Sure, we've had an "arc" of sorts. Gris hired a hitman, tried to set up a murder, and failed miserably. Problem is, he failed in only 185 pages, so rather than make this series a "undecimology" we'll just have to start a new plotline and stick it in the same book. Onward, then, to more Madison, some legal drama, more underage sexual activity, and boats! Glorious, majestic boats to lead us into Mission Earth Volume 7: Voyage of Vengeance!
Gris decides he can't deal with Pinchy and Candy right now, and so checks in with what little money he has at a wino hotel where "they didn't even bother to sort the living from the dead." And only now, six books into this series, does Gris decide to use the "Apparatus fundamental musts:"
1. PREPARE A BASE BEFORE YOU ATTACK
2. HANDLE YOUR TROOPS BEFORE YOU ATTACK
3. PLAN BEFORE YOU ATTACK
4. GATHER WEAPONS BEFORE YOU ATTACK
5. PINPOINT OBJECTIVES BEFORE YOU ATTACK
6. TIME EVERYTHING
Preceded of course by rule 0: "ALWAYS CAPSLOCK, ALL THE TIME."
Gris reminds us that the Apparatus' job is to undermine civilization, making "the maximum amount of trouble for the maximum amount of people for the minimum number of reasons." The same thing that governments do, of course! Even primitive Earth can get that part right!
Unfortunately we can't say the same about Gris. #5 is easy - kill Krak - but the best base he can come up with for #1 is his hotel room, he jots down the time to complete #6, and when he considers #2 realizes that his only troops are himself - "Bury and Torpedo and Madison had failed me." Again, Raht slips his mind. Also, why isn't Bury a valuable resource? He's a potential source of guys to kill Krak, not an assassin who failed his mission.
Anyway, Gris decides to address the "troops," i.e. himself.
What was the matter with the troops?
Venereal disease. What with goats and dogs and Torpedo,
And twenty-odd Turkish not-hookers and random pairs of strangers delivered to your bed so you can "cure" them of lesbianism.
this was obviously the case. While there was no sign of it, in every text you read on military matters it is a problem. Good.
So, after a good night's sleep, Gris wakes up bright and early, which given the numbers and distances involved last chapter means that he probably got a whopping three or four hours of shuteye. Gris spends the last two pages of this four-page chapter at a V.D. clinic. His account of his "contact" history gets the doctor's attention.
"How long have these contacts occurred?" he solicitously.
I counted it up rapidly, using my fingers. The first time I had collided with the Countess Krak was in Spiteos about half a year before Heller came along. She had murdered an agent who sought to grab at her sexually. "Thirteen months," I said.
"How do you know you got it from her?" he asked.
"She forced me into it," I said. "If it weren't for her I would never have had any association with dogs or goats or llamas from Peru."
Which leads to a ten-day montage of shots and medical treatments that leaves Gris nearly broke, but he can say with absolute confidence that he has no sign of STDs. The doctor advises him to "terminate any association" with the woman who put him in that situation, so it's like ironic and funny and crap when Gris mentally agrees that oh yeah, he'll terminate that Krak all right. Terminate her to death. By killing her.
This will of course involve sitting on his pallid alien ass while watching the viewscreens and trying to get Madison's world of negative publicity to have an impact on Heller's life. So back to Book 3's plot. Or was it Book 4? Mission Earth is one big blur of Gris sitting around, Gris running around desperately trying to get his subordinates to do something, or Gris giving up and wasting time in Turkey.
Back to Part Forty-Six, Chapter Seven