NRA: Like there’s no tomorrow

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 126-127

In real life, the problem with most energy and environmental policy is that it’s too short-sighted. Here in the world of Left Behind, Nicolae Carpathia has the opposite problem. His energy and environmental policies are not short-sighted enough.

The Antichrist’s first mention of his new policies for oil and energy is a bit silly, but at least it’s something we can comprehend:

“I am also initiating a one-dollar-per-barrel tax on oil at the well, plus a ten-cents-per-gallon tax at the pump on gasoline.”

This is another of Nicolae’s many “Dr. Evil” moments — “One million dollars!” This new tax on oil and gas is meant to be evidence of Carpathia’s tyrannical nature, but it’s unlikely most people will really notice, since both costs are well within the range of normal volatility. He’s supposed to be the epitome of cruelty and evil. Seems like that ought to involve a bit more than prices at the pump rising from $3.67 to $3.77 a gallon.

But the Antichrist’s next little bit about oil really gets confusing. This will take a bit of work to unpack:

“As you know, the second largest pool of oil, second only to the one in Saudi Arabia, was discovered above the Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. … The Global Community will appropriate the vast oil fields in Alaska, including that huge pool. Years ago it was capped off to satisfy environmentalists; however, I have ordered teams of laborers into the region to install a series of sixteen-inch pipelines that would route that oil through Canada and to waterways where it could be barged to international trade centers. We already own the rights to oil in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and the rest of the Middle East. That gives us control of two-thirds of the world’s oil supply.

“We will gradually but steadily raise the price of oil, which will further finance our plans to inject social services into underprivileged countries and make the world playing field equal for everyone. From oil alone, we should be able to profit at a rate of about one trillion dollars per year.”

Some parts of that are impossible and baffling. Other parts of it are infuriating. In places it’s both. It seems that Nicolae’s grand plan is to raise the price of oil by rushing more of it to market so that his one-world government Global Community won’t be dependent on foreign oil. Once again I’m deeply confused, but not quite as confused as the authors and their characters seem to be.

Let’s start with the notion that Nicolae Carpathia’s totalitarian one-world government controls only “two-thirds of the world’s oil supply.” Who could possibly control the other third of it? Is it multinational oil companies like Exxon/Mobil? How are they still around under the evil reign of the Antichrist?

Apparently, just like Pan-Continental Airlines, those multinationals continue to operate as powerful, independent, private enterprises. It seems that after abolishing all national sovereignty, instituting global disarmament, a single world government, single currency, single language, single religion, and single, state-controlled media monopoly, the Antichrist chose not to interfere with Wall Street and the other “international trade centers.” One would think that all three words of that phrase — international trade centers — would be meaningless here, but it seems that the Great Tribulation is not a market holiday.

This is a strange surprise in an apocalypse created by long-time John Birch Society member Tim LaHaye. It was there, among the Birchers, that LaHaye learned to view the United Nations through the lens of paranoid conspiracy theories he then turned around and imposed onto the book of Revelation. But the whole point of that conspiracy was that the UN was the first step toward a socialist one-world government. LaHaye’s Antichrist-led OWG is, by contrast, remarkably capitalist.

I can’t figure out quite what to make of the sneering at “environmentalists” here either. I thought that environmentalists — like the UN, and pacifists, and every other kind of liberal — were supposed to be part of the conspiracy paving the way for the eventual reign of the Antichrist. Yet here the Antichrist himself seems to regard them with the same contempt he expressed for evangelists and real, true Christians. If the Antichrist hates environmentalists, doesn’t that make them the Good Guys? Here is the Antichrist undoing the environmental agenda of conservation, so doesn’t that mean Christians today ought to be fighting for conservation as part of our “Tribulation Force” agenda of opposing the coming Antichrist?

That general principle is clearly at work in the following paragraph, where Nicolae reiterates his support for “social services [in] underprivileged countries.” It seems there that his enthusiasm for such efforts is meant as a warning to Christian readers not to support such an agenda.

