Friday, September 17, 2010

Part 23, Chapter 9 - The End of the Middle But Not Quite the Beginning of the End Yet

It's Day 87, less than a week before Terl's scheduled firing. Now that he has his next objective, Jonnie gets ready for his mission. He makes notes of his discoveries and explains things to Angus, who of course doesn't want Jonnie to go but concedes when Jonnie points out that he'll have thirty Scot extras in the background while he saves the day.

He orders a decoy teleportation platform built in Singapore, since Jonnie's operating on the assumption that the "visitors" above are waiting for the next firing to act. It'll take the brunt of any alien attack since overheard chatter indicates that the xenos think the one in Africa is a temple of some sort, thanks to clever use of camouflage netting.

Dr. Allen collects some pyrethrum from plants near Nairobi to act as bug spray and help combat those damned tsetse flies. I'm not sure where this fits in with the whole struggle against the alien invaders, but Hubbard thought it worth mentioning so I'll pass it along.

Stormalong is being left behind to take command of Earth's defenses if Jonnie dies. He doesn't want Jonnie to go either. It's not mentioned that Stormalong is still brooding over the death of Unnamed Swiss Guy, which is a bit of an oversight due to what will happen later.

Ker's over in Africa now, and he actually high-fives Jonnie ("they swatted 'paws'"). He jokes about the worthless currency he was getting paid with, then gives Jonnie the layout of the firing platform. And he doesn't want Jonnie to go either, since he's sure Terl is up to something. He also relates that Sir Robert has disappeared, which worries Jonnie.

Jonnie writes a letter to Chrissie "that he knew the parson would read for her," in case something happens to him. We're not treated to the letter's contents, but we can be certain it was a tear-jerking, majestic proclamation of his undying love for the woman he remembers once every other Part or so. He also writes a will, and I guess there's some humor when he keeps remembering possessions like horses or that chrome AK-47 and has to go back and add to it repeatedly. And once he's finished he checks his gear and packs before settling down for a good night's sleep.

He had done everything he could. Now it was in the hands of the gods. Or a devil like Terl.

I'm confused why everyone is so reluctant to see Jonnie go into danger, when all the evidence suggests that he's a nigh-unstoppable killing machine. He should be the first person you want to have on a raid.

Anyway, tune in next Part when Jonnie and his team of Scots swoop into the American minesite to interfere with Terl's teleportation and stop his attempt to wipe out mankind.


Back to Part Twenty-Three, Chapter Eight

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