Jonnie remains calm, having read books from a "man-library" describing how to handle confusion. He reduces his horse's speed from a tiring flat-out run to a more sustainable trot, and tries his short-ranged radio. He raises Glencannon, the other downed pilot, who asks if Jonnie got Terl. Jonnie attempts humor with the reply "Yes, but he's all tied up at the moment." Laugh, dammit! This is as funny as this book gets... Intentionally, anyway.
He orders Glencannon back to the compound to take one of the spare planes to provide air cover. When he's closer to the minesite, Jonnie hails a group of Scots including Robert the Fox, tells him the girls are safe, and listens to the cheers. I have a feeling their enthusiasm over Chrissie is going to drop off quickly once the Scots actually meet her. Warning that he has news he can't share over the air, Jonnie orders someone to prepare one of the captured fighters with food, cold weather gear, and explosives. He also commands a party to go up and retrieve Terl and the girls.
It's a short chapter, so we end with Jonnie approaching the compound, still marked by a plume of spraying water, and lit from underneath by blue-green blaster fire and the orange muzzle flashes of assault rifles. But no, we won't get a good taste of combat just yet. Next chapter, Jonnie continues to prepare.
By the way, the reason the humans haven't just blown the breathe-gas and taken down the whole mining complex is because they want to capture it, of course. Angus wants the alien machine shops, and the historian wants access to Psychlo libraries. Pretty reasonable.
Back to Part Twelve, Chapter Eight