Thursday, October 10, 2013

Part Seventy, Chapter Five - In Which the Author Flunks 1st Grade Science

Operation: Kamikaze Kitten is working so far, and of course Mr. Calico is dragging an inert black ball and sparkler instead of a real bomb.  Heller's able to tie Faustino's hands while everyone else flees the building, then muscles the fat man into his office.  Faustino collapses near that canopied chair, Heller tells the cat to "guard" him, but then the mobster somehow triggers something to make the metal canopy fall over the chair, sealing him and the cat off from Heller.  So that's what that thing was: an incredibly obvious Bond villain escape route.

But hey, what was step two of Heller's plan?  Spark a panic so that all the New York officials flee the building, grab Faustino, take him into the office, and what?  Gonna strap him to the hover-sled and fly out?  Lower him from the skyscraper with a rope?  We're never told.

At this point Heller can hear guards discovering that the sizzling bomb is a fake, so he quickly tries to slice through the steel barrier with his disintegrator gun - but, because the plot requires it, his space-age device cannot carve through the metal quickly enough.  While mobsters start battering down the office door, Heller peeks through the little hole he's made to find "EMPTINESS!"  And, just past the nothing, a "spiral chute" leading down.  So, the bad guy escaped on a playground slide.

Have a Hubbard Action Sequence.

A shotgun blasted again at the door.

Heller grabbed his satchels.

He threw himself on the spacetrooper sled.

The shotgun roared again!

Heller hit the controls.

The sound of the door bursting in.

The sled started out the window.

Another shotgun blast!

Something tugged at his heel!

He shot out into the dark night!


The cover lies to us, though - these aren't fireballs or anything, just loud-as-all-hell concussive blasts.  Heller continues flying through the night as "THE SECOND EXPLOSION WENT!" and "THE THIRD EXPLOSION WENT!", landing right before "THE FOURTH EXPLOSION WENT!" behind the Corleone lines.  We get to see how these fit into the battle plans as "THE FIFTH EXPLOSION WENT!", and Narcotici mobsters flee down the street... to blunder into fishing nets.  Where Corleone gunmen grab their catch and send the prisoners further back to be held.

It's not as stupid as the rubber band across the highway when Mr. Bury caught Madison, but still, I can't help but wish it was a little less silly.  Maybe an ankle-high tripwire?  Or just a bunch of thugs who tackle them?

After "THE SIXTH EXPLOSION WENT!", a mobster wonders about the racket.

"Jesus, what are those things?" said a Corleone to Jet.  "There ain't any flame or debris.  Sounds like a whole God (bleep) floor goes up each time."
Heller could have told him that they were matter-vibration-intensifying bombs used by Voltar combat engineers to create diversions at point B when they were really quietly blowing up point A.  They did not transmit their sound directly into the air but only through matter molecules. 

Air is matter, dumbass.

They didn't destroy anything except perhaps an eardrum if you were inside the place.  But Heller said, in Italian, "Who knows?  The wrath of Gods, perhaps."

Seriously, the reason you can even hear the explosions in the first place is because the vibration is being transmitted through the matter of the air to reach your eardrum.  If these magic bombs worked the way Heller says they do, everyone'd just be feeling rumbles through their feet.  And speaking of which, what kind of effect are these deafeningly loud not-explosions having on the building?  Not stressing the foundation or tearing apart the superstructure?  What about the windows?  Why isn't everyone being filleted by a rain of glass?

After the remaining four explosions go off, and the final wave of Narcotici stragglers are netted and captured, Babe orders her men not to hold Heller back until things are underway (because he's just a little boy), and then gives the command to attack.

A sudden shout from half a thousand throats, "CORLEONE!"  A rush and thunder of feet moving forward in the blackness.  The general assault had begun.

A blaze of gunfire flamed.

"You can go now, kid," said a voice near Heller.

Heller rushed forward.  It was not quite as dark.  Gun flashes coming from lower windows and those replying gave the night a fitful, jerking light.  Most of the assault force was inside now but those in view were seen like sudden still pictures as a rifle went.

Missing: spotlights, flares, tracers.  Who knows what these people are shooting at. 

Heller stands on the pavement below Faustino's office, wondering about the floor plans, which didn't mention a secret spiral chute escape tunnel.  He succeeds on his Spot (or is it Search?) check and finds "AN ARCED SCAR ON THE PAVEMENT!"  Using the disintegrator gun to widen the crack and then pulling "a bar" out of his ass, Heller makes the Strength check necessary to pry the door open.

He shined in the light.

There was the cat!

He was sitting on the tied Faustino's chest!

Faustino tried to turn toward Heller's light.

"Save me!" he screamed.

The cat hit him.

"I got it, Mister Calico," said Heller. "You've done great tonight!"

"Clawed" or "scratched" I can accept, but getting hit by a cat?  A little ten-pound critter batting at you with his furry paws?  This is just sad.

Heller summons some friendly mobsters to take the evil mob boss to the good mob boss, but gets interrupted when "A TANK!" rolls up to politely inquire what's going on, what with all the gunfire and explosions.  And here Heller's fake Army credentials come in handy, as he explains to the colonel that he's rounding up "Maysabongo saboteurs" with the help of his plainclothes unit.  Then the "COPS!" arrive and another guy we're supposed to hate, Inspector Grafferty, comes out to hassle Heller, only to get shouted down by the colonel.

Those tension-free encounters effortlessly defused, Heller strolls into the Narcotici building, now occupied by Corleone troops and a very happy Babe.  The fishing wire's gone, a single old Corleone soldato is given the task of picking up all the spent cartridges, poor bastard, the die-hard Narcotici mobsters are dead, and the Corleones now have over five hundred New York City officials taken prisoner.  Our hero has delivered the whole city into the hands of the mafia!  Hooray!

And, now that the Chief of Police is a hostage, Heller's able to get him to recall the guards from the Empire State Building so Izzy and Bang-Bang can leave.  Or in other words, Heller just instigated a mob war and decapitated the government of America's greatest city so he could get past five police officers standing outside an elevator.

Christ doing handstands on a skateboard, this book is stupid.

Back to Chapter Four

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