Silenced: Chapter 26: Theme Music

Ranold drops Jae at the airport (two hours from D.C. to Paris, we’re informed by the ever-helpful Jenkins), and gives her a bug to plant on Paul. (Since the bug Bia planted was such crap.)

“And what about my allegiance to Paul?”

Ranold sighed. “If he proves worthy of it, then it’s not misplaced, is it? If you find he’a not worthy of it, I’m trusting you to act the way you would with any other traitor to the cause of liberty and freedom.”

Cue the theme music. [thinks Jae]

YOU DO NOT TALK THAT WAY ABOUT RANOLD!

Oh, and Jae? I have a great theme song for you and Paul.

Meanwhile, Paul calls Ball Dangler’s private skull phone. Inexplicably, the chief of staff answers this, because Dangler’s too busy with the media. I don’t get how any of this is even possible, but the important part is that Paul gets to berate the hapless chief, because “I need to talk to [Dangler] right this second.”

***

On the short flight (damn, you could make a day trip to Europe!), Jae prays. We all knew this was coming, but that makes it no less tragic.

God, she said [to herself], if there is a God, would You reveal Yourself to me somehow?

Jae didn’t know what else to say. In her listening one night, a verse had flown by that struck her as odd. Well, they all struck her as odd. It was something about never being able to please God without faith. And that anyone who wanted to come to Him had to believe there was a God. She would have to find it and listen again, because she was certain there was some kind of promise about how God would reward those who sincerely looked for Him.

Jae had added the condition “if there is a God,” and she wondered if that proved she didn’t have faith, that she didn’t really believe there was a God, that she was, in essence, hedging her bets. But what about that promise?

It is indeed a conundrum, Jae. Almost as though the God of the Bible is a big jerk with a narcissistic need to have everyone think exactly as he wants them to.

But it couldn’t be that, right?

***

Paul gets on the line (or skull, whatever) with Ball Dangler, and they have the following exchange:

“First, sir, I know that you understand many of the intricacies of international intelligence and espionage, but I would like the liberty of walking you through a few reminders. May I?”

“Please.”

Oh, yes, DOCTOR Stepola, please do condescend to me. It’s not like I have anything more important to do with my time on one of the most momentous days of my career.

Not to spoil the fun, but Paul doesn’t reveal any great “intricacies” of espionage and intelligence. He just reveals that Styr Magnor is Steffan Wren of Angry Storm. And then he asks to be put in contact with “your top military strikeforce leader” so they can take him down. Dangler agrees, because he’s just that kind of dude, and he’s been blinded by Paul’s “brilliance.”

“…we will remove the threat that looms at midnight tomorrow.” [says Dangler, who still thinks Magnor is just going to start murdering young men]

Well, I wouldn’t go that far. [Paul thinks, like the snide jerk he is]

Haha, still sucks to be you, Dangler! Your son’s gonna die, and my bully’s gonna be the biggest on the playground. Sure, I could reveal I’m a Christian and take credit for my own manifesto and try to mitigate the damage my God’s gonna do just me for, but where would be the fun in that?

***

The rest of the chapter is really boring, as Paul makes contact with the main SWAT dude and they plan to secretly meet Magnor at the pub. With stealth and stuff. It should be interesting. It’s not.

Sorry for the delays in posting lately, guys. Got some stuff going on, so we’ll be taking a few baby steps towards the horror of the end. But it’s coming. God’s big bullying climax is coming.

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Posted on April 2, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. *Clap* *Clap* *Clap* Bravo, Jenkins. I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to find a way to make one of the most aweful plagues in the Bible (and that’s saying something) even worse with your personal touches. But having your protagonist loophole-lie to the leader of the world and letting him believe that the threat of the plague will be dealt with while your protagonist snarks to himself about how the threat is totally real? Yeah, that ought to do it.

    Seriously, that was the one slightly mittigating cicumstance in this whole affair: This pre-slaughter manifesto sounded a lot like the L.A. pre-slaughter manifesto, so there was a small chance the threat would be taken seriously and the plague would not trigger. But no, Paul just casually fucks even that up, by sicking the army on a guy the zealots personally don’t like and making his boss think that in doing so the danger has passed. And he leaves said boss with the impression that the demands were made by a fake Christian who was just undermining him personally for political reasons anyway, so the demands need not even be taken seriously.

