TSoA: Chapter 37, Part 1: Need to Know

Okay, now things get confusing.  At the end of the last chapter, we get the following:

When [the Nerd] regained consciousness, [Fearless] was feeding him a glucose drink and the rest of the team were huddled around.

Murphy was the first to speak.  “Where’s [Señor SEAL]?”

“He’s gone,” said [Fearless] simply.

“What do you mean gone?”

“He dies trying to save [the Nerd].”

Murphy winced.  “In don’t know what to say.”

“No, you don’t understand,” [Fearless] said, his voice choking with emotion.  “Someone cut his rope.  He was murdered.”

Okay, so now we readers and the whole team know what happened.  I didn’t think this was a big deal until the beginning of this chapter.  It’s the next morning:

At dawn the others [everyone except Murphy] struggled out of their tents.  It didn’t look as if anyone had had much sleep.  They slowly gathered together in the cooking area and shared mugs of steaming tea…

These people need to learn to pack enough cups for everyone.  This is just gross.

…waiting for Murphy to address them.

Speak to us, Wise One!!!

“Okay, listen up.  I’ve got some bad news to share with you.  [Fearless] thinks [Señor SEAL’s] death was not an accident.  Somebody deliberately cut his rope.  He was murdered.”

There were gasps from around the campfire.


The Dick freaks out, so I guess not.


…the rest of the team were huddled around.


So…what, Murphy and Fearless didn’t tell anyone else through the whole evening and overnight?  Not even Token Turk, WHO TOOK A WATCH IN THE NIGHT???

That might have been information that he would have been interested in having.


Anyway, Murphy gets a tad impatient when Token Turk and the Nerd start asking questions.  After all…

“I told you before,” Murphy said.  “There are people who want to stop us from finding the ark.  Or maybe they want us to lead them to it, and then…” He trailed off.

“Dr. McDonald and I have had some experience of what I can only call evil forces at work in the world.  Powerful, ruthless people who will stop at nothing to get what they want.  I believe they could be responsible for [Señor SEAL’s] death.  And I have no reason to think they’ll stop there,” he added grimly.

Gee, where have we heard this before?

“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.”

So, Murph, you ready to tell the rest of the team “who that somebody is,” NOW THAT A MAN IS DEAD?

Guess not.

Murphy calls for a vote—leave or stay.  The Nerd leads the charge for staying, given that a man lost his life for him.  Which is kinda sweet.

What’s not so sweet is this:

“We’ve made it this far.  Might as well go the distance.  We all want to be famous, don’t we? said [The Dick] with a forced laugh.

I admire the way the Dick always manages to be so dickish.

Murphy, meanwhile, begins to wonder about the possible ulterior motives of the other team members.

Note: this is what a badass mystery-solver looks like:


(The incomparable Geraldine McEwan in The Moving Finger.  ZOMG watch it!)

And you, Michael Murphy, are no Jane Marple.


The rest of this day is given over to moving everything to a yet-higher camp.

Oh, and Vern shows up.

No, not to help them move the shit up the mountain or anything.  Just to reassure them that Señor SEAL’s body is irretrievable because it fell too far.

Seriously, Vern flew up the mountain to check on the fall of Señor SEAL, then to fly over the team and wave at them…then to leave.


Murphy and Vern chat on their satellite phones:

“Murph, I’m going to head back.  There’s not much I can do here.  Keep in touch.  I’m praying for you guys.  If you find the ark, let me know!”

“Thanks, Vern.  It’s good to see you flying.  We’re looking forward to a comfortable ride home in a few days.  Over and out.”

Um, so if Vern can’t help with anything but the ride back down the mountain, why was such a big deal made about his lack of permission to go up the mountain?



Posted on February 24, 2013, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. If the Bad Guys want to kill some Good Guys (presumably to make the ark-stealing easier once Murphy’s found it)… what’s wrong with a bit of good old-fashioned sniping?

  2. inquisitiveraven

    They’re on a snow covered mountain and an avalanche started by a gunshot might get the shooter too?

  3. “He dies trying to save [the Nerd].”

    Murphy winced. “In don’t know what to say.”

    “Because even someone so lacking in social graces as I am knows better than to say he should’ve just let the Nerd die. Those who fall behind get left behind! I, Professor Manly Christian, have spoken.”

    The only explanation I have for the boggling lack of continuity and logic is this: Vern did actually find Señor SEAL. The poor man is in really rough shape but before losing consciousness or dying, SEAL manages to gasp a few words of warning to his rescuer: Murphy is a lunatic who will get them all killed, either through his own idiocy or because of the people following him who for some reason only pick off those who interact with Murphy. Then, Vern had a moment of wisdom and said to Murphy’s Expedition of Doom, “fuck this noise; I’m out!”

  4. For a security guy, Fearless Gum-Popping Leader is remarkably incurious about all the, you know, security issues facing the team. I’d almost say this is enough to expose him as the mole, but if we’re judging on competence then we’d have to rule that most of the team is a Seven plant, including Murphy.

