It was time for strong measures. The hour had arrived to bring in the troops, the tanks and the artillery. It was plain that Heller was dangerous beyond belief. Even trying to put his room under surveillance was as much as your life was worth. My behind attested to that.
I'd just like to remind everyone that the "BB round in the ass" incident had nothing to do with Heller's security measures, that all Gris saw him do last night was teach a quick self-defense course, and if Gris had bothered to come up with a plan beyond relying on an old woman hoping for a late-night tryst to set up his stake-out, it might have ended up without anyone dying.
But Gris surges into action! He makes a phone call, telling the switchboard operator to get him Mr. Rockecenter. The operator balks at this. Gris argues. More people are called in. This goes on for over a page until Gris decides he'd rather talk to Mr. Bury, Rockecenter's chief attorney, the man who tried some really half-assed assassination attempts last book. This is more acceptable, and Gris sets up an appointment at one o'clock. He bathes, dresses up in his "most Federal-looking investigator suit," and sets off for his appointment. I do a double take.
See, last chapter's stake-out/peeping session started at 8:45 pm. Following the incident with the BB gun, Gris arrived at his hotel at the start of this chapter, treated the wound, and then made his phone call, without stopping to sleep or waiting for the next day. So either Mr. Bury takes his lunch at midnight or this chapter's more sloppy than usual.
Gris makes his way to the Octopus Oil Building - yes, the author's using that tired animal motif - for his meeting. Upon presenting his credentials to a receptionist, Gris is told that unfortunately they "don't have any orders for the Senate today" and is nearly tossed out, until he starts shouting about a family scandal. This is enough to get him to see Mr. Bury, where he has to explain - again - that someone's working on a cheap new fuel source that could bankrupt Rockecenter. Apparently Senator Twaddle didn't inform his masters of that potentially apocalyptic development.
Bury wants Gris to tell him more, but is told that Gris needs to go directly to Rockecenter. Bury's suspicious of Gris' motives until the Apparatus agent explains his angle: revenge. So Gris gets taken through the "preliminary sector" on his way to see the famed and feared Mr. Rockecenter.
Heller, I said to myself, write your will. You're as good as dead! Maybe worse!
And then, thinking of all this security and precaution, I amended my optimism: Heller was in the soup only if I could actually get to and handle Rockecenter!
Nice to see Gris acknowledging that he has no hope of dealing with Heller by his lonesome. Although he's still forgetting that all-important platen, which he needs to falsify Heller's reports so nobody back on Voltar looks to closely into Mission Earth. And he's apparently forgotten that he summoned his nemesis' terrifying girlfriend to Earth, and she probably won't like it if she finds her love dead on arrival. And you have to wonder why, as lazy a guy Gris is, getting Rockecenter to take care of Heller for him wasn't his first action.
But whatever, the plot's moving. I'm sure at some point I'll wish it wasn't and that Gris was sitting down in front of the HellerVision again, but that's the rhythm Mission Earth swings to.
Back to Chapter Five