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A Dark and Hungry God Arises 14 - Angus [1]

 
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StevieG
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:32 am    Post subject: A Dark and Hungry God Arises 14 - Angus [1] Reply with quote

This chapter opens by giving an insight into Angus' current state of mind. He is trying hard to - basing his entire being on - maintaining his sanity. The competing pressures in his brain - his desire to exact revenge, the database feeding him information required to dock at Billingate, Dios' words "We've committed a crime against your soul" - are causing fragmentation as SRD puts it.

Quote:
Nevertheless he fought to hold the pieces of himself together.
He wanted the joy of running Trumpet.
He wanted to see Morn Hyland again.
He wanted revenge on Milos.
And Warden Dios had given him something to hope for.
We've committed a crime against your soul.
It's got to stop.

His desire for revenge on Milos was a driving factor in keeping himself whole.

They both rest prior to docking at Billingate, Milos by choice, Angus through hidden commands in his zone implant.

They dock, and Angus books rooms in the Ease-n-Sleaze, a central part of the Cruise that he hopes Milos will be uncomfortable with. SRD describes the atmosphere there very effectively, from the surprising population of women to the obvious guards as well as the 'wires' who were more disguised, with hidden communication equipment on their bodies. Angus was able to easily identify all the guards through their EM emissions.

They make their way towards the Ease-n-Sleaze:

Quote:
EASE-N-SLEAZE
BAR & KEEP
FUN & FROLIC
YOU NAME IT:
IT'S HERE


They make their way past the "reception" via voiceprint, to the fourth floor where their rooms are located, and Angus scans the area for bugeyes and booby traps. Locating the bugeyes and finding nothing overly out of the ordinary, they enter their rooms:

Quote:
The room was bigger than his cabin aboard Trumpet, but not much. The air was no better than the atmosphere outside Ease-n-Sleaze: apparently the room had recently been occupied by someone who liked to smoke nic laced with dorphamphetamines. The nacreous walls were rank with stains; some of the splotches looked like old grease or blood. Two ersatz stainless steel chairs slumped against them. A ratty fabric like exhausted Velcro covered the floor. Light the color of defeated neon spread like reflectors in the corners of the ceiling...

... The bed probably knew almost as much about desperation and hate as he did.


That's a pretty vivid description!

Angus confirms that both rooms are safe enough. They both have bugeyes but that is pretty standard here.

Quote:
"It's like living beside a bugger. Everything's recorded. You're safe - as long as you never do anything."


"At least we can get drunk" is the cue to go to the bar. The hate between Milos and Angus is palpable. The chapter ends with:

Quote:
Chewing useless fantasies in which Milos begged for death while Angus played cat's cradle with his guts, Captain Thermopyle led his second down to the bar.

Nick Succorso was waiting for them at a table in one of the dim, dirty corners.


It's pretty much a set up chapter. It sets the scene and surroundings with disturbing detail. I find its vividness a great introduction to the subsequent chapters.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 6:09 am    Post subject: Re: A Dark and Hungry God Arises 14 - Angus [1] Reply with quote

StevieG wrote:
This chapter opens by giving an insight into Angus' current state of mind. He is trying hard to - basing his entire being on - maintaining his sanity. The competing pressures in his brain - his desire to exact revenge, the database feeding him information required to dock at Billingate, Dios' words "We've committed a crime against your soul" - are causing fragmentation as SRD puts it.


I'm enjoying this dissection, StevieG! There's certainly strong reasons for Angus to feel as if he's being emotionally pulled in several directions. Angus understandably would like revenge against Milos, for being forced to lick Milos clean and cooperate in getting his tongue repeatedly burned. His internal computer and zone implants keep him excited to learn more about Billingate and the capacities of ships nearby, which distracts from thinking about vengeance. And Angus is finding it hard to not cling to a hope existing behind Dios' words to him about crimes against his soul needing to stop. No wonder he is having a fight trying to stay mentally cohesive! Crazy It felt strange for me to realize the first time I came this far through the story, but I can almost feel sorry for Angus, now. After all the time I was despising Angus for his persecution of Morn while reading through Gap book 1, The Real Story, I found myself sort of pitying him . It was a weird and confusing point of reading the Gap Cycle fir me, right about this point in the story. Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 6:22 am    Post subject: ADAHGA 14 - Angus [1] Reply with quote

StevieG wrote:
They make their way past the "reception" via voiceprint, to the fourth floor where their rooms are located, and Angus scans the area for bugeyes and booby traps. Locating the bugeyes and finding nothing overly out of the ordinary, they enter their rooms:

Quote:
The room was bigger than his cabin aboard Trumpet, but not much. The air was no better than the atmosphere outside Ease-n-Sleaze: apparently the room had recently been occupied by someone who liked to smoke nic laced with dorphamphetamines. The nacreous walls were rank with stains; some of the splotches looked like old grease or blood. Two ersatz stainless steel chairs slumped against them. A ratty fabric like exhausted Velcro covered the floor. Light the color of defeated neon spread like reflectors in the corners of the ceiling...

... The bed probably knew almost as much about desperation and hate as he did.



That's a pretty vivid description!



