Shadowed: Epilogue: No Pleasing Some People
How fitting that this crazy, abysmal series of books should end right on the sixth anniversary of Heathen Critique!
AND PAUL’S BEEN SHOT!!!
So Paul wakes up surrounded by Straight and Pudgy Jack and Greenie, and Jae and Brie and Connor. Not Angela, though, even though Greenie has a thing for her and even though she was with all the kids until they were rescued. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jenkins would like us to forget she ever existed.
Paul’s in Bethesda Naval Hospital.
WAIT HOW COME HE’S NOT IN JAIL AND/OR SURROUNDED BY COPS???
Because the cops arrested Ranold, that’s why.
Yeah, that…actually doesn’t make sense at all.
And the more we learn, the crazier it gets: the group watches the TV news in Paul’s hospital room, and the anchorwoman explains that after shooting Paul, Ranold was “subdued by two unidentified men, then taken into custody by his own backup squadron.”
Who apparently had no desire to uncover the identities of these two men, men couldn’t possibly have escaped very quickly, since one is disabled and the other had heavy equipment to wrangle and a TV uplink to handle.
So the squadron, en masse, decided to violate their orders and take down their own boss, based on what they heard him say to a known traitor who masterminded the massacre of millions of their sons and brothers and fathers and friends.
And all this seems to be largely because Ranold “confessed” to the murder of Bia. Chancellor Ball Dangler is barely mentioned, just “Commander Bia Balaam, who was found ritualistically murdered in her car at the NPO garage earlier.”
Ritualistically? Somebody sat in the backseat and waited for her, then shot her in the head. Is that really ritualistic?
The last we see of Ranold, he’s being arrested…
…his face red, spittle flying. “I said what I had to say to take down a fugitive! I–“
I KNOW, RIGHT??? This is just what I said last chapter: how can he be judged, especially in the moment like that, for saying what he had to say. Especially when what he said was nothing very much.
But it’s the end of the book and we have to dispense with Ranold:
His own men shoved him into a Hummer.
*sniffle* Bye, Ranold.
YOU ROCK AND I WILL MISS YOU
Anyway, the news then moves to the press conference being given by Hoshi Tamika, who is pulling a global mea culpa on the whole outlawing-religion thing:
“Peace-loving people of faith have been forced underground and treated like second-class citizens. They have not enjoyed the privileges and rights of the free in this world.”
Except for the freedom to ask their thug to do anything they desire, which desire he kindly obliged by slaughtering millions of innocents who had nothing to do with treating anybody like a second-class citizen.
To a world in mourning, in which not one family has not had at least one member snuffed out by this all-powerful, thug-god, Tamika has this to say:
“Ironically, this has resulted in yet another holy war, this time necessitated by oppressed, disenfranchised, devout people who share our commitment to peace.”
“They share it so much that they prayed for the massacre of our children. It was necessitated, I tell you! NECESSITATED!!!”
And they have such a commitment to peace that they massacred our sons and fathers and brothers…a mere six months after they dessicated Los Angeles. Becase they love peace so very, very much.
“It has been foolhardy to suggest that a Supreme Being does not exist since The Incident, when as many firstborn males died as we had casualties from World War III.”
And that’s the most important thing: that the atheists acknowledge that the RTCs were Right All Along.
Less important: that this Supreme Being takes sides and is all-powerful and will wipe out people on a whim.
Yet the only person who has the sense to want to fight this: Ranold. And Jenkins still doesn’t get, after three books, that the one person with the courage to stand up to the genocidal maniac is the HERO.
“I myself lost a loved one, as did countless of you.”
Yeah, I can tell she’s really broken up about it, too.
She brings up the legalities: religion is no longer illegal, but everyone is still free to be an atheist. (Gee, how big of you.) But anyone who was found guilty of violating the no-religion law is no free.
“Be assured, there are technicalities and conditions relating to this edict, some yet to be worked out. These apply to those who broke other laws in the course of practicing their religion.”
Like, say, murder? Or treason, which Paul is guilty of by a factor of three trillion?
And this brings up an interesting tangential point: if God is real—absolutely, undeniably real, and is willing and able and very happy to mete out whatever horrors his followers ask for…then would it, in fact, be a crime in this Brave New World to ask God to commit a horrrific act? After all, if Greenie hired Paul to kill Harriet, then Greenie is guilty of something pretty damned major, too, even if he didn’t personally pull the trigger? Would praying for a massacre become basically the same thing as ordering a massacre? ‘Cause God’s gonna do it, apparently!
Apparently, nobody will ever be called to justice for the murders of all these innocents, including babies and children.
Given the acknowledgment by the interim chancellor that this has been a war, wouldn’t the slaughter of millions of innocents be a war crime?
Oh, well. Celebration breaks out in Paul’s hospital room, complete with high-fives. As well they might cheer, given that they’re quite literally getting away with murder.
“Guess I don’t have to pray down the flood of justice,” Jack Pass said.
That’s the last we hear from Pudgy Jack. Psycho to the end. I love how he seems disappointed.
But for Paul, nothing is ever enough. As everyone else celebrates, he gazes at the TV, and is shocked and horrified to see that not every single person on the planet is happy with the fact that the people who called down the murder of their families are all going to get away with it:
Some [TV footage] showed underground believers pouring into the streets, singing, dancing, and raising their hands toward heaven. But others showed angry people of all walks of life, rioting, snarling, and shaking their fists at the sky.
Yeah, you know those filthy atheists, right? Like animals. Snarling. Just because their families were slaughtered and there will be no chance of justice, ever.
Honestly, what was Paul expecting when he called for the dessication of L.A. and then the massacre of the firstborn? Widespread joy and happiness? If so, what a dumbass.
The last words of the series:
He found himself suddenly overcome with emotion, but despite tears of joy, Paul had to wonder how long the reprieve would last. How long before the world once again fell under the shadow of persecution?
I guess however long it takes for Pudgy Jack to become annoyed, and call down a flood on the atheists.
So maybe twenty minutes.
And that’s it. Religion is back to being legal, atheists have been shown to be Wrong All Along, and Paul is the same as he ever was: out for himself, barely sparing a thought for anyone else around him, except for how they might persecute him in the future.
What a guy.
Well, at least it’s Thanksgiving!
And you know what that means:
Coming this weekend. Stay tuned: