In the second half of the twelfth chapter of Going Postal, Moist discovers who the Smoking GNU are. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Let us celebrate, just for a moment, the fact that I figured out one thing in this series, and it was mostly unprompted. Though I get negative points for seeing the three gargoyles in the opening scene of this section and suddenly wondering if that was who ran the Smoking Gnu? OKAY, LOOK, I TRIED.
Still, the other reveals came as more of a surprise. It makes perfect sense that these men were harmed by the Grand Trunk’s practices, but Pratchett takes it a step further than that. Two of them were fired because, as the text puts it, “they’d spoken their mind about the new management.” After being some of the very first people to ever work in the field, they had to leave the Grand Trunk, only to find work in the fateful Second Trunk. John’s murder at the hands (wings? claws?) of Mr. Gryle led to them losing their jobs again.
They make perfect sense as the people who would form a… well, would you count them as whistleblowers? Saboteurs? A combination of the two? However you’d quantify them, they have a reason to feed other people information on the Grand Trunk Company’s doings and to sabotage the system itself.
(I should note that I love that Undecided Adrian is mostly here because he, too, was kicked out of another profession, but he seems to be sticking around because he just likes making shit up? I feel like he is going to come up with an important advance in clacks technology, y’all.
Anyway! I figured that they’d be able to immediately provide Moist with a solution to his problem, but Pratchett does not make things easy for Moist. First of all, just because Gilt is The Worst does not mean he’s a fool. He knows that Moist is going to try something, so he took the extra precaution of each clacks operator having their own specific code. It disrupts the Gnu, but only for the moment and only in one way. They may not have access to messages on the Trunk, and they may not be able to send messages that can break the semaphore towers, but they’ve got Moist. (I just fucking realized that cracker = hacker. JESUS CHRIST.)
And Moist is the most incredible bit of Chaotic Energy in this book, y’all. Because while he’s talking to the Smoking Gnu, he formulates an idea. It involves The Woodpecker, some code that theoretically could bring down the ENTIRE clacks system in short order. The wizards’ tower has something to do with this idea, too, and Moist can provide access? How the fuck can he even get into the Grand Trunk? He’s never been there… ever? As far as I know, that is. I will say that I appreciate that he does give this all a second thought. At the end of the chapter, he wonders if taking down the semaphore in its entirely is going to be a terrible thing. What if they’re needed for an emergency?
However, there’s still a major flaw in this all. Isn’t the trip still going to take nearly two months? Even if Moist cuts it down to forty-five days or so, he can’t keep the clacks down for the same time, right? So how the hell is this supposed to work? I DON’T GET IT YET.
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