Soon: Chapter 34: Fast Food and the Fate of Barton

Paul sees off Grace the Hydrologist (no longer useful now that God is being asked for the big favor) and the others from The Other Group.

Then, he has another big and important task as the future incarnation of The Apostle Paul…he has to GO GET DINNER!!!

DAMN, the action never lets up!

Well, the off-screen action, anyway.  Because some action is coming up.

Too bad Paul won’t be present for it.

But first, it’s PHONE TIME, as Paul calls Straight in Chicago.  Straight is totally psyched about the whole ask-God-to-dry-up-L.A. plan, and promises to recruit a whole bunch of “prayer troops.”

This must be some new use of the word “troops” of which I am unaware.

Now, on to ACTION…

Remember how Paul arranged for Barton to be transferred from the armory to the local NPO so he (Barton) could be “safer”?

Yeeeah, that kinda blew up in Paul and Barton’s collective face.

Ranold tells Paul via skull phone that Barton won’t be at the new holding cell to talk to.

DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNN

Instead of listening to Ranold, Paul Skull-Phone-Hangs-Up on him and listens to the news instead.  Because that will be much more edifying than talking to the person in charge of the entire operation.  Paul learns that the car carrying Barton pitched off the road and OFF A CLIFF and burst into flames and now Atheistopia has called in DOGS to find Barton’s body.

Bitchin’.  THIS is a little more like it, ladies and gentlemen.  FINALLY, Atheistopia is acting like the Eeevil Dictatorship it is supposed to be.  Causing the “accidental” death of a Christian dissident. 

And not in some goofy, stupid way like trapping him in a snake zoo or smooshing him in a coin press.

And (here’s the beauty part) it is ALL PAUL’S FAULT.  It was PAUL’S idea to move Barton in the first place.  He sent Barton to his death!!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Anyway…

Not to be deterred from his very important mission, Paul picks up “a selection of fast-food staples” (no doubt all low in calories and carbs and high in fiber and nutrients, as Atheistopian fast food must be), and heads back to the Building of Dead Stinky Fish. 

This is the lamest secret hideout ever.  They have to order out for EVERY MEAL?  You would think they would have stockpiles of food and people trained in survival.  But oh no, time to take a break from prayer trooping and make an Arby’s run!

I’m also kinda suprised that the hideout isn’t under siege by the NPO even as we speak.Really, Atheistopia got NO INTEL from Barton before sending him off that cliff?  Barton smelled of stinky fish–where did they THINK he came from?

But no, everything is fine, and Paul breaks the bad news to the rest of the underground RTCs.  (I can only assume he left out the part about it being his idea to move Barton.)

Carl and Lois looked especially devastated, but everyone was shocked.  “It may be utterly the wrong time for this,” Paul said, “but maybe the best way to mourn Barton is to keep planning.”

Paul has known Barton for one day.  Maaaaybe it’s not his place to tell other people how to mourn a friend they’ve known for years who was just MURDERED.

Asshat.

But I guess he’s right, because…

…the grieving little band was growing emboldened.  Eyes moist and shining, they were clearly ready to believe God would work—to count on Him to answer their prayers.

Emboldened to do what…pray?  Does it really take much boldness to ask God to do all the work for you? 

“I had started working on something while Paul was gone,” Carl said, “and now I’m going to print it out.  Then let’s polish this thing till it shines and thank God for all He’s about to do.”

What Carl is talking about is that he’s written a “daring manifesto,” but we’ll get to that in a minute because OMG BARTON JUST WALKED IN HE’S NOT DEAD AFTER ALL.

I’m serious.  He’s not dead.

DAMMIT, ATHEISTOPIA, I THOUGHT YOU HAD THIS ONE

Barton tells his stupid story:

“They unshackled me and put me in an old car.  They wound tape around me like a mummy to hold me in the passenger seat…”

Wait, whut?

Wouldn’t the more sensible plan be to make Barton’s death look like his own botched escape attempt?  Wouldn’t you put him in the driver’s seat?  And why strap him down?  Just knock him out first.

DAMMIT, ATHEISTOPIA, WHY DO YOU SUCK AT THESE SHENANIGANS???

