Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Part 7, Chapter 1 - Part 6, Chapter 12

So it's the next morning from Jonnie "MacTyler"'s great Scottish hootenanny, and it turns out they haven't actually left yet. My mistake. In my defense, the previous chapter was really bad.

Jonnie spends some time gathering his recruits and showing his minions how to pack and buckle up in the alien troop transport, while warning them about the upcoming journey. Turns out the cabin isn't pressurized or airtight in order to provide some nice cool air for its passengers. He's got some helpful advice though: "This flight will take several hours. We will go very high. It will be very cold and the air will be thin. Endure it somehow."

No, next chapter doesn't open with Terl and Jonnie opening the back to find a bunch of frozen and asphyxiated Scots, though that would be kinda funny.

Meanwhile, a hungover Terl is cranky about the delays and decides to take it out on some bystanders.

With vicious sudden gestures, Terl recompressed the cab with breathe-gas and ripped off his mask. And Jonnie saw his amber eyes were shot with green. Terl had been going heavy on the kerbango. There was an evil twist to his mouthbones.

Bones. Don't. Twist.

So Terl jets off, turns around, and prepares to strafe the crowd below. Jonnie, predictably, screams "No!" Less predictably, he throws a map in front of Terl's face and just barely pulls up out of a fatal nosedive. Then he "reverse[s] the tape that had taken them on the incoming voyage and fed it into the autopilot" and starts the journey home.

This is simultaneously painfully dated and laughably inconsistent. Again, these aliens have automated aircraft, but no mining drones.

Instead of tearing Jonnie's head off, Terl sullenly whines that he doesn't have any leverage on the humans, and that by not letting him kill people Jonnie has ruined his entire trip. Then he "chew[s] off a slug" of kerbango, which again reminds us that Hubbard hasn't explained what exactly the mystery substance is. The movie treated it as a drink, but I guess it's like a inebriating taffy? A really thick yogurt? Some sort of fruit snack? Is it all processed goods, vegetable matter, or what?

Belatedly, Terl asks about all the cheering from yesterday, something he didn't do even when he was sober and watching it happen in front of him. Jonnie assures him that he told the Scots that they would be highly paid, in "horses and such things." This amuses Terl to no end, and he jovially congratulates Jonnie on his flying while mentally assuring himself that the only pay the humans would see is "the muzzle end of a blast gun."

And so the chapter ends in a good place to end a "Part," given that the next chapter takes place two days later and on the other side of an ocean, but I guess that would make too much sense. Next time, we learn how to make antique firearms last for a thousand years.

Back to Part Six, Chapter Eleven
Back to an Interim

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