So hey, Odur the "little homo" is back. Apparently the way disembarking works in the Apparatus is that guards take you off the ship one at a time for an interview with the local moronic villain. So all the passengers get to breathe a bit more recycled air until an idiot needs to talk to them.
Odur reports that he has paperwork for Gris - lots of blank forms for him to stamp, because that could never backfire on him - along with a bunch of news from Voltar. Apparently the home office is in turmoil ever since Bawtch and two other workers stopped showing up. And even though there's no actual confirmation that Bawtch is indeed dead, Gris immediately concludes that Too-Too's plan to assassinate his old boss succeeded! ...You remember that, right? Towards the end of last book? Don't worry, at this rate Bawtch's inevitable survival will only become relevant at the end of Book 5. (editor's note from the future: Book 9, actually)
The big news is that Lombar Hisst's dastardly plans are coming to fruition. The Grand Council, court physicians, and even a lot of the general population have gotten addicted to drugs. And we could wonder why there hasn't been a backlash from moral authorities or civilian physicians against this new addiction sweeping the planet, or how the Apparatus is able to keep up a steady supply of enough drugs to hook a whole world from a single base in Turkey, but really there's no point in questioning. This is a setting where the hero was forced to cut ties with his benefactor because a newspaper said so.
But there is a hitch - Heller's platen-encoded mission reports. The Grand Council is confident in the success of Heller's mission, while Hisst is antsy that Heller might upset the profitable situation here on Earth. Or in other words, here's a recap of the premise that we established in Book 2. But Odur does remember something else Hisst told him to pass along (because an encoded message of his own is just out of the question, apparently), namely that "some time in the future he would be able to give you a go-ahead and you could safely kill that man."
Yes, Gris has made so little progress on the "Heller's platen" plotline that his boss is going to solve it for him. So we can look forward to some action-packed stalling on Gris' part until he gets that go-ahead.
And yet Gris' lack of progress hasn't gotten him killed by the mysterious Apparatus assassin. Huh.
Gris also asks about the woman who came along with the Blixo, and Odur can only describe her in glowing terms. He faints when Gris reveals that Krak's the girlfriend of the to-be-killed man in Odur's message. Cruelty as comedy.
There's also Dr. Crobe, whose interview with Gris mainly reveals that he didn't properly learn English on the trip over. Gris gives him copies of Psychology Rampant and To the Depths With Psychiatry, which despite their titles evidently aren't anti-psychology pamphlets but actual psychiatric texts. Boo, hiss, psychology bad, grr.
Is the book over yet?
Back to Chapter Six