Soon: Chapter 36: The End?

Or is it…just the beginning???


Lovely Juliet Peters arrives “shyly“:

She was a curvaceous blonde in a white strapless gown, her trademark platinum mane reaching to her impossibly tiny waist.

Curvaceous but with an impossibly tiny waist?  Jenkins really doesn’t know anything AT ALL about women’s body types, does he?

Juliet turns out to be less shy than indicated earlier in the same page of this book.  By the time dessert is served, she is making jokes about “the coming judgment of God,” and everyone is laughing about it.  Everyone but Paul and Jae, of course, because Paul really needs to redouble his crap-so-far efforts to act happy with the NPO.


Paul slurps down his sorbet, thinking that the inhuman Bia Balaam is possibly able to read his thoughts.  (Pro tip, Paul: Your thoughts are not that difficult to discern.)



And out of freaking nowhere, the water is gone.

Someone cried out, and Paul looked up just in time to see one of the women in the pool plunge down a slide and slam into the dry bottom with a sickening thud.

But hey, why would Paul be concerned with the grievous injuries of another human being when there are so many interesting things to look at?

Paul studied the table.  Even the liquid in the food had evaporated.  The fruit tart had shriveled.  The sorbet was colored powder.  The wineglasses held a gooey residue.

Atheistopia has become such a sad, sad place.

(Picture from Ben’s Wine Reviews)


This is actually a pretty effective miracle.  All of the water is gone: not just the “regular” water in glasses and pools, but all moisture in anything.

Paul looked at the grass on the beautiful sprawling lawn under the lights.  It was withering.  By tomorrow it would be brown.

Um…girl…pool…massive injuries, Paul?  Did you want to help her, or not, or…


Ranold is kinda having a mild panic attack, shaking, “lips trembling.”

And Bia is being awesome.  Despite the fact that she is “tottering” in her heels (hey, you try wearing high heels, Jenkins!), she is running to her car, presumably to call for help.  Hell, she’s DOING SOMETHING, which is more than I can say for Paul, sitting there with his stupid face.

The mighty Lord and Creator of the universe had withdrawn every drop of water in the wicked city.  The word would spread throughout the land, and underground believers would rise up with confidence and strength, boldly proclaiming the message of faith.  The powers that be would stop killing the people of God, or they would all wither like the grass and die.


Can I add that this is NOT what was the Bold Manifesto threat said:

If the army does not immediately withdraw and leave us to worship in peace, we believe [God drying up the water supply to the city] will come to pass.  When it happens—and it will happen—you will know God has acted.  To prevent it, we call on all affected citizens to rise up and force the powers that be to change their cruel and unjust laws against people of faith.

Okay.  This threat was written yesterday, Friday.  It went viral today, Saturday, probably around noon at the earliest (while Paul and Jae were at the mall).  It is now Saturday night.  The party was in full swing by six, and since they are eating dessert when the miracle hits, it is probably nine at the latest.

So, the atheists have had nine hours, tops, from the time they knew of the threat to the carrying out of the threat, to force the army to withdraw and to rise up and force the government to change laws that have been in place for over thirty years.


Nice entrapment, God.  Well played.

I don’t think this is the most dickish the RTC God has ever been.  After all, there was that one time he ruined a man’s life and killed his children ON A BET, and that other time he flooded the entire planet (but more on that in the next book I dissect).  But this is still pretty frakking awful—his minions threaten humanity, giving them a timetable about the length of the average workday, then he dessicates an entire city when its inhabitants cannot live up to his sudden and outrageous demands.

And that’s it.

That’s the end of Soon.  The only reactions to this miracle we see are panic from Ranold and Tiny, Bia being awesome, and Paul sitting on his ass and probably contemplating what a smooth move he made defecting to the enemy mere weeks before this crap was unleashed.

Somehow, I think Michael Murphy will be a breath of fresh air.


Posted on March 27, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 105 Comments.

  1. All of the water is gone: not just the “regular” water in glasses and pools, but all moisture in anything.

    Except people, or at least the people at the party. And maybe pets.

    Hard to question that’s really a miracle. But it’s a pretty nasty, violent miracle. How many others were injured? How many helpless infants will be harmed by dehydration? How many people will die because there’s no blood available for transfusions? The Big Guy sure is merciful.

    Here’s a question, though – Is the ocean level affected? As water flows into L.A., does it just disappear? Where does it go? Is it just skipping L.A., or is it essentially being deleted from existence at some specific magic line? Cause that could be cool to check out, were it not for the people being harmed and the possibility that the entire planet is being affected by this “miracle” removing water (drinkable and otherwise).

    • Grammar Police

      ooooh — and what about the humidity levels in the air? Is it now crack-your-skin dry? Or did Turbo!Jesus forget about air moisture the way he forgot about bodily fluids?

  2. Paul sitting there gormlessly while the rest of the people are shocked and panicky would lead some to conclude that he might just have had a little advance notice of this event, hmm?

    Also: serious, serious dick move there. It’s one thing to dry up the water canals and pipes and whatnot, another to literally suck away every last water droplet out of anything not living. (>_<)

  3. Yeah, seriously, what aren’t the people and animals also dessicated husks? We’re mostly water too.

    Guess Jenkins forgot about that.

    Poor lady on the slide. I guess she’s just a redshirt…bathing suit.

