Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spanner 4.1: Public Service Announcement

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 4: Special Delivery Service
Part 1: Public Service Announcement (Final Revision)

There were giants in the earth in those days...
Genesis 6:4

All the young dudes carry the news...
David Bowie Mott The Hoople Newsboy Dudz

1 september 2014.
holy city arcology.
The headquarters of the Conservative Revolutionary Party is a single gigantic megastructure, larger than even the dead South China Mall, in the heart of the Holy City of Colorado Springs. Few know what goes on behind the doors of the Central Committee’s chambers.

Looking down from the huge screen, Patriot the First, King of the American Confederacy and self-proclaimed Emperor of the World (a title contested by both the Caliph of Islam and the CEO of Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited) — originally Roger Steele Becket, patriarch of the House of Cromwell Becket and founder of Dictel Corporation — addresses his sons as they wait for an audience. He looks eerily far younger than his 102 years. “Have you found that villain Spanner yet?”

“No, Father,” says Henry sadly. “He has so far left us with nothing to Trace.”

“That’s because he’s dead, Harry,” snaps his brother, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Drake Becket (U.S. Army, Retired), current Chairman of Dictel.

“And yet he haunts us still,” sighs eldest brother Richard.

“I told you, Dick, if we do away with the ones we suspect of summoning our ghost, we’ll be rid of him.”

“And create an entire ‘Team Spanner’ of martyrs the counter-revolution can use against us? You tried that six years ago, Tom. My way goes.”

With Reagan-like cheer, the King says, “You boys keep looking for him.”

The Becket brothers reply resentfully, “Yes, Father.”

The awaited guests arrive in the form of Lords Mendelson and Dodd of the Media Industry Association of America cartel’s powerful Executive Board. Richard Becket greets them personally. “Good afternoon, gentlemen. How can I help you?”

Lord Mendelson looks suspiciously at Henry Becket. “Lord Chairman, your brother has been interfering with our business.”

Henry stands and points angrily at him. “Frivolity!

Richard sighs. “Panis et circenses, dear brother. As long as we keep the rabble preoccupied with frivolities, thought will never poison their little minds, especially the thought of insurrection.”

“It keeps their minds off their duty, Richard.”

“Mr. Secretary!” shouts Lord Dodd back at Henry. “Your policy’s crippling our profits and boring the rabble into insurrection!”

Richard looks up at the King. “Father, what do you think?”

The King replies, “You and the Board Members are right, son.”

“Thank you, Father. You are always right.” Richard smiles with invincible self-satisfaction. To Lords Mendelson and Dodd he says, “Gentlemen, God is on your side. You may go.”

“Thank you,” the Board Members answer together. They leave under the shadow of Henry’s resentful glare.

Henry storms up into Richard’s face. “Richard! Why are you exploiting Father’s dementia?”

“Because we must, dear brother,” Richard whispers conspiratorially (he gestures Tom to hobble over). “As long as Father remains the World Hero, only he can keep our Revolution secure.”

“The rabble must never know.”

“The rabble are incapable of Knowledge. You know that.”

Tom adds sourly, “But remember the failure six years ago was his, not ours.”

“Which is why,” Henry snarls at him, “we cannot let up against that terrorist Spanner!”

“Our MIAA friends are already working on that, Harry,” replies Richard. “That’s why they were here.”

Henry peers at Richard suspiciously through his thick glasses. “I don’t believe you.”

“Treasury, not Justice, brought down Capone.” To Tom, Richard says, “As for our alleged Angel of Chaos: kill the phantom first, and his summoners are nothing. That’s when we strike. This meeting is over.” He strides through the huge wooden double doors as his brothers angrily stare back.

telesphere. After the Emergency Alert System warns the Nation about the Spanner threat yet again, every television in the nation carries Homeland Security Secretary Radisson’s Public Service Announcement. His image occasionally jerks.
My fellow loyal Americans. I am here to warn you about the urgent threat of the dangerous terrorist known as | the people. | This menace respects neither authority nor tradition. If we do not stop it, it will destroy America’s God-given dominion over the world and deliver us into the control of the Godless Communists of China.

If you have any information leading to the capture and punishment of | the people, | call 911 immediately. | We can stamp out the | Godless | humanist | Commu|Nazi | menace of | democracy | in our lifetime.

Thank you, and America bless God.
shira’s apartment. Shira wakes up gradually in the morning darkness, conscious first of cuddling her sleeping mother from behind, then of the rock house soundtrack insistently playing. She recognizes the lead-guitar style of No-Names alternate Simon Remington. Suspecting a call, she sits up to see the monitor. Sure enough, Simon himself is calling. She looks back at Hope to make sure she’s still asleep, then dashes to the desk to answer. “So you got that pirate station set up.”

“We need more than just that,” he replies in his Bristol accent.

“How come?”

“Ever heard of Videodrome?”

“That movie with the mind-control video signal?”

“The original short story was based on actual Defense Department research. Uncle Sam wanted to weaponize subliminal advertising.”

“Part of MK ULTRA, I bet.”

“The very heart of it. That’s what Dr. Becket worked on when he got back from his tour with Phoenix in Vietnam. The official name is ‘Visual Control System’ — VCS.”

