Babylon Rising, Chapter 67
Oh, man, this chapter sucks. It’s like Tim LaHaye realized there was an intelligent, competent, interesting female character in this story, and ordered that a stop be put to that kind of nonsense, but QUICK!
Since the loving presence of her father had departed, [Isis had] lived her life in hiding. Her academic studies had been a way of avoiding all the things in life that scared her, and her little office buried at the Foundation was really a kind of bunker from which she had successfully kept the outside world at bay.
Hey, Alteration Retcon! Retcon!!! RETCON!!!!!
Yeah, so much for the brilliant philologist, renowned by experts the world over for her skills, having chosen her profession because of a lifeling love of the myths and worlds of the past. So much for the conflicted child, loving her individuality even as it kept her apart from her peers.
Back when we were introduced to Isis, we were given a very clear picture of her background. Nothing about “hiding from the world.” Just someone, an eccentric and interesting someone, but not a scared someone, who happened to love her work.
This sadly calls to mind Lyz’s not-infrequent observation, over at the awesome And You Call Yourself A Scientist!, that in the movies, beauteous female scientists are only allowed to choose scientific careers because of personal tragedy.
Because a woman being passionate about a challenging field of study is just silly, isn’t it?
Anyway, who has time to worry about the retcon of Isis when there are MARINES around?
Colonel Davis runs right up to Murphy and introduces himself. And completely ignores Isis and Jassim. Seriously, he doesn’t even address them. But, hey, Isis is a woman and Jassim is a Muslim, so it’s not like they matter.
Oh, and just in case we might have any doubts that Davis is a Marine, he wears aviator sunglasses and has a bone-crunching handshake.
So, we’re sure.
A sonar sled has just been left at the site. Apparently just sitting out in the hot sun for months, because “the fellows who cleaned this place out left a couple of items they couldn’t find a use for on the black market.”
Hey, bonus! And, holy crap, this is just like when Buck found that bicycle sitting on the post-Rapture Manhattan sidewalk!
Now, I Googled sonar sleds, and it appears that they are used primarily for underwater exploration, not under-sand exploration. If anyone knows differently, please feel free to correct me.
In the meantime, it strikes me as odd that Murph and Jassim can just drag the sled, a lightweight plastic oblong the size of a child’s mattress–slowly across the rockslide while Isis watched the images forming on Murphy’s laptop computer screen a few yards away.
But after a mere thirty minutes, they see some sort of man-made object…perhaps a dozen feet beneath the surface…[that] wasn’t small.
It’s Just That Simple!
And hey, guess what??? Colonel Davis has a bulldozer!
A Marine mans the bulldozer at Murphy’s direction for twenty minutes, then the following exchange takes place:
[Murphy] walked over to the area of newly excavated earth, then turned to Colonel Davis. “Now all we need is a few shovels.”
Davis saluted smartly. “Coming right up. And I’ve got twenty men with plenty of experience digging holes, if you need ’em.”
WTF WHY IS HE SALUTING MURPHY AND WHY DO THESE MARINES HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH THEIR TIME THAN DIG HOLES FOR THIS LAZY-ASS ARCHEOLOGIST WHO DID NOT EVEN THINK TO BRING SHOVELS???
Colonel David clearly thought out this whole archeological expedition much more thoroughly than the actual archeologist on hand.
The Marines dig until one of their shovels bounces off some bronze doors. Gee, maybe this is why archeology is best done by professionals–so that shovels won’t bounce off priceless and fragile artifacts.
The doors are basically pointing towards the sky, because after an interval of three thousand years, the building has shifted from the vertical.
Because the doors appear to be sealed shut, a couple of Marines attempt to pry them open with shovels.
And again…why are people prying at ancient stuff with shovels when you could damage it WTF???
But they manage to open the doors. And then Murphy grabs the Idiot Ball and starts to dangle himself over the edge of the doors that, as far as he knows, may lead to yet another bottomless pit.
And then (gasp! choke!) Murphy’s fingers slip, and he falls down the hole.
Time for another facepalm, this time from a fellow archeology enthusiast.
Meta-Isis facepalms, too. But regular Isis just screams. Because she is a girl.
And so, Murphy carries on the proud family tradition of accidentally falling down holes and discovering awesome things.
Because guess what????
Right there at the bottom of the hole which I guess is the far wall of the now-horizontal building…RIGHT THERE IS THE GOLDEN HEAD OF KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR WOW!!!
Yeah, when Murphy comes to after falling, he is staring right into King Neb’s golden face. Because the building going from vertical to horizontal in no way damaged the Golden Head!
It’s Accidental Archeology at its best!
Way to be, Murphy. You’re a credit to your profession.