The original version of this chapter was posted on the AugNoWriMo forums (now closed). The version now posted is the official 2.0 version, greatly expanded from the original. It was originally intended to be a post-chapter interlude, but grew into an entire chapter with a coda interlude of its own. Except for the section with Diana and her daughter Belle at home, everything up to the line “Prove it!” was written during AugNoWriMo, as were the first two paragraphs of the Interlude; these were first posted here as the original version 1.0. Everything else in this expanded version was written for the 2.0 version during NaNoFiMo.
Here's where the real controversy begins. You've been warned...
← ...from previous
Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 2: Brown Note
Chapter 2: Brown Note
All my means are sane, my motive and object mad.
Through the television screen, Rebel Styles urges, “Come to me.” Shepherd Ward Tremayne is a secret porn addict. He finds Rebel impossible to resist. She is beautiful. She is charismatic. She is utterly seductive, totally nude, insanely horny, completely without shame.
She is a child of no more than eight.
Tremayne slashes both his wrists and dies in front of the video seductress, begging Jesus America to forgive him.
To Yoyodyne executive Donald K. McTeague, Rebel begs, “Take me. I’m yours.” McTeague soon finds himself locked in a mental institution, irrevocably mad, never to return to the outside world.
To Senator J. Russell Johnson, Rebel coos, “Be my lover.” The next day, Johnson massacres his staff and is shot dead by the police.
The FBI are swamped enough with mafia- and Nazi-related child porn cases, many of them snuff, that they are tempted to pass the Rebel Styles case by. But Special Agent Joe Ogden is disturbed enough that he argues the case to the Bureau’s Australian-born director, Karl Radisson. “Men going nuts all over the country, offing themselves, going berserk. Important men, even. And all of ’em have one thing in common, and it’s these Rebel Rebel videos. There’s similar cases in Japan too. I say we need to stop this ‘Rebel Rebel’ before she goes viral and does some real damage.”
The tall blond woman he has just interrupted is Special Agent Diana Shockley. “I agree with Agent Ogden. This does sound urgent.”
Reluctantly, Chief Radisson puts them on the case.
“I don’t know if you’re up to this, Ogden,” says Shockley. “This sounds like one of those ‘brown note’ cases.”
“What’s a ‘brown note’?”
Shockley has Ogden ask Lavette Perry, a black female agent who moonlights as a jazz pianist, who tells him, “Oh, that’s a note that, when somebody plays it, makes people shit their pants. Whenever you hear it, no matter what instrument it’s played on or how hard you try to prevent it, you shit.“
“Where’d you hear that?” asks Ogden, still puzzled.
Lavette winks. “From a friend of a friend.”
Later, counterhacker agent Stuart Kowalczyk tells Ogden, “Ever heard of ‘Videodrome’? It was a signal that took over your mind and caused brain tumors when it was played through an old-fashioned CRT TV.”
Shockley sighs. “That was just a movie, Stu.”
“Well, Diana, this Rebel Rebel is the same kind of thing, only I know it ain’t the signal.”
In confessional, the priest urges Ogden to take on the case and rid the world of this evil witch Rebel Styles. A week later, the priest is arrested for having molested altar boys for two decades. Ogden cannot remember if he was one of them.
Ogden crosses himself when Kowalczyk shows him his first Rebel Rebel video. Shockley gasps: “That’s a reality distortion field!”
Kowalczyk grins. “Mrs. Shockley gets a clue.”
The reality distortion field is being generated by the girl herself. She is every bit as seductive and charismatic as the rumors claim. Ogden is fascinated. Shockley is disgusted. Shockley demands, “Stu, where’d you get this shit?”
“Off the illegal Darknet, of course. You can find anything you want there, if you’re willing to put some effort into looking. Right, Jimmy?” His assistant nods.
The four of them study the videos, looking for clues into who the girl is, who made the videos, and where. They guess that whoever made these was probably the girl’s lover. In the similar Japanese case of Aya-chan’s Little Love Hotel, they agree to consider the rumor that “Aya Shibata” repeatedly raped the son of a Yakuza boss, perhaps as his reward for making the videos. Rebel Rebel may have come from the same source as the Shibata videos, though the two girls are subtly different. The faces and voices were obviously processed to disguise the girl’s identity. Kowalczyk says he suspects that the maker may have planted false clues in the videos to lead police and gangsters alike away from the truth. In three of them, she has even managed to double herself so expertly that she looks like she’s making love to her own twin sister.
