Don't worry, the singing starts later. Madison managed to set up an appointment by offering to give a personal message from the other Heller, no problem. They fly over, blah blah her apartment is "crowning an elegant building," blah blah "A place for the angels, even unto a wisp of wandering cloud!" blah trees full of songbirds. Oh no, the penthouse staff doesn't need fences to keep the birds in, the dears hear Hightee singing and fly in from miles around to sing with her or accompany her for walks. Hope the author was wearing work gloves when he was laying this on with a trowel.
Madison's more impressed by the building's near lack of security - "This clerk didn't even have the telltale bulge in his close-fitting black coat." Uhuhuh, hey Beavis, Madison was looking for a guy's bulge. Hightee's lackey explains that they'd never need security.
The clerk snorted. "Lady Hightee has fifteen billion fans
Assuming everyone on planet Earth accepted Christ as their lord and savior, this would still leave Hightee Heller as two times bigger than Jesus.
who would tear anyone to pieces if she was hurt. And who would touch the sister of the hero of the Fleet, Jettero Heller? Only a madman would so much as frown at Lady Hightee, and it is very plain you are not one of those."
Madison's vetting process consisted of a quick background check that apparently doesn't object to him working for the Apparatus, his promise of delivering a message, and a short chat over the videophone. Guess he has an honest face.
He's taken to Hightee, and we get a whopping half-page description of her big entrance - green smock, a fluffed "golden halo" of hair, "electric blue" eyes that "made you feel very warm," "golden fingernails," etc. Even Madison, with his absolute commitment to a mother who is not mentioned at all in this chapter, feels simultaneously paralyzed and compelled to kneel before her. He even has to fight the urge to not go through with his plans for her.
They sit down and get started talking about, and heaping praise upon, the absent Jettero Heller, who is of course Madison's dear friend. Heller, Madison explains, even made Madison swear to deliver a gift for Hightee, which is of course that emerald-in-a-diamond-in-a-golden-eyelid monstrosity introduced last chapter. Hightee puts it on immediately, while Madison spins a tale about Heller being awarded the treasure after saving the son of the Aga Khan during a tiger hunt. To thank her brother, Madison unsubtly suggests that she mention him the next time she's on Homeview, and dedicate her song to the Fleet, and talk about how she doesn't know where her brother is, so all those soldiers in the Voltar military will send in letters revealing his secret location. You know. Just an idea.
I'd just like to remind everybody that Madison works for what is allegedly the most devious intelligence-gathering apparatus in the galaxy, but decided to buy a stupidly expensive jewel and give it to the guy's sister as part of his plan to learn Heller's location so he can, I don't know, PR him more effectively when he's in the open?
Hightee misses her brother, Madison sadly remembered that Heller never told him where he was going only after they last parted ways, and when she thanks him for the gift, assures her that he's still got more for her. Dun-dun-duhn.
So to recap, this chapter was 25% of how Madison and Flick got ready for this meeting, 25% Hightee's amazing beauty, 25% inane conversation, and 25% Madison making crap up. I guess the last counts as PR? It hasn't been published or anything, but at least it's up his alley.
Say, where is Flick, anyway...?
Back to Part Seventy-Five, Chapter Six