Shadowed: Chapter 31, Part 1: The Oppressed

With Ball Dangler sadly dead, someone has to step up.  And it’s not Ranold…

The vice chancellor, the previously anonymous, almost invisible Asian woman few had ever heard of before, moved into the leadership role.

Yeah, nobody had ever heard of her.  Least of all Jerry Jenkins, who introduced her in one sentence, nine pages ago.  Her name is Hoshi Tamika, btw.

Also, I don’t know what dictionary Jenkins is using, but she certainly wasn’t anonymous.  No more than Joe Biden is, at least.  And as politically ignorant as much of the United States is, I bet most Americans can name the Vice President.  Why “few” would know the name of the second-in-command of the planet is best left to Jenkins’ imagination.

Anyway, the death of Ball Dangler is making even more people around the world call for amnesty with the believers.  Because not only have these terrorists prayed successfully for their thug god to slay their children, one of their number has assassinated the leader of the free world.  So the only logical solution is to make nice with them, right?

Paul foresaw—for the first time in his life—the possibility that the oppressed, the distressed, the disenfranchised might actually emerge, squinting, from belowground and take their rightful place in society.

Yeah, the people whose sons are still alive, they’re the distressed.  The people who have a vengeful god on their side, ready to slaughter millions of innocents on request, they’re the oppressed.

Also, this sentence makes it sound like Paul’s been waiting for this his whole life.  He’s been waiting a little over half a year, in fact.

Three days later, Monday, February 4, Paul, Jack Pass, and Greenie Macintosh spent hours in the TV room, watching coverage of the investigation of the murder while planning the exodus from Washington to the Heartland salt mines.

Hey!  Jenkins remembered that it’s Heartland, not Michigan!

But holy crap, they’re still planning?  How did they get along all these years without an exit strategy in place?  Hell, you’d think every single person in that labyrinthian underground lair would have a BOB ready at all times.  They’ve had three decades to prep, yo.

Bia places an emergency skull phone call to Paul.  Since she’s the one who gave the Special Stone to Ranold, and now he’s requested an airport pick-up, she has concluded that since she’s the only person who can link Ranold to the stone, he’s going to kill her.

Personally, I think Bia may be overstating things.  Now, she doesn’t know this, but Ranold has the hots for her.  So I imagine he would be unlikely to off her like that.  More likely, he would want to make her his Dark Mistress.

Second, if he did off her, that would be the second of his closest subordinates to die under strange circumstances in 72 hours.  People might start to look a little more closely at those circumstances.  Just sayin’.

So the guys debate what should be done with her…

The men the Columbia underground had taken to calling The Three Zealoteers stood watching the TV screen.

Man, for guys who need to plan the evacuation and rescue of hundreds, they sure spend a lot of time in front of the TV, don’t they?

Also, The Three Zealoteers?  REALLY?

Yanno, Jenkins, just because a punny nickname occurs to you, doesn’t mean you have to use it.

Pudgy Jack is all for taking in Bia, but Greenie, in a classy display of Christian love and compassion, is against it:

“You realize she and Decenti are pretty much solely responsible for bringing the drought upon Los Angeles?”

Wait one damn second, Greenie.  Firstly, I thought the drought was something to celebrate.  And B, if any one human person can be said to be responsible, it would have to be Old Carl, who penned the “bold manifesto” that called for believers to pray to their thug to dessicate L.A.

So I have to say that Bia is off the hook on that one.  Sorry, dude.

Greenie’s secondary argument is that Bia “knows where we are” and thus could endanger them.  Except I think at this point, dead people know where you are, Greenie, and in any event, you should have been gone days ago, and will be gone soon if you have two brain cells to rub together.  So again, not seeing a problem.

Sigh.  I mean, is it just me?  Do secret underground cells responsible for the safety of hundreds of civilians normally debate endlessly like this instead of just taking action, and/or running like hell?  It’s not like they’re planning to take a stand, after all.

Mal:  And I never run away from a fight!

Inara:  Yes, you do.  You do all the time!

Mal:  Well, yeah.  But I’m not backing down from this one.

-Firefly, Shindig

And…that’s how they leave it for this chapter.  We’ll have to wait to find out their Final Answer on the Bia question.

Next time: Cletus also has a Final Answer.  To a very different question.

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Posted on August 18, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. The new leader of the world is a non-white woman? Oh, the humanity!

    Wait, what’s the point of having a secret symbol stone if all the NPO investigators recognize it on sight? And couldn’t Ranold have gotten one himself?

    I could sorta see how some people might let the zealots be out of fear for their genocidal god. But a single assasination by a gunman has the same effect? Get the fuck outta here!

    “I’m sorry Mr. Jenkins, but we must suspend your son. He keeps bullying his classmate and-”
    “Ridiculous! You’re siding with that gay couple’s kid? That little wretch is pretty much soley responsible for beating up a girl!”
    “… your son grabbed her hands, beat her up ip while shouting ‘Stop hitting yourself!'”
    “Pretty much soley responsible.”

  2. So basically the huge acts of terrorism were completely irrelevant to achieving the RTCs’ goals, but one assassination does the job?

    Why didn’t Paul assassinate Dengler when he first met him post-conversion? It would have given lots and lots of people the chance not to go to hell forever. That’s what the RTCs say they want, right?

    • Fuck, if all they wanted was for the zealots to “emerge … and take their rightful place in society”, why didn’t they just pray for that? Instead of ripping off the worst part of Exodus, why not ask for a large-scale “Daniel in the lion’s den”-miracle, so that all attempts to harm Christians living in the open would fail? It wouldn’t require any less of an intervention than an area where water vanishes once it enters, then reappears whenever an RTC is nearby, or a worldwide slaughter. Jenkins keeps drawing attention to the fact that people are all convinced of god’s existence after his show of force, but have trouble loving the murderer of their children (imagine that). Yet he never seems to put 2 and 2 together and consider that maybe god could’ve used a different, non-genocidal miracle to demonstrate his power.

      But then, what do you expect from the repugnant bastard who asks us to sympathize with characters who specifically ask their all-powerful deity to destroy a city for them, then claim the people who pissed them off are “pretty much solely responsible”.

  3. So the moral of this series is that, no matter how hard you try to exterminate religious fanaticism, zealots will always find a way to cause heartache and economic harm. Good job, Jenkins.

  4. I wonder if the “nobody knows the vice chancellor” is a side effect of the extreme authoritarian worldview. Maybe Jenkins assumes that people think of politics the same way he believes they should think about religion. You shouldn’t pay any attention to all those saints and angels, like some of them false religions do. No, all you need is a “personal relationship” with the Big Guy at the Top. Never mind how power structures actually work, all that anyone cares about is the Supreme Leader.

    Dangler may have been an evil atheist, but it was still really important to emphasize how Paul had his direct phone number and how that proved Paul’s specialness. Doing your job well to earn the respect of your actual boss (Ranold) – irrelevant. Knowing the name of the vice chancellor – irrelevant. Impressing the leader of the world with vague philosophy – sign of genius.

    • Or perhaps “the vice-chancellor’s personal life was not picked apart minutely in a year-long election campaign”?

  5. I’m really sorry when I said “fuck you” three years ago. It was wrong of me.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for August 21, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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