Suddenly Ogden exclaims, “She did it!” Kowalczyk and Shockley look at him skeptically. “She made these videos herself!”
Shockley says, “Why would she do something like that?”
Kowalczyk slaps his forehead and laughs. “But of course! Exploit pedophiles’ perversions and get easy money by the millions! She’s even more cynical than I am! I like her!”
Ogden stares at the screen like a zombie, even after Kowalczyk turns the monitor off. “Uh-oh,” says Kowalczyk. He and Shockley have to drag Ogden out of the building and into his car.
Rebel Styles appears to Ogden in a dream, emerging out of darkness. She is totally nude, and she begs him to make love to her. She is only a child, he warns himself. Slowly she comes closer. He cannot move. He begs the Holy Virgin to rescue him. When the girl comes close enough to touch him, he screams and wakes up in a cold sweat.
Ogden angrily barges into Kowalczyk’s lab and demands, “How come you’re not affected by this ‘Rebel Rebel’ shit?”
Kowalczyk grins. “I’m a cynical bastard.”
At lunch, Shockley tells Kowalczyk, “I bet your cousin might very well be in on this, Stu.” Kowalczyk grimaces at the mention. His cousin is his archenemy, the hacker Deth Pussy.
“Let’s go find out,” snarls Kowalczyk.
When Ogden, Shockley, and Kowalczyk raid Deth Pussy’s house, they find no trace of Rebel Rebel on his computer, on any memory cards or thumb drives, nor among the many pirated movies on DVD-R. Ogden roughs up the hacker and demands to know where Rebel Styles is. Shockley and Kowalczyk pull him off to restrain him. Once Kowalczyk has a firm hold on Ogden from behind, Shockley screams in his face: “What the hell are you doing, Ogden? You just ruined our piracy case against him with an act of police brutality!” As soon as Radisson finds out, he orders Ogden off the case.
Ogden spends the following week away from the office, doing nothing but watching Rebel Rebel videos. The case is now on him. He is too obsessed to sleep. As the sun sets one last time, he tries to go into the screen so he can rape Rebel Styles. He knocks over the television; it falls on him; the plasma screen explodes.
He dreams that Rebel Styles is raping him. She laughs at her victim as she rides and whips him like an abused horse. Crucified on Christ’s cross, he screams the torments of the damned.
He wakes up in a pool of his own blood. Not bothering to clean himself up, he takes his gun to work and shoots up the FBI office. He kills no more than two people only because Shockley is quick enough to shoot him down.
The agents the hospital where the ruin that was once Special Agent Joe Ogden now screams and moans incessantly. “That pain’s not from the wound,” the nurse apologizes.
They try to visit Ogden at the mental hospital. “I’m afraid it’s incurable,” says the psychiatrist.
Home from the bughouse, Shockley stares at the video seductress who destroyed Ogden. Her Patriot Country singer husband is out on tour, and who knows what he’s doing with whom after and between shows, so she feels she has nothing else to do. Repulsed, she gathers all her will to resist the urge to murder her by shooting the screen. She vows to hunt down Rebel Styles and destroy her.
25 August 2014
Dressed in nightgown and robe, Shockley leans back in her living room recliner with her phone in her lap and does not sleep. The phone rings. She picks it up. The caller ID says it’s from Kowalczyk. She presses “talk.” “Hello?”
“Heard the news yet?”
“What just went down at the big Cartel shindig in the Big Apple. Looks like we just got us a new friend. News is calling him ‘Spanner’ ’cuz he threw a monkeywrench into the festivities. Literally. Ruined a perfectly good Jumbotron. I sent you video.” He hangs up. Slowly she raises herself from her chair.
On her way to her office, she finds her ten-year-old daughter Belle standing in the middle of the hall. “Mommy—”
“No!” snaps Shockley. “Shut up and go back to bed. Now!”
Belle lowers her head, sighs in despair, and slinks back into her bedroom.
In her office, she checks her email on the computer and opens the one from Kowalczyk. It contains three security videos he says should all be played at the same time because they all depict the same incident. In them, a lone terrorist in motorcycle helmet and flight jacket flies in on a hoverboard, fires rockets to knock down catwalks crowded with armoured antiterrorists, throws a large pipe wrench into the giant television screen to shatter it, and disappears in a whirlwind.
