Hey, remember when Chrissie was deathly ill? And Jonnie was wor... fearfu... uh, bothered by it? How'd that turn out? He hasn't given her a thought since Part 9 started. I guess things turned out alright?
Well, it's the day after the Uravan outing and the Scots are doing busy work for the benefit of the alien UAV, by trying to pull the "staircase" platform out of the frozen river it fell into with the help of a flying "drill platform." Unfortunately those stupid teleportation engines can't take the strain and are about to explode, but luckily Jonnie flying a "passenger craft," and helped by Not-A-Fake-Doctor MacDermott are able to throw out lifelines and rescue the crew before the "flying platform" explodes. Dunneldeen's leggings catch fire, but Jonnie skillfully dips the plane so that he lands in a snow bank.
There, I just summarized four pages of tepid action in a single paragraph.
Jonnie resolves that this marks the end of their airborne adventures and dangle-mining, and that instead they're just going to dig a shaft and get at The Lode the long way. And... that's really about it.
The film adaptation pretty much skipped the mining angle of the story in favor of the "preparing to attack an alien empire" plot, and this chapter is a good example why. It just doesn't matter, since Terl's mining scheme is just an excuse for Jonnie to learn the aliens' ways and build an army, and it certainly isn't interesting. When you pick up a book entitled Battlefield Earth, you're not paying for descriptions of mining techniques. I can't imagine why L. Ron thought we'd want to read about a failed attempt to salvage the "staircase" in real time, but then again the rest of this book is pretty baffling too. Eyebones.
On the upside, next chapter Terl is even less sane than usual. There's even a plot point!
Back to Chapter One