  4. RedwoodRhiadra

    Curvaceous but with an impossibly tiny waist? Jenkins really doesn’t know anything AT ALL about women’s body types, does he?

    I think “curvaceous” is guy-code for “big breasts.”

    • I think “curvaceous” is guy-code for “big breasts.”

      Or, given it’s Hollywood, we’re supposed to assume she’s a tiny, starving woman who’s had some padding surgically added to her chest and rear….

  5. dontcha see? RTC god is like the Genie from Aladdin; he can’t do anything on his own, no matter how much he wants to, unless you ask him. He wanted to smite Atheistopia from the start, but until Paul had the brilliant idea to ask for it, RTC God simply couldn’t interfere!

    he word would spread throughout the land, and underground believers woul rise up with confidence and strength, boldly proclaiming the message of faith. The powers that be would stop killing the people of God, or they would all wither like the grass and die.

    Erm… no, no that’s not how the world works actually.
    You see, if you crash two jet planes into a massive U.S. landmark, the word would spread throughout the land, but the Powers that be would not stop killing the people of God. It’s quite possible they’d try harder to kill those people rightly seen as responsible. It’s even more likely that a host of other possible explanations would be introduced, none less plausible than the sudden intervention of an undetectable deity representing a minority sect.

    Um…girl…pool…massive injuries, Paul? Did you want to help her, or not, or…

    Nah, he’s good over there. You know, evil atheist girl, God’s vengeance, Divine justice served, all that. “I wonder how powdered Merlot tastes…”

    • Well, not quite like the genie. Remember, this plan came to Paul so clearly that god himself must have given it to him. He’s more like Jafar as a genie in the sequel: He gives people bad ideas for their wishes to serve his own purposes.

      • Isn’t it great how God hates all the same people Paul does?

        • That’s because Paul is a really Godly man. So he knew God wouldn’t fill his mouth with disgust when looking at a working woman or a gay man or an atheist if that didn’t mean that God hated that person, I mean that person’s behavior.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          I can’t remember who said this, but I remember a quote that “When God hates all the same people you do, something’s VERY wrong.”

          • “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ― Anne Lamott

            Certainly, an incredibly appropriate quote for Jenkins and LaHaye’s way of going about things.

    • Either way, the zealots were kind enough to explain in their nationally distributed manifesto** that this happened only because they prayed for it to happen. They told everyone that, given enough time and coordinated people, they can and will wipe out entire cities. So the entire population will understand the need for the government to call for a complete communications blackout preventing further coordinated prayer sessions, while Bia and her allies get carte blanch to do what they were already doing, but now openly to reduce the zealots numbers. While you could argue that the zealots were brought to this point because of the earlier executions of their people, those executions are from this point on justifiable. You can’t imprisson them, they can still pray for the guards to fall over dead and their cells to be unlocked. And you can’t let them practice their religion in peace, since they’ve demonstrated they have access to undetectable weapons of mass destruction and the willingness to use it. After a whole book about atheists brutally exterminating peacefull christians, Jenkins now gives us a situation where that is, in fact, the only option the atheists have.

      **What was the point of the entire LA operation with the hacked billboards and the plane with the flyers if they could just distribute their message nationally at any time? It might have been done cleverly by realizing that it was a terrorist manifesto, thus the Atheistopian propaganda machine would be interested in spreading that message to show how evil the plans of the zealots are. But that would mean admitting the plan is evil, and that the Atheistopian don’t believe god can be real instead of willfully denying the obvious truth of god like all atheists do. And we can’t have that!

      • Jenkins now gives us a situation where that is, in fact, the only option the atheists have.

        Sort of like when Pharoah wanted to let the Israelites go but then God hardened his heart so He could be more dickish, erm, I mean perform more awesome miracles.

        Wait, whose story is this again? I don’t recall Paul actually witnessing any miracles first hand.

      • I don’t think Jenkins ever thought of the concept that someone might believe a divine being had caused something but actively want to rebel against it. My guess is that the atheistapo will come up with some bullshit realistic explaination because of course it couldn’t be God. If they thought it was God, as incited by the Christians, doing this horrific thing they’d fall down and worship him out of fear–I mean, repentence. Yeah.

        Both Jenkins and his characters come across as completely lacking in the courage to stand up against monsters. They just follow the guy with the biggest stick.

        • I dunno, I actually am under the impression that he thinks that happens more often than it does. It’s kind of on-and-off in his novels, but there’s quite a few times where the lingo at least suggests that all non-believers are in fact actively rebelling against what they know is true.

          • Oh, that he does. But he also thinks that just a demonstration of how big God’s stick is and how willing he is to use it should be enough to make us fall to our knees in prayer.

            In summary, he thinks we’re as cowardly as he is.

  6. So…. let me guess. At the beginning of the sequel, we’ll find that Our Hero Paul has left L.A. and is back home, bragging to Underground Christians elsewhere about the success of his plan. Jae is probably with him (back home, not while he’s bragging), as a good wife should be.

    Meanwhile, Evil Henchman Ranold and Big Bad Bia have remained in L.A., where they work both to find those responsible for this horrendous act of terrorism and to keep order in a terrified city. They will either be trying to ship water in or (if that doesn’t work) evacuate the city in as orderly a way as possible while trying to figure out exactly what’s been done.