Then the bad guys put cans of gasoline in the back seat and stop them up with rags and light the rags on fire and zoom the car over the cliff.

Huh?

I just don’t even.

JUST TRUST GRAVITY, ATHEISTOPIA.  GRAVITY IS YOUR FRIEND.

This is soooo much trouble to go to when you could just knock Barton out, put him in a car, and send the car over the cliff.  Fire and duct tape?  Just extra expense and trouble.

“The car hit the rail at top speed, but I hardly moved because I was taped so tight to the seat.  Then the car was airborne, tumbling end over end, and I was choking with the smoke from the gas.  When it hit the ground, someone popped my door open, ripped off the tape, and yanked me out.  We rolled and rolled together and finally hid in the bushes as the car exploded and cartwheeled down the canyon.”

Then, the mysterious benefactor disappears.  A nameless RTC says he had to be an angel, and this is not contradicted.  Though one might well ask what the angels were doing when The Dork Too Stupid was napalm-barreled, or that guy was bitten by a snake, or that other guy was smooshed in the coin press.

I guess Barton is just an extra-special snowflake.

Lois leads the group in a rousing version of this:

(Jerry Jenkins loves this song.  The Tribulation Force sings it, too.)

Lois:  Great job singing about Christian love, guys!  Now, let’s fill in Barton on recent events: we’ve decided to ask God to desiccate the entire city.

Barton: AWESOME!

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Posted on February 25, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. I can accept that angels might bust certain people out and not others, since after all, God is generally supposed to have a plan for everyone and we can assume that those who aren’t saved don’t have any further Earthly use.

    HOWEVER… I cannot accept that Jenkins cheats us out of the only death that could have any real emotional impact on the readers thus far. All of the other deaths up to this point were characters whom we would have virtually no emotional attachments to. Admittedly Barton hasn’t been around for long, but we’ve had more time to get attached to him than any other person who’s been killed.

  2. “When [the car] hit the ground” my ass! When the car hit the ground, Barton would’ve been crushed like a piece of cheap plastic packaging. Provided he survived, he wouldn’t have had enough of an intact skeleton to walk. And then there’s the intentionally lit fire combined with the gasoline in the (what would have been) punctured tank. AND smoke inhalation! Bullshit, Barton! Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

    Perhaps Jenkins was trying to do a scriptural thing (“angels will not let him dash his foot against a stone”) but all he’s done is make a mess. A much better solution than a miracle is that the RTCs have the collective IQ of a syrupy waffle, and Barton was in cahoots with the Atheistapo.

    . . . . I do like me a conspiracy theory. I’ve had to come up with so many of them to make Jenkins make sense.

    • I suppose we could assume that the angel made the car land not quite hard enough, but it all just adds to the shifting definitions of when angels/miracles intercede, and when they don’t.

      Barton’s car questionably lands after flying off a cliff, but Arthur Demetrius’s survival of five-foot fall is a miracle? Mmmmkay.

      Also, forgot to mention: DOGS. I hope the angel magicked away Barton’s scent, because I can only assume that the dogs would discover REAL QUICK that Barton survived and headed off on foot. I hope the other RTCs are packing right now!

      btw, love the idea of Barton being in cahoots with the NPO. He seems the type–it’s always the bluff-and-bluster types who fold first under pressure…

  3. Thank goodness Barton was spared. I was concerned our heroes would be too grief-stricken to enjoy their McNuggets.

  4. Paul learns that the car carrying Barton pitched off the road and OFF A CLIFF and burst into flames and now Atheistopia has called in DOGS to find Barton’s body.

    Bitchin’. THIS is a little more like it, ladies and gentlemen. FINALLY, Atheistopia is acting like the Eeevil Dictatorship it is supposed to be. Causing the “accidental” death of a Christian dissident.

    Wait – WHAT? Okay (taking this before the “twist”), why would Atheistopia do this? Making Barton “disappear” into a complex web of red tape, governmental bureaucracies, “treatment” facilities and shadow prisons – THAT would make sense.

