NRA: Twenty Questions … with murder!

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 190-194

Buck Williams is sailing up the Jordan River toward Galilee, which is a bit like sailing up the L.A. River to Glendale, but we’ve already covered that. Buck is praying for God to direct him to his friend, the ex-Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah, when suddenly the boat’s engine stops and Buck is drifting in the dark. “Trouble, Michael?” he asks the riverboat captain he hired to take him up the river.

“No trouble, Mr. Katz. Until your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, you’re not going to be able to see that I’ve got a high-powered weapon pointed at your head. I would like you to remain seated and answer a few questions.”

Ooh — action and adventure! Buck is face-to-face with a killer on the river — just like when Sideshow Bob had Bart Simpson trapped near Cape Feare!

Buck felt a strange calmness. This was too bizarre, too strange even for his weird life. “I mean you no harm, Michael,” he said. “You have nothing to fear from me.”

“I’m not the one who should be afraid just now, sir,” Michael said. “I have twice within the last 48 hours fired this weapon into the heads of people I’ve believed were enemies of God.”

This prompts a heated back-and-forth in which Buck and Michael take turns insisting that they are not enemies of God, but faithful servants, and challenging one another to prove it.

It doesn’t occur to either of them to ask what the other one means by saying someone is either an “enemy” or a “servant” of God. Nor does it occur to either of them to ask what you might think would be another pertinent follow-up question: “Which God are we talking about here, exactly?”

I suppose, though, that in the universe of these books, that question isn’t necessary. In the world according to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, there is only one God and everyone knows this, and so everyone who speaks of “God” can only mean one thing. Some few people in this world choose to be “servants” of this God, while everyone else chooses to be an enemy of God. Some of the enemies of God may pretend to be atheists or they may pretend to believe in some other God or Gods, but they’re not fooling LaHaye and Jenkins with such claims. The authors know that these enemies of God all really know the one, true truth, but then they willfully reject it so that they can indulge their sinful desires for sex, drugs and rock and roll.

That’s also why it doesn’t bother Buck that the man pointing a gun at him claims to have killed two people in the last two days because he believed they “were enemies of God.” Buck regards such killing as reasonable behavior toward God’s enemies. It doesn’t occur to him that this guy might be a serial killer dumping bodies in the river because his neighbor’s Labrador retriever told him that “God” wanted him to.

Michael tells Buck that the two people he killed were headed up the river “looking for someone I don’t want them to find”:

“Those were the wrong people looking for the wrong person. What I want from you is your real name, the name of the person you’re looking for, why you are looking for that person, and what you plan to do should you find that person.”

It’s your basic Holy Grail Bridge of Death scenario: “What is your name? What is your quest?” Answer wrong and you die.

“But Michael, until I’m sure you are on my side, I could never risk revealing that information.”

“Even to the point where you’d be willing to die to protect your friend.”

“I hope it doesn’t come to that, but yes.”

… “I am impressed with that answer,” Michael said.

And so we’re at an impasse in this little stand-off. Michael has no way of knowing whether Buck is another of the “wrong people looking for the wrong person” or if maybe he’s the right person looking for the — in that case — right person. And Buck can’t trust him enough to just say who he is and who he’s looking for without putting both himself and Tsion in danger from this killer riverboat captain.

Buck suggests they try to settle this with a game of Twenty Questions. All he says, actually, is “test me,” but to Michael, this suggests a game of Twenty Questions, and so they begin to play. At gunpoint:

“Excellent,” Michael said. “True or false: the person you are looking for is young.”

Buck responded quickly. “Compared to you, false.”

Michael keeps firing true-false questions at him until, after a full page of this, he’s established that the person Buck is looking for is an older Jewish male who is bigger than a breadbox and is educated but not a medical doctor. The answer to every one of Michael’s questions is “false,” so if this were an episode of What’s My Line?, Buck would have won $30 by now even though it seems Bennett Cerf is closing in on the solution.

Michael stepped forward and pressed the barrel of the weapon against Buck’s throat. Buck grimaced and shut his eyes. “The man you are looking for is a rabbi, Dr. Tsion Ben-Judah.” Buck did not respond.

There’s a tense moment, with the gun pressed against Buck’s neck, as it sinks in for both of them that this correct guess doesn’t actually solve the problem here.

“If you are seeking to kill him, and I was his compatriot, I would kill you,” Michael says. “If you were seeking to rescue him, and I represented his captors, I would kill you.”

Those are, indeed, two of the four possibilities here — the two that would result in Michael killing Buck. But rather than mention the two other possibilities, Buck decides to have theological discussion.

“But in the latter case,” Buck managed, “you would have been lying about serving God.”

“True enough. And what would happen to me then?”

“You might kill me, but you will ultimately lose.”

“And how do we know that?”

Buck had nothing to lose. “It’s all been foretold. God wins.”

By “God wins,” Buck means that God will ultimately kill all of God’s enemies really really hard, sparing only God’s servants — meaning those who know that the killing of God’s enemies has been foretold and is inevitable and who have, therefore, begged not to be killed.

When that’s what you think of as the “gospel,” then I think you’ve become one of the wrong people looking for the wrong person.

Michael, though, recognizes this fatalistic, bloody, vindictive gospel as the same message preached by his friend Tsion, so he says:

“If that’s true, and I turn out to be your brother, you can tell me your real name.” Buck hesitated. “If it turns out that I am your enemy,” Michael continued, “I’ll kill you anyway.”

Buck couldn’t argue with that. “My name is Cameron Williams. I am a friend of Dr. Ben-Judah.”

But Michael still isn’t quite satisfied. He has one final quiz question for Buck, and this one is fill-in-the-blanks:

“Quickly list for me six prophecies of Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, according to the witnesses who preach at the Wailing Wall.”

Buck breathed a huge sigh of relief and smiled. “Michael, you are my brother in Christ. All the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I can tell you six that have to do with your culture alone. He would be a descendant of Abraham, a descendant of Isaac, a descendant of Jacob, from the tribe of Judah, heir to the throne of David, and born in Bethlehem.”

I can’t award Buck full credit for this. Michael demanded six fulfilled prophecies and Buck’s answer really boils down to only two. Any “heir to the throne of David,” must be from the tribe of Judah and must therefore also be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so really Buck is just trying to pad one answer out to make it sound like five.

It’s also about the least impressive, least meaningful “prophecy” imaginable. “Heir to the throne of David” sounds significant until you do the math. We don’t need the (conflicting) genealogies of the New Testament Gospels to know that Jesus of Nazareth could claim King David as an ancestor, all we need to know is that Jesus was born about 1,000 years after David. Jesus was descended from David, but in all likelihood so was every other Jew and nearly every Gentile living in Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth.

That’s not a fulfillment of prophecy, it’s a fulfillment of arithmetic. I am a descendant of Charlemagne. And so are you.

We should note the weirdness of Buck’s claim that he’s selecting six prophecies “that have to do with your culture.” He’s talking about alleged prophecies of a Jewish Messiah — they all, by definition, have to do with Jewish culture. The whole point of this claim is that Jesus fulfilled prophecies listed in what the authors call the Old Testament.

That’s not necessarily really the case. Many of the “Old Testament” prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament accounts of Jesus actually seem to have originated in the New Testament. They involve some very creative reinterpretations and reimaginings of the earlier texts. This is a fascinating area of study — the creative, innovative use of the Old Testament by the writers of the New Testament. In some cases, this is profound and insightful — such as with the “suffering servant” passages in Isaiah. In other cases, though, it seems like either a confused misreading or, at best, an overly strained exegesis (see, for example, the way the Gospel of Matthew rewrites Hosea 11:1-5 to appropriate it as a prophecy about Jesus).

This process of interpretation and sometimes inventive reinterpretation is not what fascinates LaHaye and Jenkins, though. They’re obsessed with the idea of such “fulfillment of prophecy” because it reinforces their central claim about the Bible. For Tim LaHaye, the Bible is primarily a collection of coded predictions. Repeatedly asserting that this is what the Old Testament is “really” all about supports his assertion that this is also what the New Testament is “really” all about. He regards the former as a bundle of predictions about the coming of Christ and the latter as a bundle of predictions about the coming of the Antichrist (an event he seems to regard as far more exciting).

In any case, Michael is satisfied by Buck’s answer:

The weapon rattled as Michael lay it on the deck and reached to embrace Buck. He squeezed him with a huge bear hug and was laughing and weeping.

And so their impossible journey up the impassible river can continue at last.

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Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 76: 'The real sin of the Rev. Bruce Barnes'
Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 78: 'Buck, incognito'
NRA: A church without a plan
NRA: The Fifth Seal
  • GeniusLemur

    So what exactly happened with the other two guys who gave the wrong answer?
    MICHAEL: I’m pointing a gun at your head. I want you to tell me, the servant of God, why you’re here.
    JIM: I’m an ungodly agent of the antichrist here to assassinate Tsion Ben-Judah
    ASHER: I’m a fanatical Jew who’s evil because I don’t embrace Jesus like Tsion Ben-Judah, and I’m here to find him so my equally fanatical buddies can kill him.

  • Daniel

    Dave: I’m a tourist and I’m going up river to meet friends. And maybe buy a souvenir. I thought a river tour might be interesting.

    Michael: Say your prayers, Godless heathen.
    Dave: That doesn’t make any se…

  • Launcifer

    I find myself wondering if Michael loved Martin in Wall Street…

  • Lorehead

    Zealous. The people who murdered Ben-Judah’s family are identified as Zealots.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    CARL: Um, I’m a Christian? On my way to meet with some other Christians.

    MICHAEL: *lowers gun* Oh, man, me too! It’s totes good to see another Real True Christian here! With all these heathens around, you can never be too sure, you know?

    CARL: I know! So can you turn the motor back on now? We’re assembling medical supplies to send to survivors of the bombings, so really the sooner I get there the sooner we can get these people some much needed hel-

    *Michael shoots him.*

    MICHAEL: You thought you had me fooled, but I saw through your lies. A Real True Christian would never heal the sick. *twirls gun gun-slinger style before stashing it back in his coat and sailing triumphantly down the river*

  • Launcifer

    Maybe they were the two poor blighters in the boat with Michael when he finally got sick of all that “row your boat ashore” crap?

  • walden

    “Brother Michael” just murdered two “enemies of God” in the last two days …but that’s cause he’s just so faithful and such. No wonder Cameron is so relieved. Or as he says himself “God wins”…
    Wait….what kind of book is this?

  • GeniusLemur

    “Until your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, you’re not going to be
    able to see that I’ve got a high-powered weapon pointed at your head. I
    would like you to remain seated and answer a few questions.”

    “I’m not the one who should be afraid just now, sir. I
    have twice within the last 48 hours fired this weapon into the heads of
    people I’ve believed were enemies of God.”

    Wow, the dialogue in this stretch puts Ed Wood’s to shame. This is an insult to the very idea of language.

  • Hawker40

    “And I’m holding a thermal detonator under my jacket. Your move, Jabba.”

  • arcseconds

    I’m fond of Sergio Leone’s version of this kind of stand-off.

    “Oh, I wouldn’t be doing dat if I were you. They’d have to change the map.”

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7dvpbXC7m1rsxhido1_1280.png

  • FearlessSon

    … that’s a can of tomato soup.”

    [EDIT]: Sorry, cut and paste the wrong link. Fixed it. The video is supposed to be lower down the thread in another comment.

  • Turcano

    Well, that makes sense. These books were written as a glimpse into the Earth’s last days, so future events such as these will affect you in the future.

  • Arrendis

    “You know… even once my eyes do grow accustomed to the darkness, I won’t be able to see the gun you have pointed at the back of my head.”

  • Jenora Feuer

    That’s not a fulfillment of prophecy, it’s a fulfillment of arithmetic.

    I’m reminded of one of my favourite lines from Digger by Ursula Vernon, at http://diggercomic.com/?p=679

    Digger: I’ve never heard of Fernfossil.

    Ghost of Helix: No reason you should have. The name died out about two hundred years after I did. Blood’s still around, though… Unless I miss my guess, you’re one of my descendants.

    Digger: What? Me? Isn’t that a little… improbable?

    Ghost of Helix: I had eight sons. A thousand years ago. You do the math.

  • P J Evans

    I’d counter with William the Marshal: five sons and five daughters, and all the descendants are through his daughters. (Only one son even had children.)

  • Hexep

    And one of them is me! It’s fun to play Crusader Kings as one of your own ancestors.

  • Matri

    Actually, being Asian, I believe my ancestor would be a Khan.

