Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Part 18, Chapter 7 - Suicide by Copyright Infringement

So three days after the Best-Planned Raid in History, the humans have managed to set up shop in the Lake Victoria minesite. The four surviving Psychlos are put away in a dorm as the doctor tries to keep them alive, while the much more plentiful cadavers have been dumped on Mount Elgon in the nearby Mountains of the Moon.

There's a few human tribes in those mountains, "brown and black and even some whites remaining," who managed to hold on because the mountains were mined with tactical nukes during the Psychlo invasion. I guess in Hubbard's universe the Nuclear Landmine doctrine gained sudden and unexplained popularity just before the invasion.  And was employed to defend scenic mountains.

Oh, and some of the locals noticed all the explosions of the battle, and are very happy to hear the Psychlos are gone. Tradition kept them away from the mining camp, and rather than going somewhere else to hunt they stayed up in their mountains and starved. There was feasting and dancing and the grateful natives declared a holiday, "Tyler Battleday." And every time people do something like this I want the Psychlos to win.

While the humans are moping about in the Psychlo base, Jonnie gives a speech explaining their objective: to find out why the Chamcos offed themselves. Or more accurately, we are told Jonnie gave a speech.

He told them that they did not know whether or not Psychlo was still there as a functioning planet. He told them about the Galactic Bank note and all the races listed on it, and he remembered he had one and passed it around.

They realized what he was saying. Earth was wide open to counterattack. If the Psychlo planet was still there, it would eventually counterattack with new gas drones. And these other races possibly had means of reaching Earth swiftly. And when they found there were no Psychlo defenses here, they could slaughter the place if they had a mind to.

The only way to find out was to rebuild the teleportation shipment rig and get it cracking.

But the Psychlos put on the project had attacked him when he questioned them on the subject.

They got it. They also got the fact that no other group or organization was working to handle these problems or the defenses of the planet.

And that's pretty much the plot of the rest of the book: figure out teleportation while dodging bankers and aliens and alien bankers.

Again, it's been weeks since Jonnie tried to explode the Psychlo homeworld. It's either dead or pretty uninterested in Earth. And why are Jonnie and friends the only people working to save the planet? Isn't this something the planetary government should know about? Oh, that's right, the gub'ment is corrupt and fascist, we can't trust it. We must put our faith, lives, and fortunes behind this charismatic leader with wild tales of alien overlords and imminent conquest.

Well, Jonnie has an idea about the sudden suicide of the Chamcos. He remembers reading a "man-book" about surgeons and engineers experimenting with babies by implanting electric capsules to regulate their behavior with the push of a button. Everyone voices their disgust at the idea, but Jonnie points out that the Chamcos only killed themselves after he asked about teleportation, and that the Psychlos sent their bodies to be buried on their homeworld for a reason. He also relates a story Ker told him about a Psychlo engineer who went out drinking, killed an alien, then killed himself. In other words, the Psychlos are under the mother of all forms of patent protection.

The chapter closes with the statement that under a hundred heroes, with a mere four or five pilots, are trying to protect an entire planet. This sounds nice and dramatic until you realize that the heroes have basically been curbstomping these big bad Psychlos every time they meet, which defuses any tension.

Back to Chapter Six

No comments:

Post a Comment