This chapter jumps right into the tribunal, because apparently Ian had no trouble at all convincing anyone to come have one after his freak out, because this is the most realistic book ever so no one has to feel the repercussions of their actions unless doing so can somehow be completely centred around Wanda. God, I hate this.
Ian only brings Jeb, Doc and Jared with him to this tribunal, and Wanda mentions that he specifically left Jamie out for good reason, but she does not mention why no one else came, she just rambles on about other crap instead, in the hopes that we won’t notice that a tribunal should involve more than 5 people, and certainly more than just Wanda’s own best friends.
Why doesn’t it? Because we all know that if the entire ‘community’ were to come to the tribunal, despite what Ian said to Wanda about how they need her, realistically a lot of them would vote to have Wanda removed, for obvious reasons. It wouldn’t be an easy decision for some of them, but I’m not sure we know the majority of the people that live here, which means Wanda doesn’t know them overly well either, so Ian would quickly be outvoted and he knows it.
So basically, this tribunal is just bullshit, because Ian only brought the people he knew liked Wanda the most (aside from Jamie), because they’d be the most likely to vote for keeping her around. Well, and Jared, most likely only because Jared was in the room at the time when Ian would have had to get Jeb and Doc to come, and he couldn’t exactly tell Jared not to. Jeb likely wouldn’t have gone through with it without Jared anyway, though…and Jared would have killed Ian if he found out Ian had a tribunal about his girlfriend behind his back…so yeah, Jared is there.
Annyway, during Wanda’s attempt to distract us from the fact that this is not a legit tribunal, she goes on about how Stryder will have to make Wanda’s goodbyes to Jamie for her because she can’t face doing it herself, no matter how cowardly that is. It’s not just cowardly, Wanda, it’s cruel; you’re going to break his heart, and you care more about not having to deal with the situation than you do about how he feels. So much for really loving him, and your alien nature making you care so much more than humans are capable of; selfishness totally won out this time. You don’t even care how it will effect Stryder herself to have to do this to Jamie.
Wanda mentions that Jeb brought his gun to the tribunal “as if it were a gavel and would make this more official“, but I honestly cannot imagine that that’s actually why. I hope Jeb brought it because he finally had the presence of mind to realize that Ian might be a danger, so he might need the gun to defend himself and everyone else. Though I’m still not ever going to be even the slightest bit okay with how he didn’t come to Wanda’s aid during Ian’s freak out, and neither did anyone else. The only way he can even begin to make up for that now is by shooting Ian by the end of this book, which I know damn well won’t happen, so I guess nothing will ever make up for it.
More emo crap from Wanda, then she asks Doc how “she” is before complaining about how much of her precious time is being wasted by the tribunal, because she keeps going back and forth between wanting everything to be done faster and whining about how things are going too fast, because she is incapable of not whining about everything.
Doc asks which “she” Wanda means, and Wanda realizes that that means that he already performed the removal on Sunny. Doc says Kyle thought it was cruel to make Sunny suffer longer, which I agree with since she was clearly miserable, but good ol’ Wanda only thinks of herself again, and how she didn’t get to say goodbye.
She asks how Jodi is, and Doc says she hasn’t woken up yet, so she asks about Summer, who Doc says left with Trudy so they could get something to eat and figure out a temporary name for her. Wanda says she’s sure they will both be fine, but she’s lying again, so Doc just ignores that and says he doesn’t want to be away from Jodi long.
Wanda agrees with Doc, but not for Jodi’s sake; she only agrees because she wants the tribunal sped along because she believes it’s moot since Doc already agreed to kill her. She hopes there’s a way for her to avoid dying that will still allow everyone to be happy, but she can’t see what it would be, so she gives up on that pretty quickly, and then Jeb is asking her what her side of the argument is.
She says she’s giving Stryder back and leaves it at that, so Jeb asks Ian’s side, and he says it’s that they need Wanda to stay. Wanda thinks he’s copying her short answer tactic by saying that, when he’s really probably just answering that way because it’s all he needs to say at the moment, butttt of course she needs to make everything all about her, including other people’s methods of speech, so there you have it.