  • Jamoche

    Obligatory link to Wikihistory: http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/08/wikihistory

  • Matri
  • Hawker40

    Ricardo Montalbán or the new one?

  • arcseconds

    Who’s your favourite Khan: Mr. Roarke or Sherlock Holmes?

  • ohiolibrarian

    Apparently, the Khans spread it around. Everybody’s related to them, too.

  • Nick Gotts

    About 1 in 200 men alive today are descended from Chinggis in the male line. He had the vile habit of raping women he’d captured, and he captured a lot of women. Many of his immediate male descendants presumably did likewise.

  • NelC

    True Fact: “Kahn” is Mongolian for “Cohen”; Ghengis was a descendent of David, meaning you are, too.

  • Alix

    Erm, I really hope that’s sarcasm. >.>

  • NelC

    I’d’ve said silliness rather than sarcasm, but, yeah, you’re not meant to take it at face value. ;p

  • Alix

    Oh, good. XD (Thanks for clarifying.)

  • Lorehead

    Indeed; you meant Aaron.

  • NelC

    Well, sure, through his mother’s side.

  • Lorehead

    Kohenim have to be of patrilineal descent from Aaron, in theory. (Although I have seen some non-Orthodox Jews call themselves that through their mothers.) Genetic testing of their Y-chromosomes tells us that most do share a common patrilineal ancestor.

    An interesting variant is the Sayyid or Sharif, a strictly male-line descendant of Mohammed’s daughter Fatimah.

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    Reminds me of a certain Peter Grant, who lived about four hundred years ago and had twenty-six children live to adulthood.

    …He has a few descendants now. Some are famous. Some of us are not.

  • Nick Gotts

    I’m rather suspicious of the claims reported in the link, as they seem to depend heavily on how random mating is. Are there no Australian Aborigines without recent (last few thousand years) Afeurasian ancestry? No Amerindians in the remoter parts of Brazil without such ancestry? How about the Sentinelese people?

    In any case, although he says “descendant of Abraham”, a sexist like Buck probably means “descendant in the male line”, where the arithmetic is quite different. Many men who have children will have no such descendants after a few generations; although if the number of Solomon’s wives and concubines is correctly reported in the Bible, and he was averagely fertile, David probably has plenty.

  • jemand2

    Honestly probably not. We have had significant movement worldwide since at least the 1500’s, all it would take would be one foundling, one runaway slave integrating into the native population, one hurried affair, or rape, in the first 2-3 hundred years of that global mixing to get past the cultural barriers, and then with the lengthy period of time since then, natural matching would carry it to universal. In fact, given the very small total numbers of isolated populations, that part would probably not take very long at all, allowing likely *several* of the more rare events above to occur. The likelihood that over the last 500 years, none of the peoples of the other Andaman islands didn’t have liasons with people of African or Asian or European or mixed ancestry, and then none of their descendents didn’t get into trouble in their own communities and run away, to integrate with the Sentinelese, still a couple hundred years ago, where the incredibly low population stats for these people would greatly accelerate the propagation through to the whole population, actually seems very very low.

  • chgo_liz

    I agree with you that the article is very simplistic and doesn’t really reflect the complexity of current knowledge within the genetic genealogy world.

  • P J Evans

    More recent articles are claiming common ancestors about a thousand years back – it doesn’t move far, because everyone has cousin-marriages on their tree, which cut down the number of physical ancestors quite a lot.

  • arcseconds

    It’s not exactly a consequence of arithmetic, at least, not according to my understanding, because most lines in the past go extinct. If you pick someone from a couple of hundred years ago, chances are good a couple of generations later they have no descendents.

    People don’t appreciate this so much because when they think about descent, they think of, say, their own ancestry, and clearly their own line didn’t go extinct because they’re around now.

    What I imagine is true (partly as a consequence of the fact that most lines go extinct) is that given someone from a thousand years ago has any descendents at all, probably most of the country is descended from them.

    It’s kind of an all or nothing affair.

  • arcseconds

    It might be worth pointing out that a similar thing happens on the level of biological taxa, as well as individuals.

  • Arrendis

    Well, we are just another taxum.

  • arcseconds

    It isn’t transparently obvious that taxa frequently disappearing without descendants lasting down to the present would mean that individuals within that taxon (Greek, not Latin) should also tend to do this.

  • Fusina

    I think my favorite take on ancestry went something like, Your ancestors were tough old bastards. We know this because they survived and passed their genes down to you. If you have children, this proves you are also a tough old bastard.

  • Nick Gotts

    More lucky than tough; with the exception of genetic variants that cause serious illness or disability, natural selection is probably a pretty weak force. A lot more depended on what the harvests were like in your first few years.

  • Gabe Nichols

    Neal Stevenson put it well at the beginning of Cryptonomicon

    LET’S SET THE existence-of-God issue aside for a later volume, and just stipulate that in some way, self-replicating organisms came into existence on this planet and immediately began trying to get rid of each other, either by spamming their environments with rough copies of themselves, or by more direct means which hardly need to be belabored. Most of them failed, and their genetic legacy was erased from the universe forever, but a few found some way to survive and to propagate. After about three billion years of this sometimes zany, frequently tedious fugue of carnality and carnage, Godfrey Waterhouse IV was born, in Murdo, South Dakota, to Blanche, the wife of a Congregational preacher named Bunyan Waterhouse. Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo—which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn’t a stupendous badass was dead

  • Fusina

    That was the quote I was thinking of–couldn’t remember who or where. Thank you for being my memory ;-)

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Heh. A literal survivor bias, one might say.

  • chgo_liz

    Depends on how endogamous (inbred) the population is.

    A good example is the different Jewish communities: only the Ashkenazi had the historical bottleneck (around 1000 CE, a group of around 400 families moved into the Rhine area) that causes them to be much more interrelated than other Jewish groups such as the Sephardim. So anyone with at least 1/4 Ashkenazi heritage today can definitely trace back to that small group a thousand years ago, but those with Sephardic, Mizrahi, or other Jewish heritage have a much greater range of ancestors.

  • arcseconds

    Yes, that did cross my mind, but I couldn’t work out how to express it concisely :-)

    thanks.

  • hidden_urchin

    Oh, that Pulp-O-Mizer is too much fun.

  • Panda Rosa

    For Padding Out The Answer, few can equal Lucy, who is writing a book report on “Peter Rabbit”. She knows length = insight, so…

    Lucy (singing): There are vegetables in the garden, such as carrots, and spinach, and onions, and lettuce, and turnips, and parsley, and okra, and cabbage, and string beans, and parsnips, tomatoes, potatoes, asparagus…

  • Samantha C.

    “The name of the book about which my book report is about is Peter Rabbit, which is about this rabbit.”

  • Lee B.

    “The name of this song is ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ but that’s not the name of the restaurant, it’s just the name of the song, that’s why I call this song ‘Alice’s Restaurant.'”

  • AnonaMiss

    “The name of the song is called “Haddocks’ Eyes.”‘

    `Oh, that’s the name of the song, is it?’ Alice said, trying to feel interested.

    `No, you don’t understand,’ the Knight said, looking a little vexed. `That’s what the name is called. The name really is “The Aged Aged Man.”‘

    `Then I ought to have said “That’s what the song is called”?’ Alice corrected herself.

    `No, you oughtn’t: that’s quite another thing! The song is called “Ways and Means”: but that’s only what it’s called, you know!’

    `Well, what is the song, then?’ said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.

    `I was coming to that,’ the Knight said. `The song really is “A-sitting On A Gate”: and the tune’s my own invention.'”

  • J Neo Marvin

    Sort of like “the name of this album is ‘The Beatles’, but it’s called ‘The White Album’?”

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

    “Quickly list for me six prophecies of Messiah that were
    fulfilled in Jesus Christ, according to the witnesses who preach at the
    Wailing Wall.”

    Buck breathed a huge sigh of relief and smiled. “Michael, you are my
    brother in Christ. All the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in
    Jesus Christ. I can tell you six that have to do with your culture
    alone. He would be a descendant of Abraham, a descendant of Isaac, a
    descendant of Jacob, from the tribe of Judah, heir to the throne of
    David, and born in Bethlehem.”

    What the bloody use is THAT?

    If ever this entire little sequence with Michael failed at Spying 101, it’s the parachuting in of this extraneous, unnecessary recital of selective interpretation of Biblical prophecy.

    The only reason I can see it being included is so L&J can reinforce the “THERE’S NO JESUS LIKE FUNDIE JESUS” thing they’ve got going on. :-|

  • arcseconds

    It strikes me that this interchange gives no guarantee whatsoever that they are allies. Is it really that hard for Mossad or Global Community Secret Scouts or whomever to work out that Tsion is now a Christian prophecy nut, and train up someone with the right sort of answers?

    Also, if this is the sort of display that’s necessary to avoid being killed, I imagine Michael’s murdered innocent people or even disciples of Ben-Judah’s for not being fundie enough. What would happen if his niece or former pupil went looking for him?

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

    There are other reasons the exchange discussed by Fred fails Spying 101, but the Bible thing just takes the freakin’ cake for useless code language.

  • arcseconds

    If this was written by someone competent, I’d be saying “I’m not sure I agree.” It seems to me that a gratuitous recitation of a tract bullet-point is exactly the sort of thing one might look for to separate an RTC from a GC spy who’s done their homework. In the world with a competent Jenkins, Michael might explain a few pages later that had Buck not responded with enthusiastic Christ-gushing, he’d be floating face down in the river by now, no matter how well he’d answered the actual questions.

    As clearly however no real thought has gone into this interaction at all, I’m sure you’re right and it is entirely gratuitous, along with most of everything else :-)

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    I’m currently reading RubyTea’s analysis of Jenkins’ other book Soon, and he does the same baffling thing with the characters in that book that he does here. That is, a character spouts off one or two Bible quotes, and everyone else immediately goes, “Wow, I’m convinced you’re a Christian, now I trust you enough to tell you EVERYTHING!”

    Is this because Jenkins legit thinks non-RTCs have no idea what the Bible says? Seems like in his reality, once you read a few Bible verses, the truth of it smacks you in the face and you immediately convert. Therefore the only reason someone would be a non-RTC is because they literally don’t know anything about the Bible. Who’s this Jee-suhs guy anyway? Never heard of him.

    I don’t know how that accounts for the existence of those rebellious atheist feminist Jewish liberals who secretly hate God, but it’s the closest thing to sense I could make.

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

    I think this is a common problem among evangelical Christians. They seem to think that the basic concepts of Christianity are unknown even in cultures which have been now or at one time steeped in the traditions of one Christian sect or another.

    So even though people in Canada or the US might not know the exact details of the Ghost vs the Holy Spirit vs whatever, they WILL have heard of Jesus Christ and they will likely have heard some rendition of “he died and went back to heaven and that was kind of important”.

    Kind of reminds me of Amway, actually. Their people are/were taught to purposely hide the details of the company and relate the “opportunity” in the most breathless rushed way possible to generate interest in their target, then spring the Amway thing on them later.

    It’s similar: People who try that kind of template of evangelism often seem to think that they can win converts by breathlessly saying “YOU’RE A SINNER, RIGHT? RIGHT? UH-HUH? YOU WANNA KNOW HOW YOU AVOID IT? HUH? YEAH? OKAY? YOU READY….?

    JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR YOUR SINS! WANNA GET SAVED?????”

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Heh, reminds me of the time my neighbor starting talking up his favorite book to me: “Its amazing, you won’t believe how much sense it makes, it will TOTALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!” I got pretty psyched up, actually, until I asked what book it was.

    It was one I’d already read twice.

    Getting the Christian spiel is like that nowadays: “I’ve got an amazing solution to your problems, you won’t believe how well it works, it will TOTALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

    “Wow, what is it?!”

    “JESUS!”

    “Oh, no thanks. Already tried that twice.”

    They never seem to believe that you already tried it and it just wasn’t your thing.

  • arcseconds

    It appears there are actually three options. You either have never heard of Jesus Christ (or maybe only extremely vaguely), you’ve converted and Been Saved and are now RTC, or you’ve deliberately rejected God.

    Actually, of course, this is just something they remember at some points and forget at others. Sometimes they know there are people who are Christian but not RT, and they know these people know bits and pieces about Jesus but haven’t accepted Him into their hearts.

    But they don’t seem to remember this when they’re in Conversion Mode.

  • AnonaMiss

    It makes somewhat more sense in Soon, as the Bible is a super-banned book there. For people under the age of ~50 or so, it’s unlikely that they’d know any of the Bible unless they were involved with either Christiansmellers or the Christian underground.

