Third Revision Update: Shira’s video is now at the beginning of the chapter where it belongs. Scene two, which used to be just a largely expository dialogue, is now a real scene with a plot and serious later consequences. It now fits perfectly into the chapter’s plot, and subsequent events are now more understandable.
← ...from previous
Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works
Part 2: Mathematics of Chaos (Revision 3)
Part 2: Mathematics of Chaos (Revision 3)
ESPNBC News. Amanda Currie reporting. Very attractive, some say cute; her hair bleached blond because all Conservative beauties are blond by definition. Some are Resculpted into nondescript prettiness; she is a natural beauty. You want her.19 august 2014.
“Breaking news just in: The Honorable Senator George C. Ryder has just been martyred by terrorists. America’s heroic Special Forces are scouring the area for the devil-worshipping liberal humanist traitors who snatched him away from service to Our Nation. Several hundred terrorist organizations from all over the world have called in to gloat over the heinous atrocity. Senator Ryder is now home in Jesus America for all eternity. America Is God!
“In other news, the Church of America is sending a team of exorcists to New Jersey to bind and banish the Jersey Devil after several scary, scary encounters...”
interrogation room. “I was only doing my sacred duty as a Patriot,” Oliver Thorwald says smugly to the tall blond man across the table. The blue-camouflaged soldier sporting a military-police armband is Thorwald’s onetime commander, Lieutenant Commander William Jay Becket. Even as tall and intimidating as he is, he looks too much the Aryan beauty to be a Navy SEAL. But Will Becket is a Hero of the Nation awarded both a Gold Star and a Congressional Medal of Honor for slaying Osama bin Laden. The Evil One had to be buried at sea because Will Becket drank his blood and ate his brains and heart.
For Will Becket is a hereditary vampire. Vampires make the ideal super soldiers.
His cold blue eyes fix his prey. He smiles ironically. His accent: Boston Brahmin, carefully cultivated. “Your insistence on extracurricular... fun under my command so compromised our last SOG op in Siberia that not only does the CIA deny your existence, but the Army was forced to discharge you... dishonorably. I believe the problem is your Corporate sense of... entitlement.”
Thorwald squirms. Becket’s odd speech mannerisms affect the rangy young killer like fingernails on a blackboard, and Becket knows it. Thorwald chuckles. “You mean those worthless lowlifes? Your aunt the Good Witch told me herself, ‘Do your duty, then do your will.’”
Becket twists the knife deeper. “I mean those... cops.”
“Those rent-a-cops shouldn’t have gotten between me and that baby-rapin’ filth.”
“And... a United States Marshal.”
“U.S. Marshal, hmm? Those government parasites shoulda had the sense to butt out of internal Party affairs and let us purge our corruption.”
“I happen to be one of those... nosy government parasites, Lieutenant.”
“As long as I remain a hero in the eyes of Jesus America, there ain’t nothing you can do to stop me.
“But are you the greater hero? Hmm?”
Thorwald’s glib mask disappears. He leans forward threateningly. “Well then, G-boy. Fuck with me, you fuckin’ leech, you fuck with Jesus America. I guess I’ll have to have my fun at the expense of your pretty little wife.”
Becket does not lose his ironic smile nor his unblinking stare. With unperturbed calm he fires back, “You forget... she’s my conscience. Take away my conscience, and I shall tear you limb from limb without the slightest shred of... remorse.” He smiles sweetly in triumph.
The killer slinks back into his seat and shudders, disturbed by the sight of this beautiful smiling monster, terrified that Will Becket will haunt him all the way to his grave.
In the next room, a grinning Johnson tells his interrogator, “I love kids. They make great snacks.”
airplane. The way too cute face of Harumi Tachibana hijacks the non-brand smartphone’s screen. She waves her hand. “Hi, Jen-chan!” she sings.
Shira hugs her from behind. The bespectacled blond beauty on the receiving end of the call lets out a massive sigh of relief. “I love me some Haru-chan, but cute as she is, she can be a bit of a nuisance.” She shoves Harumi out of the way.
“Hey!” protests Harumi.
Jennifer Blair, teenage scientist with an English accent she got growing up in Victoria, is Shira’s cousin. They have been deeply in love since the age of four. “The important thing is, she’s smart. I’m keeping her. So what’s the news, cuz?”
