Silenced: Chapter 6, Part 2: Share All the News!
It is now the time in the story when we SHARE ALL THE NEWS!!!
Straight calls Paul to SHARE ALL THE NEWS of his evening with Jae (because this lack of privacy for the Stepolas goes in all directions). But Paul has no time to listen right now, as he is on his way to a quick appointment with Ball Dangler, who wants to SHARE ALL THE NEWS with him, too.
But before Paul hangs up on Straight, he advises him to call Abraham, who still has to SHARE ALL THE NEWS of a Bern underground.
Ball Dangler does indeed have news to share with Paul: first of all, the NPO has already nabbed stupid Gregor and sentenced him to twenty years in prison for “assaulting” Paul. This would, indeed, be a great example of Atheistopia’s secretly-tyrannical powers, except that Gregor was so utterly incompetent that the Keystone Kops could have nailed him.
The next piece of news is that Dangler is going to start requiring that all adults in Atheistopia sign this awkward loyalty oath:
Under penalty of life imprisonment, or death in extreme cases, I hereby pledge that I personally support the global ban on the practice of religion. I am not affiliated with any group, organization, or individual who acts in opposition to the ruling of the international government on this matter, and I stipulate that if I become aware of any citizen violating this ordinance, I am under obligation to report the same, failure to do so resulting in the same punishment.
Paul had trained himself to look collected at times like this. What in the world was he going to do when required to sign?
Oh, I dunno…LIE??? Yanno, Paul, like you’ve been lying to your wife for the past half-year and more?
But apparently both Paul and Dangler are under the impression that nobody lies, ever, and thus that secret religious types couldn’t just sign the oath and go back to what they were doing.
This seems wrong from both ends. Paul has been living a double life for months now, and Straight has been living one for years. But when it comes to signing a piece of paper from the government they consider corrupt, murderous, and hellbound, suddenly they need to become honest?
And Dangler would presumably be aware of the fact that religious believers are no more or less honest than atheists. Why does he think believers wouldn’t lie on this stupid thing?
Bah, it’s just a MacGuffin. Anyway, Dangler has MOAR NEWS: he wants to give Paul his extra-special secret skullphone personal line. I guess in case Paul ever wants to discuss philosophy. Or that terrorist that they might want to think about starting to hunt sometime this year.
While on his government-chartered flight to Rome, Paul reconnects with Straight so they can SHARE ALL THE NEWS with each other.
“Paul, I am so sorry, and none too happy, to have been left out of the loop about the Bern underground.”
Yeah, why was Straight left out of the loop on that? You’d think if anyone would need-to-know about this, it would be the BFF of the secret-believer NPO agent who was, yanno, going to Bern.
Bit of trouble in underground zealot paradise, boys? Maybe Abraham needs a little talking-to? Especially in light of the next piece of news: Gregor was murdered.
“The party line is that he tried to overtake the guard on his way to prison, and they were forced to shoot him.” [said Straight]
“Does Dengler know?” [Paul asked]
“Paul. There’s no question Dengler ordered it.”
Paul couldn’t speak.
“You still there?” Straight said.
“Yeah. How much does Dengler know?”
“You mean about you? We think he’s still in the dark, but he may suspect. Thus this murder.”
Okay, that makes NO FRAKKING SENSE.
We have been told that Paul is the only Christian mole in the NPO. So how would anyone know that Ball Dangler ordered the hit? For that matter, how can we even be sure it was a hit? Gregor is certainly stupid enough to think that he could escape from armed guards.
Oh, and gotta love that when faced with the news of the murder of a Christian brother, Paul’s thoughts immediately turn to…himself. Like, not even one second of sympathy for Gregor. His only thought is how it affects him.
Also, if Dangler suspects Paul is a traitor, why wouldn’t he torture Gregor for information instead of immediately killing him? He obviously found out that Gregor was a Christian, probably because Gregor is the kind of guy to spill the beans to every human being he meets:
“Unhand me, atheist scum! I swore to Jesus Christ that I would never tell anyone about my secret meeting with the Christian mole in the NPO, at which I would inform him of the vast conspiracy of underground believers in this city…and I meant it!”
Paul is then tempted to SHARE ALL THE NEWS of the stupid loyalty oath, but develops a sudden attack of belated common sense:
“Wait till you see the document Dengler gave me this morning.”
“You mean I know something you don’t?”
“What is it?”
“Only the death knell for the underground if it’s carried out. Let’s not risk talking about that now.”
Let’s not risk…YOU BROUGHT IT UP, YOU IDIOT! Also, bit late to be worried about Who Might Be Listening now—you’re on an Atheistopian government charter flight and have been talking about underground networks of secret believers for ten minutes, now.
But forget about government-sanctioned murders and world-ending loyalty oaths! Let’s talk about something really important—whether a woman will visit her parents!
“She’s seriously considering her father’s invitation to go and work for him in Washington.”
“I can’t let that happen, Straight. But it has to be her decision.”
“Well, I mean she should at least think it’s her own decision. As much as a woman can think, that is.”
I once promised you all that Paul wouldn’t change his abusive, controlling, asshattish ways after his conversion. I hope I have not disappointed.
And so, Paul and Straight conspire to dissuade Jae of the extremely harmful notion that she and the kids should spend time with their extended family:
“What’d you tell her?”
“Just that it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. I told her I needed to think about it.”
“Good. Get back to her in due time and tell her you really have a bad feeling about it.”
“Make sure she doubts her own instincts as much as possible. Imply her family doesn’t really love her. It also would be great if you could get in a backhanded compliment about her mothering skills—like, why does she need help with the kids, are they really too much for her to handle, something like that.”
It’s not like any real harm will be done. After all, Jae’s desire to visit her family is only based on silly, womany emotions and weakness:
“She’s just going stir-crazy with me gone. And her family is applying pressure.”
“Which is totally different than US applying pressure!”
Yes, indeed, in the evil world of Atheistopia, it is these two guys who follow the path of morality.