Edge of Apocalypse: pages 318-320 (Chapter Fifty-Four)
Hi everyone! Now that LaHaye and Parshall apparently have gotten the third book out of the End Series, I need to step up my pace! In deference to the Slackti-schedule I’ll try to have one EoA on Sunday and one on Wednesday or Thursday. That should cover a chapter a week, if not two, and get us to the end of the book in about a couple of months, if not sooner. Then I’ll try to do my End Series on Sundays and my Christ Clone vs Left Behind and/or other miscellaneous things on Wednesdays/Thursdays.
So, hold me to it, folks.
So like I said, we’re meeting back with Caesar Demas. This chapter is divided roughly in half between Demas and Cal, so I’ll do Demas’s part first and do Cal’s separately.
At his country villa north of Rome, just off of the Via Salaria, Caesar Demas was about to get down to business with his guest from the Middle East. He’d already given him a short tour of his four-thousand-square-meter gardens, the mahogany-lined fifty-stall horse stables, and the restored ancient Roman road that made up part of his three-kilometer-long gated driveway. Now he and his visitor were seated in the gold room, so named for the dark wheat-colored walls, with the stunning view of the rolling hills of his estate. Demas was seated in one brown leather chair, his guest in the matching chair next to him.
Appropriate Bondesque villain palatial residence is appropriate.
I actually mainlined the James Bond series a while back; I’ve been reluctant to watch “American classics” generally, but seeing as how they form the basis for so many cultural touchstones and tropes in Canadian and US culture (at minimum), I gave in and watched.
I wasn’t sorry
So, who’s the mystery visitor?
We’ll find out, but before that we find out Demas has the urbane evil villain thing down cold:
Now that refreshments had been served, Demas motioned for the servants to leave the room. But before exiting, the head butler bent down next to Demas’ ear and whispered, “Excuse me, sir, but Mrs. Demas is wondering whether you will be able to address the matter of the vineyards today. Your chief of operations in your Tuscany property resigned a week ago. Your wife is worried that there is no one to oversee all of the vineyard work.”
Demas turned to the butler and gave him a withering look.
“Do not–I repeat–do not bother me with those trifles. Do you understand?”
When the butler bent down next to Demas again, his master whispered in the butler’s ear, “Remember that I want her to be accompanied at all times. I don’t want her left on her own. Understood? And please have her escort, who will be helping her with her wheelchair, send me instant messages regularly. I want to know all of her whereabouts and everything about her activities.”
I kind of feel sorry for his wife. She has shades of Hattie Durham’s fate with Nicolae here – being relegated to minor pet projects that do not interfere with the main goals of the would-be mover and shaker of world events.
Turns out that Mystery Guy is from Iran!
The delegate from the Republic of Iran smiled appreciatively now that they were finally going to address the reason for his visit. With his hand he gave a quick stroke to his closely cropped beard and straightened his white silk waistcoat.
“I had expected Hamad Katchi to be part of this discussion. We had dealt with him previously on this.”
Demas said, “Unfortunately, we have many enemies.” Then he folded his hands, took on a sad, reflective expression, and added, “I fear Mr. Katchi may have fallen prey to some of them. He’s disappeared. We haven’t been able to locate him. I am so concerned that they may have liquidated him.”
That bolded part?
I died laughing at the double meaning of it that we’re privy to as the audience.
The whole thing is such a classic of the villain genre – the total crocodile tears, the oblique references, the non-informative content of the regrets being given. Parshall works it pretty deftly here and it makes me wonder if LaHaye only exerted editorial control over the stuff that was his real hobby-horse.
The dun-dun-DUN ramps up as the dialog proceeds!
“We will have possession [of the RTS-RGS specifications and documents] in the next forty-eight hours. Delivery after that will follow with all possible haste.”
“Will technical assistance be guaranteed?” the Iranian asked.
“That’s part of the package. We have some physicists and weapons designers who are prepared to help you integrate the RTS into your existing weapons systems.”
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Demas pinky swear to the Russians originally and then decide to double-cross them even after they said they’d up the price they’d pay for it? I can only imagine the trouble he’s going to get into if the FSB gets orders from on high to start sending umbrella-carrying assasins.
“The matter of exclusivity has been of great concern to our president,” the Iranian said. “We do not want the RTS to turn into a kind of global discount item available to any banana-republic or no-name island.”
“Of course not,” Demas said, offering to refill his guest’s teacup.
Oh look he’s doing it again. You know, Mr. Demas, you can only double-deal so many times here.
Demas continued explaining. “To reiterate. The RTS technology will only be available to cooperating nations or international unions that are members of our soon-to-be-established League of Ten.”
Well well well WELL WELL.
TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION!
 And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads.
 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads.
(Taken from the Revised Standard Version, bold added by me)
So now we know what role Demas will play. He will either become the Antichrist, or he will be one of the Antichrist’s principal backers. Hmmmmm. Makes me wonder if he will suffer the same fate as Jonathan Stonagal in Left Behind. I just hope the Antichrist in this series isn’t some anviliciously named guy that had two sperm-donor daddies.
And what will this League of Ten (how ominous!) do?
Then he remembered something else and added, “And remember that another benefit is that your nation, and others in our League, will have the benefit of the anti-RTS avoidance technology we expect to develop as soon as our scientists analyze the RTS operating principals. (sic) So, you will not only have the benefit of returning incoming missiles to their point of origin, but your nation–and those inside our ten–will also be able to send your missiles into nonmember states, like the United States or their allies…and the wonderful thing is that you’ll be able to bypass their RTS system.”
And now we know why this book even has the stupid-assed conflict between Joshua Jordan and the US government in the first place, with his ridiculous-sounding foreshadowy statements in front of the Congressional committee meeting. LaHaye and Parshall were setting up for this! It would even work if it weren’t for the fact that so many aspects of the conflict are so artificially constructed in the first place.
Finally, for some lulz?
Caesar Demas smiled back. Then he had a private thought. So glad I chose Atta Zimler for this. Truly reliable men are hard to find.
Bwahahaha omfg no, just NO. Zimler is a huge loose cannon, you dumbass! I can only hope Zimler ends up biting the hand that feeds him, because this confidence of Demas’s is sorely, sorely, misplaced. Also, Bond villains sometimes get double-crossed by their own minions, such as in Moonraker, where Bond cleverly points out that the tall giant, Jaws, would be considered by the villain Drax to be a genetic misfit, along with his (IMV, cute) girlfriend (Jaws is also visible in some of the images).
Jaws takes exception to this and starts wrecking shit, which helps Bond successfully triumph against Drax.
Something similar must needs happen at some point in this series, but hopefully it won’t be as poorly constructed as the Buck Williams witnessing Nicolae bump off Stonagal and Todd-Cothran scene written by Jerry Jenkins.
Parshall has, rather well I must admit, planted the seeds for the events of Revelation to kick off, in what fashion is not yet quite known though. And the set-up works better than starting at the Rapture and then trying to ret-con in various alleged precipitating events also claimed to be prophesied in the Bible.
Next time we meet back with Cal Jordan.