Shadowed: Chapter 6: Finding Accomodations

Paul finally gets in touch with Jack Pass, Andy Pass’s brother, last seen (or rather, heard) speaking to Mr. Napalm-Barrel himself via skull phone.  He’s in charge of the D.C. underground, and is initially less than eager for Paul and the kids to show up, at least until Paul drops the name of Arthur Demetrius, who will, of course, be more than willing to send cash to the underground at his earliest convenience.

It pays to know the right people!

Then, Jerry Jenkins dos something that I find rather remarkable: he reveals an Unfortunate Implication of the curse:

It reveals false believers.

See, one of the “trusted elders” of the D.C. underground had an eldest son die at the stroke of the curse.  The guy swears it was all a coincidence, but the rest of the underground has locked him up.  Yanno, for safety and stuff.

I suppose it could be worse.  They might have simply executed him, as underground zealots are wont to do.

But instead, they are planning on cutting and running, given that the guy is no doubt a horrible atheist who has reported on their location already.

***

Jae, meanwhile, manages to hail a cab—

—and makes her way to the stupid rendezvous point, which happens to be in front of an electronics store, where she sees on the news that Ranold has already reported Margaret as murdered and his car stolen.

Ha!  You go, Ranold, my secret hero of these books, you!

***

Oh, and Felicia, who apparently has exactly nothing better to do, what with her son and brother-in-law being dead and all, calls Paul to double-check on this whole murdering-Margaret story.

Paul, as usual, zooms in on the most important issues:

“I appropriated [Ranold’s car], yes.  I’m still NPO, too, last I heard.”

Oh, so now he wants to be part of the NPO.  Trust Paul always to have his priorities straight.

***

More strange phone nonsense from an author who can’t keep track of his futuretech, as we learn that, in addition to her skullphone, she has a cell phone—a physical p[hone on her person, on which she receives text messages.

I just don’t get it.

Paul ditches the car and, most likely out of some evolutionary instinct, actually remembers to take the kids with him as he runs to get Jae.

And then, likely salivating at the thought of both money and the blood of fake believers, a driver from the underground picks up the Apostle family.

Damn.  Being on the run like this should be a thrill a minute…and this chapter is the most boring so far.

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Posted on January 21, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Shoot. I can’t remember. Is Felicia one of the zealots? Having a secondary cell phone is kind of believable for one of them, just that I’m sure Jenkins didn’t write it intentionally.

    Prepaid phones are apparently fairly attractive (or at least believed to be so) for people getting up to crime because they’re cheap and largely anonymous. If you start to think your current number is getting too hot, you just pitch the phone or give it away, and buy a new one for $20-30 and get going again. A skull phone meanwhile would definitely be registered and very not anonymous unless you got it installed by some kind of black market doctor in one of the less savory parts of the global state… and even then you can’t dispose of it easily once the number gets compromised.

    The big catch would be getting rid of your cell phone fast enough once it’s been identified as involved in subversive activities. Like by showing up on an arrested person’s contact list or call log. You can triangulate a mobile’s location via cell towers (it’s just a radio signal, and they check in with the network regularly), and if you could correlate the activity and proximity of an anonymous cell with a registered skull phone then you could tell who the subversive number belongs to. The zealots would want to rotate out their cell phones regularly just to be sure, kind of like changing passwords, and the cost of that can add up. Especially if you’re not subtle about it and go to the same store too much, then the staff might be able to identify you. Or buy them with anything other than nice, anonymous cash.

    Though again I’m pretty sure Jenkins didn’t have any of this in mind. Stopped clocks, once more.

    • I dunno if Felicia’s a believer yet. As I recall, she’s Black, because Jenkins loves that “Protagonist Has a Black Friend, thus Proving he is Enlightened” trope.

      • Felicia is definitely not RTC yet. Though in Soon, she didn’t see anything wrong with referring to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as “Reverend,” so I think we’re supposed to assume she would be an easy target…er, not just an evil atheist.

      • Ah, okay. Thanks. After a little while it seems all the flat Jenkins characters start bleeding together in my head.

  2. …where she sees on the news that Ranold has already reported Margaret as murdered and his car stolen.

