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EoA: The Jordan Family Gears Up

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 113-118 (Chapter Twenty-Two)

We meet back with the Jordans. Abigail begins by contemplating this letter, which reveals Josh Jordan’s middle name. As is par for the course when it comes to the protagonists-to-cheer-for, Parshall picked an appropriate middle name.

The White House,
Washington, D.C.
Mr. Joshua Hunter Jordan
1 Plaza Court Towers
New York City, New York 10004

Dear Mr. Jordan:

On behalf of the United States of America, I am extending my appreciation for the assistance you rendered during the North Korean missile crisis. Your cooperation during that dangerous time provided an important service to our country.

Sincerely,
Virgil S. Corland
President

Incidentally, one thing I noticed about the formatting of the letter in the book is that for some odd reason both the “from” part (the White House) and the “to” (Joshua Jordan) part were right-justified on the page. Also, note the “S.” in President Corland’s name. It seems to be a tradition in the Democratic party to engender presidents who are popularly well-known by their names and middle initials – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman*, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson – rather coincidentally, all very leftish by today’s standards as well.

Aside from the right-justification of the “from” and “to” text which must be a weird formatting quirk, lovely letter, yes? Seems a little understated for our hero. And she’s looking that gift horse right in the mouth:

“Abigail was rereading the letter. It had been issued to her husband from the White House just days after the near-destruction of New York. She hadn’t seen the document in a while, and she took the time to look closer at the gold-embossed seal at the top. It bore the familiar symbol of her country, the one with the eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and a host of arrows in the other–just like on the back of the one-dollar bill. Now, in light of the ferocious attack against her husband brewing in Congress, and the White House’s recent lack of support, she was rereading the letter from a new angle.

‘President Corland’s thank you was really no thank you at all,’ she murmured to herself.”

Well, goshamighty why would she think that? We’ll see later on. Meantime let’s find out where the Jordans are.

“She leaned back in the seat next to her husband in their Citation X private jet. The sky was clear and cloudless as they winged their way from New York to Denver. As Abigail gazed out the window into the deep blue, she continued to contemplate everything that had transpired. Trying to fit it together.”

So, penthouse suite practically isolated from the rest of the world. A secluded mountain retreat. A private helicopter.

The ongoing theme is continued with the private jet they’ve got.

The purposeful isolation of Josh and/or his family from the rest of the world (with, apparently, the exception of that wavering possibly heathen Cal) is indicative of two things:

  1. It enforces a common trope among fundamentalist sects: the idea of purposely setting yourself apart from the bulk of the world who follows Satan-inspired influences. Here, because Joshua isn’t actually an RTC yet, the substitution of physical, as opposed to spiritual, separation is used to good effect.
  2. Also, the increasing sociocultural trend of the very wealthy to find more and more ways to insulate themselves from the rest of the world is reflected here in the trappings of Josh’s lifestyle. This man has been part of the military, which constitutes a distinct culture all by itself** apart from the civilian world, and continues that habit of keeping himself distinct and aloof by using his wealth to make it possible to not have to deal with ordinary people if he doesn’t have to.

I want to also note that as recently as about 20 years ago people assumed there would never be a mass market for private aircraft and that it would always remain a specialty sector. The explosion of wealth polarization in the 1990s proved this wrong; this habit of excessive wealth driving consumption of things nobody really needs (come on, how often can you use a private jet? It’s not like a car which you can just get into and use with free parking on your own house’s driveway. You need to store it at a hangar, pay fees for that, hire a pilot and crew, and when you want to go somewhere you need to file a flight plan and get your jet slotted in for takeoff. And then there’s the cost of jet fuel, and destination hangar-rental fees, and so on…) is a symptom of a society that’s starting to get out of kilter.

Then again out-of-kilterness is considered good by RTCs who believe in things like the End Times, the Rapture, and so on.

Moving on, we see Abigail and Joshua have a chat about the letter.

“She handed the White House letter to Joshua, who grinned. ‘So, you’ve been rifling through my file, I see.’

‘Just happened to see it among those papers you were working on.’

‘And?’

‘I think Corland’s thank you letter was pretty tepid. Overly cautious, especially considering that you had just saved the entire population of New York City from being incinerated.'”

