Jonnie shakes his head and apologizes to the other aliens on behalf of this stubborn Tolnep, who is forcing the assembly to linger on the issue of piracy. He asks Schleim to produce the orders issued to the Tolnep forces on Earth, which Schleim, as an ambassador, does not have. Jonnie interprets this as meaning the Tolneps had no legal orders pertaining to Earth, which Schleim objects to.
Two techies wheel out a, I kid you not, gold-plated minecart bearing a gilded projector. Turns out that "atmosphere-armor" technology can also be used to make incredibly lifelike holograms. Naturally, the assembly of seasoned intergalactic diplomats has never seen such technology before and are "enthralled" by the device.
Let me just remind everyone that these diplomats were teleported to this conference.
The projector... projects an image of that diseased, pock-marked, rotten-toothed slob, Roof Arsebogger, whose disfigured visage disgusts the assembled aliens and makes Schleim declare that such a revolting journalist would never be chosen to represent Tolnep. As to where this picture came from, we're told that it was compiled by "pilots flying air cover at the Purgatoire River," using their "radio telephoto camera(s)." Since Buttswamper never to my knowledge left the Capture, they must have been aiming their cameras through the capital ship's viewports.
On that note, Jonnie rolls some footage of the Capture's bridge, in which Arsebogger is giving orders to Quarter-Admiral Snowletter. "Smash the place. Seize the people and sell them for your own profit. I will cover you. And like it or not, this is what you must do! The power is mine! And we will split the profits! Understood?"
As to where this came from: somehow those "radio telephoto cameras" were able to not only record the images but the sounds of this conversation through the bridge window. There are two possibilities here: firstly, that this was captured while the ship was in the atmosphere (which Tolnep ships don't handle well), and that the recording equipment was able to enhance the sounds of distant, muffled alien voices while editing out most of the engine noise of the surrounding fleet, to say nothing of all the other conversations going on in that ship. The alternative is that these words were somehow captured across the soundless void of space.
I guess a third option would be that Jonnie has a magical camera.
Anyway, Schleim is indignant that he's been verbally pantsed by this barbarian, and insists that the images must be doctored. Jonnie's argument is that they're "too clear" to be fake, and the other aliens, who are completely unfamiliar with this type of audio-visual equipment that for all their knowledge could easily put words in somebody's mouth, are in full agreement.
With all the Tolnep forces over Earth thus proven to be pirates, Jonnie demands that Schleim get his comrades to surrender. The previously-bored aliens are happy with this diversion from the real issues of the conference, and The Gray Man and his kin, who have been watching worriedly from the sidelines, change their ships' broadcast to one warning that any ships entering the intergalactic conference zone will be subject to "penalties," just in case Schleim tries something. Which he will.
I'm actually missing the days Jonnie beat bears to death with his gun.
Back to Chapter One