I'll sum up the first section: Vicki talks to Lenore. I am dead serious here: that's all that happens.
Meanwhile, Judd and Lionel and Westin are, for some unfathomable reason, still trying to bum a ride back to the states off of Z-Van. I know many of you don't understand my irrational love for Z-Van but I can't help myself. He so far hasn't ratted them out, despite the fact you'd think he'd realize by now they're not going to convert to Nickyism, and he gives them front-row seats at his concert, despite them criticizing his music every chance they can get, and most importantly, he lets them use his stuff. It's almost as though he knows Judd and Lionel are main characters for which the plot must part for them like the Red Sea for Israel.
But Westin's noticed something about him, besides the whole Nicky-Mark business.
Westin squinted. “Something’s happened to Z-Van. Maybe it was what the concert did—his new album is number one and they haven’t even released it yet.”
“What do you mean?” Judd said. “His looks have changed?”
Westin shifted in his chair. “The guy has always been into weird, dark stuff, but something’s happened. His eyes are vacant, like Z-Van’s not really there anymore.”
Judd told Westin what Chang had overheard on Carpathia’s plane. “You think Leon could have given Z-Van power to levitate above the stage like that?”
“I guess it’s possible.” Westin smirked. “That’s all we need—more little Carpathias running around.”
“You’re saying Z-Van is under somebody else’s control?” Lionel said.
“Maybe he took some drugs, or he was energized by the concert,” Westin said, “but it sure seemed like I was talking to a different person.”
I'm now picturing Madonna Dahmer spinning his head around and vomiting pea soup.
The chapter ends with Judd wondering if it's safe to be around Z-Van.
Uh, Judd let me give you a subtle hint: NO! Z-VAN HAS TAKEN THE MARK WHICH MEANS HE'S ONE OF THE LEGIONS OF THE DAMNED. :headdesk: It's like we're in a zombie movie and Judd's going "Well he keeps licking his lips and moaning and hungering for brains. I hope it's safe to hang around him."
So Sam's again doing nothing but watching them do stuff at Petra. He finds Micah aka Chaim and they talk. Mostly it's the usual alpha-male posturing we've come to know and love in the LB-verse (though they make the usual "It was God giving me strength" sort of spiel.) And apparently Hattie Durham aka the Great Butt Monkey of Babylon did make something of an impact. Chaim says that she told him that God was going to do great things through him. As thanks, he plans to scatter her ashes once the Glorious Appearing (aka when TurboJesus shows up) happens.
The chapter ends with Judd receiving a call from Chang who's panicked because Nicky just announced he's going to level Petra with bombs. Me, I'm going, "am I the only one who remembers the whole cockamamie prophecy that says you'll be safe until three and a half years are up after which TurboJesus slaughters the GC and institutes
Next chapter, Judd's all "Are you sure about this?" and Chang's like "Hell yeah, I'm sure." Godwin's Law is invoked as they compare Nicky's plan to Hitler's plan to wipe out all the Jews (as well as handicapped, gypsies, homosexuals, and communists and believe me, they had a very loose definition of the word "communist.") This makes me all ranty but I'm afraid I can't quite convey my rage in a coherent fashion, so I'm just going to remind everyone that the Nazis identified as Christian, so yeah.
I'm deliberately fast-forwarding through Vicki's and Sam's parts. Again, it's just more talking and watching. Forgive me, but it's white noise: it's unsnarkable. Let's see what the chapter ends with. :looks ahead: Another meaningless action scene...:whimpers: I'll sum it up for you: Vicki is talking to Anita on the phone as Anita tries to escape. But the chapter ends with Hector going, "I should have taken care of you when I had the chance." Believe me, Hector, I wish you had: it'd be one less pinball for me to keep track of.
Once again, another chapter for you. I don't know when I'll stop doing three-chapter snarks. Probably when something freaking happens.
I'll hit fast-forward again and tell you Anita escapes.
Chaim decides to preach a sermon for us. Let's listen in, shall we?
“John said he heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because you have judged these things.’
“And what,” Micah continued, “of our enemies who have shed the blood of saints and prophets? God has turned the oceans into blood, and one day soon he will turn the rivers and lakes to blood as well, giving them blood to drink. For it is their just due.
It is also the just due of everyone, RTC or otherwise, too poor to have access to other drinking sources who will now die horribly. Because God is a friend of the poor.
“But what shall we his people eat and drink, here in this place of refuge? Some would look upon it and say it is desolate and barren. Yet God says that at twilight we shall eat meat, and in the morning we shall be filled with bread. In this way we shall know that he is the Lord our God.”
Uh, bread and meat's all fine and good, Zod, but what about our Vitamin C? Every hear of Scurvy? It's not a fun way to go.
It then begins to rain quail and bread.
Micah stood at a high place and called out a greeting. “We need not ask ourselves, as the children of Israel did, ‘What is it?’ ” he said.
“For we know God has provided it as bread. Take, eat, and see that it is filling and sweet, like wafers made with honey. As Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.’ ”
“Manna,” Sam whispered.
Micah moved in front of a huge rock, planting his feet firmly in the loose rocks in front of it. “And what shall we drink? Again, God Almighty himself has provided.”
Sam gasped as Micah raised both arms. Gushes of water sprang from rocks everywhere in Petra. Sam jumped down from his perch, put his hands under the fresh, cool stream, and drank.
You'd think Zod would be giving all this fresh water to those who are still on the fence. After all, the people at Petra are all converts: if they die of thirst, they get bamfed into Heaven. After all, it's not the healthy that need a physician.
Meanwhile, in America, Vicki thinks about boys, or to be specific, Judd. Like I said before I like these rare character moments, even though you can tell the ghostwriter is frantically trying to convince us all that, despite having not been on the same continent for several books, Judd and Vicki are totes meant to be together.
In the stillness of the night, with crickets and frogs singing around her, Vicki’s thoughts turned to Judd. Judd’s recent phone call renewed her hopes that they would someday find a way to be together.
Vicki thought about the boys she had known in school. Most of them had been what her father had called “a bad influence,” but that had simply made her want to date them more. Looking back, Vicki wished she hadn’t gotten so involved in dating.
Vicki had once gone to a wedding of a distant cousin whose parents were into church. The couple had decided not to date but “court” each other. When she heard about the guidelines they had both lived by during their engagement, it had seemed strange and almost laughable.
After that paragraph, I expected to hear regurgitated information about courtship and how it's so superior to dating, but surprisingly Ellanjay skip this. I'm not complaining, though; too busy thanking God for small favors.
But the chapter ends with Vicki hearing something moving in the bushes and grabbing a black-haired person by the ankles. That seems a good place to leave you all, so I will.