Shadowed: Chapter 8: Lunch

As the Apostle family heads through the tunnels to the yet-more-underground (the children must be terrified, since they are given basically zero explanation of anything that’s happening), Jae is thinking not of said children, but of the inevitable meeting with Angela Barger, Andy Pass’s daughter and Pudgy Jack’s niece, a woman she has only seen in pictures and read of through flirtatious correspondence.  I see that now that she’s a genuine RTC, Jae has also become expert at keeping her mind on the most important issues at hand.

(Although it seems that Jae has not become magically aware that being RTC makes you magically immune to cheating.  Perhaps this is because, even when Jae was an evil atheist, she never did cheat on Paul.)

It turns out that the “underground” is the underground of an abandoned industrial park, where the water and electricity and stuff used to be controlled.  Paul is dismayed that it is not as awesome as being in a salt mine, so I’m sure he’ll write a scathing review on Atheistopian Yelp about how such accommodations are beneath his standards.

And here’s Angela!  Paul notes only that she looks tired and not overjoyed:

And only the most twisted person would take any joy or find any satisfaction in the “victory” God had wrought, especially when it brought such tragedy.

Too little, too late, Jenkins.  You’re the one who told us Paul was “celebrating” the dessication of L.A., so I see no reason why such a sociopath wouldn’t be celebrating the deaths of even more people.

And, by the way (and part of me hates having to keep harping on this point), but good, decent people try to prevent tragedy.  They don’t beg for it, then pretend to be a tad remorseful when what they asked for actually happens.

Turns out that Jae’s worries were all for naught, as Anglaa is way more interested in the kids than in Paul.  Because this educated woman, formerly employed by the Library of Congress, now teaches little kids about Jesus.  Because that is the most important thing someone with her training can do, I guess.

And Angela wants to show the kids a movie: “The Boy Who Gave His Lunch to Jesus.”

Presumably, this is a kids movie about Jesus feeding the five thousand (or four thousand, depending on which version you read) with five loaves and two fishes (or seven loaves, depending on which version you read).  It’s a story that seems to enjoy popularity (if Google is any indication) as a way to teach kids what a miracle is, though I amuse myself by noting that in none of the four accounts is it stated in so many words that the boy gave his lunch to Jesus.  Instead, Jesus just takes the food and multiplies it.

By the way, this all should prove a dandy lesson to Brie and Connor…

Angela: *switches off the video*  So, class that’s what a miracle is.  And Jesus still does miracles to this day.  Can anyone name a recent one?

Brie:  *raises hand* Killing my uncle in cold blood?

Angela:  Very good, little heathen!

Jae, still strangely vaccillating between wanting to control her kids’ religious education and being too ashamed of her own ignorance to do it, whispers to Angela that, “The kids have had zero exposure.”

Yeah, I guess we wouldn’t want the other believing kids to make fun of them for being atheists or anything.  Because certainly RTC kids would never sneer at nonbelievers!

Heh.

So, the kids go off to watch the movie and Jae goes off with “another woman” to do womany things like see their quarters and unpack, and Paul is left to go with Pudgy Jack and see the alleged atheist.

Pudgy Jack is quick to point out that they feed the prisoner just like everyone else, and they “don’t treat him bad, don’t torture him.”  The way he says it makes it sound like it’s been days, but the curse only happened a couple of hours ago, tops.

Paul actually does something useful for once in his life and identifies the man as a Gulfland NPO agent.

Roscoe Wipers.

These names…

Wipers is actually the kind of guy Paul feared through all of Soon—a fellow agent who has infiltrated the underground but isn’t a traitor like Paul is, and who could inform the NPO of little details like that Paul penned the manifesto about killing firstborn sons.

But it all seems very simple: Wipers checks in with Bia Balaam at 0200 every day, and agrees with Paul to lie to her tonight and tell her everyone has left for a new location that they didn’t tell him.

Yeah, makes total sense.

All that said, Wipers certainly doesn’t behave like a man in the throes of grief after losing his son (presumably because he’s an evil atheist, and we all know they don’t really love their kids), and Paul and Pudgy Jack certainly have zero sympathy for anyone who lost his kid.

And I’m sure they find no satisfaction in this situation.  None at all.

 

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Posted on January 25, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Jenkins seems to be teetering on the edge of awareness that his protagonists are horrifying sociopaths, at best, and yet he just can’t stop going down that path because how the heck else could he write Real, True Christian characters?

    • More than that, he’d have to more or less rewrite the whole thing. Of course, if he wasn’t churning it out at such a stupid rate, he’d have had the time to think about details like credible plotlines and character motivations. But no, he’s decided that Paul is some kind of Moses-substitute wreaking the ten (or however many) plagues upon the modern Egypt. So he can’t change a thing.
      I can think of a way that the first-born killing stuff could be carried out in a half-way credible manner – the Christians could pray for some fairly minor disaster, God would react with the first-born slaughter. Then He would tell the appalled Christians “You forgot that I know exactly what’s in your hearts. You could have asked me for rainbow-coloured unicorns in every town square singing my praises, angels descending from heaven and raising the dead – that would have convinced billions that I exist. But you didn’t; you asked Me for a hurricane or flood – but I could see that you were thirsting for petty revenge and really wanted millions of innocents to die. You got exactly what you wanted, now deal with it!”

