Friday, November 26, 2010

Part 30, Chapter 3 - Pax Jonnie

In this chapter, our hero will solve the problem of war once and for all.

Jonnie has the alien ambassadors and The Gray Men assemble in the conference room, and he and Sir Robert go in without a substantial bodyguard. Once again we're told how much danger Jonnie is putting himself in, this time by going into a room filled with not-so-secretly-armed emissaries who may react violently to what he's going to say, and how heroic and brave and handsome and smart the book's protagonist is.

When everyone's together, and Angus is done fiddling with the hologram projector, the show begins. As martial music plays Sir Robert reminds the aliens of the old search to find the one.

"There is the one!" and his hand shot out pointing at Jonnie!

The mine spotlight shifted to Jonnie and his buttons and helmet flashed fire.

It was dramatic. A sudden intake of breath from the lords.

It was not exactly as Jonnie had planned it. Sir Robert had let his own feelings change it. Still, it was very effective.

Sir Robert reminds the aliens who combined control five thousand planets that Jonnie, "with the help of a few Scots," annihilated an empire that spanned sixteen universes and a million worlds. The projector shows the fiery doom of Psychlo, a hellish act of destruction that stuns the alien lords into silence. Foxy tells them that they ought to be grateful to Jonnie for freeing them "from a monster," while the alien lords are understandably unenthusiastic about replacing the oppression of an empire with the terror of a man who destroys worlds.

Their fear is only made worse when Foxy rolls the tape of Tolnep's moon getting bombed and turned into a blob of gas that liquified in the "intense cold of space." But there's new stuff too, which I'll include so the scientifically-minded can boggle at it.

That moon was now a ball, not just of gas, but of uncountable quintillions of megavolts of electricity. The separation of atoms had generated enormous charge, but there being no oxygen and no second pole to cause flow, the intense cold of space had frozen the resulting electricity. Jonnie realized that was how Psychlo fuel worked, but it had no heavy metal in it, only the more base metals. And that moon would kill any ship that came near it, not by disintegration, but by huge powerful charges of electricity. Ah, there came a meteor! Lightning flashed out and melted it.

I don't know where to begin beyond "space isn't cold." I guess you could argue that frozen lightning is possible if Asart was in a different universe under different laws of physics, but Jonnie mentions Psychlo fuel, which functions just fine on Earth, working the same way. And hey, my interest in hard science died my sophomore year of high school. Maybe Hubbard's done his research and what he describes here is plausible.

Once the fate of Psychlo and Asart has sunk in, Foxy proves his worth as a diplomat.

Sir Robert's voice went into them like shock waves. "He can do that to your home planet at will!"

Had he hit them with a stun gun he could not have produced a more frozen effect.

"And," cried Sir Robert, "there is nothing you can do to stop it!"

Note that Jonnie hadn't planned on Foxy to be "this strong," but concludes that Sir Robert is getting his revenge for Edinburgh and doesn't worry too much about it. Foxy rants on that Jonnie will build twenty-eight teleportation platforms scattered on other planets, all ready to fire as one and annihilate the aliens' home worlds if they step out of line. Unless the aliens sign a treaty forbidding war, they will be exterminated.

The alien ambassadors, of course, are enraged and scream that "This is a declaration of WAR!" But Jonnie stands up, and his magnificent presence is enough to bring them to silence before he declares that it's actually "a declaration of peace!" Then the aliens threaten to launch fleets to destroy the humans, but Sir Robert is like "nuh-uh, your planets will still get blown up by teleported bombs!" and the the aliens are like "we'll assassinate Jonnie then!" and Sir Robert is like "nuh-uh, we've got body doubles and if any of them are hurt we'll blow you up!"

I'm gong to take a moment to wonder exactly when Sir Robert and Jonnie got together to come up with this plan. 'cause Jonnie's spent the last five days feverishly learning economics while Sir Robert coordinated things over the radio. Then again, threats of violence are pretty much up their alleys, so they might've thrown this together over breakfast.

Anyway, after the word force majeure is thrown around and those cowardly and self-serving diplomats become open to the idea of trying to influence it, one of them whines that their economies are still in trouble, and peace won't save them.

