Friday, January 10, 2014

The Quest for Skye: Chapter 24

Recap: Markus the reporter reveals that he hacked the Leontious' computer and erased their records with a virus. Tammy picks up on this fact, while Morgan does not. Markus also hints that Doctor L. L. was experimenting on kids. But most of this is dismissed because Markus is a crazy person who doesn't know how to turn off a TV.

This chapter starts off excitingly:
The next morning the silence of the island was shattered by the distinct roar of two approaching helicopters— one military, the other private.
Did you know military and private helicopters sound different from each other? I suspect that's not what Rothdiener meant to indicate, but that's all I can assume. I have this image of him becoming an expert by listening to recordings of helicopters over and over again, guessing, "Military! No, wait... private!"

Morgan rushes outside to see what's going on and Lance the Tennis Player informs him it's a military helicopter and Markus' cable network helicopter. Lance is really annoyed that "the left is coming out in force," but, really, they're keeping a trespasser locked up in a jail cell on their property, so I'm not all that surprised that the guy's getting a rescue operation. You're probably supposed to fine trespassers or prosecute them, not just kidnap them, even if you do give them a TV in their cell.
“Morgan, you’d better take cover, this could get bloody,” Lance ordered protectively. 
Morgan watched Lance grab a pistol from his shoulder holster. 
Five guards with AK-47s rushed over to stand beside them. 
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Morgan said. Are they that serious?” 
“Deadly serious,” Lance said, shifting his gaze to the top of the old prison, where other guards aimed rifles at the choppers. 
Morgan drew a deep calming breath; it didn’t help. “But that’s the Greek army.” 
“Maybe,” Lance said. “Or maybe not. One thing for sure; they’re not on our side.”
What, do they want to bring down the entire Greek economy as well? Also, if you don't want to attract negative, possibly violent reactions from the military, maybe you should not kidnap Greek citizens who show up on your property. Also, when the military lands its helicopter in your yard, maybe you should not draw a weapon on them until you know what's going on.

I just feel like they've brought a lot of this on themselves and are trying to act all martyrlike about it.

Oh, wait, we get some more explanation here. Apparently when Doctor L. L. bought the island, he made it a private island in international waters. It's not actually part of Greece. It's its own country, so Lance the Tennis Player explains that the military landing there is basically an act of war.

If this island isn't even part of Greece, then WHAT THE HECK DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH GREEK ECONOMY?

Seriously, Doctor L. L. seems to have no actual connection to Greece, aside from living kind of near it and being from there originally. He put all his money into his not-Greece island. Is the idea that if he was dead, Greece could claim the island for itself or something? I am definitely losing the train of thought here.

Either way, Lance the Tennis Player and his pistol are totally ready to defend The Island of Leontiou from the Greek military armed with AK-47s. This is going to be fun.
Just then, the door of the black chopper opened. Three men and a woman stepped out. 
“Well, looky there,” Lance said in a deadpan voice. “Markus’s wife came along.”
Of course she did. You're HOLDING HER HUSBAND CAPTIVE.

Lance tells Morgan he can tag along while he finds out their demands (could they maybe, possibly be "release the Greek citizen you captured, please"?). Morgan is super excited about this and keeps thinking he feels like he's in an action flick. So let's review: Water slides terrify him beyond speech, but he's all gung-ho when it comes to single-handedly facing down the military of a foreign country.

Mrs. Reporter's name is Anna, and she does indeed ask about her husband. Lance, in return, is rude and sarcastic. Anna continues trying to get them to let her husband go:
“He wasn’t trespassing. He went fishing and his boat must’ve hit some bad weather.” 
Morgan gave her a look of feigned surprise. “Fishing? That’s odd. He told me that he was sailing, when his boat capsized.”
Because you can NEVER fish and sail at the same time. HA! We've got her there!

Lance continues to be a condescending jerk, while the military and Anna calmly request that he give their captive back. Lance even throws out lines like "You're clearly willing to throw the law out the window when it suits you," which may very well have been something Morgan yelled at him earlier when he found out they weren't signing Doctor L. L.'s death certificate.
“And, to compound your list of transgressions, you threaten us.”
...Except they haven't. They have demanded, but they haven't made a single threat, aside from the fact that they are armed. But they haven't stated any intention of using those weapons if Markus isn't brought to them. (We should note that Lance, on the other hand, has made some veiled threats.)

