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EoA Fan Fiction: Fathers and Sons

Good morning, everyone. 🙂

Since Fred Clark has decided to have some downtime I figured I’d take a bit of a detour myself and begin filling in the possible blanks in canon when it comes to the Jordan family. We learn that Cal is actually the youngest (Deborah is stated to be nineteen, so I deduce Cal to be eighteen), and that Deborah and Cal seem to have a fairly strong sibling bond even though they have made very different choices in life and have differing levels of approval from their parents. Based on things like this and the aspects of Josh’s personality that have come through  in the book that don’t show him in a very good light (I really like whoever used the “controlling asshole” line, by the way!), I’ve tried to come up with one possible scenario for Cal’s persistent estrangement from the family, as well as Deborah not only being on decent terms with Cal, but also her chip-off-the-old-blockness.

“Fathers and Sons” is the title I have chosen. It comes from a line of dialogue in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Unification”, when Captain Picard and Commander Riker briefly discuss Spock’s estrangement from Sarek after the news of Sarek’s death. Picard says, “Sometimes, fathers and sons…” and Commander Riker brusquely acknowledges it. The viewer is reminded of Riker’s own problems with his father and how he only got a chance to initiate a reconciliation years after he ran away from home to join Starfleet.

I want to thank those who have looked this over prior to putting this online. Thank you so very much! 🙂

~~~~~

Warnings: Brief mention of homosexual acts between teenagers, some strong language, and possibly upsetting material in the form of the Jordan family’s messed-up dynamics.

The first time Cal Jordan knew what it was like to utterly disappoint his father was when he was just fourteen years old.

– * –

Cal stood in the Housemaster’s office next to Eric Thatcher. Housemaster Scott, a wiry, stern man in his mid-fifties, shook his head as he hung up the phone. He had already called their parents, but he didn’t know who else the man could be calling.

Cal’s stomach dropped as he tried to keep his lip from trembling. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh fucking shit kept going through his mind as he wondered what was going to happen next.

The Housemaster said, “I’ve just finished talking to the Headmaster.” He balefully gazed at Eric, then Cal. “If it was up to me, you boys would already be expelled from here. Carrying on like that in a broom cupboard!”

Cal’s stomach turned to ice. All the blood seemed to drain out of his face.

Old Scott continued. “Being caught behaving inappropriately is not only an internal disciplinary matter; it also requires us to notify your parents. The code of conduct you boys agreed to when you came here includes not behaving in a manner that is morally objectionable!”

Eric looked like he wanted to cry. Cal wanted to put his hand on Eric’s shoulder, let him know someone was there. But Housemaster Scott would just think it was another perversion.

Damn it, how can it be a perversion when it feels right? Kissing Eric had been amazing. Besides, they were boys and everybody knew it was a phase. Cal knew he was supposed to get married and have children later, but “later” seemed like forever.

“You’re to go home with your parents until the weekend’s over. If we’re all satisfied this conduct won’t resume, you’ll be allowed to return to classes. Otherwise the next time you come back will be to pack and leave. Permanently.”

And with that, Eric and Cal went to sit on a bench in the residence hall’s entrance hallway. Eric leaned his head back against the wall and whined, “I’m fucked. I am so fucked it isn’t even funny. My dad’s probably going to belt me.”

Cal tried to touch Eric’s arm in support, but Eric dashed his hand away, his eyes narrowed in hate. “Just stay away from me, okay? Christ, you’re probably the one that gave me fag vibes in the first place.”

Cal, shocked, growled, “Hey, asshole, you weren’t saying that to me in the fuckin’ broom closet.” He hissed, “You were all ready for me to put my hand down your pants, you shithead!”

Eric’s face flushed and he turned away. Cal thumped his fist on his knee, wondering why it had to be that night Housemaster Scott managed to catch them out of bed past curfew in the worst possible place you could be – well, maybe being busted with drugs would be worse than that.