Jonnie looked at them. Then he began to realize what he was really dealing with. Every one of these lords and all their peoples had been bred for eons in the shadow of the cruel and sadistic Psychlos. They may have remained politically free, but they were stamped with the Psychlo philosophy--all beings are just animals. Greed, profit and corruption were understood to be the nature of every individual. There were no decencies or virtues. The brand of the Psychlo!

Such sentiments were the ideas of madmen. The Psychlos had tailor-made life in this way and had then said, see? this is the way life is.

Sorry, not buying it. The story has not explained why having the Psychlos as an aggressive neighbor is any worse than, say, having the Tolneps as an aggressive neighbor, beyond the superior tech of the former. Having a dangerous enemy does not necessitate a loss of cultural values. The U.K. did not become more German during the unpleasantness in the '40s. Vietnam did not become more American during the... well, that's not a good example. South Vietnam was trying pretty hard to fit in with Western modernity, while the North was fervently nationalistic and dabbling with communism-

Point is, this is one of Battlefield Earth's main flaws: the Psychlos are hyped as all-conquering, sadistic monsters that taint everything they touch. But they leave an astounding number of other races unconquered, most of the Psychlos we see are just average Joes working their shift in the mines, and what little oppression happens does so off-screen. Yeah, they took over Earth, but it's hard to work up the hate for them that Hubbard obviously feels, and they certainly don't feel like the scourge of galaxies.

Jonnie does some thinking, and concludes that the Psychlos preferred for these supposedly "free planets," which they could invade at any time but for some reason never did, remain at war with each other, the better to serve as a market for Psychlo metals. So Jonnie explains how they could gear their economies towards "consumer production," and make things for their citizens to buy like clothes and furniture, thus ushering in a golden age of prosperity.

Naturally, not a single alien in sixteen universes has come up with this idea. Kinda like how none of them think to use birth control to deal with overpopulation.

Jonnie goes on to talk about how the Galactic Bank will be able to give out loans to stabilize the aliens' economies and help them shake off the military-industrial complex, as well as stimulate private enterprises with "social banking" instead of dealing exclusively with governments. Oh, and there's a lot of new planets suddenly free of Psychlo control that would make good colonies.

Once Lord Voraz comes to terms with these radical new ways of doing business, he agrees that the bank will be happy to help make Jonnie's vision a reality. But the alien ambassadors are still hesitant to deal with the man who kills planets (no, I'm never going to let that go). So Jonnie has all the recording devices turned off and appeals to their baser nature by suggesting they go home and buy out all the war firms that will crash and burn after this treaty, thereby converting them into profitable peacetime businesses that will earn the diplomats fortunes.

Their heads were together again, whispering. Jonnie couldn't make it out.

Then suddenly Fowljopan stood up among the mob. "Lord Jonnie, we have forgotten what you said. None of it will be repeated by us."

Fowljopan seemed to grow in size. "Build your platforms! We are going to write the toughest, clawproof, iron-hard, most vicious antiwar treaty you have ever heard of!"

He turned toward the back. "Turn on the lights! Turn on the recorders!"

Almost as one being the audience stood. They began to shout. "Long live Lord Jonnie! Long live Lord Jonnie!"

The applause was enough to knock one down!

And so Jonnie uses the threat of annihilation to bring peace to the universes, the empires of which only go to war out to make money and distract their populations from unemployment, rather than to take territory, defend territory, force compliance with treaties, defend national honor, topple oppressive regimes, defend allies, or any of the myriad of motivations for "politics by other means."

I hate this book and everything in it.

Colonel Ivan, lead of the few soldiers running security for the conference, finally relaxes. "Knowing Jonnie, the reversal did not surprise him. That was life living around Jonnie Goodboy Tyler!"

Amazing how things always turn out well for the Gary Stu, isn't it?

Back to Chapter Two


  1. In this chapter, our hero will solve the problem of war once and for all.


    Sorry, I can't get to the rest of the sporking just now, I've come down with a case of the incredugiggles.


    OK, better. Onward and upward.

  2. *has finished*