Let’s compare that letter to the one Gerald Ford sent Oliver Sipple after Sipple prevented a woman from assassinating him:

β€œI want you to know how much I appreciated your selfless actions last Monday. The events were a shock to us all, but you acted quickly and without fear for your own safety. By doing so you helped to avert danger to me and to others in the crowd. You have my heartfelt appreciation. Sincerely, Jerry Ford.”

The terseness is similar, but Gerald signed it personally with a diminutive of his name rather than his full name. That may be a personality difference, though, rather than anything more crucial. That having been said, the letter from Corland does feel somewhat restrained.

This is likely of a piece with the theme in this book that the politicians are just venal little creeps rather than self-sacrificing good people. It’s very ironic that actually I would characterize George W. Bush as such a venal creep who was in it for his own benefit rather than anyone else’s, especially when openly calling very wealthy donors his “base”, who are the “haves and have-mores”.

It’s like LaHaye and Parshall held up a cracked and distorted mirror to our world and decided they liked the image in the mirror better than the real thing.

Ok, now.

People who’ve followed Fred Clark’s blog know that occasionally, “meta-” characters show up. By this it is meant that LaHaye and Jenkins, by pure accident of writing, occasionally wrote their characters doing or saying things that are in opposition to the stated objective of what they’re doing, or which reveal their true, actually human sides instead of whatever false front Jenkins paints on for the purpose of ax-grinding in Left Behind. An example is Fred Clark’s Meta-Buck entry.

Well, I would like to introduce, for the briefest of moments, meta-Abigail and meta-Josh, who unintentionally reveal how much ofΒ  a showboating prima donna canon-Josh has been. One might argue that meta-Abigail also showed up when she tried to dissuade Josh from being so butthurt over Cal’s relatively minor offence of lying when he later got his skin saved by dear old dad, but she pretty much blew all that away when she started love-bombing Cal in that incredibly creepy way.

“”Yeah, well, not really,” Joshua countered. “The real heroes were my tech team and the guys at the Pentagon and the crew of the USS Tiger Shark…”

“All right, I understand. My husband, humble as ever. […]”

Well, would you look at that!

Josh actually acknowledges all the people who gave him the big assist in kicking those nukes back where they came from. And Ahigail effectively breaks the fourth wall and sarcastically remarks how “humble” he is. πŸ˜› (It doesn’t make sense for her to say “humble as ever” unless she really does mean it ironically, which means she knows what a showboating annoyance Joshua can be, but why then would she mean it ironically to him? This is why I suggest an unintentional fourth-wall-breaking here.)

So, with those fleeting glimpses of meta-Josh and meta-Abby, let’s consign them back to oblivion as we continue reading.

“[Abigail tapped] a manicured nail on the letter that was now sitting on the top of his file. ‘Come on…’I am extending my appreciation for the assistance you rendered…’? And what about the way they ‘honored’ you? A private little reception in the West Wing. Not the Oval Office. No press invited. Just the White House photographer. The president, the chief of staff, and, what, one or two reps from the Pentagon? That was it. They sent a little press release to the media late on a Friday afternoon. That’s what they do in Washington when they want to bury a story. Which is exactly what happened. Josh, honey, you deserved better.'”

She does have a point. But behind this point lies the agenda LaHaye and Parshall are pushing: that RTPs are being hamstrung and vilified by politicians who care more for their own image than in who got-er-done.

Now, note the subject of this writeup: “The Jordan Family…”

Actually I made a slight omission in the interest of brevity. Take a look at this next bit and spot who’s missing.

“‘I agree, Dad. You deserved much better.’

Deborah was seated in the row behind them, listening.

‘Wow, it seems I have a cheering section here,’ Joshua quipped.

His daughter reached over the seat and hugged his neck. ‘Forget the politicians, Dad. All the cadets at Point think you’re great.'”

Yup, Cal’s not there.

This omission by LaHaye and Parshall smashes its point home with the force of a dozen anvils: Cal is not deemed worthy to be around when Josh plots strategy up in Colorado.

Why? Because he’s a lying liar who might possibly be shacking up with a woman Josh disapproves of. Oh, and he’s going in for art.

This sort of exclusionary pettiness in a family gathering is so chock-full of psychological issues I’m not even going to try and dive in. But forget the theoretical underpinnings which I’m sure someone could use to get a dissertation out of this book. InΒ  the spirit of the fact that I speak experimentalist, not theorist, language πŸ˜€ let’s just look at what, empirically, this observation tells us.