– * –

The ride back home with his mom and dad took place in complete silence. Cal had actually been relieved when his mother and father showed up to collect him with Deborah in tow from the girl’s hall, but when Dad hadn’t said anything in response, the feeling that his bowels were going to loosen had returned.

It had only gotten worse as Dad said absolutely nothing in the car, and the look he had shot Mom when she tried to chat with Deb made Cal’s stomach twist in knots. And Deb looked confused and worried as all-get-out.

It wasn’t until Dad, Mom, and Deborah all joined Cal around the kitchen table that anyone spoke.

“Why?” His dad’s face looked like it was made of granite.

Cal floundered. How did you answer a question when you didn’t even know the answer? You might as well try asking “why?” of a cat after it batted around some catnip and then destroyed the flowerbed.

Dad continued, saying, “Cal, we’ve spent a lot of money sending you and Debbie to prep school. Tell me I did not just throw away twenty thousand dollars. Tell me!

Cal looked at the table and said hollowly, “Don’t do this, Dad. Please.

“So why did you do it? Why did you end up with another boy, like that? We didn’t raise you to carry on indulging base urges, Cal.”

Cal let out a strangled laugh. “That’s what you call it? Base urges? Dad, me and Eric weren’t hurting anyone.”

His dad shook his finger at Cal. He barked, “Well, you’re about to learn that it is hurting someone. When I spend that kind of money, what I say goes. You’re going to keep your nose so clean it’ll squeak. And if I hear about you with any other boys you’re going straight to military reform school, you hear me?”

Cal looked at his mother and sister, wondering why something this personal had to be shown to them, too. He couldn’t bear the thought that they might hate him now. Deborah’s face was absolutely white, her eyes wide.

“Now you look me straight in the eye and tell me you will not disappoint me and disgrace this family again.”

Cal’s hands shook as he lifted his head and looked at his father. Hating himself for how weak his voice sounded, he said, “I won’t.”

His mother was looking at him sadly. She said, “Honey, go to bed. We’ll take you back to school on Sunday night. All right, Josh?”

Dad nodded with ill grace.

Cal rushed to his bedroom as fast as he could. He swallowed hard, blinking his eyes. He put his fists to his forehead and wished with all his heart he had just stayed in bed instead of sneaking off with Eric.

A slight knock at his door startled him. He whirled around, facing Deborah. Relief coursed through him.

She said quietly, “Hey.”

Cal mumbled, “Hey yourself. You weren’t the one that became a family disgrace overnight.”

Deborah reached out to hug Cal. The simple kindness undid his control, and he sobbed into her shoulder. She patted his head as though he were four, not fourteen, and rubbed his back soothingly. After a few minutes, she released him.

Embarrassed at his loss of control, Cal sniffed and swiftly swiped his sleeve across his nose, then sat heavily on his bed. Deborah sat next to him and said, “Cal? I still don’t really understand. They got me out of bed over in the girl’s hall and said there was a family emergency. Then we’re riding in the car in this totally creepy silence, and when we get home Dad just chews through you like you’re in his gunsights. Did you really… you know… with another guy?”

Cal nodded. “Not like I can deny it. Old Scott caught me and Eric in the broom closet.”

Deborah chuckled. Cal scowled and said, “What? That’s not cool, Deb.”

She recovered and said, “I’m sorry, Cal. Really. Look at it this way: you’ve just gone further with a guy than I have.”

Cal stared, then weakly laughed in response. A smile tugged at his lips and he found Deborah couldn’t stop the answering grin on her face.

Cal, fighting the chuckle in his throat, said, “Ewww. I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that!”

Deborah reached out and clasped Cal’s hand. “Hey. To be honest, I’m sort of relieved. I mean, it’s just … well, okay, it’s not a little thing ‘cause Dad really blew up at you, but my God, I was thinking, ‘Oh no, there’s been an accident or something and what if—‘ you know?”