It’s not the incident itself that catches her attention. There’s something strange about the terrorist. She replays the videos, one by one. The terrorist seems to flicker into and out of existence: obviously he’s cloaking. The latest combat weaponry is a highly prized commodity in the underworld. In between, though, everything seems to revolve around him in a swirling vortex: dust, smoke, debris, people’s attention, the very air itself. The sensation feels very familiar to her — the same sensation she got from the Rebel Rebel videos...
With a shock, she realizes: He’s projecting a reality distortion field—
26 August 2014
FBI field office. Shockley barges into Chief Radisson’s office to breathlessly tell him: “I have a theory! Rebel Styles is Spanner!”
Radisson looks at her skeptically. “How do you know that?”
“Their reality distortion fields are the same!”
nightclub. At the TechnoGothic, Kowalczyk’s assistant Jimmy waits in the darkest booth he can find in the back. Noir lighting, jerkily dancing clubbers, and people copulating with black market sexbots in the surrounding booths camouflage him. The music tonight is metal house, with its earth-shaking hard-disco beat and its guitars that scream and roar like demons being tortured; it’s more than loud enough to create adequate cover for clandestine conversation. Deth Pussy, the hacker, slips silently into the booth in his trademark Dead Hello Kitty gear, across the table from Jimmy. “Sorry about the shakedown,” says Jimmy.
“No prob, J.T. I expect it from ol’ cousin mine, praise Jesus fuckin’ America amen. Thanks for the help. Got my Rebels?” J.T. Sparks pulls a one-terabyte thumb drive out of the pocket of his black leather jacket and flips it across the table. Deth catches it and throws one of his own to Jimmy. “Scope this: all the Spanner video’s right there on that drive. Get it home first. We can’t know who’s scopin’ us. So what’s the word on dear old cuz?”
“He sent some Rebel Rebel to one of his friends. If you know what I mean by friends.”
“Him? The old hentai’s got a zillion of these things. All the Rebels, and the Aya-chans too. I mean the boy-lovin’ Mick.”
Deth laughs. “Pretty boy? I thought Artie wasn’t into girls.”
“I think she’s the only girl he likes. As for Stu, I’ve got proof on video he and Artie are seeing each other. If you want, I’ll give you the sexvids.”
Deth laughs even harder. “Figures ol’ cuz’d be on the make!”
J.T leans toward Deth. “Every cop’s on the make. That’s the first thing you learn in the Police Guild. You join the Blue Mafia for only one of two reasons: either you wanna beat people up with sovereign immunity, or you’re there to spy on the cops. Usually it’s both. You wanna survive with a badge, you gotta know who’s rolling whom for whom.”
“Consider it grokked. Hey, keep in touch.”
J.T. winks. Deth Pussy gets up and disappears into the crowd of robotic dancers. J.T. pockets Deth’s thumb drive and flashes an enigmatic smile in his general direction.
J.T.’s apartment. At the office he’s James Tiberius Sparks, National Police agent trainee. On the Darknet, he’s the Debaser, so named because of his notorious fondness for raping secure databases, a talent he inherited from his CIA agent father. Some rumors claim he got his name from dBase, an extinct database language, but the Empire and the Corporations that own it use only Microsoft SQL Server today. He took his handle from a punk rock song.
He finds the Mafias all in a panic over this Spanner guy. Spanner made his first spectacular appearance a year ago to ruin the first annual celebration of the coup, though he never actually came in person. His personal appearance at the Corporate conference only proved that anyone is a target. The godfathers fear that one or more of them will be next.
The enigmatic Spanner first popped up on the Darknet shortly after the coup. He announced himself as a new member of the legendary Skeleton Krewe, but J.T. deduced that his true identity was known to the Krewe long before that. It didn’t take him long to realize that Spanner was the same as Rebel Styles. He never told any of his fellow cops even after he joined the newly formed National Police Agency. He had no reason to. He was in love with Rebel Rebel.
He still is.
He watches the security cam videos with breathless anticipation. He watches Spanner expertly manipulate cloaking device, hoverboard, heatseekers, monkeywrench, security personnel, and the Becket brothers’ monstrous egos. He watches as Spanner owns his adversaries with practiced ease. If anything, Spanner reminds him of his favorite pulp fiction heroine, the slippery cat burglar called the Civet.
