Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: The Patriots Make Contact

EoA: The Patriots Make Contact

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 257-258 (Chapter Forty-Five)

Before we get into Josh Jordan’s latest shenanigans, have an old 1970s-era Polka Time song.


So, Josh is hiding out in palatial digs, as I mentioned last time. The book also doesn’t hesitate to describe the other aspects of Josh’s sybaritic existence:

Joshua was now in hiding. He had checked himself into the triplex suite at the Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Only two people knew where he was. One was Abby. The other was his long-time private chauffeur, who had booked the room under his brother-in-law’s name and paid cash so Joshua’s name wouldn’t appear on the registry.

Just for fun, I checked to see if that hotel actually existed, and it’s probably the New York Palace in real life. Kinda expensive, too. I do wonder if Josh is going to pay back his no-name “long-time private chauffeur”, or if he’s gonna stick that guy with the expense. Now, how will Josh contact people? Use the hotel phone? A pay phone? Pshaw, nothing so pedestrian for Mr. Jordan!

Joshua’s company had been developing a super-secure Allfone, one with signal-cloaking capacity so it couldn’t be located via satellite or tower tracing. It was designed for special-ops guys operating in hostile territory, but the Defense Department put the project on hold. Joshua was carrying the prototype with him.

Oh, how convenient that he just happened to be carrying the sooper special secret Allfone. The love that LaHaye books seem to have for techno-gadgetry shines through here. 😛

Basically, Josh is waiting until the AmeriNews thing kicks off, which he thinks will take the political heat back off him, because patriotism, that’s why.

Joshua’s plan was to stay undercover until the AmeriNews media service got off the ground. The project was taking longer than Phil Rankowitz had predicted. Then, hopefully, the Roundtable’s project would ignite citizens into immediate action. People would learn that Joshua’s real motives in resisting Senator Straworth’s heavy-handed demands about the RTS system were to protect America. Voters would discover that a gang of Washington politicians were trying to send an American hero to jail. The phone lines at the Capitol switchboard would light up with angry calls from American citizens. Straworth would see his approval ratings drop like a bowling ball in a swimming pool. What else could he do then but withdraw the subpoena entirely?

The “embattled hero” thing strains credulity, considering the way he’s acted like a kid throwing his toys out of his crib because he’s being told to share what isn’t 100% his to begin with.

Anyway, Josh muses over what he can and can’t do from jail, and then decides to order room service, only to find someone left an Ominous Message in an envelope:

On the outside were written the words To the Gentleman in Room 2507. After tipping the bellman he ducked back into his room and read the note.

Joshua Jordan:

You don’t know us. But we know you. It is important we talk. We can help. I am downstairs in the private dining room, the one with the closed doors. It is not visible to the public. I will have dinner waiting for the two of us. Please forgive me for the note, but in the interests of discretion I must not be seen coming up to your room.

The Patriot’s Wife

Joshua’s first thought was that his cover had been blown. Someone knew where he was. Was this a trap to lure him out of his room? But if the feds were behind it, they wouldn’t be using this cloak-and-dagger stuff. They would simply come up to his room unannounced, armed with a warrant.

And we get our first introduction to the shadowy “Patriots” mentioned in the blurb on the back cover, the highly placed group of Christians who want to save the USA from “economic and moral collapse”. Dun-dun-dun….!

I want to break here and discuss this next paragraph, because a couple of phrases in it basically knock the props out from under a lot of Josh’s previous grandstanding.

No, this was something else. He knew he had friends in the Pentagon who were quietly supportive of him. Maybe there were others. But one thing was clear. Now that a federal judge had targeted him for arrest, he needed all the help he could get.

Okay, so he has friends who are “quietly supportive” of him, in the Pentagon? Besides, of course, his good buddy Rocky Bridger who’s probably ass-deep in Good-Ole-Boy connections over there? So why the hell didn’t Josh, way back, have Harry Smythe call up one of those guys, or even have Bridger do it, and get all their stories straight so they could testify in front of the committee and not reveal too much, if Joshy-boy was really worried about someone heisting his company’s equipment and drawings and specifications for the RTS-RGS?

I mean, you just have to stop here and ask why it is that Parshall has led us down the garden path at all? Why has he set up such a patently illogical conflict here, when it all could have been deflected handily had Josh had any sense at all of subtlety?