“No news. All officially denied. They hire a couple hitmen fresh from the Siberian front, send ’em after a compromised Party hack, say it’s over some child sex slave, proclaim the victim a martyr. The Party have perfect deniability, the slashers get off scot-free, and the Wicked Witch has clean hands. Very clever. Has the Rat Bastard’s signature all over it.”
Jennifer gives Shira one of her sudden serious looks. “It’s not about deniability.”
Shira looks at her funny. “Tell me you can’t see the obvious when it’s hitting you over the head.”
“What does the serial killer represent to the [clears throat; air quotes] ‘Real American’?”
“What’s this got to do with—”
The ideal sovereign Ego, complete in itself, perfect in will, unfeminized by any trace of mushy human sentiment. Forget deniability, Shira. This is hero worship.”
“Johnny-Johnny was trying to eat that poor little girl—”
“Precisely why Ayn Rand so adored William Hickman.” Jennifer smiles sweetly.
Stunned, Shira says nothing.
“I love you to pieces, Shira, but never forget for a microsecond what final girls think of serial-killer groupies.”
“Like the entire Conservative Revolutionary Party.”
“Exactly.” Jennifer winks. “By the way, your big sister Talia’s on our flight. In fact, she’s sitting right next to me.” She points her phone camera at the young dark-skinned beauty with stawberry-blond hair in the airliner’s next seat: Talia Espinoza, strike agent of the Socialist Revolutionary Organization.
Shira lets her eyes and mouth go wide and takes an audible deep breath. “Oh hi Tal! I just happen to be headed your way.” She flashes Talia a huge sweet smile.
The man sitting next to Talia grabs Jennifer’s phone, “We’re on a mission, Shira. Don’t interfere.” He is Adam Gabriel, Talia’s husband and comrade, a former right-wing Colombian terrorist whose love for Talia turned him left-wing.
“I have no intention of getting in your way, or letting you get in mine, so no worry.” Shira winks.
No one on the plane dares say even a word. The dead air marshals at the feet of the men hiding their faces with red bandannas and wielding AK-47s are example enough.
Jennifer says to Shira, “Tell ’em about the little thing you pulled on a certain pair of assassins back in D.C.”
“They tried to eat a little girl, so of course I beat ’em up.” Shira winks. “I love you, Jen.”
“We’ll meet at the appointed time. Make sure to bring me my Haru-chan! Love ya.” She blows Shira a kiss, Shira blows her a kiss back (Harumi winks and giggles cutely), and both switch off.
A woman slightly older than Talia with short spiked blond hair slips into the seat behind Jennifer and leans forward to put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m amazed at how you and Shira manage to keep the moral pit bulls at bay,” says Alex de Lacey, Jennifer’s half-sister fifteen years her senior, known to the underground as Alex Plus: New Rave DJ, clandestine hacker, and underground legend. She is supposed to be in San Francisco tonight. The plane speeds toward New York, now privately owned under the name TrumpCity®. She finishes off her last slice of pizza.
“We don’t. We just deflect ’em. They have a clue about us, but they can’t do a damn thing about it unless we let ’em. They don’t realize what a good thing love is.”
Gabriel growls, “You people must be into that West Coast Free Love subculture thing.”
“Our family helped create it. Our Jewish great-grandparents even brought it over from Germany with the Gestapo and Ahnenerbe hot on their tail.”
“It won’t help you in TrumpCity®.”
“And it doesn’t matter. We’re practical people. We do what’s necessary to get the job done.”
“And what job would that be?”
“If you had my pattern vision,” Jennifer explains, “you’d see the traditional Rugged Individualist as something like a cross between a porcupine and a skunk, with some packrat to taste. Add some scorpion, rabid pit bull, and great white shark, and you get the perfect egos of the slashers the Corporates squee so hysterically over. Add King Ghidrah, the Blob, and a bit of Cthulhu, and you get Jesus America. Not a pretty sight, to say the least.”
“What do giant monsters have to do with Corporate egos?” asks Talia, frustrated again by Jennifer’s strange metaphors.
Jennifer rolls her eyes. “Obviously you don’t understand the Corporate cult of Egoism. It’s not actually about one’s actual psychological ego. It’s about publicity.”
