Soon: Chapter 33: De Plane Goes Down


Ranold explains to Paul the awesome way in which Atheistopia is awesome:

“Our guys were able to get a bead on the plane that littered L.A.  Turns out it was unmanned, which we were able to determine through heat-sensitive reconnaissance.  They asked permission to shoot it down, but by the time they had it in their sights, it had spent most of its cargo.  Balaam told ’em to just follow it to its owner.”

Bia, you are so damn smart.  Never stop being you, girlfriend.

“The thing led them to San Pedro Bay…a guy came out in a boat to get it.  …  I suspect we could have rounded up some compatriots too, but as soon as he noticed he was being followed, he stayed in the drink and made us come to him.”

Why did Barton run right to the plane???  He knew this might happen; why didn’t he wait to make sure the plane hadn’t been tracked, or just abandon it?

“Insolent kid.  Cool manner, articulate.  Smelled of fish.”

Okay, I laughed.  Guess that’s what Barton gets for being the point man on Operation Stinky Dead Fish. 

Also, you’d think Barton would have showered before the mission, because smelling of fish might be, oh, I dunno, A CLUE as to where he comes from and where other subversives might be found.

As we know, this whole mission was Lois’s brainchild.  Now we know why–Barton clearly doesn’t have the sense that TurboJesus gave a goose.

Unsurprisingly, Paul reacts to this news in the most suspicious manner you can imagine: Ranold offers Paul the interrogation of Barton (given Paul’s religious training), and this is Paul’s response:

“…I’d better get over there before Balaam decides this guy is armed and dangerous and makes him kill himself.”

You’d think that summary executions would be the way of things in Atheistopia, but I guess not.  And Ranold, once again, seems to truly believe the propaganda:

“The people who have been killed deserved it, Paul, starting with your friend Pass, and you know it.  Chief Balaam almost single-handedly cut the legs off the subversive sects in Washington, som especially virulent ones responsible for major sabotage.  Killing the cherry trees on the mall–destroying a national symbol and disrupting the city’s economy–that was as much an act of war as if they’d blown up the Statue of Liberty.  It was out-and-out terrorism, and that’s the same fire we’ve been putting out here in L.A.”

Ranold’s right, as far as it goes.  The cherry trees were a God-miracle, according to Jenkins, yet there was no reason for an Atheistopian to believe there wasn’t an earthly cause.

And once again, Paul is a frakking idiot, and does NOT behave like the double agent he is supposed to be:

“No one proved anyone killed the cherry trees, Ranold, remember?”

Way to keep the suspicion off you, Paul.

Of course, because Jerry Jenkins is running the show, Ranold, despite his DECADES in the NPO, is not allowed to come to the OBVIOUS CONCLUSION, that Paul is sympathetic to the Christians. 

No, Ranold just thinks that Paul is jealous of Bia.  Which Paul IS, but that’s not the hottest issue.

So Paul heads on over to “the armory,” where army guards have left poor, dumb Barton all tied up on the floor.  The guards tell Paul that Barton “attacked” them, and frankly, I don’t see why I should doubt their word, but I think we are to assume they are lying, since that’s what Evil Atheists do.

Refreshingly, Barton’s initial suspicion is that Paul ratted him out.  Which should be the automatic response of just about all Christians, since Paul is so new to the cause.

But all it takes is one denial from Paul for Barton to deduce that Paul is totes a Christian, fer reals, and for Barton to start calling Paul “sir.”


The best Paul can give Barton is to order him transferred from army custody to the NPO “downtown.”  How Paul can order such a thing (over Bia’s head) is beyond me, but whatevs.

Then, THEN, Barton (the idiot) asks Paul to pray for him, and Paul does.

Thus proving Paul to be an even bigger idiot than Barton.

[Paul] put a hand on Barton’s shoulder and prayed God’s will would be done in his life.  He thought of the juxtaposition of the prayer and the location and had to wonder what in the world anyone outside the door would think if they saw this.

I love how Paul assumes that the people outside the door aren’t watching his every move.

DAMN, that man is stupid.

And next time: Paul’s stupid and evil plan!


Posted on February 19, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. If this were a book written by a competent author, I’d suspect that Ranold is just stringing Paul along, letting the man get in deeper and deeper until there’s no way Paul could deny his involvement with the Christians. But it’s not so I have to rationalize as best I can — I think Ranold has more PTSD than he lets on, and was part of some missions against some really nasty religious terrorists.

    I laughed at the description of Barton too. It sounds like an action figure:

    Insolent Kid! Now with twelve points of articulation! Powers include cool manne and new Fishy-Smell Action! Help him thwart the Evil Atheistapo by refusing to return to home base when spotted! Boat he never should have gone out in sold separately. Batteries not included.

  2. Refreshingly, Barton’s initial suspicion is that Paul ratted him out.

    Wait, wasn’t he standing next to the plane that was dumping Christian tracts when they caught him?

  3. Hm, if someone’s coming to fetch the plane in a boat that certainly makes it sound small enough to be carried in a boat (and lifted out of the water by one person). In which case how did it manage to carry all those leaflets?

    Either that or it’s big enough that Barton was planning to haul the boat on board, then fly off somewhere else.

    But actually of course Barton has a touch of martyr complex – it’s not unusual among ideological revolutionaries – and meta-Lois, recognising this, has sent him off to die heroically so that he doesn’t take the rest of the cell down with him. (The building was emptied and torched as soon as he’d left.)

