Shadowed: Chapter 14: Hackers!

Another super-short chapter from Dan Brown-wannabe Jenkins.

Even in a chapter this short, though…I mean, I knew things were going to get even more jaw-droppingly horrible as we progressed, but I had still somehow forgetten about some of the little horrible things.  Like, say, this gem:

Jae watched carefully as Brie rejoined the kids and sidled up to Connor.  On one hand Jae worried how such news would hit him, but on the other she trusted Brie to share it better than she herself could.

She trusts her eight-year-old child to deliver news like this to the six-year-old.


Jae is some kind of stone cold bitch, I’ll say that for her.

Mother of the Year, too.

Bizarrely, it’s actually not quite as bad as I first assumed…I mean, I thought Jae had tasked Brie to deliver the news of Uncle Berl’s death to little Connor.  But no, Brie is instead just telling him about the whole on-the-run-from-the-gubmint.  Connor takes it well, because this means they’re now “bad guys” and that is awesome.

But I still wonder…does Jae think Connor will remain six years old forever?  Sooner or later, he is going to learn about Berlitz and all the other firstborn sons.  And she’s already establishing that her eight-year-old daughter will be the bearer of news to her six-year-old son?

I just don’t even, at this point.  The kindergardener needs to know they’re in hiding because of Jesus, but not that Jesus killed one of his most-loved people last night?

And yanno, I can’t even get over this—I already knew my mother was awesome beyond measure, but she also never made me break life-changing news to my little brother when I was eight and he was six.


Anyway, back to our new pal, Greenie!  (He’s Irish, don’tcha know!)

Jack has tapped Greenie to be in charge while he (Jack) takes his little field trip to the surface world.  Paul, who has been a part of this organization, let’s remember, for less than forty-eight hours, starts grilling Greenie like this is all some job interview:

“People respect you around here?”

“You want the responsibility, the head job?”

Is it just me, or does Paul seem just a leeeeetle bitter that Jack didn’t offer the position to him?  I mean, surely Paul couldn’t take it, since I’m sure he has much more important things, no doubt of global importance, to do, but still…it’s always nice to be asked.  To be respected.

Greenie is fine to take up the mantle of Supreme Dictator of the D.C. Underground, in and of itself, but a new problem has reared its ugly head:

“Okay, we’re seeing some evidence that someone might be hacking into our server.” [said Greenie]

movie animated GIF

“How can that be?” [asked Paul]

“I don’t know, and you wouldn’t either if I told you, would you?”

“I don’t suppose I would.”

Am I just tired, or does that exchange make no sense?

Paul heads out into the hall and makes a skull phone call to the one useful person in this story so far: Felicia.


Her son is dead.  Her SON is DEAD.  And she is still at work.

Felicia was “about to call [Paul] anyway“…yanno, to inform him of the hacking and all.  Apparently Paul completely sucks at being a double agent, because he hasn’t spotted any of the other agents all around the USSA, who are all doing a bang-up job themselves, since the various undergrounds are on the verge of being, “contaminated,” “compromised,” andexposed.”

We haven’t mentioned this in quite some time, but Atheistopia just always does a great job at…well, everything.

Also, I amuse myself by imagining that Felicia is lying through her evil atheist teeth, and never had any intention of calling Paul, and was just waiting for the moment he would be captured and napalm-barreled for praying to his enforcer to kill her son.

But no.  Sadly, my little fantasy only lasts until the next line of dialogue, when Felicia tells Paul that she is “pretty well committed to your side now” and “what I need is God.”

Another one bites the dust.  Sad,


Posted on February 17, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. “I think he still doubts you,” Bia said, holding down the NO TRANSMIT button that replaced the skullphone-to-skullphone call with organic-sounding background noise. “You need to convince him that you’re committed to his side, or we won’t be able to get to him.”

    “Sure,” Felicia said, nodding.

    Bia looked at her, askance. “Don’t take things too lightly. He was one of our top agents. He won’t be easily fooled. You’ll need to be very subtle about…” She silenced at Felicia’s raised hand.

    Felicia pushed the TRANSMIT button again. “I’m pretty well committed to your side now,” she said, baldfaced.

