Silenced: Chapter 18: Bwahaha

In a last-ditch attempt to actually do something while in Europe, Paul calls Daddy Chancellor Ball Dangler to—I don’t know, because superspy Paul only reaches the receptionist and leave an “urgent” message.

“It’s urgent, Pam!  I might have to lie otherwise!  To someone other than my wife!”

Wait a second.

Wasn’t superspy Paul the recipient of Ball Dangler’s own personal and private skullphone number?  How did Paul forget this???  He literally has forgotten that he has the instant-access, 24/7 direct line to the leader of the planet!  I mean, we learned about this a few months ago, in blog-time, but for Paul, it’s only been a few days.



Back in Jae’s room in D.C., Ranold reads Paul’s father’s letter for the first time.  Needless to say, he is less than pleased.

But, being the awesome investigator that he is, Ranold begins spitballing possibilities.

“Stepola Sr. bit on the Christian thing hook, line, and sinker.  But didn’t you—orhe—tell me his mother was not just an atheist but also antireligion?”

Jae nodded.  “She was.”

“Wasn’t it she who talked Paul into religious studies?  Was that just a sham, covering for her own secret beliefs?  Is it possible Paul was raised in this?  That he’s been a plant in the NPO since day one?”

“Now you’re getting paranoid, Dad.”

Heh, not really.  Ranold is completely correct that Paul is a secret believer working as a double agent.  It’s not wrong of him to consider additional possibilities.

Jae sees Ranold eyeing her New Testament discs:

“Yeah, I’m a secret believer too, Dad.  We’re all out to ruin your life, overthrow the USSA, and take over the world for Jesus.  We’ve brainwashed Brie and Connor and they’re working on Mom right now.”

Wow.  That was this close to being a Sarcastic Confession, Jae.


Ranold calls Paul—not to play some kind of cat-and-mouse game, but to scold him for trying to contact Ball Dangler.

Not that Ball Dangler knows or anything.  Looks like Pam told Ranold, and—

Wait, that doesn’t make sense.  Why would Pam tell Ranold?  Paul’s supervisor is Bob Koontz in Chicago, not his father-in-law.

Well, somehow, through some long and complicated game of skull-phone-tag, Ranold found out, and scolds Paul about protocol and chain of command.  Paul tells off Ranold, because this is a TOTES IMPORTANT issue he needs to discuss, and Ranold slinks away.


Well, it did add four whole pages to the book, so there’s that.

FINALLY, Paul talks to Ball Dangler, and gets to lie without really lying:

“Sir, I have made significant progress, inroads into rebel factions.”

“We’ve prayed together and they’ve told me how hard I have it.”

And he asks Dangler to delay announcing the loyalty oath, on the grounds that it would “scare off” Magnor.

It would?

I don’t get it, and neither does Ball Dangler.  This is the explanation we get:

“[Announcing the loyalty oath] will mark the boldest move yet by the International Government against the underground, against terrorists, and let’s face it, against Magnor.”

“Because when the terrorist who has killed hundred realizes that he might have to sign a piece of paper, he will be so intimidated that he will run away forever!  That makes sense, doesn’t it, Mr. Leader of the Planet, sir?”

“I will tell you what I will do, Doctor,” Dengler said.  “If you believe you have a serious inroad to Magnor, I will call off Intelligence and put them on the underground at large.”

Ouch.  “Okay.”


I love it when a plan comes apart at the seams.

“But I am not going to delay the announcement.”


“And, Doctor, the hotline number I gave you would have eliminated a lot of the delay in reaching me.  I answer that one myself.  I trust you not to abuse it.”

The “you idiot” at the end is implied.

So, let’s tally this up: Paul didn’t get what he wanted, plus made it so that even more pressure would be put on the Christians, plus looked like a fool in front of Ball Dangler?

This is a great day.

Posted on February 1, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. *sigh* Every time I read a scene with Paul, I always get the urge to wash my brain out by watching the adventures of a comparatively competent and respectable law enforcement official, like Clouseau or Mitchell.

  2. If I had a skullphone, I’d want to be able to turn it off.

    In Atheistopia, I’d probably have an AI secretary to screen my calls and put off the annoying people.

  3. Wow, did Jenkins have a momentary flash of inspiration and realize what a jerk Paul was? I don’t think we’ve seen him fail this spectacularly before. Not counting “failing as a human being”.

    Wow, Jae hasn’t joined the collective yet and already she sucks as badly as Paul at diverting suspicion. She made it clear to Bia and Ranold that she doesn’t accept Paul’s guilt* and now she’s openly showing her illegal New Testament tapes. Again, if this was in any way a realistic dictatorship that persecutes Christians, this would’ve been more than enough to lock her up.

    * And seriously Jae, there are women who haven’t been half as badly screwed over by their spouse who would kill for this opportunity. Your daddy is head of the secret police and wants to nail his head to the wall if you can get him some evidence. Make the bastard squirm!

  4. So Paul fails to make a simple phone call to a number he has, but when he finally gets through, he doesn’t actually have anything to say? Yeah, adding four pages to the book was worth that.

    When Asshat (don’t feel like he deserves a person’s name) finally gets through to Ball Dangler though, the resulting conversation could almost be seen as a decent ratcheting up of tension. Except that when we know God will fix anything, there’s no point in trying to increase dramatic tension, since it’s only X pages to convenient-miracle-o’clock (sorry for mixing metaphors).

    Finally, it’s been mentioned both here and on slacktivist that JJ’s work doesn’t seem to undergo an editing process, and I believe this chapter is another example of that. He forgot that Asshat had Ball Dangler’s special hotline at the beginning of the chapter, leading to all the runaround and BS with Ranold, then remembered at the end when AH and BD actually spoke, prompting BD’s reminder so he didn’t have to delete those four precious pages.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Regarding the title “Bwahaha”, they need some training on Villain Laughs. I suggest this trio:

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, February 8th, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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