Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mind Bomb: A Spanner Side Story

Want to know just how powerful Spanner can be? You’ll get a taste right here. This is the character's world public premiere (she's been with me in some form since 1986), and also in part a “flip side” to "Destroying Angel". Basically, after the end of Spanner, a tiny Nazi faction uses the Israeli civil war as an excuse to try to take over parts of the former US and ends up holed up in a department store with hostages. Spanner arrives just as special ops commandos are about to blow the whole place sky high and does what she did to bring down the once-powerful shadow dictator called the Crusader in Spanner. Note: All mid-sentence paragraph divisions at climax are entirely deliberate.

Mind Bomb
A Spanner Side Story,

19 July 6017 (2017 New Style Christian). A hot night in downtown Seattle. A terrorist gang is holding several hundred hostages in the Bon Marché, a former department store turned variety mall.

“Go away, Shira Thomas,” says Captain Martin Lansky. “This is not a job for amateurs. Go home and leave it to the professionals.”

The tall young redhead in the famous insignia-covered brown flight jacket regards him skeptically with her piercing green eyes. That enigmatic cockeyed smile that Spanner is famous for never fails to unnerve overly serious people like him, and she knows it. “Let’s see...” she says in her deep lilting voice; “what did your old Israeli commando group claim to do better than anybody else? Rescue people? Hmph!” She points at him; her smile disappears. “I know you special ops types. You’re nothing but a blunt instrument. ‘Hostage rescue,’ in most cases, turns out to be ‘kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.’ Well, you’re not doing the bad guys’ human sacrifice for them like you people usually do. So get out of my way and let me take care of it the right way.”

The mayor and the chief of police look at the commando leader pleadingly. Lansky looks at them (concludes: wimps), then at Spanner, and sighs. “Okay. We’ll let you do what you think you have to do. But we’ll be watching you.”

“You’d better watch.” Spanner winks. “You might learn something.”

She nudges aside several large, heavily armed commandos who were summoned by the government of the infant Euro-American Union to take out the “Aryan Dominion of Cascadia” terrorists. “Aryan Dominion” corresponds to Al-Qaeda’s “Islamic Emirates.” Lansky orders his men to let her pass because he has seen what she is capable of doing. He saw what she did to Dictel Corporation last year, just before the Revolution. For this, he is willing to suspend direct orders. But he must at least make a show of resistance for the sake of those geriatric bureaucrats back in Brussels. Spanner makes no secret of her contempt for them. Lansky’s own opinion of them is not much higher. But he works for them, so he must at least pretend to do the job they gave him.

Three other young hackers follow Spanner to their staging point. First, her beautiful blond scientist cousin, Jennifer Richter-Thomas. If Shira is the tactical master, Jennifer is the strategic brains behind the unit. Underneath her white dress is a powerful wearable computer which use the circular lenses of her eyeglasses as its monitor. With her are notorious security cracker J.T. Sparks in his trademark black trenchcoat, and rising video artist Moon Roach in her trademark winter cap and slacker wear. These four belong to the core group within the celebrated Wrecking Krewe of talented young revolutionaries who were instrumental in bringing down the Corporate Empire last year. Lansky follows them. Behind them, a ninja drives a transport cart filled with transceivers and other gadgets he can’t figure out. I hope she knows what she’s doing, he thinks, because I do not.

Spanner picks a spot out in the open, well inside the line of police cars, across Pine Street from the front entrance. “Miss Thomas, you need to choose a safer position. Please hide behind a police car, at the least.”

She looks back at him with her sassy smirk and says, “You forget they’re afraid of the Evil Eye.”

Jennifer says, “Remember what Batman® says about criminals?”

“Cowardly and superstitious, yes...” says Lansky.

“Two reputed witches and a ninja are shield enough against this bunch. You’re perfectly safe as long as you’re with us.” She winks at him.

Spanner holds her new-model iPhone out sideways. She taps the screen a few times while Jennifer taps furiously at the keys of her BlackBerry. Using cellphones to hack into a terrorist gang’s secure communications... Lansky has never kept pace with the latest civilian tech, so he never ceases to be amazed by these mere teenage girls’ incredible proficiency with these devices.

“We’re in,” says Jennifer.

“Got it!” says Shira.

A dark picture appears on the iPhone’s screen. “Yo! Ratz!” taunts Shira. “Pick up!”

A brutal face appears. Clearly the terrorist gang’s leader, Ratz. “Who are you?!” he screams at the smiling, mocking face on his cellphone screen.

“Hi, Ratz! Remember me? Scalper of Ali Muhammad? Slayer of Lord Dictel?” She moves the phone’s camera closer to her mouth so it dominates Ratz’s screen. “It’s me. Spanner!” She shifts the camera view to her eyes. “I’m here for you!” While she has the terrorists’ attention, the ninja takes a black tote he has filled with gadgets and sneaks through the front entrance, unnoticed by the ever-vigilant terrorists.