Worthiness is measured not by one’s own humanity. It’s to be conditionally granted through the right hoop-jumping and lapdogging, to be bestowed at the arbitrary will of a senior individual.

Cal Jordan’s worthiness to be part of the family isn’t determined by his genetic bonds, by the natural closing-in of ranks of all members of the family when a problem hits. It’s instead conditioned on being Daddy’s Little Robot.

And this, scarily enough, seems to be what LaHaye believes a Christian’s relationship to God should be – not, as I read in my literature way back, offered freely and without reserve if you admitted you were a sinner and wished to be saved in Christ, repenting of those sins, but instead treated as though God were the gatekeeper to an elite club, with its own particular membership requirements and conditional aspects of obtaining and retaining membership.

This world-view makes sense in the context of how Left Behind works: them that bought the product are told to feel good about it, and to cackle at them that ain’t got it. Left Behind becomes a giant Fuck You to non-Christians because everybody who isn’t saved just got dumped on the Tribulation Express, accelerating headlong into some pretty horrific stuff.

Well, it’s repeating itself here in Edge of Apocalypse: those who aren’t considered worthy enough by LaHaye’s criteria don’t get to come on the cool trips in the special jet. They don’t get to be part of the big decisions or share in the rewards to come.

The above having been said, this next part does show the three family members acting like they’re human beings. It’s amazing how Parshall seems to have a knack for writing realistic young people. He should have written the Left Behind: The Kids series, come to think of it.

‘Great. Hey, why don’t we all go riding? All three of us?’

Joshua immediately gave Abigail ‘the look.’ She knew what it meant. He never liked being torn between family and professional commitments. But Joshua was a driven man, especially when he was at Hawk’s Nest for one of his secret Roundtable meetings. Single-purposed. Focused like a laser beam on the agenda. This particular meeting was critical.

‘We’ll see,’ Joshua replied.

‘Oh, I know that voice,’ Deborah responded, staring up at the ceiling of the jet. ‘It means ‘Request denied. Stand down.”

Abigail reached over and squeezed his arm. ‘Oh, Josh, let’s try. It’d be wonderful. The three of us on the trail together again.’

Joshua always found his two girls hard to resist. And they knew it. A smile beamed all over Abby’s face as she stared at him. Joshua tried to keep it serious, but after a few seconds of absorbing his wife’s radiance, he couldn’t continue. And a smile started to form in the corner of his own mouth.

I had to laugh at the corny way Deborah reacts and makes fun of Josh’s military background. It really makes me wish we could see some sibling interaction between Cal and Deborah. Parshall probably would carry it off pretty realistically.

Anyway, Josh agrees to get the horseback riding in, and the family members discuss security at the retreat (they’ve hired a retired cop and they have a sophisticated alarm system), and amuse themselves poking fun at Josh’s lawyer Harry Smythe being the one to bring up most of these concerns.

After Deborah goes back to listening to music Abigail expresses some concerns now that Josh has made the front page of every newspaper and Josh replies:

“‘Anybody who’s unfortunate enough to make the national headlines these days–for any reason–is eventually going to gain some enemies. That’s life. Abby, listen to me…’ He took her hands in his. ‘If I thought there was a risk, I’d do whatever I needed to do to protect my family. You know that. But I’m just not that concerned about what Harry said, that’s all. Everything’s under control. So, let’s not worry about it, honey. Okay?'”

Actually, Josh doesn’t feel fake-sincere here; his reaction is pretty believable, in my view. We then close out with this:

“Abigail felt the warmth and strength from the covering of his hands. There was security in his grasp. Abigail had always felt safe with Joshua. He was a man of immense courage in the face of danger. But this time it was different. She could feel it. A sense of dread she couldn’t shake. As if, out there somewhere, unseen, clawing its way toward them, was some kind of unnamed threat. And because she couldn’t put her finger on it, she hadn’t shared it with Joshua.

In her own growing relationship with God, she had learned an important lesson whenever she was faced with the challenges of life that were breathtaking or scary. In those situations the options were pretty straightforward: either act with faith or be governed by fear.

Without knowing exactly when or why, she wondered whether she would have to face that choice.”