The weird phrasing there reflects the authors’ incurious ignorance about what aid and development really look like. Their only idea of any effort to assist poor people is through some vague sort of “social services” — some dependency-inducing bureaucratic program wasting our tax-dollars on handouts for the undeserving poor. That’s what that phrase “social services” connotes here — an international version of their mythological caricature of anti-poverty efforts as food stamps that strapping young bucks and welfare queens can spend on alcohol, color TVs and Cadillacs. (I said color TVs and not flat-screen TVs because I’m guessing Tim LaHaye hasn’t bothered to update the technology in this right-wing fantasy since the Reagan Era.)

I suppose Nicolae’s betrayal of environmentalism here is meant to parallel his betrayal of pacifism earlier in the book — meaning that it’s not a betrayal at all, but an unmasking of the true nature of all supposed environmentalists and pacifists. LaHaye believes that one day soon the real Antichrist will rise, just like Nicolae in these books, by preaching a message of pacifism and disarmament. And then, having lulled everyone into a false sense of security, he will turn around and make war on a world no longer able to defend itself.

But LaHaye is not suggesting that the Antichrist will be a counterfeit pacifist. He believes, rather, that pacifism is always counterfeit — that all pacifists are like this, deviously pretending to be peace-loving and nonviolent until the world lets its guard down and they can strike. This is another place where LaHaye’s Bircher roots can be seen — another remnant of the Cold War paranoia that sees all talk of peace and diplomacy as appeasement by dupes, fellow-travelers and fifth-column spies.

But the biggest problem with the plans that Nicolae outlines above is that he is, in fact, the Antichrist, and he’s now more than half-way through the second year of his reign. And that means that human history has just under five and a half years remaining.

Consider what that fact means for Nicolae’s proposed oil and energy policies.

Among other things, it makes his whole Prudhoe Bay project a waste of precious time. He’s correct in no longer caring about the conservation of natural resources or wilderness habitats. Conservation is pointless here. But so is drill, baby, drill. By the time his new pipeline gets built and this oil is ready for transport, Killer Jesus will already have landed on the Mount of Olives to close the curtain on human history.

This vast new pool of oil isn’t necessary in Nicolae’s world. Energy scarcity is no longer a problem. Time scarcity has replaced it. If the world has 30 years’ worth of oil left, but only five years’ worth of years left, then for all intents and purposes, the world now has an infinite supply of oil.

The Antichrist doesn’t seem to realize that this changes everything. Think of all the current limits and drawbacks of our dependence on fossil fuels here in the real world. They present huge problems regarding both wells and sinks. The wells are running dry and the sinks are filling up. We can’t go on burning oil like there’s no tomorrow because tomorrow we might run out of the stuff and because future generations will be saddled with a poisoned environment and an altered climate.

But Nicolae doesn’t have to worry about tomorrow or about future generations. He’s only got about 2,000 tomorrows left, and he doesn’t have to care about future generations because: A) he’s evil, and B) there won’t be any. He doesn’t need to go around singing, “I believe the children are our future” because the future evaporated in this story right about the same time all the children did.

There’s a sense in which I find it encouraging that the authors don’t seem to have given much thought to any of this. It would have made for a better story if they had bothered to work out all the implications of the constrained future facing Nicolae’s government, but it’s probably much better for us here in the real world that they haven’t.

Tim LaHaye says that our remaining time is short. The Rapture, he insists, could occur at any moment. Like most premillennial dispensationalist “Bible prophecy scholars,” LaHaye believes that the Rapture and the consequent End of the World is prophesied to come within one “generation” of the restoration of the nation of Israel — a prophecy they insist was fulfilled with the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. In the 1970s, Hal Lindsey and many other popularizers of these prophecy schemes said that a biblical generation was 40 years — a number repeated with great enthusiasm up until 1988 had come and gone. It’s been almost 65 years since the modern state of Israel gained its independence, but that PMD belief in “one generation” persists, and in the minds of people like Tim LaHaye, the clock is ticking ever closer.