Cal nodded.

“Between you and me, what you do, it’s your life. You sure the other guy was… well, okay with what you both did?”

Cal spat bitterly, “Yeah, until we got caught. Then he couldn’t get away from the ‘fag’ fast enough.”

Deborah firmly replied, “Hey.” She bopped Cal’s shoulder. “Don’t use that word for yourself. It’s just gonna make you feel worse.”

“Okay, whoa. Who are you, Yoda? And when did I get Yoda for a sister? You’re, like, taking this so calmly and dispensing nuggets of advice.”

Snootily, Deborah said, “I like to think girls mature faster than boys.”

Cal whined, “Oh come on. You’re my older sister, so of course you’d be more ‘mature’. That’s cheating.”

“Older by a year. And don’t you forget it, little bro.” Deborah wiggled her eyebrows. She looked at her watch and said, “Hey. It’s past midnight already. You feel up to talking some more or do you want to try and get some sleep? You look pretty wiped out, Cal.”

Cal sighed. He closed his eyes and could feel the tiredness coming on. He nodded and said, “Yeah. I feel like I could stay up all night but at the same time, it’s so tempting to just zonk out.”

Deborah clasped both of his hands in hers. “Well, before you zonk out, remember that I’ll be here for you. G’night, okay?”

Cal squeezed her hands gently. “’Preciate it. I’m gonna try and get some sleep.”

Deborah stood up, releasing his hands. “Okay. You want the light off?”

Cal nodded. He yanked his shoes off and let them clatter to the floor somewhere. The light blinked out as he crawled under the covers, wishing everything had been just a dream.

– * –

The next morning, Cal woke up feeling like a big rig had landed on him. He stumbled through his morning ablutions, not wanting to look at his face in the mirror. As he walked out to the breakfast table, he felt like he was in molasses. Every thought, every movement seemed to take twice as long as it should.

Deborah was already up, and she shoved the cereal and milk over to him, reminding him he needed to get a spoon and bowl, which he brought back to the table before he sat down. Cal noticed the air over New York in the penthouse suite was clear, with not a cloud in the sky. The kitchen’s patio doors opened out to the secluded covered balcony they had sometimes used for barbecues in summertime.

The cereal tasted bland in his mouth as he chewed half-heartedly. He mumbled, “Morning.”

Deborah briefly grasped his arm and smiled a bit uncertainly before she let go, resuming her cereal.

The heavy footfalls entering the kitchen made Cal’s heart race. He swallowed his mouthful of cereal with an effort and waited for round two.

To his surprise, all Dad said was, “Good morning.”

Cal’s brain felt as though all its gears had seized. Dad wasn’t going to rake him over the coals some more?

Thank God for small favors.

Mom entered the kitchen soon after that, and the Jordan family enjoyed the passing semblance of an ordinary morning breakfast. Yet for some reason the tension kept mounting in Cal’s stomach. Something was gonna happen, he knew it.

Deborah broke the silence, saying, “Mom? Dad? I have something to tell you.”

Dad looked a little wary, while Mom seemed unfazed. She’d been a lawyer once, and Cal knew from past experience that when she wanted to she could make you think one thing and then another.

Deborah continued. “I was going to tell you anyway later, but I wanted to join JROTC instead of waiting until college for ROTC. And Dad? I want to go to West Point.”

Betrayed. Cal could only stare, hurt and stunned, as Dad practically preened. He even looked at Cal smugly as if to say, see? Deb’s not going to disappoint me and if you knew better you’d bust your butt twice as hard to match her.

Dad smiled radiantly at Deborah, and Mom’s face was relaxing into an expression of contentment. Cal felt ill as he watched his Dad enjoy Deb getting on his good side.

Dad boomed, “Well, sweetie, you’re going to have to work hard for it. But mark my words, if I have anything to say about it you’ll be in the military straight out of school. You want me to talk to the JROTC recruitment center for you?”

