Friday, October 4, 2013

Part Sixty-Nine, Chapters Six and Seven - It's Not the Cover Art Yet, His Outfit's Wrong and Nothing's Exploding

New orders in hand, Heller removes his uniform's ROTC badge, polishes the Intelligence emblem, and gets chauffeured through the post-midnight streets to the Empire State Building.  The elevator boy - do they still have those?  Young 'uns who let you into the elevator "car" and press the buttons for you?  Seems like a decadent way to violate child labor laws to me, but I've never been to New York.

Anyway, elevator boy warns that the floor Heller wants is pretty heavily restricted, and sure enough he finds not one, not a million, but "FIVE cops!" waiting.  They're keeping all those malcontents holed up in the Maysabongo Legation (i.e. Izzy and Heller's offices) in lockdown until Monday, when a commando unit can properly sweep the building once the war is officially on.  Heller whips out his Army I.D. and asks to go "interrogate" the besieged businessmen, but the police say no dice, their orders are that nobody gets in or out.  So he goes back to his fantabulous rooftop apartment, defeated.

Look, he doesn't have a "let other people through police checkpoints" patch, and there wasn't a fan around, okay?  How else is a trained commando going to get through five civilian law enforcement officers?

Back at the ranch, Heller walks in just in time to get Krak's phone call, leading to a charmingly flippant conversation about recent developments.

"When you didn't call to say you arrived, I got worried.  How are my two warriors?"

"Well, one is now in the army and the other is lying here snoring off a pint of cream."

"How dreadful!"

"Oh, cream won't hurt him, it's pasteurized."

"I mean the army."

"They wouldn't take him.  Criminal record.  Illegal alien.  They only like to send good fellows out to be shot."

"Jettero, be serious."

Heller doesn't want to give any NSA eavesdroppers too much information, you see, that's why he only asks about "the sick man" instead of "His Majesty Cling the Lofty of the Voltar Confederacy."  Though I don't imagine there's a lot the NSA could do with that beyond file it in the loony bin.  Isn't that right, NSA eavesdroppers?

None of this would be an issue if Heller had brought along a viewscreen, of course.  Though then we'd probably get some nonsense about turning on and off the Relayer, so maybe it's just as well.

"You take care of yourself, Jettero.  This planet isn't worth it."

Look who's talking, person from an empire that just got taken over by a drugged-up, delusional dolt.

"It's the only planet we've got at the moment.  Take care of things, dear."

I don't recall giving it to you, space cadet.

Heller puts on his "black summer-weight suit, black engineer boots and black engineer gloves," then packs a satchel of explosives and grabs his "spacetrooper sled."  And the lunchbox of sandwiches his butler made for him.  Here's a safety whistle, too.  Can we get him one of those little hats Japanese gradeschoolers wear on field trips?

He has the chauffeur drop him off at the Empire State Building, and though the police "eyed him" they don't stop the black-clad man carrying a bulky satchel, much less ask who he is or what he's doing so early in the morning.  He takes an elevator to the floor above his offices, which is of course unguarded, and when nobody's looking uses a "spaceship safety line" to repel out the window down a floor, knocking on the glass until Izzy lets him in.  Never just a plain old rope in sci-fi, huh?  What'd Phantom Menace call them, "ascension cables?"  Say what you will about Jar-Jar, at least he didn't insult our planet every other sentence, Countess.

"Don't say 'Jet, how did you get here?'" said Heller.  "It will very shortly be dawn and we haven't got much time."

"Mr. Jet, how did you get here?" said Izzy, eyes round as saucers behind his horned-rimmed glasses.

Laugh track.  Heller asks for a sitrep, and Izzy explains that the plan was going swimmingly, with Maysabongo controlling all the oil in every last American tank and ship, which is why war is imminent.  They've also made more money than physically exists in the American banking system ($189 billion!), but they can't go through with the stock options on Monday because the phone lines have been cut and the police won't let them leave the offices.  Oh, if only Heller had some sort of communications system that bypassed terrestrial land lines...

"It's Rockecenter," said Bang-Bang.  "He got Faustino to order the New York City Police to bottle up this place."

The guy who controls the national government had to tell a mob boss to get the NYPD to mobilize.  Federalism at its finest!

Oh, and in case you haven't guessed, Bang-Bang's here too.

"He got the president of the United States to declare mobilization," said Izzy.  "Sunday evening, the Swillerberger Conference of International Financiers is meeting in Philadelphia.  They're ordering the president and Congress to declare war on Maysabongo Monday morning.  They'll take back the oil as enemy property and we'll be out our money.  They'll sell it back to Rockecenter for pennies and he'll make millions."

Are we talking about the oil that we established last time was useless because it can't be refined into fuel because of "radiation?"  That's how Rockecenter will get rich?  A bunch of liquid dinosaur that he can't do anything with?

"But what if we owned all the shares?" said Heller.

"The money we make with the sell options will do us no good," said Izzy.  "They'll keep the banking system intact

Those bastards!

by saying we're enemy-connected people and seizing all our funds.  Even if we execute our buy options, all those shares will be seized and the oil companies will be sold to Rockecenter for nothing.  He'll come out of this far more rich and powerful than he ever was before."

Also, what about the gasless engines and infinite black hole power?  Does it matter who controls the world's oil supply if it's all obsolete (not to mention radioactive)?  Why do we need to destroy the world's financial institutions if we've got a revolutionary new motor to solve the world's pollution problems?

On top of everything else, the SEC is now pretending it never got Izzy's document about taking ownership of these oil companies, and is threatening to bring in a Federal warrant.  So wait, if these corrupt financial institutions are ignoring Izzy and Heller's stock market magic, why is it necessary to declare war on a tiny African country?  Wouldn't that be a simple legal matter of returning stolen property?  If the SEC has suddenly gone deaf, why does it matter if Izzy can call them or not?

And why couldn't Mr. Bury sneak a bomb into Izzy's offices and take care of this problem all at once?  Why does this require the mobilization of the planet's remaining superpower?

Anyway, Heller tells everyone not to worry, have some sandwiches from his lunchbox.  He also notices that the real Rockecenter Jr. is hanging around, a "conscientious defector" who ran here after some bad guys shot up the land yacht and his pig barns... because Krak left Rockecenter's phone number in the yacht, and Twoey called dad to ask him to "do a commercial telling people not to eat ham."  Whoopsie!

Now Rockecenter knows about his heir, and thanks to Bleedum the attorney, Izzy now knows about the ten billion dollar trust fund awaiting Rockecenter's son, so the stakes are ramped up another notch and the tension rises even higher.  Once again, Izzy is all for taking a plane to Brazil and getting eaten by ants in the Amazon, because they're nicer than lawyers and stuff, don'tcherknow.

But Heller tells them to stay put and eat their sandwiches.  He assembles his anti-grav "spacetrooper sled," assures the astonished humans that "You didn't see this," and soars off into the pre-dawn grey.

I think that constitutes a Code Break.  Somewhere Gris just felt a flash of indignation he can't explain.

Back to Part Sixty-Nine, Chapter Five

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