Babylon Rising, Chapter 64
Well, here’s where it just gets stupid.
Standing on opposite sides of the air shaft in the center of the pyramid, in which the head of the Brazen serpent is hovering (and I can heardly believe I just wrote that), Talon reveals The Terrible Truth:
“My name is Talon. I told it to your wife, but I guess she never got to share it with you.”
Ooo, cold. Here is Murphy’s response:
“You monster. So, I was right. You are the same man who is responsible for all of the horrors of the recent weeks.”
Okay, first of all, I am trying to think of a more cold and detached way to describe the murders of about ten different people (several of whom, Murphy counted as “friends”) than “all of the horrors of the recent weeks,” but I’m failing.
Second, it is so very Michael Murphy to say, “So, I was right,” as the first response to the man who killed his wife.
Also…bwa? Right about what, Murphy? Right that the guy that killed Laura is the same guy that set the bomb in your church? Because I think everyone pretty much knew that already.
Right that the guy who bombed the church and killed Laura is the same guy who stole the other part of the Serpent? Well, sorta, but I gotta call insufficient evidence on this one, Murph, as for all you know, Talon is part of a gang of criminals. (As, indeed, he is.)
Talon monologues, as supervillains are wont to do, that he intends to get the hovering head of the Serpent then double-back to the University and swipe the middle part.
Murphy, who is really obsessing about who’s right and who’s wrong (not the hot issue, I would think), sneers that all of Talon’s “modern” power can’t compete with ancient minds. To which Talon promptly goes,
And Talon sics his pet falcon on the head of the Serpent.
I’m sure he has already calculated the airspeed of a laden falcon. Because he’s that kind of supervillain.
A bird, he [Murphy] thought. Of course.
Damn, that man is obsessed with being right. Of course he has a bird. Because there is no other possible way to retrieve the head…like, say, a net or something.
Speaking of, did Murphy have a plan for retrieving the head? Doesn’t seem like it.
Okay, now it’s time for the standoff moment. Murphy takes out his trusty bow, which he had strapped to his back as he crawled on his tummy through the tiny tunnel…
…and aims the arrow first at the bird, then at Talon.
Ah, what a moral conundrum. On the one hand, you could shoot the bird, making it, and the head of the Brazen Serpent, fall into the abyss, never to be seen again. Or, you could shoot the guy who just admitted to killing 6-10 people, including your very own wife, and thus increase your chances not only of retrieving the piece of the Serpent, but of bringing the bomber and murderer to justice.
And, hell, nothing in the world says you have to shoot to kill. If you’re having moral qualms about killing, just shoot him in the leg or shoulder or something, if you’re such a great shot, Murph.
(And you know what, I’m not even going to bring up the stupidity of bringing a gigantic bow and arrows, but not bringing a gun, Mr. Army Guy!
Yeah, I’ll give you one guess what happens.
He shoots the bird.
The bird, and the head of the Brazen Serpent, fall into the abyss. Yup, Murphy had the perfect opportunity to shoot the guy who killed his wife and his “friends” and a couple of innocent security guards, and HE DECIDED NOT TO TAKE THE SHOT.
And Talon takes advantage of Murphy staring woefully at the descending Serpent head (poor birdie…it was just trying to do its job…) and gets away.
And no, Jassim and Isis do not notice anyone driving away from the “other side” of the pyramid in a car.
Oh oh oh!! And get this!
Talon’s second falcon somehow gets behind Murphy (a good trick, as Murph is standing on a little ledge), and dive-bombs him just hard enough to snatch Laura’s wooden root cross from around Murph’s neck!
A. No, I am not making that up.
B. I didn’t even know Murphy was wearing the thing. I guess I figured he had it stored in a box or something. Yanno, that he was keeping it safe.
C. How do you even train a falcon to do that? Forget Biblical artifacts, Murphy need to be studying these hyper-intelligent birds.
In short, holy crap.