Thursday, April 8, 2010

Part 11, Chapter 9 - An Offscreen Explosion? They MUST Be Dead!

Day 89 rolls around. Two hours after sunset we find Terl waiting patiently for his gold outside the nigh-indestructible U.S. Mint of Denver, next to a jalopy of a flatbed truck. To his surprise, his non-Psychlo coworkers arrive right on schedule.

[Their truck] was heavily laden. So they had kept their part of the bargain after all. Yes, animals certainly were stupid.

Why would you go through with this scam if there was any doubt that your minions would actually bring the gold to you?! I hate Terl.

Terl pokes at the gold for a bit and calculates its value to be about "C189,718,800.00," or "several dozen fortunes!" Then he notices that none of the three humans driving the truck are Jonnie - the narrator informs us that it's Dunneldeen, Dwight (who?), and "another Scot." So this Dwight fellow who as far as I can remember has played no part in the story gets a name, but Another Scot, who is similarly pointless, does not. Poor guy.

Dwight knows enough Psychlo to apologize to Terl, saying that Jonnie hurt his foot in an accident and couldn't come. This annoys Terl, but it matches what the recon drone has been showing - a bulldozer (I'm not going to call it a "blade scraper" again, Hubbard) flipped over that afternoon and the blonde-haired fellow who'd been active for months suddenly disappeared. Terl laments that now he can't risk blowing up the girls due to the risk of "psychic powers."

I don't see how. Terl has the gold now, he doesn't need the humans around to help smuggle them to Psychlo or anything. Why can't he just launch the gas drone, "psychic powers" or not? Does he just have to have all the humans clustered together to ensure that three gas bombs kill them all off? If Jonnie's hurt his foot, it's not like he'll have gone far from the minesite. But once again, if Terl used his puny little brain for a moment and acted like a real criminal mastermind, the story would fall to pieces, so an idiot he remains.

Terl and the humans swap trucks, the Psychlo standing "with a waiting smile on his mouthbones" as he watches them drive off in the Psychlo version of the Ford Pinto. But the Scots, being considerably less stupid than Terl, bail out once they've driven/floated out of sight, putting on heat-shielding capes to hide themselves. A hundred yards later the Psynto explodes "with a battering, violent concussion that blew in the buildings on both sides of the street."

Back at the gold-laden flatbed, Terl chuckled. He could hear the patter of pieces beginning to hit as they returned to earth for blocks around. There was a roaring sigh as some buildings collapsed. He was pleased. He would have been more pleased if the animal had been in it. He didn't have to go and look. He wouldn't have found anything anyway. The distance-fused demolition charge had been placed under the cab seats.

So yeah, killing the females will warn Jonnie and somehow ruin Terl's plans, but blowing up the three workers sent to the gold swap apparently won't. Also, ALWAYS CHECK FOR A BODY YOU IDIOT!!! THIS IS BASIC VILLAINY 101 YOU MINDLESS, WRETCHED

Have I mentioned lately that I really hate Terl? I just feel like I need to make this clear.

So yeah, Terl assumes that no one could survive that and doesn't bother to use any of the sophisticated Psychlo sensor suites to check for charred chunks of human in the wreckage. He didn't even witness the vehicle explode, he just listened for the boom. Yet this is "number five of seven alternate, possible actions in booby-trapping and sending the truck back," which means that he's spent a lot of time planning this.

Dunneldeen, Dwight, and Another Scot get picked up by the other humans prowling the area, and thus begins Stage Two of the campaign to retake the planet.

...did it have to be a bomb? Why not just shoot them? Idiot...

Back to Chapter Eight

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