Thursday, November 25, 2010

Part 30, Chapter 2 - Bet Those Psychlos Feel Pretty Stupid Now

With MacAdam's suggestion that Jonnie set up his own company to build teleportation consoles (I'm still awed that a control panel is the key piece of equipment, rather than whatever device is actually rearranging patches of space-time), Jonnie thinks of the implications of such technology's proliferation. He knows quite well the destructive capacity of teleportation, and wants to make sure humanity is never on the receiving end of what he's done to his enemies (and countless civilians or innocent bystanders caught as collateral damage).

After a bit of thought, Jonnie has the idea of building metal analysis detectors into the platforms to keep them from sending uranium or the mysterious element used for The Ultimate Bomb. Pretty simple and straightforward, really - if you don't want to teleport those dangerous substances, make your teleporters incapable of doing so.

SO WHY DIDN'T THE PSYCHLOS DO THAT?! Why didn't the paranoid, totalitarian empire with a ridiculous vulnerability to radiation come up with this defensive measure, instead of hoping a bunch of grunts with scanners could catch everything?! Why is Jonnie the only one who can have this idea?! Hubbard could still have had Jonnie teleport the bombs to Psychlo, he'd just have to disable this painfully-obvious safety measure somehow. It would give Jonnie a chance to show off how smart and wonderful he is, instead of having the plot rely on the villains being achingly stupid and lazy.

Jonnie addresses biological concerns with plans to scan for bacterial "traces" and disease "auras," and after resolving that his consoles would be built in fortresses by only the most trusted workers, concludes that he's designed a fool-proof console and agrees to build them for the bank. Though he adds that he'll only lease the devices for five years before swapping them with new ones, just to be safe.

The bankers are pleased, but there's still one last hurdle: all those alien emissaries, counting on war to save their economies (morons). Once word gets out the Earth controls a million habitable worlds the aliens will surely pounce. But Jonnie and Sir Robert already have a plan, though Jonnie asks that he be allowed to set bank policy for a couple of hours. And the next bit is priceless.

"You set bank policy?" gaped Lord Voraz.

"Let him do it!" said the baron.

"But he might commit us to some course of--"

"You just better say yes, Lord Voraz," MacAdam said. "That's Jonnie Tyler there who's talking."

Lord Voraz looked numbly from MacAdam to the baron. "I've not yet signed--"

"Nor have I," said Dries.

The baron reached over and made Voraz's head bob. "He said 'yes,' Jonnie. Go ahead."

Yes, that's Jonnie Tyler, the obnoxious character the book is written to glorify, the man who physics and biology bend over backwards to accommodate. His will is nothing less than divine mandate. To oppose him is to face annihilation.

The baron physically forcing Voraz to comply is just a lovely touch. Har-har, look how little regard the humans have for their new allies!

If you're wondering how Jonnie will deal with all those hostile aliens, you haven't been paying attention. He already blew up a moon to make a point. Now he just has to remind the idiots that they're planning the invasion of someone who can blow up planets at will. The next chapter wouldn't be necessary if those emissaries had half a brain among them, but this is Battlefield Earth, after all.

Back to Chapter One

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