That has an influence on Tim LaHaye’s politics — and on the politics of the millions of people who read his books. It encourages them to disregard long-term thinking and to dismiss long-term concerns — particularly with regard to the very kinds of energy and environmental matters discussed in this section of Nicolae. But this influence has mostly been vague and general — as hazy and hasty as the plans of LaHaye’s fictional Antichrist described above.

And I suppose that’s good. Or, at least, that it’s better than if they had given this more thought and really begun to plan a detailed agenda for using up the last of the Earth’s resources during what they insist are the final decades before the Rapture and the end of time.

So we’ve seen that Tim LaHaye’s ideology and mythology provide him two reasons to oppose environmentalism and the conservation of resources. First because it’s pointless and wasteful to conserve resources for future generations when an imminent Rapture means there won’t be such generations or such a future. And second because he suspects environmentalism is part of the UN conspiracy to gradually usher in the one-world government which will one day be ruled by the Antichrist.

LaHaye’s anti-environmentalism is ironic, considering that Revelation is his favorite book of the Bible. It’s there, in Revelation, that we read this:

The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

If I believed that the book of Revelation must be read “literally,” then I’d be a little more careful about siding with “those who destroy the earth.”

 

  • P J Evans

     I thought the UK was using liters these days. (Price per liter approximately the same numbers as price per gallon in the US.)

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    there are probably many people going to Disney Land, because there are no longer children

    Nowhere near enough to make up for the families with children. Also, I don’t have children, don’t want children, and don’t like to be around most children. They remind me of my own childhood, which sucked, and they also have this weird tendency to gravitate toward me, like a cat toward someone wearing black pants. But the idea of going to Disney World in a world with no children — wow.

    It’s one of those things that really brings home what a world without children would be. Otherwise, living my life, I wouldn’t necessarily notice much of a difference (though it would always be on my mind, at least until the nukes came out), but at Disney World? It would be the children are gone the children are gone ALL THE CHILDREN ARE FUCKING GONE AND WHY IS NO ONE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. Disney World would quite possibly be the most depressing place on earth.

    ETA: I unconsciously switched it to “World” from “Land” because 1) that’s where everyone went when I was a kid and 2) I now live a little over an hour away from World.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I hear Disney World doesn’t have buses that are Not In Service. They have buses that are Jasmine. And if someone dies on the premises, they can’t be declared dead till after the paramedics have got them off the property. Anything else would interfere with the Happiest Place On Earth vibe.

    I keep wanting to do a murder mystery where the murder occurs at Disney World.

  • Tricksterson

    The problem with this is that it supposes that L&J believe in the law of cause and effect.  To them all the events in htese books are singular occurences with no ripple effects.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    That kind of fits in with the Cold Warrior mindset that these books tend to have at times. The Papa Doc Duvaliers and Fulgencio Batistas were OK even though they were just as authoritarian and violent as the Allende and Castro types, but the latter had to be pushed out as quickly as possible because their social spending  hinted at Communism and that’s just not on.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    There could also be a fuel shortage if everyone Left Behind decided to
    run out and buy a big old penis-substitute of a gas guzzling fully
    loaded SUV.

     Haven’t all the people who’d do that been raptured?

  • P J Evans

     Was Bucky-boy Raptured?

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Only the good ones that burn excessive gas as an expression of their freedom that would be infringed upon by any kind of enviromental awareness.  Everybody else would do so because… well… we’re all evil and that’s what evil people do.

    That, really, explains a lot of the actions of anybody who isn’t saved in Left Behind.  “They’re evil.  That’s what evil people do.”  Crime in general?  “They’re evil.  That’s what evil people do.”  Nuking a city?  “They’re evil.  That’s what evil people do.”  A fuel shortage?  “Evil people did something to cause a shortage of fuel.  That’s what evil people do.”