The Darknet echoes with hosannas from the guerrillas in the hacker underground. From the white hats who let themselves become owned and operated by Confederacy and Cartel, he hears a frenzy of condemnation and hatred that he knows can come only from envy. From the mercenary black hats: silence.
He wants Spanner for himself. Male or female, youth or adult, Rebel Rebel or not, he vows to have him (or her), whatever it takes. From the Darknet, in the shadows, Debaser will do anything he can to help him, and his allies in the Skeleton Krewe. He does not like the direction the police world took after the coup: the takeover of all local police departments to form the National Police Agency, its schizophrenic alternation between inquisition and absolute corruption, the license it gives cops to commit even terrorism against civilians with no accountability, the massive infiltration of the Agency by terrorists and mafias and foreign governments so that it has become impossible to tell if an agent is honest or on the make, or which faction he’s a mole for... Of all the people working for government, the only ones more corruptible than policemen are politicians. If he feels it necessary, he will follow Spanner into war against the National Police Agency itself.
But in the office or in the field, among other cops, he will continue to keep his poker face up and say nothing. James Sparks is a bland nonentity to them, and he plans to keep it that way. The second thing he learned about undercover work at police academy is never to let anyone else know who you’re really working for: to have one’s cover blown means death — or worse.
27 August 2014
FBI field office. Jim Sparks watches silently and intently as Diana Shockley and Stuart Kowalczyk talk business.
Shockley shakes her head sadly. “First Niemeyer, now Ogden...”
“Forget Rebel Rebel for a minute here. Let’s talk about this Spanner guy.”
“I still think the two are the same.”
“And I still say one couldn’t have become the other without a sex change.”
“Well, whatever he, she, or it is, he’s still responsible for almost three hundred deaths.”
“Oh, them? Some of ’em got better already. The rest’ll be all fine in due time.”
“You mean they’re alive? That’s impossible, Kowalczyk, and you know it.”
Kowalczyk winks. “Shockley, you’re forgetting decades of Defense Department research. Every important person has his own personal clone bank. You might not know this, Miss formerly known as Becket, but your family business has one for you too.”
Shockley sighs. “I’ll take your word for it. But let’s get back to the important question.”
“Where this Spanner guy’s gonna strike next. Actually, the real question’s when. Jimmy! What’s the big days after this?”
Sparks answers, “There’s Pray For America Day, September 11th, Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day—”
Kowalczyk points at him and snaps his fingers. “That’s it! Election day!”
“But on Restoration Day, Spanner didn’t attack the same place twice,” says Shockley.
“Okay. You’re right then. Now that we know when Spanner’s gonna strike next, the big question is, where.”
Alex Plus’ apartment. When Alex hears knocking on the front door of the apartment she shares with her husband, she opens it. Deth Pussy is there. He grins and waves a thumb drive in front of her. She grabs him by the wrist and pulls him in so she can shut the door.
“Our new friend Debaser’s proving himself trustworthy so far. He’s got us some leverage on cuz. Sexvids with an evil pretty boy with long black hair.”
“Shield?!” gasps Alex.
“Arvid Napoleon, the very one, a.k.a. Wally’s prodigal son. So if Cousin Stu tries to shake us down again, he’ll never be able to live it down again. By the way, what’s your plans for Election Day?”
“Well, there’s Plan A, and then there’s Plan B. Hope’s got Plan A worked out, but everybody knows the Man won’t stand for it ’cos he never does. As for Plan B, we’re still scoping out the Triumvirate’s weaknesses.”
“Any luck with that?”
“Nothing fatal, if that’s what you mean. So far, everything’s still fully deniable in Salem and Bangor.”
“Any word from your cousin Shira?”
“Hi, Steve.” Shira waves at Deth from the recliner, wearing her new yellow sailor-suit school uniform. She sits up and holds out her arms in show-me position. “Like it?”
“Cute,” says Deth. “Somebody at the school district got a sailor-fuku fetish?”
Shira winks. “Damn right. This would’ve been blue, but I already graduated homeschool, so I’m going to college half the day and doing tutoring at the high school the rest of the day. Me, Jen, and Courtney. So what’s the word you need, pussycat?’
