Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spanner 4.6: So Much the Worse

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 4: Special Delivery Service
Part 6: So Much the Worse (Final Revision)

2 september 2014.
bainbridge island.
In the huge parklike courtyard at the center of Drusilla Becket’s cult headquarters, she and Shepherd Luke Everson holds the pre-funeral ritual to prepare Everson’s late son-in-law Dr. Lars Thorwald to join the many other dead rich people at Metropolitan Seattle’s most expensive cemetery, under the kind large and excessively ornate tomb once reserved for kings and dictators. The Corporates attending his funeral silently seethe in outrage at the circumstances of his sudden death, yet none allow themselves to even cry lest the others see them as all too human. Sole son Oliver is duly declared the new king of Biotron, the ritual’s true purpose. He cries like a lost little boy throughout the whole ceremony, compulsively rubbing the lightning-bolt signet on his ring and the Dragonite signet of Leila’s that Governor Brinkman gave him, while his indulgent mother Misty Everson Thorwald holds him.

He is still crying even after the ritual ends and all the others have left except for his mother, his grandfather, his father’s mistress, his own, and a scattered few others. Mrs. Thorwald comforts her son. “There, there. Don’t cry, baby. Your father’s with God now.”

“I don’t care if Father’s in Heaven now, he’s dead!

Dr. Mina Tatsumi, Biotron’s head of defense research accompanied by assistants Eri Ejimoto and Saya Saionji, chides her dead lover’s son. “Don’t be such an idiot! Stop being a crybaby and start acting like you’re the chairman of this company!”

He snarls, “Easy for you to say, Doctor One Two Three.”

She slaps him. Mrs. Thorwald grabs her arm. “Keep your dirty hands off my son!”

“It’s your fault he’s dead!” shrieks Dr. Tatsumi.

“No! Yours!” Mrs. Thorwald pulls her rival’s hair. Bunny Strakeljahn laughs at both of them.

Shepherd Everson roars, “Stop this nonsense, both of you!” To his grandson he says, “It is now time for you to become a man and take up your duty to God, the Nation, and your company. Biotron is your empire now; rule it with an iron hand. Accept your bride, for she shall raise our House to glory. Make all your thoughts and actions bring glory to Our Nation and the God who is risen through it. Now pull yourself together, Oliver, and stop acting like a fool! You’re only embarrassing your father.”

“Embarrassing!” sneers Bunny. “Like you couldn’t have picked a better Brinkman to breed off of than Leila Shelley, that wrist-slashing whore. She thinks you’re ugly.”

Oliver rages, “She don’t know what good-looking is!

Bunny snarls contemptuously. “You’re not the pretty boy you think you are, Ollie. Last time I saw you two together, she wanted to puke in your face.”

Randolph G. Litton, the Party’s master publicist, reveals himself at last. “Looks like y’all need a little help.”

Oliver glares at him suspiciously. “You’re the Rat Bastard, right?”

Dr. Tatsumi snaps, “We don’t need your help, Mr. Litton.”

“My father’s just been murdered—”

“By terrorists!“ exclaims Litton enthusiastically. “At war against the corporations that provide America with its jobs! This, my friends, is how you bounce back from such a tragedy. It’s not the fate of one company that’s at stake. Those cold-blooded murderers declared war against science, technology, progress, capitalism, and the American Way!”

“Enough science!” protests Drusilla. “America needs more faith, and you—”

Litton points at her. “Dru! Are you with the terrorists? You’re insulting a bereaved wife, son, and mistress!” Drusilla falls silent and glares at Litton resentfully. “Good girl. Now here’s the plan...”

The others draw closer to him.

shelley house. A modest house in central Bremerton for a footballer-Rocker couple and their family, conveniently near the stadium at Bremerton High where the Pumas play. The living room is clean and livable for visitors’ sake; they save their eccentricities for the bedrooms and the basement, where they surround the coffee table. Son Robert and younger daughter Fiona (14) sit around Leila protectively on the couch, with father Ian Shelley, mother Taylor Brinkman, and her sister Ariel Shield across the table in kitchen chairs from upstairs. Ariel wears her signet ring; Taylor wears fingerless gloves instead.

Taylor announces: “Lars Thorwald is dead.”

