He wakes up from a snooze in the owner's salon to find something weird on the viewscreens, green smoke rings rising into the sky, followed by Krak and Heller in "sun helmets." They look happy.
I shut my eyes tightly.
Krak's voice. "Finished!" She sounded jubilant. I knew she meant me. Nothing else would give her such joy.
"Absolutely finished!" said Heller. He sounded so happy he could only be referring to my eyesight.
Gris' persecution complex aside, Krak, Heller, Bang-Bang, Izzy and J.P. Flagrant are all down in Florida celebrating the success of Beautiful Clear Blue Skies for Everyone, Inc.'s "spore" plant. All the contractors and workers who helped build the place are in attendance, along with fifty alligator farm buyers for some reason, members of the press, and two hundred Seminoles to perform native dances. Which is why Flagrant is in a feathered headdress and talking like a stereotype. "Red brothers smoke plenty wampum. Do peace dance. Ugh."
The plant is pumping out fifty million "spores" every minute, propelled up a fifty-foot smokestack miles into the stratosphere. Because I guess anyone who wants to can build a factory to spew biological agents into the sky. So did Heller have to get a permit for this? Did any inspectors come by and ask where he came up with these "spores" or how they're supposed to work? Anyone ask to see the facilities that created these ravenous globs of organic matter? Nobody's expressed concern over the long-term effects they'll have on the planet?
I can't help but think that this is something that'd be really easy to shut down. You don't even need a "PR genius" like Madison, all Rockecenter would need to do is get the papers to publish some alarmist editorials or hire some scientist-like spokespeople to stir up public opinion against this lunatic spraying biological agents into the air from the swamps of Florida, which would end in a court order for the plant's closure. Easy-peasy. Alas, the family "spi" is bad about passing on information to his bosses. And coworkers. And henchmen.
Krak congratulates Heller, saying that they're one step closer to home. "Now if we can just push along with these fuel things, we'll be through in no time."
I groaned. If they wound up a success, they would certainly ruin Rockecenter. And Lombar would comb the planet to find and kill me.
From this, I'm guessing the author is aware of how badly the story is dragging, and how long's it been since he last dealt with the main plot, so he felt the need to remind the reader what's going on and what's at stake. And yet he doesn't feel the need to just cut out the crap slowing the story down and focusing on the thrice-damned premise of this misbeggoten series.
I looked at the two-way-response radio. I could think of nothing to tell Raht.
"Stop them?" Get him to act on his own initiative? Manco Devil knows he's better at getting things done than you, let the boy win his spurs.
I turned the faces of the viewers to the wall. I could not stand to witness a celebration. It was too much like an Irish wake: the corpse being me.
But he doesn't turn them off for whatever reason. Guess he secretly wants to hear the native dancers.
Back to Chapter One