The chapter begins with Vicki and Darrion and Maggie all together in Maggie's car, watching the street very closely. They talk for a little bit. Apparently Natalie's original plan on how to free Charlie (no mention of the Shairtons) was to spray something in the guard's eyes and make a run for it. Because the eeeevil empire wouldn't dare consider wearing eye protection or even having multiple guards in an area ready to spray bullets. I'll give them credit for this much: even they admit that that plan probably wouldn't work.
Maggie is going to stay behind for when the GC come back. She says she'll spin a BS tale about how these teenage girls forced their way into her home.
Natalie and the Deputy Commander are driving Charlie around trying to get him to spill on where the hideout is. Uh, guys, you know what might work better than just driving around and hoping he spills the beans? Good old-fashioned torture. I mean, you are supposed to be an eeevil global dictatorship, so I doubt you'd have many moral objections to it so what the hell: why not torture a confession out of the guy.
Natalie secretly dials Vicki and pretends to handcuff Charlie. Meanwhile, Maggie calls the deputy commander and spins her little story about how the girls forced their way in.
Vicki and Darrion hide in Maggie's car as the GC approaches. Right, because the eeevil global dictatorship wouldn't turn over every nook and cranny near the place where two fugitives from justice were last seen.
The deputy commander order Natalie to stay with Charlie and goes to Maggie's house. When he goes in back, Natalie opens the car door, grabs Charlie, and they run to the car where Vicki and Darrion are hiding. If you're wondering Natalie chooses to stay behind and let Vicki and Darrion get Charlie out of there.
:massages temples: The reason they give for why this works is that the deputy commander is arrogant and won't wait for backup because he wants to get them himself, but this is still gotta be the stupidest plan that ever worked. Except for maybe Superman defeating Nuclear Man by blocking out the sun, but let's not bring up Superman IV.
Next chapter, Vicki mashes the accelerator and GTFO there, finally demonstrating an ounce of sense. Natalie throws off the deputy commander by lying on the wet grass, spraying her eyes with mace, and screaming. As the GC head off in the direction Vicki and the others went, Maggie comes out of her house, takes Natalie in, and helps her wash out her eyes. Yeah, because there's no such thing as electronic listening devices that the GC could have left behind in order to monitor Maggie in case the girls came back.
Next section, after so many chapters with him being barely mentioned, we hear from Judd. Woo...
Judd is browsing the website, thinking about whether or not to go with Z-van to Jerusalem, and reading responses. He reads this response:
Dear Young Trib Force,
I am seventeen and a believer in Jesus. I have been visiting New Babylon with my parents. My father is a huge supporter of N. C. and came to pay his respects at the funeral. He and my mother do not know of my faith in Christ. My father wants me to work for the GC. Though I’m still in high school, I have a number of skills with computers. The GC have given us a free apartment until I can be processed for employment. The last thing I want to do is work for the Global Community, but my father insists. We have had arguments and he will not listen. Me working for Carpathia is an honor greater than anything my father can imagine. Can you help me? I have only two believers I can talk to right now.
Please write as soon as possible.
I'm going to assume C.W. is Chang Wong aka the guy who ends up getting the mark of the beast yet somehow doesn't lose his salvation and aka further proof of Ellanjay's tin ear when it comes to naming foreign characters. At least it's better than Ming Toy.
Judd decides the smart thing to do is to arrange a meeting with this C.W. because there's no way he could be pretending to be a believer in order to entrap them. :eyeroll:
Vicki and Darrion and Charlie are on the run, trying to hide from the GC. But Charlie wants to go back and rescue the Shairtons. Turns out Natalie was unable to get to them. In a well-written novel, the heroes would be forced to accept that the Shairtons are likely dead and be struck to the bone by the consequences of rebelling against a global dictatorship, but being that this is Ellanjay, they barely touch on it. Vicki tells Charlie that they can't go back and have to keep on moving.
Next we get some good albeit out of place writing as Vicki thinks about her family. While the section is well-written I object to it, primarily because when they're on the run from the GC, they shouldn't have much time to spend in contemplation. They should be cold, hungry, and miserable as they try to plan their next move. But I will post a small portion of this section because it did stay with me.
“I’m okay,” Vicki said. “I was just thinking about my sister petting those farm animals. She always laughed when she fed the goats. For some reason I can’t remember her face anymore. I try hard, but …”
A light flashed inside a house behind them. Tears ran down Vicki’s cheeks as she started the car and headed for the main road.
This is the first time in God-only-knows-how-many pages that Vicki has mentioned her family who was slaughtered in the Rapture. It also marks the only sign of any psychological trauma after having witnessed so many horrific disasters back to back. And what comfort does Ellanjay's theology have to offer Vicki? That she's concentrated evil otherwise Zod would have slaughtered her too.