While Jonnie's been contemplating (more) genocide, Brown Limper Staffor has been consolidating power under the tutelage of Terl. Instead of thirty tribal council members, now there's just five representing whole continents - five new guys, relatives of the older, competent former council members who decided to go home and manage their tribal affairs directly. And these five members are working out the details of a two-man executive, one of which will be Brown Limper, of course.
There was some resistance from the Scots, since they got lumped with Europe and their continental representative is now a Swiss-German, but the council overrode their concerns. This just irritated the Scots, who are now stubbornly opposing everything Brown Limper does. But the other people of the world are fine with things, especially after the council gave the tribes control of the lands around them and a bunch of thousand-year ruins. Incidentally, this means that Brown Limper can claim the entirety of America as his property.
Oh, a baffling little detail about population numbers: there are four American tribes including the Village of the Idiots. "Tribes" such as the two people found in British Columbia, and the four people from the Sierra Nevada. Not "peoples," as in tribes or clans or populations, but individuals. What the hell? A thousand years and that's how far humanity has recovered, despite our ability to pop out a new generation every twenty years or so? What was keeping the numbers down so much?
Anyway. Denver's capitol has been refurbished for use by the planetary council, and the city designated the world capital - though one man has plans to rename it "Staffor." Now on the agenda is the establishment of the Earth Planetary Bank, with currency backed by The Tribal Lands of Earth. Wouldn't you know it, but there's a German who's good at printing with woodcutting blocks? And there's whole sheets of thousand-year-old currency paper in the ruins of London? And there's hand presses in a town called Zurich?
I guess one way to get through a millennium of barbarism is to stubbornly cling to your national stereotypes at all costs, apocalypse be damned.
The first printed note had a lukewarm reception, since everyone was fine with the barter system. A second note was designed and printed, and everyone loved it, save for Brown Limper Staffor, who is nauseous just looking at it. Any guess who's on it?
It had, squarely in the center of it, in a big oval, a portrait of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler!
They had copied a picture of him somebody had taken with a picto-recorder. There he was in a buckskin hunting shirt, bareheaded, a silly look on his face somebody thought must be noble or something. And of all things he had a blast gun in his hand.
Worse! There was his name curled over the top of the picture: Jonnie Goodboy Tyler.
And even worse! On the scroll under the picture it said, Conqueror of the Psychlos.
And not in the least bit surprising. The man's already been promoted into pantheons, after all. Ending up on the dollar is a step down for him. That said, they used his full name, which means that you'll hear slang about something costing ten Goodboys. And "Conqueror of the Psychlos?" Isn't that a bit optimistic, since humanity is still wondering whether or not Jonnie's attack succeeded (even though there's been no response for weeks, so it probably has)? And he hasn't conquered anything. No Psychlo territory has been gained, and Jonnie hasn't set foot off-world. At best he's liberated the planet, though given the Psychlo presence in Africa he hasn't quite finished yet.
Staffor complained about the new bill, but MacAdam, the Scot who thought up the bank, explained how even people who weren't interested in money were eager to have some Goodboys to frame on their walls. And now I'm feeling nauseous. Staffor tried to argue that the note's art is inflammatory what with the pistols and the Conqueror title, and the council had earlier voted unanimously to ban war between tribes. But it's too late, the notes have been issued, and it's too much trouble to recall them.
There's nothing left for our new antagonist to do but tear the bill into little pieces, throw them around, gather them up and burn them, then pound on the ashes. Then when somebody comes in to show off another one, Staffor has to go find a place to throw up.
Our villain, ladies and gents.
I miss Terl.
Back to Chapter Two