Friday, April 13, 2012

Part Twenty-Two, Chapter Five - Please Help Me Kill Lots of People, Amen

And so, "In the first pitch-black dark of October second," Captain Stabb takes Gris on the Prince Caucalsia to the rendezvous point with Heller, a warning from the assassin-pilots - that any attempt to leave the planet will be met with vaporization - still fresh in their minds.  Gris' mood is somber.

Unlike Heller, I am not a religious person.  I knew too much about psychology to really believe in anything but crude matter. 

I guess Hubbard believes that concepts of good come only in a religious context, and that things like morality or ethics cannot be arrived at from a secular viewpoint.

Also, I'm still tickled that he singles out the field of psychology as the great destroyer of religion and spirituality, as if attempting to figure out the subconscious inevitably leads to disbelief in the existence of God.  Wouldn't astronomy be dangerous too, with all those people staring upwards without finding a trace of Heaven?  Or biology, which can trace the lineage of species in ways that conflict with creation myths?   How about chemistry, with all that destruction and reformation of matter, powers that surely only the divines should possess? 

Poor Hubbard just can't wrap his head around the idea of someone being interested in the workings of the human mind while retaining a love of God or a belief in something greater than themselves.  Given the complete lack of nuance to the villains and heroes he creates, this isn't surprising.  There are god-fearing people and there are psychologists.  Heroes are pure Good, villains are pure Evil.  Black and white, with us or against us.  Binary thinking.

...Wait, what about the Mafia?  The big difference between Corleone's mob and her rivals is that she doesn't push drugs.  So is this some uncharacteristic ambiguity on Hubbard's part, or does he really think the difference between good and evil comes down to whether or not you're selling blow to go with your stable of hookers?


But in my childhood I had been exposed to it by the more decent people around me, and now and then I would suffer a relapse and feel some need to pray.  I did so tonight.

Wow.  That was almost... humanizing.  Or it would be if Hubbard would bother to tell us what Gris actually prayed for, or who he was praying to (or anything about the Voltarian religion for that matter), or why seek divine guidance in murdering a rival.  Gris pretty much knows he's evil, right?  So why would he think that Space God would be inclined to grant his request?  Or was he making a plea to a less benign power?  Did he sacrifice a goat in hopes that Space Baphomet would grant him a boon?

Gris once again reminds us of the stakes, that if Heller isn't stopped his unexplained plans could threaten Lombar Hisst's takeover of the whole Confederacy, with only those platen-coded messages standing between Heller and his execution.  Then he dozes off because the captain is once again doing that thing where he flies two hundred miles above the ground at the speed of night instead of waiting until night falls at their destination and then zipping over to it, so the trip takes a while.  When he wakes up the captain is edgy - sure, the tug has all those stealth systems, and none of America's defense installations or radar stations or anything have detected them.  But you see, there's a parked police car containing two deputies hidden just off a road!  It's a trap!

Gris explains the concept of speed traps and the tug lands over the captain's protests.  Heller is waiting at the landing zone and quickly gets the crew unloading things, but soon discovers that Box #5 is missing.  The Apparatus guys feign innocence, and Heller does another check before beckoning Gris into the roadhouse's kitchen with him.  Gris checks his weapons before following, not taking his hand off his "blaststick" the entire time.

That was not an attempt at innuendo.

Back to Chapter Four

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