TSoA: Chapter 47: The Survivors

Taking a page from Murphy’s book, Isis opens her heart to her beloved at the specific time when he can’t hear her.

The only difference is that he wakes up at the end of her soliloquy.  Because Murphy’s a Manly Man.

“…But something made me climb up here.” [Isis said to the unconscious Murphy]

Heh…something.

Gee, Davey, do you think it was…God???

/Crow T. Robot

I wonder if there are Murphy/Isis shippers out there.

Isis looked at him as his chest gently rose and fell, and she brushed away a tear.

His tear or hers?  (I’m just kidding.  Being a Manly Man, I’m suprised enough that Murphy cried when his wife was dying.  Then again, Greg Dinallo was co-writer on that book.)

“I’m so glad I did [come back towards the ark].”

“Me too.”  [said Murphy, awake for the first time]

Isis manages to force-feed him a bit of the soup (apparently, it has “healing herbs” in it), and explains that Obi-Wan is off looking for survivors of the helicopter crash.  We also learn that this cave is just Obi-Wan’s summer home, and he has a bigger cave down the mountain.

Gradually, through the night, the herbs did their work.  By morning, Murphy felt as if he had a massive hangover and had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson, but otherwise he felt remarkably good.

Ah.  So other than the explodey-feeling head and the nausea and vomiting and the fatigue and the dizziness and the inability to concentrate and the pain and the achiness in every part of his body, Murphy feels just dandy!

When I was concussed, I doubt I could have walked across a room without fainting or puking.  Guess I’m just not the Manly Man that Murphy is.

In fact, Murph feels so fine and dandy that he insists that they do TWO HOURS of “strenuous hiking” to get to the Main Cave.

Even though they’re not entirely certain where it is.

…Isis spotted a wide opening in the mountainside, thirty yeards or so above the trail.

“This has to be it,” she said.

Oh.  Whew.  I was worried there.  For a second.

Obi-Wan’s Main Cave (which I guess is also his Man Cave) has a propane stove and pictures of the ark story on the walls, so you know that his cave is a home.

The cave also contains Vern, rescued from the Vietnam snowbank.  (In a refreshing touch, Murphy actually thanks Obi-Wan for saving him.)

Vern relates his perspective of the helicopter crash:

“[Larry and I] were talking on the satellite phones, and something he said just didn’t seem right.”

Note: Larry probably means this:

“Good-bye, Vern, thanks for the ride.”

-Larry the Photo Guy, Chapter 45

I’d probably be suspicious, too.

“Then he took out some sort of control box and I guess my instincts just took over.  I tried to take the chopper down into the gorge so an electronic signal wouldn’t reach it, but I figured it was going to be too late and I just jumped.  His voice choked with emotion.  “There wasn’t time to explain to [Token Turk and the Dick].  I was hoping they’d just follow me out, but I guess they…” He couldn’t go on.

“I guess they just looked at me like I was crazy as I threw myself out the door of my own helicopter.  Go figure.”

Also, exactly how long does it take to scream “JUUUUUMMMPPP!!!!”  Sure, they might not do it, but at least try, right?  You can “explain” later.

Murphy’s jaw was clenched in anger.  “[Larry the Photo Guy].  I was looking in the wrong place the whole time.

Murphy seems to be giving himself both too much and too little credit here.  Like any hero of a mystery story, his thoughts tended towards the wrong person (a careful reading of Chapter 38 presents Murphy as slightly more suspicious of the Dick than of anybody else, but he still resolves to “watch everybody like a hawk.”)  (Emphasis mine.)   Still, it wasn’t like he thought Larry was completely cleared of suspicion, especially given Larry’s crush on Isis.

And now it’s Murphy’s turn to reveal that two of their guys died on the ark.  (Still think splitting up the team was a good idea, Murph?)

Vern seems as confused as we are about the bad guys’ motives:

“And this Talon character—he wants to take over the world?”

