Monthly Archives: June 2015

Shadowed: Chapter 27: Marriage Lessons

Man, yanno how wives are, right?  Always whining about their little problems.  Wahhhh, my brother’s dead, whiiiiine, my family wants me in prison, boo hoo, nobody told me about the funeral just because I’m an international fugitive from justice.

Jae just goes on and on about her piddly little problems to her long-suffering husband.  Geez, lady, just because you and your tiny children are on the run from the cops of the whole planet, it’s always something with you, isn’t it?

Jae, for reasons that make no sense to me because of the aformentioned on-the-run-from-the-law thing, calls her sister-in-law, who spills the beans that Berlitz’s memorial service already happened, and Jae Plus Family were cordially not invited.

She whines to Paul, like wives do:

“…he was my brother!  I would like to have known, to have been thinking about him when they were.  And Daddy has my cell number.*  He could have called, could have tried to say the right things.”
“Now you’re dreaming.”
She shot Paul a look, and he realized she didn’t need his editorializing.  She didn’t want this fixed.  She wanted to be heard.

Yep, yanno how manly husbands are: always wanting to fix things.  (How Paul or Jenkins thinks any could fix this problem is a question for the ages.  Also, what would Jae have been thinking during Berl’s service?  How much it sucks that a just and loving God sent her awesome brother to Hell for all eternity?  Something like that?)

So, that’s our lesson for today, boys and girls.  Wives want to whine about their emotions, husbands want to fix problems.  A lesson on marriage from Jerry Jenkins.

*Speaking of, he forgot again.  Jae doesn’t have a “cell.”  She has a skull phone.  I can’t believe we all remember this, but Jenkins just can’t.

***

Not that Jae could try to fix Paul’s problems even if she wanted to: he won’t tell her what they are!  The elders, in their infinite holy wisdom, have decided to keep the Mass Exodus a secret until the last minute.  That seems like a great way to engender trust in those uder you.

Paul wants to tell Jae, what with them being in love and all (har), but considers this situation akin to when he knew state secrets when he was in the NPO.

Paul found his first inclination was to pull Jae aside and start her thinking about their own details.  How lightly could they pack?

Really, dude?  You arrived like, four days ago with TWO SUITCASES.  I don’t think packing light is really an issue.

(Even if it was, why are all these fugitives so bad at being fugitives?  Shouldn’t they be ready to move at five minutes’ notice, all the time?)

***

Paul also takes some time out of his busy schedule to ruminate about how much he wants to punch Ranold.  Of course, being the manliest of men, Paul’s feelings are natural and just mainfestations of righteous, justice-driven anger.  As opposed to Jae’s, being fluffy womany feelings as they are.

This man was going to push to far someday, and Paul might just have to take him on.

I have a feeling Paul is a keyboard warrior of the first order.

Also, Ranold just falsely accused his only daughter of murder and had a memorial service for his unloved dead son without mentioning it to said fugitive daughter.  What more does Paul want?  (Then again, these are slights against a woman, which are, of course, not serious the way slights against a man would be.)

(Paul also assures himself that he’s not being unfair for wanting to take on an “old man,” because Ranold was a badass in his youth.  Basically, this is a whole page is taken up with Paul having a one-man dick-measuring contest in his head.)

And in order to make Jae feel a little better, he reminds her that Ranold’s new job appointment is only interim.

“They don’t hand out jobs like that to old men, even as undermanned as they are.”

They don’t?  Hey, Jenkins, I know that Hollywood has taught us all that positions of power at the top of organizations are most often given to 27-year-olds, but that’s not actually true in the real world.  If anything, I would think Ranold would be just right for the job.  This is Atheistopia, remember, where cancer has been cured and pollution has ended.  I’m sure lifespans are at least a bit longer than they are today, and Ranold is only in his early- to mid-sixties.  And he was one of the founders of the NPO.  In essence, his entire career has been leading to this job.

