Babylon Rising, Chapter 42

In which our heroes really bring the crazy, and in which occurs the most blatant continuity error that I have ever seen in a LaHaye novel.

The first sentence of the chapter is:

Chief Rawley ushered them into the interview room and indicated three chairs on one side of the steel table bolted to the bare floor.

Remember this bit when we get to the end of the chapter, folks.  I kinda think Dinallo lost track of where he was.

So, Chief Rawley has taken Reverend Bob and Michael Murphy to the police station, where Agents Baines (Nice FBI guy) and Welsh (Mean FBI guy) will question them.

Okay, so first of all, why is Murphy even there?  The last time Murphy and Welsh talked to each other (over the phone after the UN vandalism), it turned into a screaming match.  And surely in this situation, Murphy has no more or less to add to the evidence than any other church member who was there the evening of the bombing.

Speaking of evening, the bombing took place, we are told, on Wednesday evening.  It is now Thursday, at some unspecified time.  Sure is a good thing that Murphy and Laura could both hang around the church for so long.  Good thing that neither of them has a job at the local university that might require their presence.

Reverend Bob takes a seat.  His broken arm is in a cast and he has a bandage wrapped around his head.  Presumably, he suffered a concussion (he complained of head pain in Chapter 39, right after the bombing).

As somebody who has also had a concussion, I feel I should point out to LaHaye and Dinallo that wrapping a bandage around someone’s head is convenient movie shorthand, but is not really necessary for treatment of a concussion.

Chief Rawley and Baines and Welsh are on one side of the table, Welsh and Baines sitting, Rawley standing “as if he wanted to distance himself from what was about to happen.”

What is about to happen is that Welsh is going to reveal to Pastor Bob the utterly astonishing and totally unexpected news that the church is still a crime scene.

I know, right?  I’m as shocked as you are.  It’s truly like a bolt from the blue.

Well, it is for Pastor Bob, at least:

“A crime scene?  I don’t understand.”

Poor Agent Welsh has to explain to Bob, as he would a small and unintelligent child, that the explosion wasn’t an accident.  Which, well, duh.

Bob still has to be spoon-fed, and the following exchange takes place:

“Then, what did cause it?”

Welsh looked at him steadily.  “I was kind of hoping you could tell me that.”

Oh, snap.

Murphy was on his feet, leaning over the table.  “Just what are you suggesting?  Bob was nearly killed in there.”

Okay, someone explain to me again what Murphy’s doing in there?  Who invited him?

Welsh didn’t blink.  He waited until Murphy sat down again, then lifted the flap of one of the boxes.

Oh, snap.  Welsh just won a staring contest against Our Hero!

I have decided to cast the late, great, J.T. Walsh as Agent Welsh.

You go on with your bad self, you cold as ice FBI agent who can stare down Christian Indiana Jones!

I would just like to see the look on Murph’s face in this scene: “So, you’re not going to respond to my righteous indignation?  We’re not going to throw down right here, right now?  Oh…maybe I’ll just…sit down again…if that’s okay.” *sits*  “I’ll just count that as a technical victory for me.”

Welsh informs Bob that the basement of the church was a bomb factory.  Which does not jive with the evidence at all, but that’s LaHaye and Dinallo’s fault, not Welsh’s.  Welsh brings up the whole UN-vandalism thing, as an example of what “fanatics” do.

Murphy jumped up.  “Fanatics?  What are you, the Joe McCarthy of G-men, Welsh?  Conspiracies everywhere.  Fanatics like who?”

Why doesn’t Welsh just kick Murphy’s ass out right now?  Or, if he thinks Murphy is involved (and Murphy seems like just the kind of arrogant hothead who would confess everything, confident that he could never be punished), why doesn’t Welsh interview Murphy and Bob separately?

I’m also kinda surprised that Murphy seems to classify Joseph McCarthy as a Bad Guy.

“Like the sort of people who believe the U.N. is evil.  Evangelical Christians, for instance.” [says Welsh]

Ah.  The crafty Welsh is trying to trap them.  To make them talk about how much they hate the U.N. so they can be linked to the vandalism.  But surely Pastor Bob isn’t so stupid as to fall for such an obvious ploy…

“We don’t believe the U.N. is evil,” Wagoner interjected.

Ah, good for you, Bob.  You don’t believe the U.N. is evil.  That’s all you need to say…

“We believe it does some good work.  Peacekeeping in certain third world countries where there is chaos, humanitarian aid, health programs, and so on.”

Okay, why don’t you just stop right there, Bob?  No need to give your entire philosophy or…

“But we are suspicious about their efforts to promote globalism by uniting all religions regardless of their beliefs, and by uniting the world’s governments under a single entity.  In particular, I’m very concerned about turning the sovereignty of the United States government over to a world court.”

Great job allaying their suspicions, Bob.  Break out the tinfoil hat, and the image will be complete.