Deborah cut a nervous look at Cal, then turned back to Dad and seemed to dredge up a confident smile. “Sure! Can I meet them? Today, even?”

That was enough. Cal let his spoon clatter in the bowl and ran back to his room. “It’s just a phase he’s going through, Abby,” echoed in Cal’s ears as he slammed the door. How could his own sister stab him in the back like this? How could Dad just… not care about how he felt?

– * –

Deborah Jordan hated herself. The cereal aftertaste felt like ashes in her mouth as she saw Cal’s hurt and dejected expression before he took off. But she forced herself to go through the motions of being the Happy News Child.

Dad was leaning back in his chair, reminiscing about his old superior, a man named General Rocky Bridger. He was saying, “—and there I was, a hundred feet off the ground, snapping picture after picture in my U-2 as the Iranians got ready to fire at me.”

He went on to begin regaling her with other tales of his life in the Air Force, while Mom finished up her cereal and listened without chiming in.

She could tell how much it buoyed Mom and Dad to hear their child had her heart set on serving the nation. Chip off the old block and everything. But God, what she’d just done to Cal—!

They had a name for people like her: Judas. The Betrayer.

She prayed silently to a God she was still unsure even existed. She prayed that she could still make it right with Cal then and there.

Dad’s interminable sermon on his derring-do adventures in the Air Force was abruptly cut off as his phone rang. He yanked it out of his bathrobe pocket and barked, “Jordan!”

Mom began clearing the table and Deborah whispered, “Can I leave? I’ve got to pack for school.”

She was waved off, and left the room as she heard Dad say, “The prototype? It’s capable of sending laser signals…?”

Maybe God still granted favors. Even to sisters who hurt their brothers.

– * –

Deborah took a deep breath before she knocked on Cal’s bedroom door.

After a few seconds, she heard a muffled, “Go away.”

She said, “Not until you hear what I’ve got to say, Cal.”

The door whipped open, revealing Cal staring at her with hatred in his eyes. “What’s Daddy’s Golden Girl going to tell me? That I should join JROTC too? Make the old man proud?

“Please. You saw the way he ignored me as soon as you made yourself out to be his little robot. Don’t drag me into this, Deb. Just don’t.”

Desperately, Deborah grabbed for Cal’s arm. “Listen to me! Cal, I’m asking you as my own flesh and blood to listen.”

Cal’s eyes went wide. He breathed sharply and harshly whispered, “Of all the—of all the nerve! I can’t believe what you just said! After sucking up to Dad like that, too.” He shook her hand off and threw himself on his bed, crossing his arms as he propped a pillow up to sit against.

Deborah was close to cracking. “Do you want me to beg, Cal? Do you want me to plead? Damn it, Cal. This wasn’t easy. Let me talk to you.”

Something in the way she blinked back tears must have convinced Cal, because he wearily waved and said, “Fine. Sit somewhere and close the door.”

Deborah guardedly sat on the bed near Cal’s feet. She took a deep breath. “Cal? I did a lot of thinking last night. I’m going to tell you something and please don’t tell Mom and especially not Dad, okay?”

Cal muttered, “As if I’d tell Dad at this point.”

“Still, promise me. All right?”

“Okay.”

Deborah swallowed. “You know what happened last night. Dad as good as told us he thinks it’s more important to not mess up the family reputation than to support what we want to do. Right?”

Cal’s jaw set. He looked off to her side and said, “Yeah, and?”

Deborah looked into his eyes. “Last night, Cal… it was the first time, ever, that I have been scared totally out of my mind by Dad. I was sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m next, I’m next and I haven’t even done anything…’”

Cal blurted, “But—you haven’t! You pull straight A’s and you’re gonna be in ROTC in college and everything. Well, you were until you told Dad this morning about JROTC.”