    Paul doesn’t even need to reveal his big secret to correct this. He can just warn Dengler that his investigation turned up evidence that there is also a group of real Christians in addition to Styr’s cell, babble a bit about text-analysis and his background in religious studies, and then conclude that the kill-all-firstborns threat probably came from the Christian group. Instead, Paul privately mocks the boss for thinking he is now safe.

    It’s like Buck bullying the rangerover dealer to quickly get the phonenumber of his car without warning the guy about the incomming bombers. Except that at least Buck wasn’t the one who ordered the airstrike in the first place.

    • I completly agree with your post. Jenkins takes away every small chance atheist government have for avoiding terrible plague, because smiting unbelievers is the only acceptable ending.

      In work of fiction you create drama by making audience feel uncertain about what happens next. Good authors believe uncertainty should come from wondering: “will heroes be able to prevent major disaster from happening?” Jerry Jenkins apparently believes it should come from wondering: “will heroes be able to ensure major disaster happens (as long as it hurts those dirty heathens)?”

  2. Two hours is a weird sort of time. It’s around Mach 2.6 straight-line speed (probably more with takeoff and landing delays), which is too fast for anything historical or currently proposed, but too slow for a suborbital shot. XB-70 airliner conversion? That would be neat.

    Faintly surprised that Buck hasn’t already invented his own secondary persona to make threatening videos.

  3. It’s hard to ratchet up the dramatic tension when there’s absolutely no way for your protagonist’s plan to fail, but, by golly, Jenkins is going to drag this sucker out trying!

    • Yeah, that’s been a problem for this entire book. The previous book established that the zealots basically have the almighty one on speed-dial. They can just ask for a massive and blatant divine intervention, and they’ll get it.

      Most audiences like stories about plucky rebels fighting a massive empire because we like to root for the underdog, and see how those rebels will triumph against all odds. But Jenkins feels differently. His rebels are just there to be the poor victims of horrible atheist persecution, before calling in their even bigger gun and winning effortlessly in the end anyway. That way his audience can jerk off to their martyr-fetish AND feel smugly superior about their awesome might at the same time.

      • When we’ve had comments from people who’ve been in the RTC life and enjoyed these books (the two seem to go together), but are now able to talk about them at a literary criticism level, the usual theme as I recall it has been that they didn’t notice the narrative problems because of what might call the doctrinal correctness: there, believers are being oppressed! There, God is striking unbelievers!

        In which case Jenkins would be wasting his time telling real stories, because the target audience isn’t reading them for conventional narrative.

  4. For the record, no, we have not met Wren in person yet. (Note: He’s supposed to be Welsh, not Scandinavian, so I guess that means Erik’s supporters were multi-locational. At least it explains the non-Scandinavian name of the revenge group…) While looking at a portion of the book on Google Books, Wren’s appearance later on comes complete with height, complexion, seeming weight, hair color, clothes, etc. (i.e. the usual. I figure this is Jenkins trying to make sure his readers get the right image for each named character, but…)

    He doesn’t last much longer than that.

    Honestly, I was hoping that Magnor/Wren had been going incognito as a prior character, replacing one of the Christian (well, Dispensationalist) leaders. No such luck.

  5. Steffan Wren? Well, Steffan is a Welsh variant of Stephen, but ‘Wren’? In Welsh, ‘wren’ is ‘dryw’. Pronounced something like ‘dry-ow’ (Caution – I am not a Welsh speaker!)
    Digging a bit further took me to the Wikipedia page for St Stephen, which tells us that In *Ireland*, the wren is associated with St Stephen and is invoked in the heathen folk rituals that take place on St Stephens Day. Welsh, Irish – it’s all the same to Jenkins.

  6. I think it says something that the first thought through my mind when I read Dangler’s comment was:

    “For I AM… The Looming Midnight Threat What Looms Threat at Midnight! YEAH, baby, YEAH!!!”

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 3rd, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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