“Looks like Lansky kept his promise,” says Ariel.

Leila says grimly, “But Everson’s still alive.”

“So’s that sick and twisted daughter of his,” snarls Ian.

“They’ll be much tougher to deal with,” Ian warns. “We can’t risk turning ’em into martyrs.”

“It’s even trickier than that. Drusilla has managed to perfect the extrusion of the soul from the body into the public image. This is impossible for most people because they have no public image. For High Corporates, it’s absolutely required.”

“You mean like the late great Steve Jobs.”

“Exactly! By extruding the soul into the image, one becomes immortal. This is the secret hidden within the ancient tradition of martyrdom.”

“Did she have to sacrifice someone to do it?” asks Fiona.

“I’m afraid so.”

“You mean...” Leila nods; Fiona’s heart sinks. “Of course.”

Taylor grits her teath. “That means Lansky can’t kill ’em like he did Thorwald.”

“Then we’ll need someone who can destroy their public images,” adds Rob.

Leila sighs. “If only we could have that Spanner do it for us...”

Struck by the idea, Taylor and Ian look at each other. She says to Ariel, “I say we find this Spanner and hire him.”

Ariel looks at her skeptically. “If there’s a Spanner to hire...”

30 august 2014...
seattle center.
Reno Corson, Fashion Assassin, is on the hunt. Leila lurks in the shadows and searches. She knows she can go out into the open even bearing her ninja katana; her Black Stylism and her signet ring of the House of Brinkman act as her shields. She hides in the shadows; she hides in the open, in plain sight; but Reno must not know until it is already too late. She will not resist him if he decides to impale her with his sword or hers, but she knows he will impale her with his penis instead, even if only out of rage.

The Punk Revolutionary Front strike fiery terror. Two PunkRevs attack her screaming with knives out. She cuts them down with a single stroke of her katana. She sees Minty Fresh’s trailer burning. Bodyguards shoot more PunkRevs dead. She follows the last survivor, punctures his aorta from behind, does not bother to watch him die, searches for Minty in the darkness.

And then she hears them. Behind the dumpster, two people having sex. She recognizes the distinctive howl of Reno. The woman sounds strangely familiar, disturbingly girlish. She looks around the dumpster and sees them up close, Reno having sex with a teenage girl with two long blond ponytails —

Bunny Strakeljahn?!

“Reno!” she gasps. Her whole body shudders with horror, pain, betrayal. You said you would love me forever! You said you would love only me!

They talk while they make love. Reno says, “I’m looking forward to killing Minty.”

Bunny moans, “Mmmm. And then we’re gonna kill Leila.”

“It’s gonna be such a turn-on.”

“And we’ll be rich. Yes! Fuck me harder, Reno! Ohhhh—”

Their words shock the shock right out of her. She goes deadly calm. A sweet smile forms on her face. She knows exactly what to do.

She stands over them, pointing her naked katana down. Bunny sees her, gasps, goes wide-eyed in fear. She brings the blade down, through both their hearts, deep into the ground.

And then she sees her — Shira Thomas is here, she is staring at her, she wants her more than anything else in the world, she wants to make love to her right now — Shira stops kissing Minty’s lips and drops her onto the hard ground and steps toward Leila, intent on taking her into her arms and giving her the kiss of her life. Leila resigns herself to her embrace. But then the security men rush in to save Minty from whomever. Shira winks and disappears into the shadows. Leila looks at the men coming after her, and vanishes into the darkness in her turn...

Sitting naked at the edge of her bed, Leila stares at printouts of the nude photos Shira keeps emailing her. She is beautiful, a dancer’s body, every fiber of it trembling with desire for Leila. She looks at the collection of passionate love letters Shira has sent her, in English and in French, gorgeous poetic outpourings of desire and obsession.

Tomorrow, on the first day of school, they will become classmates.

She dreads this moment. She longs for this moment. She knew it would come the moment she left Pretty City. Shira has been stalking her for over three years now. She fears Shira. But she also fears for Shira.

Leila bears a curse, so she believes. Those who love her flee her in terror, or kill themselves in despair, or betray her and die by her hand. But Shira chose to love her the moment she saw her nude on television at the Junior Miss Nude Europe beauty contest. Shira chose her fate.

