Thursday, January 23, 2014

Part Eighty-One, Chapter Six - Pour Encourager Les Autres

I think if I ever publish a story, and I include in it a character who exists to be kidnapped by the bad guys, I'll make sure that character's rescue takes more than seven pages, and doesn't occur in the chapter immediately after the kidnapping.  Otherwise, what's the point?

"I can't imagine how it happened," said a stunned Lombar in the safety of his dungeon office at Government City.  "Heller is still on the loose!"

Well, you let Madison move the prisoner to a huge, open public area for the sake of spectacle, instead of keeping her in the dungeons of Spiteos, where Heller would probably be unable to swoop in with a spaceship and pick her up in a manner of seconds, though since this is Heller we're talking about there's no telling what he'll pull out of his ass.  And you didn't provide air cover, or bring along any defenses beyond some tanks - which credit where it's due proved unusually capable of hitting airborne targets - and some soldiers bogged down in crowd control blocks away from the prisoner.

Oh hey, how'd that Blueflash take out the tank crews?  It's 100% effective right through armored windows?  And nobody was looking down at their guns or whatever when Heller flashed them?  What about an automated weapon system?  We've got a robotbrain in the translatophone but not assisting the military vehicles?

"It's simply that people don't realize yet," said Madi­son, "that you mean business.  They didn't do the job properly.  They let you down."

"That's true," said Hisst.  "I have been too weak.  I have tolerated the riffraff too long.  Now they are rioting in the streets."
"Things have gotten up to a point of national emergency," said Madison. "You need people around you you can trust."
"Trust somebody?" said Lombar, for this was a brand-new idea.

So he doesn't trust Madison, he just doesn't question anything he does, or criticize him, or link the fact that Madison comes up with these plans to their failure.  Despite being hyped as the sort of boss who gets all Darth Vader on his minions if they screw up.  Huh.

Madison steps out for a moment, asking some Army officers who happen to be in the next room who the most popular commander is, and is told that would be General Whip, the military genius whose men know he won't spend their lives needlessly. Madison sends for the guy, who turns out to be "a tough old campaigner but he had a nice smile.  His high forehead showed lots of brains."

The film crew takes a lot of pictures, and a "logistics crew" inspects the guy closely, which will be significant later, so pay attention.  Lombar brings the guy in and orders him to go after Heller, Whip replies that he's not going after a Royal officer without a Royal order, Lomber reminds him that he's dictator of Voltar, and Whip shrugs and leaves.

Two hours later, some of Madion's actors disguised as Army men come with a message for Madison, which he relays to Lombar: General Whip went back to his office after Lombar gave his ineffectual orders, and began to laugh at him.  Lombar is dismayed!  Luckily Madison draws up an order for him to sign: "BRING ME THE HEAD OF GENERAL WHIP."  Some time later a bunch of women (actors) come in claiming to be the wife of General Whip et al., pleading for his life, but then a pair of blood-coated Army officers (actors) come in, kneel before Hisst, and present him with what must be the head of General Whip!

And it's all staged, and all on camera.  Now everyone knows Hisst means business, eh?

"I think," said Madison, "that when they see that on Homeview, there isn't a single officer out there who won't obey you.

Certainly not gonna spark a civil war or anything, once the loyal Fleet and Army services see the vile Apparatus, which has claimed increasing power without the proper Royal paperwork, are going after their beloved officers.

At least Madison could acknowledge this and say something like "a civil war is the perfect way to make Heller famous!" but I guess he's currently in Clueless Mode as opposed to Scheming Mode.

Please sign this."

Hisst read it.  It said:


He signed it with a flourish.

...You mean to tell me that Lombar saw Heller swoop in, make a fool of him in front of everyone, and saunter off without any consequences, but only now is ordering a hunt for him?

Madison grinned.  The manhunt he had envisioned would now take place.

The heat and beat of the elation within his veins was close to ecstasy.


We can only assume he's keeping a huge scrapbook of newsheet clippings he plans on showing to Mr. Bury once he returns to the post-apocalyptic ruins of Voltarian-occupied Blito-P3.  Or is he just going to tell Mr. Bury about all the wonderful headlines he made on this fantastical alien world?

Will Earth survive
Hisst's final rage?

You mean the "rage" that Hisst ordered a hundred pages ago?  The invasion of the woefully undermanned and already exhausted Apparatus forces, an invasion contingent on getting the Fleet and Army to bail them out on Calabar?  How's that going, by the way?

Or do you mean the "rage" of the Death Battalion that showed up to beat up Captain Bolz and got wiped out by a bunch of sand bombs?  The dead rage, in other words?

Find out in
the final book of
Volume 10

I'm not sure what to think here. This book assured us that villainy would be victorious, but it's hard to feel like Lombar has cinched things, or even that Madison has accomplished much.  Certainly there was a bunch of stuff about Heller in the news, via Gris, but unlike on the backward and stupid Earth, nobody seems to believe that Heller's running around robbing banks or whatever.  Lombar did some things and claims to be dictator of Voltar, except nobody but the Apparatus accepts his authority, and Heller keeps thwarting him at every turn.

So maybe the final book's title is meant to be ironic, or sarcastic?  You know, like all the blurbs on the cover promising "entertainment," "humor" and "action?"

No comments:

Post a Comment