Thursday, January 14, 2010

Part 4, Chapter 8 - Office Politics

It's a busy day for Terl, as he asks employees what they know about regulations and how they feel about mutiny - all recorded, of course. When he passes through his office he finds himself checking the feed for Jonnie's cage, and watches how the human cleans his new bearskin and sets about smoking some beef from yesterday's slaughter. Terl being Terl, he concludes that Jonnie's performing a religious ceremony heralding in the spring, instead of, y'know, cooking his food.

That evening Terl starts splicing and editing his recordings (all on tape, of course), so that a Psychlo who actually said "Mutiny is a very bad thing. Executives would cause vaporization wholesale and no one would be safe" end up, on Terl's record, saying "In any mutiny it would be safe to vaporize executives."

I'm curious as to why a race able to teleport military units to reinforce any of its holdings would think that a mutiny would have any chance of succeeding. I guess if you were quick enough you could wreck the teleportation platform, cutting off any counterattack... and also your supply lines, leaving you stranded on a planet with a toxic biosphere... So yeah, Terl's not the only stupid Psychlo by any means.

Anyway, Terl copies the "tapes" onto fresh "discs" to erase any signs of tampering, and the next day meets with Numph. When the latter sees the recordings of employees talking about killing him, he is understandably worried. Numph quickly signs forms authorizing Terl to take care of the matter, seize all the minesites' arsenals, consolidate battle planes (why do they need warplanes on a pacified planet?), and, as an emergency measure to put pressure on any unruly workers, train man-animals to operate machinery. Terl's finally gotten the go-ahead for his inane little scheme, so we can finally get on with things.

But then Terl makes the mistake of mentioning Numph's nephew Nipe approving of "forced employee reduction," which causes any guilt in Numph's eyes to fade as he realizes Terl is just bluffing. A suddenly jovial Numph dismisses Terl, who leaves pleased that he can get on with his scheme, but still thirsting for Leverage.

There, I just summarized five pages in as many paragraphs.

Next chapter, on-the-job training.

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