Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Part 22, Chapter 5 - Scotland Takes Over the World

So now Jonnie's in Castle Rock, Scotland to talk with the only people who matter, the local chieftains. Robert the Fox and the unnamed chief of Clanfearghus and a bunch of other B-list characters are in attendance for this important meeting.

First Foxy plays a video transmission intercepted by the radio telescope... huh, didn't know they could do that. But it's all the alien captains playing "klepp," basically a military boardgame, for the spoils of Earth. Their optimism in the face of repeated humiliating setbacks is astounding.

There's a motion to ban open communications, since Robert just proved how vulnerable it is to interception, but a chief points out that they can't pass laws because they aren't the America-based world government. Jonnie speaks up and points out that the Scots were the "original legislative body" in this conflict, and in the name of protecting the people of Earth, the American government should be ignored and overridden by the Scots. It's a Scotsman who controls the world's pilots, and a Scotsman in charge of the non-Brigante military, so Jonnie's proposal is mostly recognizing the reality of the situation.

The World Federation representative, Sir Andrew MacNulty, is of course okay with this.

They discussed it a bit and then so resolved to do it. Sir Andrew MacNulty was to carry out their wishes with the tribes, Sir Robert was to execute their directives in the military sector. And due to the peculiarities of the situation, orders from the American governing body were to be ignored without creating suspicion. The American body had supported enemies of Scotland, enemies with whom Scotland had a blood feud. The present emergency required emergency actions.

It was what Jonnie wanted.

A charismatic demagogue convinces people that the government can't be trusted and so invokes emergency powers to handle the situation. Ominous.

Jonnie then sums up the situation - Psychlo could counterattack at any minute, the other aliens are obviously up to something, and we need to take any measure to protect the remaining humans - and floats a plan by Sir Robert to gather people into fortified positions just ripe for an orbital strike. The council approves. Dr. Allen wants to instate some voluntary inoculation and vaccination due to illnesses like smallpox, which could spread now that humanity is going to be bunched up into juicy targets. That passes too. MacAdam of the Planetary Bank talks about how the American policy of throwing money at the Brigantes is leading to wild inflation, and proposes a special "Brown Limper Staffor, Senior Mayor Planet Earth" note to devaluate the currency. It passes, and everyone laughs that they would put Jonnie's picture on it, but nobody wants to see Tyler on devalued currency.

Stop. Smooching. Jonnie's. Arse.

In further financial news, MacAdam is ordered to move his bank from Zurich to the more defensible Luxemborg, which has some decaying castle ruins to lurk in. Then Jonnie guarantees funding for the war effort with the mineral wealth in untapped minesites. And that's about it for the meeting.

And now, at the very end of the chapter, is the fact that Jonnie is now in proximity to Chrissie, his one true love, acknowledged. They haven't seen each other for months, Jonnie's come close to death already and now is getting involved in another dangerous war for mankind's survival, and Chrissie's living near the new world capital, which will certainly be the aliens' main target if they learn it's location. This is a place for a poignant, romantic scene highlighting the strength of these characters' relationship, which is enduring in the face of overwhelming odds.

Unfortunately, our author is L. Ron Hubbard.

Chrissie greets him with tea and crumpets. Jonnie sits down in the living room and takes off his moccasins. Chrissie talks about how Aunt Ellen's cheeks are filling out and Jonnie compliments Chrissie for her beauty. Pattie is apparently doing better but is still disinterested in everything. Jonnie suggests Chrissie move the furniture to the house's basement, and Chrissie tells him not to worry.

It's a quaintly domestic situation that's entirely narrated, without a single line of dialogue. It's emotionless and robotic, like a diorama at Disneyworld. At least until Glencannon "gong"s at the door, making Jonnie shout and jump up to greet him.

Now I guess Jonnie could have had a passionate greeting for Chrissie, too. Except it never happens. On the first page of this chapter it's mentioned that Chrissie picked out a house near Castle Rock, and that Jonnie didn't talk en route to it, but his actual homecoming is missing. It's entirely possible that he landed in Scotland and went immediately to the council meeting. If that's the case, and what I just described was his reunion with Chrissie... well, then I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

Back to Part Twenty-Two, Chapter Four

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