Soon: Chapter 32: Yeah, You’re a Big Help
Barton James is planning on launching his little littering seaplane that evening. So, seeing that there is absolutely nothing he can do to help anybody at Operation Rotting Fish, Paul heads off in his now-debugged car to heroically…sit in the parking lot of a fast food joint and scarf down a burger.
Atheistopia being what it is, I am convinced that fast food places now feature fare that is both delicious, and low in calories, Weight Watchers Points, sodium, and fat. Alas, Jenkins does not detail this aspect–it’s just my own little idea.
It is while he is stuffing his face that Paul gets a skull call from Straight. Straight is so upset that he can’t speak, so Paul takes that moment to check his “pocket computer” and sees that the army has struck yet another underground Christian hideaway, this one at the former Loyola Marymount University, killing two hundred Christians who were mourning the six people already killed.
Site of the underground Christian lair of the future. Picture from Wikipedia.
Damn, but this messes with my Death Counts. I’m telling you guys, I am looking forward to digging into The Secret on Ararat (har, C Wut I Did There?), but I don’t think the Death Count will be remedied until Silenced.
Anyway, Jenkins calls this killing of Christians a “massacre.” This strikes me as odd because Paul called the killing of five Christians a holocaust, and I admit I have always thought of a holocaust as being worse than a massacre. Maybe it’s just me.
Once again, we only have Straight’s word for What Really Happened:
“They were in a makeshift chapel, and they had no weapons at the whole site. The leadership saw the army amassing and tried to negotiate. Well, there was no negotiating. They were shot dead at the door; then the army leaders retreated to their positions ad obliterated the place. Those people were slaughtered.”
If there were no survivors, HOW CAN STRAIGHT POSSIBLY KNOW ANY OF THIS??? He cites “calls from inside just as it was going down,” but that makes it sound like Straight was on a skull conference call with reporters, not with desperate, trapped people who had no possible way to see and hear everything.
I can’t help but feel that the Christians chose a poor mourning site, too. As it happens, Loyola Marymount was turned into a “reprogramming center” after WWIII, showing people “how to get along without the encumbrances of religion.” But I guess it’s NOT that anymore, since it’s abandoned enough for the underground to have a they-thought-it-was-underground-but-not-really memorial service.
I’m so confused…
Did the reprogramming work on everyone but the RTCs, seeing as they’re the only religious folks we ever see? Why isn’t it a reprogramming center now, given the resurgence of the “Christian threat”? Why would the Christians use such an obvious spot for their memorial? What is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country being used for, if it’s so empty that the Christians moved in? What went on at this reprogramming center, anyway?
Unsurprisingly, once Paul gets to LMU, Bia and Ranold have a rather different take on things:
“We surrounded the place before dawn, awakened their leadership, and ordered them to stand down and surrender peacefully. They promised to discuss an amicable resolution with their colleagues, and we gave them a deadline of noon to surrender their weapons and be taken into custody without incident.”
So, while Paul was wandering around the docks, smelling fish and yakking about Gideon, the Christians and the NPO and army were standing off with each other.
Paul really is the Least Action Hero, isn’t he?
“When there was no further communication from them, we prepared for the worst. One minute after the deadline, they opened fire on our forces, and we were forced to defend ourselves.” [Bia related]
Ranold, once again, appears not to have been involved in the actual raid, though he claims he was. Either way, he is still selling this to Paul as What We Had To Do:
“We would love for these people to respond appropriately and cooperatively and to be able to give you no end of subjects to examine. But they are zealots, extremists. They will not listen to reason. They will not negotiate. The first sign the government is at their door, they start shooting.”
“Shooting?” [asked Paul]
“That’s the same argumentative and self-righteous tone you used in South Central, and you wonder why you didn’t hear we were going to strike.”
What Ranold is telling Paul is that if Paul had been just a BIT of a better double agent, if he had kept his feelings just a BIT more under wraps, he could have been in the loop.
HE COULD HAVE WARNED THE CHRISTIANS AND SAVED TWO HUNDRED LIVES
Paul, you are the worst double agent in the history of spy stories.
Atheistopia’s Death Count: 230
God’s Death Count: 16