TSoA: Chapter 51: The Seven, They’ll Ski at Nothing

We are at the penultimate chapter, guys!  After checking in with The Seven, we’ll move on to the final confrontation between Murphy and Talon.  (It is just as exciting as you might imagine.)

Then we’ll have a bit of a palate-cleanser before hitting the second book of the Underground Zealot series, Silenced.

This palate-cleansing period will include my VERY FIRST GUEST CRITIQUE EVER!!!

But for now, let’s see what the Seven are up to.

Remember, they’ll stop at NOTHING…including skiing.

No doubt, EVIL skiing.

This being the penultimate chapter, Phillips reminds us what The Seven (TSAN!) are up to:

No one would guess that they were part of a conspiracy that aimed to destroy the word [sic] monetary system, the rule of law, the Christian church, and the military power of sovereign nations.

Kinda interesting that Phillips thinks we need this little reminder.  But maybe he feels this way because the villains never actually DO anything.  They just sit around and talk about how awesome it will be when their scheme comes to fruition.  I’m not asking for much, Phillips—just show one of The Seven (TSAN!) influencing a vote in his own country, or using her power as a businesswoman to subtly influence the world market that she wants to destroy.

Also, gotta love how the bad guys only want to destroy the Christian church.  Because they don’t need to waste their time destroying all those other fakey religions.  After all, the adherents of those fakey religions know they’re not real, not like Christianity!

But no.  They’re skiing.

General Li was quickly closing the distance between them [himself and John Bartholomew] with firm strides, closely followed by Mendez, red-faced and sweating but clearly determined not to be beaten by his much fitter fellow conspirator.  Sir William Merton’s portly frame was unmistakable at the back of the group, gliding effortlessly over the snow as if by some diabolical magic.

A portly guy who’s also athletic???  Truly such a personage can only be the work of SATAN!!!

Bartholomew has brought them out skiing so he can have an “appropriate setting” in which to update them on Talon’s progress.  Sure, he could have just conference-called them, but it wouldn’t have been as awesomely evil as SKIING.

Bartholomew fills them in on Talon’s progress, including the Sorcerer’s Stone of Harry Potter, and the “fact” that the entire team, including Murphy but not including Isis (who is “no threat to us“) is dead.  Talon is supposed to rendezvous with the Romanian Seven Lady to deliver the plates.

Skiing was very important to this information.


Posted on May 21, 2013, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. You know, my husband has spent a few years now specializing in IT support for videoconferencing systems. It’s not terribly hard to hire someone like him to come in and set up a videoconference room with a big screen on one wall. It’s certainly much cheaper than flying a bunch of people to another country and making them ski.

    Plus, when the Videoconference Room of Evil isn’t in use, you can go in there, slap a space-themed screen-saver on the screen, and pretend to be on the bridge of the Enterprise!

  2. It’s the climax of the story! Talon has the Doom Plates and our heroes have no idea where to find him! But never mind that, let’s spend a chapter checking in on Shane’s dinner date, and then another chapter in 2500 B.C., and then let’s watch The Seven drink some goddamn cocoa back at the lodge. I’ve seen better pacing in the waiting room at the maternity ward.

    (The preceding joke was brought to you by the year 1957. 1957: Proud home of Tim LaHaye’s cultural sensibilities since 1957!)

    I mentioned in an earlier chapter that the proper climax for this book, which purports to be a thriller, is an exciting and deadly ski chase down Mt. Ararat. Now it turns out that in the place where a climax should be, there is indeed skiing; but it’s the non-exciting non-chase kind, it’s happening nowhere near Ararat, and it’s the vague antagonists doing it while engaging in needless exposition. It’s as if LaHaye and Phillips are mocking me personally now. Well, boys, let me tell you, you’ve really stuck your you-know-whats in the crocodile’s mouth this time. This book is almost over and we’ll soon be moving on to other authors, but some day Ruby is going to review The Europa Conspiracy, it’s inevitable, and when that day comes, Tim and Bob, I WILL END YOU.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      (The preceding joke was brought to you by the year 1957. 1957: Proud home of Tim LaHaye’s cultural sensibilities since 1957!)

      And it isn’t even the REAL year 1957 (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… In short, it was a time much like any other”), but a MYTHIC 1957 according to Ozzie, Harriet, and Donna Reed.