    L&J don’t have to explain why anything happens.  Evil people did evil things.  That’s what evil people do.  They only have to explain *what* happens.  In fact, the question of why never occurs to them.  The evil things done by evil people just, platonically, is.

    This is much the same as the goodness of RTCs.  It has nothing to do with what they do.  No feeding of the hungry evidences or creates it.  No clothing of the naked.  No tending of the sick.  The goodness of the RTC simply, platonically, is.  And, as they are platonically good, so everybody else is either and RTC in waiting or platonically evil.

  • Lori

    As P J Evans notes, clearly not.

  • Rae

    So my only explanations for Nicky’s profit scheme are that he’s either too dumb to realize that he can just have whatever he wants; or he’s being Byzantine for its own sake, like he doesn’t have enough intrigue to fill his day with. Either of those options could make for really interesting takes on the apocalypse.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

     Wiley is actually a beta tester for Acme, which is why he gets all the stuff for free.

    “Sam, we’ll need to redo our design for the catapult.  Apparently it destroys the user in every conceivable application, even defying the laws of physics to do so.”

    “Explain to me again why there’s a market for catapults in the 20th century?”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

     Amusingly, the world after all of the RTCs left but before Carpathia arrived was peaceful and idyllic despite all of the tragedy caused by the Rapture. After the Rapture, there was no rioting, only small-scale nonviolent crime, and everyone still diligently went out to work to keep things functioning the day after all of the children and a large chunk of the adults mysteriously disintegrated. It seems as if Carpathia was the only truly evil and violent person left after all the Christians died.

  • heckblazer

    It just occurred to me that  Nicolae Carpathia likely was inspired by the historical example of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.  It took the mention of Stalinists to make the connection since Ceaușescu was a real nasty one.  Demented projects carried out because there’s no-one who can say “no” to Dear Leader’s whims aren’t uncommon,  the Great Leap Forward,  the Aral Sea canals  and most of the decrees of Saparmurat Niyazov spring to mind.  The big disconnect L&J have is that these projects themselves directly cause death and misery, whereas Carpathia’s bodycount  seems to come comes from his direct order instead of being the result of his New World Order.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MEJ4FWDLETFH7BTEMY27VNVGM4 Matthew

    “LaHaye’s Antichrist-led OWG is, by contrast, remarkably capitalist.”
    Hmm.  I guess that this means that Obama isn’t the antichrist after all.

  • christopher_y
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    “A perpetual Disney Orgy…” now THAT would be something worthwhile to get started. Isn’t there already quite a bit of Disney porn, Mickey and Minnie and Donald doing things kids would never expect?
    And we’ve all heard the rumors about Disney World being openly gay-friendly.

  • aunursa

    DELETED

  • bekabot

    About the state of Nicky’s knowledge as to whether or not he’s the Anti-Christ:

    1)  Dorothy L. Sayers once wrote an essay on religion in the drama in which she acknowledged the difficulty of dramatically portraying Christ.  It’s hard to play a man who exists at least as much as an abstraction as a person: as much as a Person in the Trinity as a person in the world.  (It’s hard to write lines for him, too.)  She directly tackled the question of whether a dramatized* Christ should “know” he’s the son of God, as said that while yes, probably he should know, still, a well-dramatized Christ should know he’s the son of God in the same way a man who’s a genius knows he’s a genius (or, to pick a less heighty comparison, the way a man who’s got brown hair knows his hair is brown). IOW, for Sayers, Christ comes across better dramatically when portrayed as a man who happens to be the son of God than as The Son Of God who looks, temporarily, like a man. 

    That makes sense.  It would be pretty funny if you made a movie about the life of Leonardo Da Vinci and had the actor who plays Da Vinci carry a sign that says “I AM A GENIUS” all the way through it, or if Anne Hathaway in the Les Mis movie were made to sing a few bars about how, in the book, Fantine’s hair is blonde, while her own Anne Hathaway hair is actually dark brown.  That would make people laugh, which is not the movie’s object; at least one expects not.