Aside from the sack-of-anvils level of foreshadowing here, I also note that there’s shades of the “it’s a personal relationship with God, not just a religion” aspect to some Christians arguing about the different nature of their religious worship as compared to the mainstream type branches of Christianity, or for that matter, Judaism or what-have-you.

Next chapter we meet back with Agent Gallagher.


* the “S” in Truman’s name apparently didn’t stand for anything but he liked it.

** I watched Gwynne Dyer’s seven-part video series on war back in the 1980s (which was titled “War”), and one thing it gave a really fascinating look at was the way the military’s inner social and cultural workings were displayed for all to see. In that culture, being threatened with being sent out of the military was enough to make a grown man break down at his court-martial, and being sent out of the military was considered an almost unthinkable act. Keep in mind I watched this before the mass downsizings in the 1990s created similar emotional associations among workers when they got turfed from the companies they’d worked for for 20, 25, 30 years.

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39 thoughts on “EoA: The Jordan Family Gears Up

  1. I agree: Parshall should be writing Left Behind the Kids. Granted he’s not much of a writer but he’s a better writer than Jenkins. There’s a human touch to his characters that is missing in Jenkins’s cardboard creations.

    I’m rooting for Cal. Go Cal! Resist the urge to be assimilated into what LaHaye and Parshall thinks is a proper man!

  2. Yeah, the private jet business? I expect their audience is nodding along going, “Of course, Godly people getting nice things is just proof that the universe is running properly.” I, on the other hand, am going, “Conspicuous consumption! Ostentatious waste! Class warfare!”

    (I can understand keeping a plane that you fly yourself; piloting is a skill that anyone could feel proud to cultivate. But unless you’re likely to have to travel long distances very suddenly — and don’t have military connections who could whisk you places — I don’t see why you would need a private jet.)

  3. Hawk’s Nest? Granted that I’ll take falcons and herons over hawks any day, but beyond THAT, is LaHaye REALLY saying that politics should be hawkish?

    • And did anybody else think of Wolfs Lair when they read that name?

      You have a point about the hawkish symbolism – why not ‘Crow’s Nest’ or ‘Eagles Rest’ or something? And anybody choosing to name their isolated country retreat Hawk anything doesn’t know much about the birds. They have great eyesight and look magnificent in the air, but that’s about it. They’re easily chased off by bigger raptors, they’ll often try stealing from other birds, they won’t tackle anything that’s likely to fight back. And their diet often includes cockroaches and other bugs.

      • Well, depending on WHICH eagle you mean, “Eagle’s Rest” isn’t much of an improvement. Sea eagles, such as the bald eagle, are not above acting like frigatebirds at times and stealing fish catches from other birds, such as ospreys.

        Of course, you also have to consider which *hawk* you’re talking about. Harris’s hawks routinely go after fairly large prey like jackrabbits, which they can get away with because they routinely use pack tactics (there’s a reason why they’re the only species assigned to the Parabuteo genus). This is what makes them very popular among falconers. Thing is, they live in the deserts and chapparal of Arizona, New Mexico, etc. I get the feeling that Our Heroes are headed to a place a bit too far north for parabuteos to be the intent.

  4. Lud, why not just call the hero Goodman?

    (Also “George W. Bush”. I think it may just be that “names like this feel presidential” as far as the author is concerned. I’ve certainly noticed when travelling in the USA that many official forms allow for names only in this exact format. If you have more than two first names, don’t use the first one most of the time, or have a space in the surname, the forms can’t cope…)

    At least he has good taste in jets. (CitX is the fastest civilian aircraft in service today.)

    One possible reason for the minimal public commendation: sure, he saved New York, but he did it with a secret treaty-violating weapon and they’d kind of like to downplay that aspect of it. And minimise the enemy-making effect on “anyone who hits the national headlines”! But I imagine to people like LaHaye the idea of not wanting press exposure must be pretty alien.

    I think the “Godly robot” idea does flow from the basics: if God knows better than you about everything and has your interests at heart, then you should always do what God says rather than what you want to. Certainly this has no room for human reason, but it is at least logically consistent…

  5. Do we ever get to meet any of the people who keep Josh’s personal world running smoothly? The pilot of his jet, the crew that keep it serviced, the housekeeping crews who look after his apartments, houses and offices, the people who clean and press his suits and shirts, the woman (it would have to be a woman, of course) who looks after his diary, answers his office phone and types up all his stuff….?
    Or is all that done by invisible pixies? Heavens forfend that Josh would actually have to interact with actual working-class people…..

