Basically, they've been trying to work out what to do about Claudia. Manny said he'd help, but it turns out that he's been secretly contacting an old friend so now they're worried that he's been putting them all in danger. Now that you know all this, let's move onto the snark.
Manny is all apologetic. They've received another email from Claudia saying that she's leaving her hotel room by noon and wants to know where to go. As they talk, they realize they're being pursued by a GC squad car.
Meanwhile in Israel, we get Lionel's perspective and yet another example of Ellanjay's compassion.
Lionel moved along with Sam and the crowd making its way from the Temple Mount. He kept looking for Judd but couldn’t find him. Many who had Carpathia’s mark were trying to leave for Masada, and Lionel felt sorry for them. Though they didn’t realize it, these people had decided their eternal fate when they had taken Nicolae’s mark.
Now, now in an attempt to play devil's advocate, Lionel is compassionate: the text says he clearly feels bad that his god is going to send all these people to Hell for all eternity. Granted he doesn't feel bad enough to do something to help them or even PREACH TO ALL THE UNMARKED CONSTANTLY UNTIL THEY DRAG HIM OFF TO BE EXECUTED! But he does feel bad for them.
Nothing else really happens in this section except Lionel's all "What's Masada?" giving Sam (and the authors) an excuse for more Exposition. Me, I'm lazy and I'm wondering why I should give a crap so I'm not going to post it. If you wanna know what Masada is, Wikipedia will probably be able to help you out.
Meanwhile Judd is with Mr. Stein. He talks with Chang who says he'll be able to set it up so that everyone can hear what goes down between Nicky and Chaim at the Knesset. Why? Because it's the duty of every Ellanjay character to witness yet do nothing, that's why.
Vicki's section is pretty much a car chase which would be suspenseful but since nothing can happen to these characters, I'm going to fast-forward through it. Told you the pay-off would be disappointing. That's assuming we ever get a pay-off to this story.
Lionel is following Sam around through Jerusalem and we get this scene.
Lionel saw one man shriek as he tried to wrestle a gun from an equally sick GC Morale Monitor. “I can’t go on like this!” the man screamed.
The Morale Monitor gained control of the weapon, took a step back, and aimed. “Stay where you are or I’ll shoot!”
The man howled like a hurt animal and lunged wildly. The Morale Monitor fired, and the man crumpled to the ground. Lionel and Sam rushed over with several others. Someone rolled the man on his back, and blood poured from a wound in his chest. He gasped for air as his head lolled to one side. When he saw the Morale Monitor, he smiled slightly. “Thank you …”
One of the rabbis felt the man’s neck and said he was dead. The Morale Monitor, who looked only slightly older than Lionel, seemed near hysterics. “I didn’t have a choice! I told him to stop!”
Okay, before I start getting into all that is wrong about this (and there's a lot), I will commend Ellanjay in that I think this scene was meant to be one of horror and it succeeds. The only problem is THE STORY FAILS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS MAN'S SUFFERING ISN'T OVER! Am I the only one who remembers that all unbelievers go to Hell and that this punishment lasts for all eternity?! Also, while I have no objections to the bad guys using child soldiers, they are the bad guys after all, but you'd think this would give Lionel some pause, make him think "Hey this guy's a kid like me." I say child soldiers because only 3 and a half years have passed in this series and since Lionel was thirteen at the beginning of the series, that means he's sixteen, maybe seventeen tops at this point.
Judd and Chang talk some more. Chang is still going on and on about the Mark and I'm like, "Get over it already!" Especially since this section establishes that Chang took it unwillingly and therefore isn't going to be pitched into Hell for all eternity.
Vicki drives into a garage and hides there. That's apparently enough to ward off the GC dragnet. Second chapter begins with her hearing the sound of the GC squad car outside the garage. Then Vicki and the others see a guy standing on a walkway who tells them to get out of the car. I'm going to assume that this is Hector aka that guy Manny made contact with for those who care.
Lionel meets up with Westin. They gather a bunch of people in a hummer so they can go to Petra. I'm serious: that's all that really happens. So sorry to do so much summarizing but the For Kids! version of this series is more boring with only occasional moments of jaw-dropping bad unlike the adult books where the jaw-dropping bad is pretty much continuous.
