Gris is shaken out of his funk by a SHIP ARRIVAL warning; the Blixo, the Apparatus freighter Gris arranged to smuggle in all his creature comforts, is about to land. And he promised Captain Bolz a drink! ...He remembered a captain's drink order from weeks and weeks ago but has apparently forgotten the official purpose of Mission Earth and how it might relate to what Heller's up to?
So Gris sends his taxi driver out to get something alcoholic while he gets dressed, and no, I'm not going to speculate about why Gris isn't wearing any pants at eight in the evening. The driver (Gris can remember a drink order but not his chauffeur's name?) scrounges up some "Haige and Haige" counterfeit Scotch whipped up by Arabs, and Gris rushes about the Blixo to greet its captain. He makes sure to note Bolz' hairy chest when he enters the cabin while the captain is still getting dressed, and fortunately the "counterfeit" Scotch is a huge success. Phew. Take a minute to recover from the heart-pounding "find some booze" subplot.
The rest of the chapter is pretty much stuff and people being unloaded from the Blixo. Gris sends the crates of alchemically-produced gold he made on Voltar back to his quarters, drooling over their estimated market value of three hundred thousand dollars, which I guess sounded more impressive in the 1980's. Less pleasing is the revelation that all the gratuitous medical equipment he ordered (surely you remember that vital plot point from two books ago?) has been quadrupled by Lombar, with nary a kickback for Gris in sight. There's so much of the stuff that there's concern over where to put it all, so Gris has to check to see if his "mob hospital" is finished (it is) and tells the workers to stick it all there. This will have repercussions shortly.
As for the Blito's passengers, we have the stupidly-named "cellologist" Prahd Bittlestiffender, who is put in charge of the hospital, and "Too-Too" the flamboyant, ah, sleeper agent, who got to spend the voyage in protective custody because the crew kept going after him. Gris has him stuck in a cell until he can find a use for him. Finally, one Gunsalmo Silva spent the trip in "deepsleep" and gets put in the dungeons as well. Then Gris is off to do some paperwork and write a stern letter to the pharmaceutical company for skimping on his cut before he can spend the rest of the evening drooling over his bullion.
All that stuff about figuring out Heller's nefarious plan? Forget about it. It's time to get distracted by Gris' hospital side project, feuding mobsters, and blackmail. Chapter after chapter, Part after Part, of Gris-centric intrigue, while the mission he's supposed to be foiling progresses along without any interference.
Back to Chapter Two