And out of all the questions Welsh could ask, given this little rant, this is the one he comes up with:

“Are you saying you oppose striving for world peace through global unity?”

Still, maybe it’s not so bad, since it opens the door for Pastor Bob to just keep on going.  Sure, four members of your congregation are dead, and sure, a bomb is to blame (this he learned thirty seconds ago), and the members of his own church are suspected, and the U.N. was vandalized by what appear to be evangelical Christians, but the best thing to talk about right now, the least suspicious subject, is how much peace sucks:

“Every single attempt to secure a one-world religion or a one-world government in the past has resulted in a totalitarian regime, inevitably causing the deaths of countless numbers of innocent citizens.  We must learn from history.  Man is incapable of bringing peace to this planet on his own.  This world will never enjoy world peace until Christ Himself comes to set up his kingdom.  His kingdom will last for a thousand years, and the Bible is very clear regarding this prophecy.”

I imagine J.T. Walsh with a small smile on his face, sitting back, relaxing, and just letting Pastor Bob rant for as long as he wants while his church is in ruins and his parishioners lay dead.

“Then maybe some of your people thought a few bombs might hurry it along.” [says Welsh]

Oh, snap again!

Once again, Pastor Bob is shocked (shocked, I say!) by basic logical reasoning:

Wagoner was stunned.  “Our people?  Evangelical Christians don’t set off bombs, Agent Welsh.”

Of course not.  Evangelical Christian = Nice Person.  No nice person ever sets off bombs.

A point that is sadly lost on Agent Welsh:

“How about the people who bomb family-planning clinics?  Who kill doctors who perform abortions?  They’re Christians, aren’t they?”

So, of course, Pastor Bob plays No True Scotsman with Agent Welsh.  Because if a Christian does something bad…well, they’re not a Christian, are they?

Of course not.

And Pastor Bob manages to play the abortion = murder card, so he gets to have his cake and eat it, too.  Is there any question that won’t result in a lecture from Pastor Bob?

Agent Baines (Nice FBI Agent) steps in and backs the church and Pastor Bob.  Sure is good that he does so, too.  I’m not sure how much more of this relentless onslaught poor Pastor Bob could take!

Agent Baines makes an impassioned, if kinda dumb-sounding, plea for churches and small-town church-goers in general, and Pastor Bob and Preston Community Church in particular, and an appeal to FAITH ITSELF: “I know that’s gut talking, not forensics, sir, but sometimes we have to listen to bigger evidence than what our eyes tell us, don’t we?”

Well, Nice Agent Baines, generally we hear with our ears and see with our eyes, but other than that…actually, the whole thing still sounds dumb.

But they are interrupted “because Laura Murphy stumbled through the doorway looking wild-eyed and in pain.”

WHAT?

Did Dinallo forget that they’re at the police station, and not still at the church?

How the hell did Laura Murphy get to the interrogation room of the police station in her condition?

What the hell is going on, anyway???

Laura faints before she can say a word, and Murphy shouts for an ambulance, and HOW THE HELL DID LAURA GET FROM THE BASEMENT OF THE CHURCH TO THE POLICE STATION, AND INTO THE INTERROGATION ROOM OF THE POLICE STATION, WITH A CRUSHED WINDPIPE?

Did Talon give her a lift?

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Posted on June 17, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Back in the bad old days, suspects were interrogated separately, so that they couldn’t back up each other’s stories. But clearly the jackbooted UN World Police in waiting are all touchy-feely. Hah, suckers!

    Peacekeeping in certain third world countries where there is chaos

    Only in certain countries, not all of them. Interesting. Which ones are acceptable? The ones without OIL, maybe?

    As for the continuity error, um… it’s the mobile police interrogation trailer!

  2. Naw, I told you – Talon is secretly Satan. He likes to masquerade as an employees, but secretly he’s in charge of the conspiracy. So he either teleported Laura to the police station himself, or he had one of his little imps whisk her there, or he took a shortcut through Hell. Either way, he dropped Laura off not only at the station, but also in front of the interrogation room door, just so Murphy could watch her die.

    I’m telling you, the whole book makes soooo much more sense if you assume that Talon has Vast Supernatural Powers. He’s obviously not too bright, but that doesn’t refute my theory – you can’t be too bright if you seriously decide to wage war against an omnipotent being. That, by the way, is also why he needs the Seven: he may be the power behind them, but somebody else has to be the brains of the operation.

  3. Before we can get to continuity, first we have to reach comprehension:

    Chief Rawley ushered them into the interview room and indicated three chairs on one side of the steel table bolted to the bare floor.

