Babylon Rising, Chapter 53
This chapter is pretty short, as it only serves to establish that Isis will be going with Murphy to Saudi Arabia to try to retrieve the second piece of the Brazen Serpent. As is usual for chapters involving Dr. Isis McDonald, this chapter, like the last, is Actually Not That Bad. Isis argues her case quite well, and ends up winning the argument, though with reservations from Murphy.
But let’s just let that sink in, shall we? Isis wins the argument with Michael Murphy. And she wins it not through womanly wiles, or because she cries, or because he lets her win because she’s a gi-irl. She wins because she’s right in everything she says.
Damn, this woman kicks ass and takes names.
The name this week being Michael Murphy.
Mad props to Greg Dinallo. He is, as I have pointed out in the past, the one uncommon factor that must be the reason we actually have a strong, intelligent, reasonable, brave woman, who does not automatically defer to any man in the room before making a decision or taking an action. Quick–name any female character who can be so described in any other LaHaye book, including the entirety of the Left Behind series. LaHaye and Jenkins had sixteen books to do it, and didn’t manage even one, and now Greg creates this awesome chick in one book.
Yes, Isis is turned into a simpering, wussy moron in the next three books, when Greg leaves and Bob Phillips takes over. We can all cry about that later, but the important point right now is that we clearly have Greg to thank for Isis.
So, thank you, Greg. No sarcasm, no snark, just honest thanks for creating a cool, strong female character that actually makes this book bearable. If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, I’d love to buy you a beer.
Now, on to why this chapter is good:
Murphy tells Isis, “there’s no way you’re coming to Tar-Qasir.” And Isis is fucking pissed. And, wonder of wonders, this is not presented as a strike against her. Of course she’s pissed. If it wasn’t for her, Murphy wouldn’t have the piece of the Serpent he already has, let alone know where to go to find the next one. This project is at least as much her baby as his.
And Isis goes for the logic, not for girly whining or tears. She points out (and she’s damned right, too!) that Murphy will need her to do any further translating if he just so happens to find the next piece of the Serpent.
Murphy is his usual asshattish self:
“You’ve walked me through the inscription on the tail. I think I’ve got a feel for it now. I’ll call you if I get stuck.”
Isis is a better woman than I am, because she doesn’t smack him here.
She snorted in derision. “Hah! You wouldn’t know where to start. I don’t think you’d know this kind of cuneiform from a hole in the ground–which, considering that you’re an archeologist and I’m a philologist, makes a certain amount of sense, don’t you think?”
Murphy has no answer for this obvious logic, so he attacks her motives–gee, Isis, why are you making such a big thing of this? It’s not like you should really care, right? Hell, it’s not like this is one of the trickiest professional puzzles you’ve ever encountered, right?
Isis, though her emotions are “swirling,” stays on point because she rocks:
“I’m sure you’re trying to be chivalrous and all that nonsense, but I wish you would just admit that if you’re serious about finding all the pieces, you’re going to need me.”
Murphy stayed tight-lipped.
Then, something weird happens:
“Maybe I’ve decided to show the world my father wasn’t the only Dr. McDonald who was willing to take a few risks to get what he wanted.”
Murphy stopped himself from saying And look what happened to him.
Huh? Okay, did I miss something? I don’t think I did, but I’m going to have to go back and check. Because I cannot recall any reference to the senior Dr. McDonald being killed in the line of duty, as it were. Yes, he’s dead, but the only reference to the end of his life is when Isis remembers some of the affectionate, but rather nonsensical things he said “toward the end,” which seems to imply pretty clearly that he died of natural causes, perhaps hinting at some mild mental problems associated with aging.
I shall investigate this further.
In the meantime, Isis plays the trump card to beat all trump cards, ever: she has gotten the PFF to arrange funding and transportation for the expedition, provided that the Foundation gets to exhibit the entire Serpent once it’s found.
Bottom line: Murphy doesn’t have to let Levi Abrams beat him up! HA, suck on that, Levi!
Murphy actually thanks Isis, though he calls her “out of line going for the funding before I agreed you were going.”
So, he’s still an asshat, but I think we all know who won this battle of wills.
Team Isis is triumphant once again! And I think it’s time for the entire galaxy to celebrate!