Save the Pearls: Chapter 9 (or, Catman Begins)

Previously, on Save the Pearls: After the original test subjects went missing, Bramford volunteered to be turned into a CatBoy. Eden ran off to find Jamal, only to discover that he was actually a communist revolutionary/terrorist who literally wore a beret “at a jaunty angle”. He revealed his evil plot to take the Animorph tech for himself, and Eden felt betrayed.

We begin with Eden still reeling from the revelation that Jamal is a political extremist. Recall that he’s just told her that he and his infamously white-people-murdering commie pals are planning on kidnapping her and holding her hostage:

In six months, when she turned eighteen, still unmated, she’d be cut off and left outside to die.

No, Eden, you’re going to be held captive and/or murdered. Weren’t you paying attention?

She spends a paragraph beating herself up for not realizing that her sexy BF was using her, but then decides that since she’s got nothing to lose, she’ll fuck their shit up.

She glanced around the room, her keen mind puzzling together a plan. Her gaze rested on the firewall control. If she raised the shield, the fire outside would engulf the upper level and snake down into the lab. Maybe she and her father could escape in the chaos. Then again, they might be burned to death. What other options did she have?

Notice how Foyt has realized that Eden has spent the entire novel so far failing to notice how obviously duplicitous Jamal is and not realizing that she has a crush on her boss and so feels the need to remind us that Eden is supposed to be intelligent. And somehow, her brilliant solution is to literally burn down the lab.

She breaks free, and pushes the conveniently located button and the firewall begins to retract. Jamal’s cronies quickly catch her once more, but instead of disabling the firewall, which he should know how to do since he’s the Head of Security at this lab, he just takes the moment to tell Eden how special she is for not joining him.

“Most Pearls would give anything to be on my team. What’s wrong with you?”

She wondered the same thing.

In case you’ve forgetton, Jamal’s group, the FFP are known for kidnapping and murdering white people. So saying that most white people would kill to join them is kind of like saying that most black people would kill to join the KKK.

Jamal praises her moral convictions (because of fucking course even the bad guy has to respect her), and she just thinks about how gross he is now that he’s evil.

Jamal tells his friends to capture Eden’s dad and Bramford-the-Cat, and to kill anyone who tries to stop them.

By this point, the firewall that Jamal & co still haven’t re-activated for some reason is almost fully open, and the fire from outside starts to burn up the lab. Then in explodes fully open (I think?) and everyone gets knocked around. The lights go out, but Eden sees that Jamal has been mostly squooshed under a support beam.

Now that Eden’s free, she runs off to find her dad. The fire supression system is shooting out flame-retarding foam, or something, and some gets on Eden. This is bad:

Eden wiped off the mess from her face and arms. Too late, she watched her dark coating peel away in streaks. But she couldn’t think about that now.

Why the fuck is she worrying about her makeup right now? Like, how does that even occur to her? I could understand if it were framed as a kind-of dissociated thought, but it seems like she thinks it’s a legitimate concern, if not the most pressing one at the moment.

Finally she sees her father still in the operating theater, looking all shell-shocked:

He seemed dazed, and she guessed he had finally noticed the world around him.

HMM, YOU THINK? This just seems snide.

But what of Bramford, the patient?

A painful cry filled the air. Her father jerked towards the test bed. It seemed Bramford was in trouble. Blessed Earth, the extreme heat must have contaminated the experiment. Her fault, all of it.

THIS WAS YOUR EXACT PLAN, EDEN. Did your “keen mind” not realize that setting a laboratory on fire might adversely affect the experiment? Jesus christ.

Eden hears some footsteps coming toward her, and she gets all frightened again. Fortunately, she remembers a pertinent piece of information we’re hearing for the first time:

Hadn’t Father given her a secret code?

I don’t know, Eden, you’re the one with the “keen mind.”

She remembers her father talking about how his work can never fall into the “wrong hands,” and that she should use a special code “when no other alternative exists.”

That would be now, right? Still, why did she have to be the one to decide? But if she didn’t they would win. She activated the memorable code. Go bluebell.

I love how she was totally fine with burning up the entire lab but somehow deciding to use a delete-fucking-everything code is somehow an arduous decision.

We learn that the code is “bluebell” because her mom’s eyes were “the color of bluebells”, if you care about that at all.

She labors over the process a little bit, and just as the baddies are about to get her, she completes it.

A loud, insistent female voice announced the end. “Warning! REA will self-destruct in five minutes. Please proceed to the nearest exit.”

(REA is the name of the lab, in case you forgot).

But holy shit, what’s wrong with just, like, nuking the computers? I think this is what they call “overkill.” Even though she already showed she was ready to burn everything to the ground. Fuck. I hate this book.

