Wait, hang on again. The weights listed weren't for empty coffins, right? Jayed came in at seven hundred pounds, and was light for a Psychlo. So say a thousand pounds, probably less since Jayed was so runty, per coffin. That's still at least 166 pounds for the lid. And that weight doesn't sound right. Psychlos are twice the height of humans, so they'd have pretty big coffins. So a 12 x whatever coffin only weighs a thousand pounds? Turns out that just a few weeks ago some guys dug up a thousand-pound lead "burrito" coffin in Rome. So if a Psychlo coffin is at least twice the size of a human coffin, then wouldn't it weight at least twice as much? In that case, the coffin lid should weigh 333 pounds.
So how'd Jonnie get in and out of the thing?
Anyway, our hero has rigged his "picto-recorder player" to run the clip of Terl talking to the corpse last night. You remember, "Jayed, you silly crunch, what a crap lousy I.B.I. agent you were," and "It ain't smart, Jayed, to come in here worrying your betters." That stuff.
So Terl freaks out, rushes in, and starts stomping on the little doodad to shut it up. Then Jonnie lunges forward and "with a motion he had drilled and drilled with a dummy," clubs Terl in the head. And Terl, who weighs three or four times as much as Jonnie, and has a thick reinforced skull, goes down in one hit.
I guess Jonnie really can lift three hundred pounds without breaking a sweat.
Jonnie does something smart and rips off Terl's mask, and the big Psychlo stops breathing, green blood trickling down from his wound, and his eyes "drumming." I don't know either.
Our hero takes Terl's gun but regrettably can't risk the noise of shooting Terl just to be extra-sure, then gets to work, aware that he only has two minutes. He dashes outside, locks the door to the morgue behind him, jumps on Windsplitter, and rides onto the teleportation platform. Then he quickly dismounts and sprints from coffin to coffin, pulling "a little round ring that imperceptibly stood out, just under the lid at the top end," on each of them.
Which nobody seemed to notice while they were loading the coffins. I guess Terl's little "X" scheme wasn't so far-fetched.
In these coffins were ten "planet buster" nuclear missile bombs, forbidden by treaties because they could crack the planet's crust and spray the world with fallout.
Packed around them were the "dirtiest" early radioactive atomic bombs, outlawed because of their extreme pollution potential.
Oookay, where to start.
First, a bomb is dropped, a missile is self-propelled - you can't be both. Second, "planet buster?" Earth's crust is twenty miles thick. We got nothing that can blow through that. Third, why would a cutting-edge missile base be holding on to a bunch of old dilapidated bombs? Fourth, all these weapons are ready to blow a thousand years later (though this has been such a persistant problem in this wretched book that it's barely worth complaining about at this point). And fifth, how did they smuggle in so many bulky explosives? You'd need a forklift or a system of pulleys to load the stupid things.
While Jonnie's arming the bombs with those pull-cords (wouldn't it have been hilarious if one had accidentally caught on something during loading?), the Psychlos are somewhat impotent in their response. They can't shoot their blasters around the teleportation platform for fear of hitting a wire or screwing up the coordinate settings. Instead a few guards lumber after Jonnie, but he throws kill-clubs at them, downing them instantly. Well, except for the last one, who gets close enough to tear Jonnie's sleeve and takes two whacks with a stick to drop. Must have been a mid-boss.
Jonnie's score is: two Psychlo guards (ranged clubbing), one Psychlo guard (close combat), and one Psychlo executive watching from the sidelines (ranged clubbing). While running around arming bombs. Windsplitter gets one with his hooves, too.
Our hulking barbarian hero manages to arm all ten coffin-bombs and rides Windsplitter off the platform with just forty-two seconds to spare before the payload is off to planet Psychlo. He races towards the girls' cage with metal cutters and the remote to the electrified barrier (which he got when?), but finds the door ajar, their shelter empty, and Char's corpse under some robes in their place. The other horses (Old Pork and Dancer, for those who care) are gone, and Jonnie briefly wonders if the girls have escaped somehow.
Take a moment to laugh derisively at the idea of Chrissie actually doing anything.
Since he only has a few more seconds until the firing occurs, his grace period ends, and the shooting starts, Jonnie rides out of the complex and out of sight. Because I guess the cage was right next to the firing platform? And nobody could run away from the platform and shoot at the cage from an angle? Anyway, the familiar humming sound grows louder and louder until the booby-trapped coffins disappear.
Next chapter, the fallout. The wit!
Oh yeah, apparently there was a back-up "suicide squad" of Scots in position in some nearby bushes, but Jonnie demanded that he have his chance to steal the spotlight. I mean, make sure no humans had to die.
Back to Chapter Two