But I’m sure Paul knows best.

***

Speaking of age, Straight is kvetching about his.  And he’s a few years younger than Ranold (60 exactly).

It’s 2047 and the map and calendar were changed in 2010, so Straight was 23 when it happened.  So it may actually be realistic that he thinks of Michigan as Michigan and not Heartland.  Still, seeing as how Paul calls it Michigan, too, I’m not inclined to cut Jenkins slack this time.

Now, it’s not like I have any sympathy for Paul in general, but it’s kinda…in poor taste, perhaps?…for Straight, whose cover is secure, to whine to Paul about how he’s feeling tired and stressed.  Paul, after all, is an international fugitive, in hiding with two very small children.

And Straight has so much reason to be happy!  He’s turned the Evil Doctor of Death on to two hospitalized government agents, who have been made “logy and slow to perk up.”

RTC love!

The Evil Doctor of Death has also told Straight of two terminal patients (presumably not Atheistopian employees, since we are not told so), “both of which could provide great identities.

RTC compassion!

***

Speaking of sensitivity and compassion, Paul and Jae finally get around to telling the kids that Grandma died.  Brie asks if they’ll get to see her again in Heaven, and Paul reports that not everyone gets to go to Heaven.  Because Jesus punishes people for the thoughts in their heads, don’tcha know.

The kids are pretty much okay with this, though, seeing as they now have Jesus in their hearts.  Another two bite the dust.

Shadowed: Chapter 26: Mass Exodus Planning

Yanno, it really does shock me that the Columbia underground, located in the same city as the NPO headquarters itself, doesn’t have a better escape plan.  And they’ve been given a free WEEK AND A HALF to execute!

Pudgy Jack has Greenie coordinate the “mass exodus,” even thought they still have absolutely no idea where they’re going.

WHY NOT???  They have literally had decades to work all this out.  There should be contingency plans for the contingency plans.  There should be regular drills, a chain of command, different people assigned to different things.  Seriously, what is going on with these people?

By their own admission, they are less prepared for a raid by the Eeeevil Atheistopians than I am, right now, sitting here in my little apartment drinking my tea, for the zombie apocalypse.

But never mind!  Something far more important is about to happen: Paul is going to speak with Bia Balaam!

After days of putting her off and deliberately ignoring her attempts to contact him, Paul calls Bia himself.

He was disappointed when her machine picked up.  He hoped if she was there she would recognize his voice.

…and not just dickishly refuse to answer the call out of spite, like he has for the past two days.

Paul natters at Bia a bit, and she reveals information that should really frighten Paul more than it does: that the NPO has known for quite some time the exact location and population of the Columbia underground, thanks to poor ole Roscoe Wipers.

Notably missing from the conversation is any sympathy on Paul’s part regarding the death of Bia’s beloved son.  Nope, Paul is much more interested in whining to Bia about how he has “endured [Ranold] for years.”  Wow, poor guy.

The only mention Paul makes of Taj is to ask Bia if it is “the loss of your son that’s caused this flip?”  Wow, sensitive, Paul.  (Also, I love how Paul and Bia and Jenkins have all forgotten about Bia’s surviving daughter, a college professor.)

I’m not sure what answer Paul’s looking for, here.  Would it be a bad thing, in his eyes, if Taj’s death caused her to acknowledge the existence of God?  I mean, wasn’t that one of the points of God’s horrific massacre?

But Bia says it is “that and a lot of other stuff.”  Again, so sensitive.  And the call ends on Bia saying she may call Paul for “clarification” on how to Make the Transaction and become a Christian.  And here I thought it was supposed to so simple a child could do it.

“You know where to reach me.” [said Paul]

Yeah, if I deign to answer the call that is.

Shadowed: Chapter 25: Devastated

Paul’s news [that there will be a raid in ten days] devastated the elders.

WHY?  The raid is TEN DAYS away and they have two people on the inside (Felicia and Bia).  Hell, anything can be accomplished in ten days when you know what’s coming.  What a bunch of idiots.

