Okay, so second chapter, the YTF guys, including two new members, cousins named Mark and John and yes, that is intentional, dicuss what to do if questioned about the newspaper.
"What if Coach Handlesman confronts you and asks you point-blank if you had anything to do with the Underground. Would you lie?"
Finally some kind of moral query in this universe. It's not quite, "Would you lie to protect the Jews you're hiding from the Nazis?" level query but at least we're starting to probe into whether absolute morality works in an unstable world. Here's a hint for those not into philosophy: it doesn't. Morality can only be absolute under a stable society, i.e. one where there are checks and balances on government power and minority rights are guaranteed. Just ask Paul Rusesabagina if you don't believe me. For those of you who don't know who Paul Rusesabagina is, he ran a hotel during the Rwandan genocide and used his influence to wheel and deal and protect the Tutsis he was sheltering in his hotel. Over a thousand people owe him their lives because he :gasp: lied and double-dealed in order to keep them alive.
Sorry about that philosophical rant. Now here's Judd's response to the query.
"Either God is in this or he isn't," Judd said. "If he wants us to do this, we gotta do it. He'll protect us. He'll give us. He'll give us the answers when we need them. We have to believe that."
"He either protects us or takes us to heaven," Ryan said. "Either way, we can't lose."
"I'm not ready yet," Lionel said. "I mean, I want to be. I'd love to be a martyr, especially since I knew better and should have been ready for the rapture, but I'm scared. I'm sorry but I am."
Wait, backup a minute...So far the gravest threat I've heard them mention in the text is the possibility of expulsion which would be bad, but it's hardly Rwanda circa 1994. So far no one's mentioned any real life-threatening consequences for their actions; I haven't heard of anyone being shot or strung up and buried in a mass grave for their witness. So I can't help but conclude that our heroes are being more than just a little meleodramatic by indulging in martyrdom fantasies.
Fred already talked about the zeal RTCs have for martyrdom fantasies so I won't discuss them here. Instead I'll point you towards Fred's words on the topic: Martyr Envy
Where's Vicki you might ask? Well, while the boys are doing manly stuff like talking about martyrdom, Vicki is riding the bus after receiving a mysterious phone call in the previous chapter telling her to do so. Sorry I didn't tell you about it but it was so boring I didn't feel a need to inform you about it.
Anyway, it turns out the person who called her was Shelly, aka the only character who's acting like a human right now. Shelly collapses on the bus and it turns out she had swallowed a bottle of her mom's sleeping pills, which again is a perfectly human reaction. If something were to happen to my family, I know I would lose my shit in ways I can't imagine. Heck, I have a hard time keeping it together to get through exams, and losing my family would be like an exam times a million. So naturally my sympathy is with Shelly. I keep hoping she will escape like Tom Fogarty apparently did because we haven't heard from him in ages.
But we don't linger to long on Shelly, back to the guys who got super-duper special watches. I'm not kidding.
He pulled from his front pocket what looked like a pager. It had a screen about as thick as a pizza crust and was a little bigger than a watch.
"My dad was beta testing these," John said. "It works like a pager, but it's radio frequency controlled. You enter a message on the screen and send it to whoever you want who has a receiver. Instantly. No phone calls, no modem."
That sound you hear is me laughing. Again, as Fred puts it, Ellanjay failed to see the rise of cell phones even though this book was published in 1999 when cell phone use was starting to become common.
Anyway, the boys print off more copies of their paper and make plans to spread their paper around school and that's the end of that chapter.
BTW, if you're wondering about the post title, don't. I just couldn't think of anything so I though "The Weather Underground" would make a nice pun.