Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Part 18, Chapter 8 - A Legion of Doom, of Sorts

Meanwhile, in Brown Limper's subplot...
Remember Lars the neo-neo-neo-Nazi? He flunked out of pilot school after trying one of Terl's maneuvers, which ended up wrecking his plane and cracking his neck. Terl's compulsive dickishness nearly cost him an asset.

Anyway, an encasted Lars brings a new, stinky visitor for Terl - General Snith of the Brigantes. Terl knows all about the Brigantes, of course, since he's the security officer and apparently the mongrelfolk have provided "hundreds of thousands of Bantu and Pygmies" for the local miners' entertainment. "The only attraction that place had was that you could occasionally buy a human creature to torture." And of course there was no mention of this in earlier chapters, almost as if Hubbard was throwing this story together as he went along and didn't want to go back and revise

So it's not the Psychlo directly that keep the other humans down, it's the Brigantes. So why haven't the other African tribes ganged up and taken down the slavers? Humans have been killing other humans for thousands of years, so it shouldn't be difficult.

Anyway. Now that the Brigantes have been brought to the world capital of Denver, Brown Limper Staffor is grooming them to be his private army since those ruggedly handsome, free-spirited Scots are firmly allied with Jonnie. But problem arises when he tries to hammer out the terms of the arrangement, so he goes to Terl for mediation.

See, Snith wants the back pay due to his men from the bank: a hundred thou a man per day, or as Terl quickly does the math, over thirty-six billion dollars. He plays it safe and gasps "that's more than a million!" to confirm that the Brigantes are indeed stupid.

Terl, showing remarkable knowledge of human history for someone who just recently figured out mankind was sentient, points out that the Brigantes' ancestors were hired to take over Kishangani and Kinshasa, but only succeeded at the former. He also claims that the human bank was bought out by "the Galactic Bank, located in the Gredides System, Universe Eight."

Gredides... Greedy? Ugh.

The caged alien goes on to claim that he's a representative of the Galactic Bank, and as such is willing to pay for half the job done, a whopping five hundred thousand dollars. Snith is very happy to hear this, though his goodwill fades when Terl recommends the Brigantes try cleaning up a bit and getting proper uniforms.

The conservation moves on to the Brigantes' accommodations, which are fine, and their food, which is not. "There be plenty of dead bodies in those houses, but they be old and dried and unfit to eat. There would got to be a clause in any future contract about better food!"

Yes, apparently conditions in Denver are enough to mummify corpses so that they last a thousand years instead of decaying into powder like they would in a rational universe. Alternatively, the Chinkos got carried away when they preserved that library and laminated all the bodies they found, to seal in the freshness.

Terl tells Snith that the cannibals will just have to put up with beef, which they don't like. These guys love man-flesh so much that their numbers have recently taken a drop due to the unpalatable food situation here, and back in Africa would only reluctantly settle for water buffalo and monkey and elephant.

And this just doesn't work. Cannibalism happens during food shortages, or during religious rites, or as result of mental illness. But a society based around eating humans? No way. Humans don't grow fast enough or provide enough meat, so you'd be spending a lot of time and energy chasing down and munching on your neighbors, when you could be doing things like farming. And Hubbard wants us to believe that a couple thousand cannibals have survived for a millennia in a world in which humans are nearly extinct?

Not that the latter makes much sense either, but anyway.

Snith also complains about the money the council tried to pay him with, which Terl dismisses as a counterfeit. The Brigante leader mentions that this "Jonnie" was the one who attacked his men in Africa, and Terl assures him that if they work together, they'll all get their revenge.

Isn't that exciting? Sure, our heroes can take down Psychlos by the hundreds, but can they survived the combined attack of a green-eyed cripple, a sub-human commando, and a scheming alien whose idiocy was the downfall of his entire species?

Back to Chapter Seven

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