    That the Christians aren’t operating under a constant paranoia of Christiansmellers is still a problem, but it makes more sense in Soon than it does in Left Behind.

  • Panda Rosa

    Ethel Merman voice: “There’s NO Jesus, like FUN-die Jesus, there’s NO Jesus I know…”

  • Fusina

    “The only reason I can see it being included is so L&J can reinforce
    the “THERE’S NO JESUS LIKE FUNDIE JESUS” thing they’ve got going on. :-|”

    Did anyone else hear that to the tune of “There’s No Business like Show Business”?

  • Jamoche

    In that one scene in Airplane, even.

  • flat

    oh look it is michael the crazy homicidal captain.
    No use talking to him, just run.

  • Sue White

    These guys *really* need a secret handshake or something.

    I guess any person who ever hires a boat to take them up the Jordan River must be planning to murder Tsion Ben-Judah. Makes perfect sense.

  • tatortotcassie

    They do get a something but not until book 5 or 6 — the secret mark of God. “Can you see mine?”

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

    And then Rayford has a massive case of MANGST because Albie has a fancier fake uniform and his sealed mark of god is omgshiny.

  • EdinburghEye

    A secret handshake might involve unmanly touching.

    They could eat cookies together.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Wouldn’t that put them on the brink of…brotherly marriage?? Eeps!!!

  • Daniel

    “If you are seeking to kill him, and I was his compatriot, I would kill
    you,” Michael says. “If you were seeking to rescue him, and I
    represented his captors, I would kill you.”
    “To game theory no stranger you are” replied Yoda.

  • tatortotcassie

    “I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool. You would have counted on it! So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”

  • reynard61

    Princess Bride reference for the win!!!

  • Mark Z.

    The pastor at my wedding started the service with “Mawwiage…is what bwings us togethow…today.”

    About ten people laughed. Fortunately there were only about ten people present.

  • Matri

    That sounds like an awesome wedding service.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    LEFT: No, you can’t ask us. You can only ask one of us. It’s in the rules. And I should warn you that one of us always tells the truth and one of us always lies. That’s a rule, too. He always lies.

    LEFT: I do not, I tell the truth.

    RIGHT: Oh what a lie!

    SARAH: Answer yes or no. Would he tell me that this door leads to the castle?

    LEFT: Yes.

    SARAH: Then the other door leads to the castle and this door leads to certain death.

    LEFT: How do you know? He could be telling the truth.

    SARAH: But then you wouldn’t be. So if you told me that he said yes I know the answer is no.

    LEFT: But I could be telling the truth.

    SARAH:: But then he would be lying. So if you told me that he said yes, I know the answer would still be no.

    LEFT: Wait a minute, is that right?

    RIGHT: I don’t know. I’ve never understood it.

    -Labyrinth

  • Daniel

    There is nothing in this world completely unrelated to Bowie.

  • Veleda_k

    I like the Haley Starshine approach: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0327.html

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Was gonna say that, but you beat me to it. :D

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I was thinking of the Kingdom of Loathing approach, myself.

    As you approach the door, you notice that someone has scrawled a message on it with a pencil: “BEWARE: One of the guards always tells the truth, one of them always lies, one of them alternates between the two, and one craves the taste of human flesh!” Ominous.

    Hesitantly, you push the door open and enter a small room. You find four guards seated at a round table, playing bridge. You grab your weapon and prepare for a fight, but they just look up at you and nod amicably. “Hello,” says the guard playing North.

    “Er, hi,” you say. “Um, don’t mind me, I was just passing through.”

    The guard playing South says, “I suppose you want the combination to the other door, then? I’m getting really tired of people asking about that.”

    “He’s lying,” says North.

    “No,” says East, “you’re the one lying.”

    “Graaaaagh,” says West.

    “Great,” you sigh. “What’s the code, then?”

    “Well,” says South, “the first digit is 3.”

    “No it isn’t,” says East. “It’s 8.”

    North shakes his head. “They’re both lying — it’s 9.”

    “The second digit now — that’s 4,” says South.

    “Graaaaagh,” says West.

    “It’s 1, in fact,” says North.

    East grumbles, “It’s definitely more than that.”

    “Sorry, I meant to say 6,” replies North. “And the last digit is 5.”

    “Don’t listen to him,” says East. “It’s 2.”

    “No, it is 5, I’m sure of it,” says South.

    “Graaaaagh,” says West.

    You roll your eyes. “Great. Thanks a lot, guys.”

  • banancat

    Hello, fellow KOL-player! I just use a greasemonkey script to get past that challenge and I can’t say I’ve ever read the entire text in-game before.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Pfft. I used Cisco’s solver script for the longest time, which required you to copy and paste the entire text. Now I just use Mafia to solve it without even reading the text, so yeah…

    (In my defense, having played the game for nine years and having ascended 55 times, I’d rather not have to deal with the minutiae anymore. :p)

  • banancat

    I never really got into using Mafia, even though I have ascended 148 times. I just use greasemonkey scripts and it’s actually one of only two things I still use Firefox for.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Nice. There’s also a good take on it in Lords and Ladies. Mustrum Ridcully never quite saw the point of logical conundra.

    TRiG.

  • Kirala

    The 10th Kingdom, in one sense, screwed up this test, because it presented something which is technically logically impossible to solve. In another sense, they did Haley proud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fasaXIR66tE

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    One of them only tells the truth, one of them only lies, and one of them shoots people who ask tricky questions.

  • Shay Guy

    This is only really necessary if you’re limited to one question. If you’re not, there’s a simpler solution, of which the “Haley Starshine approach” is a derivative: Ask one of them a question you already know the answer to. That tells you which guard is which. (The cleverness of the one-question solution lies in the fact that you don’t need to know which is which.)

  • Sue White

    …Until your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness…
    How long has he been sitting there by now? Did they just turn out the lights or something?

  • P J Evans

    Michael has a floodlight on the front of the boat, so he can see the shrubs he’s motoring through, and one on the back so he can clear shrubs out of the propellers. [/s]

  • Loki1001

    These books remind me of a short story written by Kurt Busiek entitled “Clash of the Titans (a New York Romance.”

    Kurt Busiek is most famous for writing superhero comics, and it is a superhero story. Except it really isn’t. It is the story of a man myopically trying to find an apartment in New York City. In the background are massive superhero battles, involving hundreds of thousands of deaths. Also, somewhat in the background, is the fact that the narrator is involved in some incredibly immoral, shady stuff. Almost every instigating incident in the story comes from the narrator’s endless quest to find an apartment.

    But this is intentionally comedic, with an obviously unreliable narrator, who is knowingly portrayed in an incredibly negative light. Left Behind is pretty much the same as the story, except the authors did all the unintentionally.

  • Hawker40

    By curious coincidence, I have just (this morning, at breakfast) finished this story.

  • Abel Undercity

    I remember reading it a long while back in an anthology Of New York City-centric sci-fi and fantasy stories called Newer York.

    Busiek was completely unknown to me at the time, so when I picked up Astro City years later, I had no idea that I had already read the seed it grew from.

  • Dave

    I can’t help thinking that in a better book Buck would have recognised that Michael isn’t a servant of the same god as him because Michael is confessed murderer and his god was pretty clear on the not killing aspect.

  • Donna McCrimmon

    Well no, you’re thinking of the wrong version of God. Their God allows killing heathens, though you’re expected to feel bad about it for a while afterwards.

  • Vermic

    Let’s go a little easy on Michael. Having the protagonists we do, we sometimes forget that not ALL Christians are highly-placed moles who are best pals with the ruler of the world. Some Christians in this setting lead lives of ACTUAL danger and drama, who require extreme secrecy and yes, even violence, just to survive from day to day. Some Christians. Just not the ones these books are written about.

  • Mr. Fletch

    Nor the ones these books are written for…

  • Hth

    Do we know that? Is there anti-Christian persecution at this point, other than of Tsion specifically? I don’t remember it being mentioned, but a lot of things in this book get mentioned once and then forgotten, so it’s certainly possible.

    I expect the Christian blood to flow freely at some point, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about the LB series, it’s that it is in no effing hurry to get to the gorier more interesting parts of the Apocalypse.

  • Veylon

    It does flow freely later, but only from non-main characters. The mains get set up in a fully-furnished bunker/apartment building from which they can sit out the bloodletting in comfort and style. Their fellows in Christ are not invited to this refuge.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Not quite.

    Incoming spoiler, if anyone cares. Stop reading now.

    Chloe gets beheaded. They watch it on TV, *with Buck holding their 2 year old son.*

  • Matri

    Pretty sure by that point, it would be a mercy for her. Considering everything L&J put her through…

  • flat

    that’s what we call a mercy kill.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Whoop-de-crap. It doesn’t even hurt her.

  • Daniel

    The following programme may not be suitable for young viewers.

  • Sue White

    Look, Kenny, Mommy’s on TV!

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Well, if Michael is supposed to be THE Michael, then he doesn’t have to worry about the Christian thing. Then again, he also already knows the answer about Buck and the two other guys. He’s out here filling his divine command. Had to make a piddly stream into a river for this tourist guy… had to make it all secrety spy like for him too… He’s taking a guy who doesn’t have a clue up a river because Buck would never find Tsion on his own…

    He’s not really testing Buck for anything, he’s just bored and being a prick about it.

  • Laurent Weppe

    It doesn’t occur to him that this guy might be a serial killer dumping bodies in the river because his neighbor’s Labrador retriever told him that “God” wanted him to.

    You know, as a guy who owned a Labrador for over twelve years, I’m much more inclined to believe that a Labrador can be a bona fide archangel transmitting God’s will than to believe in the sincerity of your average right-wing self proclaimed Champion of Chritianity.

    I mean, I saw my dog climbing up a vertical wall spiderman style while chasing cats and she was once hit by a car, and it’s the car that got hurt, which qualifies more as miraculous than anything ever produced by a faith healer, so Hallowed are They who Give Us Cute Puppies

  • Hawker40

    I owned a German Shepard as a child who chased a cat up the side of a house to the 2nd story roof.
    And then couldn’t figure out how to get down. The cat escaped him by jumping.

  • Panda Rosa

    Cat probably laughed about it too. “Nya-nya, now whatcha gonna do, smarty?” and sitting looking smug.
    –doorman to 5 fat felines

  • Matri

    … Your dog is Chuck Norris?

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    If Chuck Norris was any cooler, he’d be Obi-Wan Kenobi.

  • Hawker40

    There are lots of Chuck Norris jokes, but no Bruce Lee jokes. Why not?
    Because Bruce Lee was no joke.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Kind of lost my enthusiasm for Chuck Norris when he declared that Obama is the Antichrist.

  • AnonaMiss

    If there was any doubt that Chuck Norris was a joke before that…

  • banancat

    I always assumed the jokes were making fun of him and the hyper-masculinity that he portrays, and not actual compliments or admiration. Did anyone every consider them a sincere statement of Norris’s awesomeness? Poe’s Law, I guess, because now that I think of it I could see people taking it seriously.

    But if it makes you feel better, just replace Chuck Norris with Vin Diesel in your mind, because they actually started with him.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    … I could work with that.

    MacGuyver can build an airplane out of toothpicks and dental floss, but Vin Diesel can beat him up and take it.

  • Jamoche

    Chuck Norris isn’t a badass, he just plays one on TV.

    I know people who were on the tournament circuit with him – the first time he came to Texas, back when people still believed in brawn over skill, he lost badly. He came back with the “blitz punch” – forget about hard, just hit as fast and often as you can. One of them’s going to hit, and this is a “first hit is the only one that counts” scoring system.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Some years ago a retriever decided to chase my car…and caught it. (Partly because I was hitting the brakes and pulling over to the curb so I wouldn’t run the dog over, but still.) As the THUD faded away, I got the car stopped – then I tried to open my door to check on the dog, but the door was stuck.

    I was having horrible visions of the poor mangled animal caught in my damaged door when I spotted it prancing up to its owner – trying its very best to say “Look at me, boss! I’m a smart dog, aren’t I, boss? Look what I caught – can I keep it, huh, huh, huh??”

    Yes, there was a retriever-sized (big) dent in the car door.

  • Lorehead

    Yeah, cars do that now for exactly that reason. But see the comments on that video for old people ranting that the 1959 Chevy has to be safer because the new cars crumple like tinfoil. Almost as if deformation makes a collision inelastic, reducing its kinetic energy!

  • Lee B.

    I think it was Leno that had a joke about how old cars like that could shrug off a collision—just wash the blood out of the interior and you’d never know the car had been in an accident.

