TSoA: Chapter 30: The Rest of the Team
Finally, FINALLY, we are actually starting to prepare for the preparation of the trip to Ararat that might actually take place sometime in the future.
That’s right, we’re 60% done with this book, so that means it’s time to…introduce five new characters at once!
Look, I have no problem whatsoever with a big cast, but you should introduce at least most of them sooner than halfway through your story, so we have time to get to know them.
Especially since, in this case, they are all men, all within the same age range (I’m figuring mid-thirties to mid-forties) and several of whom share similar backgrounds.
IT IS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO TELL SOME OF THESE GUYS APART, SO I SHALL PREPARE A LIST.
Murphy has inexplicably left the decisions about team members entirely in the hands of Levi Abrams, ex-Mossad badass, which is doubly weird since Levi isn’t even going on the trip.
But before Levi can tell Murphy all about the new men for the team (of course there won’t be any women; don’t be ridiculous) he has to get in a “veiled remark” about Isis.
Levi Does Not Approve of Isis. Whether this is because Isis is a gi-irl, or because Murphy has a crush on her, or both, Levi does not say.
Anyway, on to the new guys:
- Colonel Blake Hodson, “Ex-Army Ranger.”
- Commander Salvador Valdez, “Ex-Navy SEAL.” (Question: shouldn’t we be saying “vet” instead of “ex”?)
These two guys are “security” for the team.
- Wendell Reinhold, Ph.D. in engineering from MIT. “Good on mountains.”
Let’s just say I have my doubts. Foremost is the doubt that the name “Wendell” is being used ironically. Nerd alert! (Especially since the two security dudes sport the manly names of Blake and Salvador.)
- Mustafa Bayer, who, in addition to fulfilling all the aspirin needs of the team, works for the Turkish government in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
- Darin Lundquist, Special Assistant to the Turkish Ambassador.
These two guys are for “politics,” one representing Turkey, one the States.
Presumably because the Turkish government has heard about Michael Murphy, and how he treats artifacts from countries not his own.
- Larry Whittaker, photographer.
Also, we’ve already been introduced to Murphy’s old pal (who didn’t attend Laura’s funeral), Vern Peterson.
So, holy shit, that’s a lot of dudes. Regular hot dog cart…
And they’ll all get to know each other (saaaayyyyy…) at the Mount Rainier Mountain Climbing School.
There is a cool webcam of Mount Rainier here.
One thing Stephanie Kovacs had wrong: During the memorial service Murphy wasn’t thinking about Mount Ararat. He was thinking about Mount Rainier in Washington.
Oh, well, thank goodness. And here I thought Murphy was being insenstitive. But no, it turns out that he was thinking of a TOTALLY OTHER MOUNTAIN inviolved in his “great adventure“…during the funeral of his “good friend.”
At the climbing school, Valdez, the SEAL, wants to know why he and the other tough guy are even needed on this trip. Murphy hedges TWICE before realizing that he has to actually (gasp! choke!) be honest with the other members of his team.
“The fact is,” Murphy [said], “somebody knows about this expedition and doesn’t want it to succeed. Right now I can’t tell you who that somebody is. But I can tell you that they are ruthless and will stop at nothing to get whatever it is they want.”
STOP AT NOTHING
Other things that are established:
- Wendell, the Ph.D., establishes his nerd credentials by being “boyish” and wearing “old-fashioned round spectacles.”
(The book calls the men by their last names, but Isis by her first name. So I shall henceforth call all the team members by their first names, in retaliation.)
- Blake, the Ranger, wears mirrored shades all the time and chews gum…all the time.
- Darin is a dick, who, when Mustafa mentions the Turkish military, says:
“Let’s not forget who foots the bill for all those planes and missiles you people are so proud of!”
Nice. So, basically, everybody hates everybody else.
[Murphy] had two days on the slopes of Mount Rainier to turn these people into a tightly knit unit.
And I’m sure that will be no problem. Murphy has great people skills.