    Yeah, I’m sure that within a few hours (I think?) of a couple of billion people dropping dead out of nowhere worldwide, the news programs will have plenty of time for discussion of one (more) death, and a freakin’ stolen car. Right.

    • Hmm, in keeping with Nerrin’s “stopped clock” above, that might make sense, if they have the kind of thing that is starting to happen where billboards & other public advertising might recognize you in various ways, and tailor its content to your known preferences (if any). Of course, if the electronics store TVs (isn’t that a trope way past its use-by date, right there, as well?) have this kind of tech in them, well, you’d think that a person of interest getting within range of them just might, possibly, be a Bad Idea.

    • Ah yes, the Left Behind-style reporting: Worldwide mass-murder is quickly pushed to the background to make room for protagonist-relevant-news.

      I actually think the story would’ve been more likely to be picked up if Ranold hadn’t said it was murder. Think about it: Margaret, a woman, suddenly drops dead right after a billion men did. The death was so random, it could easily be mistaken for God’s slaughter, and this one is unlike all the other deaths.

      But no, it seems we’re doing another Left Behind plotpoint: Our protagonist is accused of a crime he actually has committed a lot. But since the villains decided to frame him for the one case in which he was actually innocent*, we’re supposed to cheer for the falsely accused and therefor righteous hero. We got Rayford being framed for aggressive witnessing to his flight instructor, the one colleague he hadn’t been pestering for the last two weeks. And now we have Paul, orchestrating of the biggest mass murder in history, being accused of murdering the one old woman who dropped dead of sort-of natural causes. (Or to hear Jae tell it, who was murdered by Ranold’s shouting)

      *Well, both the stress Margaret may have been under, and the argument that was somehow the final straw, were indirectly caused by Paul’s actions… but I don’t think one could legally make that stick. Not that it matters, since he’d still fry for the other billion deaths he caused.

      • I’m a little peeved Ranold reported Margaret as murdered, honestly. I know Jenkins wants to portray him as a mustache-twirling villain, but it doesn’t really fit his character. Of course, we all know characterization doesn’t matter when it comes to a chance to portray atheists as Eeeeevil (TM).

        Come to think of it, though, why didn’t Ranold just report Paul as a traitor, instead? Granted, he doesn’t know Paul is a mass murderer right now, but he does know he’s a Super Secret RTC, and given Paul is supposed to be apprehending Christians, that’s kinda a big deal. Branding Paul as a member of the group that just murdered hundreds of millions of men worldwide would get the public much angrier at him than if they thought he killed just one old woman and stole a car (well, he did steal the car . . . ) and it would actually be true. but I guess that would be too close to the truth, and make the audience of the book uncomfortable.

  3. What I wouldn’t give for this story to ditch Paul and tell us about that fake-believing elder.

    Was he a spy, or just someone who lost his faith after decades of suffering? Was he in contact with the Atheistapo? How much information has he leaked? What did he do and think when the order to pray for the deaths of firstborn unbelievers came? How did he feel when his kid died? Did any of his former friends expres any kind of sympathy for the guy, or were they all as self-centered as Paul and only worried about how dangerous this was to him? Was it perhaps a coincidence that his son died just then (hey, one death per second on average, it could happen), and how has this being locked up affected his faith if it was?

    All of that and more sounds way more interesting to hear about than Paul’s moronic escape plan, and Ranold’s inept manhunt. (As Isis said, why would he claim his wife was murdered but NOT warn Felicia that Paulw was “the murderer”? This seems to serve no purpose.)

    • To make it more bizarre, Ranold is claiming JAE murdered Margaret, not Paul.

      • Well, this is a Jenkins book, where the only difference between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys is which of them has God on their side (and the only difference between God and Satan is which is mightier). So of course you know, oppression and mass murder are fine but letting one lie in a way that can’t be covered by “truth from a certain point of view” – i.e., a “cutesy” intentional misunderstanding? Why that would be just beyond the pale. RTCs aren’t allowed to (directly) lie (except when they are), and so neither are the villains in their work. You can’t depict lying or else someone might think you approve of it.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for January 30, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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