Silenced: Chapter 10, Part 2: We Kill Them

Just like on any first date, Enzo Fabrizio, head of the Rome underground, knows it’s important to make his date feel good by keeping the conversation centered on him.

Enzo wanted to know Paul’s story, all about how he became a believer, what had happened in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and especially how things went with International Chancellor Dengler.

For a more sinister interpretation, consider that con artists make a specialty of knowing a lot more about their marks than the marks know about them.  Most people like talking about themselves, and it puts them at ease.  The better to make them trust you.

Unsurprisingly, Paul is happy to be a part of this, especially when Enzo brings up Andy Pass, Paul’s napalm-barreled former mentor, whose funeral he attended in Soon (where, also unsurprisingly, he also hogged the spotlight):

“I knew the Pass brothers.  I mean, I never met them, but Detroit connected us and we talked by phone and private message.  Andy was a tragic loss, and I don’t think Jack has been the same since his brother was murdered by the NPO.” [said Enzo]

“You know I had along history with Andy, and a recent history with his daughter.” [said Paul]

“I almost got to hit that, before Jesus told me I was only allowed to have sex with my boring, stupid, electronically-challenged wife!”

And it’s good to know that Paul’s feelings for a man he hasn’t seen in a decade are much more important than the feelings of the guy’s brother.

This fascinating small talk out of the way, Enzo fills in Paul on the tactics of the Rome underground believers.  Unlike Detroit, they only meet underground, they don’t live there.  And there is an elaborate tunnel system they use to get into their bunker, and they can only enter at a rate of one person every five minutes.  Which means that if they want to have a prayer meeting with a mere 24 people, it will take TWO HOURS to get everyone in there.

But it’s not just that the Rome believers apparently have no lives and all the time in the world to get into their super-secret clubhouse!  There is a reason behind the stupidity!

“…we have a strict policy that only one person enters every five minutes, and the people inside know in advance who is coming, so an intruder would feel less than welcome.” [said Enzo]

“How much less?” said Paul.

“We kill them,” Enzo said.

“You do?”

“We do.  If you have a better solution, I’m open to it.”

Hey, I’ve got a better solution.  Don’t kill people.

That makes you look more like a pussy, if you didn’t know, by the way, dudes.

Oh, and this isn’t just theoretical, by the way: THEY EXECUTED A POLICE OFFICER.

“A Rome policeman came nosing around, and we still have no idea why.”

Well, you took him prisoner.  You might have thought to ask him.

Enzo calls him a “casualty of war.”  Then Paul has the gall to ask:

“Were there no other options?  Could you not have held him until you could move your site?  And what about the ethics of sending a lost man to hell?”

Big talk from the guy who is still celebrating the deaths of thousands of atheist men, women, and children in L.A.

Enzo doesn’t really address any other options, but apparently the Rome underground Christians were really nice to the cop and…

“We did share our faith with him. … We pleaded with him to give his heart to Christ.”

But the cop said no, so they injected him with phenobarbital and dumped the body.

But poor Enzo…

“The death of that man haunts my dreams.”

“And thus I have it really bad, much worse than he does now, roasting in hell…”

Man, it is soooo hard to be a Christian martyr murderer.

“I do know this—and I am not rationalizing as much as trying to explain—the police in Rome have a mandate to execute religious believers upon sight, based on any real evidence.  They have asked people outright if they are atheists, and with a witness hearing the perpetrator deny it, they are allowed to ‘terminate them with extreme prejudice’ on the spot.”

So, basically, you’re straight up admitting that this was a revenge killing, Enzo?

And we are once again left in the dark about the actual laws against being a believer, carrying over the confusion from the first book, where we never really found out if the killings of believers were for being a believer, owning a Bible, holding a prayer meeting, and we never found out if the orders to kill were coming from the top, or were the work of a few rogue officers and agents.

Anyway, enough of that!  After the talk of killing an innocent man and dumping the body, Paul wants to hear the heartwarming story of Enzo’s own conversion.

“We met at the university fifteen years ago.”

“My wife and I also met at school,” Paul said.

JESUS, Paul, are you capable of listening to someone else tell a story for THREE SECONDS  without making it about you?

They started dating and the then-girlfriend, Maura, revealed she was a Christian, and Enzo tried to debate her out of it.

“We argued, we debated, we discussed, but mostly she prayed.”

So, you’re saying she couldn’t answer your arguments, then?  Maybe that should have told you something.

“Doctor, I can’t even tell you when or why I went from not believing in God to believing that He was pursuing me.  All I know is that when that happened, it was as if He was as relentless as she.  I felt chased, pursued, wooed.”

Huh.  Too bad God didn’t care enough about the policeman to woo him.  Ew.

“Eventually, when I ran out of arguments, I confessed my sins and received Christ.”

How could you run out of arguments?  She was mostly just praying at you.  Dude, you suck at being an atheist.

“It has been quite an experience, raising a family, holding a job—I am a tour guide by day—and being trained to be a spiritual leader in a society that makes such a goal punishable by death.”

You raise an interesting point, Enzo—how come you get to be the spiritual leader?  Your wife is the one who was raised Christian, by Christians, and the one who can pray people into conversion.  Shouldn’t she

Oh, yeah.  She has girl parts.  To ask the question is to answer it.

The chapter concludes with Enzo giving Paul boring instructions on how to get into their unnecessarily-complicated, one-person-every-five-minutes clubhouse.  But Paul can’t let it go without pointing out how much more awesome America is:

“Well, it’s not the abandoned salt mines of Detroit, but it’s something.”

Well, thanks for nothing, jerk.

