Silenced: Chapter 24: It All Comes Together, Sorta
Hey guys, sorry for the delay—hopefully this extra-long chapter makes up for it!
This chapter bounces around a bit, reminding us of little bits that we need to be thinking of in light of the upcoming slaughter. (Or “holocaust,” as we might have it—after all, that’s how Paul refers to the killing of FIVE Christians in Soon.)
Jae convinces “the kids” that it’s okay she’s going to Europe because she’s going to try to convince Daddy to come home. I’ll note something here that has struck me in the past—it’s usually “the kids,” rarely “Brie and Connor.” When I think of how may parents referred to my brother and I, growing up, it was usually the reverse: “Ruby and Angus,” not “the kids.” Maybe it’s no big deal, but it feels to me like just another way to think of the kids as props (especially props to keep Jae and Paul’s marriage together, because you absolutely can’t divorce if there are kids, right?).
Anyway, Brie and Connor are mostly okay, since they’re still riding the wave of happiness from Uncle Berlitz and Aunt Aryanna taking them to the football game. That is so incredibly sweet. I kinda love both Berlitz and Aryanna, and am sad that Berlitz was created to be destroyed by God/Jenkins.
It’s especially sad in light of the fact that this seems to be the only attention that Brie and Connor have enjoyed from adults in a long, long time. Berlitz and Aryanna seem charmed by the kids, and genuinely interested in their lives and happiness. Meanwhile, Paul can barely remember their names and Jae is simply too preoccupied with her own unhappiness and, oh yeah, the fact that she’s still married to a serially-cheating asshat. (Only difference is, now Paul’s cheating on her with Jesus.) Oh, and also the fact that Jae has been tuning out the kids to listen to the New Testament, but surely that’s not neglectful!
Warning Paul about the bug had been the right thing, regardless [of Jae’s own uncertainty]. Jae was his wife, first, and even if it turned out he was guilty of treason, she owed him the benefit of the doubt initially.
Ah, what a good little RTC wife.
Also, I’m trying to think of a time when Paul gave Jae “the benefit of the doubt” about ANYTHING…and nothing is coming to mind. Hell, Jae is giving Paul the benefit of the doubt when it comes to TREASON, and Paul didn’t give Jae the benefit of the doubt when she cleaned up stuff he had thrown on the floor.
After a bit of a break, Jae is back to the New Testament, now in Hebrews.
How Jae wished God would talk to her that way, and even wishing it made her realize she was making a huge assumption: that God was real.
Really? Hell, I could wish that a leprechaun would leave a pot of untaxed gold on my doorstep, but that doesn’t mean I am assuming that leprechauns are real. Kinda depends on the wish, no? I could wish to win the lottery, which is real, and I could wish for a pet wolpertinger, which is not. For someone with an advanced degree, Jae’s reasoning skills need a bit of a brush-up.
But Jenkins is going to get this girl RTC’d, gorramit, SOMEHOW.
The rest of Hebrews 1 is about how angels aren’t God, which I don’t care about, and I guess Jae doesn’t, either, since Jenkins just quotes the whole section and then cuts to the next scene, with no comment from Jae.
But who has time to think about the Bible when we can hate on Bia Balaam?!
Paul takes Bia to the airport in the pre-dawn hours (really, no electric airport shuttle service in four-star Atheistopian hotel?).
“You look great,” he said, and she did, especially for that time of day. She was not a young woman but her unusual height made her look perpetually trim.
Okay. So, if Paul’s only measurement (har) of womanly beauty is trimness, shouldn’t Bia look great all the time to him?
(Honestly, I think Paul has been attracted to Bia for a long time. He just won’t admit it, even (especially) to himself. In my experience, when a man is not attracted to a woman, he just stops thinking about her looks. He doesn’t spend all his time cataloguing her every hairstyle and outfit and nuance of expression. The asshat doth protest too much, methinks.)
They chat pleasantly on the way to the airport (oh, wow, Paul is such a great double agent!), and on the way back, Paul muses about Jae some more:
Niggling at his brain was the prospect of Jae’s showing up late that afternoon. He longed to see her, to hold her, touch her, kiss her. What he really wanted to do was tell her the truth about himself.
Much as Paul claims, again and again, that he’s a changed man who cares about his wife more than ever before, what he wants to do to her (not with her, mind), is look, touch, talk at. Mind you, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all for a man to want to kiss his wife after a week or more apart. Not at all. But Paul doesn’t want to have a conversation unhindered by miles or bugs or nosy relatives. He doesn’t want to interact with her as a partner in their shared lives. Nope, it’s still All About Paul—what he wants to do and what he wants to say. Jae’s needs and desires remain irrelevant.
But he had no idea whether it would be prudent. Was she really believing in Paul at this point, or was that just something she had to say? She had saved his life by warning him of the bug, but she remained the most dangerous person in his life.
