Terl's actually purring from the thought of moving into his old office, even though the whole compound is still reeling from Jonnie's systematic annihilation of a commando unit. There was dissent amongst the Brigantes until General Snith found a way to divvy up those delicious corpses - twenty-eight total, which makes my estimate for Jonnie's kill count a bit conservative. Then there was a booby trap Lars found in the door to Terl's room.
There were gray Psychlo wrist hairs left near it, which rules out Ker since he's orange-furred. Since it obviously wasn't Jonnie (which perplexes Terl, as Jonnie has on three occasions now failed to kill him), Terl realizes one or more of the Psychlo prisoners are to blame. He demands his fellow aliens be executed, but Lars tells him they've all been relocated overseas.
So Terl goes into his old office, notices his desk has been welded down to a certain spot, and realizes the place must be bugged. So he goes around until he's found thirty-two "micro-micro-phones, button cameras, scanners" and other surveillance devices. He almost checks the air ducts manually, but when he notices how wobbly it is he decides it's not worth the effort. Paranoid up to a point, I guess.
For good measure Terl tracks down and neutralizes the relays and recorders for all those bugs, then he spends a full hour enjoying some kerbango and fantasizing about returning to wealth and power on the Psychlo homeworld, and setting a trap for Jonnie.
But first things first. He had better calculate how much time he had to get this job done. And then start on the construction of a weapon so lethal and deadly that the company never used it except in the extreme emergency of planet destruction. After he fired, this place would be just a smudge in the sky.
If the gas drone don't work, go with the Earth-shattering kaboom. Wonder why he didn't use this as his first option? It'd silence his henchmen and cover his tracks on Earth in one fell swoop, and he could blame the detonation on the Tolneps or something. Terl is pretty lazy though, and he wouldn't have had to build the gas drone himself.
Back to Chapter One