Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: CSI: Rough Sailing Ahead

EoA: CSI: Rough Sailing Ahead

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 271-276 (Chapter Forty-Seven)

And now we’re back into the swing of things with Edge of Apocalypse. Let’s follow John Gallagher now.


Agent Gallagher, having arrived in NYC at 7:30 AM, is now trying to make the meeting with his boss by 8:30. On the way, he chats with the digital photo expert, Sally Borcheck.

“Great timing,” Gallagher said. “I need this for a conference. What’s the bottom line?”

“Oh, no, I’m not giving it to you,” she snapped back. “Not until I go over some preliminaries first.”

In the cab Gallagher pretended to strangle his Allfone with both hands.

He said, “Sally, can’t we skip that stuff? I’m really in a rush.”

“Look, you’re the one who caught me in my comfy pj’s in front of the TV. I was already halfway into the old version of The Detective with Robert Mitchum. I love that movie. And they almost never run that one on television. So back off, John–“

There’s a bit more of a rough ride she gives John, fully deserved, of course, but the bottom line is:

Borcheck sighed. “Yeah, minimally adequate. Now there are eighty facial variants we use to create a face print. Skull size, facial measurements, interrelationships between facial structures…”

(…)

“I rated your video image at a sixty-seven percent certainty that the facial characteristics in the video matched that of the known subject, Atta Zimler.”

Ba-ding!

Unfortunately, in Zadernack’s office, things do not go well. Gallagher’s being put on a desk job and the Zimler investigation is being closed. We know why this is – Demas got Tulrude to push for a quick end to it based on the totally phony “similar named diplomat” story which has a million holes that got poked through it in the previous writeup involving the conversation between the two of them.

Gallagher momentarily rallies his cause with the biometric match info, but Zadernack cuts him off with a report that a “Zimler” got arrested in Paris.

But Gallagher was going to bull his way through. “I have a facial match between Atta Zimler and a suspect who just tortured and murdered the son-in-law of a former high-ranking Pentagon general. It just happened. Over in Philadelphia. We have a forensic match, Miles. Come on–“

(…)

Zadernack gave his favorite emotionless, plaster-of-paris expression. He spoke in something just above a monotone. But what he had to say was outrageous. “Okay, John. Take a deep breath. All right? Relax. Here’s the story. We’ve been told that Atta Zimler is in custody. In Paris.”

After some of Gallagher’s fulminating and Zadernack reminding him of the mandatory courses in Bureau professionalism he’s supposed to take, that’s pretty much it. Gallagher gets his desk and he ruminates:

He would be retiring before long. He had put too much into his work at the Bureau to trash it all now. So there was a serious question pending: Was he going to throw it all away for a mere sixty-seven percent certainty? The more he thought about it the more it didn’t make any sense. Man, sixty-seven percent isn’t even a passing grade. That’s flunking.

Cute, but in most places 67% usually gets you a C+. ๐Ÿ˜› That’s passing, Agent Gallagher! He’s being too hard on himself. According to him the facial match was enough for probable cause to get a warrant, anyway; Zadernack didn’t disagree with that part.

Finally, he decides chasing after Zimler is worth losing his career, and he quietly calls Agent Leary over at the CIA. His final words sum up the conversation quite neatly:

“Uh, figure it out, John,” Leary said with a laugh. “We’re going to discuss possible clandestine information from the CIA about a world-class terrorist, and I chose a Korean dry cleaners as the meeting place. What does that tell you?”

*snerk*

If the Gallagher-chasing-Zimler subplot was in any book but this one it could really be made into a great tale on its own. Aging FBI agent near retirement wants to close one last case, and his superiors think he’s getting too personally involved. Said agent enlists secret helpers, and successfully nabs the bad guy, retiring with full honors and congrats on his derring-do. This kind of action-spy-adventure stuff can work really well, as Robert Ludlum’s proven amply with his books.

But because this subplot’s being shoehorned into the larger conflict involving Josh Jordan, this subplot necessarily takes a back seat and is tinged with some of the same political speechifying that renders aspects of the way the FBI is handling this somewhat improbable.

Alas!

Next chapter we’ll meet back with Josh and Abby. Stay tuned. ๐Ÿ™‚

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8 thoughts on “EoA: CSI: Rough Sailing Ahead

  1. At school I had a teacher who insisted on 100% on every test. We complained, and he announced that for the next test the passmark would be 70%.

    There were three questions on the test.

    This one’s Parshall, isn’t it? He’s done enough commercial writing that he certainly ought to be able to slap together a cop-on-the-verge-of-retirement plot in his sleep.

    I have no idea how responsive the FBI really is to higher powers. I know that the people who run it, by virtue of the selection process they’ve gone through, are more politicians than criminalists…

    • Yep, LaHaye and Parshall.

      3 questions, eh? Sneaky bastage. ๐Ÿ˜›

      The sad thing is that the Gallagher and Demas chapters seem a bit more realistic. I think it’s because Parshall doesn’t have to push LaHaye’s RTC agenda as hard with those characters.

  2. “Next chapter weโ€™ll meet back with Josh and Abby. Stay tuned. :)”

    Yay! I can’t wait to see that. Josh is just a magnet for high-quality snark, with his prima donna behaviour. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • As usual in a LaJenkins novel, the minor characters are the most interesting and compelling, and the only ones you DON’T want to see smacked upside the head and/or humiliated, just so they can have a small taste of what they dish out to others.

      I kinda like Gallagher. He should get his own book. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Cute, but in most places 67% usually gets you a C+. Thatโ€™s passing, Agent Gallagher!

    Is it? All of the tests with a strict pass/fail divide I’ve taken (that spring to mind, anyway) had the cutoff at 70% or 80%. On the other hand, when I say “all the strictly-divided tests I’ve ever taken that I can think of”, by “all” I mean “both”, so there’s that.

  4. We don’t use letter grading, we just use a 1 to 10 scale in the Netherlands. Some subjects, like languages, substracted a fixed amount from your 10 for every mistake you made, usually getting you a 1 well before you did everything wrong. Subjects like math and physics generally had every question being worth a percentage of the 9 points, so you essentially got a grade that reflected the percentage you got right. In either case, a 5.5 was the lowest possible passing grade (actually a 6, but your final grade of the year gets rounded).

    Like in other RTC works, while the side story is cliched as all hell, it’s still better than the main story which finds all new ways to be completely horrifying. Characters like Gallagher or boss Bailey from LB might be predictable one-dimensional cookie cutter characters, but that still beats characters like Buck, Paul and Josh who find new and original ways to be completly self-absorbed jackasses that imagine themselves to be the last righteous remnant on earth (minus of course the author mouthpiece who converts them, he’s also awesome).

  5. If the Gallagher-chasing-Zimler subplot was in any book but this one it could really be made into a great tale on its own. Aging FBI agent near retirement wants to close one last case, and his superiors think heโ€™s getting too personally involved. Said agent enlists secret helpers, and successfully nabs the bad guy, retiring with full honors and congrats on his derring-do. This kind of action-spy-adventure stuff can work really well, as Robert Ludlumโ€™s proven amply with his books.

    Except this is a CHRISTIAN thriller (with End Time Prophecy tie-in), and Christianese authors are infamous for ignoring great story material to follow the End Time Prophecy checklist and Altar Call Ending item by item, usually following the Author Self-Insert into every bathroom break and word-for-word “as you know…” phone conversation.

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