As Eden goes to escape the lab, Jamal is up and moving again, and he catches her. And instead of getting the fuck out of there, Jamal, his bros, her dad, and the incapacitated Bramford seem fine with staying in the burning, soon to be exploded operating theater. She thinks about their odds of survival, notiing that Shen is still here, but that he probably won’t be much use.

As her father might have said, the current trajectory would no doubt result in a re-organization in favor of the more dominant genes.

Huh? Isn’t it already in favor of the black people? (also lol at “more dominant genes. I think it’s safe to say Foyt’ doesn’t even know what a “gene” is or what it means for one to be “dominant”).

Thankfully, Eden translates her father’s hypothesized words for us:

In other words, Jamal, and therefore the FFP, would win and kill all the Pearls, starting with her.

Is that what he hypothetically meant? I mean. . . OK. Sure. Let’s just go with it. I’m not sure why we needed a hypothetical Mr Science Man to poorly express this, but whatever. I don’t know.

Jamal begins talking to Eden’s Dad, saying that he should join them and that he’ll be respected, etc etc. The blow-up-alert system informs everyone that they have four minutes til it goes boom, and Eden’s dad just keeps operating/whatever on Bramford.

Eden cries for him to help her, and he says it’s not possible, and that they should GTFO because he’s in the middle of something important.

The standoff continues, with Eden’s dad being an egghead and Jamal telling them to join the dark side, etc. Bramford-on-the-operating-table gives a scream of pain, and Eden’s dad goes back to operating. Jamal says that if he doesnt comply, he’ll kill Eden, and asks her father if he understands.

“What? Yes, the paradigm has been clearly presented.”

I swear to fucking god, every single thing Eden’s dad says sounds like a 12-year-old with a thesaurus.

He does nothing else, indicating that he doesn’t give a fuck what happens to Eden.

It was embarrassing, really. No one wanted her—not her boyfriend, not even her own father. Guess the FFP hadn’t counted on her worthlessness.

HA FUCKING HA! I think we’re supposed to feel like super sad for her, but I love this. I think it might be the best line in the book.

The explode-system-thing says that they’re at T-2 minutes, and Jamal tells his friends to kill Eden’s dad.

But just then, what do they hear? A giant ROAR comes from somewhere.

It’s happening.

Everyone, the moment you’ve been waiting for is here.

Guess who did the roar?

Anyway, Eden struggles to break free from Jamal, and is successful, because he’s distracted by something. And Eden realizes that the roaring came FROM BRAMFORD!!!! But he had been strapped down to the bed! How could he have broken free???

Because he’s now “a terrifying creature, part man and part beast.”

Mostly, he reminded Eden of his new cousin, the jaguar. In the slash of cheekbones and feline face the resemblance was unmistakable. His eyes, now a luminous deep green, gleamed cat-like in the glow of the fire. No longer bald, he had dark silky hair tumbling down his shoulders. Powerful, carved legs ripped through the white surgical pants.

BEHOLD THE MASTER RACE:

newbramford

Again, if anyone reading this is a furry, I deeply apologize. But this middle-aged woman wrote furry erotica and self-published it without realizing she was writing furry erotica. And it gets so much worse.

But if the first description wasn’t enough, well, there’s more.

He shook with rage. The shirt split across his chest, revealing tight bands of muscles under a light mat of fur. Slowly, he turned over his hands, examining the thick padded palms.

Is it weird for me to be genuinely curious as to how Victoria Foyt came up with this? Like, what piece of media caused this sexual awakening? I’m not even angry. I’m too confused to be angry.

Eden takes a moment to wonder if he still has a human mind or if the animal has taken over completely.  She wonders if he’s sad that he’s now a cat-dude, and he lets out a horrible roar. And this turns her on.

She felt faint from the ferocious power he exuded. Unreasonable feelings bubbled up within her. Maybe it was crazy, but she wanted to roar back at him.

I have no words. I just. . . I can’t. Isn’t the building literally about to explode?

But the erotically-charged scene isn’t done yet, no. We need to see that Bramford wants her, too.

Feral eyes landed on her, devouring every inch. She found herself smiling at him. But his eyes stayed cold, his expression as flint-hard as ever.

Seriously, I get that this is weird and all, but the building is literally about to explode.

Thankfully, the chapter is almost over. Eden reacts to Bramford’s transformation thusly:

In that moment, Eden understood that despite his dramatic physical transformation, deep down Ronson Bramford hadn’t changed one bit. He was still the same arrogant bastard.

THE BUILDING IS LITERALLY ABOUT TO EXPLODE! YOU CAN THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU HATE/WANT TO FUCK YOUR CAT-BOSS LATER.

And thankfully, the chapter ends.

Jesus fuck, this book only gets worse. I swear to fucking god, Foyt manages to top herself every chapter.

 

3 thoughts on “Save the Pearls: Chapter 9 (or, Catman Begins)

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