Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Part Sixty-Three, Chapter Three - The Nature of Hate

After spending a half-hour repainting the hull and removing those unwanted locator beacons, Heller returns to the "flight deck" and chews out Gris for not mentioning the bugs, since his life was just at risk.  But Gris explains that the beacons aren't even necessary - the other assassin pilot will be able to track the tug from the "spatial turbulence" of its drives.

Ignoring the fact that outer space is by definition mostly empty, I can think of two interpretations of this statement.  The first is that Heller's ship, despite absorbing radar and whatnot, is still emitting energy and crap that someone can track - begging the question of when NASA will notice these anomalous readings.  The other is that the spatial turbulence mentioned refers to those bloody Will-be Was engines twisting space-time around Tug One, making me wonder what damage Heller's doing to the planet he's purportedly saving.

Since that remaining assassin pilot - who sat out the recent dogfight for some reason - will surely succeed where his counterpart failed, Gris cunningly suggests that Heller take him to Voltar, but Heller's busy.

"It's a pretty planet," said Heller.  "If I didn't complete my mission, it will become uninhabitable.  In another century or less, it will be so chewed up it won't even support life.  Don't you care what happens to five billion people?"

This'll be hilarious in a few chapters, just wait.

"Riffraff," I said.

He raised his eyebrows.  "Well, I guess one sees in others what he finds sees in himself."

I seethed at the insult.  Didn't he realize that he was talking to the future Chief of the Apparatus?  Oh, I'd get even with him before this was over!

Gris will now spend a third of the book on a boat, struggling to come up with a snappy come-back.

Heller goes to work in the ship's engine rooms, which are of course visible from the "flight deck," along with the primary airlock, entrance to the storage rooms, and galley.  I'd very much like to see the schematics for this poor vehicle.  Then Heller pops out the engines' spare "space time-converter drum" and opens it up despite all the warning labels.  Turns out he smuggled what looks like, but isn't quite, a laser cannon inside of it.  Heller slots the not-gun into its mounting, then assembles a cage... around the airlock... to catch a primordial black hole... I'm sure it'll make sense once we see it in action.

This quite uneventful chapter winds down with Heller asking if the cat's ready for supper, setting up his food and bed in the first mate's room, then refusing to give Gris anything.  When Gris cites regulations that prisoners must be fed, Heller tosses him an empty cup of hot jolt.

"Gods, how you must hate me!" I snarled.

"Hate?  That's a very strong word, Gris.  One doesn't waste hate on a loathsome insect."

Loathsome (adj), derived from loathe, a synonym for hate.

So even though Gris lured Heller's "girl" to her death, the space commando doesn't hate him.  He refuses to feed him and verbally abuses him and threatens to throw him out an airlock from time to time, but the heroic Jettero Heller is much too righteous to hate Gris.  He just loathes him.

Gris ends the chapter with his brow furrowed in concentration, thinking about how much he needs to get out of his current situation.

Wait, if the assassin ship didn't have an absorbo-coat, allowing the tug to pick it up, why can't Earth-based equipment notice it?

Back to Chapter Two

No comments:

Post a Comment