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.


Posted on September 14, 2010, in Actually Not That Bad, Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Let me be clear: the first part of Chapter 60 is Actually Not That Bad because Michael Murphy is unconscious.

    It is for moments like this that I read Heathen Critique.

    Meta-Isis would probably say “YOU belong in a museum”. And if she hadn’t had Murphy slowing her down she could have taken out the cult as well as recovering the serpent-belly.

    Famous Grouse? Well, I suppose there are worse things to drink. But heavens, it’s a blend! Still, in LaHayeWorld it probably counts as a sophisticated drink because it’s not raw corn whisky.

    • “And if she hadn’t had Murphy slowing her down she could have taken out the cult as well as recovering the serpent-belly.”

      Come to think of it, Isis DOES fit Indy’s overblown description of Marcus: She DOES speak a dozen languages and she DOES know every local custom. She WILL blend in, disappear, and you’ll never see her again.

      With any luck, Meta-Isis has the head of the Serpent already.

      “Famous Grouse? Well, I suppose there are worse things to drink. But heavens, it’s a blend! Still, in LaHayeWorld it probably counts as a sophisticated drink because it’s not raw corn whisky.”

      Isis better enjoy a drink while she can. If LaHaye’s other heroes are any indication, she’ll have to go teetotaler when she converts…

      • “With any luck, Meta-Isis has the head of the Serpent already.”

        And with that, I have the startling mental image of Meta-Isis going around the world like a terrifyingly competent Carmen Sandiego, half a dozen steps ahead of Murphy. Sing it, Rockapella! Where… In the World… is… Isis P. MacGregor?

        Ahem. But now seriously. Is there ANY more mention of the attempted human sacrifice? And is there any concern that this does not match any modern Abrahamic ritual? I mean, human sacrifice is not done by the peoples of the Book. Who were these people and what were they up to? DO we ever find out? Is there any sort of hint that they’re even tied in to the Seven (TSAN!)?

  2. I’d not be surprised if LaHaye had expressly calmed DiNallo’s concerns by saying something to the tune of “This is being done for the sake of the word of GOD! Nothing can trump that!”. Considering Isis’s worried musings, maybe we found another aspect to why DiNallo left the project? (Not to mention that LaHaye must have been annoyed that a positive character was shown DRINKING…)

    • Come to think of it, I remember something in Pius’s lancing of “Edge of Apocalypse” about Jordan performing less-than-by-the-book spy flights on the OK of a superior who wasn’t his immediate superior. Given that Jordan’s only glaring flaw in LaHaye’s eyes at that point is that he isn’t a full and absolute RTC, I get the feeling that to LaHaye, such rank-jumping (in this case, divine authority jumping over state authority…that it’s a Muslim nation probably made this even easier for LaHaye) is seen as perfectly all right.

      What happened to the idea that the various middle ranks exist because the people in them know when to NOT obey orders given by a superior?

      • Skyknight – they also exist because giving direct orders to a few hundred people just ain’t practical. Trying to run everything at a low level is one of the classic management failure modes, but in LaHayeWorld it’s painted as a virtue – presumably because if God can do it a Godly person ought to be able to do it too. (So why angels? Never mind…)

      • Skyknight: This is a recurring theme with LaHaye’s stuff, like a twisted version of Nietzche’s Ubermensch: The godly man does not need to consult with anyone else, not even with superiors, for he knows the Lord’s will and carries it out. The military that is godly acknowledges the Lord as the highest general who will occasionally speak and give orders to his own.

        In essence, the godly man has surrendered his will to that of the Lord’s, and anything that the godly man does is in accordance with the will of the Lord. It gets really ugly when you put in the mysogynistic “head of the household” things.

        Firedrake: I see very little mention of angels in RTC literature; there doesn’t seem to be as much focus on them as there is in more traditional sects. Interestingly, RTC sects don’t make mention of saints, except the Tribulation “saints.”

      • Mink:
        Well, that’s because the entire concept of ‘saints’ is nothing but Papist idolatry, don’tchaknow. The RTC has a personal relationship with God, and thus doesn’t _NEED_ any intercession.

  3. So, Wild Turkey, Famous Grouse… I think I’m seeing a pattern.

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