One cannot help but wonder, dear reader,
I have serious problems with a book like Mission Earth trying to chum it up with its victims. It's almost necessary to read the words as sick sarcasm, like a serial killer talking to the latest girl locked in his basement.
what the course of history might have been if Captain Snelz had not thought of the man he did when asked to design a way to get the message into Lombar's hands. If he had only told Heller the name that had popped into his mind, the fate of Earth might well have been quite different.
For the man Snelz had thought of was J. Walter Madison!
Dun duh duhn! A revelation so dire that it's shockingly not rendered in all caps.
See, Hisst is bloody impossible to keep track of, since he's off cutting amphetamines from ingredients shipped... seriously? Hisst brings in truckloads of "Lactose, Epsom Salts, Quinine, Baking Powder, Photo Developer, Insecticide and Strychnine." Hisst cuts up the amphetamine capsules and mixes them with the additives. There's no mention of this other stuff being brought in through the Earth shipments, but Voltar presumably doesn't have a use for photo developer anymore. So Hisst isn't just shipping in drugs to distribute as finished products, he's tweaking and experimenting with dosage and additives and stuff. But he's still dependent on Earth for his supply! He's not going to see if he can reproduce these drugs on Voltar!
It's like if the Japanese bought a pair of muskets from the Portuguese sailors who washed up on Tanegashima in 1543, carefully disassembled and examined the guns, tinkered around with some modifications, and then put in an order for a lot of a thousand to be delivered yearly.
Anyway. Lombar's busy doing that, and also so paranoid about assassins that he never lets anyone know his schedule, but Capt. Snelz has noticed that Madison seems to have the run of the place, coming and going in his angel bus at all hours. And though he knows that Madison is a fraud, liar and no friend of Heller's, he's going to entrust this vital message to him because Madison is an untrustworthy twerp - Snelz hopes that the publicist will be killed for delivering such a dangerous message.
Which isn't to say that Snelz will be doing this task himself. Instead he dresses one of his soldiers up in an outfit like Madison's "gray shimmercloth" suit, and orders him to make the delivery, on pain of getting chucked in that chasm next to Camp Kill. Yes, Snelz is trying to incriminate Madison based on mistaken identity, the cunning bastard. Excuse me, (bleepard).
Luckless Soldier does so, sticking the very important envelope on Lombar's desk. But shortly afterward, to Snelz' horror "THE MODEL 99 LANDED!" And so, the avoid the embarrassment of Hisst's clerk realizing he checked in "Madison" twice, we get a tepid little action sequence.
Snelz shoots out the lightpost over Madison, causing Madison to... run for the zipbus to Lombar's office. Good plan, Snelz. Luckily the faux-Madison was already hiding behind some boxes since he saw the elevator coming his way, and was thus able to slip past the real Madison undetected. And when Madison is asked "Forget something?" by Lombar's clerk he doesn't really notice, or even give any indication that someone just shot at him.
So did that sequence we just read even happen? It had no effect on the story, the characters aren't reacting to it. Madison doesn't mention it at any point after the narrative switches to following him. Did Hubbard accidentally leave in bits from his first draft when he went back and revised I can't even finish that sentence.
Madison goes into Hisst's office, sees the super top secret Heller letter, "quivered with greed to know" what was in it, and unseals it, damn the consequences that he doesn't know about.
Greetings and salutations and all that sort of thing, none of them sincere:
You have known for some time the company I've been enjoying as I left you the present of my baton.
Playing up your sloppiness as some sort of personal challenge. Smooth, Heller.
As you know--for you keep saying so on Homeview--His Majesty is suffering from an indisposition, and we really do not want to trouble him with such a small matter as signing and sealing a Royal proclamation declaring you a traitor and a menace to the state.
However, we can promise you that in the event you seek to use the Army or the Fleet in attacking Calabar, the proclamation will be issued and that will be the end of Hisst. So my advice to you is simply to fly into a few rages, shoot some of your own staff and let nature take its course.
Hoping not to have thepleasure of seeing youhanging on the gallows,Jettero Heller
So, why do this? Why can't Heller just use the royal stamp to release a proclamation explaining the situation and exposing Hisst's schemes? Sure, he'd probably get in trouble for forgery, but if anyone could get away with such a heinous crime it'd be Heller. Or maybe he could make a video of himself describing the Apparatus' scheme and showing His Majesty's condition, exposing Lombar for a liar and getting the Fleet and Army firmly on his side?
But we might as well list all the better ways for Heller to ensure his message reached Hisst. Instead, Madison reads it and learns the truth of the situation, why Hisst always looks "extremely cagey" when there's mention of Royal proclamations. He concludes that Heller is indeed a true outlaw for sneaking into the base with this letter, that Heller doesn't want anyone to come after him, and so therefore Madison must do exactly that.
Oh, what headlines all this would eventually make!
Not right now, of course, but later when he had his campaign all worked out and perfect.
Man, what can I say at this point that I haven't been ranting about for half this miserable book?
If he had had any slightest doubt before, that he would make his goal, he had none now. He would, for sure, return to Earth in glory--if, of course, there was anything left of it.
He knows?! No ambiguity now, Madison is fully aware that an alien race is on its way to flatten Earth?! And he's still trying to complete the Wister-Heller job so he can go back to his boss who will most likely get killed in the alien invasion that destroys the society Madison left?!
I don't have words to properly convey my emotions at this point, so just try to picture someone doing his best to eat a computer keyboard.
Madison pockets the letter and kicks around Hisst's office for an hour until his boss shows up, so he can show him the latest newsheet clippings and photos of Lombar looking angry and imperious. And then he leaves. "HE DID NOT SAY ONE SINGLE WORD ABOUT THE HELLER DESPATCH!" Just in case you were wondering whether he'd steal the letter but go on to tell Hisst about it. Idiot.
And Snelz, watching from outside, having faced no consequences for shooting up his workplace, assumes that the delivery went on as planned.
For a second time, a message which would have forestalled an invasion of Earth had been stopped en route.
Thanks to the awesome power of contrivance.
And not only that, this one had fallen into the hands of a man to whom it gave total power: J. Walter Madison, who could use it in any villainous way he chose and at a moment when he considered it would be the most advantageous in a headline.
So Madison, who is already trying to make Heller a famous outlaw, will use the letter to make Heller a famous outlaw. Oh no.
KNOWLEDGE WAS POWER! And Madison now knew that he was the only one on Voltar with the vital, pivotal information that the Emperor was on Calabar and Heller was holding him a captive!
WHAT A STORY!
A sort of story that would make the book's current villain entirely superfluous... man, even on Voltar we're only dancing around the real plot. Book Nine and the Heller vs Apparatus conflict is still being pushed into the background so the author can satirize the media.
But not for now. No, no, not for now. This one had to be built up to with the biggest BANG this universe had ever heard!
We're not doing this thing until the newspapers are all talking about Bandito Heller's rape victims/wives.
As he returned to Joy City, the glee in Madison threatened to bubble out and explode!
The fate of two empires was truly up for grabs! And J. Warbler Madman was the one who would do the tossing!
That... what? Toss the... thing up for grabs... toss fate?
And on that confusing note, the chapter ends.
Back to Part Eighty, Chapter Seven