    Our Hero Paul will be bored silly listening to Ranold talk about the devastation and the horror around him, interested only in learning whether L.A.’s Underground Christians are doing okay. But he’ll be vaguely disgusted and outright contemptuous over how emotionally affected Ranold is by the death and destruction around him.

    • If it turns out like that I’m going to wonder if you’ve read ahead, or just that good a predictor of Jenkins’s writing. Either way, I don’t entirely envy your travels into his headspace. (O_O)

  7. When you find yourself pursuing the same scheme as the villains from the 1966 Adam West Batman movie, it’s time to reconsider your theology.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Never thought of it that way, but RIGHT ON!

    • Oh my god this setting would be so much better with the Adam West rogues’ gallery. Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero, and Burgess Meredith are my favorite actors for the Riddler, Joker, and Penguin. And Lee Meriwether as Catwoman was awesome too.

      Quickly, Robin! To the Bat-Rehydrator! There might still be hope for Los Angeles yet!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        That’s the scary part. It actually reads better and works better as a 1966 Batman two-parter! “HOLY SOMETHING-OR-OTHER!!!!!!”

        • I really, really want to combine that with the RTCs actually turning militant. The reason for this is shameful:

          I just want to hear Burt Ward’s Robin say “Holy hand grenade, Batman!” and have the context make sense.

    • You know, the villains only dehydrated seven diplomats rather than an entire city. And were planning to put them back after they got their ransom. You have utterly failed as a loving God when your plan makes a quartet of Batman villains look like mischievous but ultimately harmless children.

      • It’s so unfortunate that this version will never let us see the British ambassador angrily banging his shoe on the conference table, shouting in Russian.

        Or, you know, trained exploding sharks.

        • I’m picturing some incident where Riddler/Joker/etc. desicate the city as part of their scheme, only to find out they’ve accidentally fulfilled a threat by an extremist religious group. And then they have to work with Batman to fight them, because gosh darnit, God is not taking the credit on this one.

          I’m sure we can work exploding sharks in there somewhere.

        • “Ecoutez! Ecoutez, s’il vous plait!” 😛

          • Oh, those ethnic and cultural factors. So easy to get mixed up!

            I just love the enthusiasm the movie has for every single ridiculous thing it does. No other movie would use Polaris missiles to dispense riddles, although many would be improved by it.

  8. Grammar Police

    “WHY IS THE WINE GONE???” Screw the wine; what about the rum??? (Yes, I c wut u did thar. 😉 )

    I got it: Juliet Peters has been genetically mutated into a genuine living Barbie doll. That’s how she manages to be curvaceous, yet with a miniscule waist. And why she keeps her “platinum mane” so unfashionably long. (Seriously?! Waist-length hair!? Jenkins, you dimwitted male! I have actually had waist-length hair, twice. Hair that long is cumbersome and heavy, and I was delighted to cut it off and donate it each time.)

    • Not only is waist length hair cumbersome as fuck, but “trademark” or not, that’s got to seriously restrict her as an actress. Unless Athiestopia has figure out how to grow hair to arbitray lengths on a whim.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Gentlemen, Behold!

      The “good girl” character of this RTC author is the one with the build of a living Barbie Doll and Quiverfull-Wifey long hair. (Does she have back problems with her rack of boobs, or is that a Miracle too?)

  9. She could have curves and an improbable waist with a corset, perhaps. Tight-lacing can produce some downright disturbing-looking results in that area.

  10. I suspect that the descriptions of “awkward” Bia and “shy” Juliet tell us what Jenkins finds attractive.

    Juliet has a porn-cartoon (or just comic book) body – tiny waist, butt and boobs too big to be a physical threat to anybody. Hair’s way too long to be practical, but you put long hair and “shy” together and you have the suggestion of someone who is submissive and “womanly”, which makes it okay for her to be sexy.

    In contrast, Bia is a strong, intelligent, ambitious woman who is physically fit and reacts to crises with competence. How could that possibly be attractive?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Extremely long hair on Godly (TM) women is a trademark of most all the male-supremacist Quiverfull types. (Remember how Deep Throat Driscoll got bent out of shape when his wifey cut her Godly-long hair into a “Mommy Cut” after their first kid?)

      And as for “porn-cartoon” body plus “submissive and womanly”, put them together and I think “sex toy” right out of a Handmaid’s Tale Commander’s harem.

      Just like Strict X-Treme Islam, whose men consume more pornography than anyone else in the world. Forbidden Fruit and all that.

    • Physically fit, ambitious women? I give you Korra, from Avatar, and Starbuck, from BSG. 😀

      (Or, for that matter, that Sergeant from Battlestar Galactica heading up that inquiry.)

      Jenkins would probably be horrified to know I find them attractive, partly because they’re smart and know what they’re doing.

  11. Ugh. Depending on what kind of material that pool was made out of, unnamed lady could have some nasty lacerations. That she’s probably going to have to leave LA to get treated now. Dick move, god.

    Also, wait a minute. Wine in the US is generally around 12% ABV. So if you remove the water from it, sure, you’ll have grape extract there, but holy crap you’re close to grape Everclear or something there. It wouldn’t be “a gooey residue”, it would be almost perfectly pure alcohol.