  6. β€˜Oh, Josh, let’s try. It’d be wonderful. The three of us on the trail together again.’

    What. The. Fuck.
    No wonder Cal’s sneaking around behind their backs. They’re so happy to be away from him I’m surprised he hasn’t set off on his own before now, and severed all ties with this fucked up excuse for a family. On the other hand, this toxic environment he’s been raised in would probably have drained him of all independent thought. It’s only now that he’s in University that he’s starting to realize that he doesn’t need this parasites any more. And what’s with this “again” thing? Do they regularly kick family members to the curb during fights and go off on vacation at three quarters strength? Or is it just Cal? One way or the other I can see why Deborah’s so in tune to what Daddy wants. Once she saw how Cal got treated for not towing the line, she probably made sure to do exactly what was expected of her.

    • I KNOW.

      I can’t believe I missed that before, but now that you call it out to me, it makes me wonder if LaHaye and Parshall didn’t just smash in Cal’s part as a last-minute change after the book was in the first-draft stage.

      The absolute WALL of afterthought-ness in the way Cal gets treated really shines through, even if he wasn’t literally a literary afterthought.

      THE DADDY ISSUES I TELL YOU.

      • {SPOILERS HEREIN}

        And Zimler will be “volunteering” Cal to be the Distressed Damsel du tome, too. Calvin Jordan, the Cosmic Plaything of The End Series?

      • @ Apocalypsereview

        Cal as a last minute character insert? Hmmm….It would make sense. But whether it’s bad editing or a unintentionally revealing passage, it’s still pretty jarring to read.

    • It makes me wonder how often they discuss the fun they have, “the three of us together again,” when Cal is in the room.

      I’m totally serious. It sounds just like them. Grrr.

      • …Maybe Cal stayed behind intentionally because he dislikes mountainous areas, or something? (I’ll take any straw I can pull…)

      • I actually had this idea that Cal was left behind accidentally once on a trip to Colorado and between that and not wanting to go into the military it was an issue that rankled in the family.

        Or, if we assume he’s bisexual or RTC-gay, he got busted at his boarding school or something and now Josh never ever speaks of it ever. But actions speak louder than words… πŸ˜›

    • I just picked up on that.

      Hey, why don’t we all go riding? All three of us?’

      “All three of us.” Good grief, lady! He’s one of your CHILDREN! Not just something to be ignored when convenient!

      And good grief, writers! At least tell us where the Fourth Jordan is! Why didn’t he come along? Is he sulking? Did he say ‘NO’ with such intensity that there was a father-son spat? Does his father suspect he’s sharing living quarters with the Karen? What about Cadet Jordan, what’s her view of her brother? (Does she even ever say?) Sure, the family might be agreeing not to talk about him, but the writer is under no stipulation. And surely someone would be thinking about him at some point.

      I’m not sure about Cadet Jordan’s comment about ‘all the cadets at Point think you’re great.’ Do West Point cadets call it ‘Point?’ Would it be showing my interservice rivaly snark roots to ask Deborah if she’s talking about ‘King’s Point’ and then enjoy sitting back and seeing what should be flames and thunder emit from the Regiments of Cadets of BOTH schools? ^_^

      • I wondered about that last bit – Deborah calling it “Point” like that. And given that she’s nineteen and already at West Point, she must have been one pretty dedicated JROTC/ROTC officer AND Josh must have called in a helluva lot of favors to get her a sponsorship to West Point. Can you shed any light on how that process works, by the way?

        Backing up to what Cal’s up to, I’m honestly not sure what the hell was going through Parshall’s mind when he did the writing on this (LaHaye apparently mostly vets these things on theological issues, broad brushstrokes, and near publication time); maybe he did envision that the spat between Josh and Cal (as mediated mostly by Abby in this case) was such that Cal would choose to stay at university rather than go to Colorado with the family.