Murphy looked grim.  “I don’t know what motivates Talon, apart from a love of killing for the sake of it.  But the people he works for, yes. … All I’m certain of is that they’re evil and they have to be stopped.”

Because they’ll Stop at Nothing!

Also, Murphy assumes that Larry was working for Talon, not the CIA.  Why he thinks this is left as an exercise to the reader.

Changing the subject, Murphy asks for Obi-Wan’s story.

“It is right you should know.  I am one of the guardians of the sacred ark.  For centuries my family has been doing this. … I will watch the mountain for two years and then someone will replace me for a while.  Then I will come back again.”

Ah.  So, as some have suspected, Obi-Wan is basically this guy:

Isis has logical questions:

“Why did you tell us where the ark could be found?  Why didn’t you just let us search like all the other explorers?”

To which Obi-Wan has the best answer of all:

[Obi-Wan] turned to Murphy.  “There was something about you and your…sincerity.  Your strength of purpose.”

PASSIONATE SINCERITY!!!

Murphy is also sincerely and passionately angry at Talon, who has left the ark buried in the now forever and ever.  (Um, so does this mean Obi-Wan and his family are off the hook for watching the ark now?)

He determines to head off on a quest to find Talon and re-secure the Secrets of Harry Potter’s Sorcerer’s Philosopher’s Stone, which Talon is carrying around in a backpack.

Amusingly, Murphy elects to simply leave his bestest pal Vern in the tender, Bronze-Age medical care of Obi-Wan.

And refreshingly, Isis exhibits some backbone and TELLS MURPHY SHE IS COMING WITH HIM TO HUNT DOWN TALON.

Not that any of us should get too excited.  It’s not like she helps or anything.

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Posted on May 7, 2013, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. It’s always God.

    Meta-Isis is crying because Murphy is still alive.

    I know what motivates Talon, and The Seven (They’ll Stop At Nothing)! It’s the Power of the Plot. (As Nick Lowe pointed out some years ago, if you substitute “plot” for “force” in Star Wars it all makes rather more sense…)

  2. “Healing herbs.” . . . I — no. Just no. I suppose you could give a concussed person herbal remedies that reduce swelling/inflammation and stimulate blood clotting but I really don’t know how helpful that would be in real life. Besides, where the hell is Obi-Wan finding these “healing herbs” — the snowy, snowy mountains aren’t exactly a haven of plant life.

    All I’m certain of is that they’re evil and they have to be stopped.”

    *Whew* Nice save there, Murphy! Can’t have Vern accidentally going all Meta and realizing before the author does that the villains’ motivation is hazy at best.

    And Isis . . . well, she has remnants of her logical self even if her Stepfordization is well underway. We’ll see how long THAT lasts.

  3. (Um, so does this mean Obi-Wan and his family are off the hook for watching the ark now?)

    It means they have to get real jobs.

    In the epilogue, a year later, Obi-Wan is telling his life’s tale to his coworkers at Panera Bread, and they’re like, “Cool story bro, hey we need a bag of chips and a Power Chicken Hummus Bowl no tomato.”

    I made a joke once that God’s whole purpose in hiding the Ark 5000 years ago was so that Murphy could find it and be super-awesome, and I thought it was a joke! But it’s true. The whole premise behind Murphy’s quest is that people should know about the Ark, because its discovery would prove the Bible and bring people to Christ. And then we meet this family who’s known about it for millennia — and all they’ve done is keep it a secret, which seems to be the opposite of what God wants. Why? Well, apparently they’ve been waiting for someone as awesome as Murphy to show up. The truth of the Ark isn’t a holy gift of love for all humankind, it’s just a prize for the worthy.

    At least with the Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, you get the feeling that God intended these relics to stay obscure — for ineffable divine reasons, it was simply not their time to be found (though certain individuals may be allowed to glimpse them for a while). But I can’t think of any reason why Noah’s Ark shouldn’t have been common knowledge for the last 5000 years — except, again, to set up a reward for the awesomeness of Murphy.