    • I was reminded of a short story set in 1957, which is also apocalyptically-themed with a twist.

  3. I see what you did there, co-author. You saw some of those films where the villains have a conference somewhere strange, and you thought you’d use it in the book. But you’ve never been skiing. I haven’t either, but I have been bicycling, and you really don’t get to have a conversation while you’re doing it – you’re working moderately hard, there’s wind noise, and you don’t get too close together.

    Right, right, “the entire team is dead” – except for the chick, who doesn’t count ‘cos she’s a chick. Are we sure the Seven (TSAN!) aren’t just more RTCs in disguise?

    Loquat, but a videoconference room wouldn’t be appropriately Eeeeevil. Unless you had it running on Diabolic European Linux rather than Good American Christian Windows maybe.

    If The Europa Conspiracy isn’t about the moon of Jupiter, I will be… well, unsurprised, but slightly disappointed.

    • Well, that’s what Evil interior decorators are for, obviously. Dim the lights, get a proper set of scary-looking chairs in there, paint some satanic symbols on the walls using the blood of the innocent, maybe add a few throw pillows to pull the whole thing together.

      My second guess for a book called The Europa Conspiracy would be that it involves the ancient Greek myth about the woman who got carried off by Zeus-disguised-as-a-bull, but something tells me it won’t be that either.

    • Right, right, “the entire team is dead” – except for the chick, who doesn’t count ‘cos she’s a chick.

      And yet at least one of The Seven is a chick. What’s she around for, affirmative action quotas?

      Suddenly I feel very sympathetic for Romanian Lady. All her life she worked twice as hard at being evil, just to prove herself the equal of any man. Then she joined The Seven believing that finally, here in an organization as far removed from RTC sensibilities as it is possible to get — here was a place where people weren’t judged on their sex, race, or nationality; only on the quality of their evilness. It was a dream come true. And then it turned out to be exactly the same boys’ club as the world she’d left behind. The dream died, hard. She’s still with the organization because she still believes in evil, and because she’s the first female member of the top echelon and that’s something to be proud of. Maybe in her evil daughter’s time, things will be better. Maybe she can help make it that way. But some days … some days it’s just hard, that’s all.

      So everyone’s on the slopes, the news comes in about Talon and Murphy, and at first it’s a good moment. But Bartholomew just has to get in that little dig, doesn’t he? She can still hear it ring in her ears. “Only one survivor … but the woman is no threat to us.” And amid the deep, throaty evil laughter, Romanian Lady is in the background going 😦 , but nobody notices.

    • Isn’t ‘Europa Conspiracy’ a tautology in RTC fiction? If the continent is ever mentioned, it’s as a source for the evil global conspiracy guys trying to bring down godly Americans.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Isn’t ‘Europa Conspiracy’ a tautology in RTC fiction?

        Ever since Hal Lindsay identified the Ten Horns of Daniel’s Vision as the ten nations of what’s now the EU. And “The Brussels Beast” made the jump from fiction to Urban Legend.

  4. I like to think that the Seven paid a lot of souls for those awesome satanic skiing abilities and damn it, they are going to use those abilities! (Speaking of, do Christians have any magic that isn’t demonic?)

    . . . how do the Seven “know” that the entire team except for The Chick is dead? Especially without physical evidence — you know, bodies. Severed heads, at least.

    BTW, after all the unnecessary silliness that was Murphy’s expedition, and the painful Stepfordization of Isis, and the head-scratching over motivations or lack thereof . . . I seem to have completely forgotten WHY the plates are so damn important. But given that the reason will undoubtedly be stupid, I kinda don’t care.

    • Apparently the plates (and associated chemistry set) allow the user to commit Alchemy! and transform substances into other substances, but only if both input and output are pure elements, so you couldn’t, say, use it to transform garbage into high-quality gasoline.

    • No, in RTC-speak all magic is demonic/diabolic. Miracles are a completely different thing.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Tell that to the My Little Pony/Silver John crossover fanfic I assisted on last year. (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/27032/my-little-balladeer) One of the continuing themes of the piece (and a dig on the Satanic Panic types who denounced MLP as Occult) was to contrast the ponies’ natural magic with the villain’s demonic/diabolic “Magick”.

        “It’s just — magic’s not supposed to work this way!”

