So Mark takes the microphone, steps up, and delivers this speech.
“If I could have your attention,” Mark said into the microphone. The room hushed and Mark began to sweat. He cleared his throat as people looked at him. “My friends and I have been talking with some of you about what’s happened the past three years. We’ve found something that’s made sense, and we’d like to share it with any of you who want to listen.”
“What are you talking about?” a woman in the back yelled.
“By listening to people who know the Bible, we believe that what happened in New Babylon was predicted a long time ago. And things are going to get worse.”
“Hey, pal,” Quin’s father said, “Carpathia just rose from the dead. I’d say that’s a good thing.”
“That depends on what you believe about Carpathia. If we’re right, he’ll make everybody worship him and take some kind of identifier on their forehead or their right hand.”
“Why shouldn’t we worship him?” Quin’s father said. “If he can come back from the dead he has to be god.”
“Let the kid talk,” someone said.
“Fine, but I get my say too! For all we know, this guy set the fire.”
Mark looked nervously around the room. He hadn’t planned on starting a debate; he simply wanted to tell people the truth. Now all eyes were on him. “If you want to follow Carpathia, that’s your decision. But if you feel like there’s something wrong with the whole Global Community, please come up front.”
Y'know you could point out that the GC's actions and values don't seem to match but Taylor "Too Awesome for this World" Graham seemed to be the only one who pointed out, "Hey they preach about freedom yet at the same time, they're imprisoning people like crazy and they preach peace but they sure love war."
What happens next is a standard altar call where they say the same prayer that's been said by every character, because as Fred has put it many times, Ellanjay's theology has more in common with spell-casting than with any Biblical notion of God.
And if you're wondering what consequences these characters face for finally showing some courage by preaching in front of people, the answer is none. They are forced to flee, but not a hair on their heads is harmed. At least when St. Stephen did his sermon, he faced actual, lasting consequences. Now I'm wondering why the Tribbles don't just preach continuously if there are few if any consequences for doing so.
Vicki receives an email from Mark talking about what we witnessed and mentioning that he's in Des Plaines and is willing to help her and Natalie free the Shairtons and Charlie. No word on whether they'll help any of the others imprisoned by the GC, but hey, they are NPCs so what do they care?
Natalie tells Vicki that the GC's lifted her prints and is going door to door with photos. For those of you wondering how Vicki'll escape, worry not. The GC comes to the door and Maggie plays senile and that's enough apparently. There are no consequences at all in this book.
Next chapter is mostly exposition, with Z-Van doing his part by telling Judd (and the readers) about the establishment of Carpathianism. I'll give them a little credit: it's a little less laughable than EBOWF. Once again, it talks about the eeevil mark (which will be a microchip) and I'm bored.
Next section is told primarily from Natalie's perspective. Natalie's like "Let me talk to the prisoners 'cause I know how these religious whackos think" because an eevil organization will totally use teenage girls as interrogators rather than someone more qualified.
Natalie talks to Charlie and tells him that the only way they can free him would be by getting him to lead them to Vicki and Darrion. o_O Okay not exactly sure how that works but given that I'm bored to death, I'll just go with it.
Mark goes to that couple's secret underground bunker.
Colin took him to the other side of the mound. Looking closely, Mark saw tracks on the grass that led to the side of the hill. At the base of the mound was a huge pile of firewood. Colin pointed a handheld device at the wood, and suddenly the pile split in two, revealing an underground bunker. “I poured the concrete and rigged the opening myself,” Colin said. “Must have taken years.” They walked inside and Colin closed the door. “I used to be into the militia. Way before the disappearances I started digging this, storing food and supplies, and getting ready for a nuclear holocaust. I didn’t want to die.”
Again, it amuses me whenever Ellanjay try to take potshots at militias given that they both demonstrate the same conspiracy-addled thinking. The only problem they have with Colin's stockpiling is that he's stockpiling for a nuclear holocaust, not TurboJesus.
Mark asks "Did you know about God?"
“I’d been to church a lot and listened to sermons, but it didn’t sink in. To me the Bible was a codebook with lots of secrets. When my wife finally showed me Tsion Ben-Judah’s Web site, I knew I had missed what the Bible is all about.”
Uh, don't Ellanjay treat the bible like codebook with lots a secrets that with the right
There is a brief moment where Ellanjay ease off and let Vicki and Darrion be teenage girls, by letting them talk about Judd. But it doesn't last long. Natalie calls. Vicki tells her to get out of the organization before they make her get the mark, but Natalie's all "I can do more good on the inside." I'll give her credit: she so far has done more on the inside than St. Rayford and Our Buck. But I'm bored to death, so let's end the snark for this week.