  5. Ah, so it *is* going to be the thriller-type plot where they climb the mountain on foot while mysterious enemies pick them off one by one, and there’s no hope of being rescued by the helicopter until the very end, by which point most of the team will be dead.

    Except that now there’s no actual reason why they should do that, instead of flying straight up.


  6. So, to recap the 3 bets from Loquat and my predictions:
    1. Whether the killing will start before Vern shows up? (I said ‘yes, they should, if the writers decide to keep the pace after 30 chapters of spinning their weels’) This was a solid yes. Although I kinda lost track, have 24 or 48 hours passed before Vern showed up. Does chapter 36 span 1 or 2 days?

    2: Whether Vern will be told about the danger, by anyone, before he finds out firsthand? (I said no): I think this is a yes. We’re not shown Vern being brought up to speed, but I doubt he found Senor SEAL’s body in its irrecoverable position without having gotten some head’s up that it was there. Unless Murphy found a technically-not-lying way to suggest that Senor SEAL fell by accident.

    3: Whether Vern will be at all unhappy with Murphy for not being upfront about the risk? (I said no, because he’ll be dead). Well, Vern doesn’t seem to be unhappy in the slightest, though he isn’t dead.

    Hmm, seems like I got 2-ish out of 3.

  7. “I told you before,” Murphy said. “There are people who want to stop us from finding the ark. Or maybe they want us to lead them to it, and then…” He trailed off.
    Here the writer shows a moment of self awareness. “Yeah, what exactly was the Seven’s (They stop at nothing! Really, Murphy even said so literally twice just now) plan again? They wanted the ark found, so why are they killing teammembers and helpers before the ark is found? Oh well, LaHaye insists his conspiracy theory that dark forces are preventing any evidence of the ark being found in the real world is given some credibility, so let’s have the evil secularist kill some more christians who just want to prove the Truth.”

    Actually, if I was generous, I could think that they’re trying to kill those members of the group that can fight while they can, while leaving only those who can find the ark but not defend it when they do alive. That way it’ll be easier to nab. But that requires a bit of foresight and cunning uncommon to villains in RTC fiction.

    So, Murph, you ready to tell the rest of the team “who that somebody is,” NOW THAT A MAN IS DEAD?
    I forgot, does Murphy actually know Talon’s name? He’s seen the guy, but I don’t remember Talon introducing himself. And he doesn’t know the Seven. Well, I can see why the RTCs in the team won’t question too deeply about the identity of their enemies. When Murphy talks about: “ what I can only call evil forces at work in the world. Powerful, ruthless people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. , they already know he’s talking about the omnipresent threat of the islamo-facist-pagan-secular-sodomy-feminazi-secularists.

    • Murphy might not know the names of the People Who Stop At Nothing (there’s seven of them!), but I’m pretty sure he knows they exist. Didn’t Methuselah tell him about them?

    • I don’t remember if Methy told him. I guess the language Murphy uses is also ambiguous. Right now I can’t tell you who that somebody is. might mean need-to-know, but it also might mean “I haven’t found out their identities, so right now I can’t tell you their names”. I might be more generous and believe that, if Murphy and the rest of the won’t-lie-but-will-deceive brand of RTC heroes didn’t use such ambiguity to their advantage, so it might as well be Murphy hording info and disguising it as ignorance.

      • Murphy actually does know Talon by name…


        He knows that Talon killed his wife, set the church bomb, killed several guards at the Parchments of Freedom Foundation, and made an attempt on Isis’s life.

        Murphy actually references the Seven by name in Chapter 3 of this book. How he found out about their name, I am not sure (read: too lazy to do a page-by-page search at the moment). But it does seem, from a cursory glance, that Murphy only knew about Talon in the first book, but suddenly gains knowledge of The Seven in TSoA.

        In any event, he knows a lot more than he is saying to the rest of his team. At the very least, he could have warned them about Levi’s “spooks.”

        • Murphy is in a terrible pickle. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to get assassinated; on the other hand, if he tells everybody about the mysterious forces hunting him, then they won’t be mysterious anymore and not nearly as cool.

    • That was my theory right up at the top – The Seven (They Stop At Nothing!) have to be assuming that the MurphyTeam can take the Ark, fight off their people, and eat three Shredded Wheat for breakfast, whereas if they carefully cut down its strength the surviving team will just barely find the Ark, then be easy to kill.

      • It’s lucky they correctly assessed that Murphy is a callous asshole who’s morale or effectivity won’t be aversely affected by a few dead teammates on the path to his goal.

        • It’s also lucky they correctly assessed that Murphy would be a jerk and withhold as much vital information as possible from the rest of the team, rather than just telling them up front they’d likely be stalked by a professional killer known to use sneaky and unorthodox assassination techniques so they could take precautions.

  8. Editor? What’s that?

  9. No, Murphy is definitely no Jane Marple.

    After all, Miss Marple is the detective she is because she is a long-time student of human nature and understands exactly how people think. Something that Murphy shows no signs of understanding.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, March 1st, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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