    Sure, you’ll have a horrible hangover the next day, since you have no water to deal with it, but in my opinion, concentrated SuperWine is a huge plus.

    And hey, maybe pool girl can get drunk enough to not feel pain. Win-win!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      …but holy crap you’re close to grape Everclear or something there. It wouldn’t be “a gooey residue”, it would be almost perfectly pure alcohol.

      Now THAT’s Brandy!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      …but holy crap you’re close to grape Everclear or something there. It wouldn’t be “a gooey residue”, it would be almost perfectly pure alcohol.

      Just another thought. Jenkins and his Church Lady target audience are RTCs. Probably “drys” (100 years ago, signing a Temperance Pledge was part of the Altar Call). What would they know about anything alcoholic except “Thou Shalt Not”?

      • I know, I know. But I take what fun I can from Jenkins’ ineptitude. (Also, I just watched Ken Burns’ Prohibition. It’s an amazing piece, and unexpectedly funny by turns.) I just love the mental image of the party getting even more out-and-out hammered regardless of whatever dick move god’s pulled this time.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Did you catch the Internet Monk commentary & comment thread on Prohibition a few months ago? The title was something like “When Christians Won the Culture War” and it should be under their “Culture” or “Culture War” or “Evangelical Anxieties” tag.

  12. Yeah, “curvaceous” is probably just code for “big breasts”. Which do sometimes go with a small waist (and the combination often goes with back problems).

    Of course it doesn’t affect the humans, because what’s the point of a miracle if nobody’s there to be hurt by it? JenL, if the grass is still alive for now I assume the pets would be too – and given that LA already imports most of its water, I imagine they’ll be refilling the pipes straight away if the miracle is one-off and not ongoing.

    One of the classic terrorist tactics is to make a demand that you know can’t be met, which then gives you an excuse to shoot one of the hostages to prove you’re serious. (As opposed to shooting one without such an excuse, which tends to bring the police charging in straight away.)

    • Spoiler alert for Silenced: The miracle is ongoing; L.A. is dessicated forever.

      • Oh, OK. Then it’s carnage in the megadeath range; no way you can evacuate everyone in the three days before even healthy people start dying from lack of water. (Also pointless carnage – isn’t “all the water vanished” blatant enough to be a miracle?)

        Are the Christians expecting to live through this? Even if they don’t parade up and down saying “we did it”, their chances aren’t any better than anyone else’s.

        Once that’s done, though… hmm. What replaces water in a sealed container that’s brought into the zone – air at the same pressure? Vacuum? I have a strong suspicion one could generate power out of this. It’s certainly going to make some sorts of chemical refining much easier.

        • The method of how this works is a really interesting question that I’m sure won’t be answered. Is conservation of matter no longer in effect, or was the water split into its constituent parts, and somehow forced to remain that way? Was the water just moved somewhere else? If #1, then logically the world could eventually run out of water entirely. if #2, then you can use LA to create hydrogen for fuel. If #3, someone get on that shit, we’ve got working teleportation here!

          Apart from the refining of chemicals, there are so many other questions. Weather, unless we’re just handwaving this, isn’t a series of unconnected systems. There’s now essentially a drain that’s been pulled, and any air humidity entering the system will vanish. So, what happens then? How does that influence weather patterns around the area? LA is huge, especially if we’re counting the suburbs. And how high up does this perma-dessication extend? Are there ever going to be clouds there again?

          My idea- Work to abandon the city entirely to chemical refining, a solar farm, and maybe wind turbines on the periphery, where the messed up air currents from the potentially drastic weather change at the city limits could whip up some damn strong winds.

          But I know none of these things will happen. Damn it Jenkins why do you suck so much at worldbuilding with what you’ve come up with.

          • Now I really want to see a Salvation War crossover where they figure out how to benefit from this. Something along the lines of this:

            I’m just curious what happens to the ocean. Is the ocean water evaporated? Does more and more of the ocean water fall into the now-empty zone and vanishes untill the world’s oceans will be drained? Or is there a forcefield preventing any water from flooding into the quaranteen zone? Is the border zone right at the coastline and if so, can you just put some processing ships to make sea water sweet just of shore and put distribution points on piers right outside the border?

          • I’m just curious what happens to the ocean. Is the ocean water evaporated? Does more and more of the ocean water fall into the now-empty zone and vanishes untill the world’s oceans will be drained? Or is there a forcefield preventing any water from flooding into the quaranteen zone? Is the border zone right at the coastline and if so, can you just put some processing ships to make sea water sweet just of shore and put distribution points on piers right outside the border?

            I suppose that’s entirely up to who’s writing the improvements on this thing. I’d still say it wouldn’t be worth the effort of building full infrastructure to keep hydration available nearby–without the ability to keep saline, blood and plasma for emergency transfusion, and other needs for emergency medical response, it simply wouldn’t be tenable to keep a permanent population there. If you have a working, commuting populous that’s taking advantage of the unique properties of the LA area, sure. Some on the coast side might be worth it, in case you’ve got to evacuate someone for dehydration or injury. But a permanent population requires more fleshed-out infrastructure, and depending on how big the dehydrated zone is, you’d lose a lot of people in transit to hospitals outside of the area. EMT work is important for saving lives, and if their materials are limited, they can’t keep people going long enough to get them to the emergency room.

