Judd receives a phone call from the half of South Carolina believers (the ones that escaped). Apparently, Chang has told them that the GC have called in the big guns for tonight's raid and there's a group of RTCs north of Charleston waiting to transport them.
After he hangs up, Brooke is like "So the new members are definitely coming?"
Judd's like "Yeah, they'll be coming from the south so we need to set up some lookouts." He gives Brooke and Lee some radios and breaks away to call Obligatory Love Interest, I mean, Vicki. The conversation is rather short and dull: basically all he says is that he plans on going north, following Chloe's map of safe houses.
We check in with Vicki. There's really not a lot going on with her. She talks about how since the GC has forbidden the YTF's website, it's become even more popular. Without a single trace of irony, Ellanjay cite the Banned Book Effect even though it's usually RTCs who devote the most energy to trying to ban books. But maybe this is like how Fred has said that RTCs don't object to a one-world government or a one-world religion, so long as the right people with the right beliefs are in charge.
In addition to answering questions on the website, Vicki spends a lot of time hanging out with Cheryl. For those of you who've forgotten, Cheryl's the one who's knocked up. Apparently Cheryl is starting to have second thoughts about handing over her baby to be raised by Tom and Josey. I'm sympathetic to her because as I recall, Vicki effectively volunteered to hand Cheryl's baby over to Tom and Josey with very little input from Cheryl even though she's the one who's pregnant. But I have a feeling that consent and choice are concepts Ellanjay know very little about.
We do get some evidence that abortion exists in this spinoff. Cheryl admits that if she hadn't become an RTC, she probably would have had an abortion, but now she sees that all lives are precious. Yeah...once again, gotta point out that according to the rules of Ellanjay's universe, Cheryl could have had an abortion, then asked Zod for forgiveness, and remained free and clear in Zod's eyes. By their own admission, they believe that no sin is so bad that it separates you from God forever. Yeah, I know, except the Mark (and I've voiced my numerous problems with that plot device), but still. In fact in one of the prequels to the adult books, one of the raptured RTCs meets the baby she aborted and said baby has totally forgiven her. So yeah, given that they're in the freaking end of days and the unborn are covered by that whole Age of Innocence thing and will go straight to Heaven if they die, why aren't they aborting babies right and left?
Anyway, Vicki tries to reassure Cheryl that God will show her the right thing to do and the section peters out after that.
The chapter ends with Judd and Lionel doing a bunch of secret-agenty stuff out in the woods. I'm sorry but it is so freakin' dull so let's hit fast-forward. They use their radios to mislead Brooke and Lee as Tom, Luke, Judd, and Lionel slip away. Next chapter, please.
The next chapter...it's mostly a lot of running.* Brooke and Lee eventually catch on and come after them. But the Brave RTCs get the drop on them. They bind them with duct tape, smash the shoe phone, and question them, asking how many GC are coming. Brooke and Lee refuse to answer so our kind compassionate RTCs demonstrate God's unconditional love by threatening to drop them into a pit full of snakes. Lessons learned from the LB-verse: Torture is A-Okay when committed by Brave RTCs.
They duct-tape Brooke and Lee's mouths and take off running, hearing the sounds of explosions in the background as they do.
I'll sum up Vicki's section: all that happens is that she worries about Judd until she receives a phone call from him telling her that he and Lionel made it out okay.
Next section...as Judd and Lionel travel north, Judd is shocked, shocked to find out that Carl had left behind explosives to destroy the hideout in the event of a raid. Even though in destroying the hideout and any information within, they may have saved the lives of other RTCs. Judd's like "the GC will label us terrorists" even though the GC already labels them terrorists simply for practicing their beliefs, so yeah, I doubt the explosives will change their views one way or the other. Luke is like "Hello, we're in a war and casualties kind of come with the territory." Judd's like "But why stoop to their level?" and Luke points out if they had just taken care of Brooke and Lee, they'd still have the hideout. Judd finally throws up his arms and is like "Right. Kill all the GC we can" and if you think Judd isn't be an irritating ass right now, just wait: it's going to get worse.
Luke announces that he and Tom are going out on a mission. Lionel responds with this headslapper of a statement:
Lionel shook his head. “If you’re going to do something violent, we can’t support you. We’ll pray for you and ask God to protect you, but we don’t see this as the answer.”
Yeah, as said before, back when Judd tried to stop Taylor "Too Awesome for this Series" Graham from trying to take out the GC, the YTF's sudden belief in the sanctity of life is really puzzling. Yeah, I myself identify as a pacifist but that's because I live in the real world in which every problem has shades of grey to it, but the thing is, Judd and Lionel don't. They exist in the LB-verse where there's a clear delineation between the forces of good and the forces of evil but they know for certain, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they're on the side of right. So yeah, I question why they're having qualms about killing GC especially since this series ends with THE GC BEING PUNTED INTO THE FIRES OF HELL WHERE THEY'LL SUFFER UNIMAGINABLE PAIN FOR ALL ETERNITY!
Luke's response is "Remember we saved your sorry asses" and he and Tom spend the next three nights torching the houses of Bounty Hunters. Granted in true Ellanjay fashion, this potentially exciting bit of guerilla warfare isn't actually shown onscreen; we hear about it from Judd and Lionel's disapproving perspective as they watch it on the news. After a week of these night missions, Luke and Tom disappear. If you guess that Judd and Lionel show little if any concern as to what happened to them, you win a No-Prize. Feel free to dedicate it to whoever you want.
The chapter ends with Judd bravely watching the news as Commander Kruno Fulcire (have fun playing the "Guess the Ethnicity" game, folks) makes an announcement: basically he says that everyone in the Southern part of the US has 48 hours to get the Mark. After 48 hours, the Marked can shoot and kill the unmarked on sight, turn in the body for processing, and collect a nice reward from the GC. Yeah, I suppose my fellow blog-readers can point out all the loopholes in this plan, but given how rarely the so-called bad guys actually do something bad...I'm going to let it slide. Besides, it's more fun to make fun of Judd's gormless reaction. Naturally, he's shocked, shocked that an organization headed by the Father of All Lies, the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, and Mephistopheles would do something evil.
Thought once again about throwing on a third chapter, but I think I've done enough. Have fun taking apart Ellanjay's many, many failings.
*Sorry for the link, but I've gotta do something to keep myself awake here.