Terl wakes up nice and early and spends a whole "cartridge" of whatever the Psychlos use for fuel to get Jonnie ready for the demonstration. He heads back to our friend Zzt to get some more... whatever... and Zzt agrees to give the old half-exploded tractor a look-over. And there the mechanic meets Jonnie, who is turning blue with cold.
Zzt is surprised that Jonnie can talk, and though the man-thing is predictably sassy in his response, nobody hits him. Zzt's even interested enough to ask if he can watch the demonstration, and an annoyed Terl nonetheless agrees.
Our villain goes to inform the mighty Numph that everything's ready, and finds the living fossil staring out a window with a saucepan of kerbango on his desk. He's acting either distracted or senile, as usual, and Terl only just interrupts him from canceling the whole thing by asking about his nephew, Nipe.
Dun duh duhn! This casual mention gets Numph spooked, and Terl is jubilant at the older Psychlos' fear. The jolt is enough to get Numph off of his decrepit backside and outside, along with some of his staff, to watch the demonstration.
Which doesn't happen yet. You see, this is just under three pages of... stuff. Certainly not action, but not filler either. The plot is definitely advancing, painfully slowly. It just isn't particularly entertaining or interesting, and I wonder why you'd call it a chapter, if just about every other chapter in this wretched book had been just as short. Better to trim it down, stick it at the start of a fuller, better chapter. Or just give up the chapter format altogether so that you have to produce a single, rolling narrative, rather than a bunch of short and potentially pointless scenes.
We end with Terl happy that he's closer to finding some wonderful Leverage over Numph, apparently discounting the prospect that his snooping will get him in over his head and killed. But this is Terl, who is both cocky and stupid, so it's not like this is breaking character. Notice that once again, he's not paying attention to the condition of the creature that his schemes and aspirations are riding on. Hopefully his man-thing won't get frostbite and total the tractor when the big moment arrives.
Ha ha! Foreshadowing.
Back to Chapter Four