            Actually, this brings up another wonder- would cuts near-immediately scab within the dehydrated zone? assuming any water that leaves the body is eliminated, then you’d be left with the solid parts of blood starting to form a clot before platelets can even get there.

            Furthermore, this brings up the fact that dehydration will occur far faster within the dehydrated zone- We can’t stop the human body’s reaction to heat to sweat. Rather than giving an actual cooling effect, if the water just disappears rather than evaporating, then you’ve lost water with none of the beneficial effect of lowering body temperature. Heat stroke could hit far quicker within LA’s boundaries than could ever be possible in other areas.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Are the Christians expecting to live through this? Even if they don’t parade up and down saying “we did it”, their chances aren’t any better than anyone else’s.

          Another Miracle, “God Shall Protect and Preserve Them” sub-type?

          If so, Jenkins needs to have all the RTCs teleported to Heaven NOW.

        • And mentioning “megadeath” makes me think of Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” in this context.

          Seriously, I hate Paul with each chapter. Someone, a *fellow human being*, damned or not, just dove into an empty pool. With a ‘sickening sound.’ AND YOU HAVE THE EMPATHY OF A CUMQUAT?! *goes on for pages and pages of hate-bile-spew towards Paul “Asshole” Stepola*

          Seriously. Egotistical Michael Murphy at least had some goofy charm. At least when Parshall wrote him.

      • Wait, forever? After grosly abusing his authorial mandate to have unlikely events happen because they’re convenient, he’s not actually going to make this plan work? The population is not going to give in to the demands so god will destroy the entire city?


        Holy shit. I thought Jenkins was going to make his unrealistic demand be unrealistically fullfilled, while ignoring how much time it would take and how many people would suffer or die in the meantime. But he’s going for a story of ‘then the heroes take an entire city hostage, but their demands are not met so the city is wiped out’-proportions? The morality of Jack Bauer is appaling but the writers at least understand they have to make his brutal methods work to get the audience to sympathise with him (and possibly the political party of their choice). It would be much better if we were shown his methods to fail or hit an actual innocent man, and Jack Bauer realizing what he had done and thus demonstrating the problem with his approach. But it would be so much worse if we were shown the methods to be completely ineffectual yet still expect the audience to cheer him on as he tortures a man to death while the terrorist attacks merrily continue. Most right-wing fantasy stories where the heroes deal out brutal punishements include plot(-contrivances) showing it was the right and neccesary thing to do. Is Jenkins so far gone he doesn’t even feel he needs to do that? Seriously? Or does ‘forever’ mean ‘ongoing untill the conditions are met after 2 chapters’?

        • You’ve got to balance Jenkin’s complete lack of understanding of how humans work with his complete inability to not be a massive jackass. This is just like all the crowing about TurboJesus killing everyone and giving no mercy to repentant followers of the antichrist and Nicolae himself. He doesn’t want people to actually change their ways, he just wants to be right and on the powerful side.

          This is also just like Rayford dicking about with his plane to mildly inconvenience people he doesn’t like. Jenkins is just a venal little twelve-year-old at heart that cheers on the big bully in the classroom.

      • At least that will prevent the spread of disease from all that backed-up sewage; I don’t think many organisms can survive totally dehydrated conditions. But all the rats will be immediately heading out of town, looking for new homes.
        I’m assuming that the animals, like the humans, are unaffected. In the LB series, Jenkins showed a disturbing lack of empathy with animals; none of them even got a mention until that truly ugh bit where TurboJesus triumphantly set all the horses on fire. So I’m not counting on him giving any thought to the thousands of innocent creatures dying of dehydration here.

        • What? What could TurboJesus have against horses?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Well, there were churches (cited example in a blog comment was in North Carolina) that preached how My Little Pony was Occult and Witchcraft…

        • That brings up some weird thoughts- whether Jenkins thinks of the animals or not, he obviously didn’t consider plants worthy of retaining water. Does this extend to protists and other single-celled organisms? Does he have one of those weird disconnects that some people have between liked and not-liked animals where concern in any way for their well-being is suddenly switched off once you get into things that can’t fetch your paper and slippers? I mean, we know he’s an insensitive dickbag, but he probably likes to think of himself as human, and there are certain standards you generally get held to there. And as we’ve seen already, his idea of what god would do precisely matches what he would like to see happen in these situations.

          Also, mention of sewage systems brings up another another really weird implication of perma-dessication by magical god means- what happens to expelled animal waste? I mean… does it instantly dessicate upon leaving the body?

          Gross of me to think about, yes, but damn it Jenkins didn’t worldbuild this enough!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            DM just waves his hands and answers “It’s Magic! It’s Magic! It’s Magic!” to any objection or question or implications or demand for specific detail…

          • DM just waves his hands and answers “It’s Magic! It’s Magic! It’s Magic!” to any objection or question or implications or demand for specific detail…

            I totally get you on that, I’ve had DMs who rolled like that. But still, I was always that one annoying ubernerd at the table who, well… I was basically this.

          • Oh, lord, the sewage systems. They work on water transport! What’s gonna happen when all the… sludge… in the system just dries up and sits in the pipes?


          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            “If you listen to me, you’ll save water. Make it rain for FORTY days and FORTY nights and wait for the sewers to back up.”
            — Bill Cosby, “Noah”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        What does Jenkins and his sock-puppet god define as “L.A.”?

