Monday, October 25, 2010

Part 27, Chapter 4 - Astronomy Lesson

This whole chapter is a big build-up to Jonnie's plan for galactic peace, as he shows off some holograms taken while all the diplomats' credentials were being verified. The projector displays an image of the binary system Sirius, known as Batafor to the Psychlos. Jonnie asks Lord Schleim to verify what he's looking at, but the suddenly calm Tolnep is being a twerp so the Hawvin representative gives a visual tour.

Nameless Hawvin Guy gives a nice walkthrough of Sirius/Batafor, which the Hawvins call Twino ("mother and child"). It's not really important, but there isn't much else to the chapter, so...

More Than You Need to Know About the Sirius System:
Planet 1: Jubo, uninhabited due to high gravity and heat.
Planets 2-5: Just as uninhabited as Jubo, but unworthy of being named for whatever reason.
Planet 6: Torthut, former Psychlo mining outpost, population "annihilated"
Planet 7: Holoban, owned by the Hockner Confederacy
Planet 8: Balor, a CR 20 Demon... er, Hawvin world
Planet 9: Tolnep, has five moons in a system where most worlds have none
Planet 10: Tung, another Psychlo mining base, before which the Tolneps removed the native population.
Planet 11: At this point Jonnie's had enough and shows a new picture.

The hologram now displays Creeth, the Tolnep capital. Landmarks include the Tolnep legislature, the House of Plunder, and the slave market/public park Grath, famed for a clock built of slave bones (?!). "It is said that fifty-eight thousand female slaves were killed to make up the border you see." You know, just in case you didn't hate the Tolneps with all your being yet.

...Seriously, a clock made of bones? Why would you do that? If you're a slave-trading civilization, why cut into your own profits for a gratuitously EVIL timepiece? And why single out females? Wouldn't it be more efficient to use larger male bones - assuming these aliens follow human sexual dimorphism, which let's face it, they probably do since they're basically humans with rubber foreheads.

I bet the streets of Creeth are paved with babies and each night for dinner every Tolnep eats a kitten. This is just awful writing.

Anyway, by the time on the pointlessly macabre timepiece, Jonnie's hologram was taken two hours or so ago by the teleportation rig. Which was one point of this display. Next Jonnie does something that quite rightfully makes Schleim worried, and asks him "as a native of Tolnep and someone undoubtedly fond of its moons, could you tell me which moon you like best?"

This is like when the bald guy with the underground lair and stolen nuclear missile asks the hero which is their favorite city, or when the mad doctor asks the guy strapped to the table which is his favorite organ.

Schleim tries to evade the question by saying he likes "any of them" the least, so Jonnie picks for him - Asart, the moon that serves as the base for the entire Tolnep fleet, a closely-guarded, high-security Tolnep secret. Then Jonnie ominously asks for the alien delegates to join him outside. He does not give a worrying chuckle or sinister smile, but he really should.

Random fact for the chapter: did you know that the Tolneps are nocturnal, and are rumored not to be indigenous to Tolnep? If Hubbard tries to pass them off as transplanted dinosaur descendants I'm gonna be cranky.

Another random fact: Sirius is known for its higher-than-normal amount of infrared light, which could be responsible for the Tolnep's infrared-based vision... I guess. I'm impressed that Hubbard did that much research on Sirius, though it does make me boggle why he could get so much wrong when it comes to radiation.

Further note: The Tolneps control exactly one planet in the home system, with four others in alien hands. This is absolutely pathetic, and yet they're in the Big 30 intergalactic races. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Battlefield Earth's aliens suck.

One last note: Asart also serves as the Tolneps' shipyards, because "the mighty nonatmosphere ships of Tolnep could not even taken off from a planetary surface." Instead all the parts are flown up to Asart and assembled there. Flown up. From Tolnep. By Tolnep freighters. Flying in atmosphere. Also, Asart is supposed to be a state secret, even though there's literally three other alien races in-system that just have to look through a telescope to see the ships coming and going.

Back to Chapter Three

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it convenient how, up until it's convenient for Jonnie, the Tolneps came across as this absolutely massive empire that, while not quite on the same level as the Psychlos, could pose a serious threat to them? I mean, the Psychlos back on Earth were freaking out over the thought of a Tolnep invasion. Now they come across as the galactic equivalent of a single meth ring in Idaho, just in time for Jonnie to blow up their stash.

    I'm really enjoying this Battlefield Earth breakdown, by the way. Thanks.