    Publicly killing him in a “fiery accident” just makes you look incompetent. Especially since this “accident” doesn’t work without the death of the atheistopian driver. And then that driver’s family starts publicly stating that *their* child/spouse/parent would *never* drive so badly, especially with another person’s life at stake. And if atheistopia can’t identify a driver who died in the crash, that causes its own set of PR problems…

    When it hit the ground, someone popped my door open, ripped off the tape, and yanked me out. We rolled and rolled together and finally hid in the bushes as the car exploded and cartwheeled down the canyon.”

    I’m not sure whether to take this as “angel is incompetent at disguising the interference of the supernatural” (because clearly no human happened to be in the right place – and, more importantly, ready – to untape the guy in the moving, burning car) or as “angel is incompetent at making it crystal clear the supernatural has interfered” because, really, why wait until the car has hit? Barton should have been injured by the impact. Angel should have flown in, or just appeared, the instant the car started moving.

    Although, now that I think about it, did no one *watch* this car they’ve pushed off the cliff? Shouldn’t someone have seen Barton and this mysterious savior get out of the car?

    • To paraphrase Dr. Evil from Austin Powers: No, no, I’m just going assume everything went according to my totally overly elaborate plan. No need to watch them actually die.

    • You know, Jenkins could have gotten a lot more mileage out of this by having Barton just plain “disappeared” and Ranold darkly hinting to Paul that he knows what really happened and if Paul doesn’t get with the Atheistopian program right now, he’s next.

      But nooooooo.

    • Angels doing a half-assed job of disguising the fact they’re actually supernatural beings is actually a fairly common trope in angel encounter stories I’ve read. It usually goes down with the subject of rescue not actually realizing they’ve had an angelic encounter until fridge logic sets in.

      Also, angels are known for their selective invisibility powers. No, seriously.

      So yeah, whether or not these stories are actually true, Barton’s encounter makes a lot more sense if you’re familiar with the tropes.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      To Jerry Jenkins, Greatest Christian Author of All Time (GCAAT):

      YOU ARE *NOT* IAN FLEMING!

      YOU ARE *NOT* ROBERT ANTON WILSON!

      AND AT LEAST FRANCIS E DEC HAD AN *ORIGINAL* GRAND UNIFIED CONSPIRACY THEORY!

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy

    …and now Atheistopia has called in DOGS to find Barton’s body.

    DOGS? I sense a See-How-Clever-I-Am parallel to the death of Jezebel here.

    Wouldn’t the more sensible plan be to make Barton’s death look like his own botched escape attempt? Wouldn’t you put him in the driver’s seat? And why strap him down? Just knock him out first.

    DAMMIT, ATHEISTOPIA, WHY DO YOU SUCK AT THESE SHENANIGANS???

    Then the bad guys put cans of gasoline in the back seat and stop them up with rags and light the rags on fire and zoom the car over the cliff.

    Huh?

    I just don’t even.

    JUST TRUST GRAVITY, ATHEISTOPIA. GRAVITY IS YOUR FRIEND.

    This is soooo much trouble to go to when you could just knock Barton out, put him in a car, and send the car over the cliff. Fire and duct tape? Just extra expense and trouble.

    Remember who’s writing this piece of History Written In Advance.

    All that’s missing is the bad guys smacking their lips over the Glory of Atheism, Evolution, Abortion, and Homosexuality and cursing the Name of Christ as they do so.

    “And then we can deal with Our Greatest Threat — BORN-AGAIN BIBLE-BELIEVING EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS (TM).” — bad-guy conspiracy in some Christianese thriller novel

    “Just Like You, Dear Reader” — Slacktivist interjection describing how Jerry Jenkins masturbates his target audience, i.e. the REAL secret of his best-selling career which he never mentions in his $1200-a-pop Christian Author correspondence course.

  6. Anyone got a link to the end of Hudson Hawk? I think I buy that survived the exploding car story more than I buy this one.

    *has horrible thought*
    When was this book written? Please, someone tell me that our man Jenkins was not inspired by an extremely silly action-comedy flop.