“But I was so terrified that he might look for something, anything he might think I did wrong, too. I didn’t even have to be in the kitchen for what he did to you. I don’t want you to hate me for this but I’m going to make so sure it never ever happens to me. I am asking you to please understand. If Dad ever did that to me, it would just break me.”

Grudgingly, Cal nodded. “Yeah, I got the full force of that, all right. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. So you’re doing this thing…” Cal’s brow furrowed. “Sort of like… camouflage?”

“Yeah, that’s it. Camouflage.” Deborah sighed and let her hands fall to her sides. She laughed bitterly. “That’s what they call it in the military, you know. Protective coloration so you fool the enemy.”

Cal shifted so he was sitting next to Deborah, like they sat the night before. Cal put a hesitant hand on her shoulder. “I don’t have to like what you just did. But I think… I think I can forgive it. You know?”

Deborah sniffled as she put her arms around Cal. She rested her head against his for a moment and said in utter relief, “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Cal’s answering hug told her all she needed to know. Cal still loved her, and still was willing to talk to her even after all she had done.

Slowly, they both disengaged from the embrace. Deborah said, “All this – well, I just hope it doesn’t mean Dad starts in on you all the time now.”

Cal patted her on the shoulder with bravado, but it didn’t quite ring true as he said, “I can handle it. You do what you gotta do, sis.”

Deborah kissed Cal on the cheek. She clasped his hand in both of hers and brought them to his chest, against his heart. She looked in his eyes again. “You gotta do what you gotta do, Cal. Keep that heart of yours. Don’t let anybody stomp it into the ground, little brother.”

Cal returned her gaze with a wan smile and said, “I’ll try not to.” He cast his gaze down to their hands. “You better go. We’re supposed to be bad boy, good girl, right?”

Deborah released his hand and said, “But we’re still flesh and blood. For real, right? You talk to me any time you want. Call it my penance.”

Cal chuckled. “Yeah. You’ll do some real hard time, Deb. Go on. I gotta be alone for a while anyway.”

Deborah quietly left the room and entered her own. As she closed the door, she put her fist against her mouth and stifled a sob. She hadn’t deserved Cal’s magnanimity. But she’d gotten it anyway.

Thank God for big favors.

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26 thoughts on “EoA Fan Fiction: Fathers and Sons

  1. Based on how we know people can be, and how much of a jerk Joshua Jordan is in the book, there’s not a lot of ways that the Jordan family drama can have come to be otherwise. Everything points to the Fourth Jordan being a basically good, decent human being but OMZod THAT’S NOT GOOD ENUFF! in Joshua’s eyes, and Deebs seems set up to be able to do no wrong. (Which not only says something about how he wants her to be the son he never had but says horrible horrible things about the issues rampantly hinted at in the Joshua-Deborah rela– er, dynamic.

    Again, what gets my goat is that instead of exploring what could be realistic issues of a dysfunctional family, and letting us sympathize with Deebs and the Fourth Jordan and Abbie and maybe, MAYBE even Joshua, LeHaye is just going to wave a magic, er, crucifix and:

    o Joshua is going to Find Jesus and become even more of a tool even while he’s being made out to be even more of a Real True Christian;
    o Deebs is going to get out of this scott-free with no marks on her record and will get promoted and decorated besides;
    o the Roundtable will be SAID to be an honest, patriotic group even though its actions will be more seditious than Benedict Arnold*;
    o the liberal president and Senator ‘I have it out for you, Jordan!’ will die a horrible and ignoble death, possibly by nuclear edema;
    o the UN will be ‘sploded, possibly NOT by nuclear edema because, hey, RTS-RTG is going to protect New York, dammit, and if we had only had it on 9-11 noun verb….;
    o the Algerian is going to fail horribly because, uh, hey look over there THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!;
    o the Fourth Jordan is going to either:
    – convert, dump the Karen, and get drafted or join voluntarily
    – convert, dump the Karen, and become a preacher
    – convert, Stepfordize the Karen, and become a preacher
    – die a horrible and ignoble death, possibly by nuclear edema, along with the Karen; also, Jesus hates him even more, now.

