Monday, January 27, 2014

Part Eighty-Two, Chapter One - The Army Has a Fleet, the Fleet Has Spies, and the Spies Have an Army

From Lombar's office, Madison flies off to pay a visit to Lord Turn.  He does so in the Model 99, that gilded, angel-encrusted flying bus, and since none of its special qualities come into play during the journey, one might wonder why the narrative calls for Madison to fly a luxury bus instead of a vehicle that didn't require a couple of chapters' worth of sideplot to acquire.

The airlanes between Joy City and Government City are a mess, which Flip the driver puts down to the Army - they're not just enforcing the restricted airspace around the grounded Fleet facilities, but are packing up to head to Calabar.  Which implies that, despite its name, Voltar's Army has enough spaceworthy vehicles to launch an invasion without the support of the Fleet.  If this sounds stupid, keep in mind that the US Navy operates 3,700 aircraft, the US Army has over 127,000 "pieces of floating equipment," the US Air Force talks about "cyberspace superiority," and the US Marine Corps drives the same tanks as the US Army.  If this still sounds stupid, you have more sense than the people keeping the American armed forces divided into arbitrary and archaic branches.

Madison takes it all as a sign of the success of his latest PR "coup," which ironically was used to help a dictator take over the government.  Now it's revealed that the head of General Whip presented to Lombar Hisst in front of the cameras last book was in fact a fake, if you hadn't guessed already.  Madison imagines that the real General Whip must've run and hid after seeing the results of his "execution" on the TV; there's certainly no way he might be rallying the Army against the Apparatus, much like how the Army could only be going to Calabar to fight the insurgency rather than join it.

It's not a spoiler if it's obvious, right?

Madison looked down at the Government City streets.  He was very amused.  Mobs dotted the pavement here and there: broken windows were visible, riot police were darting about.  Voltar was looking more like Earth every day.  He felt a surge of pride: It showed what superior technology could do.  Voltar was wide open to Earth-type PR and he was a genius at applying it.  The old masters of his craft would be proud of him. 

I'm not sure what "superior technology" he's talking about - the putty head of General Whip?  Other than that, he's been working through newspapers and television networks indistinguishable from their Earth counterparts.

Also, think back and try to find a scene set on Earth that resembled this one.  Turkey was pretty chill until Gris started blowing it up, and even New York was well-behaved before Heller kicked off that whole energy crisis or set off bombs and such. 

The airbus comes in for a landing at the Royal prison, directed to the courtyard with such speed that Flick wonders whether his "Chief" really had committed a crime, to which Madison chortles that yes, he just decapitated a general

"You're fooling us," said Cun.

"Nope," said Madison.  "Held the sword myself when we cut his head off."

He really laughed out loud when they gave him a look of awe.  That wasn't all he was going to kill today.  He was going to end this Gris situation and give Teenie her revenge.  He was going to kill this trial by killing the status of Heller.  Then he could really loose the dogs on Heller's trail.

So he couldn't properly start on Heller headlines until he started Gris' trial, and then Gris' trial was the ultimate way to make Heller headlines, and now he needs to stop the Gris trial so that he can properly make Heller headlines.  Ow.  Ow.  Stop it.

Back to the start of the book 

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