  2. Wait, so Wipers, the atheist infiltrator of the secret RTC underground, tells Paul and Jack that he’s not going to reveal their location to Bia Balaam… and they believe him? They’re not the least bit worried that he might be lying? I’m pretty sure if I was in Wipers’ situation, I’d pretend to cooperate with the RTCs, then tell Bia where they’re hiding anyway. After all, these are the people responsible for the dessication of LA, and the deaths of millions of people’s firstborn sons.

    • Wipers was one of the trusted elders of the D.C. underground before he was exposed as spy. So surely he would have known about the secret hideout and reported about it before the latest plague hit. The way I see it, NPO was already planning to assault this place.

      Paul’s plan seems to be to have Wipers call Bia Balaam and basically say: “You know that secret base I told you about earlier? Well, there is nobody here anymore. Everybody has left. Yep, the place is totally empty. So I guess you have to cancel that attack you were planning, because there is no reason to come here anymore. No, no need to send a car over to bring me back to the office. I’ll just hang around in this totally empty base all by myself.”

    • Yeah, I mean, we know that RTCs can’t lie, but he’s an evil stinking atheist! He can lie to them just as easily as he’s claiming he’ll lie to his boss.

      Also: everyone in this book fails at tradecraft forever.

  3. (Typoed my name above. Still me.)

    One of those kids should also be asking “how come God’s doing all this smiting like what’s in the first two-thirds of the book, when you keep telling us the important stuff is in the last one-third”.

  4. So there was absolutely no problem with letting both of Paul’s kids, who were raised as Evil Atheists, into the Christian underground, despite the fact that both of them probably have skullphones and one call to their grandfather Ranold would probably bring the entire government down on their heads? Okay. I didn’t think there would be given the series so far, but I hoped at least the issue would be mentioned. I guess it’s not.

    • inquisitiveraven

      Well, I don’t know about you, but I always lose cell phone service in the subway. Get them far enough underground with no repeaters and they won’t be able to make a call out. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from calling grandad before then, but that brings up the question of whether or not they realize they need to.

    • Don’t be silly, of course the kids won’t call their grandpa! That would require them to have things like “personalities” and “characterization,” and worse, it would show them doing something that our protagonist hasn’t anticipated and planned for! As we all know, kids are just possessions of their fathers; Kid What’sHerName and Kid Boy are no more capable of calling someone than Paul’s luggage is.

  5. Well, if these skullphones are relatively new, I could see them not being given to children, at least not until they’re sure the bugs are worked out.

    Also, at what point would you insert it? The skullphone works by ringing Paul’s molar, right? Well, are his kids old enough to have even one or 2 adult teeth? If not, wouldn’t that be hard to set up again and again as the children’s teeth fall out? Not to mention it can take a while for the adult teeth to grow in.

    By the way, I hated losing teeth so much it was one of the first signs there was no god. Surely an all powerful God would come up with a better system than having to lose teeth all the time and regrow new ones like, oh, I don’t know, teeth that grew WITH you?

  6. Took the liberty of trying one of those Internet Anagram programs. The only anagrams that might work for what Jenkins is trying are “Creep Sir Woos” or “Screw Ire Oops.” I wonder if Jenkins actually worked out the anagrams himself or just used the Internet. I’m going with Internet because the first one would require more effort and intelligence than Jenkins has thus far displayed.

    • “Sorceries! Pow!”

      I believe Jenkins said somewhere that he likes anagrams, though, and finds them an entertaining and subtle way of dropping hints about a character.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        “See How Clever I Am?” is usually a sign of the worst of bad fanfic. (We had a real A-hole fanboy in local fandom whose every attempt at writing… Let’s just say every sentence could have been followed by a (see how clever I am?).)

        “Paul Stepola = Apostle spelled sideways! See How Clever I Am?”
        “Stonagal = Stone-a-gal = Rock-a-fella! See How Clever I Am?”
        “Guy Blaze = Flaming Gay! See How Clever I Am?”
        “Viv Ivins = VI-VI-VI-ns = 666! See How Clever I Am?”
        “Ms Zee = Missy! See How Clever I Am?”

        • Don’t forget “Ranold B. Decenti” = “Benedict Arnold”, even though he’s pretty much the only major character who never changes sides.

  7. new reader, and this is way late but “five loaves and two fishes (or seven loaves,” {facepalm} sigh I don’t want to say Fundies can’t do math but 5+2=7 so the numerology was already there you didn’t need to change numbers to make it obvious.

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

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