  7. That hymm…wtf????? It’s the most godawful tune I’ve heard since the last Eurovision Song Contest – no, wait, Eurovision songs, however bad, are performed with verve, enjoyment and a strong sense of the ridiculous; often, they’re so bad, they’re good.
    Performed by a talented solo singer with a decent musical production, this hymn could be listenable at the very least; sung by an untrained Trib Force-type choir, it’s just a droning dirge.
    I for one wonder how the heck anybody thought it was worth saving from the Great Atheistopian Purge Of All Things Religious. If any hymns had to be saved, why couldn’t they have been from the Salvation Army hymnbook? Just about anything in there would be better than this for beleaguered Christians to sing.

  8. I for one am still amazed that Paul thought moving him to an NPO facility was safer. The NPO thus far hasn’t been any less willing to kill Christians than the army. Maybe Paul hopes that since he has more cloud in the NPO than the army that he can prevent an untimely demise. But Ranold outranks him, so he could still arrange his death.

    So now we find the Atheistapo does try to make something look like an accident, but so horribly inept. Duct tape, cans of gass, no cover story how he got into the car… if you’re guessing no one will look for all of those clues, why not just shoot him through the head a few times before sending the car over? And yeah, that no agent or DOG noticed Barton getting away is stupid.

    Didn’t we know Specs about as well as Barton? As in, we know what he did and Paul had one conversation with him? Because I don’t think we knew Barton any better.

    And indeed, how nice for an angel to pop up and rescue Barton now. Guess he was much more important than any of the 200 people in that memorial service, huh? Asshat angel.

    And apparently, these people never thought of praying for any help before, given that they’re already thanking God for what “he’s about to do”. They don’t even seem to consider the possiblity that God might not do what they ask. (Unless they’re trying to use social pressure of thanking him for doing something, hoping that will make it too akward for him not to do it. But that sounds like something you should not do to an omnipotent, omnicient being. Not gonna end well.) Such a level of faith, not even hiding behind the possiblity of the mysterious ways that explain why the almight benevolent one didn’t heal the child’s painfull chronic disease, is already quite silly. But if they’re asking for something so big without even a shadow of a doubt that they’ll get it, that means they never asked something like that and were dissapointed. Which means they never asked, since the undisputed rule of Atheistopia proves they never got anything.

    • That’s another thing. This whole “prayer warrior” business? Sounds like Jenkins is cribbing from the Left Behind computer game where you can have characters whose sole job is to pray real hard and win protection points for your side, or somesuch.

      • I was getting a strong ‘This Present Darkness’ vibe. Maybe Jenkins is just descending deeper into the Christianist subculture and has now hit the ‘Pentecostal’ stratum?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          I remember hearing somewhere that Frank Peretti discontinued the “Present Darkness”-style Spiritual Warfare thrillers after he’d heard some fanboys were taking the novels a bit TOO seriously. Like they were real-life factual and/or the 67th book of the Bible.

  9. I present to you my very first ficlet.

    Barton: “You idiots, you brought me in too soon. I have to go back”.

    Atheistopia Agent: “Well, Paul (cough *asshat* cough) just ordered you transferred. We could make it look like you overpowered the guard, jumped in the car and got away”.

    B: “No way. They’d be all over that story. My cover would be blown for sure. It’s got to be more, you know, miraculous.”

    AA:

    B: Sigh. “Look, just drop me off nearby. I’ll say that I was put in a car and sent over a cliff, but someone pulled me out just in time. Mmm, no. Not miraculous enough.”

    AA:

    B: slaps thigh, “I’ve got it! I’ll say that you put me in the car, mummified me with duct tape, set the car on fire, and sent me over a cliff. Then a mysterious person rescued me and disappeared”.

    AA: “What? That’s preposterous. Why would we mummify you instead of knocking you out? How could you be saved after going over the cliff?”

    B: “I know it doesn’t make sense, but if you’d ever read the book they go on about… It’s not even a bad book, in parts. Of course those parts get ignored, mostly, No, its the really wacky parts that they cling to.”

    AA: “But …”.

    B: “Look, just … if it ain’t crazy it ain’t from god, ok? And that’s all they care about. ”

    • 😛 Just noticed a couple places where you put a period outside a quotation mark. You could also do with maybe a bit more use of exclamation marks. Not tons – just one or two spots. 🙂

    • LOL — nice! 😀

    • Inspired by this, a more narrative version.

