Babylon Rising, Chapters 27, 28, and 29
I am combining these chapters because not all that much happens. In Chapter 27, Talon calls Shane Barrington to get him a “news tip” to give to Stephanie Kovacs—a tip to go to a secret apartment that Farley, the window washer they are framing as the perpetrator of the U.N. vandalism, kept in Queens.
In Chapter 28, Stephanie acts on the tip and gets a live exclusive inside the apartment, which has been artfully arranged to look like the hideout of a (sorry, Murph!) religious fanatic.
A fun note:
Shane refers to The Seven as “a strange lot,” and to Talon as “their creepy thug.” Those seem very mild terms to use on the people who plotted and carried out the murder of your only child.
Stephanie breaks into the apartment and has a few minutes in there with her camera crew until the FBI arrives and shuts her down. She names the place “the Farley-the Fanatic house,” and finds “Bibles that appear to be marked up with key passages about Christ and the resurrection. Floor plans of the United Nations also marked up for what I fear could be a terrorist attack.”
She gets around the whole breaking and entering thing by claiming that she was monitoring the house from her news van when she saw smoke and had to investigate. And the FBI finds itself utterly powerless to cause any kind of negative ramifications for Stephanie at all. Which all fits in nicely with Murph’s assertion that the evil librul media is running things.
Then, in Chapter 29, The Seven send Talon to Preston, NC, to “monitor” Michael Murphy. And they explain why they can’t just kill the guy—they want him to find the Brazen Serpent first.
Also, it gives The Seven a chance to sing Murphy’s praises, along with everyone else:
Murphy cannot be bought. He’s got morals, principles, things you (Talon) wouldn’t understand. And he tried to be a very good Christian, something you certainly wouldn’t understand. And yet, surprisingly, he is also a risk-taker, much like yourself, a man of action, sometimes foolish action.
He’s smart, he’s capable, and most of all he is the only person in the world who has such a unique combination of knowledge, courage, and drive to recognize the value of these pieces we want and to go find them.
Hmm, where have we heard this before?
Murphy is a scholar in both archeology and Biblical prophecy, but unlike other scholars, he is also a complete adventurer and risk-taker when he is on the trail of ancient artifacts that can help to further authenticate the truth of the Bible. Murphy is a man of action and a man of faith, a true hero for our times…
Which made me think of several Mary Sue Litmus Test Questions: Does the villain have an obsession with your character? Are other characters unduly impressed with your character’s skills/virtues?
So, I ran Murph through the test. (And I was being generous—that is, I didn’t check any questions requiring getting into the mind of the author (Does your character look how you wish you look, etc.)
He scored a 57. Anything above 50 means Kill It Dead.