        “Your magic right here,” I reminded her. “Where I come from, it’s all rightly different. Let me guess, magic’s a natural thing in your world, isn’t it? Something like fire or water or air, a part of the world?” She looked kindly confused, but she nodded at me. I looked around at her friends and I saw wondering looks on their faces too. “But where I come from, there’s no natural magic, or next to none. You’ve got to ask other things for it, angels or devils or spirits, and if they want to help you, or you pay them off enough to make them want to, you can do it.”

    • I like to think that the Seven paid a lot of souls for those awesome satanic skiing abilities and damn it, they are going to use those abilities!

      I agree, it’s a very Wolfram & Hart use of demonic privilege.

      • inquisitiveraven

        Honestly, I don’t think the lawyers at Wolfram & Hart would be that petty. They’re vicious, backstabbing bastards, but they’re not that kind of petty.

  5. They can’t show the Seven (TSAN!) doing something evil. Presumably, the Seven are already up to nefarious no-goodness — they’re already destroying the worlds’ nations’ militaries and sovereignity, putting Christians into napalm barrels, and wrecking the world monetary system.* But none of this is happening. Christians aren’t being persecuted (the most pernicious and obnoxious are being told to shut up, but there’s no force of law behind that) and they’re certainly not being barreldokken’d. The world monetary system is having it’s own problems without being messed with by the Seven (TSAN!). And the conspiracy theorists can whine all they want, the militaries of Europe haven’t suddenly formed Euro-Voltron.

    In order to show the Seven (TSAN!) actually driving past Nothing and not Stopping there, Le Haye would have to make the case that all this is already happening. And he can’t. As much as his Bircher little heart is swearing up and down that the Seven (TSAN!) are actually At Large and In Charge, he knows he can’t say so and make whatever conspiracy-theorist claims and make them sound believable to, you know, rational people. If he did that, people would rightly look at him and wonder when he was going to start talking about HAARP and chemtrails and black helicopters. He’s just smart enough to know that people look askance at that. But not smart enough to realize his Bircher wet nightmares are collectively a load of croc.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      They can’t show the Seven (TSAN!) doing something evil.

      One of the tropes of Christianese fiction is that the Heathen are utterly depraved and utterly evil, yet you can’t ever show them DOING anything depraved or evil. Their Utter Evil cannot manifest in any way that could possibly offend the Church Ladies who are the target audience. This undercuts the villains considerably. And you need strong villains to have strong heroes.

      P.S. This is also an attempt at Technothriller genre, which just makes it worse.

  6. Honestly, I find this the worst diss of Isis in this book. “Yeah, she knows everything Murphy knew, has at least as much historical knowledge, knows what our agent looks like and where the bodies are buried (literally, as far as they know). But on the other hand, she’s a girl. Eh, no concern.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      1) Remember one of the tropes of Christianese Fiction — even The Heathen act, speak, and think in Fluent Christianese.
      2) And if you’re appealing to one of those Male Supremacist churches that Wartburg Watch et al keep a sharp eye on, of course “she’s just a woman”.

      • The thing is, maybe it’s my fault (fully priviliged male here) but I wasn’t seeing as horrible a Stepfordization of Isis herself up to this point. She was less awesome, true. But the way Ruby described it at the start, it sounded like Jae the second. Which I don’t think really happened. She still talks back to Murphy, and Murphy was actually the first one to admit he just loves her. I was worried the roles here would be Murphy beeing all aloof and brooding while Isis following him around like a lovesick puppy begging for attention.

        Now I’m not saying this book’s Isis is a role model for girls everywhere, but she isn’t that much worse than Indiana Jones’ love interest, even when not counting the ditz from the second movie. I’m used to far, far worse from RTC authors.

        But this remark did really feel like RTC-levels of bad gender politics, a dismissal of all of Isis’s qualities and accomplishments. Of course, it was the bad guys making the remark, but I’m not seeing anything in the story that suggests the authors think they are incorrect.

      • So…what would it take for someone to NOT act/speak/think in Fluent Christianese?

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Yet another sign this was written by an Ian Fleming wannabe.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      1) Remember one of the tropes of Christianese Fiction — even The Heathen act, speak, and think in Fluent Christianese.
      2) And if you’re appealing to one of those Male Supremacist churches that Wartburg Watch et al keep a sharp eye on, of course “she’s just a woman”.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, May 24th, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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