Friday, January 10, 2014

Part Eighty, Chapter Five - Quad Damage

Wonderful news!  Gris' pants stay on for this entire chapter!

The day after Gris' wedding and honeymoon and mental breakdown, Lord Turn receives word that a Queen Teenie is requesting permission to land in the prison courtyard, and even though a "hostage monarch" shouldn't have access to the place, they're arguing that "royalty is royalty."  Since the Homeview crews and crowds have suddenly ceased their prison vigil - no explanation here, guess they're all praying at whatever hospital they're told Tayl went to - Turn doesn't see the harm in complying.

Though initially annoyed that some fake-o Royal is trying to boss him around, Lord Turn can't help but have a "fatherly smile" at the sight of the teenage "queen," at least until he learns that she's here about

"Gris," said Teenie.

"GRIS?" cried Lord Turn.  "OH, NO!  NOT MORE GRIS!"  He dropped his gray head into his hands, clutching his forehead.

Just from that sentence, I think Turn may be the most sympathetic character we've seen so far.

Teenie explains that before becoming the Hostage Queen of Flisten, she was the "movie queen" of Moviola, a country on Earth - and "movie" isn't italicized, and therefore presumably spoken in Voltarian, which means none of these aliens are making any sort of connection to "moving pictures" and therefore fiction.  At any rate, she claims that Gris was her prisoner and suggests that Turn hand him over.  Turn says no can do, Blito-P3 hasn't been conquered yet, so she doesn't have any legal basis to her demands.  You have more rights after your home planet's been subjugated by Voltar.

So Teenie drops her bombshell.

"It's plain you don't know Gris," said Teenie.  "He lies, he cheats, he steals.  But this time he's really done it.  He has committed a crime right here in your own prison."

Lord Turn shook his head.  "That's impossible."

"You don't know Gris," said Teenie.  "This time he has really done it.  And that's why I thought I could help.  When I saw his picture on Homeview, I said, 'NO!  It can't be!  But there he is!  That's Gris!  He's done it AGAIN!'"

"My dear... WHAT has he done again?"

"The very same crime I sentenced him to life imprisonment for.  BIGAMY!"  Lord Turn's eyes went round with shock.  Bigamy was a capital crime on Voltar. 

WHY?!  What is the reasoning behind this draconian law?  Why is marriage so important legally, yet so cheap that you're willing to rush through one in an afternoon so you can have a "sacrificial bride" for your half-assed attempt to cure a violent criminal?  Why is it good to force two people together solely because one of them produced offspring at some point, and the other might be the father?  How can marriage be simultaneously sacred and magical yet doesn't require that the people in it have any affection for each other?

Stupid planet.  Stupid aliens.  Stupid plot.

So Teenie's palanquin is brought into the prison's big hall, she closes the curtains so she can dramatically throw them open in a minute, and Gris is brought down by a half-dozen guards.  The narration goes from following Turn's thoughts to allowing us to see Gris' thoughts, which is rather jarring considering how just a few chapters ago the author went through such pains to tell us about the documentation behind Madison's meeting with Lombar at the invasion strategy session, to better sell the idea that Monte Pennwell is assembling this narrative a hundred years after the fact.

Gris, who just sent in a desperate plea for the prison staff to execute him swiftly, is of course relieved that it looks like they're just going to ask more questions instead of kill him.  Turn asks if Gris had left any crimes out of his confession, which nobody has actually read yet.  Can you imagine?  The Royal court system reading Gris' description of Lombar's plot to take over the Confederacy?  The stuff about manipulating His Majesty and the entire Grand Council?  If nothing else, Turn would be sure to decide that Gris' marital status is the very least of the guy's crimes - oh, wait, that's right, bigamy is bigger than murder on this bloody planet.

Anyway, Gris finds the accusation of crimes in the fictional country of Moviola to be ridiculous, and makes the mistake of declaring that "There isn't anyone on Voltar who could allege such a falsity."

Suddenly, a blue-gloved hand shot the covering aside.


Gris went white.

He leaped back!

He hit the rail of the witness box and went right through it!

As if the mentions of Bugs Bunny weren't a big enough clue that the author was a fan of Looney Tunes.

With a rip of splintering timber he reached the limit of his shackles!

His velocity was so great he parted chain links!

He hit the wall!

He madly tried to get through it!

With a shrieking, frantic moan, he realized he could not escape.

He fainted.