    Wait, is it the chairs that are bolted to the bare floor, or the table? The lack of punctuation makes me think that he indicated three chairs, all on one side of a steel table which had been bolted to the bare floor. (thought that’s a wierd floorplan; most office tables are wide enough for two on a side and one on each end) But then, he could have been indicating the three chairs, all on one side of the steel table, all bolted to the bare floor. It seems odd that chairs would be bolted to the floor, but then, it seems odd that the table would be bolted to the floor either.

    Also, isn’t “ushering” and “indicating” part of the same action? I mean, if I ‘usher’ you into a room, aren’t I, by definition, showing you where to walk and sit? It’s the “and” in the sentence that bugs me, because by saying he “ushered” AND “indicated”, it sounds like there are two discrete actions being done, like he waved them into the room, then closed the door, maybe took a call on his cell phone, sipped his coffee, and THEN pointed to the chairs and told our protagonists to sit. Bad writing tip: never use one verb when you can use two!

    Murphy jumped up. “Fanatics? What are you, the Joe McCarthy of G-men, Welsh? Conspiracies everywhere. Fanatics like who?”

    I’d like to point out that’s the second time in the inteview that Murphey has ‘jumped to his feet’. Whether or not there is a latter scene where he laments that he “played right into their hands” or not, reading the except makes Murphey seem like a jack-in-the-box, bouncing to his feet after being wound up just a little.

    And the defense our hero mounts is not a very good defense, either. Accusing an FBI agent of looking for conspiracies is kind of silly because, well, the FBI actually DOES uncover conspiracies. That’s one of the things in their mandate. That ‘I’ stands for ‘investigation’, you know! Accusing the FBI of looking for conspracies is like being mad at the IRS because they look for tax cheats.

    If you wanted to accuse the FBI of something, you could say that they already made up their mind and were just looking for evidence to support what they already ‘know’. I mean, that’s a pretty safe accusation against law enforcement of all stripes. Of course, that might be a bit akward coming from a PMD Christian…

    • “I’d like to point out that’s the second time in the inteview that Murphey has ‘jumped to his feet’. Whether or not there is a latter scene where he laments that he “played right into their hands” or not, reading the except makes Murphey seem like a jack-in-the-box, bouncing to his feet after being wound up just a little.”

      Spoiler alert–there is no scene where Murphy laments his behavior. Now, in all fairness to Murph, Laura is dying and all, so his mind is on other things.

      Still, the whole scene is clearly meant to be read as Welsh persecuting Christians and Murphy being righteously indignant.

  4. She… went form the church… to the police station… walked right into the witness/suspect interview room… with a crushed throat courtesy of Darth Talon who is named Talon because he has a TALON and DID NOT USE IT — arglebargle! *brain a’splodes*

    I sincerely hope that my own writing attempts do not collapse so spectacularly into a puddle of paradox.

  5. Unrelated: I’m quite, quite surprised he said ‘Joe McCarthy’ as if it were a bad thing. He got rid of those pinko commies in the State Department and Hollywood, after all.

    Also: Who uses the slang ‘G-Man’ anymore?! I thought that went out with film noir and Orson Welles?

  6. Also: Who uses the slang ‘G-Man’ anymore?! I thought that went out with film noir and Orson Welles?

    Well, the G-Man is a mysterious, nigh-omnipotent, being that seems to enjoy messing around with Gordon Freeman in the Half Life games, but other than that, yeah, I’ve not heard the term used seriously in a long time.

  7. So, of course, Pastor Bob plays No True Scotsman with Agent Welsh. Because if a Christian does something bad…well, they’re not a Christian, are they?

    Of course not.

    And Pastor Bob manages to play the abortion = murder card, so he gets to have his cake and eat it, too.

    I am torn. Part of me wants to know what, exactly, Pastor Bob says while having it both ways. Part of me thinks not knowing is kinder to my blood pressure.

    Oh, and,
    I sincerely hope that my own writing attempts do not collapse so spectacularly into a puddle of paradox.

    My fiancee’s comment to this is, “If they do, just say they’re Christian, and they’ll sell anyway, apparently.”

    • “I am torn. Part of me wants to know what, exactly, Pastor Bob says while having it both ways. Part of me thinks not knowing is kinder to my blood pressure.”

      For anyone who cares to read, here it is… 😉

      Welsh says, isn’t it Christians who bomb abortion clinics? Pastor Bob responds:

      “‘Not in my book,’ Wagoner said fiercely. ‘Yes, it’s a terrible thing to take the lives of the unborn, but more murder is definitely not the answer. The Christian community universally opposes killing, even to save the unborn from being killed.'”

  8. *facepalm*

    You know it’s bad when even L&J manage to keep their continuity a little bit better than L&D. 😛

    I won’t even try to comprehend the degree to which Murphy acts like such a complete whiny little asshat and gets away with it.

  9. Ok, so I’m a little late to the party, but clearly, Pastor Bob was kind enough to let the police use the church’s interrogation room. Did it mention if the walls were soundproof?

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