  • Hawker40

    I saw a documentary on car safety that talked to the early designer of the ‘collapsable car’; he stated he got the idea after his brother and his family was killed in a car accident and he was the one who had to drive thier car home. He thought this was backwards, that he would rather have a ruined car and a live brother, sol, neices.

  • LMM22

    he stated he got the idea after his brother and his family was killed in a car accident and he was the one who had to drive thier car home.

    I’m nearly thirty, and that concept — of several people dying in a car crash and the car is still functional — is *so* alien that it’s hard to believe.

  • reynard61

    New Cars: Designed to die in a crash so you don’t have to.

  • Matri

    All of the strength goes into the frame, to provide a cage around the occupants and redirect the force of the impact away. The rest of the cat buckles to absorb and reduce the force of impact.

    Reminds me of a scene in Knight Rider 2000:

    K.I.4000: Had we hit the deer, we would have suffered no damage whatsoever.

  • reynard61

    Yes, I’m aware of how cars are designed.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Wait. I’m not the only person in the world who saw that movie?

  • Matri

    Yeah. My brain is forcing me to remember that movie in hopes of erasing my memories of Team Knight Rider.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Aw. Team Knight Rider had almost one whole good episode.

    Frankly, I stopped being bothered by Team Knight Rider back in 2010 when KARR turned into a giant robot.

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

    I only ever watched the 1980s series when it aired way back then.

  • fraser

    I saw it. Not bad, actually.

  • Fusina

    Which is the reason I have a new car. I was in an accident, the car was totaled, my daughter and I were fine–no bruises or anything. I got the same make and model car, different year.

  • rp

    My Rabbit was once hit while it was parked, and I was quite amazed when I sat in it later and looking out from the driver’s seat I couldn’t see any damage at all, and certainly none near me. Of course the crumple zones did their job, and it had to be towed to the shop. (Local version of AAA asks “Is there any metal in the wheel well?” Answer “What wheel well?”) That was in about 1988 or 1990.

  • Jamoche

    Whenever I tell people that my Mini Cooper was totalled their immediate reaction is that I must’ve been injured. (I was car #3 in a 4 car chain when somebody decided that the reaction to their freeway exit being closed was to *stop*. Grr.)

    Nope; one lingering bruise from a bit of steering wheel trim popping off when the airbag went was it.

  • LoneWolf343

    It really has more to do with the Impulse Law, increasing the time of a collusion reducing the energy delivered per second.

  • arcseconds

    I’ve collided with cars before and had them come off worse than me :-)

  • Daniel

    I had a mate once who was hit by a bus. The road was cordoned off, the traffic held up for ages. The bus had to get towed. My mate got a few bruises and was mostly concerned that he’d looked stupid.

  • arcseconds

    Well, that’s a lot better than my story :-)

    It’s more true to say I’ve collided with car doors before, because some idiots don’t check what’s behind them when they’re opening them.

    I’ve still got the scar from one of them, but I busted the car door pretty good :-)

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    You dog chases cats and is thus an enemy of the Great Goddess Bast. Since you are her owner, I can only surmise that you also are an enemy of Bast. If we were on a river boat right now, you’d be in real trouble.

  • Laurent Weppe

    So would you, Depraved Slave of the Perfidious Felines

  • SkyknightXi

    “Perfidious Felines”? You’ll be in SEVERE trouble if Sekhmet is listening at the moment.

  • tatortotcassie

    A tiny, piddly quibble here but . . . Michael is the one holding the gun. Why is he calling Buck “sir”? If anyone’s going to be called “sir” it should be the person holding the gun.

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

    “If you’re going to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite”, I guess? (<_<)

  • Lori

    Sadly I suspect it has more to do with the idea that Buck is just so very manly man that even a guy threatening to kill him can’t help but defer to him.

  • Hawker40

    “You can get more with a gun and a kind word than you can with just a kind word.” – Al Capone.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    “A battle of wits” as written by one with supremely atrophied reasoning skills.

    Something like this except on accident then?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTh9qpzhunE

  • reynard61
  • Jamoche

    Tourist season!

    (Hey, if you’ve ever dealt with tourists, you’ll understand)

  • Hawker40

    “If it’s tourist season, why can’t I shoot them?”

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Tourists are a protected species.

  • tatortotcassie

    Well, they’re an invasive species . . .

  • Kirala

    This was our thought about jetskis when we were trying to ski behind our motorboat on the lake. Am still unconvinced that a modified paintball gun would be out of line.

  • Hawker40

    In a battle of wits, Buck is very brave given that he’s unarmed.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    My mother has a name for people like Buck:

    Too Stupid To Be Scared

  • Daniel

    surely too stupid to be sacred would fit better?

  • Vermic

    So remember, kids, learn your Sword Drills and learn ’em well! Otherwise one day you just might GET YOUR BRAINS BLOWN OUT.

  • Lori

    Not brains. Michael is as inept at his part of this pathetic drama as the Tribbles are at theirs. He apparently doesn’t watch TV or movies and no one ever told him that knives get held to throats and guns get held to heads.

  • Hawker40

    In fact, standing in arms reach of a person with your gun is a good way to have someone take it away from you.

  • Lori

    Not if that person is Buck.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I wonder if Buck even knows how to handle a gun.

  • Jamoche

    Back when I was teaching karate, my kid brother pointed a water gun at me at point blank range. Reflexes took over and he ended up with a face full of water.

    But yeah, this is Buck. My newest students were better trained than him.

  • arcseconds

    While of course it’s possible to do this, what happens in the controlled settings of a dojo, where no-one really is trying to kill you, is not necessarily a good guide to what happens when someone you don’t know is holding a deadly weapon at you with every intention of using it if you don’t behave appropriately.

    Having been in situations where I’ve been seriously physically threatened, I can tell you firsthand it’s very difficult (for me, and many people report similar experiences) to not be near-paralyzed with nerves. And I’ve a few skills in this area myself: without them, the situation would be far more severe. And my assailants weren’t even armed (although you can’t be sure of this, of course, which doesn’t exactly help one’s confidence).

    Now, maybe you’re supremely confident in such circumstances yourself, but if so, you’re unusual, whether due to unusual experiences and training or just having an unusual temperament.

    Buck not doing anything is realistic.

    Michael standing so close is taking a foolish risk, but that too might be realistic: amateurs do foolish things.

  • Jamoche

    True, though this wasn’t a controlled situation – this was a surprise at home where I wasn’t expecting it. Like I said, reflex. Probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d thought about it. Though a couple of my fellow advanced students learned not to surprise me around a blind corner at the dojo – reflexes worked there, too.

    Buck’s supposed to be a world traveler, reporting from dangerous parts of the world – I expect more from that kind of character than the typical amateur. But from Buck himself, nothing more than my first-day students :)

  • arcseconds

    Sure, yes, but someone you know well is a lot less threatening to you than a complete stranger. You can be pretty sure he isn’t actually carrying a deadly weapon and isn’t about to kill you.

    It might be instructive to actually try the experiment with a water-pistol held at the back of your neck, and see whether you can avoid getting wet 9 times out of 10.

    Do you think, say, Robert Frisk can confidently disarm people who hold weapons to his neck?

  • Lori

    I suspect Robert Frisk doesn’t usually get into boats with armed strangers, alone in the dark. Instincts aren’t foolproof, but generally speaking if a war correspondent lives to be well-known and experienced it’s at least partially because s/he has some street smarts and instincts about people.

  • arcseconds

    I’m not trying to say Buck isn’t an idiot :-)

    Just that even idiots might not want to take on an unknown quantity who’s holding a gun to their neck in the dead of the night.

    Also, he does seem to have at least a suspicion this guy could be an ally.

  • arcseconds

    OK, so it appears it’s actually at the front of his neck. That makes things easier, but I’m still not that fond of the odds :-)

  • Jamoche

    Actually the part of the lesson that I forgot in the reflexive reaction is “don’t even try this unless you’re convinced you’re going to get shot regardless.” I really was surprised that it worked as well as it did.

  • Hawker40

    My experiences with this come from three sources;
    1. a cousin who taught Marines unarmed combat, who believed that going for the gun was better than dying or being locked up in a communist re-education camp.
    2. A self defense instructor who believed you should only do it if the choice was ‘go for the gun or die’.
    3. As a Military Policeman, I was warned repeatedly that I should never get close to a suspect with a drawn pistol for fear he would take it away from me and kill me.
    So, I trained in how to do it, and how to avoid having it done to me. No, the situation never arose in real life.

  • Matri

    Something like this in games really irk me, especially RTS and RPGs.

    Whenever you are given a choice to develop your character or unit along the lines of ranged or melee, ranged units will always be set up as a “support” unit who is useless without an accompanying unit. Melee units can stand on their own, be gifted with a huge pool of hitpoints, and will be capable of dealing out an equally huge amount of damage in a short time.

    Ranged units on the other hand, will have only a fraction of the hitpoints, will be able to do constant but low damage, and 9 out of 10 times will be unable to score kills against a melee unit 1-on-1.

    I briefly played Granado Espada for a few days before the anti-cheat rootkit fucked up my system, but I was pleasantly surprised with their portrayal of ranged units: Comparable health, comparable damage output, but with the advantage of being a ranged unit. The downside is the ammo cost, which is quite expensive. If you don’t plan ahead, a single dungeon run will leave your guns and purse empty.

  • LoneWolf343

    I believe the reason for that is to make the game “fair.” If ranged weapons were given the same kind of lethality as melee weapons, then the ranged weapons would have an advantage due to not having to get into an enemy’s reach to inflict it. There is a reason why melee weapons have been all but given up in real-life warfare.

  • Hawker40

    In RPGs, this may just be a playbalance thing: if you give a class the high hp, high dps, high defenses AND range, no one will play the other classes.
    In RTSs, it depends on what your simulating. In modernesque land battles, long range arty usually does sacrifice armor for speed and reach. For naval battles, well the battleships have the biggest guns with the longest ranges and the heaviest armor but sacrifice speed (until the 1940s, when a mix of improved engines gave them speed… and enemy aircraft to worry about.)

  • Matri

    In RPGs, this may just be a playbalance thing: if you give a class the
    high hp, high dps, high defenses AND range, no one will play the other
    classes.

    Star Trek Online, the Escort-class line of ships. Highest DPS, highest defense, highest speed, highest maneuverability, second highest hp.

    The Cruiser-class line of ships. Lowest DPS, second lowest defense, lowest speed, lowest maneuverability, highest hp.

    The so-called “Lead Designer” says there aren’t any issues, that these are balanced.

  • arcseconds

    I’m not disputing that this may be the best course of action, nor that someone with a clear head and appropriate training could pull it off.

    I certainly agree with your statement that, if you have a gun, you shouldn’t go within arms’ reach of someone. Even if you think they’ve only got a 5% chance of them disarming you, that’s a great risk that you just don’t have to take.

    What I am disputing is the assumption that most people, or even most foreign correspondents, or even for that matter people with some martial training would necessarily be capable of doing this under these circumstances. I think most people would freeze up and go along with it, if not burst into tears or do something far stupider (like try and run).

    If you tell me you’re sure you would be, then I’ll believe you, because you have had relevant training and it seems likely you have had experiences that would have tested your mettle. But Buck isn’t an ex-MP.

    (Also, it seems he doesn’t actually perceive this situation as a ‘go for the gun or die’, so he could have even had the same instructor as you!)

  • arcseconds

    The whole ‘don’t go within reach of someone if you have a gun’ thing is just a special case of the more general principle that if your range is greater than your opponent’s, stay where they can’t get you, but you can get them.

    This works with melee weapons and even in boxing.

  • Jess Goodwin

    My own teacher told me that it depends on what the person with the gun wants. If they’re just after your wallet, hand it over and count yourself lucky. If they try to force you into a car, or into a building, or anyplace without witnesses, you might as well make a try for their weapon, because they mean to kill you anyway.

  • Lori

    So they have this entire, idiotic exchange while their boat is drifting with no power in the pitch dark? A boat that was headed upstream when Michael cut the motor?

    In the immortal words of Tom & Lorenzo—Jesus, Mary and Oprah.

  • Alix

    “Well, sir, I’d love to take you to see Tsion. However, we are now back at the docks; the trip you paid for is over. Shall we negotiate another ride?”

    Someone’s pegged Buck as a good mark, I think. >.> I wonder how many times he can pull the “whoops, drifted back down” trick before Buck notices…

    Either that, or something about being up creeks without paddles comes into play here.

