Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Part Twenty-Two, Chapter Three - Mystery Solved, Back to Work

Hey, this chapter doesn't open with Gris making a mopey observation about his bad luck.  Instead he's all upbeat about an opportunity to get that Heller once and for all (let the dope dream).  But then he enters the Apparatus hangar to prepare and finds a bit of a scene.

The four "assassin" pilots, the ones making sure no one gets any ideas about leaving, have lined up all the technicians and are threatening to start a-executin' until someone fesses up about something.  A panicking crewman asks Gris to help them, "by all the sacred Devils!"

That's... well, those were certainly two words I wasn't expecting to see in the same phrase.  Normally when you call something a "devil" you're defining them as opposing the values you hold in high regard, or in other words that which you hold "sacred."  So are the Voltarians like the Psychlos in that they know they're irredeemably evil creatures fit only to be exterminated by the heroically genocidal protagonist?  Do they thank the "evil gods" too?  

Well, the very scary assassin pilots are in a tizzy because someone's done sabotaged them thar spaceships so that they'd blow up if they tried to fire their weapons.  None of the technicians are admitting to doing it, and things are a about to get ugly when Gris is reminded that the only possible culprit who isn't around is none other than Jettero Heller.  So he blames everything on Heller, makes up a story about how he saw him around the assassin ships when no one else was looking, and everyone in the base unites in hatred against that "(bleeped) Royal officer."  The assassins are satisfied, the day is saved, and the mission can proceed as planned.

But I can't help but feel like we're forgetting something... ah, right.  So who sabotaged the ships?   Someone breached base security and cross-wired a vessel's weapon systems to destroy it!  Who knows what else they could've done!  The tug might not be safe!  Hell, no one's safe!  Who's the saboteur?  What's his next target?

In a sane, rational story, this might lead to an outbreak of paranoia, a witch hunt, a good detective sequence.  I mean, Gris is already being left notes by a mysterious stalker who's going to kill him at the first sign of failure.  He has damn good reason to be freaking out right now.

But he doesn't.  The chapter ends, and next chapter starts with Captain Stabb patting Gris on the back for handling that situation, and then they go on to plan their trip to drop off Heller's crap.  The chapter after that, they drop off the crap.  I've skimmed the next fifty pages or so and there's nothing about this saboteur.

Having told a lie about how Heller was the culprit, Gris decides that he probably was, and stops thinking about it.  And though this sort of shenanigans is right up Heller's alley, there's no way for Gris to be certain about this.  This is a terrible justification for casually disregarding a life-threatening development. 

What's the point of introducing a mystery if no one in the story reacts to it

Back to Chapter Two

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