Just imagine this taking place in a film adaptation of Mission Earth.  You'd get this scene with some goofy-ass soundtrack, cartoony sound effects, maybe a wah-wah sarcastic trumpet when Gris knocks himself out.  And just a few hours earlier you'd have seen the same character brutally raping two women. 

Lord Turn looked at the crumpled heap of severed chains, fallen plaster and Gris amongst it, lying there unconscious, now, upon the floor.  Lord Turn, in the saddest voice said, "Oh, no."

"We just restored that witness box, it's a thousand-year-old historical relic."

Lord Turn took a long breath and looked at Teenie.  "Well, Your Majesty," he said, "I guess that settles it.

I mean, since he freaked out at the sight of a certain person, obviously he's totally guilty of the crimes she accuses him of. 

I have no choice now but to bring Gris to trial for committing a crime in my own prison."

Huh, really?  That's how criminal law works?  You go to prison first, beg for an execution, though you haven't had an actual trial yet, and you can't because you need a special, Royal person present or the special, Royal seal on some document, but while you're in this legal limbo if someone (Royal) accuses you of a crime and you knock yourself out after hearing this, you get hauled out of jail to face new charges in an actual courthouse?

Why can't they just shoot him?  It's a capital crime to try and buy some chewing gum with a counterfeit bill, so why can't they execute Gris for being a bloody nuisance?

"I said it would be embarrassing," said Teenie. "Pratia Tayl was the fourth time he got married. He's not guilty of just bigamy: it's QUADRIGAMY!"

L. Ron "it's a dekalogy, not a series" Hubbard likes playing around with numerical prefixes.

Madison, two hours later, was dancing with joy.  His plan had worked perfectly.  He had brought Gris to trial.  He would make sure the trial was public.  WHAT HEADLINES THAT WOULD MAKE!  And Gris would accuse Heller.  Madison had it made!  He could see it now!  The greatest manhunt in the whole universe!  The Fleet, the Army, everybody!  All after Heller!  Headlines, headlines, HEADLINES!  What ecstasy!

This is about Heller.  This is about Heller.  This is about Heller.  This is about Heller.  It's all about Heller.  This is about Heller.  This is how we'll get Heller.  This is about Heller.  This is to get Heller.  This is Hell.  This is about Heller.

It makes perfect sense, when you think about it.  Madison was able to use Teenie's pages to forge the authorization to get a camera crew, because he couldn't do that as the Apparatus media czar, so he could do a publicity stunt to impress Lombar with the possibilities of PR, after he had impressed Lombar with the possibilities of PR to become media czar in the first place.  Then he was able to use the holographic penthouse he was convinced to purchase by his limo driver so that said limo driver could rob it, combined with drugs, Teenie's army of man-sluts that she gained control of as part of some crooked government officials' embezzlement plan, and Dr. Crobe the psychologist, to win over the wives of Homeview publishers and editors, so that Madison had total control of the media, which again Madison didn't have as media czar.  Then, once he had absolute power over what was in Voltar's print and broadcast media, Madison used that power to create headlines to stir up a media frenzy about Gris, so he'd be able to create headlines to stir up a media frenzy about Heller.

Oh, it was great to be a pure genius at PR!

Shut your stupid face.

The worst part is that Madison doesn't even acknowledge the only legitimate reason for this, that Teenie demanded Gris' head as the price for her cooperation.  At least the author could say "now that the little bitch was placated, Madison was free to concentrate wholly on Heller," but no, he keeps insisting that this is all part of one diabolical master plan.

Back to Chapter Four 


  1. This is all rehashing, again, Hubbard's resentment that people thought it was a big deal he married Sara Northrup without telling her he was still married to Polly Grub. After all, it wasn't like Polly wanted him back, was it?

  2. "Madison had it made! He could see it now! The greatest manhunt in the whole universe! The Fleet, the Army, everybody! All after Heller! Headlines, headlines, HEADLINES! What ecstasy!"

    Uh, hey, Madison? Maybe you should listen to your own thoughts, because your brain is telling you that the fleet and the army will go after and kill Jettero Heller, the guy you want to make a famous outlaw, but not ruin his reputation or kill. Oh, wait. This isn't the stupidly ambitious Madison that sleeps with his mother and oblivious to how badly he does his job. This is his split-personality disorder evil megalomaniac twin. The pharoah yugi Madison has left the normal Madison's spirit inside the puzzle box for now.