Shadowed: Chapter 20, Part 3 and Chapter 21: One More Crusade

One little subplot tacked onto the end of Chapter 20 and then, inexplicably, broken up and continued in Chapter 21, has to do with our favorite new RTC, Felicia.  She has hunted down one of the IT guys who is trying to hack into the underground’s network.

OR IS HE???

In fact, he is, of course, not trying.  Or perhaps he is “slowing” progress.  Either way, he vaguely hinted to Felicia that he had sympathies with Paul.  So when Felicia accidentally startles him in his cubicle and he spills his coffee, he…draws a fishie in the spill.

Weird dude.

And because Felicia is so well-versed in Christian symbology…

…she immediately gets the reference.

They’ve barely begun a conversation when a female security guard named Trudy shows up…but she’s a secret believer, too!

Fun!  And all the secret believers at the Chicago NPO bureau have a monthly secret meeting—at a seafood restaurant!

HA!

(By the way, this doesn’t exactly speak well of them, of Paul, or especially of Straight.  Paul could have had an entire network of support, from basically every department at his workplace, over the whole course of the last two books, and NOBODY KNEW WHO WAS ACTUALLY A SECRET CHRISTIAN.)

Worst spygames ever.

Trudy mentions that the newspapers have been full of:

“Editorials, opinions, letters to the editor—everybody’s ready to cut the underground some slack.

…even unbelievers are getting on the bandwagon.  Nobody wants a repeat of what just happened.”

Well, I can think of one or two people who do want a repeat of what just happened…though even worse.

Aside from that, although I can imagine some people being so blinded by fear that they want to cut some slack to the worshippers of this murdering god, I can imagine many more people who would be so angry about that little matter of husbands and fathers and sons dying that they would never consider such a thing.

***

Speaking of Pudgy Jack, he’s still obsessed with this plan, and wants to set out on a little crusade to the other underground RTC locations, “to encourage them, tie them together, and rally them to pray for one more dramatic act of God.”

Because, after all, it has been nearly one whole week since the deaths of millions upon millions of innocents.

Paul was fighting him, agreeing with Greenie that if the slaying of firstborn sons around the world had not reached the hard hearts of the people, nothing would.

Well, yeah, that’s Jack’s whole point, Paul.  They’ve got hard hearts (just because they were raised atheist and then a god murdered their loved ones), so they deserve to drown or die of thirst.  That’s Jack’s kind of logic.

And lest we think too well of Paul, he’s against this plan mostly because he doesn’t want to leave Jae.  This is a much bigger reason for him than preventing the deaths of billions of people.

Just as Pudgy Jack is outlining his latest idiotic scheme to Paul (I’m actually not sure how much sympathy Jenkins wants us to have for Pudgy Jack and his world-destroying scheme), Paul gets a skullphone call (left on his skullphone voicemail) from Bia Balaam.

And bizarrely, Jenkins immediately attempts to retcon Paul’s opinion of Bia:

…Bia was everything the former Paul Stepola would have admired in an NPO chief: ruthless, cold, cruel, ambitious, condescending, sarcastic.

Except that Paul hated Bia Balaam at first “sight” (since he was blind at the time).

Why the retcon?  Well, that’s an interesting question.  I’m willing to bet that a big part of the answer is that Bia has been brought low.  And if here’s one thing Paul likes, it’s when a woman is made to feel pain.  Here is part of her message:

“I am going to betray the NPO, betray my government, and go against everything I ever knew, was ever taught.  …  I’m conceding.  You win.  Your people and your God have proven themselves, at least to me.  I have lost my son, my everything, and I have nothing more to lose, nothing more to offer.  No way I’ll risk my daughter’s life for a cause I no longer believe in.”

I have lost everything…except my daughter.  I have nothing more to lose…except my daughter.

Meh, what’s a daughter when you have a son, amirite?

Also, chalk up yet another person who doesn’t want to follow their beloved child to Hell.

