Babylon Rising, Chapter 61

This chapter is quite short, just Murphy and Isis’s conversation post news of the Talon murders.

Interestingly, it is Isis who, though grieved by the loss of her coworkers, insists that they soldier on and finish what they started (“Chairman Compton is too far away to shut us down now.“)

Murph wants them both to go back.  Kinda a point in his favor, actually, since I would have expected him to insist that only Isis return, while he goes on.

But then, Isis reveals everything about the phone conversation: that the person who stole the Serpent tail carved a Serpent broken into three pieces, and a cross broken into three pieces, on the shelf. 

Just like Laura’s cross was snapped into three pieces!  Wow!

Murph punches the wall.  Literally, he walks over and punches the wall, as hard as he can, three times.  I can only imagine that doing that would rip his knuckles to shreds and/or break his fingers, but he seems physically okay.

“Worst suspicisions confirmed. … Isis, this is beyond archeaology, or even faith and validating the Bible now.  It’s personal.  We’re going to find the head of that Serpent if it kills us.”

I just imagine Isis cutting in with, “Wha–Murph, kills us?  Hey, dude, speak for yourself.”

And so, off they go.

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Posted on September 29, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Oh, wow, Isis really can lead him to do anything she wants, can’t she?

    “Hey, Murphy, do you think we should get that brass ring out of the piranha pond? It might be a clue to the Bible Code.”

    “Hey, Murphy, your wife died on a day ending with ‘y’, right? Just like today! Better go fetch that notebook out of the crocodile. Well, one of the crocodiles.”

  2. Which makes me wonder again why Talon did that cross-thing. Is it a habit that Talon has? Is it something that the Seven (They’ll Stop At Nothing!) have told Talon to do?

    Well, I will grant this much: Talon is not an enemy that you can just pray away, Murphy. At some point he’s going to have to get into a knock-down-drag-out with the bird-chucking assassin. Except Methuselah will probably save Murphy’s bacon. Again. Or Isis will. Again.

    Go Team Isis!

  3. On the punching of walls:

    It really depends a lot on what the walls are made of. I mean, if it’s cheap drywall and you don’t hit a stud, it’s pretty easy to put your fist through the wall, and all you get are some superficial scrapes. If you’re lucky enough to hit a stud dead on with your fist, well, then you’re hitting a wooden beam, which is a lot more likely to lead to bruising with a chance of breaking something in your fingers/wrist/forearm. If you’re unlucky enough to hit a stud off-center, you’ll likely break a few fingers, or sprain or even break your wrist.

    If you’re punching wood or metal, if it’s thin enough to have some give, (like a door) you’ll probably just hurt your fist. But if it’s thick enough not to give at all, and you hit it dead on, ‘as hard as you can’, you can actually fracture the bones in your forearm. (in addition to the ones in your fingers and wrist)

    You really only bloody your knuckles if you’re hitting a really uneven surface (like stucco) or if you’re dragging your fist across or through something, or if you’re hitting something repeatedly.

    So if they’re in a cheap, seedy hotel room, he might punch through the cheap drywall or wind up spraining his wrist against the cinder-blocks. Or if they’re in the lobby after taking the phone call, he might have bloodied his knuckes against the stucco. But something tells me we don’t really get enough description to even make a guess.

  4. I’m confused here. The Seven want Murphy to find all three pieces of the Serpent, right? Wouldn’t it be simplest for them to just keep Talon on standby and wait for Murphy to finish collecting the Plot Vouchers on his own? It’s not like they need to worry about him reassembling the thing yet, what with the tail still back in the States and all.

    Okay, I realize the ostensible motivations are something along the lines of “They stole the tail because they needed to be sure they had it under their control and they bragged about Laura’s death as a sick dare to get Murphy motivated.” That just seems like an unnecessary risk. Making any move against the Serpent at this time reveals that somebody else wants the Serpent.

    Murphy’s logical next step (assuming, of course, that he really does believe the Serpent is magic and only he should possess it, since the sane thing to do would be to just call off the hunt and contact the authorities) would be to secure the piece he has right now, then try to trace the murders so he at least knows who’s trying to kill him.

    Obviously, the broken cross was supposed to make Murphy act irrationally, but even that’s risky since they’d have no real way of predicting his behavior. What if he had instead thought that the villains were targeting his personal associates, and returned home to keep, say, Shari or his fellow church attendees protected? Or what if he’d gone back into a depression and abandoned his treasure hunt? Do the Seven really know Murphy well enough that they can, in full confidence, predict how he will react to an old grief?

    (Obviously, we could have predicted his behavior. Murphy isn’t selfless enough to to stop chasing shiny things and protect the people he supposedly cares about.)

    • Going by what we’ve seen of The Seven, I don’t think they’re competent enough to predict Murphy’s behaviour even when he isn’t being irr… I mean, when he’s being less irrational than he is at the moment.

      C’mon, guys, ancient mystical conspiracies are supposed to be at least a bit glamorous.

  5. “Isis, this is beyond archaeology, or even faith and validating the Bible now. It’s personal. We’re going to find the head of that Serpent if it kills us.”

    So in other words, this mission is no longer for the glory of God, but for the glory of Michael.

    …Not that this whole adventure hasn’t always been for the greater glory of Michael Murphy. 😛

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