AND HE STILL DOESN’T TRUST HER AFTER ALL THIS.
He prayed for her as he drove.
You smug, condescending ass.
Over at the French Super Sekrit Hideout, ChappellShow is upset because Styr Magnor called yesterday and he (ChappellShow) hung up on him per Paul’s instructions. (I don’t know how you “hang up on” someone on a skull phone call. There are a series of finger taps, as discussed in the first book. Do you clap your hand to hang up on someone?
Kinda sad, really. So much drama has been lost from our lives because we can’t plunk the phone back into the cradle, angrily or otherwise:
So Magnor has not called ChappellShow Back yet, so ChappellShow has no idea if he’ll have anyone to take to the Spring Formal.
But Paul knows what’s truly important right now:
“What’d you think of the manifesto?”
“Brilliant. That your work?”
So humble, he is. Oh, and we learn something new about the French underground:
“All our groups get printable versions [of the manifesto], our e-mail contacts get a Net version, and all our press contacts get both.”
The French Underground Christians have press contacts.
Okay, so why then does Straight know next to nothing about them? Why aren’t they better organized, more vocal? What a bunch of idiots.
Of course, just at that moment when Paul arrives, Styr Magnor calls back.
[ChappellShow] hit a switch on his earphone that allowed Paul and Lothair to hear without it sounding to Magnor as if he was on a speakerphone.
EARPHONE WUT??? Look, you jerks, do you have skullphones or don’t you?
As they talk, Paul realizes that Styr’s voice sounds familiar, and that he hates Chancellor Ball Dangler. Styr hates Ball Dangler, that is. Though Paul hates him, too.
…Paul was desperately trying to remember the name of the Scandinavian cell group that vehemently opposed Baldwin Dengler’s appointment as head of the International Government.
Ah. So Magnor is really involved in a political grudge, and is a political terrorist, not a religious terrorist.
So that’s one less religious terrorist we have, just leaving Paul and Straight and…well, every other Christian who’s sign on to the “brilliant” manifesto.
And then it came to Paul. Angry Storm the group called itself. They had pushed for the mayor of Oslo, Erik Buri, to assume leadership of the International Government, and he had come within a few votes of recalling Dengler and doing just that. They vowed revenge, even though the Dengler choice would prove providential, as Buri died two years later.
That seems like a weird reading of “providential,” unless Atheistopia expects its elected officials to be immortal.
Paul grabbed a pen and a notepad and scribbled Angry Storm to show Chapp. But as he wrote it, something else hit him. He played with the letters.
Oh. Of course he did. This is a Jenkins hero.
Okay, guys, take a guess right now if you like, before reading the next paragraph…
Styr Magnor was an anagram for Angry Storm.
OF COURSE IT IS.
“Huh,” Paul thought. “And Stepola is an anagram for Apostle. My world…imploding…”
And wait, so this Scandanavian dude anagrammed his name into English? WHY???
Paul crossed it out and wrote, CR, ask the origin of his name.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Styr. What is the origin of your name?”
Okay, to be fair, it probably is difficult to work such a question gracefully into a conversation about international terrorism.
But Magnor bites:
“Magnor means ‘fighter.’ It describes me perfectly.”
“I don’t know. It’s from Norse legend.” It was clear Magnor was bored with this and even suspicious.
GEE I WONDER WHY
And what the hell difference does it make? He’s the political guy or not, no matter what the name really means. And those are real names, so what is Paul trying to do?
The conversation ends with nothing really changed in the relationship, and the Christian terrorists still having no idea where the now-possibly-political terrorists are. But at least we know Styr Magnor isn’t RTC? I guess?
The announcement is made, the manifesto goes out, Ranold is pissed but fighty (love that dude), and Paul and the other terrorists snack on fruit and cheese because it’s France.
Styr gets back in touch with ChappellShow. He knows that the manifesto is (sorta) ChappellShow’s doing, but claims credit for it himself. There is panic in (some of) the Atheistopian citizenry, “who feared a repeat of the L.A. fiasco.”
Yep, a “fiasco.” That’s what I always call it when millions die.
Then again, plenty of eeevil atheist citizens tell Ball Dangler that he should just sit back and let 40 hours pass, then laugh together at the mean ole religionists and their failed campaign of terror.
Too bad they don’t realize they’re the mob in an Apocalyptic Novel with a thuggish god.
Paul Googles around (since I guess he has nothing better to do, and finds out that “Magnor” means “supporter of Erik.” This sounds wrong to me, especially since my own quick Googling reveals that Magnor does indeed mean what Styr said: fighter. So maybe it’s a misprint, and Paul means that Styr means “supporter of Erik.” But either my Google-fu is off today or I’m just lazy, because I’m not seeing that either.
That cinched it for Paul.
He knew who Styr Magnor was.
Goody. I can’t wait until Paul has his final showdown with Styr Mag—