The Europa Conspiracy: Chapter 1, Part 2: Cut the Cable
So having been told by the utterly pointless character Tyler Scott to go to a specific spot in the canyon and “look for the cables,” Murphy does so. He finds a section of the gorge about 150 feet wide, with “two cables spanning the void attached to large trees on either side,” one higher than the other. We’re also told that the cables are one thousand feet above the river. So it’s very clear that LaHaye and Phillips have seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom multiple times.
A manila envelope is attached to the upper cable, halfway out.
So Murphy does the sensible thing: he detaches one of the top cables and retrieves the envelope.
HA! Almost had you there for a minute, didn’t I? Nope, Murphy just heads right on out over the pit of doom that Methuselah has set up, feet on lower cable, hands on upper cable, wincing and sliding and stepping out right to the middle, a thousand feet off the ground. This process takes him fifteen minutes.
Murph doesn’t really think these things through, does he? Knowing that he was going on an “adventure” to the Royal Gorge, it apparently did not occur to Murphy to bring along any mountaineering gear, even gloves (his hands must be ripped to shreds on that cable, which is basically holding up his whole weight!), or a harness to save him just in case he slipped
And knowing there would be cables involved, he didn’t think to bring anything to work with cables like, oh, say, SOMETHING TO CUT THEM WITH.
(Hilariously, there is a Home Depot only fifteen miles from the Royal Gorge. I think it would be cool if Murphy gazed at the death trap for a moment, hopped in his car, went and bought some cable cutters, and simply disabled the trap.)
So when he actually gets there and stuffs the envelope down his shirt and starts on his long trek back (damn, but he’s stupid), Meth calls out to him from some unseen vantage point, “almost causing Murphy to lose his balance.”
Reason #72 why you don’t head out there, hanging by your own two hands from a cable, without some kind of safety gear. Reason #87 why you should have gotten cable cutters in the first place.
And hell, this is stupid on Meth’s part, too. It’s been established in the previous two books that Meth actually intend for Murphy to succeed in these little tests. He just wants to make his little puppet dance a bit first. So when he sees that Murphy has taken the stupidest and deadliest path to the prize, why startle him and potentially get him killed, when you don’t want him dead???
But I guess now Meth does want him dead, because he cuts the foot cable. Murphy sensibly swings his legs onto the top cable, so now he’s hanging onto that one by both hand and foot, but then Meth cuts the top cable, too.
And Murphy immediately slides right off the cable and plummets to his ignoble death.
HA! Yeah, right. Murphy is an action hero, so he hangs on to a cable as he falls 75 feet and doesn’t let go or slide off.
Damn, LaPhillips, I thought you guys watched Temple of Doom. At least there they wrapped their arms multiple times before falling. I mean, it was still ridiculous, but that made it slightly less so.
Also, Indiana Jones has way more cred than Murphy.
Murphy has “moments” before he hits the wall of the canyon. (Really?) And he is “able to hold on.” (Of course.) But then he slips about 20 feet down the cable, and “his hands were shredded.” (I told you so, Murph! Wishing you had brought those gloves now, aren’t ya?)
He climbs the cable up the canyon wall, then finds a little ledge where he has some water and a power bar, then has a nap.
This ledge is five feet by four feet. And it’s a thousand-foot drop.
I thought you weren’t supposed to fall asleep in a sky cell. Bad things can happen. (Pic from Game of Thrones Wiki)
Then a page is spent telling us how Murphy makes prussic knots out of his belt and knapsack, and uses them to scale the rest of the wall to the tippy-top. So sounds like his shredded hands healed right up. This passage is clearly meant to make Murphy seem resourceful, but it again just makes him look stupid for not coming prepared.
At the top, Murphy finds that Meth has left a scale that I don’t care about, and a note that says, “BABYLON–375 METERS DIRECTLY NORTHEAST OF THE HEAD.”
And he finally remembers the envelope, which contains crushed plaster.
And I’ve officially given up on understanding Meth. I mean, the lion in the warehouse, I got. He had some measure of control there. But the cave? Much less control. And here? Well, Murphy’s own stupidity obviously contributed, but unless Meth strung up an invisible net we don’t know about, he seems to have been just fine with Murphy dying whenever.
Guys, I just don’t get Meth anymore.