Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Part 3, Chapter 7 - Psychlo Humor

Cut to an unspecified amount of time later, as Terl prowls around in search of Zzt. He remembers how the crowd had laughed when the tractor blew, and how Numph had cheerfully made a joke: "Well, just shows you what animals can do. They pee on the floor!"

Uh... huh?

Numph old boy, you were doing fine until the second sentence. I mean, Jonnie didn't wet the cockpit in terror, unless our helpful translator cut that part from the previous chapter. The statement's just random and nonsensical, and certainly not funny. The important question here is whether or not this is meant to be a lame excuse for humor.

Anyway, after wandering past rows of stored "battle planes" and "blade scrapers," Terl's "earbones" (L. Ron Hubbard scoffs at cartilage) hear the sound of a blaster's safety being switched. Zzt got the drop on him, and holds him at gunpoint for a chat.

Terl accuses Zzt of installing a remote control. Zzt responds why not?, and adds that he threw in a remote mine, too. He also cheerfully reminds Terl that there are no witnesses to this confession, and that Numph saw him leave the field before things went wrong. When Terl demands why Zzt went through this bit of dickery, the other Psychlo accuses Terl of being behind the pay cuts, or at least not doing enough to stop them.

Our "villain" counters that Zzt just sabotaged his plan to help with the pay problem. Zzt thinks Terl's plan sucks, and quite reasonably posits that the human help would end up messing up the machinery. And besides, the explosion and foul-up was funny.

"Lots of things can be funny," said Terl.

Zzt motioned with the blaster barrel. "Why don't you just walk out of here and have a nice crap."

What is with the Psychlos' obsession with bowel movements? Is this a racial characteristic, or did L. Ron want to keep the foul language to a minimum, and instead had his big bads use grade school-level insults? Why couldn't he just throw some consonants together and make up some Psychlo curse words instead?

I should go back and do a tally of Psychlo uses of the word "crap."

Since Terl has no leverage over Zzt, he leaves the garage, soundly defeated. For his part, Zzt fails to kill Terl, which he could easily get away with at this point - he could make up a story that Terl was murderously furious about the tractor's failure (which is true), and that he blamed Zzt for it (which is also true). Shoot him in "self-defense," enjoy your vengeance, and cover your own back, especially since you just confessed your guilt like an idiot.

But instead, Zzt leaves Terl alive, so that the latter can get horrible revenge on the former later.

These villains suck.

We end just below the top of page 110. Next chapter we check in on our medium-rare hero.

Back to Chapter Six

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