Jeb says it’s a tricky decision, then asks each of them to explain why he should agree with them, with Wanda answering that if it were him (Jeb), he would want his body back, so Stryder shouldn’t be denied that, and Ian talking about all the great things Wanda has apparently done for them, and how vital she is not just to their community, but to the human race. Right.
He says one person can’t stand in the way of the greater good, and for some reason Stryder agrees with him on that. Wanda tells Stryder that nobody asked her, so of course Jared does ask Wanda what Stryder thinks. Wanda looks at Jared, and suddenly all the emotional crap she felt about Ian is pushed away and replaced by Stryder’s overwhelming love for Jared, which makes Wanda decide that the body belongs to neither her nor Stryder, but to Jared. Well, that’s a healthy way to look at things, now isn’t it? Fuck, Meyer.
Wanda lies and tells him that Stryder wants her body and her life back, and won’t tell the truth even when Stryder tells her to. Ian points out that she’s lying, saying that he can see her arguing with Stryder, and that Stryder is a good person who knows how much the humans need Wanda. Yeah, you think she’s a good person now that you believe her to be backing up the cause that gets you to sleep with her body, but you think she’s a completely selfish buzzkill the rest of the time. It’s not hard to remember how you’ve disrespected her in the past, and the things you’ve said about her, so you’re fooling no one with this “she’s a good person” shit, Ian. Just fuck off.
Wanda argues that Stryder knows everything she knows and will be able to help as well as she could, and reminds them that they’ve got Summer now, who knows Healing, which is more than she ever knew. She points out that they survived before her, but Jeb still says he thinks Ian has a point, which elicits glares from both Wanda and Jared. Jared should be doing more than glaring, after what Ian did to him.
Wanda turns her gaze to Doc, and she can tell he’s in emotional pain because he knows what he has to do, regardless of what the tribunal decides. Except…if the tribunal decides that Wanda is not to be removed, and Doc removes her, isn’t that defying Jeb’s house rules? Because y’know, Wanda, if Doc breaks the rules, especially by killing you instead of saving you in a cryotank, he will be either killed or kicked out of the caves, because those are the rules Jeb made. You’re really going to force him into that position, and risk him losing his life and others in the caves losing theirs because he’s not with them, all for this? Why don’t you actually think about how this is going to effect things?
Jared and Jeb argue over whether there’s “only one decision” or not, with Jeb stating that the body is Wanda’s body too. If if he truly believes that, though, then how can he have any problems with the alien invasion as it is now? If he wants to claim that all the aliens who have stolen humans’ bodies now have claim over those bodies just as much as the humans whose bodies they were do, then he can’t, in good conscience, remove any of the aliens from their bodies, because that would be the same as doing it to Wanda – taking her from what he considers to be her own body. Is Jeb really this stupid? I didn’t think so, but Meyer apparently does.
It’s not Wanda’s body, it never was Wanda’s body, and it never will be Wanda’s body, so take your head out of your ass, Jeb, unless you want your friends to leave an alien in you if you get implanted, because you told them it’s the alien’s body too so it would be cruel for them to remove it.
Jared tells Jeb it’s like murder to leave Stryder trapped as she is, so Ian gets pissed again, insinuating that Jared is trying to murder Wanda, and everyone else in the caves in the process. Again, Ian, you did survive before her; you’re not all going to suddenly die when she’s gone. It’s not like her death will call the Seekers down on everyone, and besides, at this point all you know is that she’s going on to live another life; that’s not murder. The fact that she does intend to die is moot here, until Ian knows that that’s the case. Not to mention that the only one who’s put Wanda in any real danger lately was Ian, just before this tribunal.
Jared points out that Ian doesn’t care about the rest of them, he just wants to keep Wanda at Stryder’s expense, which is true, but Ian argues the same back at him about Stryder. He claims that that makes everything equal between the two of them, which brings the question down to what’s best for everyone else, but Jared still does not agree because it’s Stryder’s body.