      “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!”

      Nine days out of ten, Jared Valentine reveled in his job as Athestopian Strategic Secretary. It allowed him to schmooze with the higher-ups, had a nice pay check, and it had a pretty title that came in handy when he went bar-hopping. It was also a position that typically didn’t require any sort of effort- come up with the first plan that pops into your head, and the Men Upstairs will run with it. Jared doesn’t like it when that OTHER day rolls around.

      But of course, of all the people that Balaam could have called in for consultation, it was him. Apparently, some idiot had messed up a plan some other moron had come up with- to have the army “kidnap” one of their moles, get the man’s new info, and then have him be “miraculously” returned to the subversives. Not horrible, as far as strategies went. Then the idiot had to fuck over the moron’s little stratagem by ordering the guy be transferred to a NPO cell. And thus, here he was.

      Thus here he was. In a barely-lit room roughly the size of a closet in some run down complex. He started banging his head against the wooden desk.

      The mole opposite Jared (“Barton” he think his name was. Or was it “Burton”?), glowered. “Hey, I didn’t want this shit to happen either, man. But we aren’t here to hold hands and write fucking poetry about our feelings. We’re here, because you guys pulled me out too early. I’ve got nothing new for you.”

      Valentine ran a head through his lengthy man of brown hair- making sure not to call anybody in the process, of course- still mumbling obscenities. “Fine, fine.” He then mentally skimmed through the file regarding Barton’s findings. “Ok, you’ve been doing good, Burton.”

      “That’s the second time you’ve called me that. I’m Barton.”

      “Cool. Anyway, we definitely need you out with those subversives, and not in a cell. So… how can we get you out of there?”

      Barton is incredulous. “Are you asking me to do your own job, Valentine?”

      Valentine glowers at him. “I’ve no clue what those guys’ll buy. I don’t want to be the one holding the bag when you blow your cover. How about you say you overpowered the guards, and escaped in a car?”

      Barton shifts in his chair. “No, too risky. Creates too many dangerous questions. We’re going to need something a bit more… divine.” He chuckles.

      Valentine nods. “Fine then, how about…” He pauses. Damnit, he was good at military planning, infiltration recruitment, and creating propaganda. He didn’t sign up for this shit.

      Barton emits a sigh. “Look kid, I’ll come up with something. Let’s see… how about YOU guys put me into a car, you know, to kill me, and then somebody saves me right when I’m about to fall off a cliff.”

      He pauses. “No, no. Not good enough.” Suddenly, Barton’s face brightens. He reflexively begins to snap his fingers, but barely manages to stop himself. “I’ve got it! You guys plan to kill me, and make it look like a car accident. So, you put me in the passenger’s seat. Then, you mummify me with duct tape, right? Next, you use gasoline to set the car on fire. Then. a mysterious man rescues me, and disappears.”

      Valentine’s head meets the desk for the second time in ten minutes. The man was insane. “Th-that doesn’t even make sense! If we want to make it look like a car accident, why would we set the car on fire? That could make the thing explode! And why would we mummify you, instead of tying you up or knocking you out? How are you going to explain this mysterious man appearing and then disappearing? Hell, why would we go through all that trouble to make it look like a car accident in the first place? If we wanted to kill you, we could just publicly execute you!”

      Barton grins. “Oh, trust me. This kind of stuff is right up their alley. They’ll eat it up.”

      Valentine rubs the bridge of his forehead. This whole thing just gave him a headache. “Whatever. I want to go home. You’re sure you can get these guys to buy that?”

      Barton nods. “Absolutely, sir.” He gets out of the metal chair, and walks out the door. Glad to finally be able to get back to his day off, Jared Valentine quickly follows.

  10. Okay so you’re a member of a secret terrorist organization, you’re captured but you don’t reveal anything. Then the minute that you “miraculously” escape you run straight for your cell.

    Moron, obviously you were freed and have now lead the NPO directly to your base.