    • It gets more creepy when you realize that LeHaye has fallen into the same trap he did with Left Behind, and Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler, and Tom Clancy: They have the Protagonist Who Does It All! (To Clancy’s credit, he at least introduced other main characters besides Jack Ryan, though Ryan still became President.) The creepy part comes in when one remembers that Murphy is based loosely on his son-in-law. No pressure, dude…. =)

      • I’m not comfortable with the notion of Murphy becoming President if this series goes on much longer. Not comfortable at all.

        • It’s a toss-up. Murphy will be Taken Up as one of the TribSaints of this universe — I think LeHaye intimated… wait, scratch that, LeHaye doesn’t intimate anything. LeHaye more or less outright said that the Seven (TSAN!) are the Beast. That, or Murphy will become dean of the college after righteously kicking the current one in the keister and will go on to be a happy, prosperous, respected… gods, I’m gagging even as I’m typing this… dean of archaeology and history.

          I don’t think Murph will be president. I HOPE Murph won’t be president! Joshie Jordan has a better shot at being president of the US, by way of Tom Clancy.

  4. By morning, Murphy felt as if he had a massive hangover and had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson

    This assumes Murph could go ten rounds with Mike Tyson. *shot*

    All I’m certain of is that they’re evil and they have to be stopped.”

    To the Seven — They’ll Stop At Nothing! *shot*

    “It is right you should know. I am one of the guardians of the sacred ark. For centuries my family has been doing this. … I will watch the mountain for two years and then someone will replace me for a while. Then I will come back again.”

    A secret society of ark-watchers? *shot*

    “There was something about you and your…sincerity. Your strength of purpose.”

    *shot* Looks like, as far as drinking games go, I chose… poorly. *hic*

  5. [Obi-Wan] turned to Murphy. “There was something about you and your…sincerity. Your strength of purpose.”

    Oh for fuck’s sake, how shameless can they get? Just say outright that the author wanted to have the ark found by his hero, it’s no less blatant.

    Also, note that he only explains why he likes Murphy than to others. He does NOT explain why he wouldn’t help those others. What exactly has been gained by keeping the Ark a secret from people with slightly less passionate sincerety? We rightfully diss the cloudy motivations of the villains, but the side of good isn’t much better.

    • I’m going to guess the hermit (do we actually GET a proper name for him?) and his order wanted to make sure that there was at least ONE person in the first party who found the Ark that would be interested not in the alchemy or prestige or whatnot, but only to use the discovery to champion the glory of God. Apparently, that’s WHY God let the Ark stick around. Remember Mustapha and Wendell? The hermits apparently divined they were more interested in worldly things than proving the impending Rapture and Judgement.

      Now, why God couldn’t have let the hermits reveal the Ark and have THEM explain the encroaching judgement, I’d like to know.

      (By the way, Murphy…How does proof of one summary judgement signify another one is coming? That would have been news to anyone who died before the Apocalypse of St. John was written!)

      • I need to elucidate. The hermits apparently divined that ALL the preceding seekers were like Mustapha, Wendell, and Blake, pursuing the Ark as something less than pure pilgrims.

      • In other words, every single person before Murphy who risked his life for the ark was a poser. Including those saints who’s monestary they visited. And all the RTCs who’ve launched expeditions in recent years.

        I once again would like to point out that in the foreword, LaHaye claimed that the only explanation that no one brought back the ark yet proves there must be an evil conspiracy to keep us in the dark. But in the book proper, the reason is “Some hermits judged every single person who ever looked for it to be a loser”

      • If Obi-Wan does possess some sort of Worthiness Sense ™, then it was a really dumb idea for him to reveal the Ark’s location in Chapter 37 with a murderous traitor (Fearless Gum-Popping Leader) standing right there. Like, maybe a heads-up to Murphy about the mole on his team would’ve been useful.

      • (do we actually GET a proper name for him?)

        Yep. It’s Azgadian.