    So, by that rule, Nicky might “know” he’s the Anti-Christ in the way he knows he’s a charismatic politician (we know this b/c the books he’s in tell us so) or that his hair is blond.  It’s part of the background of his life but he isn’t thinking about it specifically all the time.  When he comes up with evil plans about what to do next, he consults his own Nicky preferences, puzzling as those might be, rather than asking himself: “What would the Anti-Christ do in this situation?  I must fulfill all the conditions of the Scofield Reference Bible!! What’s next in line?”  Nicky would live his life from moment to moment, the way most of us do and the way Sayers’s dramatized Christ does.  It’s only when you get a view from a mile or two up that the pattern becomes clear.

    2)  But that brings me to my next point, which is that I don’t believe Jenkins and LaHaye are thinking in these terms.  Far from it.  For them the pattern is already clear because they already know what it is.  The theology they’re operating out of tells them what it is, and it isn’t necessary for Nicky either to know or not-know.  He is motivated solely from without.  He exists in order to fulfill x number of conditions, and awareness on his part about whether he’s fulfilling them or not is irrelevant.  Nicky is an empty suit and an empty set. He is a lay figure, and that’s all.

    Of course this enables Jenkins and LaHaye to insert an additional jab against people who don’t read the Bible, or who don’t read the right kind of Bible, or who do read the right kind of Bible but read it the wrong way.  The implication throughout the Left Behind books is that Nicky would know who/what he is if only he read the Scofield Reference Bible with precisely the right guidance and instruction, but, since these are not available to him, and, more important, since he’s a liberal/secularist fool full of his own folly, he is doomed not only to be evil (most likely there’s no cure for that) but to be ignorant as well.  If Nicky knew his role in the story Jenkins and LaHaye are telling — well, then he’d know his role in that story; but since not, not.  (Or not yet.)  QED. 

    *or fictitious

  • Lori

    And we’ve all heard the rumors about
    Disney World being openly gay-friendly. 

    That’s not a rumor, that’s just true. Among other things Disney has come out against Prop 8 & DOMA and Gay Days at Disney World are one of their bigger promotional things every year. That said, being gay friendly and being pro-orgy really aren’t the same thing at all.

  • Tricksterson

    Sigh, there go my Disney Princess fantasies then.

  • Lori

    Take heart. I didn’t say they were mutually exclusive, just that there isn’t 100% overlap. You’ve still got a shot :)

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Bonus points for Jenkins saying he respects agnostics, who are “honestly looking.”

    So Jenkins is one of those people who thinks agnostics just haven’t come to a conclusion, as opposed to people who’ve come to the conclusion that “we cannot truly know”.  Yeah.

  • Tapetum

     Those people annoy the snot out of me. I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic my entire conscious life. (Militant agnostic! I don’t know, and you don’t either!) I’m quite clear that the answer to the question is not just unknown to me, but fundamentally unknowable, and I’m highly comfortable with this answer.

    Cue every religious person of even the vaguest proselytizing stripe having their eyes light up when they hear the term “agnostic”, quite certain that I must be just aching to have the right answers, which of course they have.

    My only consolation is that I’ve deconverted a hell of a lot more people than most of them would dream of converting in their lifetimes. Come, be uncertain with me! Bwahahahah!!!

  • MB

    That would make a lot more sense, I agree.
    However, I don’t think this set piece is about what the Antichrist would do, but the equivalent of writing a WSJ editorial about the evils of environmentalism.
    “These “environmentalists”, secretly in the service of foreign oil-producing governments, are already doing right now *exactly* what the Antichrist will do when he gets into power! Think about it! The End Times are near!”
    By the way, why does the Antichrist finally allow the oil to be drilled? It’s because it’s under government control now. As others pointed out, the Antichrist (i.e. environmentalists) hates American freedom and free enterprise.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all that 100 such editorials have already been written.
    How do they know this is what the Antichrist will do? It’s because they’re experts in Biblical prophecy. It’s not evident; probably this is why you need a 5000-page analysis of the Book of Revelations. Or they could be making it up.
    in other words, it’s like a really bad puppet show. If this cheapens the book, then they’d have to pay people a lot of money to buy it.