I’m sick of this argument already; sure it’s one they would potentially realistically have (though not like this, and not right after what Ian did; that would need to be dealt with first), but it’s just boring. I want this chapter to be over now, but it’s sooo fucking long, so I just get to sit here through more of this pointless argument that is never going to end in Wanda’s death anyway. Maybe if this book was a little less transparent, these sorts of scenes would be halfway interesting, but when it’s clear what’s going to happen, they’re really just not. Get on with it, Meyer. Wanda doesn’t die, Ian is happy, then what?
But no, we just get more of this. So Ian and Jared are mad, but Jeb shuts them down, telling them they have to keep calm if they’re going to have the tribunal, because they have to consider every side. He starts to give his position on it, but Ian jumps up angrily because no one should be allowed to say anything that he doesn’t think backs up his side of things, so Jeb has to wait for Ian to sit the fuck back down before he can finish his sentence. I really, really hate Ian. So much.
When Jeb does get to talk, he says he thinks Wanda is right that Stryder needs her body back, but he also thinks the people in the caves need her (Wanda), because they have Seekers looking for them, and Wanda can talk to them while no one else can. He says he has to think about the welfare of his “household”, and she saves lives, but…if the Seekers found their caves, I’m pretty sure they’d all be screwed regardless of Wanda. The Seekers would want to come in, and Wanda is just not smart enough to stop them from doing that, so they would find the humans anyway.
Besides, if Seekers are out looking for them, don’t they have bigger concerns right now than this stupid tribunal?! Forbid Doc from removing Wanda until such time as they are free of Seeker stalking, so Wanda has to face the fact that she’ll be the death of Doc if she makes him go through with his promise, and then they can have their damn tribunal after they’re safe. But no, that would make sense, wouldn’t it? We can’t have that.
Jared suggests (angrily) that the obvious solution to Jeb’s predicament is to get Wanda another body, which is an idea Doc is very glad to hear, and Jeb and Ian both seem somewhat intrigued by. Wanda freaks out at that idea though, because she says she’s tired of being a parasite, and she doesn’t want to start this whole thing over in another body. She says she’d feel guilty forever if she took another person’s life away from them and that she’s barely a soul anymore because she loves the ‘brutish humans’ (*urge to kill rising*) too much for that.
She follows that up by saying it’s wrong for her to be there and she hates that feeling, and then asks what would happen if things changed; if she went into another body and things went wrong, such that she found herself pulled back to the souls for some reason, which might cause her to betray and hurt the humans she loves.
But…that’s stupid, because a human is not going to pull you toward loyalty to an alien invader, Wanda. This plan seems ill advised for other reasons, not the least of which are the questions as to where they’d get a human willing to have an alien inserted or if they’d just kidnap a human and force them (which would make them just as bad as the aliens), and how they’d do an insertion in the first place when Doc doesn’t know how, and neither should Wanda if she’s not a Healer (I doubt Summer would agree to this plan) but oh wait she probably does know how because if it’s convenient she knows everything…but that is a stupid thing to say might happen.
Annnd apparently Wanda knows that doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t be something that would happen, because she was lying when she said she was worried about it happening. So lovely. She says the reason it wouldn’t happen is because she would never hurt them because “what happened to her” with the humans is permanent…butttt it’s really just because it’s stupid, and a human would never influence her that way.
She says she lies to them in saying that because she thinks if they fear she’ll betray them, they’ll be more likely to accept her decision, and apparently that works, because they all do appear afraid, because none of them have used their brains here at all. But wait, Ian’s not afraid, of course; no, he just puts his arms around her and pulls her to his chest because she’s crying and he’s ohhhh so sensitive when he’s not kicking and punching people in the face and holding her arm so tight that she loses all circulation in it. Yeeep.
Ian tells her nothing’s going to change and she doesn’t need to be anyone else, and then Jeb pipes up, asking Wanda how going to another planet would help her, because she’d still be a parasite. Only Doc knows that’s not what she’s planning and therefore knows the real answer to that question, so Wanda has to make up a bullshit one so no one else finds out she’s planning to off herself. She tells Jeb that it’s different on other planets because there isn’t any resistance (you know, aside from the stories she told before in which there was resistance, like that whole species that killed themselves so the aliens wouldn’t implant themselves in them) and the hosts are less individualized than humans, so their emotions are milder. She says it doesn’t feel like stealing a life then, because no one would hate her, so there again we see that she doesn’t actually give a shit about anyone but herself.