This woman is good, thinks Lansky. No wonder the United Corporations tried to force her into their service. Spanner is a psyops master, and she’s not quite eighteen...

Rewind a few hours, to when the hostage crisis began. The live news feeds tracked the terrorists since their abortive attempt to overthrow the Cascadian state government with just under a hundred fanatical super soldiers. The police and state militia drove them out of Olympia; by the time they got to Seattle to take hostages, there were only ten. Let’s catch up on the biggest local feed, with presenter Amanda Currie:

Currie: “We have breaking news: The terrorist group calling itself the ‘Aryan Dominion of Cascadia’ has taken over the former Bon Marché department store in downtown Seattle. We have learned from our sources on the ground that of the ninety-eight terrorists who attempted to overthrow the state government and impose a racist dictatorship, only ten are left who have not been killed or captured. They have sent their demands on video:”

Ratz (on dark grainy digital video): “A message to the white people of Cascadia: Join our holy crusade for the restoration of white supremacy, or be punished as traitors to the race! To the inferior races occupying our holy land, and their Jew occupation government: we demand total unconditional surrender now, or you will be utterly annihilated. Until you surrender and proclaim the Aryan Dominion your eternal kingdom, we will kill one hostage an hour.”

Currie: “Cascadia Live News security analyst Imram Shomron is here with us to give us the details. Imram, what is this ‘Aryan Dominion’ group?”

Shomron (his accent is vaguely pan-European): “They are a militant splinter group that formed when the Aryan Nations and other Nazi organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the various National Fronts, split into ‘Israelite’ and ‘True Aryan’ factions because of the Israeli civil war. The ‘Israelites’ defected from the Euro-American racial supremacist movement to unite with the victorious Messianist side in Israel alongside the former Christian Zionists when the Messianists expelled the surviving secular and moderate Jews along with the Palestinian Arabs from Israeli territory.”

Currie: “How did that drive the remaining racist factions into greater violence?”

Shomron: “It’s simple. For a powerful faction like the National Socialist Alliance that once held power in the Euro-American Parliament, a sudden loss of size like that leads to loss of power. For those dependent on power, loss of power means humiliation. And humiliation drives proud and once-powerful men to violence. Hence the ‘Aryan Dominion’ crisis occurring right now here in Cascadia.”

Currie: “Can you explain the names the surviving terrorists gave police? Like Ratz, Worm, Snake, Pig, and so on?”

Shomron: “From what I gather, the choice of names like this for a faction that intends to be a new paramilitary aristocracy signifies nothing less than ‘the last shall be made first...’”

...and the first shall be made last. “The first” being anybody who does not belong to the “chosen people” of the “Aryan Dominion,” including of course the hostages. Spanner makes a video call on her iPhone. “Akira-kun!”

“Hai!” the ninja replies.

“Got all the transmitters and holoprojectors set up?”

“Hai!”

“We’re ready. Come on down.”

Akira grins mischievously on the screen. “No, I wanna stay heah ando watch show.” Moon and Jennifer giggle.

“Okay. Suit yourself. Enjoy. We’re starting now.” She activates her MentaLink™ to link the iPhone with the computer implanted in her head.

By now, the former chief of the state police, Michael Corson, is here. The two were once enemies, but have since made a truce. “Chief,” Spanner says to him, “are these guys Heathen or Christian?”

“Ratz seemed pretty fixated on the Aryan Christ to me.”

“No matter. This ain’t no hostage crisis, really. It’s a Wild Hunt.”

“Meaning?”

“When the maniacs go out and perform random mass human sacrifices. Like Odin in the Viking days, or like the Thuggee. These berserk super soldiers are really after the death energy they think can superpower them.”

The chief of city police says, “Then they don’t intend to leave anybody alive. This is bad.” It takes a lot to spook a man as hard as him, but having a vicious gang of mass murderers jam their guns down your people’s throats is just the kind of thing.

“They plan to do it all at once, like a Transcendental Illumination.”

“That’s nonsense,” barks Lansky.

“Captain,” says skeptical Jennifer, “I don’t think you understand the mind of the religious fanatic. That, in fact, is why you are here in the Diaspora and not back in Israel.”

“Aryan Christ it is,” says Spanner. “Let’s see...” On the iPhone’s screen she fingers a long pinwheeling list of the demons she’s collected in her many years of online roleplaying, picking and choosing demons almost at random.

“Whoa, babe,” says Moon. “Isn’t that like a bit much?”

“They love overkill. So let’s give some of it back to ’em.”

“Hey, I’m waitin’!” complains Akira over the phone.

“Hold your horses, Akira-kun. Let’s wait till they’re ready to start the sacrifice. That way they won’t know what hit ’em.”