  • Launcifer

    And then Martin Sheen puttered by on his dilapidated patrol boat, monologuing about a guy Buck would probably want to see elected President…

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    Wow, this dialogue is terrible. That’s the only thing I thought the whole time I was reading this. Honestly, they’re having this nice, civil little chat and you almost forget that one of them has threatened to kill the other. Seriously, Buck is taking this situation a little too well.

    When I was in high school, I wrote a science fiction horror short story for a independent study. At one point, the captain of a ship on a deep space transport craft finds one of the crew gruesomely murdered by parties unknown. He proceeds to inform the crew, who begin to systematically search the craft for the killer. In the critique, the teacher told me that the people were way too cool in this situation. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background may be – you find out that one of your comrades has been killed, and you’re confined with the culprit whose identity is a mystery? You’re going to freak out a little.

    Apparently, no one told Jerry Jenkins. Buck is so even-tempered and rational that you really do forget that he has a gun to his head. He’s not an action hero, and nothing he’s done suggests that he’s fearless. Compounding the situation is that, at the start, Buck doesn’t know this man’s allegiance so he could very well talk his way into an execution. Yet he’s not panicking – just calmly disarming the man with his words. And while we’re at it, Michael is being awfully civil and calm towards someone he believes may be an assassin out to kill his leader. This doesn’t sound like a standoff, it’s more like two guys in a bar having a spirited but civilized discussion of a local news story.

  • Baby_Raptor

    He’s probably convinced TurboJesus won’t let Michael shoot him. Remember, he’s utterly convinced that god told him to go through this to find Tsion.

  • aunursa

    But Michael still isn’t quite satisfied. He has one final quiz question for Buck, and this one is fill-in-the-blanks:

    “Quickly list for me six prophecies of Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, according to the witnesses who preach at the Wailing Wall.”

    Because a non-Christian couldn’t possibly bluff his way through that question. Because we are totally ignorant of Christian beliefs. “Who is this Jesus Christ of whom you speak?”

  • Hawker40

    Sounds like the “Chick Tract” version of personal knowledge.

  • J_Enigma32

    Jesus? Why, I’ve only lived in the Western World for my entire life, and inundated every day of my life in American culture.. But no, I’ve never even heard of the guy. Please, tell me about this “Je-sus” of whom you speak.

    (Fun fact: My given name is Joshua. In Greek, Joshua is spelled “Iesous”, and commonly rendered in Latin “Jesus”. I’m an atheist. Who is Jesus indeed).

  • Baby_Raptor

    My best friend is named Josh. We often tease him by calling him Jesus.

    Contrast this with my boyfriend, who is essentially the perfect Aryan. Tall, long blonde hair, blue eyes…At work, they refer to him and his friend as “Jesus and the disciple.”

    Nope. Nobody in America knows anything about Jesus but RTCs!

  • flat

    well joshua from exodes his name was the same as jesus.

  • aunursa

    Quickly list for me six prophecies of Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, according to the witnesses who preach at the Wailing Wall.”

    “Wailing Wall” is a Christian term. If Michael were born an Israeli Jew, he would call it the Western Wall.

    But of course it’s “Wailing Wall” because that’s the name by which it is known to Jerry Jenkins.

  • Daniel

    Thank you. That has been bugging me ever since they first started this whole dreadful interlude in Israel.

  • dpolicar

    Not exclusively Christian. The Orthodox community I was raised in typically referred to it as the Kotel, but if we were translating into English we often used “Wailing Wall.”

  • Lorehead

    I’ve used the Kotel, Western Wall and Wailing Wall interchangeably depending on whom I’m talking to. But this is a guy who corrects two prophets about what the locals call the Sea of Galilee these days (and gets it wrong), so he can’t very well say he doesn’t care that they call it the Kotel.

  • dpolicar

    Sure. I only meant to say that “Wailing Wall” is not exclusively a Christian term.

  • flat

    well when you are reading jerry jenkins you also end up wailing and headbanging again a wall.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I call it “Western Wall” myself because one of my teachers said that the term referred to the sound of the Hebrew prayers, which sound like wailing, said at the wall. I was horrified by the racism that I heard in this statement and so as soon as I learned the term “Western Wall,” I switched to that.

  • Lorehead

    Huh. I always thought it was because of the sorrowful prayers and weeping. Wikipedia, font of all knowledge, thinks so too.

  • Hawker40

    Having lived in Los Angeles, I would say that if you had to, you could travel up the Los Angeles River from Long Beach to Glendale most months. By car.
    You probably wouldn’t need four wheel drive, either.

  • Lori

    At one time, but I don’t think you could do it now. The entire river was deemed navigable a few years ago. IIUC that involves it having more water than you could drive a car through.

  • P J Evans

    You can get up as far as Arroyo Seco, if it hasn’t rained in the previous week. After that, you’d better be on the streets, because the concrete lining goes bye-bye for three or four miles. (It’s rocks, shrubs, trees, and water all the way through Glendale, and the water is deep enough for cormorants to visit.)
    This summer they were offering kayak trips through that section.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Texas has a definition called “navigable by statute,” which means that the waterway is, on average, 30 feet from bank to bank, regardless of whether there is water in it or not.

    I don’t know if California has a similar law, but as Los Angeles tends to be as dry as South Texas is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

  • Lori

    I think there must be more to it than that because the I don’t think the average width of the LA river has changed in the last 5 years or so. They did a major restoration project, most of which was completed after I left the state so I haven’t seen it, but the parts I did see/read about weren’t about widening anything.

  • P J Evans

    Thc concrete channel is at least 100 feet wide through downtown. Wider at the ocean end, narrower at the head (where it’s about fifty feet wide:
    the head of the LA River

  • Lori

    But it’s been that way for a long time, right? It was designated navigable just a few years ago. I assume that means that something changed to make it go from not navigable to navigable and I don’t think it was the width of the channel.

  • P J Evans

    It was to keep developers from messing up some of the other streambeds, I think. The Corps has had jurisdiction for years, but that was about to end, and the only way they could keep it was to declare the river navigable – for at least some values of ‘navigation’ – so they did.

  • Lori

    Ah. Got ya.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Not for a long time, actually. They’ve been restoring the LA river in recent years. There’s water in it year round now, and trees and plant life that would make it impossible even if the water was low enough. You could bike alongside of it, though.

    Here’s an article on future planned rehabilitation. I’m looking forward to it. It’s already a pretty decent ride for most of the way between Glendale and downtown (I live in Glendale), except for the stretches where you’re biking directly next to the I-5.

  • Jay

    Bilbo did it better.

  • Hawker40

    Bilbo cheated by having a better writer.

  • Lorehead

    Better than I, certainly, but it would have been so easy to fix the plot holes. Michael asks Buck where on the lake he wants to be left off (we’ll grant him that the dam was taken down and, since Jordan the country no longer exists, Israel is at peace with its neighbors and the Russian nuclear warheads power desalinization plants, no one needs to drain the Jordan river and it has been restored) and Buck tries asking questions to narrow down where to look. But he gives too much away, and Michael suspects that he’s after Ben-Tzion, so he takes the boat someplace dark and secluded, draws the knife he carries as a tool, and there demands answers.

    Then all Jenkins would have to do is write a suspenseful conversation that made some sense.

  • Alix

    Then all Jenkins would have to do is write a suspenseful conversation that made some sense.

    Come on, you’ve gotta give him a task he can handle.

  • Daniel

    Well written plots distract from the important point- getting through the check list of End Timey stuff. Given that the characters are going to die anyway, what possible use would it be to flesh them out and have them interact with each other in convincing ways? At best it’ll just make it upsetting when they die, at worst it will distract from the list of surreal and unpleasant things that will happen to all those who don’t share Timkins’ beliefs. The most important point of any writing is to reinforce the readers prejudices and constantly stroke their egos. This rarely happens in real life, therefore writing realistic dialogue does the readers a disservice.
    As Jenkins probably says in his seminars.

  • Jamoche

    Of all the boats, on all the river, Buck and the two unlucky dudes walk onto Michael’s.

  • Vermic

    Raymond Chandler believed that you could make any story interesting by adding a man with a gun to the scene.

    If Chandler had met Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, he would have smashed his typewriter forever and gone into bike repair.

  • commonlaw504

    As long as he did it after he wrote The Long Goodbye but before he wrote Playback, I’d actually be ok with that.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Just then another boat drew alongside. Buck could see the pilot and a second man. The moonlight gleamed off of something metal he had in his hands. The automatic weapon was pointed at Michael. “Put down your rifle,” said the man. “We’ve recorded your whole conversation. You’re under arrest for the murders of Jorge Jimenez and Mohammed Abdallah.”

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Hate to reply to myself, but I figured out what happens next.

    Buck, afraid that they might shoot him too, quickly said “I work for Nikolai Carpathia.” The last thing he heard was the sound of a rifle being fired.

  • J_Enigma32

    As long as Jenkins doesn’t try throwing ninjas in, too, we’re good.

  • Abel Undercity

    “We’ve replaced this book’s protagonist with Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe! Let’s see if anyone notices!”

    (Ten seconds later, a disarmed Michael falls into the drink with a sudden, pronounced swelling on his jaw.)

  • Daniel

    Buck’s face looked like Lazarus’ hangover the day after he’d met Jesus. Mike had a gun pointed at his throat. Moonlight had never looked less romantic.
    “Hey Mike,” said Buck, “if you wanted me to shut up you coulda just asked.”
    “Quiet, Mr. Katz.”
    Mike’s chewed up fingers shook as he reached into Buck’s jacket. If the Jordan had run dry the boat could’ve floated all the way to Galilee and back on the whiskey in Mike’s blood. He was nervous.
    “You know Mike, there are better ways to get your hands under my clothes than this…”
    Like Zacchaeus after a day at the track Mike was desperate to get his hands on another man’s wallet. But right now it was Buck stuck up in the tree. This guy was scared, and scared men make mistakes. Buck wanted to be like Jesus, sure, but that didn’t have to mean full of holes.

  • Daniel

    Try as it might, the atmosphere of the evening was still not strong enough to cloud Buck’s clear, level headed outlook. Michael’s powerful vessel slowly forced its way through Jordan’s silted cleft, its tip shining as little white liquid flurries caught the moonlight, the occasional gentle slap of muddy fluid along its length lulled Buck hypnotically. Such a night inclined Buck toward poetry, a medium he usually had no time for. Poetry, as Buck understood it, dealt with metaphor- another word for lies. He couldn’t imagine that there was another way to view poetry, and so he was able to upgrade his impression to the status of “fact”,
    acknowledging his own rigorous humility and aberrance in having taken so long
    to do this. Metaphors are not facts. Metaphors are not manly. Poems relish the
    use of the devil’s favourite device: ambiguity. Poetry was best left to women,
    Buck had always thought- and because he had always thought it he knew it was a fact. The only part of the Bible that could even come close to being called a
    “poem” was the Song of Songs, which in the copy Bruce had given him was a series of thick black lines that smelled strongly of marker pen. Initially Buck had wondered why that book had been included. “The brain is the Devil’s gym. Will you allow the Devil to get stronger?” Bruce had roared at him before compassionately accepting Buck’s contrite donations to the church’s off shore account. When he’d calmed down and had another swig of medicine from his silver medicine flask, Bruce explained that the lines were to illustrate the clear difference between right and wrong, and that morality, like the smelly pages that made Buck dizzy, was best understood as solidly black and white. The Bible had no ambiguity, and the Bible had no metaphors. Once Buck had assimilated the fact he was untroubled by any further need to question. Buck could honestly say that if it were up to him alone the devil would be badly out of shape right now. But sadly, there were still those out there who rejected Christ and allowed Satan a six month free pass with full access to the sauna, swimming pool and guest entry for the whole legions of his hellish army. And probably threw in free towels as well.

    Buck was a man of facts- statements delivered with utmost sincerity which could be confirmed objectively, however demeaning and insulting the subject of those facts imagines they are. A fact is solid and fixed, not subject to the devilry of the intellect, but known in the heart to be true, and facts remain true even if the devil acts to convince people otherwise- which he did with alarming frequency. It is a fact, for instance, that women are less capable in the workplace than men. Because of Satan and liberalism the staff at Global Weakly had willfully refused to acknowledge this. Their denial had led to Verna Zee running the place while Buck was away, a job she was evidently not capable of because Buck wasn’t there to show her how to do it and because she was a woman. Ipso facto. (Or maybe Q.E.D. Buck had no use for Latin- he wasn’t Catholic. He was saved instead.) But it didn’t matter how sincerely Buck said this, how honestly he believed it, the staff at Global Weakly would not accept this plain and simple fact. The staff were incapable of seeing it objectively, from Buck’s point of view. The only true objectivity is that of the individual’s heart, so what hope had the unsaved when it came to assessing facts?