    In other words, a TurbeauxDeus ex Machina** almost literally, and all the protagonists will be SAID to be good Christians who go to heaven and

    * – OH YES I WENT THERE, LEHAYE! I *so* went there! Actions speak louder than words.
    ** – No, I cannot believe I went out of my way to butcher two languages at once with that, either.

    • Ahem… all the protagonists will be SAID to be good Christians who go to heaven and are beyond reproach, while their actions will be rather base and venal. Meanwhile, any antagonists — which includes the Fourth Jordan — will burn in hellfire. And Joshua will just grimace and wonder — for about two seconds — if there was more he could have done and Abby and Deebs will reassure him that there wasn’t.

      Gluk.

    • Welllll…

      {SPOILERS HEREIN}

      Straworth is ultimately impelled to end the investigation into Jordan (I forget the exact mechanism, but he has to do so to save the Democrats’ collective face), while Corland is ultimately revealed to be a drug addict. Poor Tulrude has to quickly disentangle herself from this little flaw in Corland if she’s to maintain her drive to be elected as the next President…

      • So one is driven by politics, another is a drug addict, and the third is driven by ambition. Boy, LeHaye really doesn’t go out of his way to even try to make compelling villains, does he?

      • Yeah, I saw that. I’m betting the next book, Straworth gets his ass nuked to … well, not exactly Kingdom Come, but you get the idea.

        @Mink: LaHaye is famous for making sure the villains are pushovers. Nicolae Twin Peaks gets literally shoved over when he happens to be in the propwash from the jet Abdullah Smith is flying. It’s like watching a bonehead snickering at some utterly sophomorically dumb joke on the level of “pull my finger. PBBBBBBT! HA HA I FAKE FARTED.”

  2. I was wondering, actually, if LeHaye is going to be making this into another End Times fanfic? That is, is this going to portray the Rapture and the Tribulation etc., or is this just supposed to be a Christian-base technothriller?

    If it’s going to be Tribulation-town again, then I wonder what that says about his ideas of Biblical inerrancy and literalism.

      • Gluk.

        Okay. So LaHaye is wearing his politics more on his sleeve with this, it seems. RTS-RTG is going to be used to defend Israel against Russia and Ethiopia, at least if he holds to his traditional interpretation of the Bible — I mean, his literalist reading of the Bible.

        But that does make me REALLY have to ask… what *happened* to his Biblical inerrancy and his ‘accurate reading’ of the events of the Apocalypse of John of Patmos? I mean, going from that thesis, he already wrote about it; he can’t change it. It can’t be different, otherwise he has to admit that the Revelations are open to interpretation. (Which, apparently, he’s not adverse to doing anyway.) So instead of God protecting Israel from a Russian and Ethiopian nuclear attack it’s going to be some Christian-in-all-but-bending-knee authoritarian brainchild whom God works through?

        Oh gods… if Joshua has an ‘inverse Oppenheimer’ moment while witnessing RTS-RTG protect Israel, I think I’m gonna throw up.

        On the other hand we could hope that this really is The End Series for his piss-poor storytelling skills.

      • @Mink: We could hope, but alas…

        Seriously though, I tbink the lure of the money won out over the lure of being hailed as The Sole Interpreter of Premillennial Dispensationalist theology.

