Thursday, July 11, 2013

Part Sixty, Chapter Nine - Piracy at Fifty Thousand Feet

If I remember correctly, that line-jumper vehicle is covered in "absorbo-coat" material that will render it invisible to radar and similar methods of detection, yeah?  So why can Space Pirate Jeeb's camera feed reach it?  Are the line-jumper's sensors and receivers able to pick stuff up even when under the absorbo-coat?  Or does Jeeb's video feed and two-way radio work differently than our primitive Earth radio waves, and if so, why would the Apparatus consider a two-way radio a security risk?

I should just be grateful we've got a bona fide action scene this chapter.

The line-jumper takes off and heads west, Gris and its crew of pirates ready for action.  Captain Stabb eagerly wonders what treasure might be waiting in the cargo hold of a commercial airliner, and Gris has to keep his mind on their target.  On a viewscreen they watch Jeeb board Krak's flight, and thanks to some "LUCK!" he's able to take the seat right behind hers.

Gris and the captain decide to hit the airliner when it's over the Adriatic Sea, and so drop down from seventy thousand feet, matching speed with the jet and preparing to engage their tractor beams and whatever doodad lets them "blanket their radio."  When they give the signal ("NOW!"), Jeeb lunges forward to stab Krak with a "paralysis dagger!"  As opposed to short-ranged knock-out gas or something more subtle.  At the same time, the line-jumper engages its tractor beams and yanks the airliner up against its underside.

"BEDLAM!"  The pirate engineers "blast-cut" through the jet's fuselage, while Jeeb, after asking for permission, starts blazing away with a "glass blastick," vaporizing heroic crewmen and passengers in "electric fire!"  Then Stabb drops through the hole in the jet's hull...

The bedlam increased from the viewer and I could hear it coming up through the hole.

Stabb moved into sight in the viewer.  His huge arms were flailing a club, left and right, knocking passengers back.  A child got in his way and he hurled it screaming at the flight deck door.

Um.  Stabb brutalizes his way into the cockpit, and spends some moments up there while Jeeb continues to vaporize any passengers displaying poor pattern recogniztion.  Then... wow...

Stabb came out of the flight deck.  He was holding the club in one hand and the disintegrator gun in the other.

Another child, struggling up, got in his way.  He smashed its skull with one swing of the club.

Stabb came opposite Krak's seat.  A stewardess clawed at him and Stabb smashed her with another lethal swing.

He finds Krak's parcels and is rather disgusted to find that underneath the gold paper they're nothing but a pair of ties.

Several passengers were still moving.  Systematically, Stabb battered them to death.  Then he and Jeeb began to rip watches off wrists and wallets from pockets.  They emptied a bag full of baby clothes and threw their loot in.

I forgot the cost of this book's action scenes - they tend to involve terrible things happening to people who don't always deserve it.  I mean sure, these passengers were probably psychologists or homosexuals or government employees or drug users, but sheesh.

Also, as far as I can tell Jeeb and Captain Stabb just cleared and looted a passenger jet all on their own, either disintegrating or battering every single other person to death.  All for their wristwatches and pocket change.  Guess the rest of the space pirates were there for moral support?

Stabb and Jeeb haul Krak's unconscious fanny aboard the line-jumper, and they let the plane go.  Gris, who I distinctly remember being afraid of heights before, stares down through the line-jumper's open underside hatch, ten miles up, in hopes of seeing where the plane lands.  He's worried that it will crash on some nearby islands rather than in the ocean, because... no reason given.  But they spot it on the ship's "nonvisible light bands" and watch it nosedive into the ocean.  Cap'n Stabb sabotaged the controls, you see.

I sighed with relief.

I turned my attention to the floorboards.

In most cases "floorboards" refers to wooden planks that make up a floor, but according to Wiktionary an English usage describes the floor of a car.  Guess Hubbard really likes his English idioms, the silly bugger.

There lay the Countess Krak.  She would be out for another three hours, at least.

I did not want to touch her.  I began a gesture to Captain Stabb.  "Tie her hands and feet and tie them well."

The Countess Krak was deadly no more.  She was in my hands!

You just said you're still afraid to touch her.  Still, at least he's improved since the end of Book Four, when the Countess Krak was under anesthesia and he was still crapping himself in terror, desperate to get her away from him.

So if he had no intention of leaving the line-jumper, why did Gris need to load up with guns and a sneaking suit?

Back to Part Sixty, Chapters Six, Seven and Eight

1 comment:

  1. Americans say floorboard to mean the floor of a car, too. I've heard people say that in California, and it's listed in New Oxford American Dictionary as the second definition of floorboard with "N. Amer." before it.