Armada Chapter 19: Zack’s Mom Finds Out His Dad is Alive

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Is this book over yet? I miss House of Night. 

Zack heads to the observation deck where Milo and Shin are getting high and playing Dark Side of the Moon because of course they are.

“Now you’re getting stoned out of your gourds?” I said. “While listening to Dark Side of the Moon?” I motioned to the cratered surface out beyond the dome, stretching to the horizon in all directions around us. “On the far side of the moon?”


Milo and Shen make Team America World Police references and then reveal that the rest of their teammates have gone off to hook up with each other. But what about Shen and Milo? Who will they hook up with?

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Shin said, turning to smile down at him. The two of them made eyes at each other for a few seconds— until my clueless ass finally figured out what was going on.

As my mother was often fond of pointing out to me, my “gaydar” was just plain broken.

Just because we don’t have Zoey Redbird reminding us constantly that two characters are gay, doesn’t mean they aren’t. You just got educated.

I am glad that Armada at least tried to include a bit of diversity and have Zack be very non-plussed by Milo and Shen being gay or having Zack constantly remind us how cool he is with them being gay (at least not yet.)

Zack leaves to give his friends some privacy, and wonders what Lex is doing right now. He then heads to the Thunderdome and is surprised to find his father there too. They have an incredibly brief conversation about how Zack is still processing all the information his father dumped on him…then he leaves this scene as quickly as he entered it.

One hour before the attack, world leaders show the same video that was shown to the recruits earlier that day and reveal that aliens are invading. Worth noting: the president of the United States is a woman! Go Armada!

But the world seemed to take the news incredibly well. If there were riots, mass suicides, and lootings going on, no one was reporting them— or even posting videos of them online. Within minutes, it seemed like the same newscasters who had delivered the news were now reporting with total confidence that most of the world’s civilian population was already responding to the EDA’s call to arms, and that hundreds of millions of people all over the world were already mobilizing themselves by logging on to the EDA’s online operations servers to enlist and then receive their combat drone assignments and take up arms and defend the planet.

Oh! Okay…great. I don’t fully understand the logic of not giving people more time to train for this…or why they’re all piloting drones remotely, but Zack and the other top players are all grouped together on a handful of easily targeted bases…

There are some truly awful public service announcements that someone at the EDA, I guess, actually commissioned. The main one Zack describes has two kids playing Armada and Terra Firma when suddenly a robot bursts into their house – gasp! They were fighting it all along. It’s all real! Mom and dad grab their smart phones and get involved too.

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This is essentially what I imagine happens in this PSA.

After this, it’s time for everyone to call home. Zack calls his mom, and boy is she angry with him! Why isn’t he home yet? HE’S ON THE MOON! ZACKARAYYYYYY!!!!!

Zack puts his dad on the phone, and it feels pretty anticlimactic.

“Oh my God,” my mother said, covering her mouth. “Xavier? Is that you?”

“Hello, Pam,” he said, his voice shaking. “It’s— it’s really good to see you.”

“It can’t be you,” I heard my mother say. “It can’t be.”

Zack’s dad apologizes for everything, and then Zack leaves to give them privacy. What the fuck, Zack? Don’t do that! I want to hear what your mom has to say. This was one of the only scenes I was intrigued to see in this whole book, and you are being a dick and depriving me. Surely you too are invested in finding out what your mother has to say about this!

Zack goes to call Lex, and they flirt a bit and exchange music. She also reveals that she’ll be helping to defend the moon base from Earth for some reason. I don’t really get why she was stationed on Earth if she’s going to be fighting with Zack and co.

Lex confesses she’s scared, and she and Zack have a heart to heart (but he doesn’t reveal his father’s theories to her.) She says if they both survive, she wants to take Zack out on a date. I actually think their relationship is pretty sweet as far as this book goes.

For some reason, Zack doesn’t talk to his mother again after she finishes speaking to his dad, nor does he ask his father what they said. I’d think if I were Zack’s mom I’d want to have a proper potential last talk with my kid, but I apparently understand nothing in this book’s universe.

Zack returns his father’s jacket to him, and then it’s time to battle. Everyone shouts pop culture references like ‘May the force be with you!’ and ‘Stay frosty!’ because what else did you expect them to say in this situation?



  1. Andreas Reply

    We all know that the aliens are just trolling humanity, but I’m still baffled that according to that PSA apparently the simplistic UI you have on a tapscreen is enough to fight them in real time. That’s a lousy Invasion if I ever saw one.

    PSA: “Citizens of Earth! Be brave! Grab your smart phones and fight the alien invasion! Tap on this icon to buy a 10-shot drone-laser-Booster package for just 0.99 bucks! Log in 10 consecutive days during the war to get awesome rewards, like a “You’re welcome!” textmessage from RedJive! (Time-limited offer: only until he sacrifices himself for plot reasons!)”

    • 22aer22 Post authorReply

      Hahahaha this is amazing. Also can you imagine how confused the actors must have been filming this?? They must have done it before everyone on earth knew about the invasion.

  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    Apparently Cline realized he dropped the ball on the Pink Floyd/”far side of the moon” connection back in Chapter 13 and decided to shove it in here. Once again, I’ll ask if being this prescient about predicting the strangest minutiae about this book is a bug or a feature.

    And wait a second, I thought that all these people along with Zack were being recruited because they were the ~best of the best~ at fighting. Now every random civilian on earth with a phone can do what they do? What the hell?

    I still don’t understand why the “Zack’s dad is secretly alive after faking his death” subplot exists if there will be this little time and emotional payoff involved. Does Cline know he doesn’t actually have to include every extant storytelling trope in the book?

    How were they able to smuggle drugs on board a top-secret military base? Why is the military apparently so cool with this?

  3. Gaurwaith Reply

    Apart from all the other parts of this book, this one really irked me because for some reason this is the second time Lex downloaded his music, the first being back in Chapter 13 when they switched QComm contacts.

    Why can’t this book at the very least be consistent with itself?


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