Thursday, June 13, 2013

Part Fifty-Seven, Chapter Four - When an Unstoppable Force Meets a Movable Object

Gris wakes up to find the yacht's captain inspecting the boat "to make sure the French haven't stolen [sic] us blind."  As it is, the foreign devils have pinched four fire hose nozzles, which as we know are worth thousands on the Parisian black markets.  But then Gris makes the mistake of admitting that he not only drank some French wine, but engaged in sexual congress with the port director's female family members.  So he gets scrubbed down with antiseptic soap and his clothes are burned ("Nothing will kill French lice but fire.") and he gets injected with antibiotics because the French press their wine with their feet and sometimes they have athlete's foot and the captain doesn't want Gris to catch "athlete's foot of the stomach."

I sure hope these books aren't contagious.  I'd hate to catch whatever was afflicting the author when he wrote them.

Madison enjoyed the tour of the island prison that showed up in The Count of Monte Cristo, what with all the old skeletons and the tourists jailed for not being able to pay their hotel bills.  He did find out that there was never a Count of Monte Cristo, i.e. it took a voyage across the Atlantic to determine what a person with a functioning brainstem could learn at his or her local library.  But Madison is still pumped.

"Here is this internationally known outlaw, totally immortal, name on the tongue-tip of every school child and movie director,

Yeah, when those kids and movie directors aren't chattering about Jesse James or Al Capone, they're running around playing Count of Monte Cristo on the jungle gym.

who never existed at all!  Don't you see?  It's the PR triumph of the ages!  Total notoriety and not a single spark of fact to sully it anywhere.  It means you can create even the flesh and blood of fame without the slightest vestige of reality.

So... is Hubbard trying to argue that those big bad journalists made him up to sell papers?  Then who was book??

What a PR that Alexandre Dumas was!  God, they don't make them like that anymore."

What a Public Relations that guy was, indeed.

The locals kept reverently mentioning this "Napoleon" fellow, so Madison wants to go to Corsica to find out more.  The captain agrees to set a course for Ajaccio only when Gris promises to stay aboard.  Teenie and Madison go ashore while Gris does his exercises and, invigorated by a good lunch, decides he's strong enough to turn on Krak and Heller's viewscreens.

The two are arguing over Heller's final exams.  Krak thinks little of our primitive understanding of electronics and thinks Izzy should have someone hand in completed finals on Heller's behalf, while the ever-honorable Fleet officer couldn't accept a diploma unless he personally sat for his final exams.  Even if he's never actually attended any of his classes and is sending Bang-Bang to stand in for him in ROTC. 

The latter may actually be a problem, since Heller will need to do some parade drills to pass his ROTC course... and nobody will notice "Wister"'s complete change in appearance on the last day of class?  Heller's much too busy studying an entire textbook devoted to quadratic equations to learn them right now, so he tells Bang-Bang to teach Krak instead.  Whaaa?!  Surely a girl wouldn't know how to handle a weapon!  But then Krak spends a page perfectly duplicating Bang-Bang's movements, before adding her own lightning-fast crisp perfect gun-twirling performance.  Wooo, you go girl.  So Hubbard's not sexist.  This proves it.

Gris has a sad.

Oh, I didn't like the way things were going.  Miss Simmons was out of the running.

That happened what, two books ago?

The spores project was completed.

But you said it was harmless!

Heller was going to take his exams and get his diploma.

Even though his lack of diploma isn't holding him back in any way, and the notion that he needs it so that people take him seriously makes almost as little sense as tying the success of his new carburetor design to a car race.

The Countess Krak was training microwave engineers for some purpose I could not fathom.

She wants to beam electricity around without wires.  She discussed the plan back when she and Heller reunited on Earth.  You watched her talk about it.  It implies that she's working on new energy technology, which is something that you should be worrying about.

Without me right on the ground to trip them up, they might very well succeed!

I could feel the assassin's blade going into my back.  For that was my lot if they did.

Where the hell is Bloody Dagger, anyway?  Can the mysterious Apparatus enforcer not catch a lift out of Turkey?  Or just kill him and take over the counter-Mission Earth?

I looked at the two-way-response radio.  I wished fervently I could think of something to order Raht to do.  I couldn't, but I must.

My only choice right now was to stay good and lost, keep out of Turkey and the U.S. and hope that my training and brilliance would come up with something which would stop this juggernaut of disaster.  I couldn't dawdle forever.  I would be squashed.

It'll just feel like he's dawdling forever.

Little did I know that that

Authors?  Try to avoid doing this.

malign Earth God, Juggernaut, already had his foot far more than halfway down on the back of my neck right that minute.

Or this.  Good grief, what does that even mean? 

Now, you might be thinking, "hang on, I don't remember any god named Juggernaut."  Well, as it turns out, the English word juggernaut is derived from the Hindu deity Jagannath, an aspect of Vishnu, if I'm reading things correctly.  More specifically, it refers to some wheeled shrines worshipers would bring out for holy days, and one European observer saw people get crushed under the wheels and assumed they were voluntarily sacrificing themselves to the deity.  So juggernaut originally referred to a subject of blind devotion or self-sacrifice, but the meaning of the word gradually morphed to focus on the huge wheeled thing doing the crushing, which leaves us with the synonym for an unstoppable force we're more familiar with today.

You can learn things from Mission Earth.  Mainly by fact-checking the author.

Back to Chapter Three 

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