She stares at the black and silver school uniform folded neatly on the dresser. A sailor-suit uniform like the ones in anime, the ones the new Japanese dictatorship has banned for their perceived immodesty. Shira will be wearing an identical uniform. Robert’s uniform will be more like Navy dress blues.

She looks at the roommate sleeping peacefully next to her, wrapped in sheets and blankets like a pampered baby. There is no peace in her own dreams. She collapses onto the bed and cries into the pillow.

bangor. Two shadowy figures meet late at night deep in the woods of Dictel Park. She: a middle-aged retired Marine officer in camo. He: a Moral Enforcer dressed like an SRO terrorist in camo. Honey Sue Falconer hands a briefcase to Stan Green. He opens it to check the Imperial dollars inside. He smells it, feels it, holds his flashlight to one of the C-notes to check the watermarks and security strip. Satisfied that the money is genuine, he closes the briefcase and hands Falconer the one he brought. She opens it to check. One hundred thousand dollars’ worth of illegal Chinese-made steroid pills.

Green whispers, “One mill of pure Man Essence. Worth more than any money.”

Falconer replies, “Anything it takes to give us the edge.”

“You won’t be sorry.”

“Make sure no one else finds out about this.”

Green mimes zipping his lips shut and grins. “My lips are sealed.”

They do not notice the camera Shira hid in the trees nearby to help catch the Slasher.

She watches them while flying above on her hoverboard. In racing gear unadorned by sponsor patches (“raw” in racer jargon), Shira scouts the dark lifeless suburb that will be her battleground for the next nine months. To the northwest, nearest the coast, the gated hideouts of the paranoid rich and military; to the south, the vast industrial wastelands where Dictel Corrections operates the gigantic slave prisons producing substandard goods for Chinese export; closer to the city, the vast sprawling zone of decaying subdivisions abandoned to the degenerate underclass, and then the starving squats encrusted with shanties; here in the center, the giant luxury warehouse stores surrounded by oceans of pavement and sleazy half-empty strip malls; scattered throughout, the park-moated walled office fortresses of the military-industrial complex: unlike Bremerton with its grid-ordered rational urban heart, these disorganized fragments militantly refuse to coalesce into a city.

Dictel Park from above looks like a gameboard on which the pieces constantly arrange themselves in shifting battle position as their sides prepare for the next battle. She chuckles at the thought of klownz as Orks, Nazis as Eldar, and so on — what would the factory-reject Deads be, Tyranids or Chaos warslaves? Desiree remotely self-destructed the old Dictel headquarters to foil the coup attempt of 2008, but the foundations have grown back in hideously distorted mutant forms as gangland castles where the Mobs plot revenge and feed their Deads raw flesh in their perpetual Tournament.

South of Dictel Park, Bangor High School stands aloof above the Seabeck Highway in the kind of multi-building sprawl arrangement even Dictel Corrections finds inefficient but SPEC uses to force the formation of a hierarchy of hostile cliques, turning the spaces between into no man’s lands, where a Slasher in duster, floppy hat, and hockey mask stalks a fleeing naked blond woman whose terror Shira can feel. She can stay aloft and watch the murder tableau play out, or she can interfere. She chooses to interfere.

She descends to a position blocking the Slasher from his tender prey. Over the lifters’ loud whine he demands, “Is this a Challenge?”

Her facemask amplifies her regendered voice: “Isn’t it obvious?”

He rushes her screaming; she drops to the ground. He slashes at her relentlessly (Dagger Knight); she dodges parries tumbles in and out, slips his grasp, eludes his view; then springs a surprise upkick into his jaw. While he staggers back stunned, she slams a smokebomb in his facemask, then runs toward the girl and sends the hoverboard away around the campus on a mission of misdirection. The blinded choking Slasher follows the screaming board.

In the nearby shadows she spots a figure in camo trying to set fire to the building. She sneaks up behind, taps his shoulder, and watches his wide-eyed surprise as she takes a closeup flash photo with her phone. AEGIS activates the alarm system; five men flee. She recognizes the bandanna-covered face as Stan Green. False flag. Figures.

