Shadowed: Chapter 23: This Is It, Part Deux

Lest you think we’ve heard the last of the horror that is Doctor Assface deliberately withholding medical care from atheists so they’ll heal slower, another underground Christian has thought of a way to make the whole thing even more terrible.

Straight wants some advice from Abraham, the head of the Heartland underground.  (It just kills me that I can remember that it’s Heartland, while Jenkins persists in calling it “Michigan/Ohio.”)

A few interesting points:

-Abraham still operates under his code name, while knowing everything about Straight and his life.

-He is also the first person in this series to refer to Straight as “Dr. Rathe.”  But there is so little description of how the characters are speaking that I don’t know if this is supposed to be a respectful acknowledgement of Straight’s Ph.D. in history, or an ironic reference to the simple fact that Straight volunteers at a hospital.

But I’m stalling.  Based solely on Straight’s retelling of the conversation, Abraham concludes that Doctor Slow-the-Atheists “sounds credible,” but that the relationship between he and Straight should be more “reciprocal.”

“And what do I want from him?” [asked Straight]

Abraham offered a weary smile.  “Think, man.  What do we most need?”

“Brother, I haven’t thought clearly for days.  Forgive me and tell me.”

Abraham sighed.  “You say this doctor assured you he doesn’t do any real harm to these patients, which would violate his oath. …”

I see we’re still going along with this fiction that slowing a patient’s recovery by days, perhaps weeks, is not doing any “real harm.”  You guys just keep telling yourselves that, I guess.

“…But surely a percentage of his cases are terminal nonetheless.  It would seem a small thing for him to let you know who those are early enough that you can take advantage of the information.”

“And appropriate their IDs.”

Good, Straight.  Don’t use the word “steal.”  Because stealing is wrong and stuff.

Abraham clapped a hand on Straight’s knee.  “See, you’re not so tired that it has completely clouded your judgment.”

It will never stop blowing my mind that Jenkins doesn’t see how monstrous this all is.  These are supposed to be the GOOD GUYS.  The GOOD ones.

***

Meanwhile, a far less monstrous man, Ranold, has been named “interim head of NPO USSA.”  So he heads to the White House (or rather, just to the West Wing, since the rest of the place was destroyed during WWIII and Atheistopia was too busy curing cancer to rebuild).

Jenkins once again manages to confuse himself a bit here—the governor of the Columbia Region (hey, at least he didn’t call it “Washington, D.C, Maryland, and Virginia”!) was the last vice president of the United States, yet his duties are “largely ceremonial,” yet it was his decision to name Ranold as the head of the entire CIA/FBI…

I’ll admit I don’t get it.

Anyway, Ranold likes the guy much more than Ball Dangler.  And despite Ranold getting a bit too big for his britches and interrupting the guy (“Haywood Hale,” if you please), he manages to save himself, and it is strongly implied that Ranold and Haywood are, at the very least, more simpatico than Ranold and Dangler.

***

Meanwhile meanwhile, Pudgy Jack is having a meeting of “the elders” of the underground, complete with flipchart, with Bible verses allegedly greenlighting his brilliant flood-the-entire-planet-except-L.A.” plan.

So in one chapter, we have two different sets of Christians plotting how best to destroy the people who survived the first massacre, who still have the temerity not to side with those who prayed for the deaths of their loved ones.

Shockingly enough, after all that’s happened and all he prayed for, Paul thinks this is a step too far.  Or, at the very least, that Jack is starting to sound mildly unhinged.

Though Paul thinks this mostly because they have “more pressing business“—they have to get out of their underground bunker before the NOP raids them…in ten days.

Ten days.

I can’t even begin to imagine what would take them ten days to get ready.  Just go get ’em, yanno?

Both sides in this conflict just suck.

 

 

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Posted on May 25, 2015, in Shadowed, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Dare I hope that while Ranold has been giving instructions for planning a raid in ten days to all the agents who seem to have lost their moral sense, while his genuinely trusted inner circle makes arrangements for a raid on a bunch of complacent mass murderers in three days?

  2. I’m still baffled by the idea that it’s going to be useful to the underground to steal the IDs of people who will soon be known to be dead. If ID-checking is at a level where you can’t realistically make a fake one and have to steal someone else’s real one, surely ID-checking is also at a level where most checks reference a massive database that is regularly updated with information on who’s dead.

    Now, having multiple stolen IDs with fast-approaching expiration dates can still be useful in some circumstances, namely when you’re on the move and highly unlikely to run into the same authority figure twice. But we haven’t seen much evidence that any zealots are really doing that, and if you’re hanging out in one location long-term with your underground team using an ever-changing list of stolen IDs to buy routine supplies is probably going to tip off someone in law enforcement sooner or later.

    • I’m wondering if part of the underground’s plan isn’t to have Dr. Surgical Man hold off on reporting that the patients have died. In that case, they could theoretically get months or even years of use out of the IDs before the bureaucracy caught up to them.

