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.
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.