Soon: Chapter 2: Paul and Angela

Just to assuage the fears of the worst sorts of ickiness, Angela isn’t actually 17 years old.  (Her eulogy was just that vague and uninteresting.)  She’s around Paul’s own age, maybe a few years younger.  So, fair game!

Paul meets Angela face-to-face as he walks past the bier and greets the family:

Her dignity and warmth had been evident when she spoke, but up close her beauty was disarming.  And she smelled of lavender.  Despite his anger at her father and the gravity of the occasion, Paul’s attraction to Angela was immediate, intense, and visceral.

True love at the funeral!  I can’t even get over that–he’s a few steps away from the coffin (presumably closed) of his former commander, the man who was “like a father to him,” and all Paul can think about is getting it on with the grieving daughter.

“Daddy spoke so highly of you,” [Angela said]…

“Oh, surely not,” [Paul] managed.  “Your dad had so many trainees and subordinates over the years–“

Nice false modesty from the guy who, mere seconds ago, was congratulating himself for being The Dork’s “favorite.”

“I’m totally serious,” she said.  “You must have epitomized what he was looking for in Delta Force.”

Ohmygawd, I am like, sooo totally serious!

“Your remarks were perfect,” Angela said.  “It was obvious you really knew him.”

Okay, we went over Paul’s little speech in the last post.  I just gotta say, it is awfully squicky the way Angela regards as “perfect” the comments that her dad was a tortuous ass, yet somehow, simultaneously, the only “human” among the superior officers.

Then Angela wants to introduce Paul…to her sons!  Gasp!  Shock!

“Certainly,” Paul said, sobering.  So she was married.  Well, so was he.

Two things:

1.  Why is Paul still married?  He can’t stand his wife, he is an amoral atheist in this world Jenkins has created–by Jenkins’ own viewpoint, why would such a man stay married when he is unhappy?  Shouldn’t he be hedonistically single?

2.  And on the same note, why does Paul assume Angela is married? (Spoiler: she’s a widow.  Of course.)  Again, godless amoral world–would a person in this world really automatically assume that anyone with kids must be married? 

Oh, and I find it a bit hard to believe, what with the way Paul has been dating/date-raping so many female employees of the NPO for at least the past six years, that this is the first married woman in whom he has been interested.

Just sayin’.


Posted on January 11, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Thanks for clarifying about Angela! Sorry for misreading what you had written about her.

    “Certainly,” Paul said, sobering. So she was married. Well, so was he.

    Seriousy, HOW in the WORLD can Jenkins justify this guy being a remotely sympathetic character? Just because he says the Magic Words?

    Sigh. Looking at this, all I can think of is that poor Jae is going to get killed.

    … This is a serious trend with LaHaye and Jenkins, and it’s bothering me. Every ‘first’ wife of Murphy, Stepola, and Steele get killed, die, or otherwise get swept out of the picture. The exception so far is Joshua Jordan, Tool Extraordinare (though it looks like Stepola has taken that title. You’re right; he’s a bigger tool than Jordan.) (But since Edge of Apocalypse has only gotten one book so far, I’m not going to lay money on his wife surviving the second book… and Jordan’s second wife will be introduced mere chapters if not pages right before marriage… and probably a double wedding involving Jordan and Chloe. Sorry, I’m still twitching a bit over the awful family situation in that book. Where was I…)

    So Paul Stepola not only has apparently targeted Angela for ‘the panther’ upon first seeing her, after presuming she’s married he goes into some kind of ‘sober’ mode and dismisses it and seems to accept the idea of adultery with her.

    I don’t get it. Well, okay, I kind of can: Jenkins is trying to depict a world that is without some presumed mediating influence of religion, let alone Real True Christianity. Jenkins is trying to give him some sort of moral compass in not divorcing Jae but unlike even Rayford frickin’ Steele he’s not only actively cheated on her (and gets pissy when she raises her suspicions that he has) he’s date-raped co-workers, contacts, liasons, etc. Is Jenkins really trying to one-up LaHaye and trying to say that anyone can be redeemed? It… seems like it, but considering neither of them change much after they say the Magic Words…

    • The divorce thing is so odd–Jenkins continually wants to infuse “traditional, Christian” morals into this atheist world.

      Please note–I am not for a moment saying that marriage and fidelity are exclusively Christian. But I have certainly heard more than one RTC claim that they are.

      So, in this world, why does marriage even exist for the amoral atheists? Wouldn’t they have abolished it along with the 50 states, since they don’t care about things like that? And heck, even if they did have it, you would think the evil atheists would have elevated the ultra-eeevil no-fault divorce to a matter of seconds. “I want out.” “Me too.” “Great, we’re officially divorced! See ya!”