        Does the Permanent Supernatural Dessication extend only to the Los Angeles City Limits? To the Los Angeles County Line? Or is it defined geographically as the entire Los Angeles Basin? Is the Inland Empire (San Bernardino/Riverside/Redlands) affected? How about Ventura/Oxnard up the coast? Or Orange County down the coast? If it’s defined as a circle centered on a point, what’s the zero point and what’s the radius?

        If it’s to the city limit or county line, unaffected areas are close enough for refugees to make it — neighboring cities, Orange County, the Inland Empire. Long walk if vehicles are down, but foot and bicycles should still work. If not during the summer heat, most or all of them should make it.

        • The TMZ? 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Using the TMZ as a template, you lose most of LA County and the San Fernando and western San Gabriel Valleys. Simi Valley, Sylmar, probably Palmdale and the Mojave Desert communities north of the city, and maybe Long Beach and the port are in the fringe. (Without an actual map to draw the circle out, I can only estimate from the thumbnail map in the link.) Inland Empire and Orange County would definitely be outside the TMZ; that still leaves enough of the built-up area left for refugee evacuation and rescue operations.

            (TMZ as God’s Ground Zero actually makes some sense from an RTC point-of-view — kill Hollywood off with the first salvo and eliminate the competition for Left Behind, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, Omega Code, etc.)

            Now military facilities in the area. On the coast south of Orange County is Camp Pendleton, largest Marine base on the West Coast, an entire marine division with its air assets inland at 29 Palms & Miramar. Air Force reserve at March AFB in Riverside, Inland Empire. And the high desert inland (over the mountains) is dotted with Air Force bases or former bases (including Edwards). And south of Pendleton is the Navy base at San Diego. All outside the radius, all available for rescue and evacuation operations.

            Conditions at the fringe of the affected area are unknown; does the Pacific Ocean just drop in a Parting of the Red Sea wall to the bottom at the radius edge? Do the aqueducts coming in from the north over the Grapevine just stop flowing at that point? (This sounds more and more like a “not thought through” handwave event in a badly-run FRP game, where the only explanation to the players’ questions along these lines are “It’s Magic! It’s Magic! It’s Magic!”)

  13. Lets see, death by dehydration sets in in 3-5 days in good, not too hot conditions. Given that this is LA, we can strike those ‘good conditions’ and make it 2-3 days I guess. The dehydration only happened in LA, yet Paul expects believers all around the USA (technically all over the world, but you know there are hardly any proper RTCs outside of America) to be allowed to rise up and be accepted as they proclaim responsibility for the biggest terrorist attack ever on US soil. And of course the people of LA can’t conserve their energy, they need to go out and protest against the army protecting them from the zealots (that was arguably propaganda before, but it’s true now), so I guess with some extra outdoor exertion, if they can’t fix this in 1-2 days people start to die. Not counting those dying while swiming or on a hospital bad being kept alive via any kind of liquid being pumped into their bloodstream, or people with diabetes who can’t inject themselves (I’m pretty sure Insuline usually comes diluted in liquid, it’d be hard to inject otherwise).

    I guess I should give god props for at least making it clear this is a miracle to those who experienced it, and that it can’t be confused with the human-made terror attack that was Paul’s plan A. But it does show that both Paul, the zealots and god are dicks for relying on hydro-terrorism against a whole city when they could litterally do anything else imaginable. “Lord, please paralyze the trigger finger of anyone trying to shoot a believer, please paralyze the arms of anyone trying to push them into a bucket of napalm, please paralyse the legs of anyone trying to kick them, please let a great booming voice be heard worldwide that you will do so and that the paralysis will remain untill they repent.” There, this accomplishes what they want with no collateral damage and it won’t actually get the zealots who proudly claim responsibility in Boston or New York lynched.

  14. Is Atheistopia’s transport still using water-cooled engines? If so, evacuating people, of just getting water to them, is going to be a hell of a task.
    In terms of death counts, TurboJesus certainly wins this round.

    • Electric power plants generally don’t need water cooling, so I think that shouldn’t be a problem – if they’ve got laser weapons, power storage is easily good enough for electric cars and trucks, and probably prop-driven aircraft too. (Maglev trains can replace most heavier aircraft…)

      • I think most power plants actually use steam turbines. Generally whatever energy generation method it uses, that energy is used to heat water, that water turning to steam is used to make a turbine spin, and that rotation with a magentic field is used to generate electricity. Smaller scale emergency generators that work like combustion engines may still function if they aren’t water cooled IF the liquid fuel isn’t vaporized as well (note the wine example where the liquid alcohol was gone too) and if it uses air cooling. And since I doubt most hospitals have enough fuel for their generators to last as long as a worldwide policy change, I think it’s safe to say the god scores a few thousand last minute goals to beat the Atheistapo’s 220-ish kill count.

        • Sorry, when I said “power plants” I was sloppily thinking of electricity-to-force converters – electric motors and such like. The power generation is being done elsewhere, so it doesn’t matter if steam turbines are still in the mix. (I assume Atheistopia has fixed the North American electricity grid so that it actually works, so the lights can stay on.) And (electric) ambulances will keep running.

          The first wave of deaths is certainly people in hospital, even so: no blood transfusions, no injections, no drips.

