapp?” [said Paul]

“No.”

“You understand me?”

“Yes.”

“So he has called.”

“I understood you.”

Yeah, Paul is totally not into silly games.  And neither is Jerry Jenkins.  Not into stupid word games at all.

On his way out to meet with the zealots, Paul sees Karlis Grosvenor’s car.

Was he being watched?  Followed?  He didn’t dare proceed to his rental.  He had to either get in the car issued to him, keep walking as if just sightseeing, or make his way back to the hotel.

Paul chose the latter…

Damn good thing, too.  I can’t even believe that the second thought crossed Paul’s mind.

Grosvenor: Good morning, Paul.  Hot on the trail of the terrorist who killed hundreds and destroyed national treasures?

Paul: Nah, just sightseeing.

Grosvenor (who, remember, hasn’t had any time off since the bombing): *punches Paul*

Nah, that’s just what I wish would happen.  Instead, Grosvenor was ferrying in Bia Balaam from the airport.

Grosvenor is none too pleased, since this is the second American he has had to play host to in as many days.  He asks Paul to take her back to the airport in the morning, and Paul acquiesces, more because he doesn’t want to make waves than because he wants Grosvenor to actually have an hour off.

Paul meets up with Bia in the lobby of the hotel.

As usual, she seemed overdressed, over made-up.

Yeah, she was only travelling on international business.  How weird of her not to just wear jeans and a tank top.

God, Bia is such a bitch.  I mean, just…just everything with her.  What a horror show:

Balaam was as intimidating as she looked, with her silver hair and eyes, the unusual height, the coldness she tried to hide with the occasional toothy smile.  She creeped Paul out in business settings, but the social thing never worked at all for her.

Well, let’s be clear—the social thing is not working for Paul.  Bia, actually, seems fine.  And I wonder if Jenkins even realized he used the word “intimidating” there—that is the true crux of the matter.  Paul is intimidated by Bia—she’s smart, worldly, knows what she’s doing, and is not impressed by Paul.

James Bond logic: the one woman who does not immediately offer to fulfill Bond’s every desire?  She’s the villain’s girlfriend.  There is no other possible reason why Our Hero would be looked upon as a Mere Man.  I mean, we know that Paul is handsome and witty and charming.  We know because Jenkins keeps telling us so.  Therefore, all people should love him immediately, and if they don’t, we know there’s something wrong with them.

“I’m representing USSA NPO at the ceremonial announcement in Bern tomorrow.  Thought I’d come early and see the Eiffel site.”

Paul nodded.  I’ll bet.  “What did you think?”

Her smile died.  “Tragic.  Tragic.”

Well, there was some insight for you.

Screw you, Paul.  At least she didn’t come to Paris and immediately disparage the national monuments and call it an honor to see the site of the loss of hundreds of lives, like some people.

Exactly what “insight” did you have about the bombing, Paul?  I mean, other than the fact that it was sad that believers died, but not so much that atheists died.  Asshat.

Paul was antsy, wanting to get going, hoping he could figure out a way to elude her, to get to his rendezvous without being noticed.  But she was saying something about her son.  Her son?  Paul didn’t even know she had a family.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  “You have a son?”

Our witty, charming, superspy hero, everyone!  Unable to keep up with two minutes of small talk.

But remember, Bia is the one for whom “the social thing never worked at all.”

Because Jenkins said so.

“And a daughter,” she said.  “I’m long divorced.  Not a happy story, though the kids are good.  Leya is a professor.  Taj goes back to Georgetown tomorrow.  He’s doing well.”

Hmm, yet another son that we never heard about in the first book.  Doesn’t bode well for poor Taj.

And the “not a happy story” part—maybe I’m reading too much into this, but that sounds like something pretty bad, maybe even abuse.  Most people I know who simply fell out of love or otherwise divorced amicably, they’re more casual about it, will say things like, “it just didn’t work out.”

But “not a happy story“?  That seems serious.  Yet Bia has once again persevered, successfully raising two very accomplished children while rising in her own career.

Damn, but Bia rocks.

Not that Paul cares.

Paul studied her.  She actually did seem to soften when speaking of her children.  Who would have guessed?

“I mean, a woman that I’m not attracted to actually loves people!  Inconceivable!”

And Paul doesn’t even need to figure out a way to blow off Bia—she has actual work to do.  Because she takes her job seriously and isn’t here to sightsee.

Unlike Paul, who wanders around the city, “enjoying a pastry in a fountain square,” before finally heading to his meeting with ChappellShow.

Hot superspy action!

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Posted on February 16, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Should be Chapter 20 part 2, no?

  2. …Why can’t I shake the feeling that at least one of the two children of Bia will be a catalyst for her conversion by the end of “Shadowed”? (Probably involves one of those children dying…)

    That softening, by the way, is probably Jenkins’s idea of foreshadowing the Heel Face Turn. Jenkins doesn’t seem to know how to have sympathy for his absolute antagonists, as the LB situation attests.

    • In the best style of Jack Chick’s “Bad momma” comic: Evil woman raises sons to be criminals, god slaughters the children with a tornado, woman converts and thanks god for being so kind as to reach out to her while ignoring that her children now burn in hell.

      Still, do you know for a fact that Bia converts later on? Cause it doesn’t look like that to me. And no matter how badly it will no doubt be handled, it’s already an improvement that Jenkins lets her convert at all. He’s be doing everything he can to assure us Bia is horrible. And despite the whole idea of Christianity being that everyone can be forgiven, that only ever seems to apply to the protagonists in Jenkins-land. All the other sinners only get to be horrible people who deserve to be massacred in spectacular ways.

      It would still be better if we started with a bad guy/gal who’s motivations we can understand, who becomes a good guy/gal who we can cheer for, through a logical series of actions. But that’s probably out of Jenkins’ league. So I’ll give him points for trying, assuming he tries.