“About the Fearsome Foursome...”
Shira smiles ironically and shrugs. “Like you said, everything’s still deniable. They’ve got professionals to cover up their dirty laundry, y’know.”
“But you know how people in power are,” adds Alex. ”You stay in power long enough, and you start to think everybody under you’s stupid by definition. So you let your guard down thinking you can get away with anything. Sooner or later, somebody catches you with your pants down. You get caught sucking undercover dick in a sleazy motel restroom, or your wife finds you sleeping with your secretary, or Echelon’s censorbots catch you talking to some foreign agent on some clandestine channel over the phone or trolling for Nazi child snuff porn on the Darknet. Everybody’s got a price, they say. If that’s true, then everybody’s got a weakness too. So far, Wally Brinkman and company are doing a good job covering up their weaknesses with deniability. But sooner or later, one of ’em’s gonna slip up. Their pants’ll be down for all to see, and that’s when we strike.”
“But this time we can’t rely on any of ’em falling for Rebel Rebel. They’ve got that covered, especially the preacher quisling of Seattle, Mayor Everson. He’s even using it as a public display of overcoming temptation.”
Deth slaps his forehead in disbelief. “Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee!” he says, invoking Presleyanity’s famous formula of faith. “Jesus H. America, I never figured they’d find a way to make little Rebel serve the Man...”
“Didn’t help his comrade Shepherd in Memphis, Tennessee, however,” replies Alex. “Tremayne failed the Rebel Rebel test of faith for all to see.”
“Yeah, I read all about it in the tabloids,” says Shira. “But you gotta hand it to that city-sucking vampire Everson, he’s awful clever. Which only means we gotta dig deeper to get some real dirt on the Mayor and his limited-liability partnership, preferably something radioactive.”
“There’s got to be something we can find on these people.”
“Actually, there’s somebody I’m tracking right now. Old fiend of my father’s. Knowing him and his fondness for that ‘man essence’ all the bullyboys love, I get the feeling he’ll lead us somewhere.”
Deth picks up the Civet paperback off the coffee table. “And you’ll find your radioactive dirt the way Dorinda finds her treasure?”
“Like that.” Shira sighs. “You know, Dorinda reminds me a whole lot of Kira...”
Interlude: Who Is the Civet?
The Civet Strikes! by Wesley Dent
Who is the mysterious young woman who hides behind the mask of the Civet? Who is this seductive black-clad cat burglar who preys on the rich and powerful? Is the scandalous teen pop idol Dorinda Wilde her true identity — or is it the other way around? Does she fight for justice against the tyranny of the Consortium, or does she merely serve her own desires? Is she on our side — or strictly her own?
An investigative reporter has been murdered in the mansion of media lord Walter J. Wells! His partner, Rebecca Street, suspects that he may have stumbled upon a massive official cover-up in which Wells is deeply involved. Fearing for her life, she calls on that most mysterious of bandits, the Civet. Searching into the cover-up, Dorinda and Becky discover a new form of media technology beyond belief — and a monstrous plot to seize control over the human mind itself! Can they stop the Consortium from destroying the last bit of freedom that survives in this world? Or does the Consortium’s plot hide an even more horrible truth that humanity may not even survive?
Dressed in black sweater, tights, boots, and wool cap, Becky sneaks onto the mansion’s heavily guarded grounds. For some reason, the security’s unusually lax, so she manages to sneak into Wells’ mansion through the heavy front door, which for some reason someone has left unlocked. She searches through the obscenely opulent citadel until she reaches the vast living room with its hundreds of pilfered paintings. Suddenly she hears someone cock a pistol behind her. She turns around to see Wells pointing his gun and a flashlight at her.
“One of those annoying investigative reporters, hmm? Trying to get your name in the paper with an old-fashioned scoop? Clearly you do not realize the way the world really works. There’s no such thing as news till I say it’s news. I alone make the news. I decree it into existence. The reporter’s job is merely to relay the news that I have already created. I assume you’re planning to write a shocking exposé about me and my crimes against what you in your blind faith claim to be truth? You want to inflame the masses of weak subhumans against the strong? The Law of Social Darwinism is all the truth there is. Survival goes only to the strongest. The future belongs only to those who survive. Your conscience, I’m afraid, has made you weak. That is why you are here, I presume. Too bad you came here only to die. Goodbye, Rebecca Street.”