    • OMG, why didn’t I think of that. Yes, that would have been the Atheisapo’s plan if they were smart. Pretend to kill him in such a way that they can perform a ‘miraculous’ escape with the aid of a mysterious stranger who helps him and leaves (after planting a bug on his cloths, natch), then send him on his way. You can roll up the entire cell during the celebration round.

      Of course, the Atheistapo isn’t clever. They couldn’t possibly comprehend how eager their enemies is waiting for a miracle (okay, fair enough, I have trouble believing that anyone would take this ‘We’re gonna pray for or enemies to get smitten and we’re already 100% convinced it will work’-crap seriously myself), and wouldn’t know anything about a miracle anyway. Too bad Paul was apparently the only religious study expert they had. And he never used his training on the job anway.

      Really, that whole PhD of Paul was a wasted plotpoint. I could’ve understood it, though not liked it, if that had been the reason of his conversion. Then the message would be that no-one could seriously study the Bible without concluding that it’s obviously true. But we got nothing, he had to have Straight read everything to him while he was in the hospital. The one time he tried to pose as a Christian he used a few phrases he heard on his previous raid.

    • Even if you weren’t freed, the last place you should go is your cell. They know what you look like. You’re compromised. Anyone seen associating with you becomes a suspect. The best you can do to contact your cell is through a secret drop, or taking out a coded classified ad in the local paper. If neither of those are possible, your cell will just have to think you’re dead. Too bad.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Remember, this is Jerry Jenkins, Ian Fleming Wanna-be.

        Guy knows how to jack off his target audience into paying $$$ for his scribblings, but other than that doesn’t have an F’in clue.

  11. That sure was one cut-rate miracle. You’ve got the literally unlimited forces of Godthulu to work with, a setting in which it is taking an active role in the affairs of humanity and has already performed a number of pranks/miracles, and the best it can come up with to save a guy from a burning car hurtling off a cliff is to have an angel rush in, grab him, and cushion his fall slightly by rolling down the hill with him? The car’s fall couldn’t have mysteriously slowed down? The fires couldn’t have inexplicably drifted across his skin, with all the searing heat of a light Spring mist? His bindings couldn’t have loosened themselves with peculiar ease? He couldn’t have simply opened his eyes to find himself sitting, dazed and confused, a few metres away from the burning wreck, without a scratch on him? Instead, we get the panicked antics of a bottom-tier member of the X-Men, and Barton just hobbles home and says “Whelp, I guess God Did It.”

    I never cease to wonder why the all the supernatural stuff in this book manages to be so exasperatingly dull.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      …and the best it can come up with to save a guy from a burning car hurtling off a cliff is to have an angel rush in, grab him, and cushion his fall slightly by rolling down the hill with him?

      From what I remember from listening to Christianese radio in the Seventies and Eighties, “Angel Encounter” testimonies follow a distinct pattern/formula. And this “cut-rate miracle” seems to be an attempt to follow that pattern/formula. It reads just like the “Angel Encounter” testimonies I heard on the radio long ago. The only thing missing is actually SEEING the angel (always in the form of a thirty-something male human, either white or the same race as the RTC) and then hearing him say something to identify himself as an angel before disappearing — often some variation on “Christ Is Coming Soon!”

  12. I think that one of the standard RTC conceits is the wish to see themselves as soldiers for their faith (possibly one of the reasons they push so strongly for endless pointless wars).

    Man, can’t they use robot sniffer drones or something? Dogs aren’t very high-tech.

    If I had to talk to RTC!God who will condemn me to eternal suffering for not wearing the right tie (but won’t tell me in advance which tie that is), I’d want to be pretty bold too!

    Grammar Police: yup, that was my reaction too, that Barton’s real story should be “after I agreed to nark on you rather than be shot, they had me stand slightly downwind from a gasoline fire for a few minutes then dropped me off up the street from here”. The key consideration for me is that the Atheistapo are the secret police – if they want someone dead, they can just shoot him and say “cerebral haemorrhage” or “committed suicide”, they don’t need to set up “accidents”.

    • I agree Firedrake. The vagueness of the powers and intentions of the various arms of Atheistopia is getting annoying. Perhaps it would be clearer if I read the whole book, but I doubt it.

