Judd and Lionel discuss whether Z-Van's going to betray them to the GC, but given that they're in an airplane headed to New Babylon, there really isn't much they can do. They talk to the pilot, Westin, who mentions seeing the GT's resurrection. There's no word about Westin having the Super Special Awesome Zod-Mark but given how he talks, chances are he's either an RTC or about to become one.
Meanwhile Vicki and the American branch of the YTF are watching the news and thinking about Charlie. It's not really snarkworthy, just them watching the news and seeing people of all shapes and sizes mourn Nicky and of course, the YTF snicker at all this and talk about how they got it all figured out.
You think I'm kidding about the "talking about how they all got it figured out?" Here's an example.
A religious expert was called on to explain the phenomenon. He said that since the leaders of the Global Community and the One World Faith were dead, Carpathia and Mathews, people would try to fill that gap in many ways. The expert said that people turning to Jesus Christ was a fairly recent craze that began shortly after the vanishings.
“Dr. Ben-Judah created an uproar, particularly among Jews, when at the end of the live, globally televised airing of his views he announced that Jesus the Christ was the only person in history to fulfill all the messianic prophecies, and that the vanishings were evidence that he had already come.”
“So why doesn't this expert have the mark of the believer?” Janie said.
“This guy knows his facts, but he doesn't know God personally,” Vicki said.
“And he’s right about people looking for something to fill the hole Carpathia left in their lives. Tsion says a lot of people will still believe the truth, but many more will follow false teachers.”
Ah, the anti-intellectualism...that never gets old.
Vicki then turns to Matthew 24:21-24. For those not in the now, here's how that section goes.
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.
Note the plural "christs" and "prophets." Can't help but think this refers to all time, not a particular seven-year time frame at some undetermined point in the future. I wish I was better educated in the Bible like Fred, but that's my interpretation: that it sounds more like "Beware of David Koresh!" than "Beware of a polyglot promising peace."
“So there are going to be people pretending to do miracles?” Janie said.
“Not pretending,” Vicki said. “They’re going to perform miracles, and a lot of people are going to think they’re from God.”
Again, I lack Fred's expertise, but how would the average laymen, unversed in Ellanjay's convoluted interpretation, be able to tell the difference between honest-to-God according to Doyle miracle and the ones Vicki is talking about? I mean, if the anti-Christ manages to regrow your amputated arm, would you really know or care?
Meanwhile, the plane is landing and Judd and Lionel are going, "Oh what do we do!" as they see GC vehicles approaching the plane. But Z-Van, continuing to be awesome, is like "You think the GC's interested in a pair of kids." He says that he's going to meet with one of Fortunado's aides at a press conference and that he's taking them with him. Lionel and Judd are aghast and are like "No, don't invite us."
But Z-Van drags them along anyway, introducing them as the guys who saved his life. Judd and Lionel receive invites to Nicky's funeral and the section ends with Judd saying to Lionel, "We've got to find some disguises."
In America, Vicki finally hears from Charlie. We then get a fairly effective scene as the GC storms the farmhouse where he lives with Ginny and Bo. The chapter ends with her hearing Ginny scream about them pouring gasoline. I have to admit, I didn't like this secondhand approach when it was Taylor and Hasina, mostly because Taylor and Hasina are so much more awesome than all the Tribbles combined, but it works here.
Second chapter, Vicki tells the others about what happened to Charlie. Apparently that's the GC's new tactic: torching the houses of believers with them still inside. I have to admit, while I think they can choose a more effective way of dealing with believers, this still is pretty effective. The fire sends a visual message to any believers that might be in the area: this could happen to you.
They then realize that they hadn't heard from Natalie in a while. They pray for her and Charlie and that's where Vicki's section ends.
Next all that happens is Judd and Lionel and Z-Van proceed pass Nicky's body. Then they receive an invite that Fortunado wants to meet with them personally and the section ends there.
Vicki hears from Natalie that she's okay but is being watched carefully. That's all.
Judd and Lionel and Z-Van are meeting with Leon Fortunado. For those wondering, Judd's disguise consists of a robe and a turban, which is only slightly better than Our Buck disguising himself with a baseball cap.
Z-Van's working on a new song which he'll sing at the funeral. Oh and Guy Blod makes an appearance in this series. Me, after what I've heard about him from other readers of the adult books, am a little disappointed. I was hoping for so much more campiness and flaming but there's barely any in this.
But fear not, Judd isn't recognized (though how Fortunado would be expected to remember one smart-aleck kid from a few years ago, is beyond me). He and Lionel are led to some penthouses to stay in.
“I feel guilty for sleeping in this kind of luxury while other people are on the street,” Lionel said.
Judd nodded. “Do you think it’s happened yet?”
It's kind of odd that Lionel would say all this, given that both Rayford and Bucky live pretty comfortably while the unbelievers outside die horribly. I don't think I've seen either the Tribbles or the YTF actually tend to the poor.
The chapter ends with Judd saying "We've gotta do whatever it takes to get home."
And that's my snark for this week.