Looking up at the stone arches before the clearing smoke, I did not even take time to marvel that I could move!
Something was trapping me. The bag around my neck was caught under a control stick.
So immediately after noticing he can move, Gris discovers he's trapped. Might want to word that better, herr author.
Gris frees himself and charges out of his second crashed vehicle, screaming at the prison's pike-wielding (archaic weapons in a world of blastguns? classy!) guards for help. They don't know what the eff and assume Gris is some sort of suicide bomber, but all the shouting attracts the attention of an elderly justiciary. He's understandably confused why anyone would want to go to jail - even a Royal jail - but when Gris waves around his satchel and claims he has a bunch of evidence, the geezer admits Gris to an audience chamber.
Gris identifies himself as an officer of the Apparatus, making the justiciary wonder why he shouldn't send Gris to one of the Apparatus' separate courts, or the domestic police for crashing a bus. But Gris claims that his crimes are against the state, and therefore Royal offenses. The justiciary checks, but there's no Royal warrant for a Soltan Gris, so he tries to send the aspiring prisoner away to a lesser court.
So it looks like - I'm no legal expert - Voltar's got a pretty disjointed legal system. There's the prestigious, incorruptible Royal courts that you only get into if someone at the top of the hierarchy issues a special warrant for your special crimes. You've got a private justice system the Apparatus uses to regulate itself, and is therefore pretty crooked. And then there's the normal Domestic Police justice system for everything else, which is also controlled by the Apparatus.
But remember, Earth is the rotten planet, Earth is the one with the corrupt "justice" system. I mean, we've got lawyers! And newspapers!
Fortunately Gris has some "INSPIRATION!" and mentions that a Royal officer had been hauling him in to Royal jail, before he "stopped off somewhere." He also namedrops Commander Crup from the Emergency Fleet Reserve - remember him? - so the judge can call and verify all this. He does so.
"Well, Commander Crup did not know what the crime was, but I'm sure if Jettero Heller was bringing you here it would have been against the state."
"You can hold me?" I cried with joy.
"Oh, yes. We can put you in a cell. But we need something for the charge sheet. What was the crime?"
"Oh, everything!" I said. "Just everything!"
"That's pretty general," said Lord Turn. "Can't you tell me something more specific?"
"Oh, that would take hours!" I said, anxious to get actually on their books.
"Well, supposing you just write it all down and then we'll know what this is all about."
So, in exchange for potential leniency, Gris is given a well-lit cell, writing implements, and medical attention so he can make a full confession. A confession that we've been reading for the past 3,091 pages. A long, rambling, painful confession containing events that I'm sure aren't pertinent to the case, and unrelated crimes that Gris gains nothing from mentioning.
Oh, I would tell all. I had my records and my logs. I would tell everything I knew about Mission Earth.
Who knew where Heller was?
And the longer I wrote, the longer I would stay alive.
Oh, right, he's explicitly stalling. I wonder, then, why he compressed so many of his voyages on boat or spaceship, instead of wasting ink and paper by telling us how he frittered away each day?
This could also be my last opportunity to point out how bizarrely-written this "confession" is. When you're writing a diary about your plots of revenge or whatnot, you could be excused for ending one day's entry with "I've got you now, Bon Jovi!" only to follow with "somehow Bon Jovi had slipped out of my clutches!" But this is all being written at once, with the benefit of hindsight. It's a bit strange to write "Heller was dead!" instead of "I thought Heller was dead, but of course was mistaken because I'm terrible,"or "I've got you now, Countess Krak!" instead of "I thought I had the Countess Krak but really ought to have known better."
In short, Gris is somehow remembering with near-perfect recall how he felt every step of his months-long journey of depravity and failure.
And so this is my narrative. I give it to you, Lord Turn. I do not know another blessed thing.
But please don't turn me out.
Just execute me quickly!
Attested that the foregoing was confessed by said prisoner:
GumminsTower Guard, Royal Prison
ScritchLife Prisoner, adjacent cell
So Gris wants to be executed quickly, but is stalling for time by writing a long-ass "confession."
Aaand that's it for Gris. He's out of the story (for now, at least) and no longer has any way of telling us what's going on. But Heller and Friends are still out there fighting the Royal fight against the forces of riffraff. How are we, the reader, going to know how this epic struggle ends?
Why, we'll get us a new narrator, of course!
Back to Part Sixty-Six, Chapters Five and Six