    Real True Americans don’t need personal hygiene!

    What Paul ought to be doing – what this scene is set up for – is slipping Barton a suicide pill.

  4. “No one proved anyone killed the cherry trees, Ranold, remember?”

    So, after a couple of weeks as a Christian, Paul has already forgotten that the Atheistopia default assumption is NOT “miracle”?

    I love how Paul assumes that the people outside the door aren’t watching his every move.

    More – it’s not that he truly assumes he has privacy so much as he never even considers the possibility he’s being monitored. And I was going to ask why this wasn’t being video-recorded from 3 different angles (oh, while Barton is harnessed to a lie detector system of some sort) for the interrogation – but I suppose the handy part of having Barton trussed up on the floor is that no one asks why the guy isn’t in a proper interrogation room.

    But I’ve got to wonder what genius decided to take the scary Christian *to the armory*….

  5. Wow, I had thought of several ways the Atheistapo could’ve traced that plane to its owners, but the zealots amaze me by being so stupid none of those methods are neccesary. They just land the plane and go pick it up. I’m suprised they didn’t just land it next to their headquarters. What a bunch of dolts. I thought it was a given that after dropping the flyers (exactly how did they drop those by remote? You could probably open the cargo doors but that just drops them all in one place. Did they build a machine specifically so it would drop a few tracts per second?), they’d fly it to the sea and point it straight down.

    Ranold is really just letting Paul doing the interogation? Really? After all this “We can’t trust you anymore” schtick? And Paul responds by piling more evidence of his treason on the pile? Ugh. Also, Paul should hope Bia kills the guy, that’s a lot better than if they make him talk. Not only can he point them to the rest of the fishermen (in case the smell isn’t a clue), but he can name Paul too. Paul’s just lucky the guy didn’t go off on a “I knew that bastard NPO agent was a mole” rant before Paul got to him and said he was totally not a mole.

    Heh, Paul says he’s really a Christian and since Christians don’t lie, it must be true. Kind of their attitude to Biblical inerrancy. I think I prefer the Wyrd Sisters approach though: She looked like a witch but she said she was a harmless apple seller, and he wasn’t about to doubt a witch’s word. Pleased with this application of logic, the guard let her through.

    • Paul’s just lucky the guy didn’t go off on a “I knew that bastard NPO agent was a mole” rant before Paul got to him and said he was totally not a mole.

      If Paul was even half-assing his job, such a rant wouldn’t even matter because the NPO would answer, “Of course he works for us!” instead of “Wtf, Paul was there? And he didn’t file even the slightest report?” But of course Paul double (triple?) agenting the NPO probably goes against TurboJesus or something so he has to be both incompetent and totally obvious.

      Whatever, Paul’s not smart enough to do double/triple agent work. (Think how much better this book would be if Paul was even half as good at his job as Snape!)

      nd oh God I can’t wait until we get to the end of the book! I’m checking like twice a day I’m so excited! (Yeah, I’ve read all three. Horrible, appalling books, the lot.)

  6. Also: Props for Atheistopia for following the plane instead of blowing it the fuck up. That would have been stupid (though it provided nice flash-fic), but it sounds like the kind of thing Jenkins would have the atheists do. Y’know, civilian casualties be damned as long as a single tract can be destroyed before it hits the ground.

    Kinda makes me wonder why they started being smart now. If they could wrap their head about not shooting the plane to get more clues, couldn’t they have questioned Specs too instead of assasinating him? You can ask that question from the perspective of the characters, but I’m more inclined to wonder why Jenkins changed the MO here. Did he not want us to feel sorry for a single atheist civilian, so they can’t die unless God kills them (which makes it all good)? Did the big bad army lose all interest in violence once they saw the plane was empty and realized blowing it up wouldn’t saturate their lust for mudering Christians or something?

    Also, good job Ruby, I’m now really afraid of learning what Paul’s evil plan is. How is he going to manipulate people and possibly get tons of atheists killed to further his own interests and (worse) how’s Jenkins going to explain to us how this is the coolest, noblest and manliest action he could take?

  7. I can only assume that Barton being captured is part of the Christians’ strategy — perhaps they need a second set of eyes in enemy territory — because I can’t think of any other reason why their plan would involve SENDING SOMEONE TO FETCH THE PLANE WHEN THE AUTHORITIES ARE OBVIOUSLY GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR IT. I know our heroes are counting on a literal deus ex machina to win this war, but that’s no excuse not to use your brains in the meantime. God must be looking down at his followers right now with a celestial facepalm.

    I can sort of understand the initial impulse to shoot the plane down. Even though it’s just dropping harmless leaflets, if I were the authorities I wouldn’t want to rule out the possibility that it’s also carrying more dangerous cargo like nerve gas. Or that its controller is going to send it smack into an orphanage after its job is done. These are Krazy Kristians ™, after all, and the fact that they’re not all violent lunatics seems to be a secret the Atheistapo upper echelon keeps to itself.

  8. “Insolent kid. Cool manner. Articulate. Smelled of fish.”

    Jenkins made a funny! An actual, deliberate, laugh line that worked (as opposed to the dozens of lame attempts throughout every book he’s ever written, or hilarious lines that are supposed to be serious). See, miracles do happen!

  9. Of course Barton believed Paul after just one denial. Everyone knows a REAL atheist would have started gloating and monologing like a Saturday morning cartoon villain at that point.

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