Suddenly, screaming sirens rise from the streets! Gris looks out the window to see military vehicles swarming towards his hotel, and snipers on adjacent roofs covering his room! Military policemen are rushing into the lobby as he watches! This is it, the locals have finally figured out that he's an alien!
Someone pounds on his door, and Gris, with nothing left to live for now that he's broke, stoically opens it. A bellhop is knocked aside by armed soldiers who storm into the suite, searching closets and firing shots into the mattress before standing at watchful attention. An officer takes Gris' fingerprints, technicians wheel in a cart laden with advanced equipment, and... Gris is made to swear to secrecy concerning this "satellite-enscrambled decode-recode." And they hand him a device from which a voice speaks in Russian, then after some adjustments, in Spanish. Finally, Bury's voice comes out.
They gave him a secure cell phone. They sent snipers and military vehicles and soldiers and drew as much attention as possible to the act of Mr. Bury making a long-distance call to Soltan Gris.
Yes, Bury's on an emergency trip to South America because somebody killed the Director of the CIA, so there's been an unexpected outbreak of peace (geddit, these are bad guys so they like senseless conflict hur hur villainous motivation). But then Mr. Rockecenter called about an even greater emergency, so Bury had to get the US Army Signal Corps to put that extremely complicated equivalent to a modern cell phone in Gris' hands. There's no phones in the rain forests, you see... which begs the question of how Rockecenter contacted Bury, and what Bury's using to speak to Gris, but whatever.
Rockecenter's complaining that the Whiz Kid is starting a rival oil company, though this is in fact false and the result of being read the day's paper by an illiterate secretary (yes, the man who controls the entire world can't read his own paper and relies on idiots to get information). Bury has a more important concern - Madison committed a felony when he mentioned Bury's own firm Swindle and Crouch in the same sentence as those ambulance chasers at Boggle, Gouge and Hound, an error that Bury considers manslaughter. So Gris has to go get Madison back under control. Because Bury can't call Madison, oh no, Madison would just plead the 5th. Nope, this is all on Gris, who has consistently had difficulty just getting in contact with Madison, and has utterly failed at directing his activities.
Bury asks if Gris needs anything else, like one of these awesome jungle snakes he's found. Gris mentions his failure to get some money from the new cashier lady (oh god oh god oh god), but Bury just tells him to work things out with the Chief Security Officer. And with that phone call completed, all of the soldiers and vaguely-described military vehicles disengage, leaving Gris with a nineteen thousand dollar bill from the hotel for damages.
I think the author intends for all this to provoke a rueful chuckle of "goodness, how can these clowns run an organization that controls an entire planet?" Rather than having the reader chug something for a headache and groaning "good lord, how can these clowns run an organization that controls an entire planet?" See, the first one is a response to amusing satire, while the latter is in response to terrible writing.
Interesting note: Utanc is in this chapter. Once the MPs and everyone pulls out, she crawls out from under the bed (the bed that they shot up?) all white-faced and trembling, then slams and locks the bedroom door. Was it the shock at the sudden intrusion, or does she have another reason to fear the US government? How mysterious.
A mystery that isn't going to be resolved anytime soon, though. Hubbard has other things in store for us first.
Back to Part Thirty-One, Chapter Seven