Babylon Rising, Chapter 59
In order to drag out the suspense (like we’re really wondering if Murphy is really MORTALLY WOUNDED), we switch gears and cut to Shane Barrington’s office, at night, where he is putting the moves on ace reporter Stephanie Kovacs.
The authors take pains to let us know that although Stephanie is still beautiful and confident, her eyes were now the eyes of someone who’d sold her soul, and she looked like someone who’s already lost the most important thing she has.
This makes no sense. Sure, Shane sent her on a mission to uncover nefarious dealings of evangelical Christians, but why should this bother her more than any of the other assignments she’s gone on for the nefarious Barrington Communications in her career? She’s not a Christian, and, more importantly, she has no reason to think that there is some vast global conspiracy behind it all (even though, of course, there is).
All she says is that she’s sorry the church bombing story didn’t pan out, because the FBI has gone “all cautious.”
You know what would be a cooler story? If Stephanie was a Christian, perhaps even one “in name only,” who had lapsed but still believed, deep down. She takes the assignment from Shane, both because she must, for the sake of her job, and because she is trying to prove to herself that she can be unbiased, even when it comes to her Christian roots. Maybe she also becomes romantically involved with Shane (as she does here), but comes to soul-search and eventually regret her decision over the course of the series…
Shane brings out the champagne, toasts the future with Stephanie, and offers her “real power.” She accepts, and actually does it in a pretty cool way:
She walked over to him and together they looked down over the city. After a while an image from her recent bout of Bible study came into her mind. Satan and Jesus on the mountaintop. Hadn’t he offered Him the kingdoms of the world if He would just bow down and worship him?
She leaned her head on Barrington’s shoulder. Well, she was smarter than that. Mr. Barrington…Shane…wouldn’t even have to ask her twice.
Now, I would kinda like to see this scene from Shane’s point of view, because Shane the Interesting Character (as opposed to Shane the Cardboard Cutout Villain) keeps trying to poke his head out.
Hmm…meta-Steph and meta-Shane, anyone?