Our fears are put at ease immediately, as the narration tells us that in the weeks since the exploding bulldozer incident, Jonnie's burns have all but healed and, most importantly, his hair and beard have grown back. He's still cramming with the magical learning machine, and doesn't turn around when Terl visits his cage.
Our main Psychlo has four delicious rats for Jonnie as a treat. Since the drop in the rat population had forced Terl to occasionally bring in rabbits, Jonnie is unimpressed. Terl mentions Jonnie lacking a sense of appreciation, and inquires about his progress on the learning discs.
Jonnie doesn't answer. Terl tosses him some Psychlo textbooks, which "looked huge but they were featherweight," and advises him to get his "rat-brain" in gear. Terl asks when Jonnie's going to start really cooperating. "Maybe never," is Jonnie's reply.
At this point, I'm past urging Terl to shoot his recalcitrant captive and get a new one.
Instead of killing Jonnie, Terl reminisces about the day they met, when the drunken idiot mistook the hairy idiot for one big four-legged animal. Terl mentions the horse, and notices Jonnie's stifled reaction to Windsplitter. Dramatic sting!
Terl jovially takes his leave, chuckling about his new name for Jonnie, the ever-so-clever "rat-brain." Though to be fair, this is from the species that gave us "crap nebula," so we should probably be thankful.
Jonnie gets to work reading Control Systems for Beginning Engineers, Electronic Chemistry, and Power and its Transmission. The second one mentions "uranium."
So yeah, Terl's giving his bitter slave all the information he needs to wipe out the Psychlos. In Battlefield Earth, victory over the bad guys is truly a team effort... since everyone involved is too moronic to accomplish it on their own.
Next chapter is as long as the previous two combined, and is more of Terl's skulduggery. If anything can make me long for what passes for action sequences in Battlefield Earth, it's the tedious sections leading up to them.
Back to Chapter Three