Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Part Fifty, Chapter Five - Krak and Heller Get Physical

Heller goes from beginning work with his "picklock" at the end of last chapter to quickly slipping through the door and silently shutting it behind him so "that the surprise was absolute."  Krak's in a silken-covered bed, staring disinterestedly out the viewport at all the fires and floating corpses in the harbor instead of reading her magazine, clad only in a blue negligee. 

Something must have made her aware that someone else was in the room.

She whipped her head sideways.  She went white!

"THE BLACK!" she cried.

With all her might she hurled the magazine across the room.

Krak's not shrieking about "the black man who the harbormaster warned was coming to attack me!"  No, she recognizes Heller immediately, she just thinks that "Your sins have blackened your face."

Let the reconciliation begin.

"Dear," he said, "you've got to listen."

"There is nothing to listen to!" she flamed.  "You lied to me about other women!

True.

You married some cheap harlot!  And then you married another one!

Not as true.

You have blasted all my hopes and dreams! 

Krak never had any aspirations beyond "enter a monogamous marriage with Jettero Heller."

Get out!  I never want to see you again!"

"Dear, are you going to listen to me or do I sit on you!"

"Don't touch me, you philandering, unprincipled beast!"  Her hands had been grasping about.  She seized a bottle of sun lotion and hurled it at him with all her might!

Yeah.  First a magazine, now a bottle of suntan lotion, maybe a chair next.  Gris is actually wondering whether Krak might kill Heller.  She's not wearing her stomping boots, boyo, don't get your hopes up.

She doesn't get very far, though, as Heller frickin' tackles her legs to bring her crashing to the (Persian) carpet.  When Krak starts scratching at him, Heller gets both of her wrists in one hand and pins them to the floor over her head, keeps a knee across her thighs to stop her from kicking, and sits on her.  The most she can do is struggle and fail to bite him.

"You," he said, "are going to do some listening!"

"I won't!"

If you ever need to summarize what's been wrong with Krak and Heller's relationship for the past third of this book, here you go.

While Krak accuses Heller of planning to rape her like he did those other women, Heller reaches into an undoubtedly waterproof satchel to retrieve some key pieces of evidence.

Heller had taken a piece of paper off the stack.  He opened it and shoved it in front of her face.  "Look at this."

"I won't!"  She turned her face away from it.

Remorselessly,

If the word "remorselessly" can ever be applied to an aspect of your relationship, it's probably best to just end it before things get any worse.

using the elbow of the arm that held her wrists, he forced her head the other way toward the paper he held.  She closed her eyes, tightly and violently.

Heller said, "LOOK AT THAT PAPER!  What is it?"

"You can prove nothing to me!" she said.

"Answer me.  What is the paper?"
"You're hurting me.  Ouch."

So does Edward ever do this to Bella?  I hear he stalks her and breaks into her house and sabotages her car and kidnaps her and threatens her and basically takes over her life, but that's all emotional abuse and domination that Bella apparently finds appealing.  But does he ever just pin her down and force her to do something, despite causing her pain and distress?

Put it like that, this chapter is just as, if not more rape-y than the one where Gris actually rapes people.

She looked.  Her eyes flamed.  "It's that nasty suit by that awful Mexican (bleeptch)!"  She struggled to get free.

He shifted the paper in his hand and pushed it at her face.  "Read that paragraph!  What is the date in it?"

She was hissing and snarling.  Then, "Ouch.  You're breaking my arms!  ALL RIGHT!  It says you married her twenty-six months ago!"

This goes on for another page.  Heller gets out the Toots Switch suit ("You're bruising my neck") and makes Krak note the date on it ("Why are you torturing me?").  He gets out a paper covering the Mamie Spread affair ("You're breaking my legs!") and points out the date on that.  Then he gets out his Fleet logbook...

Why would you let a covert commando infiltrate an alien, hostile planet with a complete log of his activities over the past couple of years?

Gris narrates that Heller "applied pressure" to get Krak to open her eyes to examine it, which leaves entirely too much to the reader's imagination.  But once she starts reading, Heller finally lets his girlfriend sit up to page through the logbook and conclude that why, Heller hadn't even seen Blito-P3 until last year, and only landed on it a few months ago.  There's no way he could have been around to rape and/or marry all those women!  So the newspaper and lawsuits are lying!  (Or else the logbook is, but that never occurs to Krak.)

And with that revelation she bursts into tears and clutches Heller while the orchestral swells into a sweeping romantic piece that would have been perversely ironic had it played a few paragraphs ago.

There was a rap on the door.  A gruff voice said "Ma'am, are you all right in there?  A sentry reported something breaking somewhere this end of the ship."

But the sentry didn't hear all the screams of "You're hurting me!" and "READ IT!" and the thumps and crashes and struggling and damn I hate this book.

She raised her head, swallowed hard, and made a determined effort to speak.

"No, nothing is broken now!" she cried.  "Thanks Gods it's just been mended!"

The footsteps went away.

The Countess Krak.  A woman so viciously, purposefully stupid, so insanely jealous, that you have to pin her down and force-feed her the information to snap her out of her delusions about her partner's fidelity.

Jettero Heller.  A man not afraid to knock his girlfriend down and force some sense into her, a man who couldn't send her an anonymous package containing some newspaper clippings and a mission log page with the relevant dates circled in red marker to get the same point across.

I'd wonder if the horribleness of these characters and their pairing is intended to be satire of... I don't know, action hero romances?  But having read Battlefield Earth, I can only conclude that the author thinks such relationships are acceptable, even romantic.  So yeah.  Delbert John Rockecenter trying to either kill everyone through psychology or turn them gay through psychology?  Satire.  J. Warbler Madman trying to turn the Whiz Kid into Jesse James through a thoroughly fictitious media campaign?  Satire.  Krak x Heller?  Twue Love.


Back to Chapter Four

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