Talia sighs and crosses her arms. “You defeat me again, Jennifer. Explain.”
“You know what Shira and I learned from the Rat Bastard? The seat of the soul is not the body, but one’s public image. The bigger and stronger your public image, and the more control you have over it, the higher you can rise in the social hierarchy. Any Corporate can routinely get away with murder, and a celebrity can commit even the worst sexcrimes with few if any consequences. Own your public image, and you have legal personhood whether you’re human, corporation, robot, or alien. But if you don’t, whoever owns your image owns you. Even worse, if you’re one of the ‘little people’ with no public image, you’re not a person at all.”
“That’s why we have to take back the people’s voice. Because they’re no longer able to claim it for themselves.”
“Yes, they can. They just don’t know it yet. The victims still think they’re victims. When they find out what they really are, they’ll withdraw their victims’ sanction and stop feeding the parasites, and then the System will collapse under its own weight.”
“It’s not our job to bring it down,” Alex adds. “It’s already coming down. That’s why the Party are so desperate. All we have to do is convince the caryatids to stop holding it up. By the way, Jen, what’s the lamestream propaganda media denying this time?”
Jennifer grins mischievously. “You heard about the non-killers Shira didn’t catch, who didn’t assassinate that non-pedophile Senator about an hour or so ago?”
Alex rolls her eyes. “Who hasn’t.”
“In other non-news, did you know that FEMA did not evacuate New York, I mean TrumpCity?”
“Oh yes, I heard they didn’t.”
“Other than those allegedly non-bloody non-crackdowns on anything resembling dissent, which like homosexuality officially by definition doesn’t exist, or those doomsday devices they’re obviously not working on, they allegedly aren’t initiating a new member into the Cartel. Of course, they’re saying nothing about who they’re allegedly not initiating, so it must be so important they aren’t even denying it. The patterns so leapt out at me, I compiled them into a database in almost no time.”
The airliner hits sudden turbulence. The voice of the SRO man in the cockpit says, “We’ve encountered sudden resistance. We might not make it to Newark.”
Jennifer slides out her phone’s keyboard. “I’ll take care of that.” She starts an xterm window and runs a program from the command line. Outside the window, the drones harassing the plane start shooting each other down. The turbulence ends; the plane begins its approach to a smooth landing. She closes and pockets her phone, then gives Talia a sweet smile of triumph.
Talia asks Gabriel, “What should we do with the hostages?”
“Leave ’em,” Jennifer answers sharply. “Let ’em go.”
Gabriel waves his finger in her face. “Who made you—”
Jennifer grabs his finger. “If you don’t let these people go unharmed, the next set of passengers you hijack won’t forget. They like living, so they won’t let you live.” She smiles sweetly.
“Okay. Have it your way.” To his comrades he commands: “When we land, get off immediately and leave the passengers and crew alone. I repeat, leave them alone.”
At the airport, Gabriel orders the pilots to fly back to Philadelphia. The SRO load up a van and squeal away; Alex steals a rental Beetle and drives it toward Jersey City. “By the way, how’s our little operation going?”
“You want the Vegas spread?”
Jennifer winks. “Odds are, the bastards won’t know what hit ’em.”
see between the lines
see between the lines
dreamspace. The vision starts unambiguously, almost clearly: the meeting, the assembled Corporates in the arena, the figure of United Corporations Chairman Richard Becket on the platform beneath the huge screen to the thunderous unified applause of his people, preparing to welcome one of their own into the ranks of the Chosen. This man is greater than most of the Corporate aristocrats in the arena for the ceremony of Acceptance, for all Corporates know that he is no mere man: his true body is a Corporation, the first of the tech companies to join the Cartel. He shall be called...
But then the vision dissolves into chaos. Men die and live and die again. The arena is destroyed and reassembles into bizarre expressionist antiforms. Angels and demons cut each other to ribbons overhead. A shoggoth attacks one of the dreamers, and she screams. Suddenly the shattered vision goes black—
COPCO New York field office. The alarm klaxon screams; the monitor room goes red. Doctor 56 cries out into his microphone, onto the PA: “Emergency! Precog 18C has gone mad! I repeat! Precog 18C has gone mad!” Two white-clad interns drag the screaming, writhing Precog 18C, a gaunt middle-aged woman, out of the lab and past the security monitors. The Psychic Lab erupts into chaos.
