Terl's gaining ground in his machinations, too. He's been waiting for someone to express an interest in teleportation, and when Jonnie started asking around, Terl heard the expected gunshots from the Chamco Bros. Lars the Neo-Nazi brings word that the duo managed to hang themselves with their own chains after being taken into custody, and Terl feigns surprise. The cadet also mentions how the incompetent guards got court-martials and are being deported to Scotland, which at least shows that the humans can recognize incompetence after a blunder, and then says he has someone who wants to meet Terl, all off-the-record.
So, over mine radios, Terl and Brown Limper have a chat. Terl assures the human that the Psychlos are a peaceful mercantile race who only moved to Earth after a natural disaster depopulated the planet a thousand years ago. They even made an effort to give humanitarian aid, but alas the company lacked the resources to do enough. And then this punk named Tyler shows up, betrays Terl's friendship and trust, and provokes a crisis to take over. Those poor, trustworthy, peaceloving, friendly Psychlos.
Once the two leave, Terl "hugged himself enough to crush his rib bones" trying to contain his glee. Everything's going as planned, or even better than planned thanks to this idiot councilman. Not only will Terl get to go home, but he's going to blow up Earth and take a prisoner with him.
Yes, planet Psychlo has chambers containing the precise mix of elements that makes up Earth's atmosphere. If Star Trek has taught us anything, it's that an astonishing number of planets' atmospheres are identical to Earth's.
It's too much for Terl to take, so he laughs maniacally in his cell, which is a bit off-putting for the guard. "He had an odd feeling of foreboding. Had the summer night turned cold? Or was it just that insane laughter from the cage?"
Oddly enough, the next place we're going tends towards the hot and arid or hot and miserably muggy.
Back to Chapter One