        Mainly it’s because he has the desperate need to fit the USA into the Revelation prophecies, somehow. This is just his latest kick at the can, I think. 🙂

      • Remember why LaHaye commissioned “Left Behind”, “Babylon Rising”, and “The End”, though, although each one has a different timeline leading up to the Rapture and Tribulation (yes, LaHaye did say in the foreword to “Babylon Rising” that the series would progress at least up to the actual Rapture). Each one is meant to highlight the prophecies relating to what Will Happen just before and during that debacle. Babylon Rising is meant to highlight prophecies that couldn’t be fitted into Left Behind’s space, and The End for prophecies that couldn’t be fitted into either previous series’s space (…just how many prophecies about the Rapture and Tribulation has he sighted?! And all this centered around a misconstrual of a SINGLE SENTENCE in one of the Pauline letters! Cosmos to LaHaye: THE CHAPTER AND VERSE NUMBERING WEREN’T PART OF THE ORIGINAL! STOP THINKING THEY SIGNIFY DIVINELY ORDAINED CELLS!). It’s also part of his fervent zeal to convince people that the Rapture and Tribulation are practically breathing down our necks, and so we’d better convert NOW, lest we find ourselves in seven years of Antichrist corruption, rather than seven early years in heavenly mansions.

        Basically, each of these Rapture-near series is meant to increase the likelihood of drawing in person X to dispensationalism. Sort of a matter of whether they’d be most attuned to disaster fiction (Left Behind…and I speak of the genre, not the quality), action-adventure (Babylon Rising), or techno-thriller (The End).

      • Something else that percolated into my brain today after reading that verse in Thessalonians. The Greek word for air is ‘pneuma’ which is also sometimes used for ‘spirit.’ So what if the Rapture REALLY IS people flat-out physically dying en masse? As in, bodies in the street, people just keeling over, just pretty much a sudden and unexpected mass die-off.

        First, that’s gonna be a heck of a lot of people just suddenly dying for no apparent reason.

        Second, what will happen if there happens to be enough medical equipment on hand to ‘bring them back?’

        Third… the ‘bar’ for being caught up is the key here. How ‘good’ is ‘good enough?’

        This has the makings of something to write…. *scribblescribble*

        It also occurred to me that there are Biblical interpretations which point to a mid-Trib or even post-Trib rapture… which I have a feeling a certain pair of RTC authors would be frankly terrified at the prospect of. Hmm… *scribblescribble* ^_^

      • Skyknight: He’s certainly getting a lot of mileage out of that one little verse in Thessalonians. =/ Though it makes for a fascinating study of memetic mutation.

        ‘Couldn’t be fitted….’ That sounds like a blatant copout on his part. He just wants to try to keep the story relevant, despite the Rapture inconveniently happening when it doesn’t, plus to ladle on more of his personal politics.

      • @Mink: The fact that it hinges on such subjective interpretation is why some sects that don’t believe in a Rapture go to the trouble of trying to smash flat the Rapture line of argument.

        It’s also how you can get things like the Christ Clone, where the “Disaster” is the apparent sudden deaths of millions – if not billions – of people. The Disaster is the Rapture, it’s just not recognized as such. And that makes for a helluva more compelling narrative (that, and BeauSeigneur actually knows how to fucking write. 😛 )

  3. Nice piece of writing. I am in the middle of a big research project that involves reading several hundred books of varying quality and content. Your writing stands up to comparison with many published authors — but then LB is published so that may not be as flattering as I would like it to be.

    However I really liked your decision to not demonize Deb and to make the different ways she and Cal responded to the same parents may emotional sense to the reader.

    • I find Deb a potentially interesting character, actually – she’s sneaking under the “female roles” radar and doing something that most RTCs really aren’t happy to see women doing. It’s only because Josh’s idolatry of the military ideal exceeds his idolatry of the acceptable female role that he’s gone along with it. She’s under even more pressure than your usual military cadet faces, and yet she’s thriving. At some point she is going to break, and (I like to think) end up stronger for it…

      (Or, this being a LaHaye book, she will turn into a good RTC robot. But hey, meta-Deb.)

      • Agreed; she’s potentially quite fascinating, even in LaHaye’s rendering of her. I find it interesting as well that she’s in a very non-traditional position and yet apparently doing well. She’s also under a lot of pressure, and I agree that at some point she will break; after reading Apocalypsereview’s fic, I would even say she’s already in the process of breaking, though hiding it well.

