By the second paragraph he's wondering if everyone's working against him, if Krak sent Teenie to oh-so-euphemistically "distract" him while she moved in for the kill. Typical paranoia, in other words. He talks to himself, recites a little mantra: "Steady. Be calm. You heart is still beating. There is hope yet. Steady. Be calm." And with that, he has an incredible revelation.
If I looked a the viewer I could see where she was.
So maybe it was unfair of me to yell at Gris at this book's beginning for spending chapter after chapter setting up a hit on the Countess. Maybe he didn't know that he could use a gun on her as well. It could even be psychology's fault, maybe he's been told for so long that man is a victim of biological forces that he's become hopelessly passive, unable to directly act and change his destiny.
Krak's looking at a building that consists of a porno store, massage parlor, National Association of Mental Stealth office, and law firm stacked atop each other. Yes, Krak is approaching "THE LAW OFFICES OF DINGALING, CHASE AND AMBO!"
I think this is "alarming news capslock" rather than "quote unquote unexpected plot twist capslock," since it's kinda obvious Krak would go after the source of the problem.
Speaking of sources of problems, in a hugely convenient coincidence, Gris has turned on the viewscreen in time to watch Krak watch Maizie Spread, Toots Switch and Dolores Pubiano de Cópula, all of the Whiz Kid's alleged wives, walk out of the building. Krak follows them. Cue the Jaws theme.
Gris does what he does best - call up someone and yell at them to do something about his problems. He warns one of the lawyers that the "female fiend" he previously warned them about is outside their windows, stalking their star witnesses. Shabby Man In The Shabby Coat With A Shabby Hat is dispatched to intercept her but, as Gris watches the viewscreen, passes right by Krak without noticing, even though he'd met her in person. "What crazy magic was this?" Gris wonders, as if several chapters ago he didn't see the results of appearance-altering technology.
Krak follows the women into a restaurant, and while they wait for a waitress, asks them in a quavering voice if they want any flowers. She doesn't wait for an answer, and plops down some plants and reaches into the women's purses, one after another, to get her due payment. She gets thrown out, of course, but not before knocking out the restaurant's owner with a blow from one of the purses. Sucks to be a small businessman in Mission Earth, I guess.
At this point Gris realizes that Krak has somehow disguised herself as a little old lady wandering into restaurants to aggressively sell flowers, so that's why Shabby didn't recognize her. And the best part is that, since we never actually see Krak's face thanks to the whole bugging gimmick, we don't have to worry about how she disguised herself. Make-up, theatrical training, some alien gizmo, it doesn't matter, rest assured that she somehow completed the deception.
Gris is about to call up an ambulance to get a certain old lady committed to an asylum, when he notices that Krak has, while rummaging in her purses, extracted three cards bearing the women's addresses! Conveniently, the girls each put down their personal information on handy little cards that Krak could distinguish by touch from all the other stuff in their purses. Even more conveniently, the girls all live together. Things could only get easier for Krak if her future victims were hit by a bus after leaving the restaurant.
So instead of calling the asylum, Gris calls the lawyers again, and warns that their target is not only disguised as a flower seller, but about to murder their witnesses at their apartment. Mr. Chase assures him that they're not going to bother with the police. No, they've got a "tough security company" with orders to shoot on sight and ship any survivors off to the asylum.
I rang off. I was much relieved.
Where the hell did Gris pick up so many Britishisms?
Thank Gods, Dingaling, Chase and Ambo and I were on the job.
The trap was laid.
The Countess Krak didn't stand a chance.
Much like how Heller didn't stand a chance against the marina's National Guard defenders. Or the Coast Guard. Or Grafferty and the police. Or how Krak couldn't possibly survive an encounter with that fearsome mob killer Gris sicced on her.
Is this the end ofthe Countess Krak?
Sure. Unless - and this is just a hypothetical situation - she had some sort of technology capable of making a squad of policemen run away screaming. Or some magical gesture that forced others to grab whatever booby-trapped item she thrust at them. Or was able to disguise herself in a way that let her walk right past without them noticing her. If Krak could do anything like that, I think the odds of this particular security force stopping her would be quite low.
ReadMISSION EARTHVolume 7VOYAGE OF VENGEANCE
Why? What do we have to look forward to? The heroes are so damn unstoppable and the villains are so damn incompetent that there's no dramatic tension. This book ends with the promise of Heller in Turkey, which is a place where nothing interesting or plot-relevant happens, and Krak going around mind-controlling people, which we've seen this book and last. And then you keep treating us to sex scenes with minors, Hubbard. What is the reader's incentive to continue?
I'll answer my own question: morbid curiosity. Not so much to see just how awful this series can get - I can only hope we've plumbed its depths with this volume (editor's note from the future: ahahaha NO) - but to explore the mind of its author. To see what L. Ron Hubbard considered heroic and what he felt was villainous. What he felt was romantic, even erotic, and what he deemed humorous. More importantly, since he called this satire, this lets us catch a glimpse of how he viewed the world, how he thought it should be, and how he thought he could convince readers to change the former to the latter.
Hubbard may have hated psychology, but he's really jumping on the couch for us. And oh, the things we have learned!
Back to Part Fifty-One, Chapter Five