But before we delve into Sabir's backstory, here's his parody of Z-Van's song. Weird Al, he ain't.
Hey, Carpathia, you’re not the risen king;
Hey, Carpathia, you don’t rule anything.
We’ll worship God until we die
And fight against you, Nicolae.
Hey, Carpathia, you’re not the risen king.
We also get this meditative passage from Judd. Given that it's rare that Judd demonstrates any kind of interior life, I feel a need to quote part of it.
As Sabir sang again, Judd thought about some of his old high school friends and how they had laughed together at television programs and movies. With the death and destruction in the world, that carefree spirit was gone. In fact, Judd couldn’t remember when he had laughed this hard. It wasn’t the humor in the words, but the tone of Sabir’s voice, his perfect imitation of Leon Fortunato, and the way he waved his arm over the steering wheel like he was leading a thousand-voice choir.
One of Judd’s favorite phrases, that always angered his father, was “Lighten up!” Judd recalled times when his father’s business wasn’t going well and his dad appeared weighed down with responsibilities. Now, Judd felt that same weight. He knew there would be a time when he could laugh freely again, and this brief chuckle was a taste of what was to come.
It's not great writing but given how rarely we get insight into Judd's thoughts, I'll allow it.
But anyway, back to Sabir's story.
Before becoming a believer, Sabir was, in his own words, a terrorist, who believed that God wanted him to kill as many Israelis as possible. The text doesn't go so far as to actually say that he was a Muslim, though it's clearly on the tip of their tongues. I kind of wonder why they wouldn't flat-out say he was a Muslim. Given that people of their politics love to opine on the evils committed in the name of Allah (while ignoring the evils committed in the name of Jesus), you'd think they'd leap at a chance to proclaim the wrongness of Islam. In short, WTF, Ellanjay? Being all coy about whether Sabir was a Muslim* doesn't make it more palatable to the readers; it makes it more confusing. I'd rather they just say it, then tiptoe around it. I like my bigotry open and honest, rather than using all these dog whistles. [/rant]
Sabir made bombs and helped plan suicide bombings. One of the suicide bombers was his own son and if you guessed that there's no sense of guilt for his son and all the people he led to their deaths (who are now in Hell for all eternity), you're clearly familiar with Ellanjay's tropes.
But with the help of his faithful wife and a vision from God himself, Sabir soon realized that he was following the wrong God of Abraham and with the help of a man named Ezra (whose family was killed in an attack planned by Sabir), he converts. Now I'll admit, that the whole thing with Ezra forgiving Sabir for killing his family was touching but it's spoiled by the fact that Ellanjay may talk a good game about forgiveness but they sure as heck don't follow it. Somehow they don't see the conflict between their TurboJesus and the Jesus of the Bible who prayed, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."
Meanwhile, Vicki has been brainstorming, trying to think of a good family to place Cheryl's baby with, when suddenly she remembers Josey Fogarty. For those of you wondering, who the hell is that, Josie was the wife of a cop named Tom and before she converted, she was into new age sort of stuff.
Next chapter, we're finally in Jerusalem. Judd calls Chang, who tells him what aunursa told me last week about the crash being a ruse. Also the tribbles have constructed a remote airstrip and refueling center under the GC's noses right in the Negev desert. Chang mentions them airlifting people to Petra, which I know is in Jordan. Fred's already gone on and on about how the people of Jordan (along with the other countries Israel's swallowed up) have disappeared so I won't get into that.
Vicki is traveling back to Colin's hideout, thinking about the note Claudia gave her. She writes a response to it, before receiving a phone call from Darrion. Bad news, Tom Fogarty is working for the GC. But those of you with good memories will recall that Tom is basically a good person, rejecting this whole "God's killing people in order to try to get your attention" spiel that Judd tried to sell him, but according to Ellanjay, you can't be good without God. I suspect it'll turn out that Tom will either convert or have been converted by Judd.
The chapter ends with Judd meeting up with Mr. Stein again.
I'll throw in a third chapter because all it that happens is talk. Vicki's trying to find out more about Tom Fogarty, y'know whether he can be trusted or not. Mr. Stein says this headdesker of a statement.
“First, we have to remember the truth about our enemy,” Mr. Stein said. “Satan is much more powerful than any human, but he is still a created being. He will deceive many in the coming days and even scare people into following him, but we must remember that our God is still in control. He will only allow this pretender to continue his charade for a limited time.”
Again, when you think about it, God is responsible for all the evil in this universe. He is letting Satan do all this and killing all these people for shits and giggles essentially. Okay, they claim it's to get people's attention but y'know what might work better. Rearranging the clouds or the stars to say "Tim LaHaye was right about everything and you should buy all his books."
“How are the Orthodox Jews and the Christ followers getting along?” Judd said.
“We are unified in our stand against Carpathia,” Mr. Stein said. “On spiritual matters we are far apart. But I am trusting in the God who is able to open blind eyes. We pray they will see that Jesus is truly their Messiah.”
Mr. Stein is basically praying that the Jews (Ellanjay seems to see them all as a collective like the Borg. Apparently there's no schisms or different sects whatsoever) stop being so inscrutable and Jewish. Given that God is basically doing all these disasters for the same reason...Basically God is Torquemada trying to
Sam runs into this guy, I'm not sure if he's appeared before in either series, named Daniel Yossef (another Jewy McJew name). Sam tries to convert Daniel to the one true faith, but Daniel's all "If what you say is going to happen, happens, then I'll convert."
Oh and we get a brief mention of Sam's father. For those of you who don't recall, Sam's dad was with the GC and died a horrible unconverted death, which means he's in Hell. Naturally the thought doesn't cross Sam's mind.
Sam sighed. “Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had tried to explain my faith in some other way. I picture my father and I telling others the truth about God, speaking to anyone who will listen. But that is only a dream.” Sam put a hand on Lionel’s shoulder.
“Reality is that I now have a heavenly Father and brothers and sisters in the faith who care about me.”
The chapter ends with Vicki talking with Josey, who says she'd love to meet up with them, and that's where I'll leave you.
*In Sabir's story, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre comes up. I wonder how Ellanjay would react if they knew that the keys to this most holy of sanctuaries, lies in the hands of one of those eeeevil unwashed Muslims. Here's Fred's post on it.