Let us grant that the committee was not intended to question Joshua Jordan in good faith. Let us grant that the Democrats for whatever reason hate this man so very much that even though anyone ought to be properly grateful to the guy whose experimental-as-hell system saved New York, they still believe he should be grilled over its use.

Then why would anyone with even a smidgen of horse sense not call in for some backup? Make sure all the people who could be called as potential witnesses have their stories straight? Here’s how that committee thing could have gone:

Straworth: Now, Mr. Jordan, will you please explain to this committee why you cannot show us the documents that explain how your Return to Sender system works?

Jordan: Unfortunately, Senator, my contract with the Pentagon precludes my releasing this information without their consent to do so. However, if I may provide you with my contact’s name at the Pentagon, I’m sure we can clear this matter up fairly quickly.

Straworth: Very well. This committee is adjourned for two hours while we locate your Pentagon contact and summon him before the committee.

Written differently, this could be the story of a man so focussed on his own personal glory that he fails to realize he’s burned through all the goodwill he’s accumulated until finally it dawns on him just how completely and utterly he’s gone and bollocksed everything up to the point where only his wife still supports him at all, and he knows he doesn’t deserve even that.

As it is, though, the glory-seeker will be feted and rewarded and called a good Christian. What a complete bizarro world this is.

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19 thoughts on “EoA: The Patriots Make Contact

  1. one with signal-cloaking capacity so it couldn’t be located via satellite or tower tracing

    This is almost as bad as the RTS system, really. There’s a *reason* tower-tracing (or satellite tracing for satellite phones) works, and it has nothing to do with Big Brotherism. If the system doesn’t know where the phone is, it can’t send or receive signals!

      • I’m not feeling charitable. 😄

        The problem with any phone is that the sender and the receiver have to be known to the system. In a landline, the physical location of the phones can be determined, or at least he demarc points — where the publicly-switched telephone system enters a building. At that point it becomes a matter of securing the building. However, if there is any internal PBX chicanery — like a hardware relay that will forward the call without using Ma Bell’s PBX — then it could get more dicey.

        But it does underline one thing: What happened to that AT&T wiretapping that all the right-wing authoritarians seemed to think was such a good idea? Can’t the Political Bad Guys make use of it? Or is it a magical wiretap system that only works when The Right Person is in the Oval Office? =P

        Cell phones are, admittedly, a little tricker, but the cellular network *needs* to know which node to send the voice-data stream to. That’s not something that can be spoofed easily unless Joshy has his own private cellular network, or has suborned a network in some sort of odd VPN setup that the system just is not designed for. Or maybe the cellular industry, in defiance of every trend and its own history of collaboration with the government, has actually enabled greater privacy for its network than could exist in a privacy advocate’s dream. =)

        Oh, also?

        Let us grant that the Democrats for whatever reason hate this man so very much that even though anyone ought to be properly grateful to the guy whose experimental-as-hell system saved New York, they still believe he should be grilled over its use.

        Admittedly, making his Joshua’s life difficult IS a bonus. 😉

        • One could rig something with VoIP tunnels, I suppose. Use a disposable SIM in the phone, and tunnel from there via VPN into the office server, and gate from there into the PSTN. But that’s not a result of the s00per s3kr1t magic phone – it’s a result of clever software that could be run on any phone. (And an un-compromised server elsewhere. Because surely the Feds would be all over the office hardware.)

  2. Yanno, if the Feds were at all acquainted with Joshua Jordan, they could probably find him within the hour. We all know that Josh isn’t going to stay anywhere that isn’t up to his standards, and he isn’t going to leave Manhattan (because the commoners live out there), so all they really have to do is flash Josh’s picture to the front desk of every hotel with penthouse suites, starting with the most expensive and palatial.

    If it is indeed the New York Palace, check out what Joshy gets:

    “three floors…a dining room that seats eight…double vanity…jacuzzi tub…a second living room…fully furnished outdoor rooftop terrace…”

    http://www.newyorkpalace.com/towers/suites/penthouse.php

    And if anyone can tell me what ONE MAN, who is IN HIDING, needs with all that, you are doing better than I am.

    If Josh really wanted to throw them off the scent, he’d stay at a Motel 6 and only venture out to stock up on ramen noodles and McDonalds.