        And speaking of. What strings did Josh have to pull to get Deborah out of West Point for a week or two? The book does indicate that the parents visited her several times during her first year at the academy but that’s not the same as going on leave from studies…

      • @Apocalypsereview:

        The nomination process is not quite nepotism, but not quite meritorious, either. It may have changed in the past two decades, but when I was applying, every representative and senator is allowed to nominate two persons to each of the federal service academies, the exception being the US Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, and the US Coast Guard Academy at New London, which do not require nominations. (That pretty much leaves the Big Four, since the US Health Service and the US NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps do not have service academies; NOAA has a knife-and-fork school but recruits primarily from the USMMA and the six (New York, Maine, California, Connecticut, Great Lakes, Texas A&M) state merchant marine academies

        Each senator/rep does this in a different way. When I applied to the USAFA at Colorado Springs, one representative arranged for an actual interview with one of his staff members. Another had a board of four or five staffers, one of whom was Air Force. The third was the one where I had the ‘Spanish casual chat’ with a single USAF officer at his home, and where I was asked if I was religious.

        I imagine that each senator/representative can choose their nominees as they please. For myself, I was a ‘first alternate,’ which means that if one of then-Rep. Moynihan’s nominees declined to enter the USAFA, then I would get that slot. It would behoove them all to show no favoritism in the process, but there’s no doubt that a senator can and will pick a nominee based on suggestions, string-pulling, and calling in favors. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen at this stage. JROTC is no pipeline into a service academy, it just helps; and the competition for those nomination slots is fierce; and even assuming Deborah was a born natural soldier and go-getter and rose to command of the JROTC unit; there’s no garauntee, and I doubt Josh would leave it to chance in the nomination process if she was set on attending West Point.

        In other words, with as much as Joshua Jordan has been acting like a suspiciously-well-connected and gleeful-end-run-around-the-chain-of-command brasstard… did he call in favors to get his kid into West Point? Holy crap yes.

        As for Cadet 3/c Jordan — this is her second year at West Point, yes? — getting two weeks off from studies, it would be difficult. The course load in any service academy is CRUSHING. Even at NY Maritime, I was pulling credit hours of 20+ and that was *light*. That she can be away from studies, courses, tests, exams, and drill for that time, just for a family vacation, is pretty unthinkable just from a practical standpoint (or at least Very Not Recommended) and the Academy would strongly recommend against this… or Joshy has pull with the Army and called in a few favors. Again. Which is surprising since Josh was apparently a zoomie, not a grunt; I’m surprised he has that much pull with the Army, least of all the US Military Academy.

        Actually of more surprise to me is that the family visited her several times in her first year. In the ‘serious’ service academies (NY Maritime was… well, I’ll leave that for a later discussion) you do not get to leave campus until Christmas break. And then the next time you’re home is maybe for spring break, because the summers have you farmed out to various training schools. Having family visit you and giving you a few hours’ — or even days — of breathing room when you don’t have an IDO breathing down your neck and where you don’t have to square your corners or double-time through the quad or hold to whatever silly little things your class of fourth-class cadets should be doing… that’s really unusual and generally frowned upon by the academies.

        Cadet Jordan is coming off as one hell of a pampered cadet. She may have a nice friendly personality but I’d bet dollars to navy beans that there are more than a few ‘friends’ of hers who are hoping to ride her epaulets… and more than a few other cadets who see her as a spoiled brat.

        So… if this story goes on for a few more years, does that mean that she’s going to be commissioned? And if so, what branch? I’m curious here; having her career this ‘shepherded’ would see her go into the Corps of Engineers — which is actually one of the top billets to get when getting out of the Academy, as I understand it; it is NOT cushy but it requires some serious skills. But it’s not a combat position and obviously she should go into a combat because her dad did, and dad sure wouldn’t settle for seeing his girl go into anything other than a combat arm. Which will be hard since she’s a woman and the military still doesn’t officially allow women in combat roles (a certain MP unit that carried itself outstandingly in Iraq notwithstanding.) And despite being a butterbar lieutenant, she’ll do some amazingly Mary Sue-level derring-do to get her noticed by her superiors… in addition to them fawning over her like she’s the daughter of the Second Coming, that is.