USSA!!!  USSA!!!  USSA!!!

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Posted on November 9, 2013, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Hasn’t religion been outlawed for a few decades by this point? Why didn’t Enzo turn over Maura to the authorities when he first found out she was a Christian? Problem solved! . . . Oh, right. Because he’s one of the Elect and Chosen, and Jenkins’s god is a creepy, sadistic stalker who will relentlessly pursue and stalk and woo* you.

    I wonder if Enzo has the weird policy of Kill All Humans — err, Intruders, which even Paul can see is stupid, to reassure the readers that those silly Italians still need some good ole fashioned ‘MERICUN! leadership.

    * I second your “ew” — because when I hear this all I can think of are those Greek myths where Zeus (ok, or pretty much any god or satyr) goes around raping women and not being too picky about the forms he has to adopt, either. EWW.

    • The beginning of the Enzo/Maura relationship could have been so easily explained in a way that makes sense – he knew he was supposed to report her to the authorities, but he cared about her and didn’t think she’d done anything to deserve death, so he tried to “save” her by persuading her to convert to atheism. Then she managed to persuade him that Christianity was good and the government was evil and oppressive, via actual evidence instead of just praying at him.

  2. And here Jenkins, again, misses a great opportunity to show the Christians looking benevolent and self-sacrificing, without really having to be all that self-sacrificing. See, normally I could understand that a resistance group would adopt a “It’s them or us”-attitude towards agents of the local regime. But this is a group of RTCs, who sincerely believe that A: If they die, they go to paradise. B: If agents of the regime die, they go to hell.

    Given that, they have little justification to take the lives of their enemies to protect their own. They could basically recreate the ending of V for Vendetta, where they all stroll calmly towards the soldiers, and pleading to them to just convert. In the real world, there’s a good chance that would actually work. And even if it doesn’t (which is admittedly probable in a world written by Jerry Jenkins, where all non-RTCs enjoy murdering unarmed RTCs for some reason), all it means for the RTCs in question is a faster way to paradise. Couple that with a few strategically placed video camera’s filming the massacre and a way to distribute the footage of unarmed RTCs being mowed down to the general populace, and you’ll probably get many more sympathisers and converts than by air-dropping some tracts.

    As morbid as it may sound, from the viewpoint of a true believer who knows for a fact that god will be with him as long as he does everything he can to reach out to the unsaved, it would make sense From my viewpoint, where the RTCs, like all humans, are merely mamals whose evolution-induced instinct of the self-preservation isn’t so easily overruled by some theories about how cool the afterlife will be, the reluctance would makes sense. But that’s not a message Jenkins would want to send.

    Oh, and while I appreciate someone talking back to Enzo, I agree with Ruby that it should not have been Paul, the butcher of L.A.

  3. So this super-seekrit bunker only allows in one person every five minutes? Um, why? Just what does that achieve?
    It could be pretty awkward at times, for instance if one of the secret Christians urgently needed to take shelter from the police: “Psst! Lemme in, the police are on my tail!” “No, you have to wait your turn!” But this is ur- oh, um, hi guys, I was just seeing where this bit of tunnel went— ARGHHHHHHH….”
    And how does it work anyway? Is there a big guy stationed on the door with a stopwatch? Or is it something like an airlock that refuses to open the inner door when it detects more than one person in it?
    And what happens when somebody is late, or wants to change his time? “Look Joe, I know Zach said you could swap times with him anytime, but he’s already swapped with Mike so that Mike could swap with Rich, who’s working late tonight, and Lorenzo’s wife is sick so that he can’t make it at all – you guys are really making my life difficult tonight!!”

    • Good question. I could see a use for a very narrow access tunnel that means only one person can slowly get in at the time, giving the occupants more time to prepare. But I neither see how they accomplish the five minute delay, nor what extra security that buys them. Can’t they tell from a person’s face whether he’s with their group, instead of determining if he came in after 5 minutes or not?

    • And heaven forbid 2 or more secret Christians need to hide from the cops at the same time!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      So this super-seekrit bunker only allows in one person every five minutes? Um, why? Just what does that achieve?

      It’s Sooper Sekrit Spy Stuff. Remember…
      You’re talking bad fanfic by an Ian Fleming wannabe.

      “Stepola. PAUL Stepola.”
      (dun dun DUNNNNNNN…)

  4. Hi, Mouse here, I just got caught up on reading your blog and thought I’d pop in to announce that I’ve started up my snark of Left Behind: the kids. Feel free to pop in. Oh and who do you think is more loathsome, Rayford or Paul Stepola? Tough call.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      They’re both Author Self-Inserts.

      May as well be Superpowered Alicorn Ponysonas from a bad 5000-page Author-Self-Inserts-in-Equestria fanfic novel. (Clop clop…)

    • It is a very tough call. I have to give the nod to Paul, though with one caveat. First, Paul is much nastier to Jae than Ray-gun ever is to Irene or Amanda. Second, Paul tends to pray for horror for others on a scale of thousands or millions, whether it is drying up L.A. in Soon or…what is coming up here in Silenced.

      The caveat: Ray has it easy: he is living during the Tribulation, and God has already scheduled his horrors, so Ray doesn’t need to pray for the stuff that Paul wants. It’s already happening for Ray.

      Though I feel myself making lists in my head, rather than giving points to one guy or the other. Ray tricking and making fun of the young woman trapped in God’s darkness is hard to forget.

  5. Another opportunity missed: you’re in Rome. Use the Catacombs! Ready-made reference to early Christians from when they were persecuted the first time! But no, no, it’s just some tunnels.

    Hey Mouse! Welcome back!

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, November 18th, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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