  • bekabot

    Well, the same way Jenkins and LaHaye have Nicky cross all the criteria off the Biblical Anti-Christ list (as they understand it) they also have him do all the stuff they think a liberal-secularist one-world-tyrant chief-executive governing Boss Man would do; then, as a bonus, they throw in all the things they feel would annoy their readers if such a character were to attempt to enact them.  (Like: imposing a gas tax.)  These lists are incompatible, and Nicky is (as a result) made to do silly discombobulated things, but LaHaye and Jenkins don’t let that stop them, because there’s no such thing as cognitive dissonance in their world.  The Anti-Christ’s most dedicated enemies are his most devoted servitors!!  The best way to oppose the Beast is to Xerox lots and lots of pamphlets!!  Which are not even going to be passed out amongst the populace but are going to be kept within a limited esoteric circle!!  That’ll show ‘em!!  Nicky is both an environmentalist and an oilman, because he’s just that clever!!  (Many of these contradictions could be resolved by talented writers or expositors but Jenkins and LaHaye see no reason to put themselves under a strain: in their eyes, their story doesn’t have to be plausible because it’s true.)    
    To be fair, these books did in fact sell like hot cakes and still enjoy a wide circulation.  Since, as books, they’re not any good in any respect, the secret of the attraction for many people has to be that, to those same people, they feel familiar.  They paint what many people feel to be an accurate picture of what life, underneath the frippery and trimmings, is really like.  It’s a bad symptom when that many people feel that abandoned, and abandoned by an especially wrathful God.  It makes a person feel uneasy, maybe not about God, but about Man.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFSNWTUMXUCUSUNFTORWBNJHHQ Jared

    Or, it’s a plan to make Nicolae more endearing to the world. Hey, I’m taxing those Evil Gas Guzzling SUV drivers to help poor people in the 3rd world, and if you don’t like it, you hate poor people and want them all to die from hunger that could be solved if you were -only- willing to pay an extra 10 cents at the pump.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YFSNWTUMXUCUSUNFTORWBNJHHQ Jared

    *ETA, I forgot to add the second part, Nicolae wants to built loyalty from the people of the world by promising to make Real True Effort to fight poverty in the 3rd world. And all it costs you is an extra 2 dollars on your weekly gas bill. 

  • Mrs Grimble

     We measure  in litres when we put petrol or diesel in our vehicles, but we still use pints, gallons* etc  for most other things. Converting between the two measures isn’t difficult if you don’t want exact numbers – 1 litre is around 2 pints, there are 8 pints to a gallon, so a gallon* is approximately 4 litres.
    Currently, the average cost of petrol here is 138.32p a litre.  The current conversion of sterlings to dollars makes that approximately $2.08. Google says that 1 litre =  0.264172 US gallons.  My calculator says that  a US gallon of petrol at UK prices would cost $7.87.  

    *UK gallons are not the same as US gallons btw

  • Maggie_Blume

    I have a strange feeling that the people who bought Glenn Beck’s “Agenda 21″ read these books as teenagers, it would explain why they think living in sustainable communities and having bike trails is evil because the UN suggested it.  

  • http://twitter.com/dunesen Philip Pangrac

    It’s been years since I read the series, so maybe I’m forgetting some explicit points or clues, but is it at all possible that Carpathia doesn’t know about the seven year situation? Maybe he really believes he’ll rule for several decades.

    It doesn’t explain a lot of things, but it may answer certain issues like this. It wouldn’t be hard to explain; just say Satan deceived Carpathia.