        Hope this was helpful! ^_^

      • @Mink: Very excellent writeup πŸ˜€

        Ok, I’m starting to get a mental picture of the family dynamics involved here. Josh, we know, is a former Colonel. He’s best buddies with a high-up General (Rocky Bridger) and has maintained connections in the military to the point of apparently bypassing the usual protocols regarding technical specifications. This has to mean he’s ass-deep in political connections, too, since he would have needed a pretty powerful Congresscitter and/or Senator to push the funding for RTS-RGS through committee and into an appropriations bill.

        Then we look at Deborah and Cal.

        I’m getting a serious vibe (as evidenced by what other commenters have said) that Cal probably “strayed” when he was thirteen or fourteen – at least he started to fail-to-meet-rigid-expectations when he was a teenager. Deborah, seeing what Josh did to Cal because of it, got really rattled and went gung-ho to please the Old Man. So I’d make a case for Deborah going in for JROTC, applying for Selective Service, making it abundantly clear that she’s Daddy’s Chip-Off-The-Old-Block. He fixes it for her to get into West Point and she continues to overcompensate to make sure she never gets what Cal got coming to him. That having been said, other cadets would likely see her as spoiled, because Josh is (even if he doesn’t realize it) showing a rather close parental involvement in his daughter’s military career and it comes off looking like she’s on Easy Street to a commission.

        Now, for Cal. I’m guessing that he did something that shook his father’s confidence in him, and with people like Joshua and Abigail, if you don’t act exactly the way they want you to act, think exactly the way they want you to think, you might as well forget it.

        I’m thinking a few things:

        1. Cal didn’t join JROTC, or when asked about his future ambitions, he was insufficiently enthusiastic about the idea of being in the military.
        2. Cal got up to Trouble In School. This is why I’m seriously suggesting that, in line with the he’s-an-arts-student coded nudge-nudge in the book, he was actually caught with another boy. Now, obviously he has a pretty nice relationship with Karen, so he is likely bisexual. But just the fact that he’s being alternative at all was probably enough for Josh to begin finding excuses to cut Cal out of family events.
        3. As I said, Deborah’s got to have it in the back of her head that she cannot-let-it-happen-to-her. However, the book has her “being like a rock” for her brother, so I’m assuming she may actually be showing one face to her father and a second face (her true face, I like to think) to her brother.

        I swear this book is like a gold mine for my fan fiction plot ideas. X-D

      • Gotta say I can’t wait for your Cal fanfiction! πŸ˜€

        My first thought when Cal wasn’t there was that Serious Art Student was Serious and, having, oh yeah, just gotten back to school he thought he might go to a few classes or something crazy like that, instead of gallivanting off (again!) with his “loving” family.

        Not to mention, of course, that he has a girlfriend he wants to spend time with…

        Given what we are learning about all the special favors Deb must be getting, I am starting to think that the relationship between Deb and Cal must be more than a little strained. He busts his ass and still gets raked over the coals for the tiniest of transgressions, while she can do no wrong in Daddy’s eyes, despite the way being smoothed for her at every turn. Those dynamics don’t exactly make for a great sibling relationship, unless Deborah is constantly petitioning her parents for understanding for her brother, and we certainly have no evidence that this is so.

      • @rubytea:

        Yeah, Cal being a Serious Student is one aspect of it for sure. That assumes Josh even called him, though, to tell him “Hey, we’re taking off to Colorado. Family time, security is an issue, etc.”

        Actually there are two interpretations stemming from this now:

        1. Cal got called, but was still dealing with his psychological aftershocks and didn’t really want to be near his dad (feelings of inadequacy!) and begged off with an excuse about getting back to normal.
        2. Cal wasn’t called, and this was because Dad was still butthurt and this was just another in a long string of Cal’s imagined shortcomings.

        Either way it’s definitely not a sign of a healthy relationship there.

        I’m thinking the sibling dynamic is probably unusually complicated: Deborah probably can take Cal as he is instead of trying to shove him into a mold, and Cal likely appreciates this, but still resents the way she’s Daddy’s Golden Girl. This could create some real ups and downs where the ups are where they can stick together like glue, and the downs are where they have some knock-down, drag-out blow-ups.

  7. @Apocalypsereview

    Which brings up the question… good heavens, what did Josh DO to the Fourth Jordan to make Deb decide that eight years belonging to *military* was better?