“As in the videogame?”

“Same initials, otherwise pure coincidence. The VCS signal works by subliminally activating the bicameral mind in people whose consciousness has been impaired.”

“Like by driving people into a frenzy with conspiracy theories on the lamestream news?”

“Fox News was set up specifically to test the VCS. It was so successful, they built an entire revolution around it.”

“Oh, boy.”

bellevue. Suddenly the Biotron product rollout at Meydenbauer Center is interrupted by an invading SRO strike team. The terrorists fire smoke bombs and shoot defending Bioroids. “Everybody down on the floor with your hands on your head,” commands Adam Gabriel, “or we’ll shoot!”

shira’s apartment. A notification announces an emergency broadcast. A program downloads. “Install this first,” says Simon, “and you’ll actually see the signal itself.”

“I hope you’re right,” Shira says suspiciously. She malware-checks it; it tests negative, so she installs it into her implanted computer, then switches her monitor to ESPNBC News. She’s shocked at what she sees and hears:
Amanda: Breaking news! Terrorists have just attacked the Biotron product introduction—

show generic Islamic terrorists, the word “EVIL” dances superimposed — American imperial shock troops: “HEROES — GOOD — U.S.A.”; strains of the Imperial Anthem — well-dressed Corporates rioting: “SAVE AMERICA — KILL THE TERRORISTS—
bellevue. Gabriel, Michalski, and Talia burst into the meeting room where Dr. Lars Thorwald, CEO of Biotron Corporation, is making a major product annoucement. All the other executives slowly stand up and hold their hands up, except Thorwald, who crosses his arms and smiles at the strike team leaders contemptuously. “Welcome to my trap.” The video wall turns on behind him.

In the convention hall, the hostages shock their captors by attacking them as viciously as they can, some screaming with rage, others shouting in glee. Two terrorists are dead before they can even react.

shira’s apartment. Shira watches the carnage in shock. “They used VCS on the attendees?”

“Just like the news itself. You’re witnessing the desired result.”

bellevue. Dr. Thorwald announces, “Witness the Conservative Revolution in action.”

“This is bullshit!” yells Michalski.

“No. You thought you were taking hostages, but all you did was give them the perfect excuse to give in to their desire for violence and destruction.”

“They’re acting like psychopaths!” protests Talia.

“Exactly! Willed psychopathy is the true essence of Egoism. It is the American way itself.”

shira’s apartment. Shira’s blood goes cold. “So this is how they killed Kira...”

“Possibly. But we know that’s how the Revolution got so much popular support despite all the resentment against the people who bankrolled it. They perfected VCS in time for the digital switchover.”

“How’d they do that?”

“By reverse-engineering Rebel Rebel.”


bellevue. The executives sit back in their chairs and stare ironically at the SRO leaders. Thorwald says, “A pity you’re only soldiers. The American Remnant fights at a higher level. You lost before you even started.”

Gabriel growls, “Don’t be so certain, parasite.”

“I’ll tell you what. Leave now with your soldiers, and I won’t press charges. But stay and you die. Either way, you lose. So which humiliation shall you choose?”

Gabriel and Talia stare at each other.

shira’s apartment. Simon says, “We’re hoping you and Jenni can hack up something to neutralize the VCS signal.”

“We’ll work on it,” says Shira grimly. “I’ll send you a working copy as soon as we get one.”

bellevue. “You may be good soldiers,” Thorwald taunts, “but you’re lousy terrorists. Your liberal conscience cripples your will.”

“No,” Gabriel snarls, “we refuse to allow you the immortality of martyrdom.”

The executives suddenly attack their captors with wicked glee. The three militants parry, dodge, pepper-spray their opponents, then rush out as Thorwald laughs at them.

shira’s apartment. “Shira?” asks Hope, sitting groggily on the bed. “What’s going on?”

Shira spins her chair to face her. “The Man beating the terrorists again.” She flashes a lopsided smirk. “But I found his secret weapon.”
Amanda: The terrorists have left the building with their tails between their legs. Biotron’s CEO says he won’t press charges.
northern california. A child hitchhikes on Highway 101. Lucie looks sad, shabby, and adorable as she points her thumb and desperately hopes someone will pick her up. The perfect prey for a predator. One stops for her. He opens the door of his yellow Camaro. She gets in.

He leans toward her menacingly. She senses no intention to kill her (yet), but she can feel his overwhelming lust and his inability to control it. She can see it in his eyes as he leans into her.

She stares hard into his eyes. She does not blink. He stops; his face goes slack. “Will you take me to Seattle,” she asks in a compelling voice.

“Yes,” he says numbly.

“I want to go now.”

He leans back into his seat, puts the car back into gear, and drives northward. Lucie decides she might even reward him by letting him have his pleasure. But as long as he serves her purpose, she will control him.

on to the next...

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Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 6/19/11: Interrogation scene nearly intact from first draft. Everything else is new material.]
[Revision 3, 10/1/11: Text corrections and other edits.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Added mention of the events of 3.1.]
[Revision 4 Final, 7/27/12: All new scenes except the titular (Spanner-hacked) “PSA”. All other scenes are now part of 4.2.]

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