    • I wish I were a better writer. I’m imagining [Obi Wan] slowly losing his faith over the years. Every two years he has to leave is wife and family. Every time it gets harder and harder. And for what? Nothing has happened for a millenia. It’s been so long he doesn’t even really know why his family is protecting the ark. From whom? To what purpose? Why his family and not some other? Finally, he’s had enough. He sees another party seeking the ark. This one somehow even more clueless then the last. But who cares. Its a cosmic joke any way. Let them find the ark. No better yet, he will make sure they find it. He’ll be free at long last. His sons will be free and their sons…

      • There’s a lot of interesting potential backstory that goes along with Obi-Wan and his family’s sacred duty — backstory that, I guess, is not regarded as interesting or relevant by our authors. How did the Kenobi family become guardians of the Ark? Who gave them the authority? Did they decide on their own that the Ark needed guarding, or was it a holy command by God? (If the latter, was there also a vision that one day, a dumb white guy with passionate sincerity would arrive to whom the secret could be revealed? What was meant to be the endgame of all this?)

        How long after the Flood did this guarding business start? There was, obviously, a time once when every living human on Earth knew about Noah’s Ark. Then at some point it became a secret to be protected. How and why did this transition occur? How does it serve God’s purpose? Keep in mind this is the guy who invented rainbows because it was important that everybody know what he had done.

        I can certainly understand where Noah’s alchemy kit would be a dangerous item in the wrong hands, and worth guarding. Not sure why the Kenobis aren’t just guarding that separately somewhere else, while making the Ark itself accessible to all.

        • How did the Kenobi family become guardians of the Ark? Who gave them the authority?

          From this chapter:

          “It goes all the way back to a monk named St. Jacob. He charged my Armenian ancestors with the task of guardianship over the Ark of Noah.”

          So, as you can see, LaPhillips have the speech patterns of a Turkish ark-guardian pretty well down.

          • Ah, now it all makes sense. Staint Jacob found the ark, but after a moment of triumph, he leaved through his Bible and realized he couldn’t possibly be living in the end times yet. After all, the emperor of rome just converted to Christianity, they got to be the established religion, which means everything was just awesome.

            So, Jacob reasoned, he and all his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ weren’t important enough to waste the discovery of the Ark on. He founded an order to preserve it until such time as it could be found by the only Christians who matter: Born Again Bible Believing Christians from the United States, who live in the early 20th late 20th early 21st century, just before the Rapture.

          • Ehm, early 20th and late 20th should have been struck through. Damnit, how does that work here?

            testing
            testing
            testing

  6. Murphy is also sincerely and passionately angry at Talon, who has left the ark buried in the snow forever and ever.

    Seriously? Like, he’s not even going to attempt to record the location and bring back an expedition to dig it out? Some snow fell on it, therefore it’s irretrievable?

    STUPIDEST HERO EVAR.

    • I think it may be the only way out in LaHaye Logic.

      After all, the world needs to continue to be corrupt. But finding the Ark would be real proof that RTCism is right, and everyone would convert to it. Therefore the Ark cannot be found. But Murphy cannot be thwarted in anything he wants, therefore the Ark must be found.

      • And, indeed, it makes a better story for the hero to find solid proof that this mythical thing is real and then have it snatched away than for him to just wander around not finding anything.

        It just annoys me that they couldn’t come up with any better excuse than “some snow fell on it”. I mean, Turkey has earthquakes on a regular basis; you could at least have an earthquake drop it into a giant chasm or something! I just did a minute of googling, and Wikipedia says Turkey’s totally had earthquakes in Mount Ararat’s general area.

  7. So Vern’s not the least bit ticked off with Murph for not telling him about the top-notch international assassin sent after them or the global conspiracy (who will stop at nothing!) backing him until after his helicopter got blown up?

    Austin: [Answering a call after the Vanessa fembot explodes] Hello Basil.
    Basil: Hello, Austin. How was your honeymoon?
    Austin: It turns out that Vanessa was a fembot.
    Basil: Yes. We knew all along, sadly. Anyway, I have a new assignment for you.

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