      We saw the San Fransisco SWAT team being more bloodthirsty than the specialized Atheistapo for no good reason. Bia is sneaking around and arranging ‘accidents’ that wouldn’t hold up in an investigation for 5 seconds. For whom does she work? And is she counting on it that no one will take 5 seconds for an investigation? Cause then, why bother when you can have the police do the killings for you? What is the official position of the regular police towards religion anyway? Is it a capital offense, or does it carry a prison sentence? Is there no official prohibition on religion, and do they have to make up subversive actions every time they punish a believer? Then how did they ever get so many believers to stop or go underground in the first place?

      The council of morons in Babylon Rising wasn’t this vague. Sure, it was laughable that this worldwide conspiracy talked about total world domination as a mere means to the end to defeat their dreaded “Born again Bible believing Christian” nemesises. But at least we knew they were a secret but powerfull organization, willing to murder and aiming to discredit RTCs. They didn’t have any legal standing, just powerfull friends to make sure they could get away with their crimes. Okay, I get that. More competent writers have laid the framework for how stories about global shadow cabals work.

      In this book you’d expect that we could draw from communist dictatures or something. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. There is a special secret police meant to deal with religious cases, but they don’t act like Gestapo agents. They don’t seem to be under orders to wipe out any believer, they sort of do that on their own using makeshift excuses. But no one ever seems to mind. And then Bia walks in and starts assasinating people, as if the local police wouldn’t be happy to kill them for her and the public opinion cheering it on all the way. I just don’t get who wants what and who’s being more evil than his job description calls for.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        This is EEEEVIL in the sense of those Beavises & Buttheads trashing churches and cemeteries on the night of 6/6/06 — “LOOKIT ME! I’M SO EEEEVIL! DAMIAN, I’M DOING THIS FOR YOUUUUU!”

        Over at Slacktivist (?) years ago, there was talk about why Christianese villains are so lame. (Type Example a certain Romanian Robert Redford.) The theory was that Christianese authors cannot dare risk offending their Church Lady target audience (“Just Like You, Dear Reader”), so they cannot show anything that might be offensive — like real evil. This cuts both feet from under their villains, so they make up with it by ramping up the cackling bombast. And you can’t have strong heroes (or great adventures) unless they’re up against a strong villain.

        This also goes for the opposite of Thrillers — Romances. Definitely from Slacktivist over a Jenkins attempt at a romance scene somewhere early in Left Behind, any Christianese romance scene is literally in an impossible position. (from memory) “Since the only reason for two opposite-sex characters to even notice each other is to frog-march them into Christian Marriage, the author has to point everything towards the altar yet at the same time not offend his audience by even hinting about anything sexual. So he has to write in constant denial of what he is writing. Add to this readers who will read the book specifically so they can find something Sexual in it just so they can get into a Holy Snit about it, and things really get weird.”

  13. I thought of Onymous’ idea a couple days ago and started writing this. Didn’t get around to finishing it until now. It’s still an idiot plot, but I’m working with a Jenkins canon here.

    ********

    As the agents loaded up the gas into the car, Bia turned to Ranold, “Are you sure this will work.”

    Ranold glared at her, still hurting from his hangover, “Do you have a better idea?”

    “Yes, actually.” Bia replied, “Arm a small squad of soldiers with blank cartridges and have the transport vehicle get ‘hijacked’ by a single, unarmed individua-”

    Ranold cut her off, “I don’t have the patience for this right now, Chief Balaam. We’re going with my idea.”

    Bia shook her head, “Okay. You’re sure those drugs actually work?”

    “Yes.”

    The car was started and sent toward the edge. The cables suspended the car long enough for the agent on the ground to retrieve Barton. When he gave the all-clear, the latches were released and the explosives ignited, sending the flaming wreck to the cliff base.

    Ranold explained, “In his state, he’ll think that all happened quickly. Now all we have to do is see where he goes. The dogs will pick up his trail.”

    “Didn’t you check where the plane was registered?” asked Bia.

    Ranold took a sip of water, “Some warehouse on the docks. Obviously a front. Rather than follow a paper trail, I figured we’d just follow him.”

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