Doctor 42 slips in behind Doctor 56. Doctor 42 (civilian name: Edgar Bryce) is the head of the Psychic Detection Lab owned by COPCO’s Crime Prevention Division. Under his breath he quietly emits the un-Scientistic epithet: “Damn...” To the Doctors watching the security monitors in front of him: “Untank all the precogs! We can’t lose any more of them! Hurry!” He runs out of the monitor room into the Deputy Director’s office, making sure to close the door tight. He lets his eyes adjust to the darkness so he can avoid tripping over the chess pieces and table fragments scattered across the floor.
The Division’s founding Director himself, Dr C. Henry Becket, Incorporated, sits grimly behind the division president’s huge desk. The office is dark because a war wound he suffered in Vietnam ruined his eyesight and made him painfully light-sensitive. He is the Conservative Revolutionary Party’s Terrorism Fuhrer now, and he insists on personally commanding this specific Crime Prevention operation. He only does this if he judges it crucial. This Acceptance ceremony is too important for him to leave it to anyone else, for it promises to shift the balance of power massively toward the Cartel. Even in near total darkness, Director Becket is as huge and intimidating as the super soldier he once was. Dr Bryce trembles in the presence of a man so dangerous.
“She was hunting them,” says the Director.
“She did not bother to hide herself form us. In a Tracker, that is a sign of perfect confidence — or suicidal arrogance.”
“In any case, my darling sister Drusilla got her desire, that mudblood changeling of hers had her will, and we have one less potential spy for the Chinese to use against us. What do you want, Doctor 42?”
“About the precogs...”
“You lost another. This is not good.”
“You are right, sir.”
“They are not public men. They are nothing to us.”
“Even so, they are useful tools to us, so they must be maintained in good working order.”
“Yes, sir. That is why we fear the coming of this angel of chaos.”
Dr Becket raises his gaze to stare directly at Dr Bryce. The light reflects off his thick glasses. “Terrorists, like serial killers, have a signature, a fixed set of patterns,“ says Dr Becket darkly. “We have analyzed them with such mathematical precision that our computers are now able to predict all their moves in advance. But confronted with these persistent anomalies, we are helpless to understand them even with the mathematics of chaos. You know what this means, do you not, Doctor 42?”
Bryce trembles. “Yes.” He takes a deep breath to regain his courage. “Chaos is coming.” Even his fear of the Terrorism Fuhrer cannot mask his terror of Chaos.
“He is coming.”
Dr Becket picks up his com receiver. To the security chief he hand-picked for this operation, he barks: “Double the guard! No, triple it!”
Agent 6 (civilian name: classified) cannot disguise his alarm. “You can’t be serious, Chief. He isn’t coming. Isn’t he?”
“He is,” says the Director grimly. “You have no choice but to stop him. He’ll ruin everything.”
“Yes sir!” The signal disconnects.
To Dr Bryce, the terror fuhrer warns, “Never forget, Doctor 42, that we are sacrificing our freedom to fight for the sacred freedom of Our Nation, which alone is the Light of the world. You do not want the Light snuffed out by a demon, now do you?”
“No, sir! Perish the thought.”
“You are a man of great faith. Dis-missed!”
Bryce salutes. “Yes sir!” He runs out the door and closes it.
Dr Becket sits silently at his huge desk for a seemingly endless moment, trying to assimilate the fact that the dreaded Angel of Chaos has targetted this particular event.
“Spanner,” he finally says. Then, in an un-Corporate moment of uncontrol, he slams his mighty fist down on the desk. “Damn!”
C. Henry Becket, m.d.
fight the future
fight the future
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2.1, 6/14/11: Text corrections.]
[Revision 3, 9/4/11: Final version. Major revisions in the middle section. Setting changed, plot added, and next section’s major players introduced. New video introduction added, introducing another major character. Original Shira video moved to the beginning of Part 1.1, as in the first draft, where it belongs. Character taglines added for Jennifer and Dr Becket (his is one of the originals from 1994, along with Shira’s and Leila’s in Part 1.1). Major continuity corrections and some text corrections.]
[Revision 3.1, 9/28/11: Publication version. Corrected dialogue and text errors.]