Sam apparently hasn't fully sipped the RTC flavor-aid and manages to ask some pointed questions about their theology. Unfortunately, he's satisfied with their weaksauce answers.
Here's a sampling:
“Why does God even allow somebody like Carpathia to live?” Sam said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
“God’s plan has been in place since the beginning of time,” Mr. Stein said. “Satan and his evil angels and all who follow them are merely part of God’s divine design. Satan is God’s devil, and he only gets away with what God allows him to.”
So okay, God created Satan and Satan is only doing what God told him to do, which is be evil and unleash massive amounts of suffering, doesn't that make God, I don't know, somewhat evil himself?
Again, at least with the Elder Gods, Lovecraft had the good sense to know that while the Elder Gods may be fearsome and powerful, they sure as hell couldn't qualify as good. Lovecraft may have been an all-around bigot but at least he had that much sense.
“But if God knew all this bad stuff was going to happen …” Sam paused and looked at Mr. Stein. His lip quivered. “God knew my dad wouldn’t respond to the message, but he made him anyway. I don’t understand.”
Mr. Stein put a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “And neither do I. How can we understand someone whose wisdom and knowledge are so far above our own? But I do know this. If your father had never existed, neither would you. And you would not have had the opportunity to follow Christ.”
I keep trying to create a coherent response to this but all I can do is vomit with rage. Just that if Sam never existed, it wouldn't matter one way or another; he wouldn't care because he wouldn't exist to care.
So they start discussing who will kill Nicky.
“I would think the person who kills Nicolae will be filled with anger,” Mr. Stein said. “He will no doubt be desperate, willing to sacrifice his life for something he feels is right.”
“Will the person be insane?” Lionel said. “Perhaps,” Mr. Stein said. “But he may believe it to be the most sane thing he’s ever done in his life. He will be desperate but cunning. To get close enough to the potentate to inflict this kind of wound will be an impressive accomplishment.”
So I'm confused...doesn't St. Rayford participate in the attempted assassination? So apparently the "doing nothing" ethos is lifted only for that one moment and only because it won't do anybody any good. aunursa, you wanna help me make sense of this again? Sorry to keep calling on you, but sometimes the illogic renders my capacity moot.
Meanwhile on Vicki's end, she's babysitting Tolan, which leads to her thinking of the kids she used to look after around the trailer park, which leads to the admission that most of them died in the plagues
There's a fairly realistic albeit boring conversation in there about boys, which I won't get into, even though it's a rare moment when the narrative gas eases off and let's its protags be teenage girls for awhile.
Anyway that moment ends pretty quickly as they begin looking over a pamphlet about Nicky's new schools.
The world we see today is very different from the one we knew a few years ago. People of all ages are looking for answers. For young people, this is a stressful time. You’ve lost family and friends. You want to know what will happen in the future. That’s why Potentate Nicolae Carpathia and the leaders in education around the world have teamed to bring you Global Community Satellite Schools. You don’t need math and science right now. You don’t need tests in English composition. You need to know how to survive. Potentate Carpathia wants every young person to fulfill his or her destiny. He says, “If you want to make a difference for the good of humankind, attend the opening session of the new satellite school in your area. You are the future of the Global Community. We need you.”
Okay, I'll give Ellanjay credit: it sounds like Nicky is more interested in creating an army of child soldiers than in schooling the next generation. I'll give them credit: that actually makes sense seeing as Nicky knows there isn't going to be a future so he'll concentrate on winning as many to his side as he can.
So they discuss who's going to go to the new schools. Vicki and Darrion have their fake IDs ready, Conrad isn't going (he felt it'd be too risky seeing as he's a former morale monitor). Janie, aka Godless Heathen, walks in and announces she wants to go, saying she'll go in disguise like the rest of them, and we get this very callous moment from our brave Christian heroes.
When Janie left, Mark said, “Maybe Janie going would be the best thing. The GC would catch her, and she becomes their problem.”
“I’ve been praying for that girl ever since I became a believer,” Lenore said. “I’d hate to see anything happen to her.”
“How long do you keep praying for somebody?” Vicki said.
The room fell silent. Vicki wondered if there was any chance that Janie would ever believe.
Next chapter, Judd and Kasim talk about Nada. Apparently Kasim is pissed at Judd believing that if Judd had only loved Nada as much as she had loved him then Nada would still be alive. Not entirely sure how this works, but it does make my little black heart cackle with glee whenever the YTF are chewed out. But Kasim is still going to go through with his plan to assassinate Nicky and begs Judd to keep quiet about it and that's where that section ends.
So Vicki is in line to get into the GC school when she runs into Marjorie Amherst aka the girl who
Vicki goes into the auditorium where they run a videotape of Nicky welcoming them to the school. I would snark it but there's really nothing to snark. It's like all of his speeches: filled with bland pleasantries. We're supposed to find it either inspiring or chilling but it succeeds at neither.
I'm afraid I'm going to leave you there. Yeah, the second chapter snarked was kind of short, but I read ahead and there's a long one coming up, so this will have to tide you over until then.