  15. OT: Is anybody else having problems with logging in here? Suddenly, my Mrs Grimble login is being rejected and I’m having to use a long-dead Twitter account.

  16. (Trigger warnings for 11 September 2001.)

    Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a deliberate and deadly terrorist act. The victims were in hospitals, or in their homes; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Hundreds of lives were suddenly ended, and millions more have been put in jeopardy, by this evil despicable act of terror.

    The pictures of suddenly dry lakes and seas, fires burning, people dying, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest cities, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered drained wells, but they cannot drain the well of American resolve.

    America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

    Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America – with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to try to give blood and, when that proved futile, helped in any way they could.

    Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in Los Angeles to help with local rescue efforts.

    Our first priority is to evacuate those who are still alive, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.

    The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Los Angeles which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.

    The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. We have beaten the threat of organized religion before, and we can beat it again.

    I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.

    America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your help for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I trust they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages: “Next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’ And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say.”

    This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

    Thank you and good night.

    • OMG, this suddenly made me realize – unless Atheistopia has some fancy new fire-suppression equipment that uses something other than water, they won’t be able to put out fires!

  17. Am I the only one who thought, that the manifesto was written on a page of improved version of Death Note?

    • I wasn’t, but I am now. Crossovers make Jenkins’ work infinitely more fun.

      I know from experience. I’m in the midst of improving Left Behind by the addition of Marvel movieverse (Loki was behind it all along!) and simultaneously improving the live action Transformers movies (Megatron vs. Jesus!). Cracked out beyond all hope of sanity? Completely. Most fun I’ve had in ages? Absolutely.

      • I think that Jenkins’ work can be more entertaining as long as it is written by an actual writer. Or anybody with a hint of empathy.

        And your crossover sounds like it could be fun. 🙂

        • I agree, there’s a lot of potential for extrapolation out of the bare bones of what he lays out, but he never puts any flesh on them, and we’re expected to still believe the setting can move under its own power without meat to it.

          Oh man, it so is. Trying to figure out who would be willing to trust whom in a setting where over a billion humans disappeared (a horrifying prospect for Autobots and SHIELD), and where some new, unknown power is threatening the supremacy of those who’ve already entered the scene (Decepticons and any Marvel villains currently around–I’m hugely partial to Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull), that is fun. So many people with actual motivations and drive to achieve their goals, working to figure out who stole the world’s children, and how to stop them. Filled with a healthy dose of untrusting alliances, drama, and actual fight scenes. Also, the concept of Tony Stark and Wheeljack teaming up for science! is frankly terrifying.

          We’ve got a decent enough explanation for Carpathia’s actions too, assuming he’s also a pawn of Loki. The rest of the seals and bowls and judgements and that stuff, we’re figuring it out as it goes along. Needless to say, Hulk will smash puny seals.

          Most fun I’ve ever had with Left Behind.

          • Do you have it published somewhere?

          • I don’t, unfortunately, since it’s done in an rp format with someone else. We’ve slowly been developing concept as we go along, and it’s not always linear.

            Also, frankly, I’m crap at playing the good guys. We’ve sort of gotten happily distracted by our shiny toys slightly off-center from the main focus.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Curvaceous but with an impossibly tiny waist? Jenkins really doesn’t know anything AT ALL about women’s body types, does he?

    Except maybe Playboy cartoons and porn?

  19. Ok, so why is Jae not joining in on the fun? I get that’s she catty to all other women. But here she is, a non-RTC, at probably the fanciest, richest hoopla of her life, yet she’s just as sour as her crappy husband. Does Jenkins offer any explanation at all?

    • She’s been in the presence of Paul for half a day again? A Paul who probably hides his ‘I’m happy your back for my permanent record, but I still don’t like you and feel certain you’re just trying to ruin me’-attitude as well as his sympathies for the zealots.

      • Given the description given to Juliet Peters, Paul also seems to be oggling other women. I might just be projecting there, but without a reliable narrator to really rely on or, you know, realistic human emotions, I’d assume that she’d still be distressed by a situation like this.

    • Jae’s just been “forgiven” for thinking her serial-adulterer husband was successful in hooking up with his last target, and now she’s in a room with him and all these gorgeous women…

      I would say “I’d be grumpy, too” except that I can’t imagine myself working single-handedly to save that relationship.

  20. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ruby, everyone?

    I don’t recall any punishment-miracle like this on any Roman city in the Book of Acts or any of Original Paul’s Epistles. (This seems more appropriate to Revelation, but according to RTC history-written-in-advance shouldn’t the RTCs have been beamed up by then?)

    Miracles in the story of Original Paul tend to be on the order of healings, making whole, protection, escapes from captivity, and the like. Even Original Paul’s shipwreck on Malta involved a special revelation that all would survive — as in “none of you will die”. And the crew and passengers of that ship weren’t all RTCs.

    If Jenkins/GCAAT started out trying to retell the story of St Paul in a contemporary-to-future setting (a legit premise), he went off the rails and over the cliff LONG ago. This is nothing more than a Revenge fantasy for “You, Dear Reader (whumpa whumpa whumpa).” Porn for RTCs.

    Oh, and don’t forget the “To Be Continued” ending.

  21. You know? There was a lot more menace in Vonnegut’s description of a world losing its liquid water. Seriously, the quotes here make Jenkins’ Great Dessication seem almost comical (kind of like a parody of a B-rated disaster movie).