    Buck never wished harm on anyone, but he wished for her sake that Verna Zee had been willing to take on all of his responsibilities as he found Michael pointing something long, tubular and desperate to explode right in his face.
    Buck felt a strange calmness. This was too bizarre, too strange even for his weird life. Nuclear weapons exploding harmlessly above Israel and millions of people vanishing into thin air was all in a day’s work. He could have predicted the accession to absolute power of a master hypnotist through an organization that had previously only been a centre for debate and after that the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the establishment of a single world religion that everyone had enthusiastically adopted was pretty ordinary. The destruction of most of the western world with nuclear bombs containing no radioactive material at all was a little odd, but a smuggler holding him at gunpoint… that was too far fetched. What next- no signal on his universal phone? It wouldn’t surprise him, not now he’d seen it all.

    “I mean you no harm, Michael,” he said. “You have nothing to fear from me. That’s a fact.”
    “I’m not the one who should be afraid just now, sir,” Michael said. “I have twice within the last 48 hours fired this weapon into the heads of people I’ve believed were enemies of God.”
    “Well, that’s OK, because I’m not an enemy of God.”
    “That’s what an enemy of God would probably say.”
    “Yes, but I’m not an enemy of God.”
    “But if you were, you’d almost certainly say you weren’t”
    “Well I’m not. Honestly.”
    “Really?”
    “Yes. Really really.”
    “Honest and true?”
    “Cross my heart and hope to re-die, to be reborn again. Again.”
    Michael sighed and held out his left hand. The skin was bronzed and callused from years of rowing a boat that had motors. He probably found some consolation in the money he’d saved not having to buy fuel. Michael had suffered for his appearance of biblical accuracy, and Buck felt a shock of pain on his behalf as his eyes, now used to the darkness (he had opened them), discerned little slices and grazes on his nut brown skin.
    “Then you’ll not be afraid of this, Mr. Katz.”
    Buck sighed, knowing what came next. He extended his own equally manly though significantly paler and softer hand, little finger extended. The two men hooked their little fingers together, in an expression of trust that went back to the birth of friendship some six thousand years ago, and Buck said:
    “Pinky promise.”

    Michael may have accepted that Buck was a servant of God, but Buck had not accepted that Michael was. Since a true servant of God would never lie- especially not on a pinky promise- it was now up to Michael to prove his faith to Buck. Buck was surprised he hadn’t allowed the devil in to let him think this through, and pleased that he now had Michael, still pointing his gun at Buck’s face, exactly where he wanted him. Buck would try Michael’s claim of faith by making him display the chief virtues of Christianity. Anyone could help other people, and Buck had known so-called “atheists” and “Jews” and “Feminists” who had behaved apparently kindly to other people, so a display of morality was no way to prove Michael was telling the truth. He was suspicious, untrustworthy and admitted to killing for God. Though these were points in his favour, there remained only one last, uncheatable test. Buck would ask him questions about the Bible. No unbeliever would get them right, and no true believer could get them wrong. The etymologist in Buck recognized the link between “trinity” and
    “trivia” and it was this that would expose Michael’s true loyalty. Buck was able to cite scripture for his purpose, something the devil could never do. To make it all the harder, Buck would ask questions that could only be answered “true” or “false”. The chances of getting those questions right by accident were one in a million.

    To Buck’s delight Michael answered all the questions correctly and posed some heart-teasers back at Buck, who had told him some facts he knew because he believed them.
    “I can tell you six that have to do with your culture alone. He would be a descendant of Abraham, a descendant of Isaac, a descendant of Jacob, from the tribe of Judah, heir to the throne of David, and born in Bethlehem.”
    Michael accepted this, and Buck liked him even more.He was clearly innumerate, and so demonstrated that he had banished the Devil too. Either that or he was willing to accept any facts Buck told him without question, which in a way was even better.

    Buck felt his enthusiasm swelling. For so long now he had been forced to keep silent, forced by the eerie absence of any direct threat against him, forced by the oppressive lack of Nicolae’s agents, forced by the evident indifference of the powers that be to his every move to keep what he knew to himself. But now this stranger who rowed a powered boat and killed passengers who didn’t share his religious beliefs had answered some true or false questions correctly Buck knew he had met a man in whom he could place infinite trust.

    “I can also tell you several more facts about prophecies from the Bible!” said Buck, wondering if exclaiming the point hadn’t been a bit less than manly. If he lived to write his memoirs, and if he could ever get round to it, he would perhaps use ellipsis instead. Ellipsis…he wasn’t sure exactly what that meant but it sounded impressive, and to a writer of Buck’s skill that was the most important thing.
    “Go on.” Michael said.
    Buck restrained his enthusiasm. He wasn’t sure why but he was overjoyed that this gruff, muscly oarsman shared his interest in the impending doom of all mankind. It would certainly make the journey go quicker if they had something to talk about! Or talk about…
    “There will be four beasts full of eyes, with six wings each… and” Buck said smiling, before Michael took over
    “And they’ll talk and say”
    Then they both said together
    “Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” And they laughed. With his reporter’s instincts for observation Buck noticed little crinkles appear round Michael’s eyes when he smiled, which reminded him of Rayford. If he were a woman, Buck might have described them as adorable. Buck was glad he wasn’t a woman. A woman wouldn’t understand Michael like Buck did. Buck went on
    “I know, right? And there’ll be locusts with crowns on and men’s faces, and women’s hair and breastplates of iron…”
    “And lions’ teeth!”
    “Oh yeah! And scorpions tails…It’s really great to meet someone else who thinks this stuff, you know?”
    “Yeah, you and me, Cameron… we’re two of a kind.”
    Buck smiled. He had never been quite so happy.
    “Yeah…” he was learning “We’ve got a lot in common… the locusts, the talking animals with all those eyes and wings…”
    “We sure do. There’s a word for people like us…”
    Buck knew all the words, but he let Michael go on.
    “You and me Cameron, we’re Realists.”

  • flat

    well daniel I got to admit you really have talent writing these scenes.

  • dj_pomegranate

    Well, this made my day.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I look forward to these entries every week.

  • Daniel

    Thank you, that’s a really nice thing to say. It’s made me feel right cheerful.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    It’s like Frank Herbert doing an editorial rewrite of LaJenkins.

    It is recorded that Paul Maud-dib awoke from a nightmare, which is a dream that is unpleasant, and regarded the character of Cameron Williams, the GIRAT, also called Buck. Then Maud-dib shook his head and made a note to tell Stilgar that after their next celebration of victory over the hated Harkonnens there should be less beer.

  • FearlessSon

    A little off-topic, but related to the subject.

    This morning one of my roommate brought in the mail. In a poor attempt to troll me, he set a color-printed pamphlet from the mail pile into my chair because it “looked video-gamey”. The pamphlet was addressed to “Our Friends at” and our house address, likely just looked up in some database. It was mostly black, and on the back was a picture of the Seattle skyline with four lavishly detailed horsemen riding above it. Inside, it was an add for some sort of apocalypse preparation seminar (probably one where you have to pay to get in and they aggressively push book sales) talking about the secrets of Revelation, testimonies from people who were “wowed” by it, mentioned “The Bible is our only textbook!” as if that was a selling point.

    I halfheartedly entertained the idea of showing up just to call out how I eagerly await the opportunity to be smited by God during the Second Coming, so I can go out defiantly exercising the free will God in His infinite wisdom has sought to give me. Maybe crack my voice a bit and go all The Exorcist-like on them, just to see their reactions.

    Anyway, something that it made me think of which (trying back to something said in this post) is that a lot of the people concerned with the Rapture seem to be very invested not in stopping it, or even necessarily hastening it, but to being a kind of appeaser. The “I’ve been faithful all this time! Please spare me! Punish the others!” These seem less like loyal people, and more like les collaborateurs, siding with the powerful to see their own kind harmed in the vain hope that they will be spared by tossing others under the bus. The worst of them, the ones who seek temporal power in the present, seem like Vidkun Quisling or Benedict Arnold, gladly serving up the vast mass of humanity to die and be tortured for the power of themselves and their proportionally small cabal of followers.

    There is something craven about this. I can understand if people would rather hide and make the best of a bad situation, rather than stand up and fight against an overwhelming force, but wanting to push others into the meat grinder to save your own skin (or soul in this case) is just disgusting.

  • arcseconds

    In the worst cases, it’s not even that they’re pushing others under the bus out of fear (which I could kinda understand — hardly heroic, but not everyone’s a hero) or callousness, but actually out of sadism.

    There’s a church father or doctor or someone who wrote that seeing the unrighteous tormented for ever is part of the reward for the righteous. (I can’t remember exactly who and searching for a few minutes just turned up contemporary rubbish rather than venerable rubbish). You can find this sentiment around today, and it’s utterly vile and completely reprehensible.

  • Daniel

    Tertullian and Thomas Aquinas. Lovely men both.

  • arcseconds

    So a father and a doctor!

    Aquinas did spring to mind, because it was someone I had thought a little better of. But then I felt pretty sure it was a church father…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s not as simple as “You’ll get to enjoy watching people suffer.” It’s more like “With the clarity of being in heaven, you’ll see clearly that all those sinners weren’t REAL people like you and me with hopes and dreams and aspirations, but rather a kind of demonic meat-puppet, and that for them, burning forever in the lake of fire is actually a good thing; they won’t exactly ‘enjoy’ it, but that’s because they’re not capable of actually enjoying things as you or I do. But it’ll be the proper and fitting thing for them, the best they can hope for, and you’ll be able to appreciate the way they fulfil their highest calling through endless torture, the same way that though you yourself would not like to be set on fire, you can appreciate watching a log burn in the fireplace. It’s what’s right for the log, it’s what’s right for the sinner, and watching it is what’s right for you.”

    So it’s not about taking joy in the suffering of others, it’s about utterly dehumanizing the people you disagree with such that you imagine them to be sub-human automata like unto an inanimate object and lacking anything resembling the subjective experience of humanity you have.

    Which is totes… Well, actually “utterly vile and completely reprehensible” still covers it now that I mention.

  • arcseconds

    While maybe some people have thought it through like that, my suspicions are that for many, it’s really as simple as ‘you think you’re so smart now, egghead evolutionary biology and slutty MTV and facist Democratic Party! but you just wait until we’re all dead and I’m in heaven and you’re burning forever, then I’ll be laughing and you’ll be sorry!’

  • SkyknightXi

    That actually sounds like a precept of some of the nastier versions of Gnosticism. The idea is that there’s only a finite number of souls in the world–the same number that the Demiurge inadvertantly trapped during the creation of the Hyle. So if the number of people in existence exceeds that number, the excess MUST be archon-crafted automatons meant to keep the (actual) souls better in line. Apparently, making life/existence difficult for the automatons is a fine way to stick it to the archons, if things like the Second Treatise of the Great Seth are anything to go by. And now I wonder if that’s where Tertullian picked it up, without realizing it.

  • caryjamesbond

    I’d say you’re looking at it the wrong way around- from a “wow, these guys were arseholes taking a dark view of something.”

    If you look at it as “These were really nice guys, putting the best possible spin on something incredibly vile” it makes more sense- The Doctor and the Father were presented with “the truth” which is that anyone who doesn’t genuflect with three fingers or four fingers or whatever goes to a place of Infinite Fire. Given that precept, the best, kindest, sweetest spin they could put on it was the whole nonsense about proper places and so on.

    THEY aren’t vile and reprehensible. Christianity is. (Or, I suppose, The concept of hell is, but its sort of a package deal.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    (Or, I suppose, The concept of hell is, but its sort of a package deal.)

    Well, except for Origen.

  • flat

    I really like the serenity prayer, because in this case it gives some guidelines what to do or not to do.

    God, give me grace to accept with serenity.
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
    Taking, as Jesus did,
    This sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it,
    Trusting that You will make all things right,
    If I surrender to Your will,
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

    Amen.

  • Dash1

    That’s the kind of thing that would have gotten Buck’s head blown off by Michael. Had it occurred to him to say it.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    Ia Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn!

  • FearlessSon

    Also, on a tangentially related topic, I mentioned this a while ago when it was first announced. Looks like now they have a teaser trailer up, but it is PS4 exclusive. Thought people here who like “experiential” games might appreciate it.

