There's a bunch of cloak and dagger stuff here, the usual stuff about secret combinations and such that shouldn't apply in a no-child post-apocalyptic world which I will mostly ignore because it's so goddanged boring. It's like reading a Hardy Boys mystery except that even the Hardy Boys occasionally did stuff; it was rare but it happened. Just know that Judd is still with the pilot and even though this is an eeevil NWO EBOWF world, Vicki and the others face no serious consequences for blabbing about Jesus at every available opportunity.
Anyway, Lionel is traveling with the friend (Nathan) when a man walks up, gives him a wad of cash, and suddenly starts calling Nathan "Chuck", and ends up being taken by a man named Tom. Something tells me that all though in the real world, this wouldn't end well for a teenage boy, in Ellanjayland, he'll escape just fine. Remember Ryan is the Butt Monkey of this series.
Meanwhile, Vicki, who for some reason is still in school even though the world has about five years or less left so there really shouldn't be any reason for her to attend school because there isn't going to be a goddanged future, is forced to, along with her friend, Shelly, attend an eeevil NWO assembly. Here's a part that not only made me headdesk, but is forcing me to swear like a sailor. I'm frankly not bothered by profanity--I've heard the full spectrum of every variation on every word--but for those who are, you might want to scroll down a bit because I'm about to get sweary.
The speaker began by asking how many people had lost family members and friends in the last two years. Every hand went up.
WELL OF COURSE EVERY FUCKING HAND WENT UP! EVERY FUCKING CHILD ON THE PLANET DISAPPEARED TWO FUCKING YEARS AGO NOT TO MENTION THE BOMBINGS ON NINE NORTH AMERICAN CITIES! EVEN IF YOU CAME FROM HEARTY EEEVIL ATHEIST STOCK, YOU'RE STILL BOUND TO KNOW SOMEONE WHO FUCKING DISAPPEARED! ARRGH!
Oh and here are the words of an eeevil atheist. Look upon them and despair!
"You have the power within yourself to overcome anything," the woman said. "No matter how bad your situation, if you learn to trust yourself and your feelings, you can become the person the Global Community needs."
So it's the eevil atheists that leave people to their own devices. Funny, because in the real world, the RTCs usually say, "God helps those who help themselves" and leave you to hang. BTW, if you knew that phrase wasn't in the Bible, help yourself to bonus points. Even more points if you know who actually said it.
"I can tell you loved your brother very much," the woman said to the freshman at the front of the room. "And I can tell you where he is right now. You have him right in your heart. You have to keep your brother alive. And you have to trust yourself to do that."
Vicki rolled her eyes. She was up next.
And the message our compassionate RTC Vicki is going to deliver is that the freshman's brother is in hell being slowly burned alive at the hand of this compassionate Zod she serves. Our heroine, boys and girls.
So Vicki speaks up.
"Yes," Vicki said. "If you knew for sure where a person was after they had died, wouldn't that be the best hope of all?"
Because of course, the way to comfort someone who has lost a close friend and/or family member is to tell them said family member is suffering without end all because they wouldn't or couldn't kneel before Zod then try to chalk up another for Zod on your fuselage. That's the Christianly thing to do.
But of course, the eeevil atheists are shocked by Vicki's question and ignore her until they are forced to address her.
"All right," the woman said, trying to regain control. "If a person knew what happened after a loved one had died, in a psychological sense that would give him or her hope. But we have to deal with reality here. And the reality is, we can't know what's beyond this life until we've gone there."
Vicki in response to this is like "WRONG!" and when her classmates are like "Who died and made you God?" she goes into the "There is none righteous" spiel. The eevil Mrs Jenness tells her to sit down and surprisingly she does even though getting expelled would allow her to chalk up more martyr points on her fuselage, but I guess only manly men like Judd get that priviledge.
Anyway, the chapter ends with Lionel heading towards Memphis and Ryan being grabbed by Global Community security. Damn kid's getting to be as bad as Mokuba Kaiba when it comes to being kidnapped. I thought about doing a second chapter but this post turned out to be longer than I thought so you'll have to put up with just one chapter.