Midnight. Ratz sends his final message. “You vermin infesting our Aryan holy land of Cascadia!” he broadcasts in his rough brutal voice. “It is too late for the hostages, and for you. We will sacrifice the hostages to Wotan, who will restore our superpowers. Then we will destroy you and restore our holy land to the true gods of the Aryan race!”

Spanner grins. “Ready, Akira-kun?”

“Hai!” comes the answer over the phone.

She turns to her comrades. Jennifer gives the thumbs-up; Moon flashes the “okay” sign. “J.T., anybody in there hack?”

“No,” says Sparks, “but they know where to get some nasty warez.”

“Anything that can hurt us?”

“We’ve dealt with the Russians before. No mafia shit we can’t deal with.”

Jennifer says, “I’ll lock on the ones who shoot.”

“Okay. Let’s do it.” Spanner takes a transmitter out of the left pocket of her flight jacket and plugs it into the iPhone’s FireWire port. Then she pockets the phone and transfers control to the computer in her head.

Just as the terrorists have begun to train their Al-Qaeda-made bootleg AK-47s on their intended victims, it begins. First to manifest is Ifrit, the fire elemental. He hovers over the terrorists and hostages on the third floor. The hostages huddle on the floor screaming in terror, but Worm, Cockroach, and Swine shoot at the demon. Jennifer has the targeting program on her wearable computer target the three panicked terrorists. “Locked the first three!” When the hostages realize their dazed captors are too preoccupied to pay any more attention to them, they scatter to the corners of the building in hope of finding a fire escape.

Second: Bahamut, the earth elemental. He stomps and makes deafening noises on the second floor, but only the terrified hostages realize that the ground is not giving way beneath them. The far more superstitious terrorists Dog, Wolf, and Sty shoot at the apparition. More hostages flee. “Locked three more!”

Third: Zephyr, the west wind. He blows hurricane-force winds throughout the first floor, sending the hostages to the ground. But Pig, Worm, and Filth shoot at him, hitting only air. “Only one more to get!”

For Ratz, holding the most important hostages on the fourth floor, Spanner reserves something special. She sends Fenris Wolf to attack him. The Norse demon, legendary ancestor of the werewolves and future destroyer of Wotan in Ragnarok, wrestles him till he’s so caught up in the fearful struggle that he doesn’t notice the wolf god is no longer there. His hostages notice, and they run for their lives.

To make sure she keeps the terrorists’ attention away from the fleeing hostages, Spanner sends more demons to the holoprojectors to assault the superstitious killers. They shoot and shoot at holographic phantoms till they run out of ammo.

When Ratz realizes he has been wrestling with nothing, he falls to the floor and catches his breath. Slowly he raises himself up, trying to avoid slipping in his own dripping sweat on the slick tile floor. Realizing that the victims he had intended to sacrifice to Wotan on this Wild Hunt have fled him for safety, he takes out his cellphone, taps into Spanner’s transmission (which she has left open just for him), and rages through clenched broken teeth:

“Spanner...
you...
fucking...
bitch!

“Glad you liked it,” says Spanner, her enigmatic smile not fading from her beautiful dark face. “And now, just for you, the grand finale.”

The holoprojectors go dark. The demons that attacked the terrorists vanish in an instant. All the sound and commotion that overwhelmed terrorist and hostage alike suddenly fall silent. The only light left in the building is the dim and silent light of the terrorists’ electric torches.

The killers look around, all over, at each other, expecting the worst. They do not expect even worse

when it hits them. The mind bomb

that destroyed the all-conquering mind of the rampaging supervillain once known as the Crusader now bursts into the far weaker brains of ten far more primitive killers driven by pure hatred and superstitious fear, overwhelming them with absolute pain beyond pain, frying neurons and fusing synapses

till their blasted minds burn out and ten cold-blooded killers all fall dead.

Spanner turns her head back to the stunned policemen, militiamen, soldiers, and Captain Martin Lansky, and winks. She does not need to tell them “I told you so.”

The hostages have all escaped. Some are taken to nearby hospitals: some actually injured, but others merely scared beyond their limits. Many have stories to tell, and tell them to on-scene reporters who upload them to the live news feeds. The police, militia, and soldiers retreat to their bases, satisfied that today’s terrorist threat has been taken out, but worrying that the geriatric bureaucrats in Brussels will punish them for not doing the job themselves, even if far less elegantly and with more potential loss of life.

Crowds of cameras and reporters surround the victorious Spanner and the Krewe as they leave the scene. Amanda Currie, the local celebrity among them, manages to squeeze in a question.

“How did you manage to beat the terrorists this time?”

Shira Thomas triumphantly flashes a dazzling grin to the camera beside the reporter. “Ask Lord Dictel!”

Copyright © 2009 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

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1 comment:

  1. Just be sure to stay away from the Evil Eye!

    ReplyDelete