Monday, January 18, 2010

Part 5, Chapter 1 - And It Can Still Slice This Tomato

Jonnie has three weeks until his year of exploration is up and Chrissie wanders down after him, a well-meaning act that has a high likelihood of resulting in her death.

Unless I'm mistaken, the last time Chrissie was even mentioned in a Jonnie chapter was back in Part 2, Chapter 4. Windsplitter the horse, on the other hand, was last mentioned in Part 4, Chapter 4. In any case, Jonnie's spent more time lamenting the poor, pitiful Chinkos than thinking about his love interest.


Jonnie's torn between checking on Chrissie and his quest to kick the aliens off of Earth, all made the more complicated due to the cage he's in. "Here he was, collared like a dog, chained up, locked behind bars-" (we get it, L. Ron) "-subject to swift detection and swifter pursuit. Yet he knew that even if he died trying, he would more than try."

So... "more than try," does that mean he'd succeed? Even if he died? What?

Suddenly, flashback!

Two days ago Jonnie is being taught about electronics repair, which the human thinks is a little suspicious for a machine operator to know, due to the division of labor. But Terl was insistent, leading Jonnie to conclude that he'll be operating in a place without electronic repairman.

During one of Ker's lessons, Jonnie swipes a tool, a magical knife-thing. Turn the switch on it one way, and it cleanly slices apart metal; change the setting, touch the blade to the severed metal, and it is repaired perfectly. It only works on objects of the same type of metal, but still, pretty handy. And no, no explanation is given for how this works. I'd have accepted "nanomachines" at this point.

Instead of stealing the tool he'd been given, Jonnie's smart enough to quickly search a cabinet for a duplicate when Ker isn't looking.

"You're doing pretty good," said Ker, looking at his work.

"Yes, I'm doing pretty good," said Jonnie.

Fortunately for him, Ker is oblivious to self-satisfied doubletalk.

At least it was short. Next chapter, Terl plunges deep into the puzzle of Numph. Ewwww.

Back to Part Four, Chapter Nine

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