So as said before by both me and Fred, Ellanjay like to simultaneously argue that their interpretation is the most simple, straightforward way of interpreting the Bible, yet at the same time, they argue that you need the careful guidance of prophecy "experts" such as themselves along with countless supplemental materials in order to interpret it properly. Or as I put in last week's post, the Bible should be taken literally except when it shouldn't and we should rely on them to tell us when to take it literally and when not to take it literally.
Vicki asks Shelly "Are you sure you saw what you saw?" Shelly, of course, says yes, but we don't dwell on that question for too long as apparently those people who were following them, the man in the truck and the woman in the car, are back on their tail. The woman manages to shoot out one of their tires, sending the van into a ditch. It goes without saying that none of them are seriously hurt and this has all the dramatic tension of me stubbing my toe because the YTF have already been through who-knows-how many arrests and disasters without so much as a bruise to show for it. I know I say that a lot but it bears repeating.
In Israel, Mr. Stein is walking towards the Jerusalem GC headquarters preaching. Now in a sensible novel, the snipers on the roof would just spray him full of lead, but in this novel, when faced with a man openly preaching doctrine against the world-wide dictatorship, they just bluster. I would say the GC is about as intimidating as wet cardboard painted lime-green and neon-pink, but wet cardboard could conceivably cut you which is more than what the GC does.
The GC goes to tackle Mr. Stein to the ground, when suddenly the air fills with the smell of sulfur and the horses with the lion-heads appear. Oh and apparently these lion-headed horses have snakes for tails. I point this out simply to remind you that this is what they mean by taking the Bible literally.
The Israel section ends with a passage that's horrifying but for all the wrong reasons.
Woodruff gasped and tried to speak. Before he could utter a word, a horse moved toward them and turned, its tail crashing into Woodruff’s back. The man flew into the air like a child’s toy and crashed into the building. His limp body fell to the sidewalk.
Judd shuddered. How could the horses strike with such force when they weren’t physical beings? He and the others had walked directly through them!
Lionel reached the deputy commander’s body and checked his pulse.
He shook his head. “Let’s go,” Mr. Stein said.
And Deputy Commander Woodruff is now burning in the fires of Hell for all eternity even though all these disasters are supposed to be Zod's attempt to reach people before, well, some indeterminate time in which he can't reach people anymore.
I feel like the MST3K crew watching Space Mutiny. I tried to track down the clip that sprang immediately to mind: "Our Hero bravely roasts the disabled man." But I'm afraid I couldn't find it on YouTube, so settle for some clips from the Space Mutiny episode and marvel at how even the stuff on MST3K is more involving than this.
Anyway, the chapter ends with Vicki and her crew facing down the man and the woman but honestly I'm so bored, I'm just going to fast-forward through the entire confrontation. Trust me, you'll thank me for this because once again, nothing happens to our heroes. The Lion-headed snake-tailed horsemen kill the people confronting them.
Next chapter, the kids at the Schoolhouse are watching and sniggering as the GC try desperately to deal with/explain what the hell is happening. Naturally are sympathies are once again with the GC as they seemed genuinely shocked by the loss of life/freakiness of the events happening unlike the moralistic prigs that make up the YTF. Melinda, aka one of the godless heathens who stubbornly refuses to convert, comes in during the newscast. Naturally they try to convert her but she says she doesn't want to convert just because she's scared of dying and I can't help but once again, say that she probably has a healthier attitude towards God than the YTF who see him as their personal strongman, but unfortunately, the authors aren't on her side. It's the murderous Zod that runs this universe.
Nicky Bendeleben comes on and makes his speech. For once, Nicky's demonstrating some villain credentials as he pins the cause of this disaster on a hated minority and uses it as an excuse to stir up more people against said minority.
“You have the right to live healthy, peaceful, and free. While I remain against war, I pledge to rid the world of this cult, beginning with the Jerusalem Twosome, who even now express no remorse about the widespread loss of life that has resulted from this attack.”
Gotta give Nicky credit: he's got the RTCs' number here. Not only do the Gruesome Twosome (my nickname of choice for the prophets) not express remorse; they're openly gleeful about the attack.
“Woe to the enemies of the most high God!” they said. “Woe to the cowards who shake their fist at their creator and are now forced to flee his wrath! We beseech you, snakes and vipers, to see even this plague as more than judgment! Yea, it is yet another attempt to reach you by a loving God who has run out of patience. There is no more time to woo you. You must hearken to his call, see that it is he who loves you. Turn to the God of your fathers while there is still time. For the day will come when time shall be no more!”
I could go into a long rant about how the villains are much more sympathetic because they at least show some concern for the loss of human life and I could also rant about how the Gruesome Twosome are horrible preachers who make the bum ranting on a street corner sound like Martin Luther King, Jr. but my real problem is that Nicky is only now taking care of some possible threats to his rule? Why didn't he demand the worldwide media under his control stop broadcasting his message? I know supposedly according to the convoluted prophecy that Ellanjay follow that the Gruesome Twosome can't die before a specific time (four months from now according to Ellanjay), but why does Nicky not simply make the news stations cut their mikes and go to commercials?
Carpathia continued. “We shall live in a utopia of peace and harmony with no more war, no more bloodshed, no more death. In the meantime, please accept my deepest personal condolences over the loss of your loved ones. They shall not have died in vain. Continue to trust in the ideals of the Global Community, in the tenets of peace, and in the genius of an all-inclusive universal faith that welcomes the devout of any religion.
“Just four months from now we shall celebrate in the very city where the preachers now taunt and warn us. We shall applaud their demise and revel in a future without plague and disease and suffering and death. Keep the faith, and look forward to that day. And until I address you again, thank you for your loyal support of the Global Community.”
So in the space of a paragraph, Nicky has gone from being "Let's hold hands and sing Kumbaya" to "And you will know that I am the Supreme Potentate when I lay my vengence upon thee!" And once again, the underlying assumption is that all pacifists secretly yearn for bloodshed. Again, Ellanjay must have nightmares about being caught in an alleyway with Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The chapter ends with Judd and the others freeing Nada and her family but just as the jailer comes in and fires his gun. I read ahead and part of me wants to spoil what little suspense their is by pointing out who got shot, but you guys can go ahead and browse wikipedia if you're that curious. Me, I've had enough for this week.