        The trainwreck of it is that LaHaye probably sees her as ‘normal’ or even ‘exceptionally good’ and she won’t be having any mental issues, and moreover will eventually settle down with (for some reason I want to say ‘significantly older’) RTC military officer. And that will be the end of Deebs. But, hey, as you said… we can hope for Meta-Deb.

    • *blush* Thank you. 🙂 Yes, I thought there were a few possible interpretations:

      1. Deb is as self-centered as Josh is. The thing I don’t like about it is … well, I like being a lot more charitable to people than that. I really do. That being said it’d be a fascinating area of fan-fiction to explore: What if she’s really been kind of play-acting the “good sibling” to Cal promising that she can run interference with Dad, but in the end really does nothing, secure in knowing that she’s the favored one? This could be one way to look at Josh believing Deborah is “like a rock” for Cal.

      2. Deb is being totally sub rosa. Josh, being self-centered, misses the sibling undercurrents and doesn’t understand that he scared the hell out of her when he made Cal an object lesson for his displeasure. She feels sorry for Cal but wants to protect herself at the same time. Cal, not being an asshat, understands the bind Deb’s in and is willing to forgive her when she has to act the “good sibling”. She knows this and is grateful for his forbearance in the matter. This, obviously, is the point of view I took in the story.

      3. A mixture. Deb is all-things-to-all-people. She’s a chameleon. She’s out for herself, as in #1, but unlike #1, she’s not going to throw Cal under the bus to do it. So she makes up for it by trying to be a decent sister to him, but basically her brother-life and her parent-life, as it were, are kept separate so they never get a chance to compare notes and say, “Hey, why did Deborah…?” This, of course, would have meant Deborah approaching her parents some time after Cal’s dressing-down and without bothering to explain to him what she’s doing. So in this scenario, Cal would resent her more than he does in my scenario #2.

      The family dynamics are definitely filled with a gold mine of nuggets around which to tell any number of stories from any number of perspectives using any number of interpretations. At least this family isn’t a real-life toxic family. *whew!* *eep*

      • Finally had a chance to read this properly. Very nice!
        It’s a pretty nasty trifecta of choices for Deb: She’s either a nice person forced to be bad, or a bad person that can convincingly act good, or a kind of non-person who’s changing from one to another depending on her circumstances. Either way it’s a shitty situation. Makes for good reading, though.
        Regardless, I’m cringing at the idea of her becoming an officer. Whatever her circumstances or intentions, as an officer she’ll be in charge of troops who are going to need her to be as level headed as possible. Stepping into a command role with this much emotional baggage is NOT a good thing…
        …then again, maybe she realizes this too….

      • I love this blog! I found it recently from slacktivist’s blog, and I’ve been reading through your back articles. I love the analyses, and especially this fanfiction. Between the descriptions, Cal’s emotional state, and Deb’s pleading with Cal to let her explain, the whole thing rang more true (and had more accuracy and internal logic) than any of the clips of the book you’ve given us so far.

        One other explanation for Deb’s behavior occurred to me when she made her announcement over breakfast. Could it be that she was deliberately trying to make it easier on Cal? I can see how Cal would forever afterward be subject to unfavorable comparisons with her, but I can see how she might think that distracting her parents by giving her parents something to be excited over would take the immediate pressure and negative attention off of Cal. There would probably be a lot more long term ramifications of that plan than she might have wanted, both in terms of her career and familial relations, but she might ignore them in favor of giving Cal a little time and space to recover. (Yes, I can see Josh and Abby totally ignoring even their anger at their son in favor of a shiny new toy.)

        Finally, reading things like this have made me so glad that, whatever occasional family arguments crop up, my parents are very loving and supporting, and actually behave like decent human beings to each other, my sister, and me. Really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  4. I love the meta stuff that comes out of these horrific books. It helps quell down the sickness I feel when I read about Josh and how hideously overcontrolling he is. I look forward to more about the only sane Jordan.

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