      • I just know what I saw from skimming the last bit of “Shadowed”, so I don’t actually know WHAT the tripwire for Bia converting is, just that she ultimately does. The death of one of her children is just a suspicion on my part.

        Although, given the timing, and a VERY rough recollection of what I skimmed from the end of “Silenced”, I have a hunch we’re going to learn that Styr is an agent provocateur sent in by Dengler and/or Decenti to ensure the Christian Zealots stay discredited. More importantly, I suspect Bia will find this out AFTER he gets one of her children killed.

        • It would be extremely stupid for the Atheistapo to use their agent own to enact false-flag terrorist attacks, then send another agent of dubious loyalty after the first agent as a loyalty test. If Paul were loyal, he’ll probably end up killing Styr (when was the last time the Atheistapo allowed an RTC to surrender?). If he were disloyal, he might find out about the false-flag part, and spread proof of it throughout the world. If he was on the fence, finding proof that his agency lied to him and was murdering civilians with false flag operations, he’d become disloyal.

          But just because it would be extremely stupid doesn’t mean Jenkins won’t make it happen. If it does, it’ll be fun to see if Paul will realize it was a stupid plan from the stupid atheists, or if Paul/Jenkins will consider it a masterstroke.

          • For another thing, if you’re false-flagging like this you want a genuine fanatic as your patsy, who can be conveniently gunned down by the Forces of Good without anyone shedding a tear. But fanatics tend to be obviously mad if people get to talk to them, so again you don’t want the potentially disloyal agent exposed to him.

            What the Atheistapo ought to do, if they think Paul’s disloyal and don’t just want to shoot him because EVIL, is “promote” him to run a filing room in Des Moines (“where your Heart’s nearly on the Rocks”). Then they start slipping plausible-looking, but fake, bits of information past him, and see if they leak.

    • Hmm, I never thought of Bia has a candidate for conversion, but that whole thing about the divorce did jump out at me. I wondered why Jenkins didn’t take the opportunity to make Bia ultra evil by just having kids out of wedlock. If he’s setting up Bia to be converted though then she can’t possibly be so evil as to choose to have kids all on her own.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        I wondered why Jenkins didn’t take the opportunity to make Bia ultra evil by just having kids out of wedlock.

        Can’t offend the Church Lady target audience?

        (Though when a Christianese fiction character is being set up for an Altar Call ending, they cannot have TOO much SEXUAL Sin in their lives. And Fornication(TM) WOULD probably go over the “Stone the Whore!”Limit…)

      • Maybe it was meant to be foreshadowed in the name–q.v. Balaam from the Old Testament being convinced by a donkey speaking in the name of the Lord to bless the Israelites, rather than sending imprecatory prayer after them as a malign king had hired him to. Basically, he was a spiritual assassin who backed out of his assignment.

  3. James Bond logic: the one woman who does not immediately offer to fulfill Bond’s every desire? She’s the villain’s girlfriend.

    I can actually think of a few Bond girls, including in the older movies, on whom Bond had to try his charm several times before it stuck. And some of them actually started as the villain’s girlfriend.

    But yeah, any girl who doesn’t swoon eventually is evil. The only exceptions I can think of is Judy Dench’s M, and perhaps Felix Leitner’s quickly murdered wife.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      James Bond Logic?

      More like Ian Fleming Fanboy/Wannabe Logic.

      We know from previous experience that Jerry “Buck” Jenkins is an Ian Fleming Wannabe. With about the same relative level of competence in his imitation as Chris Paolini is to J.R.R.Tolkien.

      • While we know Ian Fleming did do intelligence work during WWII, he was basically a desk jockey. There’s some evidence that James Bond is how he really thought the operational end worked, at least for the right sort of spy.

        • I don’t even get what’s integral to the concept about every non-malicious woman becoming enamoured with the hero…The degree of it puts me in mind of a possibility of satyriasis.

          • I don’t think it would ever be stated that explicitly. It’s more, the hero is a paragon of manly virtue, and therefore every woman will find him attractive — so if one doesn’t, there’s something wrong with her.

            The flaws in this logic are several, but start with the assumed existence of a single scale on which manly virtue (and thus appealingness to women) can be measured.

  4. In RTCland, divorce is always “not a happy story”. The idea that two people could decide that a marriage is not working and separate amicably is alien to that mindset. I’d be wary of reading too much into a phrase, especially given how little care Jenkins shows about choosing words and phrases elsewhere.

    • My first impression of that sentence wasn’t “abuse” either. Even a secular divorce can be quite an unhappy story if it entails lots of fighting and shouting and/or there are young children involved. There doesn’t need to be any criminal behavior involved for that to happen.

  5. “Balaam was as intimidating as she looked, with her silver hair and eyes, the unusual height, the coldness she tried to hide with the occasional toothy smile.”

    Okay, I understand that in The World According to JJ, it’s a woman’s responsibility to change her hair, eyes, and personality to be acceptable to the menfolk. But what’s she supposed to do about her height?

  6. I just realized that Jenkins is not telling instead of showing. Rather, he’s telling us one thing and showing the exact opposite. He tells us that Paul is not into silly games, then shows Paul engaging in silly games. Later, he tells us that “the social thing never worked” for Bia, and then shows Bia doing fine with social interaction while Paul struggles to keep the conversation going.

    And Jerry Jenkins teaches writing courses. For real money! I’m not much of a writer, and I can write better than he does.

    • He’s writing for Real True Christians. The sort who must believe the word of Authority over the evidence of their own eyes or their world will fall apart – how likely is that bunch to read what the text actually says and not what the author tells them is true?

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, February 22nd, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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