Indeed! I gives me the impression that many dangerous and desperate people have stayed here, and reinforces subtle but real tension in my mind about Angus and Milos being within an "enemy territory". Hide
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:13 am    Post subject: A Dark And Hungry God Arises 14 - Angus [1] Reply with quote

StevieG wrote:
The hate between Milos and Angus is palpable.


So very true! If Milos wasn't restrained by the thought of the UMCP being able to somehow reach & punish him, and if Angus wasn't restrained by his zone implants, then I get the impression the two of them would have dueled to the death before even entering Billingate.

Quote:
Prewritten commands required him to record everything Milos said and did. Apparently Lebwohl and Dios didn't trust the former deputy chief of Com-Mine Security. Fine. Neither did Angus. But his distrust--no, his visceral and compulsory loathing--was both more global and more specific. Lebwohl and Dios presumably suspected that Milos might betray Angus' mission. Angus knew in his bones that Milos would go farther; much farther. Weeks of stun and starvation and abuse--not to mention the taste of nic and shit--had made Angus a more searching judge of Milos' character than any cop.

He wanted to know everything about Milos because he intended to castrate and then disembowel his second with his bare hands, and any fact he could glean, an hint of intention or weakness, was a tool which might help him reach his goal.

In this way, he fought to make himself whole.

Trumpet was still six hours out of dock when Milos finished his communications. The nic dangling from his mouth disguised his smugness; the characteristic mottling on his scalp and the uncharacteristic stains on his shipsuit hid it. Nevertheless Angus felt it pour off his second like an electromagnetic aura. He knew Milos intimately, understood every shade of his second's stolid fastidiousness. Milos was smug. The things he did to humiliate Angus fed an old hunger. And his transmissions--tight-beamed and coded for secrecy--had given him a sense of power which he probably thought didn't show.


Angus knew in his bones that Milos would go farther; much farther. Angus knows that when Milos tries to betray his mission that Milos will try to do it in a big way, a way that brings so much ruin to the plans of Warden and Hashi that Milos will make himself forever beyond their reach. But all that's obvious about Milos' plans is that they involve both Nick and the Amnion.

In this way, he fought to make himself whole. It's not hard to see how cold-hearted revenge would be enough of a sense of purpose for someone like Angus. Knowing that he must be ready to react to whatever betrayal Milos is planning further sharpens Angus' desire to keep his consciousness focused as one person. Oddly enough, dwelling on retribution, normally considered an unhealthy obsession becomes a focal point for sanity in Angus. I find it interesting how Donaldson can detail mental associations that seem counterintuitive in their relation to each other (focus on violent revenge = pathway to retaining sanity), and write about it so that it seems to make perfect sense.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:40 am    Post subject: ADAHGA 14 - Angus [1] Reply with quote

StevieG wrote:
It's pretty much a set up chapter. It sets the scene and surroundings with disturbing detail. I find its vividness a great introduction to the subsequent chapters.


Quote:
The air which greeted him as he left the lift was exactly as he remembered it: to hot; inadequately processed; clotted with smoke, perfume, sweat, rot, estrogen, vomit, booze, and every other human stench he could think of. The lighting may have been deliberately garish, full of colors that screamed and shade that whimpered; or it may have been simply been made garish by the accreted grime of the atmosphere.


The vivid description of how Billingate's cruise are smells and looks gives the picture of a dangerously unpredictable pace, even though the Bill has spying devices and guards seemingly everywhere. It feels like betrayal can quickly reveal itself and violence can suddenly erupt uncontrollably in such a place. Not only are the odors of corruption and pestilence manifested, but the colors and shades scream and whimper.

Quote:
Some distance down the street, Milos caught up with him. Anchoring himself at Angus' elbow, he muttered, "I hope you're having fun. You probably think this place is heaven."

"Don't you like it?"

Milos didn't appear to notice Angus' contempt. In a low, raw voice, as if he needed to swallow and couldn't, he said, "It's like a city that's been taken over by a guttergang. Just one. Completely. No factions, no levers--no way to change anything. No escape."

"Nobody to betray in exchange for a little protection," Angus put in. Then he added, "Except me. And if you do that, you'll have to live in places like this the rest of your life. The cops'll fry you as soon as they get their hands on you."

Milos' expression gave Angus another piece of reassurance. The nausea lurking at the back of his gaze was unmistakable.

The crowd rolled around Angus. Men and women bumped into him and stumbled or strode past; on their way, some of them flicked light fingers along his shipsuit, looking for valuables he didn't carry. Just for exercise, he would have liked to catch one of those hands--he could have done that easily--and break it. Nevertheless he let them go. He didn't want the guard and wires to focus their attention on him. A woman stepped in front of him and offered to sell him a vial of nerve juice. A man lurched in his way and asked if he had any nerve juice to sell. A creature, apparently hermaphroditic, poised to clutch his/her crotch and stroke his/her breasts invitingly. Angus dismissed all such interruptions with a snarl and steered Milos on toward their destination.


It's all too easy to be distracted, ensnared, and robbed in such a place. Angus has the advantage over Milos of being on familiar ground, but he shares Milos' uncertainty as to how Milos will undermine the mission when neither of them understands how the mission is even supposed to unfold. (I note this is a good way to keep the reader in suspense, as well.)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Their duelling is quite interesting, and yeah, you're not sure as a reader where it's heading. It's quite interesting too that out of the two at this point in the story, I'd be rooting for Angus.
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