      • Theoretically possible… but even then, that would require that this one doctor be the only person involved in reporting deaths. Normally you have a whole layer of bureaucracy handling that sort of thing and the various ramifications thereof, to say nothing of the next of kin who need official death certificates for benefits applications, life insurance, property inheritance, etc.

        Now, he says he’s part of a group of like-minded physicians, so maybe they have a whole network of sympathizers scattered through the bureaucracy who can take care of things at all the various levels needed, but that’s still risky as hell when there’s going to be such a high correlation between “IDs with weird delays in death reporting” and “IDs that are being used by the Christian underground”.

  3. Well, you know, you can say the presidency is a ceremonial post, but it’s just so manly that it’ll burst out of minor things like that. The presidency of the US, obviously, not other countries.

    Loquat: yup, surely as soon as they die, the certifying physician sends an update to ID Central saying “mark this record as deceased”.

    I bet Jenkins didn’t even draw a map of the USSA the way I did. [peeve] I think that all the trappings are really just there to say “Look! Eeevil atheists!” and then be forgotten about.

  4. “Let us know which ones are terminal so we can take their IDs.”

    Right up until I scrolled down to see that I was expecting it to be:

    “Let us know which ones are terminal so we can rush our best evangelists to their side and make sure they have every chance to convert before they pass on and it’s too late.”

    Oh Jenkins, you never go for the less-awful thing do you?

    • Yep, that was what I was thinking. I can’t believe I’d actually rather wish these RTCs practiced vulture-evangelism like those chucklefucks in God’s not dead who offered no physical aid to a man dying from a carcrash, only preaching to him and when that was succesful expressing happiness, even envy, that the guy got to see Jesus so soon. And yet, somehow, this novel is infested with RTCs who are even worse.

      When the bottom of the barrel is reached, you can always count on Jenkins to have some excavation tools handy.

  5. I’d like to thank Jerry Jenkins for helping me get over my initial squeamishness with this setting. When Ruby began reviewing the series, I was uncomfortable with Atheistopia’s brutal response to religious believers. Now, however, after seeing these believers in action, I can wholeheartedly agree that Ranold and the small number of other agents in the NPO who aren’t secret Christians are performing a vital service, with their laserlike focus on the most dangerous, evil people on the planet.

    • Indeed. What we have seen is that the underground zealots are an underground terrorist cells with access to untracable, unstopable WMDs, and no compunction about using them. No responsible governement could permit such a dangerous group to exist. And the only way to prevent them from unleashing their doomsday weapon seems to be to prevent them from organizing a prayer round. So locking them up is useless, as they can still pray. Killing them really is the only way to stop them.

      It’s impressive in a way. Thanks to Jenkins’ writing, we’ve gone from laughing at the cartoonishly brutal Atheistapo to agreeing that they are a rational response to the threat of RTCs as portrayed in these books. That takes some powerful writing to accomplish, and Jankins’ achievement is tainted only by the fact that he was trying to accomplish the opposite reaction.

      Luckily. I still remain utterly convinced that the in the real world, RTC prayers can accomplish exactly jack-shit, so a real world purge will not be neccesary.

  6. inquisitiveraven

    Stealing IDs? Stealing IDs. Has everyone, including the author, especially the author forgotten about the implanted ID chips? How exactly, are you supposed to steal an ID chip embedded in the owner’s forearm?

    And after doing some checking, I ovserve that Ivan made the same point the last time stealing IDs came up.

    BTW, I’ve been trying to figure out the whole “slowing down healing” thing since it first came up. I mean, ethical issues aside, how does that work exactly? How does one slow down recovery in a way that doesn’t kick up the risks of nosocomial infections or other complications? Wouldn’t such a thing be ethically worse that our hostess has been thinking?

    • Jenkins probably believes that, if you give someone half the dose of a medicine, it simply takes twice as long to cure whatever it’s being used to treat.

    • At least Dr Mengele should have the tools and skills to extract said chips and re-implant them in RTCs, and may even be able to hide that all his deceased patients have a scar on their arm.. I still don’t see how the zealots were going to do that with the bodies on the streets.

    • You may recall that skull-phone-equipped Bia Balaam was “yelling for a phone” back in LA; and that “You’re too young to remember books” was in the same novel where chess players were carrying books (to name two examples).

      Jenkins just doesn’t bother with continuity. It’s not like his target audience would be bothered by his blunders.

      • I think that it’s a failure to understand the appeal of science fiction. Yeah, you can tell a generic story but turn the pistols into lasers or whatever, and that worked in the pulp days, but the thing that makes it fun and justifies all the weird trappings is that you can work with them – you can tell a story that wouldn’t work if you transplanted it to modern Earth, because situations and priorities are different.

        RTC doctrine suggests that one should focus entirely on the whole God thing in this world, and talking about fictional worlds simply distracts from that. So it’s not surprising that RTC science fiction should be both rare and badly done.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for May 29, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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