Some pointless interludes later, we finally get to something worth snarking: Chaim and Nicky's debate, if you can even call it that. One of the primary rules of debating is to know your enemy's argument before you knock it to the ground. Ellanjay, given their inflated sense of self-worth, think they do, but they don't. Let's start a drinking game*: every bit of illogic, take a sip. Every time the "good" character weasels out of addressing the villain directly, take another sip. Judging by what I've seen thus far, you should be good and hammered by the time this is all through. Let's start:
First we get some alpha-male posturing from Chaim. Me, I'm a little surprised given that Chaim has been established to be one of those weak-wristed intellectuals that threaten Ellanjay so much.
Nicolae Carpathia said, “Forgive me for not standing.”
“I represent the one true God and his Son, Jesus, the Christ,” Dr. Rosenzweig said. “I prefer to stand.”
Now for a whole mess of weaselly debating.
After a moment, Nicolae said, “All right.” The man seemed furious. “I am letting these people run off to the hills. When do the sores go away? I upheld my end of the bargain.”
“We had a bargain?” Dr. Rosenzweig said. Judd pictured him in his brown robe, standing up to the most powerful ruler in the world.
“Come, come! We are wasting time!” Carpathia sneered. “You said you would lift this spell if I—”
“That is not my recollection. I said that if you did not let them go, you would suffer yet a worse plague.”
“So I let them go. Now you—”
“It is not as if you had a choice.”
Again, rule of debating according to Ellanjay: interrupting people is A-Okay and not at all proof of rudeness or a sign that you have a weak platform.
Something banged on the table and Carpathia screamed, “Are we here to play word games? I want the sores on my people healed! What do I have to do?”
“Make no attempt to stop Israeli Messianic believers from getting to Petra.”
As said by many people smarter than me, the anti-Christ, in competent hands, has the potential to be a tragic character, someone forced to carry out this cockamamie scheme that makes no sense by forces beyond his reckoning and who will be punished for doing so. I'm thinking of Lucifer from the Sandman comics who wonders whether his rebellion against God was his choice or just another part of the Master's great plan. But since Ellanjay don't deal in shades of grey because doing so would force them to admit some not so great aspects about the hero of their novel, we're left with this.
Carpathia paused. Judd wondered how many of his top cabinet members were in the room, suffering from sores. “Have you not noticed? I am the only full-time employee of the Global Community not suffering from the plague!”
“And that only because you have not taken your own mark, though I daresay you worship yourself.”
Footsteps. Nicolae came close to the phone. “Our medical experts have determined there is no connection between the application of the mark of loyalty and—”
Why does your bad breath not surprise me?”
Ellanjay clearly argue like teenage girls or like Conservapedia.
Yet another lesson learned from these novels: Kids, if you want to dazzle in a debate, forget constructing cogent arguments: just insult their appearance. Because fat and ugly people never make good points.
“If I am not god,” Carpathia said, “I challenge yours to slay me now. I spit in his face and call him a weakling. If I remain alive for ten more seconds, he, and you, are frauds.”
Judd shook his head. He wished God would take Nicolae up on his challenge.
“What kind of a God would he be if he felt compelled to act on your timetable?” Dr. Rosenzweig said, a smile in his voice.
Is there a reason God has to be a slave to any kind of time-table? God has proven in the Bible that he can change his mind. I cite as example, the third chapter of Jonah.
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened
No, the only reason God is so slavishly devoted to this prophecy in Ellanjayland is because he's a dick. But then again, I doubt that Ellanjay are that familiar with the book of Jonah. They probably think it ends with him in the whale. But the ending to Jonah is very telling. I'm sure the writer or writers of that book would have a lot to say to Ellanjay and those of their ilk. As Fred has put it, Ellanjay only preach because they're secretly hoping that those nasty evil sinners will get what's coming to them.
4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
The debate ends and not soon enough since I may have given my readers alcohol poisoning. Sorry about that. The Judd section ends with the wife of Ethan Ben-Eliezar (another Jewy McJew name for you) asking, "Who's that?" when Mr. Stein mentions Nicky's greatest foe, thus setting up a conversion scene which will take place in the next chapter.
But this snark is hella long so I'll just give you the ending: yes, it is Manny's friend, Hector, in the garage.
*Please don't. I don't wanna be responsible for any alcohol poisonings that might result.