    Granted, in LeHayeverse being ex-mil opens up countless doors for you… but what place is there going to be for Deborah, a duly and dutiful RTC woman, even after her military career? Is LeHaye thinking she’ll marry some suitably RTC military officer and resign her commission in order to spend time being a Colonel’s Wife and wearing her husband’s rank? (That is EW! on so many UCMJ levels.)

    Is she really supportive of her brother? That’s good, at least. I’m starting to feel real sympathy for both the Jordan kids. They’re in a cruddy situation and they have a cruddy father and a mother who, despite having been a lawyer before she married and turned Stepford, is a ‘Yes, dear,’ machine and baby-maker.

      • I’d definitely like to see it! =) Hmm… plenty of ways but how best to get in touch…. I have been putting my email address into the email field but I don’t know if you can see that. (Sorry, fairly new to this; how is this done usually?)

        EDIT: Ah-ha. Got it. Will e-mail. πŸ™‚

      • I’d also love to see this; if it’s ready to be read, maybe put it on a different blog or a different category in this one?

        Alternatively I can post an email address here that’ll go away after 24 hours, so people can write to that and I can put them in touch with each other…

        (EDIT: It’s still in the draft stages and I figured out how to get the e-mail addresses. Don’t worry however, I won’t be using them for any purpose except with permission.)

      • Urf, I hope you received my reply! Normally that email account works just fine but today it decided to be difficult. 😦

        (EDIT: Got it, many thanks. πŸ™‚ I’m going to keep fiddling with it but the initial reaction is encouraging. πŸ™‚ )

  8. Anyone seen that movie “But I’m a Cheerleader?” Deborah’s sounding more and more like Clea DuVall’s character Graham: Tough and self-assured on the outside, deeply insecure and frightened on the inside. On some level she probably realizes how precarious her position is. Her position at the point is thanks to Daddy’s influence and no matter how hard she may work and how talented she may be, there will always be that assumption that she’s just a spoiled little rich girl getting handed everything on a silver platter. So she works twice as hard to justify her place of privilege, knowing all the while that Daddy could turn on her at a moment’s notice just like he did with Cal. So she’d better do well, and her military career better be everything that Daddy wants it to be. He’ll pull every string to make it happen, so she better not disappoint. And now Daddy wants her to leave her studies for a week (or more?) for a family outing and clandestine (possibly seditious) meeting with ‘the Roundtable?’ At best, it’s only going to add to her image as a brat, and at worst, if she’s found out by any superior officer who’s actually read the constitution, she could loose everything. That’s a lot of tension to be hiding behind a cheerful smile.

      • Sounds like a damned good story. I’d love to read it when it’s done. I can almost see Deborah and Cal envying each other for their relationship with the family: Cal because Deborah’s got their father’s love, Deborah because Cal’s pretty much escaped.

    • To be fair, we don’t know exactly what it is; it might not actually be seditious. It stinks, but an inquiry might determine it’s little more than a somewhat formalized old boy’s network, a bunch of old soldiers who are getting together.

      Heh. Yeah, I don’t believe that, either. =)

      Anyway, Cadet Jordan. She’s in a hell of a pickle, even if she agreed with whatever it is this Roundtable is up to. It’s actually kind of depressing; here is someone who could be a good person, but she’s in a toxic family and is very likely — if she even has a hint as to what Daddy’s in Colorado for — complicit in sedition and conspiracy against her oath. She’s smiling on the outside but down inside she’s breaking.

      The hell of it is, LeHaye is going to resolve all that by saying ‘If you say it’s for the good of the country, Dad, then that’s okay by me!’ Nrgh, argh, graaaah ARGLEBARGLE!

  9. It’s not like a car which you can just get into and use with free parking on your own house’s driveway.

    When I was visiting my parents in Delaware, we drove through a development that was a adjacent to an airfield and all the houses had attached hangers.

    Now, I doubt this airfield could deal with a jet, but, yeah, if you lived in the right place you could park a plane in your driveway.

    Not sure why you’d want too….

  10. So…Cal is Chuck Cunningham?

    (My apologies that Chuck doesn’t have his own entry. But scroll down to the “Chuck Cunnigham Syndrone” part if you aren’t familiar with this.)

    Line near the end of the final episode:

    Howard: Marion, we raised two wonderful children.

    The response we wanted to hear:

    Marion: But Howard, we had three children.

    Howard: Let’s face it, Marion. Chuck wasn’t that great.

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