Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Part Seventy-Eight, Chapter Four - (Bleep) France

So, packing up a secret base for relocation?  Kind of a bother.

There seemed, suddenly, to be a thousand details to what had looked like a simple undertaking.  

"Simple," yeah.  It's just one base being moved, come on guys!

Family connections who had been unaware of extraterrestrial husbands and domestic connections who had never known who their employers really were had to be cared for somehow, at least decently set up in life. 

Huh.  So it's fine to, you know, marry one of the natives, leading to situations where they might hear you mumble some Flisten in your sleep, or catch sight of your identoplate in a load of laundry, but we're supposed to be worried about that Code Break nonsense.

Faht Bey remarked that the Apparatus would simply have killed them and then hastily said he was just commenting, when he saw Heller's look.

That sure sounds like the Apparatus alright, be sloppy up until the point there's danger, then start killing people in an attempt to cover your ass. 

The New York branch of the Apparatus gets shut down and absorbed into the Afyon outfit, while all those doctors Prahd has been training are turned loose and set up with funding for drug rehab operations.  As Heller puts it, "Maybe we can undo some of the damage that's been done," just three chapters after approving of Congress' attempt to legalize drugs.

But there's one lingering plot point that hasn't been resolved yet.  The KGB Colonel Formerly Known as Utanc is still in the holding cells, and since Heller only held onto him for a hypothetical trial of Soltan Gris, who they're sure is dead, they don't have anything to do with Gaylov.  Krak reminds Heller of the prisoner's existence, and kicks off a truly baffling page.

"Well, he hasn't got a country anymore," said Hel­ler.  "He can't be very dangerous. 

Yeah, no superiors to report to, nothing to lose, nothing but a bunch of impotent anger and deadly spy skills.  No danger at all!

Put a hypnohelmet on him and suppress his memory of the base and let him go."

"It's not that simple," said the Countess.  "There's the two little boys he corrupted.  They're caving in, nobody can do a thing with them. 

The hypnohelmet.  Heller just mentioned the hypnohelmet.  Use that. 

I had an idea.  France has been exporting an awful lot of drugs."


"What's that got to do with Colonel Gaylov?" said Heller.  "He was also exporting heroin.  From here.  To keep the international KGB network running."

"Well, those that commit crimes like that," said the Countess Krak, "will often turn completely around and campaign against such deeds. 

What?  So drug runner + a few weeks in jail = hardcore anti-drug crusader?  How does Krak know this "fact?"  What experiences has she gone through that led her to believe this is how criminals work?

What I want to do is send Colonel Gaylov to France with the two little boys."

"You must be awfully mad at France.  They'd corrupt the whole nation!"

"No, I don't think so," said the Countess. "You see, I've been talking to the colonel and he's absolutely spinning with the glory of it."

"Of what?"

"To show up in France and use the old KGB network to convince everybody he's the reincarnation of Joan of Arc.  I didn't even touch the helmet.  He's sure he can be the greatest Joan of Arc that ever lived!"

Can we start over?  Okay.

There's this Soviet colonel, a spy who infiltrated an alien base and was only interested in pinching some drugs from it.  Also, he's a gay transvestite child molester.  Anyway, he gets exposed and imprisoned for a month or two, and now has decided he's Jeanne d'Arc, one of France's national heroines.  Krak wants them to not do anything to try and remove his memories of this alien base, but instead dump him off in France, with those two children who she just said are corrupted into sexual deviants, by the same colonel they'll presumably be sharing a room with.

Why is this good?!  How does this benefit the "heroes?!"  How idiotic would Heller have to be to agree to

Heller gave her a sizable draft on the Grabbe-Manhattan Bank in Paris, to be paid out to Gaylov, month by month for years.
When she put him and the two boys on the plane the following morning, there was a holy gleam in ex-Utanc's eye.  Standing there in a silver travelling gown, he/she said, "You are an angel and I bless the day I met you.  I can in truth say that I was visited by the Lord of Hosts on high.  France is about to become the holiest and most drugless place on Earth."  And they were gone.

And that appears to be that.

I guess it's a joke?  "Once upon a time, there was a pedophile.  So I sent him to France with two little boys!  And he was dressed up like Joan of Arc!"  Because it makes absolutely no sense from a plot standpoint, and is completely out of character for Krak, defender of sexual decency and scrambler of human minds.

This is a stupid, stupid book.

The last bit of the chapter is Heller calling Babe Corleone to say that the wedding is unfortunately canceled due to things getting "pretty urgent."  Babe takes this to mean that they need to get a Justice of the Peace before the pregnancy becomes obvious, and orders her "son" to name her "grandchild" after either her or Holy Joe.  And also to "get that beautiful countess into bed and resting as soon as you're hitched and you leave her alone until she delivers."  I guess she's worried that sex will injure the baby?  Wives have no purpose while they're pregnant?  Who knows, who cares.

"Yes, ma'am."

"All right, then.  And come back when the coast is clear and she can be seen in public again.  You're a dear boy, Jerome, but you sure as hell take a lot of guidance.  Keep your nose clean, kid."  There was an audible sniff.  "I got to run off now, something's in my eyes.  Bye-bye, son."

Heller's own eyes, as he hung up, were wet.  He doubted that he would ever see her again.

Oh no not Babe Corleone how terrible it would be if we never saw her again.

Man.  So much wrong with such a short chapter.  Hubbard's efficient, at the very least.  In some cases.  Not when it comes to story pacing, obviously.

Back to Chapter Three


  1. Is Krak really pregnant? I got the impression that Jettero and Krak were these ultimately virtuous characters that would never commit adultery. Especially after that hooker asked if Heller was a virgin back in book... 3? 4? And confirmed that the sounds Heller and Krak were making way back in book 1 when they kicked Gris out of his own room could have just been combat training. D'aw, what am I saying? Heller treating Krak like an equal in combat?

    1. Nah, Babe's just misinterpreted "space aliens are coming to kill s all, gtg" as "I knocked up my gf".