TEC: Chapter 58: A Nightmare

You know what is the mark of a stand-up guy who really cares about you?  When he smiled at your discomfort.

[Isis] was halfway through the mess line for breakfast when she had the eerie feeling that she was being watched.  Murphy smiled as he noticed her discomfort.

“Is there something wrong?” he asked, grinning.

Yeah, asshole.  You, a man who professes to love me, thinks it’s funny when I feel creeped out.

Turns out Isis felt eerier because 60 Marines were staring her down like they’ve never seen a female of the species before in their lives.  And when Isis tells her friends that it feels “embarrassing,” they laugh at her.

Man, these boys’ll fit right into Donald Trump’s America.

Then Colonel Davis arrives.  Once again, Phillips just copies off a much better writer, referencing Davis’s crushing handshake, aviator shades, and owning of a bulldozer.

Hilariously, Davis has to caution the archeologists to be “very careful” when they use said bulldozer, so as not to “damage any ancient artifacts.”  Makes it sound like Murphy was just planning to level Babylon with it, which I wouldn’t put past him, really.

Actually, even leveling Babylon is giving Murphy too much credit–he just sits back as the Marines drag the sled around.  The only contribution Murphy makes is the 3×5 card on which he’s written the directions from Meth that he got way back at the beginning of the book.


Hell, it’s Jassim who uses his compass, and Jassim who paces out the distance.  Then when they find the proper spot, it’s the Marines who jump in with shovels and start digging.  During all this, Murphy does NOTHING, just stands back and watches.  Indiana Jones would be so proud.

Finally, the Marines lift a big stone with a backhoe, and a staircase into a tunnel is revealed.  Because of course.

(By the way, how the hell did Meth manage to do this all by himself?  Because obviously he did, given the artifacts and clues he brought to Murphy.  I thought he was an elderly man.  Guess he still has more muscle and guts than Murph.)

“Captain Drake, you can tell your men to rest while we go exploring.” [said Murphy]

“Because damned if I’m going to let any of these randoms take credit for my glorious discovery!”

So Murphy, Isis, Jassim, and Bingbing head into the tunnel.  Now, I’m no expert, but I can only imagine that archeologists have some means of keeping track of where they’re going in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Did you bring your bread crumbs, Will?” [asked Murphy]

“No, but I do have my knife, and I can scrape arrows on the all.”

“That will really preserve the archeological site,” Isis exclaimed.

“It sure beats getting lost.”

Frack you, Bingberg.  Why does the linguist care more about preserving this site than you, the archeologist?

Murphy laughed.  “Let’s try it for a while without marking the walls.  I think all we’ll have to do is follow our footprints in the dust.”

“Ha ha!  Coming to this site utterly unprepared is such a blast!”

Oh, and lest anyone guess that Meth hired and sent in some kind of team of his own, Our Heroes soon discover a set of footprints.  One set of footprints, of a man with a limp.  And to top it all off, they then discover a huge stone wall which is a secret door.  It takes all three men pushing to heave it open.

“Well, we’ve learned something else about Methuselah,” Murphy said with a grunt.

“What’s that?” Isis asked.

“We now know that he’s a very strong man.  He pushed the wall door open all by himself.”

Damn.  These “men” ought to be ashamed of themselves right now.  Maybe Murphy needs to spend more time at the gym and less watching Marines do his work for him, when an elderly and mobility-impaired man did a job that Murphy could barely do with two other men.  I mean, damn damn.

So of course, they immediately, and I do mean immediately, like within a few minutes of entering the tunnel, find the temple treasury.  There’s just piles of gold and goblets and plates and shit lying around.  This prompts some mild exclaiming and photographing, but mostly involves Murphy whining about Meth: he has a cackling laugh and weird sense of humor and sends Murph on weird quests and obviously believes Bible stories.

“That’s enough to give someone a nightmare,” Bingman murmured.


“That’s a good way to put it, Will.  Methuselah is a nightmare.”

“Yeah, what a nightmare that guy is, with his leading me to priceless biblical artifacts that have brought me fame and glory beyond my wildest dreams.  That evil bastard!”



Posted on November 16, 2016, in The Europa Conspiracy. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. To be fair, Indiana Jones isn’t a very good archaeologist either. In the movies, he frequently wrecks archaeological sites to get the MacGuffin. But at least Indiana Jones puts in some effort to find the sites himself, and he’s not a complete idiot like Murphy. And unlike Murphy, Indiana Jones isn’t a creepy asshole to any of his love interests.

  2. You can sort of reverse-engineer the thinking. Here’s a buried thing, it’s going to be difficult to get access, so OK, I need the Marines to excavate it. Then I’ll forget all about that and talk about how Meth planted the treasure, without considering how he got through that mass of stone. Ooh a butterfly.

    • Except apparently he did think about how Methuselah got through the mass of stone, and declared him massively strong. If this was a better author, I’d think we were heading for a “Methuselah is an angel” reveal, but LaHaye/Dinallo probably won’t have someone Murphy called a nightmare be an angel. He’s most likely a demon. It’s not like you can derive someone’s moral alignment from their actions in LaHaye/Dinallo’s worldview.

      • It wasn’t the big heavy door I was thinking of, it was all the digging the Marines had to do to expose the staircase at all.

      • I’m actually leaning towards angel myself. My main objection to that theory is actually that it’d require a degree of self-awareness on the part of the authors: Meth was constantly pseudo-threatening Murphy and insulting his religion would indeed be a great way to motivate an RTC to action. Indeed, that’s how Republican and religious leaders have been spurring their flock into action for decades, by telling them that they’re being persecuted and insulted for their faith (Thus, Trump).

        So Meth making him a nuisance, or “nightmare” to Murphy just to get Murphy off his lazy ass not teaching class and into action (relatively, all the searching and digging he subcontracts, he just keeps the last, most glamorous part of the work for himself, but hey) is plausible. But it’d be surprising if LaHaye wants to admit that this is plausible, as he’s using and being used by that racket himself.

        Then again, the review of Anonymous Tip over at Love Joy Feminism shows that even wignut propaganda pieces can sometimes show a degree of self-awareness. There’s the charlatan who only needs to babble a bit of religious lingo at the protagonist to convince them he’s one of them, and then using their court case to raise big donations from Christians rushing to their defense, only to pocket most of that money himself. And when the RTC man who really wants to marry a divorced woman but feels that’d be a sin because he thinks her ex is still her husband till death do them part. But when that husband actually dies, the woman gets suspicious of the RTC because of all the times he let slip how much he’d love to marry her if only her ex wasn’t alive.

  3. It’s weird to have this problem of “How did Meth get the hints” being treated so explicitly here, when it was just taken for granted that he’d gotten a piece of the Ark in the last book.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for November 18th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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