Babylon Rising, Chapter 60, Part 1
Life has been and will be crazy this month and into next, but I am in the proverbial eye of the hurricane right now, which happily coincides with an Actually Not That Bad part of a chapter.
Let me be clear: the first part of Chapter 60 is Actually Not That Bad because Michael Murphy is unconscious.
It’s easy to miss because of the interrupting chapter of Shane-n-Steph, but Chapter 58 ends with Murph collapsing at the entrace to the sewers, and Chapter 60 begins with Murph still unconscious back at the hotel, with Isis watching over him. A local doctor has just left after patching up Murph’s wound and receiving a bribe from Isis for not informing the authorities.
For those of you keeping count, that means that Isis managed to get Murph back to the hotel and contact a doctor who is both competent enough to patch up Murphy and sleazy enough to accept a bribe.
I would say that Isis was rocking once again, but there is a bigger issue here that Dinallo begins to address, but (wisely) backs away from before he can reach the logical conclusion: was it right of Murphy and Isis not to inform the authorities?
Remember, this wasn’t just the grave-robbing and illegal pilfering of archeological treasures that Murphy and Laura did in Samaria. Murphy and Isis stumbled upon an attempted ritual murder of a child, and then pilfered an archeological treasure. By hiding themselves back at the hotel and not telling anyone what really happened, Murphy and Isis are essentially allowing the three men to get away with kidnapping, attempted murder, and assault and battery.
As Murphy lies unconscious, Isis concerns herself with the criminals not at all, though she does muse briefly on the pilfering of the middle section of the Serpent:
If it came to it, she and Murphy hadn’t done anything illegal, had they? (Yes! You did, Isis!) As far as she knew, they hadn’t killed anybody, and as for taking the belly of the Serpent, it was hard to say whom it really belonged to. (I’ll give you a hint, Isis: whoever owns it, it is not you or Michael Murphy.) She was beginning to think Hezekiah had had the right idea: It would be better if no one had it.
Okay, except that Murphy and Isis do have it. As with the tail of the Serpent, it makes me think of Indiana Jones’ trademark line: “It BELONGS in a MUSEUM!”
Except that Murphy’s variation of that line would be: “It BELONGS in my CHURCH and my CABLE TELEVISION SPECIAL!”
Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Indy’s line.
As Murphy sleeps, Isis gets some work done, studying the belly of the Serpent. In preparation for an evening of hard linguistic work, she pours herself a glass of Famous Grouse.
Oh, Isis. Just as I am condemning you for not reporting crimes and stealing ancient artifacts that rightfully belong to the country currently hosting you, you go and do something awesome. I mean, seriously, girlfriend, in packing for your trip to Saudi Arabia, you remembered to pack your whiskey for those late-night study sessions?
You are my hero.
Isis works most of the night. There is a weird momentary interlude wherein she nods off, then awakens to the windows open and her papers flying around, but it actually does turn out to be Just the Wind, and nothing has been taken.
The next morning, sadly, Murphy is awake.