    • The hotel’s website doesn’t bother to list the rates – it’s evidently one of those places where, if you need to ask, you can’t afford it. Somehow, I can’t really see a hotel like that accepting cash. And all the Feds need to do is to ask desk staff in these places if anybody’s recently tried to rent a swanky suite with bundles of 100-dollar notes.

      • On top of that, with it’s elite clientele it seems like the sort of hotel where the room service guy might actually recognize a person who’s been all over the news. So now Joshua’s hiding place is known to three people, with another one for every meal he orders to his room. Fail.

    • But Josh couldn’t possibly stay in a grubby little motel. He’s a hero that every God-loving RTC patriotic American should aspire to be. So naturally he’s a handsome, talented multi-squillionaire who only gets the best of everything – big houses, swanky hotels, the best food, the latest and fastest cars, an obedient and grovelling personal staff….
      Motels, McDonalds – feh! They’re for the little people!

  3. And we get our first introduction to the shadowy “Patriots” mentioned in the blurb on the back cover, the highly placed group of Christians who want to save the USA from “economic and moral collapse”.

    And now I really wish I hadn’t recently re-read The Handmaid’s Tale, because I can only see this ending very badly indeed.

  4. “God only knows how it’d do that though.”

    EXACTLY.

    It bounces the signal not through satellites, but through Jesus who is in an orbit above the earth.

  5. Wow. Is this supposed to be Josh’s own internal naration:

    Then, hopefully, the Roundtable’s project would ignite citizens into immediate action. People would learn that Joshua’s real motives in resisting Senator Straworth’s heavy-handed demands about the RTS system were to protect America. Voters would discover that a gang of Washington politicians were trying to send an American hero to jail. The phone lines at the Capitol switchboard would light up with angry calls from American citizens. Straworth would see his approval ratings drop like a bowling ball in a swimming pool. What else could he do then but withdraw the subpoena entirely?

    Dear lord, and I thought Bucky-boy was full of himself. If we’re supposed to think this is Josh’s internal monologue, where he calls himself an American hero, and that every voter would hate any politician who dared touch him, it’s just sad. Even for someone who helped design the system that saved New York (yeah, we never get to hear anything from other little people at Josh’s company. He apparently designed and build it all by himself. All he has in his employ is a lawyer, a receptionist and chauffeur, all to commit felonies for his benefit), that’s an unhealthy amount of back-padding.

    • It is definitely his internal narration, so you can see how much of a peacock he likes to be about himself. There are other people in his company too, but as I noted in the chapter when he uses the RTS-RGS, none of them rate last names.

  6. Yeah, just like Paul across the way, no Good Guy ever lacks for luxuries in this world. RubyTea and Mrs Grimble: what’s the betting the front desk guy will say “oh, him, take him away, he’s reduced three of the maids to tears and we don’t need someone like that here”?

    The Stealth Allfone comes with a supply of messenger boys who will run back and forth to the person being called, making sure they aren’t followed. Well, it makes as much sense as anything else…

    So… Josh’s approach to having changed his mind about the contract he signed is to start a revolution rather than give up his WMD? Our hero, folks.

  7. The love that LaHaye books seem to have for techno-gadgetry shines through here

    No no no, the love that Lahaye books seem to have for phones shines through here. Especially techno-gadgetry phones. It wouldn’t be a Lahaye book without phone wank, after all.

    (I bet Lahaye’s idea of phone sex is sex with the actual phone. If he ever made a phone sex call, he’d want the lady on the other end to be the phone’s voice: “Oooo yeah, baby — feel my smooth plastic shell. I want your hands carressing my keypad. Ooo, I can feel your breath on my microphone, yeah baby! That’s it, speak into me. I want to feel the vibrations.”)

    .

    But yeah, RTC-com consists of overweening pride, overwhelming wealth, The Esteem Of All The Little People, and the very BEST of EVERYthing. Just like Jesus preached.

  8. Late to the party by almost a year, but I have one more thing regarding the “super-secure Allfone” that I found remarkably stupid: I may be wrong, but Jordan’s company isn’t the one that makes the branded product. While a person with no tie to a company might genericize a trademark name, someone from a company making a related product would not. It would be like Microsoft deciding to come out with a new Nintendo DS.

    Which either means Parshall has forgotten what his insufferable lead does, or the lead himself has forgotten. Honestly, I’d believe either.

    Also, I can’t be the only one who cringes internally at the name “Allfone”. It’s just not a pleasing brand name, but I can’t put my finger on why apart from the “fone” part.

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