A bodycount reveals that there were 976 aliens in the base, only thirty or so of which survived due to a shortage of gas masks. Among those alive are Ker, captured while crawling through an air vent, the Chamco brothers, who have signed on for C15,000 a year (with a C500 bonus for big jobs), Chirk the air-headed secretary, found hiding under Terl's bed, and the big bad Terl himself. There's a bit of tired and expected treachery from Terl when he tries to convince Sir Foxert the Rob that he has the keys to the gas drone and needs his boot, but Chirk speaks up about how Terl had her drop some keys into the "recycling trash bin" earlier. The Scots find a tiny blaster in a false sole, and Terl gets chained up in a well-lit area under constant guard.
Chrissie's out and about too, playing nurse with the parson. She's a bit of a celebrity.
...she did not realize that she had given the Scots an element called for in their romances. Everywhere she went, Scots, no matter what they were doing, rushed over to her, stared at her with glad eyes, and then rushed back to the work of getting the place handled. There was still a war on, but they could cheer and their pipes could skirl. And they could delight in the successful rescue of a fair maiden.
In other words, she's being a huge distraction. Also: geez. Fly across the Atlantic to save some bimbo with the personality of fresh cheese and the smarts of dryer lint. Are there no women in Scotland? Is this sort of sappy, moronic chivalry really all-pervasive in the Scottish psyche?
At least this illustrates that even supposedly positive stereotypes are obnoxious.
Anyway, Chrissie's flattered by all the attention but worried about her cold, aloof sweetheart. Her eyes meet those of Roxfob the Ert, who "felt very bad" and has a feeling Jonnie's in danger. Because psychic powers are contagious.
Robert the Fox gave his head a slight shake. Chrissie looked back at him steadily for a moment, swallowed hard, and then went back to work.
In case this somehow managed to elicit some suspense over Jonnie's well-being, don't worry, we'll get back to him in two chapters. If you're like me, you'll be happy to know that he's in terrible pain at the moment.
Back to Part Thirteen, Chapter Ten