  • P J Evans

     US gallons are your old ‘wine gallons’. The current price-per-gallon in my area is about US$4.25, but we’re also a high-price area. (People complain about the price, but a lot of them have never been to Europe and are truly clueless.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I hear Disney World doesn’t have buses that are Not In Service. They have buses that are Jasmine. And if someone dies on the premises, they can’t be declared dead till after the paramedics have got them off the property. Anything else would interfere with the Happiest Place On Earth vibe.

    I keep wanting to do a murder mystery where the murder occurs at Disney World.

    Obligatory Snopes  link.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I did some quick math, and at current Vancouver prices, ($1.40 Cdn / L) we’re at around $5.30 a gallon.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh no, he knows. Handwaved by L&J in the sense of “BUT SATAN SO THERE”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking of that, I can’t remember where I read it, but there’s a fictional story I saw (maybe it was on TV?) where a doctor is pressured to not “call it” until the patient hits the hospital so the business in question can legitimately ‘claim’ nobody has died on the premises.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Bah.

  • phoenix_feather

    Maybe the explanation for Nicolae’s baffling plan is simpler than we thought. Everything that we hear Nicolae say here is filtered through Rayford, isn’t it?  So maybe this entire “plan” is meaningless bullshit designed to throw an eavesdropping Rayford off track.  Maybe the moment he stopped listening in we’d get an exchange like this:

    Nicolae: … so we’ll have trillions of dollars in oil but instead of dollars we’ll replace our currency with sticks of bubble gum-
    Leon:  Aaaaand Captain Steele has turned off his headset!
    Nicolae: Oh, thank hells!  I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on. Do you think Steele took the bait?
    Leon: Looks like.  We’re tracing a call from him to Buck Williams as we speak.  He seems very excited to report that the Antichrist’s evil plan involves competing for oil with countries that no longer exist.
    Nicolae: Good, that will keep the rebels distracted while they try to figure out what the hell I was talking about, not to mention who owns the remaining third of the world’s oil. Now to get down to the real business, Mr. Hickman will give us an update on the progress of our reeducation camps …

  • Daniel

    “I have ordered teams of laborers into the region to install a series of
    sixteen-inch pipelines that would route that oil through Canada and to
    waterways where it could be barged to international trade centers.”

    “How?” asked one of the Ambassador Kings.

    “Yeah, how?” Asked a second “How have you arranged such an enormous piece of engineering which- if I got this correctly- involves laying a network of pipes from Alaska, through what used to be Canada and to… sorry, which waterways? I mean there’s loads of water around Alaska anyway, why bother? But, if I may return to my original point here, how have you arranged this without anyone knowing?”

    Nicholae tapped his temple.

    “That doesn’t really answer any of my questions, potentate.”

    “It’s all in here, you see!” he tapped his temple again.

    “Right… so I’ll try again, who’s digging this pipeline? What firm is doing the work? Did you put it out for tender?”
    “It’s not Haliburton is it?” asked the Ambassador King of the United Islands of Malta, Andorra, San Marino and Rhyl

    “No. It’s someone…a little more…US!” The specially installed spotlight under his chin lit up making him look all evil and that, and he did that finger steeple thing that evil people do when they’re plotting evil stuff.

    “Who, exactly? Sorry to keep pressing the point,” said the Ambassador King of Guam and the Monosyllabic Toponyms “But who?”
    “Very well. I will answer. I will dig a bit. Then Hattie will dig a bit. Then Chaim, and then Steve.”
    “Who’s Steve?” Asked the Ambassador King for Narnia and “Africa”
    “He doesn’t appear very often, but he knows Buck.”
    “Ah, right.”

    “And” said Nicolae, spinning triumphantly in his spinny office chair of doom “I have recently bought out the worlds major spade manufacturers! So there’s plenty of spades if any of you want to give me a hand! Are you all free this weekend?”

    The Ambassador King from Rockall and West Chimney came to a conclusion.
    “I think Nick’s a bit mental.” He said to murmured agreement.


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