Oh Bia.  Bia, Bia, Bia.

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Posted on May 5, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Jenkins writes horror with a brutality Stephen King could never dream of–largely because Jenkins’ sympathies are so totally with the monsters that he doesn’t realize it’s awful rather than wonderful for his novels’ actually sympathetic characters to collapse before the Thing from Beyond and beg, “Please don’t hurt me any more.”

    • Yeah, as many will point out, Lovecraft may have been so racist that the only reason he didn’t join the Klan, was because it would require more interaction with people (by all accounts, Lovecraft was a loner), but at least he knew you couldn’t claim that the Elder Gods did all this horrible shit because they loved humanity.

  2. This whole secret-believer-palooza reminds me of The Far Side:

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a surprise twist to reveal that the NPO is in fact staffed entirely by secret believers of various Chrisitian denominations, all of whom were trying to maintain their cover by hunting down fakey Christian cults, i.e. Christians of all other denominations but theirs.

    Jenkins doesn’t get human beings at all, does he? An unprecedented mass-murder has happened, and the biggest change is that people want to be more accommodating to the people who planned and executed it? Yes, after 9/11 the “unbelievers” didn’t want that to happen again, but their first (or second or third) instinct wasn’t to accomplish this by bowing down to Allah and accommodate Al Qaida’s supporters. I agree with Ruby that eventually, atheists in Jenkins world might realize that there’s no stopping this god and will capitulate. (While I appreciate the sentiment, I’ve always been hesitant to claim that if I found myself in Left Behind’s story I’d oppose god. I agree he’s portrayed as an evil monster, but I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to doom myself to a hell I would then believe to be real just to make an ultimately useless stance on principle.) But that wouldn’t be how people react while their loved one’s bodies aren’t even cold yet. Especially since they haven’t been taught about an almighty god for decades.

    Also, I don’t think Jenkins has realized how thoroughly he fucked up his own theology by portraying everyone so quick to convert in the face of an lethal but undeniable miracle. Has he forgotten what he wrote in Left Behind, where everyone lost their children too, yet the event was pretty much ignored? Unlike Franco Macalousso, Nicolae’s subsequent rise to power hinged on everyone accepting that there was nothing supernatural about the rapture.

    And speaking of the Apocalypse movies, so much for the common RTC refrain that it wouldn’t help if god proved his existence, cause we couldn’t have proper faith in that case. Apparently, a big miracle (not just something mundane like a few trees withering, a fire in an oil field or an earthquake in California) works swimmingly in getting atheists to throw in the towel. Makes you wonder why, still, these shitstains (good phrase) don’t ever consider praying for an extravagant yet non-violent miracle.

    • Non… violent? You mean, like healing the sick, feeding the hungry, that sort of thing? Who’d ever be impressed by something like that?

      • Especially since Atheistopia had all those down already. All the big miracle territory was already covered by science, so all that’s been left to the cultists here was atrocity.

    • Your beginning about the NPO being staffed with nothing but RTCs…that sounds similar to G.K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday” in which a police officer goes undercover to investigate an anarchist group, only to discover that all the members of this anarchist group are police officers pretending to be anarchists in order to infiltrate the group.

  3. “Hey, wait a minute – you mean we’re ALL secret Christians here? Then who’s been doing all the napalm-barrelling?”

    Remember September 2001? How everyone in the USA was ready to give al-Qaeda exactly what it wanted?

    • “Yeah, well some heretics believe that God is a god of love rather than a God of Peace. Obviously, we had no choice to be exterminate those brutes!”

      And yeah, after al-Qaeda proved the might of their god, we converted in droves. Now you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone wearing a burqa or being stoned to death for adultery.

    • Patrick Phelan

      Well, it kinda makes sense. “Why aren’t there any atheists in the Atheistapo any more?” “Because we KILLED THEM ALL.”

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for May 08, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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