She doesn’t want the host to hate her because then she’ll have to feel that, and she doesn’t want it to have emotions because she doesn’t want to feel those, but otherwise, she doesn’t feel guilty at all about stealing the host’s life, because in her mind, it’s not taking someone’s life unless you have to suffer for it. For supposedly selfless beings, that is the most selfish mindset I have ever heard of.
Jeb stares at Wanda after she says that, and Doc looks miserable again, which it seems to Wanda like Jared may have picked up on and figured out the meaning of. If he did, that makes him better at reading people than anyone else in this entire fucking cave system, since he’s the only one that ever seems to figure anything out that isn’t completely spelled out for him, so good for you, Jared.
Jeb says the situation is “a pickle“, Ian and Jared start to act like children, and Wanda gets annoyed about her precious time being wasted again, because she’s decided that she only has a few hours left now. She tells Jeb that he doesn’t have to decide right away, because she and Doc need to check on Jodi, and she wants to get something to eat. She suggests that Jeb sleep on the decision, saying they can discuss it in the morning and that they have lots of time to think about it. Obviously, she’s lying about all that.
In any other book (or real life situation), she would be called on those lies because we’ve heard time and again what a horrible liar she is, and no one would let her go anywhere until a decision had been made. But because we’re reading this book, Jeb just says it’s a good idea, tells her to go get some food, and says they’ll all sleep on it (the decision, not the food), so off they go.
Seriously, no one noticed she was lying? Not Jeb, not Jared? They’ve both apparently been able to tell when she was lying before, especially Jared, but now all of a sudden they can’t tell, because it wouldn’t be convenient if they did. Or maybe Jared can tell, he just doesn’t say anything because he wants Wanda to go through with her plan, and Jeb just genuinely doesn’t notice she’s lying somehow…but I feel like that’s an awful lot to hope for from Meyer. I mean, that does require forethought, after all.
Where’s Ian’s ‘tribunal’, though, for his behaviour? Is that seriously going to go completely unpunished? Jeb has to at least say something about it! He can’t reinforce that kind of behaviour in his house, that’s for damn sure! Or is he just letting Jared and Kyle deal with it? That wouldn’t make sense, since it involved Wanda too, and they (Jared and Kyle) don’t actually seem to be doing anything about it, but I just don’t want to believe Ian’s getting away with this scot free…even though I bet he will.
Wanda tells Doc she’ll be along to help with Jodi after she eats, and then silently criticizes Doc for his response to her, because she doesn’t think he’s being casual enough. She thinks he should be a better liar than he is because he’s human, which proves she has STILL learned fucking NOTHING, and of course Doc has shown himself to be a totally immoral person up to this point, so obviously he must lie all the time. If she didn’t want to risk him giving her away, she shouldn’t have said anything to him. There was really no need to.
Ian asks Wanda if she’s hungry, despite that she just said she hadn’t eaten all day and most people don’t bring that shit up if they’re not hungry, so Wanda nods, and he helps her up. Wanda thinks about what a tight hold he takes of her, and how she’s sure that will continue, but she’s not worried about that because he sleeps deeply…so she’s clearly planning to sneak out in the night and off herself. If only that would actually happen.
They leave and Wanda eats (apparently because she doesn’t want Stryder to be ‘uncomfortable from hunger” when she regains control, but really it’s just because Meyer is obsessed with food and needs to mention it whenever possible, and Wanda just wanted to eat but she couldn’t admit that because that would be selfish and she is SO NOT hahahaahah), hiding in the corn field as she does so so Jamie won’t find her. Wouldn’t Jamie be a bit suspicious about her disappearing? He’s always cared significantly before; I can’t see why he’d suddenly stop now, especially after the whole ordeal with Kyle. He’d want to know what happened, so he should be out looking for her. I’d also think Jared would be out looking for her, at least to find out if Stryder is okay, but nooooo, that wouldn’t be convenient.