    “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture”

  • Victor

    (((Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 190-194)))

    Come on Friend, “I” mean Fred and long story short, this Good Old Dad created the Darkness first and we humans who are considered Pup pets by the angels who think they own our soul and spirit and think they can buy all of U>S (usual sinners) “I” mean us gods are nothing butt and thanks to Victor who believes that his so called four per sent age cells of this father, mother, son and holy spirit can save us but this story is butt what Victor has turned into is butt world of
    a sad country song if YA ask us gods.

    Listen Friend, “I” mean Fred, we gods won’t believe that GOD created The Darkness first and just because YA pup pets, “I” mean humans are nothing but slaves to this darkness, “I” mean to sin, we really don’t care for “IT”. The nest thing that YA all will start to believe is that GOD really created “The Darkness” first and then created Light so that we sinners could see all those so called lost angel souls and evolve as we want. Longer story short, this GOD is hoping that we His Children will want US to believe that we have free will and can evolve by ourself and we can fight these sins through prayers and by letting this Jesus, “I” mean submit to this darkness, and HE’ll will save us all by making “ONE” for ALL and ALL for “ONE”< if we have the faith needed.

    Fred we gods don't care that some so called knowledgeable angels believe that mighty spiritual ninety five % of this earth is being destroy NOW by ninety five % of humans and this world has no chance in spiritual reality and if we don't submit to the destruction evil who live backward, there will no longer be a story shorter that this GOD will come to our rescue by creating a new earth and a new heaven.

    Come on Fred, don't let your fans be conned by all of this silly ness, cause there's nothing wrong with same-sex marriage and woman have the right to kill, "I" mean kindly this card, "I" mean discard any un born child who would spoil plans of lost soul who are determined to take over what we 96% gods have worked so hard to attain now. "I" mean us alien gods who really are out to create a special world for us who believe that survival of any world will not be controlled by so called sin which no longer exist and……..

    END YA SAY sinner vic? Be nice, Don't be like that now! Where do YA get such silly thoughts that "The Father, Mother, Son and Holy Spirit don't exist as "ONE GOD" and me, myself and i agree at this time that all of this seems like nothing but a sad country song but give "IT" TIME and anything is possible NOW?

    Go Figure folks! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzuBokcosJ0

    God Bless Peace

  • guest

    My head is really itchy and my legs hurt. I should go to bed, it’s late, but it’s like I’m stuck to the chair. Nothing brings me joy anymore. I’m so bored and my life is meaningless. Can’t get a job, got no money, got no friends, even my cat won’t come when I call. Good night, Victor. Remember to brush your teeth.

  • Victor

    I luv, “I” mean “I” like “IT” so much when YAR kind of cells visit so please be my guest and use my ba sin, “I” mean my basin and wash your itchy head and you can then even use some of my head and shoulder to take the itch away. Of course after which you can come and rest your sore leg cells on our comfy couch and “I” will even pull UP the coffee table then YA can come sit on my compute her, “I” mean my computer chair and if YA stick to “IT”, “I” will get YA some boiling, “I” mean look Warm enough so that “IT” will unstick YA from your chair butt that’s only if YA feel that ‘IT” is too late for YA NOW! “I’M” sorry that YA are so bored and that YAR life is meaningless. So Sorry also that YA can’t get a job and have no money butt guest what, at least maybe “ME”, “ME” and “ME” have made YA feel a little bet her, “I” mean better NOW! As for your cat, “I” will send YA “ONE” of my spiritual reality
    soul and spirit cells to tuck YA in and YA won’t need YAR cat anymore when he/she and/or “IT” won’t come running when YA hell. God night, “I” mean good night, and be my guest and use my tooth brush if YA feel like brushing and…..
    END YA SAY sinner vic? BE NICE! THAT’S NO WAY TO TREAT A GUEST NOW!?
    I hear YA folks! Go Figure! :)
    Peace

  • Dogfacedboy

    It’s your basic Holy Grail Bridge of Death scenario.

    “Until your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, you’re not going to see that I have a high-powered weapon pointed at your head. I would like you to remain seated and answer for me these questions three. Answer wrong, and the other side ye shall see.”

    Buck squinted into a darkness that was as dark as New Babylon in the midst of a Fifth Bowl Judgment. “Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper, er, Michael. I’m not afraid.”

    “What is your name?”

    “Cameron Williams. But you can call me Buck.”

    “What is your quest?”

    “I quest the rabbi, Tsion Ben-Judah.”

    “What is your favorite color?”

    “Blue. No wait…”

    Buck winced at his catastrophic lapse in favorite-color-remembering and mentally said goodbye to Chloe and readied himself to be with his savior in the next moment but what he heard instead of a gunshot sounded like motors. Hadn’t Michael said he’d killed the motors, just like he’d killed those two enemies of God in the past 48 hours? In the darkness he could now make out red and green lights, and suddenly he and Michael were awash in the intense, sweeping beam of a bright spotlight. Shielding his eyes, Buck made out the shape of a guided missile destroyer approaching them slowly from up the mighty Jordan River.

    “Divine intervention!” exclaimed Buck, as Michael lowered his gun. “God be praised!”

    “Hello, who is it?” called a voice from the bridge of the warship.

    “It is I, Buck Williams. Whose ship is this?”

    “It is the ship of my commander Hayim Ovadia.”

    “Go and tell your commander that I have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will bring me aboard your warship, he can join me in my quest to find the rabbi who has gone into hiding since declaring Jesus Christ as the Messiah.”

    “Well, I’ll ask him but I don’t think he’ll be very keen. He’s already got him, you see.”

    “What?”

    “He says they’ve already got him,” Michael said.

    “Are you sure he’s got him?”

    “Oh, yes, he’s very nice.”

    “Well, can I come up and have a look?”

    “Of course not! You’re American!”

    “Well, what are you then?”

    “I’m Israeli! Why do you think I have this charming Hebrew accent?”

    Suddenly, the waters of the Jordan were parted. The spotlight on the bow of the warship traveled over to the shoreline where Buck recognized Moishe holding up his staff and Eli with him, beginning to cross in the path of dry riverbed between the warship and Michael’s drifting tour boat. Moishe was speaking in a powerful voice. “And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans….”

    And Eli followed him, declaring “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

    Buck couldn’t believe his good fortune. “Hey, you’re just the two guys I’ve been wanting to see. Can you tell me more about my friend’s location????”

    Eli didn’t even look at him. “I fart in your general direction.”

  • Matri

    Eli didn’t even look at him. “I fart in your general direction.”

    *laughs*

  • Dash1

    Aw, I was hoping for Eli’s reply to be “I fart in his general direction. Follow your nose for news.”

  • Notasaltine

    On a slightly related note, the genealogical issue that Fred brought up was the thing that caused me to lose my suspension of disbelief has I was watching ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (minor spoilers follow).

    The witch had to kill all of the descendants of the judge who’d burned her which amounted to…….2 people. This is, needless to say, a much lower number than the hundreds, or thousands of descendants that you’d expect someone who’s kids were adults in the 1780’s to have. Which, now that I think about it, would make an interesting novel-a evil force starts killing people, and OUR HERO has to work out that what they have in common is that they share a common ancestor if you go back to 1700.

    On an entirely unrelated note, this is the poster formerly known as Katie. That login isn’t working, Thanks Disquis!, and I’ve gone back to using an old one.

  • Lorehead

    Maybe other witches pruned the family tree periodically?

  • Lori

    Family lines do die out though. It happens all the time. The “we’re all decedents of Charlemagne” game relies on the rather expansive definition of descendants. If you’re talking straight line descent, which is what I would assume would be required for magic, it wouldn’t be at all unusual for a line to come to an end.

  • Lorehead

    I have no idea what you’re saying here, since the definition of descendant is not ambiguous or in dispute.

  • Panda Rosa

    I’m going for literal bloodlines, esp the tendency of young males to spread their seed far and wide, esp wide. Even if the more obvious links are extinct, there’s probably those of Asiatic, Amerindian, African background who still have a drop or two of Charlemagne’s blood. Wonder how you’d go about determining that.

  • Lori

    Other issues aside, plenty of young males don’t spread their seed at all, let alone far & wide.

  • dpolicar

    OK, it’s official, I’m twelve.

  • Lori

    Oh good. I need company over here in jr. high. :)

  • Panda Rosa

    True, but it only takes a few. Certainly the sailors on the ships of Columbus and Cortez and de Soto, etc weren’t all celibate with the local women.

  • Lori

    I’m not following what that has to do with the likelihood of one particular person having direct line descendants after nearly 250 years.

  • Panda Rosa

    Like I said, it would be a literal descent; as every baby has to have a father, whether he’s around or not. The “roving sailor” idea simply widens the scope for said descendants. The main difference here is that such a person could not prove it, as there’d be no records, but the bloodline passed from father to child would still exist.

  • Lori

    You seem to be using the term “literal descent” in an unusual way, but setting that aside the roving sailors have no bearing at all on the likelihood of any particular line persisting for 200+ years. DNA now allows us to prove connection without records. Some genetic lines persist, some do not.

  • Caravelle

    The point with the “we’re all descendants of Charlemagne” thing is that after a certain amount of time, either everybody is a descendant of a given person or nobody is. In other words, the number of one’s descendants doesn’t necessarily increase; it follows a random walk, which after a very long time will end up either at 100% or 0% and stay there.

    Now I’m not an expert on the time scales involved, and I would tend to think that most descendencies that die out do so within the first or second generation, but it still doesn’t strike me as too out-there that after two centuries (that’s only around 10 generations…) the random walk of how many descendants someone has could end up at “two”.

    It does sound improbable… you’d still expect the number to be “hundreds” or “zero”… but it could certainly happen. Especially considering how variable the number of children families have is. A few generations of people having zero, one or two children would go a long way.

    That said, I don’t doubt that number was picked for narrative convenience and not statistical realism.

  • Susan Paxton

    That’s freakish. I’ve been working on a family genealogy, and by the time you get back to Colonial America, it’s a bloody explosion; I must have thousands of living relatives. And so far I only have one side back that far!

  • eyelessgame

    Oh wow! *That* list! For a while we attended a local megachurch because they had a great moms group and a great band, and very inoffensive soft-sell sermons. Then, for one fatal two weeks, they had a guest preacher. His first Sunday, he told lies and lies about science and creationism. His second Sunday, it was all about how the Bible had to be the supernaturally-accurate literal word of God. Those “prophecies”? That was his list.
    He spewed that the chance of *one person* fulfilling all “six” of those prophesies was the equivalent of covering the state of Texas in silver dollars ten feet deep and then picking the right one at random. And I was like “um, do these people understand – no, they really don’t.”
    He went on to be impressed that the Bible was eighty books, written by over fifty people, on three different continents, and yet it had a consistent voice, consistent philosophy, consistent depiction of the main character (God). Supernatural, it was. And I thought to myself – first, I don’t think “consistent” really describes a set that includes Leviticus, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the book of Jonah, the letters of Paul, and the Revelation of John. And my second thought – eighty books, fifty authors, three continents, consistent setting and philosophy and characters and voice? That’s my Star Trek fiction shelf.
    Anyway, his pair of execrable sermons – and all the videos and books of his they were shilling right outside, making me think of Jesus committing his magnificent property damage in the Temple in Matthew 21:12 – were the beginning of the end for us. And now we sleep in on Sundays and we’re much happier.

  • flat

    very inoffensive soft-sell sermons, don’t take it personal but those sermons are the ones that really don’t interest me.

  • Hawker40

    “And my second thought – eighty books, fifty authors, three continents, consistent setting and philosophy and characters and voice? That’s my Star Trek fiction shelf.”

    I’m pretty sure you can get more than three continents with the Star Trek fiction and eighty books.

  • Abel Undercity

    He never said it was a fully comprehensive collection…

  • hagsrus

    “…The weapon rattled as Michael lay it on the deck…”

    That’s “laid”, if you please.

    /petpeeve

  • Susan Paxton

    I would think if a weapon rattled, there likely would be something wrong with it.

  • hagsrus

    Perhaps he meant clatter?

  • Daniel

    Sabres rattle.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    Jesus was descended from David, but in all likelihood so was every other
    Jew and nearly every Gentile living in Palestine at the time of Jesus’
    birth.

    I’m pretty sure that there were no Jews, or Gentiles, living in Palestine at the time of Jesus’s birth, since if what we know of Jesus’s life is to be relied upon, he was born in the Roman province of Judea. After the Bar Kochva revolt in 135 CE the province was abolished and folded into Syria Palestina, and I do realize that it is fashionable, these days, to pretend that Palestine is the correct name for the region at any point before May 15th 1948. But I don’t think it is accurate to history to do so.

