Friday, April 2, 2010

Part 11, Chapter 5 - He Plans to Murder Them, in Other Words

Terl's Day, part 4. Our favorite Psychlo takes an "executive tank" (the M1A1 Executive Edition - grind your enemies to dust in comfort and style) to the Academy, "carefully observed by keen Scottish eyes in the hills" the entire time. He's pleased to see only a few Scots hanging about, all of them invalids from that mining catastrophe, but he wonders how to communicate with them, even after the nearest sentry politely addresses him in Psychlo.

It had never registered on him that he had been addressed in Psychlo, simply because he didn't believe it. Animals were stupid.

Once again, Terl's many deficiencies undermine any acclaim Jonnie could earn from outsmarting him.

Using sign language Terl gets the guard to refer him to Jonnie, but our Psychlo is feeling happy and takes his time, wandering around a bit. He comes across some horses grazing in "a nearby park"... that is also snow-covered... anyway, full of good spirits, Terl uses them for target practice, and is especially pleased when at 200 yards he's still able to break all four legs of a black horse.

This is entirely in character for Terl, since Hubbard has made him as cartoonishly evil as possible, and he's stupidly wasting resources that could be vital to fulfilling his own plans.

Jonnie is drawn by the racket and realizes Terl's back to his old self. After gesturing to a nearby underling to put the maimed horsies out of their misery, he and "his" Psychlo go for a walk.

Terl is quite accommodating, offering Jonnie any equipment necessary to collect all the gold, and comes up with a system of light signals to get Terl's attention in case of an urgent question. Then he gets down to business and details the drop-off: on Day 89, two hours after sunset, a ton of gold is to be delivered to another unbelievably-preserved building in the ruins of Denver. In a heeeelarious bit of irony, the words "U.S. Mint" are still decipherable on the structure in the photo Terl shows Jonnie. Jonnie is to come with two others, and they'll remain until Day 93 because Terl has some other errands for them.

Jonnie agrees, and to keep Terl focused and greedy shows off all the gold they've managed to find so far, just enough to fill a bag. Terl fondles it. Jonnie asks why they're waiting four days after the drop-off, but Terl waves off his concerns.

"But never fear, animal. Come Day 93, you will be paid off. With interest. Compounded. I promise you very faithfully!" He laughed a huge guffaw into his mask, and Jonnie knew that Terl might be feeling high today but he was not entirely sane.

"You'll get everything that's coming to you, animal!" said Terl.

There is a trope called False Reassurance that, when done well, can make even an ordinary villain into someone conniving and clever. Count on L. Ron Hubbard to botch it.

Next time, a salvage operation.

Back to Chapter Four

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