Ian of course agrees with Wanda hiding from Jamie, because they both care oh so much about Jamie and how scared and upset he’ll be by the decision that they just can’t bear to do the RIGHT thing, and then after they’re done eating, Wanda goes to see Sunny and Jodi. She’s startled to see that there are still only 2 occupied cryotanks on the table, so she goes to freak out on Doc and Kyle, but then she notices that Kyle is cradling the other cryotank (with Sunny in it), so instead of freaking out she makes a cold comment toward him about being gentle with the tank. She’s just…so nice.
It turns out Kyle is holding onto the tank because he doesn’t want Sunny to be alone, which Wanda says she’s sure Sunny would appreciate. He asks if there’s anything he can do to help Jodi wake up, so Wanda tells him just to talk to her about things she might remember and even about Sunny, since that helped with the Healer’s host.
Doc pipes up saying that the Healer’s host is being called Mandy, because though it’s not what her name actually was, it’s close. Wanda asks where Mandy is, even though we already know because he told her at the beginning of the tribunal, and then Wanda says she thinks Mandy will be okay. Doc says he hopes so, then Wanda looks back at Jodi and wonders if Stryder will be as slack and vacant as Jodi is when she (Wanda) is gone.
Stryder tells Wanda she’s still there, so Wanda tells her she’ll be fine, and they both cringe about Lacey, just so we wouldn’t somehow forget that they don’t like her because that’s an important plot point, except not at all. Blah blah blah, description of Jodi and how much better she is than Lacey, Wanda babbles on to Jodi about the trouble Kyle went to to get her, and then Ian interrupts, talking to Jodi as well about how Kyle was always in trouble and how good it is to see her again.
Apparently Ian has been there all along, but no one noticed him until he started making ‘teasing’ jackass comments about Kyle to Jodi, as though he has any right to do that after what he did to Kyle the last time he was there. But of course Kyle teases Ian right back and greets him, asking only for an apology, and not really acting like he actually thinks he deserves one.
Ian won’t give him one, either, despite that he admits that he didn’t have any good reason to kick Kyle in the face, and I am not at all sure why this isn’t unattractive to Wanda. I wouldn’t want to be with a guy who could lose control like that and not even be willing to take the slightest bit of responsibility for his actions. He won’t even apologize? That does not bode well! And why are they all buddy buddy after this? Kyle should be PISSED at Ian! This is fucking ridiculous!
Wanda tells Kyle to keep up the way he’s interacting with Jodi and assures him she’ll come around, then gets sad about how she’ll never get to see what Jodi is really like. She begins to wonder what it’ll be like for everyone to meet Stryder, unsure if it’ll feel the same to them as when Wanda was still there, or if it’ll be entirely different and they’ll have to adjust after knowing Wanda for so long.
She thinks Stryder will fit in in a way she never did, and begins to picture that, but that’s stupid because Wanda always goes on about how many friends she has there, and how Stryder doesn’t care about them the same way she does. But whatever; obviously it would be different and people would have to adjust if it happened, because she and Stryder are two very different people, but Meyer was overdue for an emo rant, so I’m not surprised this was added.
Wanda wonders if it makes her petty that she’s upset by the idea of Stryder fitting in better, and Stryder tells her she’s not petty, though I’d argue that she is. Stryder tells her all the best people in the caves will miss her and feel her loss, and Wanda is surprised that Stryder seems to have accepted her decision to leave. Stryder clarifies that she hasn’t accepted it, she just doesn’t know how to stop her, and she knows it’ll happen soon. She admits to Wanda that she’s scared, and Wanda admits the same to her.
Kyle suddenly speaks up, apologizing to Wanda for trying to kill her and admitting he was wrong. So…so far, we’ve seen more maturity and growth in Kyle than in Ian. Great. Nice choice, Wanda.
Ian, of course, has to ruin the moment by making a stupid joke about recording Kyle saying that, making him even less attractive to me, and he and Kyle go back and forth talking to Jodi, continuing to tease each other, even though Kyle’s nose may be broken (and he could have been killed) by Ian’s complete and utter (selfish) stupidity.
