In the thirty-sixth chapter of Blackout, this is unexpected. Entirely unexpected. Good gods. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Blackout.
Oh my god, this is such a horrifying mess. How? HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK?
It’s clear now that the CDC is firmly in control, they don’t care about the collateral damage they cause, and that they believe that they’ll end up in control long after the events in this room. That doesn’t excuse Ryman and Rick, of course. But there was that line in the previous chapter – about how Ryman looks “tortured” by the predicament he is in – that suggested the dynamic we see here. Ryman had to arrange to have After the End Times brought to the White House; this was not some gesture of good will on the part of the CDC. (And the CDC rep makes a lot of references to how “reasonable” his organization can be, and it terrifies the hell out of me. None of you are reasonable, I swear.) Why else would this man be so garish in his displays of violence? He brandishes that pen so openly, willing to kill the entire After the End Times team in front of the President and Vice President, thereby possibly exposing them all to a live form of KA, and it never crosses his mind that this is a bad thing. In fact, he continues to be open about his desire to murder them. Not just at that moment, mind you, BUT IN THE PAST, TOO. Oh my god, he calls Dr. Wynne soft. Holy shit. Holy shit.
But this isn’t even the most disturbing thing in this chapter, not by a longshot. I am desperately hoping that in the next chapter, Georgia reveals that she, too, is aware that Shaun is faking things for the CDC doc, just like Shaun knew Georgia was faking her migraine. If not, then this whole situation just got worse. And that’s entirely understandable, for the record! Given that Georgia just realized the true point to her existence in the previous chapter, she’s most likely in a fragile state of mind concerning her own worth and identity. She might be 97% Georgia Mason, but there’s still going to be a part of her that can never be that original person. So how must it feel to hear your brother, the one person you truly love, state that he thinks you’re not a real person? Even if she does recognize that he’s faking everything to get the CDC doc on his side, that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt her at all. Maybe that’s why she wanted to leave the room; she didn’t want to take the chance and get more hurt than was necessary.
Seriously, I don’t think Georgia would have wanted to hear the doc tell Shaun that he wanted to present her to him as a sign of “good faith.” Y’all, HOW? HOW DOES THIS ASSHOLE SAY THINGS LIKE THIS WITH NO AWARENESS OF HOW IT SOUNDS? How the fuck would you think that presenting a clone of someone’s dead sister to them is something that would be accepted positively? Look, even if the CDC had done this and tried to pass her off as the real thing, resurrected post-death and not cloned, eventually they would have figured this out. Again, I think this is yet another indication of how deeply delusional the CDC is as an organization. There is no doubt here. There is no self-examination. There is no awareness. They are so convinced of their own greatness that it doesn’t even occur to them to think of anything or anyone else.
Well, there is some awareness:
“I’m not Tate,” said the doctor acidly. “I don’t need to convince you that I’m in the right. I’m here to present you with a choice. Work for us. Help us shape the next twenty years. Or never leave this building again. It’s up to you.”
The CDC knows what’s at stake. And this man knows he has no need for justification, not at this point. (Though I would be interested in learning how the CDC convinced the rest of the world to hop onboard their Freight Train to Horrifying Scientific Experimentation.) He simply offers everyone what they want – immunity, White House press access, their families, and safety – in exchange for working for the CDC.
And Shaun takes it. It’s as much shocking as it is bewildering as it is frightening. There has to be more to this, and I don’t believe that Shaun would trust any promise a CDC doctor gave him. And how do the others feel about this? What’s Georgia going to say when Shaun tells her what he’s agreed to?
This is a huge mess. Lord, I’m scared for the future.
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!