  • Alix

    That’s … not entirely accurate. “Palestine” as a term for the region is attested to in a variant form all the way back to Herodotus, though the borders (like all borders) varied over time. It debatably stretches back further, depending on who exactly the “Peleset” from the Medinet Habu inscriptions were.

    It’s not like “Palestine” is a new word.

  • Alix

    Also, it should be noted that the term “Israel” is first attested in a stele dating to only around 30 years prior to the Medinet Habu inscriptions, so it’s not got much of a greater claim to precedence than “Palestine” does. I can’t find any variant of “Judah” dating back earlier than ca. 900 BCE, which is considerably later than either of the other terms. (If anyone knows of earlier evidence, please let me know!)

  • Alix

    (Second reply to myself, what): and by “considerably later,” I mean only if the Peleset/the region of Peleset mentioned in Medinet Habu really is Palestine, which most historians believe. That is debatable; what isn’t debatable is that Palestine has been used as a term for the region since at least the 5th century BCE.

    This may be a hot-button issue in terms of modern affairs, but that’s no reason to screw with the history.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    The name Palestine existed for a long time before the creation of the Roman province – the Romans had to get the name from somewhere, after all. But it wasn’t the name at the time of Jesus’s birth or for some time before that. I know that there are ancient Greek references to Palestine, but they predate the period under discussion, and there is, as you say, some debate about what region they actually refer to.

  • Lorehead

    The Bible itself rather famously refers to the previous inhabitants as Philistines.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    Previous inhabitants of where? The Philistines lived in the South of what is now Israel, in and around Ashkelon and Gaza. The area of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was in Judea, or previously Canaan, home of the Canaanites.

  • Lorehead

    Yes, but the terms Judea and Israel don’t refer to exactly the same area, either. Israel is no longer only the northern kingdom, nor do we today understand it to include the East Bank of the Jordan.

  • Alix

    True. I don’t think it necessarily makes Palestine a bad general term for the area, though.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    My sense is that the use of Palestine as a general name for the area is often political, an attempt to erase both the existing state of Israel and the Jewish connection to the region. In the case of Jesus’s birth, when we know for a fact that he was born in Roman Judea, it’s hard to take the use of Palestine as value-neutral.

  • Alix

    Fair enough. I’m generally of the mindset that names are usually political (some moreso than others, granted) and probably piss off someone anyway, and it’s really hard to find general terms for a region that has the kind of history Israel/Palestine does.

    I mean, using Israel or Judea’s not apolitical, either, and it erases all the non-Jewish peoples who’ve lived there – Philistines, Palestinians, Canaanites, etc.

  • Dash1

    And no one living in the Americas before the 16th century? It’s a common convention, I think, to use the modern name for a place, whether or not that place existed under a similar name at the time in question.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    In that case, Fred should have written that Jesus was born in Israel (or, if you take the precise location of Bethlehem literally, in the Palestinian Authority).

  • Dash1

    Actually, I take my comment back. It’s not equivalent to using the term “the Americas” before the 16th century, since “Palestine” has been in use as a name for the region (variously bordered) since at least the time of Herodotus (5th century B.C.E.). Wikipedia indicates it appears in Josephus as a regional term. So I’m not seeing any reason for claiming the name isn’t used until 1948.

  • Abby Normal

    It almost sounds like a ripoff of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword from Last Crusade, only much less cool.

    “My soul is prepared–how’s yours?”

  • christopher_y

    an older Jewish male who is bigger than a breadbox and is educated but not a medical doctor.

    I don’t often laugh out loud at stuff I read, but I did there. Also:

    I am a descendant of Charlemagne. And so are you.

    But the bastard never sends me a Christmas card.

  • Lorehead

    It’s okay. Someone in his family probably does.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    In his defence, he’s been dead for over a thousand years.

  • Susan Paxton

    And of course if you’re Asian, there’s a very good chance you’re a descendant of Chingis Khan.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 154 pages

  • http://dcmoosings.blogspot.com LouC

    If you’re a descendent of Jacob, doesn’t that mean you’re automatically descended from Abraham and Isaac? #puzzledaboutdifferentiation

  • Lorehead

    Are you saying that multiplying probabilities together to calculate the odds of all those things happening at once is only valid if those probabilities are independent? That’s crazy talk.

  • Daniel

    ah, like the organ-strike rules in F.A.T.A.L.

  • Lorehead

    Trust me on this: you do not want to know that reference.

  • http://dcmoosings.blogspot.com LouC

    Well, as Fred, says, that kind negates two of the six prophecies, doesn’t it?

  • Jared James

    The rest of the sentence, “Your answer impresses me,” should be, “which is why I will probably regret this if I find out it was a mistake,” and a brief, loud sound.

    Then again, I’ve been reading a lot of Ray Chandler in recent years, a writer who gave a shit about believability.

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

    I keep thinking the “brief, loud sound” is a impressively malodorous emission from Michael’s lower intestine.

  • Jared James

    I was heading for gunshot, but that works, too.

  • bekabot

    The answer to every one of Michael’s questions is ‘false’, so if this were an episode of What’s My Line?, Buck would have won $30 by now even though it seems Bennett Cerf is closing in on the solution.

    One wonders what Groucho would have made of it.

  • Dash1

    The magic word in this case would indeed appear to be “Duck!”

  • Dash1

    A minor point in light of all the crapitudinousness in this section, but I’m not skilled in the understanding of shootin’ irons. Can anyone tell me why a “high-powered weapon” is necessary to kill a person? Seems to me a moderately-powered projectile shooter would do the job just fine.

  • Lori

    It’s not necessary, it’s just manlier. At least in the eyes of the idiot who wrote this and the salt of the earth folk who make up its target audience.

  • Arrendis

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

    -Jim, The Waco Kid

  • Lori

    Exactly.

  • arcseconds

    I don’t think I’m as sensitive to bad dialogue as Daniel is, but that struck me as something that no-one would say.

    If Michael knew about guns and thought it important to make such distinctions to his victim, he would say “I have a Glock 29 pointed at your head” or maybe “I have a 10mm Glock pointed at your head.”

    (or maybe, just to make the point “I have a 10mm Glock pointed at your head. If I fire, you won’t just be dead, there’ll be nothing left of your scone.”)

    If he didn’t know or didn’t care, he’d probably just say “I have a gun pointed at your head”.

    This seems to me that, just as you say, Jenkins wanted this to be all manly, but doesn’t know anything about guns, and is too lazy to do any research, so it’s ‘high powered’ rather than anything specific.

    (I don’t really know anything about guns either. I just did more research for this comment than Jenkins did writing this scene)

  • caryjamesbond

    What Lori said. Truthfully, if you’re standing right behind someone, a .22 would be the weapon of choice- quiet, doesn’t sound like a gunshot, and less….well…splashback.

    Unless you’ve got a lot of spare time to spend docking your boat and hosing it down, .22 is really the way to go.

  • Vermic

    Because “high-powered” sounds more awesome. You can also safely assume the gun is “fully loaded”.

  • P J Evans

    In all senses, probably. Laser sight, night vision, silencer, flask of whiskey….

  • Daniel

    It plays the theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly whenever you shoot it…

  • Lori

    Have an internet. You earned it.

  • Pops

    And “cocked.”

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    “I’m not the one who should be afraid just now, sir,” Michael said. “I have twice within the last 48 hours fired this weapon into the heads of people I’ve believed were enemies of God.”

    Well fuck. Cameron had been enjoying the surrealism of traveling by boat on the Jordan River. She’d been to the region before the bizarre and unnecessary public works project that had turned the trickle into a navigable waterway.

    The entire thing had been a pleasant dreamlike journey. Now she had a fundamentalist murderer pointing a gun at her. An ordinary murderer she might have had better luck working with, but since she’d transitioned she didn’t think she could make it passed fundamentalist muster. Even if she convinced this person she wasn’t an enemy of God now, what would happen if he noticed some tell indicating that her body wasn’t exactly cis.

    Cameron was getting used to hiding that, but she knew from experience in other areas that the pressure of having her life hang in the balance tended to make her too nervous to remember, much less cover, all of the pertinent details.

    “Ok, I have questions.”

    “I’ll be the one asking the questions.”

    “On what did you base the determination they were enemies of God? Why does God need you to defend him? Wouldn’t your time be better spent with more terrestrial human affairs? Has it ever occurred to you that, as a murderer, you might yourself be an enemy of God?” Cameron walked as she spoke. Hoping that the questions would keep Michael’s mind occupied enough that he wouldn’t fire.

    He was sputtering with outrage when she reached her destination: the edge of the ship. At least he wasn’t shooting.

    Cameron didn’t know how deep the man made river was, so she jumped overboard when she would have preferred to dive. A shot rang out. Cameron didn’t let herself stop to even think whether or not she had been hit. She just put the adrenaline to use getting away.

    When she was confident she was safe, and able to tell that she hadn’t been shot, she thanked someone (she wasn’t sure if it should be God or the manufacturer) that her phone was waterproof, and placed a call.

    She didn’t like having to rely on the other side, but she didn’t know who the local authorities were, while they would, and she did know that even the Antichrist wasn’t a fan of murderers. In general at any rate. Murderers who worked for him were another matter entirely.

  • caryjamesbond

    I cannot, for the life of me, think of any conversation I could have in real life, with a complete and unexpected stranger, that would sufficiently establish their bona fides to the point I would take them to the fleeing criminal I’m supposed to be protecting.

    And what’s worse- this could’ve been a much cooler scene. What would REALLY happen is Michael would be sweet as candy, and take Buck to Some Dock Some Place- three other guys with automatic weapons would take Buck to a small shed. Honestly, probably hit him with rubber hoses for a while.

    Anywhoo, at some point, someone would send a picture to Tsion, who is somewhere else completely. Tsion himself would then confirm Buck’s identity. At that point, he’d be hooded, driven around randomly for a while, and THEN taken to Tsion. Not because they don’t trust him- but because what he doesn’t know, he can’t tell. This one guy playing 20 questions on a rocking boat with a potentially highly trained assassin BS wouldn’t cut it anywhere in the real world.

    And how much more FUN would that be? Buck gets slapped around by people pretending to be GC interrogators….which wouldn’t work, because Buck would just tell them to call Carpathia (The most patient and understanding dictator in history) and confirm his identity.

  • Izen

    Why can Michael see to hold a gun on Buck, but Buck’s eyes are not yet accustommed to the darkness?

    Does Buck have a night vision problem? Or is Micheal wearing nightgoggles?

  • Rakka

    Michael wears a pirate eye patch?

  • fraser

    oh dear god, even reading the excerpted version that was stupid.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    I find it horrifying that two supposed followers of Christ have no issues with one of them assassinating two people inas many days .

  • Rakka

    They follow Turbo-Jesus, the biggest mass murderer in universe. Of course they’ll be fine killing anyone they think is on the wrong side.

  • Daniel

    “All he says, actually, is “test me,” but to Michael, this suggests a game of Twenty Questions”

    Which, based on all the coded language about high powered weapons, long slick wood, powerful motors etc. I think we all know that’s not what Buck was after at all.

    Buck gasped in delight and flung himself backwards, unzipping his leather jacket as he went “Test me Michael, test me as hard and as long as you like!”

  • Victor

    (((“Test me Michael, test me as hard and as long as you like!”)))

    Daniel, after reading all of these comments, “I’M” impressed with the role that you’re on and you of all DNA, “I” mean people should/would have put an end to pup pets, “I” mean human animals thinking that “The Multiplication Game” goes as far back as ADAM and EVE. Don’t tell this little retardo Victor’s so called four per sent age of his father, mother, son and holy spirit cells but “The Darkness” owns everything and we gods, “I” mean the invisible angels who come from this darkness have managed to con, “I” mean convince these animal humans that Devil is only a word coming from darkness and let U>S (usual sinners) “I” mean gods say that for argument sake that this “Trinity” of “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit” really existed at “ONE” “TIME” but don’t YA think that a $, “I” mean Buck would have made “IT” a LOT clear her, “I” mean a lot clearer by NOW? OK! “I” grant YA that these human animals are what they are butt, flesh, blood and bones and we must remember that these dark forces are invisible nut…. and….

     

    END YA SAY sinner vic? DON’T BE LIKE THAT NOW if you know what’s good for YA?

    Go Figure Friends? :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x-NZ7TaoT0

    God Bless Peace

  • VMink

    “I have twice within the last 48 hours fired this weapon into the heads of people I’ve believed were enemies of God.”

    How very… Christian… of him.

    Not.


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