Lance finally agrees to bring Markus out, now that he's gotten all the sarcasm and condescension out of his system, and a couple of guards show up with the prisoner. Anna hugs Markus and informs her their daughter has been taken to the hospital with what might be a tumor. *blink* That was a sudden reveal.
Lance raised an eyebrow. “Interesting... Apparently, there’s a human side to you after all.”
Ugh. He works on an island that specializes in helping sick children and their families, you'd think he would have some sympathy and compassion for a family with a sick daughter, even someone he dislikes. Lance had seemed fairly nice and reasonable up until this chapter, but now he's basically just Morgan - angry and resentful and grudge-holding for no reason.
“I hope your daughter gets better,” Morgan said. “If you need any medical advice, I’d be glad to help.”
...Hold up. Did Morgan and Lance switch bodies for a chapter?
Lance stepped back as the two helicopters rose, heading to the mainland. 
“I hope you run out of fuel,” Lance murmured.
"And then your sick daughter will be orphaned and then I hope she dies horribly and miserably." Seriously, Lance needs to mellow out a little bit.

The two head back to... somewhere, and the chapter ends with this:
All sorts of emotions played through his mind as he traipsed back to the house. I have never seen such excitement in my life. What’s the rest of our time on this island going to be like?
Personally, I hope they'll get more tours! And make more threats! And make up more conspiracy theories! And are really, really rude to more people for no reason!

(Chapter 25.)

1 comment:

  1. This thing has become a full-blown daytime soap opera, with PLOT TWIST! being thrown at us at will by now. I get the sense that Rothdiener discovered he had as much interest in medical stuff as he has expertise, and halfway through this schlock, this happened:

    "Screw it. You know what's fun? International economic conspiracies. With mysterious deaths! And threats! Oh, and more mystery and more threats, and then some mysterious threats! By Jove, R.L., you've struck gold!" And with that, he began to type with the kind of fever that ordinarily goes into KFC's menu planning (see: Double Down, Famous Bowls, etc.).

    I'm impressed that Rothdiener's expertise extends into such matters as international law. Even if The Island of Leontiou is considered to be in international waters, it's still subject to international law. Even the super rich can't literally buy their way out of everything. They can spread around enough money to the right people to marginalize the power of the rule of law over them, but they can't write a check and then stick out their tongues saying, "Nah na na nyah! You can't touch me!" It doesn't work that way. If it did, the super rich would actually live in these legally murky areas where they keep their money.

    I'll still accept that the Leontiou estate could affect the world economy through Greece. Sadly, things are no better today there than when Rothdiener first started writing this tripe. It's tumultuous enough that someone with enough money to throw around could tip the scales. However, the potential for causing further damage in Greece is a lot smaller at this point than the potential for improving things. At worst, whoever winds up with the Leontiou fortune could decide to...what? Not go shopping on the mainland -- er, to the foreign land of Greece -- anymore? On the other hand, given that we saw how much of a fundraising boss Leontiou was, there's probably a Scrooge McDuck-style vault for swimming in money that could be responsibly used to make a lot of difference in Greece today.

    [Side question: If The Island of Leontiou is its own place, shouldn't they have had to have gone through customs when they left Greece? For that matter, wasn't it a jerk move to have Tammy and Morgan brought in through Greece?]

    My other chief qualm with this passage is with Lance's hostility toward the entirely clumsy expository remark about the sick girl. It invites us to wonder just what screening process Leontiou had for deciding which sick kids to help, because anyone who has ever even paid attention as a patient at their doctor's office knows that it isn't just "good" people who need medical help. (Conversely, needing medical help doesn't somehow make anyone a "good" person.) I bring this up because the implication is that Lance isn't used to being around people with sick kids and disliking them. I'm calling shenanigans on that.

    Much more likely, Lance has been a complete snot about everyone and everything and has seen clinging to Leontiou's coattails as a way of living the good life, and all those sick people are little more to him than what keeps the wheels of the gravy train rolling.

    So, congratulations, Rothdiener. You even managed to make the originally innocuous tennis player into an unlikable jerk - which is especially troubling since it's pretty obvious that Rothdiener wrote this passage all kinds of excited about Lance getting to be an action hero to cheer for. I have no expectation whatsoever that at the end of all this, Lance's arrogance is going to be debunked.

    More likely, he'll grudgingly watch on as Tammy and Morgan use the Leontiou fortune to help the sick girl and probably say something about how grateful her leftist radical father should be, but is too left and too radical to realize it.

    You know who I'm really mad at in this chapter, though? The Greek military. They could have ended all of this.