Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Part Twenty-Three, Chapter Nine - Has Soltan Gris Mentioned He's a Psychologist Today?

Gris sets his plan in motion, calling up that cab driver who probably has a name that's never used in the book.  He specifically asks for a "fat, dirty old whore" who lives just outside town, though Gris is quick to clarify that it's not for him.  Then he fixes up a spare bedroom just right, spreading lots of cushions and rigging a remote-controlled camera in the corner.

Next he goes down to the dungeons.  He gets a guard to help chain up a hysterical Too-Too and fix that hypno-helmet on his head, then Gris asks to see the worst of the half-dozen child molesters in the prison block... "homosexual" and "pedophile" are pretty much interchangeable, right?  Gris agrees to commute the hulking sex offender's sentence if he performs (sexually) as ordered, and then reaffirms both his heterosexuality and stupidity by just restraining himself from slapping the bruiser when he thinks Gris is propositioning him.  "I hate homos.  But I had more important things to do."

So Gris goes back to Too-Too, loads the recording strip in the helmet's slot, and turns it on, quieting Too-Too instantly as the conditioning takes hold.  Then Gris blindfolds both Too-Too and Nameless Gay Child Molester and leads them to that room he prepared, leaves them alone long enough to collect Fatima the Fat Dirty Old Whore, and returns to find that NGCM is already trying to get into Too-Too's pants, that scamp.  Gris declares that Too-Too is about to get his reward "for being such a good messenger," motions to FDOW, and ducks out of the room, activating the camera as he leaves.

Fatima croons a rather insipid lullaby - two whole verses are "Mmm, mmm, mm!" - while Too-Too and NGCM do things that involve a lot of screaming.  At the end of it Too-Too gasps, in Voltarian, "Oh!  You are ever so much better than Endow!"  When Gris steps back into the room he finds Too-Too very surprised he said such a dangerous thing.

The whore, who is confused why nobody has (bleeped) her yet, is dismissed, NGCM is set loose on an unsuspecting Turkey, and Too-Too is returned to his cell so Gris can have a chat.  From his "routine Apparatus kit" Gris withdraws three capsules, each containing a molecule of poison enclosed in a molecule of copper enclosed by a molecule of sugar... I'm just going to roll with this, I'll get to my main problem with this chapter in a minute.

Gris wants Too-Too to go back to Voltar and poison the meals of those two forgers from Section 451, as well as old Bawtch himself.  Two hours after being ingested, the victims' stomach acid will dissolve the... alright, I looked this one up, and as far as I can tell gastric acid does not do a good job of dissolving copper.  The stuff just isn't very reactive with hydrochloric acid. But let's ignore some actual science and pretend that these aliens that are effectively identical to humans and who are strongly implied to be the ancestors of humans do in fact possess super-strong stomach acids that can dissolve copper in a mere two hours.

That one molecule of poison will do an excruciating job of killing them, and Too-Too will be the delivery man.  Furthermore, he'll use his influence on Lord Endow to have the Countess Krak and Dr. Crobe sent to Earth, the latter because Heller was asking for a cellologist, the former because Gris is hoping that the Countess will bring that pair of incriminating forged documents he made with her.  

And if he doesn't cooperate, Gris will share the tape he made of Too-Too with NGCM.  As you may have guessed, Too-Too was hypnotized into denigrating Endow on camera, something Gris is inordinately pleased about.  "Yes, indeed, we psychologists know our business."  He ends the chapter still gloating about his "master stroke" - he'll get those incriminating papers from the Countess, and maybe she'll even hamper Heller after learning that he's staying at a whorehouse!  The odds of the two lovebirds cooperating to execute the mission and foil Gris' plans are pretty much slim to none, right?  And then he'll be able to kill all his enemies at once, most likely through his extremely competent and successful proxies.

All witnesses dead. The forgeries of the Emperor's name safely in my hands. Really a masterly stroke!

I knew that Earth psychology had not failed me and the use of FBI evidence-gathering, frame-up know-how had been flawlessly executed.

I went to bed comfortable for the first time in many, many days.

Now it's not really explained, but I think Gris hypnotized Too-Too into making that dangerous statement after hearing Fat Whore's lullaby, because otherwise I have no idea what she was doing in this chapter.  My question is, why was that necessary?  Couldn't Gris just hypnotize Too-Too into fawning about his new lover on camera without that trigger phrase?  And wouldn't the video evidence of his infidelity be enough blackmail material?  Or what if the hypno-helmet were used to make Too-Too a willing servant without all that nonsense?  "When I snap my fingers, you will be a loyal lackey."  That tinfoil hat's supposed to be more dangerous than an A-bomb, yeah?

And what's this got to do with psychology?  The hypnohelmet is a Voltarian invention, and those stupid aliens don't have head doctors.  So are all those human psychologists hypnotizing people too?  Even though they don't have those helmets?  Dr. Kutzbrain sure didn't try to hypnotize Bang-Bang back in Part Twenty-One, he just rambled about Lizzy Borden.  And if psychologists have to jam a magic hat on someone's head and twirl a paper spiral in front of their face, it isn't really a dangerously seductive movement, is it?

But Gris insists he's a psychologist, even though he isn't doing anything psychological.  And since Gris is a repulsive little prick, we're free to hate all psychologists everywhere by extension.  And that's the uplifting message of Mission Earth.

Back to Part Twenty-Three, Chapter Eight

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