Soon: Chapter 27: Busted Again
Paul heads back to the hotel after brushing off Angela, and GUESS WHO IS WAITING FOR HIM.
It’s Ranold, Jae’s dad.
This’ll probably be fun, because anyone who hates Paul is okay by me!
Paul, as you may recall from the last installment, stupidly let Angela call in the backup and stupidly failed to get Angela’s ass out of the area before the media showed up.
Ranold, nobody’s fool, did not fail to notice this:
“You’re going to tell me who she is. And then you’re going to get rid of her.”
“You think I’m ignorant, Paul? You used a woman in this operation today.”
“She was working locally. Had a contact with my suspect.”
“Yeah? Well, you know what? She was in the background in some of the TV reports. Looked real familiar to me. Know why?”
“I can’t imagine.”
“I’ve seen pictures of her before.”
Paul fought to maintain composure. “Really?”
Oh my Gawd, this just goes on and on and on.
Skipping ahead past yet more back-and-forth that goes nowhere.
“That’s Andy Pass’s daughter. We had he on file.”
Um, why the hell is Paul so surprised. Paul knew over six months ago that Ranold and the whole NPO knew that Andy Pass was LEADING a Christian cell.
“How do you know she’s not a subversive like her old man? You’d better clean up your act, Paul. This is my daughter you’re cheating on.”
“I’m not cheating at all–on anyone.”
Yeah, you’re a real stand-up guy, Paul. Congratulations on only lusting after this woman for months, fantasizing about a future with her, leading her on, then dumping her because Good Christians Don’t Get Divorced.
“Fix it, Paul.”
Of all the things to get caught for…
Yeah, of all the things to get caught for. Ranold thinks he is a) cheating on Jae with b) the daughter of a known subversive who was executed for treason.
Now, once again, it is wrong to outlaw religion. Jenkins will have no argument with me there. But Ranold, on the facts presented to him here, is not wrong in what he is saying to Paul. Paul has been planning to get into Angela’s pants for months, Angela is subversive to the Atheistopian government, and Paul’s an idiot for not realizing that Ranold would realize this.
But we certainly can’t have Ranold be right about something. That would tarnish Paul’s RTC image, wouldn’t it? So Ranold abruptly and inexplicably drops the subject and brings up his new mission in Los Angeles, which Paul will be a part of.
It seems the “insurrection” has been gaining strength, as Ranold describes:
“We’re finding Bibles everywhere, along with what they call ‘tracts’–little brochures with the ‘gospel’ in them. Plenty are turning up in your own backyard, all over Michigan and Ohio.”
Aw, finally. Finally it’s Ranold who refers to Heartland by the names of the former states. This makes sense, since this is the world Ranold was raised in. (According to the timeline of the story, Ranold was probably born in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and the government went Atheistopian in 2010.)
“And the same stuff’s flooding the Internet. We’ve got laws against that, but they’re almost impossible to enforce.”
Paul nearly burst with pride over what his brothers and sisters were accomplishing–just as he had been told in the salt mines–but he maintained a disconcerted look.
Ooooo, you’re a master of deception, Paul.
And really, that’s what gets Paul all excited? Tracts and an internet presence? No wonder RTCs today are so freaked out by atheists who have websites and who (gasp!) publish books.
But Ranold has been assigned to head up a special mission in L.A., where the zealots are attacking…the movies. This mission allows Ranold to engage in some exposition about the Atheistopian movie studios–they have now been merged into one studio, L.A. Idea Co., which is run by the government.
This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Why merge all the studios together? Honestly, it serves no purpose but to simplify things so that the Christians only have one target, and that target is the evil gubmint, not just people looking to make some entertainment for others and some money for themselves.
Ranold and Paul are to leave the next morning for L.A., and when Ranold leaves the room, Paul calls Straight.
Hey! Remember him? I almost forgot he was a part of this story!
Paul basically orders Straight to set him up with the contect info of the believers in L.A. Then Straight whines about not being “more on the front lines,” though I don’t see why he couldn’t be, if he wanted.
Ah well. As we leave Las Vegas, I must reveal that I have never been to L.A., so I will rely on you, my loyal readers, to fill me in on any weird geographical slip-ups that occur during this, the climax of Soon.