Suddenly the lights come on. A young woman cocks her pistol and clears her throat. Becky and Wells turn around to see a bronze-skinned beauty sitting in Wells’ favorite recliner, wearing a black catlike mask and black ninja boots that reach her knees and nothing else. She holds the gun in her left hand; in her right, the latest model Motorola Droid Mega smartphone.
“You!” gasps Wells. “How did you get in here?”
The Civet smiles through her mask. “The same way any self-respecting cat burglar does. I hacked your security system. Turns out it had a weakness that fit the latest series of Israeli Windows viruses going around. As for your men, they’ll live as long as they remain silent and remember nothing.”
Wells raises his gun to try to shoot the Civet, but she’s faster, with the uncanny reflexes of youth. She shoots the lobe off his left ear. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Mr. Wells. You never were well coordinated in a crisis. You might end up dead.”
Wells keeps his gun pointed at the intruder. “What do you want, Civet?”
Becky gasps. She thinks, If I can somehow get out of this alive, I may just have the story of the year.
The Civet says, “I want to steal as much of your pelf as I can get away with. Especially that pretty golden Sekhmet statue you use as a talisman. And your hostage. Alive.” She waves the gun at Becky. “Take off your clothes. Now.”
Becky gasps. “Do I have to?”
“Yes. You do. And don’t the least bit ashamed about it. Do it!”
Becky sighs. Reluctantly, she removes all her clothes and stands naked in full sight of the media lord and the cat burglar.
The Civet stands up. “Since I don’t have an army of homicidal maniacs to do my bidding like you do, Mr. Wells, I have to be resourceful. All you need to do is sit back and give the order to shoot. I have to hack.” She holds up her Droid. “If you can’t handle this, then consider this a fare thee well and see you in hell.”
Wells aims at the naked burglar’s heart and shoots. The Civet ducks; the bullet goes through one of her mask’s ears. With her thumb she touches a click button on the Droid’s screen. Immediately, the mansion’s PA system emits a loud and nearly deafening ultra-low note. Excrement shoots out of the women’s naked butts till no more remains inside their bodies. Wells drops his gun and cane, holds his hands to his ears, and screams. He wobbles on his weak legs, feeling the noise ravage his body. His eyes roll up into his skull, he clutches his heart in agony, and then he falls to the floor, dead from a heart attack. For several seconds, the corpse twitches. Then the twitching stops; Walter J. Wells will move no more
The Civet tosses her gun and phone into the now dead magnate’s chair. She removes her ninja boots one by one. Then carefully she removes the cat mask to reveal the sweet young face and wild red hair of—
“Dorinda Wilde?!” gasps Becky.
Dorinda winks. “Somebody has to stand up to the system.” She goes over to Becky and takes her hand. “We have to take a shower right now.”
Becky blushes. “Can’t we take turns? I’ll let you go first if you want.”
“No.” Dorinda takes Becky into her arms and gives her a long sweet kiss on the lips. “Don’t you realize I’ve had a crush on you forever? We’re doing it together.”
Becky sighs. “Okay.” She looks back at the smelly brown pile behind her. “I never figured anybody could have killed Wells, much less with a brown note.”
“Every villain has his weakness.” Dorinda kisses Becky again, then puts her hand on Becky’s brown-smeared butt to lead her to the bathroom.
“If you really insist on stealing my heart, Dorinda,” says Becky with a mischievous wink, “will you pee on me while we’re in the shower? Please?”
They laugh. Dorinda kisses her and says, “Anything you want, lover.” Arm in arm, hands caressing each other’s butts, lips locked in a passionate kiss, Dorinda Wilde and Rebecca Street stride together toward Walter J. Wells’ massive gold-fixtured bathroom.
on to the next... →
Copyright © 2010 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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[Revision 1.1, 11/23/10: Revised text, updated styles, corrected continuity errors.]
[Revision 1.2, 11/27/10: New layout for the whole series, plus text corrections.]
[Revision 1.2.1, 12/1/10: Text corrections.]
[Revision 2.0, 12/4/10: New scenes and characters added to complete the main story; the Interlude completed at last.]
[Revision 2.1, 1/6/11: One continuity error corrected (the first mention of the "Fearsome Foursome").]