    I guess it’s kind of unfair of me to compare Jenkins to Vonnegut though.

  22. I don’t think it’s that the RTCs knew that Atheistopia wouldn’t be able to accede to their demands. It’s that JENKINS didn’t realize that the demands were unrealistic in the first place.

    Part of it is likely the RTC conceit that everyone, deep down, regards Yhwh as the rightful and invincible lord of all existence (q.v. “the law of God is written in the hearts of men”). Ultimately, there’s no such thing as atheism, only dystheism–and it’s not the sort that’s also maltheistic. For such spite-addled ones, though, there’s still one way to get them to behave–the threat of force. Jenkins is probably thinking that if they properly feared God, all the oppressors would take a “We need to stop the purges” stance not just instantly, but simultaneously. Archons, generals, soldiers, agents, etc., all at roughly the same time. But their spite is getting in the way, so more beatings-type miracles will be needed, until they realize, like the RTCs before them, that only obedience is proper. That “like the RTCs before them” is important–Jenkins, LaHaye, etc. keep emphasizing evasion of Hell, rather than accession to a good philosophy of living. It’s no shame to change just to avoid the baculum, if that’s how God wants you to think in the first place.

    (I do wonder if the RTCs have ever considered that by command-based morality, God essentially doesn’t HAVE morality, and would therefore be just a beast of whim and chaos. No philosophical distinction from Belial/Mastema/Satanel/Kasbeel/whomever, just different gradients of power. HOW is such a being trustworthy, again? Maybe that’s why it’s often the fear of the Lord, rather than respect of the Lord, that’s called the beginning of wisdom…)

    • A bit belated, but as I said in the next topic: Jenkins and his characters did actually realise the demands wouldn’t be met. As the zealots slobber all over their manifesto, they remark “We’ll be laughed at and ridiculed, but God will act; then the laughing–and the killing–will stop.” So in this case they actually were perfectly well aware no one would believe the threat before they unleashed it. They knew they’d kill thousands with this stunt before anyone would believe them, and they did it anyway.

  23. JenL – I think some of the foams may be non-water-based, but yeah, fires are going to be a big problem.

    Kandosii – excellent point on body cooling!

    apocalypsereview – most of the sewage will be powder or near-powder, and it won’t be rotting (no liquid phase for bacteria to live in), so it can be taken out by garbage trucks. But I’m inclined to agree with the others here that evacuation is the only answer on any scale of more than a few days. The booze may be great, but no mixers!

    • There is one thing about that dry, powdery waste, though- it’s still got a lot of compounds in it that the body wanted expelled. You have a lot of compounds in there that are harmful. And although the water would be sucked right out of it, certain bacteria and viruses can enter a state of dormancy when faced with dessication. I’m not sure whether they’d be completely dried out here, but microorganisms are astonishingly resilient.

      Basically, I’m just saying they’d better have excellent containment if anyone’s going to be handling what’s essentially powdered solid waste, or you might very well end up with air that has a testable fecal coliform count (which in itself in water is just an indicator of high likelihood of contamination by other human diseases. The things you learn when you intern at a water quality testing organization). The air might be dessicated, but the human mouth, nose and eyes aren’t, I’m assuming. It might be a low chance of microbial survival, but I wouldn’t want to trust my health against the potential of airborne virus Jesus (who, of course, ceased function on the remnants of last supper, and was reborn in the mucus lining of Jenny’s left nostril.)

  24. I just want to know (as I usually do when faced with RTC fiction, particularly that of Jenkins, with or without LaHay) how a person can write their deity (who, presumably, they think is good and worthy of worship) as a straight up EVIL horror movie monster. I do not understand. I know it’s all revenge RTC porn and all, but, dude… you keep making god EVIL. (Not merely little e evil.)

    You would think that this would bother at least some other Christians.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      It bothers this one.

      I know God Almighty is going to be hard to characterize in any sort of fiction, but this is like a darker version of the Islamic concept — “Omnipotent but NOT benevolent.”

      • Er, sorry, yes. I would expect it to bother many Christians. What surprises me is that it (apparently) doesn’t bother any of the Christians in the target audience. You’d think at least some RTCs would still think god is good.

        Or maybe there are RTCs complaining on some RTC forum somewhere about how appalled they are.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          Well, others have accused the target audience’s Personal Relationship With God (TM) as having a LOT of the characteristics of Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Well, they really don’t see it as evil. For instance, Paul exhibited the exact same degree of emotion to pool lady as he did to the other aspects of this miracle; wine vanishing from cups, grass withering. He assigns no deep emotional value to any of it aside from its ‘huh, check this out’ curiosity.

      This is also how Rayford can carefully navigate the throngs of victims in need of help on the tarmac and make his way back to the terminal without even barely noticing their existence. Why would be have any reason to react to this?

      The more I see of Jenkins’ ‘work’, the more I suspect he really is just a deeply frakked up individual so far frakked he can’t even conceive of why his attitude is monstrous.

  25. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Lovely Juliet Peters arrives “shyly“:

    There is only one long-haired female to whom “arrives shyly” would be a complement, and “Lovely Juliet Peters” isn’t a butter-yellow pegasus with a long lavender mane and three butterflies for a cutie mark.

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