Wanda is glad for their teasing each other, and for having won Kyle’s acceptance before she leaves, which puts her at peace enough to realize there’s no point in her sticking around anymore, because she’s done all she can…so because she just can’t wait to lie again, Wanda lies to Ian, telling him that she’s tired. She then wonders if she is lying, because she likes to convince herself that she’s not lying as much as possible when in fact she definitely is, and then Ian asks her a pointless question, and they both say goodnight to Doc and Kyle as Ian pulls Wanda out the door.
Doc glares at Wanda as she leaves, because she’s sure to say her goodbye to him in a way that communicates to him that she’ll be back later, and then Wanda and Ian walk silently down the tunnel to Ian’s room, Wanda feeling sick as she goes because of what she’s going to do.
Blah blah blah, dragging things out until we get to something actually happening, Wanda going on about how Ian’s freak out proved to her that she needed to go sooner than later because otherwise it’ll only be more upsetting for people and Jamie might find out, and then Stryder sarcastically thanks Wanda for thinking that it’ll be better for Stryder to tell Jamie the truth than for her to.
Wanda apologizes and acts like she cares if Stryder minds, even though she doesn’t, and Stryder responds that she’d do anything Wanda asked her to. Ohhh my goddd, no, Meyer. Stryder wouldn’t do that, because she SHOULD NOT love Wanda after what she’s done to her! I don’t care about the bond you want to tell us they created, Meyer, it’s RIDICULOUS! Stryder would NEVER love Wanda this much, even if she did love her at all somehow! I hate this so much!!
Wanda asks Stryder to take care of “them” for her (I don’t know if she means Jared and Jamie there, or all her friends), and Stryder says she will, even agreeing to take care of Ian too if Ian will let her (because she thinks he won’t like her very much, which I could see being the case cause he’s a horrible person). Wanda tells her to take care of him even if he won’t let her, and Stryder says she promises she’ll do what she can. I really hope she’s lying here, and that she plans on straight up killing Ian the second she has control of her own body, but Meyer really believes in her stupid unbelievable love affair here, so I know that won’t be the case.
Ian silently asks Wanda if she’s going to sleep in his room, and she silently agrees to, thinking Ian believes her to be staying there because she’s hiding from Jamie, when Ian does not give a single fuck about that, he just has no chance of sex with her if they don’t sleep in the same room.
Ian opens the door and Wanda goes straight down onto the mattress and curls up into a ball, which lets Ian know right away that there will be no sex, so he gives up on that (I’m just saying what I’m sure he’s actually doing in his head) and curls up around her, holding her tight and telling her everything will be fine. Wanda tells him she loves him with her whole soul (all she is is a ‘soul’, so I’m not sure if that’s more or less significant), and she considers this expression of her love to be her goodbye to him.
He returns the favour, saying he “truly” loves her too, and then nuzzles her until he finds her lips, making out with her until she stops shaking from fear. He tells her to get some sleep, so yay no sex scene thankfully, and she agrees.
In no time, Ian is asleep (because he’s an idiot who somehow didn’t see her plan at all) and Wanda is staring at the stars, thinking about how little she wants to be with them, which is good since she won’t be either way. When Ian’s arms fall away from her in his sleep, Wanda decides that she should go right away, before she gives in to her desire to stay with him for one more day. Yep, who wouldn’t want to stay with a selfish, creepy, abusive asshole for one more day? So fucking tempting.
She slides off of the mattress, kisses Ian’s forehead and leaves the room, hearing voices echoing through the caves as soon as she gets out the door. Blah blah blah, people passing as they always do, and Wanda avoiding Lily because even NOW she can’t be a good friend to that poor girl, though she pretends to care that Lily is standing taller now than before…and then she runs to the southern corridor, intent on heading to Doc.
She tells Stryder she’s afraid, but before Stryder can respond, a hand touches Wanda’s shoulder and a voice asks if she’s going somewhere. That’s the end of the chapter.
Well, we know it’s not Ian, because that would be fucking impossible, so it’s either Jeb, Jared or Kyle. It’s probably Jared, because that would be the most dramatic, so I’m gonna log that as my guess and end this recap because this chapter was really boring and I want to be done with it now. See you next time! Only 3 more to go!
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)