      • The only thing I can think if is if the Peacekeepers still have the ‘marriage’ baggage. That is, thus: Even in the modern military, you are vanishingly unlikely to get promoted past O-4 (Lt. Commander, Major) if you are not married. I don’t know why, exactly, but that was the case when I was in the military 15 years ago.*

        Maybe the civilian criminal investigations directorate that Stepola’s a part of has that sort of twisted thing going for it, and he needs to be married in order to have any hope of continuing his career. (And he’s just the sort of tool to do everything in his power to prevent Jae from getting a successful divorce from him.)**

        * – One of the ‘Fridge Horror’ things about the military that I can look back on from this side of the transition is that my first CO said that I should find a girlfriend as part of his advice for new officers. Me, back then, after a slew of crushes and no real relationships, thought, “I’m trying to, sir, you can’t order that sort of thing to just happen.” Me, now, looking back on that, thinks, “What a fracking twisted, stupid, crazy thing to suggest. That’s like becoming a Christian solely to satisfy Newton’s Wager.”
        ** – Yeesh, it’s really easy to attribute all sorts of horrible personality features to characters like Jordan and Stepola. =(

        • Oy… sorry to say this but when I was in Iraq, and my wife “Jodi”ed me, I got the exact same advice.

          Of course their reasoning was “Just so you can have somebody watch yer kids…” (I was fighting for custody and won, but was kicked out of the army with an honorable…)

          So, I can totally imagine that being a scenario for the peacekeepers… not that I think Jenkins thought it out that far.

        • Choir of Shades

          The American military isn’t all that great about the no establishment thing either. Atheists are discriminated against in the military: their physical safety is often put at risk from our own soldiers, they are denied advancement (one man who sued the government over this just a couple of years ago said, “I was told because I can’t put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn’t make a good leader.”), and we even have chaplains denying bathwater to non-Christian soldiers who refuse to be baptised Citation
          And then there was that scandal where our rifle sights were being printed with bible verses.

          I’d advance a couple of reasons for the marriage thing specifically though. A) It “proves” you’re not gay, or if you are you’re wiling to act as though you aren’t. B) Senior military rank is as much about politics as anything else. If you look at the rest of our politics, virtually no major candidate is unmarried (Charlie Crist comes to mind as a rare Republican exception, except that he’s been subsequently shunted out of the major league political arena for being gay). In much of politics, though, your wife (because you are obviously a heterosexual male if you are a candidate for high political or military rank).is also expected to fulfill certain social duties. Note how very few prominent politicians of either sex have spouses with acknowledged interests in anything other than a “pet cause” and essentialized hobbies according to their sex.

  2. Despite his anger at her father and the gravity of the occasion, Paul’s attraction to Angela was immediate, intense, and visceral.

    Really? I mean, really?

    Immediate, intense passion when first meeting someone at a funeral, while grieving and working through unresolved feelings, that’s actually pretty common. What I’m incredulous at is the “Despite…” at the front. Do these guys simply not understand human beings at all?

  3. Oh jesus…
    It’s not like… ARRGH…

    Okay,let me be perfectly clear here. They used to call Cadences “Jodi’s” for a reason. They did so, because military men consider women to be pretty much unfaithful whores. (There ARE exceptions, but the general military mindset is that you shouldn’t pin your hopes on the gal back home.)
    So, I refuse to believe that mister gung ho here is at all concerned about a woman he finds attractive’s Marital Status. Seriously. If she’s married to a civilian, many military guys consider that the equivelent of not being married to a “REAL MAN”. If she’s married to another military man… is he around? NO? She’s fair game!

    I know that’s extremely cynical but it’s the real attitude of military men, as opposed to the “band of brothers” bullshit the media tries to sell…

    And the whole thing about Jenkins killing off wives… It’s the RTC equivelent of a “Fuck who ya really want to” card. If your wife’s DEAD, well of course you have to “move on” and fuck the gal you really want to…

  4. Jerry Jenkins… even his “bad guys” think like RTCs, just bad RTCs. It would be reasonable for an alternative Paul to propose a nice commitment-free swive with the prior knowledge of his wife, and without all this casual sleaziness… but I bet that Jenkins doesn’t believe that that sort of thing is even possible. For him it’s a universal rule that either you have a marriage (with occasional “strayings” about which you should feel desperately guilty but which you shouldn’t actually try to prevent) or you have people raping each other in the streets.

    • Well, it probably fits with the whole “the law of God is written in the hearts of men” conceit. (Really, I can’t find ANYTHING else that could undergird their belief that the only non-RTCs are people desperately trying to forget the “obvious” fact of looming judgement…)

  5. Just coming in on the series now. Looking forward to the rest!

    In today’s military, whether or not someone is married is not as much of a consideration. Folks certainly make O-5 without consideration for marital status. The more interesting questions come up around O-6 and above: has the officer’s careerism ruined the first marriage? Has the officer remarried to someone who supports his or her further career goals? Etc.

    More strangely, what’s with this thing about Delta Force? How are they handling that in the books? What does that show us about how badly they misunderstand reality and the real military?

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