Hilariously (or insultingly, however you want to take it), Greenie refers to the February 8th raid as “D-day.”  I’m going with insulting, myself, since I just can’t get over that kind of self-absorbtion after your god annihiliated millions of unbelievers for the crime of not believing.

And Paul explains the reason for the long wait: Ranold’s trip to Bern.  Why the trip should take ten days (when, by Jenkins’ own admission, travel times by land and by air have been halved in Atheistopia) and why Ranold cannot direct the raid from Bern, are never explained.

***

Felicia and Harriet Johns have a little conversation, notable because it is yet another instance of that device that Jenkins thinks is so terribly clever: RTC character lies to the face of a nonbeliever by saying very obvious “double-meaning” things:

Harriet Johns had called [Felicia] in first thing.  “Seen this yet?” Harriet said, waving a printout before Felicia had even sat.
“What is it?”
“Zealot underground propaganda.  If you’re thinking about getting saved, here’s how.”
Felicia looked at it and shook her head.  “It’s nothing I need,” she said.

Har har.

***

And finally, Our Ranold starts vague planning meetings with trusted NPO higher-ups, including Bia.  No need for a rush on this operation after all…give it a week or two, I’m sure it’ll be great.  He sees that Bia is not herself, though he chalks that up (not entirely incorrectly) to grief about her son.

***

Man, not that we should be blaming Ranold, really—it’s Jenkins who is moving things along at a snail’s pace—Paul and Greenie and Jack chat some more about their vague plans to get the thousand or so people out of the Columbia underground.  Fortunately, they have Arthur Demetrius’s money to help them, so there’s really no reason to worry.

Oh, and Pudgy Jack isn’t the only one with a stupid and nasty plan.  Greenie himself was fantasizing about a scheme to “plug the Potomac, create our own little drought.”

SERIOUSLY???  No wonder these people need a god to do their work for them.

Also, cruel much?

Man, this middle section is dragging.  I’m going to try to pick up the pace myself, see if we can find a bit of interest or action.

Shadowed: Chapter 24: What’s Up?

Chapter 24 is pretty short after the excitement and horror of our last installment.  Jae and Angela Bond as Wimmins:

“You’re out of sorts today,” Angela said.  “What’s up?”

What’s up?  Oh, nothing much.  My mother died in my arms and my brother was murdered by the god I now worship and my husband is wanted for treason and our family is in hiding.  Anyway, what’s up with you, my dear?

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK IS UP, ANGELA???

Angela isn’t the brightest bulb of them all, is she?  Then again, Paul always does like them when they don’t exercise their brains too much…

Jae points out (sucks that she has to point it out to the thick Angela), that she’s just a bit bummed that she can’t go to funerals for her mother and brother (she leaves out her grief, if indeed it even exists, that they’re both roasting in hell right now).  Angela, ever the soul of sensitivity, counters with the point that if her father had died in the mass slaughter, she wouldn’t have been able to attend his funeral.

Except that Andy Pass didn’t die in the slaughter.  He died in a napalm-barrel incident at the beginning of Soon, and Angela did go to his funeral.

Nice gal.  Then, in order to cheer Jae up, Angela says that Brie and Connor are “close“…to becoming Christians, that is.  Not that anyone needs to be concerned.  Brie’s free pass to Heaven is good for another four years, Connors is good for six.  So where’s the rush?

***

Meanwhile, Ranold is showing just how much regard he had for said dead mother by fantasizing about Bia Balaam.  I’m not sure what Jenkins finds more distasteful: that Ranold doesn’t give much of a care for Margaret, whom Jenkins himself described as pretty useless, or that Ranold has the hots for Bia, whom Jenkins has described as everything a woman shouldn’t be: tall and angular, professional and ambitious.

Oh, and granted, Ranold might not be so attracted if he knew Bia was attempting to conspire with the enemy…