Babylon Rising, Chapter 3
Time to be introduced to the people who will Stop at Nothing to get the archaeological artifact that will prove the book of Daniel and the faith of Michael Murphy.
Just so we know they are Truly Evil, they hang out in a Gothic castle in Switzerland and have a guy with no tongue drive their guests in.
Their guest today is Shane Barrington, who is your standard-issue ruthless businessman and media mogul. (He grew up on the “dog-eat-dog streets of Detroit.” How he got from there to being master of a multi-billion dollar communications empire might make an interesting story, but LnD aren’t interested in telling it.) Shane has received a mysterious e-mail detailing some of his more illegal business practices, and an invitation to Ye Olde Gothick Castle.
After flying in on his private Gulfstream IV (there’s LaHaye’s airplane fetish again!) Shane is driven the rest of the way by Tongueless Guy, who is interrogated by Shane with “icy threats.” He finally shows Shane his empty mouth. Ouch.
So here’s my question: Did the bad guys cut out his tongue, or did they just find a conveniently already-tongueless guy?
Shane is taken to the sub-sub-basement, where The Seven sit in a line at a long table and shine lights into Shane’s face so he can’t see them.
They propose a deal: in exchange for Shane doing their every bidding for the rest of his life, they will not reveal his illegal doings to the world.
Also, they’ll give him five billion dollars.
LnD’s bad guys sure are generous: this marks the second instance in three chapters of the bad guys giving people really cool shit.
Shane makes a brief false show of bravado, but ultimately bows to the pressure (and money). In making their case, the following comment is made by a female member of The Seven (Emphasis theirs):
Woman of Seven: Don’t you understand? You belong to us now. Lock, stock, and barrel. And we would use the barrel to carry off your soul as well—if you had one.
Um, I hate to be the one to have to break it to you, lady, but the kind of barrels you’re referencing…aren’t for carrying souls in.
Here are the members of The Seven we know so far:
Middle Seat: John Bartholomew. Only one of The Seven granted the dignity of a name. Cautious guy.
Third Seat from Right: Male. British. Man of the cloth. Happy guy.
Last Seat on Left: Female. Loves to own people and laugh. Unaware that guns have barrels.
Unknown seat: Male. Hispanic. You can tell because he calls people “señor.”
Other Three of Seven: ummmm…
Having struck this deal with Shane, The Seven send him back off with Tongueless Driver Guy. So they had him fly to Switzerland for a meeting that took ten minutes. And now that Shane is gone, they can let their hair down and cackle in an Eeeevil Manner about their plans. “Think of Daniel! … Surely with the plans of us Seven, the true power of Babylon—the dark power of Babylon—will rise again!”