    Bia stared at her in horror, until the repeater-earphone in her ear picked up Paul’s audible, unfakeable sigh of relief. Felicia held down the NO TRANSMIT button again over Paul’s overinflated response.

    “I’m starting to wonder why he was one of our top agents,” Bia admitted.

    “Just remind me – something horrible is going to happen to him if I help to capture him, right?” Felicia asked. “He killed my son to send a message that had already been sent a thousand times.”

    “And mine,” Bia reminded her. “Yes, we have the perfect punishment planned. He will spend the rest of his life in a cell with a superintelligent and endlessly patient AI who will convincingly rebutt every point he ever makes and never lets him get the last word.”

    “Hmm.” Felicia looked down at the NO TRANSMIT button. “There’s something missing…”

    “The AI will have a female voice.”

    “What I need is God,” Felicia said, enthusiasticlaly, letting go of the button.

  2. “Someone is hacking into our server!”
    “How can that be?”
    “Uhh… Because it’s connected to the internet and that makes it vulnerable to penetration? Like literally anything put online? I mean it’s a server, it’s meant to be online, and-”
    “So magic? You mean magic, right?”
    “*sigh* Yes, Paul. Magic.”

    Seriously. If your system is being hacked, you know the quickest, most certain way to stop the hack?

    Yank the damned plug. Or the ethernet cable. Worry about problems from a sudden shutdown later. Especially if you’re a secret evil death cult that for some stupid reason keeps an online server in your demon god’s shrine for your evil death culty needs. Just yank the damned plug. It’s not like your server is providing an actually important service that would make you need to keep things online.

    • And how long does it take to hack into this server, anyway?

      Whoever is in charge of the server notices the hacking attempt. That person tells Greenie about it. Greenie goes off to have a chat with Paul, explaining the meaning of his name and whatnot. Eventually he mentions the hacking attempt. But he doesn’t say “someone hacked into our server” or “someone tried to hack into our server”. No, he talks about it like it’s still ongoing.

      I bet there is a monitor somewhere with a slowly advancing progress bar reading: “Hacking 58% complete”. With lots of random digits flickering in the background.

      • Seriously. Jenkins’ logistics fetish would be bearable if he was actually any good at it. I’ve read some incredibly engaging stories where characters nerd out at length over their plans and toys and other normally kind of boring stuff, and they end up interesting because they’re usually imparting practical knowledge about how this stuff actually works compared to common misconceptions. Along with being well-written, but Jenkins can’t help that part. It’s not just that Jenkins has a logistics fetish, he has a bad Hollywood logistics fetish, so it ends up boring and stupid as hell because he’s not telling us anything we haven’t heard a million times before.

      • “They’ve got past the first firewall! Past the second!”

        Granted, this can be made more exciting than the realistic version, which usually goes “hey, is the network a bit slow today?”

  3. It’s not just the bad news about Uncle Berlitz – wouldn’t Brie and Connor have gone to Atheistopian school and made friends there? Sure, it’ll probably be a while before they can catch up with those kids, but odds are good at least one of their friends was a firstborn son of an atheist and got killed. Not to mention the death toll among their friends’ older brothers, dads, uncles, etc. Oh, and their teachers, too!

    “Awesome, we’re bad guys on the run! I can’t wait to tell Aiden, he’s gonna be sooooo jealous!”
    “Ermmm….. about that…”

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Am I just tired, or does that exchange make no sense?

    Remember who the author is.
    Especially when he’s trying to be Clever with his Author Self-Insert.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ruby, how much longer before this ends?

    Everybody: What are the odds this trilogy ends with a trumpet blast from nowhere and ALL the RTC Zealots instantly vanish leaving their empty clothes behind? Because that’s how I suspect Buck Jenkins is going to end it all; there was a blurb about Soon that implied that exact setting.

    • I don’t think that would be sadistic enough for Jenkins. At least, unless the last page also spells out “and seven years later Bia Balaam and all the others who had failed to recognize Paul’s genius and moral superiority were being hideously tortured in Hell.”

    • There are 45 chapters plus an epilogue.

      And not to spoil or anything ;), but that is not how the series ends, though it is an excellent guess. I’m betting Jenkins didn’t want to step on his own Left Behind toes.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for February 27, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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