Watching fathers in happy chattering exchange with their youngsters, watching mothers anxiously verifying whether this or that had been done properly as to feeding and naps, Jonnie thought of those disdainful and arrogant lords and the soulless haughtiness of government. What did they care what happened to people like these? Yes, such governments might go through gestures of justice and perhaps even social work, but they remained cold, hard forces that could disrupt and shatter lives and people without conscience, and without a second thought.
Jonnie is by most standards a barbarian who took a crash course in flight, mining, and electronics. When the heck did he learn about social programs, or the basics of public administration? And what's his alternative, anyway? Anarchy? Or does he prefer the tribal structure of the Scots, with a hereditary strongman issuing orders?
After this mental rant Jonnie literally bumps into Stormalong, who has come back from a "wild time" of chasing down and rounding up alien prisoners. Not all by himself, of course, but all he had for help was "half a dozen bank guards. And they're French, Jonnie. They're not soldiers. They can maybe guard a vault or carry valuables--" Yes, even a thousand years from now, the French's stereotype as cheese-eating surrender monkeys still endures.
Stormy came here with MacAdam and the German banker Baron von Roth, who all have been flying around, collecting and interrogating alien prisoners under radio silence, which explains why Jonnie couldn't hail them. They also have a cargo of mysterious baggage, which isn't explained this chapter. So Jonnie has his experts ready to try and figure out a way to deal with Earth's crippling debt. "The final confrontation, the last battle, was all too near."
If banking is a battlefield, does that make me a commando or something for slogging through this stupid novel?
Fun fact #1: Dunneldeen's kill count while flying air cover over Edinburgh was at least thirty.
Fun fact #2: Baron von Roth is huge and red-faced and loud, as all Germans are, and Jonnie knows him somehow. "Although he had made a fortune in dairy and other foodstuffs..." wait, what? But I thought everyone had been reduced to barbarism from those oh-so-oppressive Psychlos? And how the hell do you corner the dairy market in a neo-medieval setting? Anyway, the baron "was descended from a family that was supposed to have controlled European banking for centuries before the Psychlo invasion." So yes, not only are governments cruel and repressive, but a few powerful families dominate the world of banking.
Back to Chapter Five