The next morning, Gris takes the first step in his plan to make Utanc happy, which will involve terrifying a lot of people. When she drives to town before lunchtime Gris grabs some choice weapons: a "Colt .44 Magnum Single Action Peacemaker" and a "Mannlicher 'Safari' over-and-under double-barrelled .458 caliber elephant rifle." Wikipedia doesn't have much to say about the latter, but given the detail Hubbard has put into researching authentic Turkish dishes and other things ultimately irrelevant to the plot, I'll give him the benefit of a doubt.
Gris interrupts Melahat's gardening by sticking the business end of a gun designed to... hmm. I was about to snark about an elephant gun being made to hunt arguably sentient critters, before realizing how incredibly hypocritical that would be. Anyway, our narrator jams the gun in Melahat's face and vows to butcher the entire villa staff if she doesn't cooperate in getting Utanc's boyservants to emerge. She goes to Utanc's quarters and yells that they're allowed to have their "present now to amuse you while she was gone." Which sounds... eyebrow raising.
When one of the little scamps unlocks the door to peek out, Gris crashes inside, sending one boy tumbling and causing the other, bandaged child to scream from his bed. He pulls off the feat of keeping a heavy rifle trained on one target while he draws his pistol to cover the other, and gets the hiccuping, crying, terrified boys to stand against the wall for a frisking. Gris has learned from that deadly brush-beating incident back in Part Twenty, Chapter Nine, and isn't taking any chances. He is not going to get hit with a powder ball this time!
Then Gris notices that Utanc has a whole set of books from The Illustrated Lives of Famous Stars, which might lead a smarter character to start wondering about this supposedly simple desert girl. Instead Gris demands to know which movie stars Utanc likes the best, and learns that Utanc has smothered photos of Rudolph Valentino and James Cagney with lipstick kisses.
Yeah, a Turkish "nomad" not only is interested in Hollywood stars, she shares the author's fixation on vintage Hollywood stars, including one who died sixty years ago. Amazing coincidence, that. Or else Hubbard couldn't be bothered to crack open an issue of People to find a contemporary heartthrob and had to go with what he remembered from his halcyon days of youth.
So Gris takes the relevant photos, tapes the boys' wrists and ankles together, wraps them in blankets, slings them over his shoulders like luggage, and hauls them out of the room. He orders Melahat, kicked awake from a faint, to tell Utanc that the boys' grandmothers are ill - simultaneously - and the lads will be out of town for a few days. If she doesn't cooperate or if Utanc suspects anything, he will of course kill everybody.
At the end of the chapter, Gris has an epiphany. "Aha, I didn't need hypnohelmets. All I needed was an elephant rifle!" See folks, while sometimes you can bend peoples' minds to your will, usually it's just as effective to threaten their physical bodies with pain and death.
Truly, Mission Earth has much to teach us. Why just two chapters ago we learned why we should hunt down and kill every practitioner of one type of science.
Back to Chapter Four