She tosses away helmet, goggles, mask; she spots the girl, holds out her hand, cries out, “Hey! Wait up!” The terrified girl turns and freezes. Shira seizes her into a tight embrace, gently rocks her and strokes her soft hair, lets her cry. Suddenly the girl senses — she freezes up, spots over Shira’s shoulder, screams —

Shira rightward dodges the Slasher’s strike, catches his arm in her right hand, lets the girl fall back on the grass; she raises a clawed left hand toward his mask —

He struggles out of her grasp, falls backward, forgets his prey. He rises hatless to a sit, glares at triumphant smirking Shira hovering her loaded Go-Yo over the ground, realizes with a shock she’ll recognize his greasy unkempt black hair. She flicks the Go-Yo up, then forward hard to break his mask. He holds his free hand to the mask, snatches his hat, and runs away.

She turns to find the girl already standing, staring slack-jawed. Suddenly feeling her nudity again, she blushes hard, covers her breasts and pubic hair, and trembles in shame.

“Oh, stop that.” The girl shakes her head violently. Shira smiles, comes over to her, gently pulls the girl’s arms back to her sides, and says in a soft comforting tone, “Don’t be ashamed. You’re safe with me now. Besides, you’re beautiful.”

The girl sighs with a shudder of relief. “Thank you. I owe you my life.” She looks up into Shira’s face. “You’re Shira Thomas, aren’t you?”

Shira nods cheerfully. “And you?”

“Mimi.”

“You’re going here this year?”

Mimi lowers her head and sadly nods.

Shira perks up. “That means I owe you my protection.”

Mimi gasps. “Really?”

Shira nods. “From now on, I’llbe your protector knight.”

“Oh, thank you!” Mimi throws herself into Shira’s arms; Shira kisses her on the cheek.

“Now let’s find you some clothes.”

technosphere. Posted to LocaFantoma99’s Profile on September 2, 2014:
There’s a new menace in Seattle! [cut to picture of bandanna-masked Stan Green] He does his dirty deeds dressed like whatever faction he wants to own. He’s called The Terrorist, and he’ll go to every extreme to prove he’s manlier than thou!

[Shira’s face returns] Watch your backs, people.
downtown bremerton. Ariel Shield’s flat takes up the entire top floor above her Pacific Avenue shop, the Sky Dancer Metaphysical Bookstore. When she returns home, walking casually from the foot ferry terminal, she finds that her older brother Arvid is already there. She is none too pleased.

Arvid Shield is five years older than his sister, a tall and beautiful man with long silky black hair and a Charmer’s dangerous charisma. His black suit is elegantly tailored; unlike his sisters, he does not care to be trendy. He sees her holding the briefcase. “Hello, sister.”

Ariel keeps her eyes on him as she takes off the mobster fedora Desiree gave her and hangs it on the coat rack. “What are you doing here, brother?”

“Father had it in his mind to look for you.”

“You know full well I can more than handle him, and so does he.”

“What’s in the valise? A certain missing Gnostic scripture, perhaps?”

“Why, yes. Which is why he cannot have it.”

“He’ll be sorely disappointed.”

“This Gospel of the New Genesis is a composite apocryphon like the Book of Enoch. Among other things, it incorporates a magical formula of Jesus’ own time, invoking the aeon Abraxas.”

“Now this is beginning to sound interesting.”

“If invoked with benevolent intent, it can break any kind of mind control known to man. But used with malicious intent, it can enslave any mind and even destroy it altogether. With enough power, it can give the sorcerer complete control over masses of people.”

He reaches for the briefcase. “Sounds dangerously seductive.”

She parries him and smiles. “Which is why I’m not letting you touch it, either.”

His smile disappears. “Have you or Taylor had any better luck than I have finding that crystal?”

“If we had, Leila would have it again, and she certainly wouldn’t let you touch it.”

He gently caresses her face. “You don’t trust me?”

“No.” She gently brushes his hand away. He grins.

“Still no sign that Father, Everson, or that creature they’re trying to force on Leila have her crystal?”

“None, fortunately.”

“Just a wild guess, but it could be the same one who got you your scriptures.”

Ariel looks intrigued. “You mean our angel of chaos.”

springfield. Halfway into South Cascadia, another sleazy motel outside town, this time with a Standard Oil gas station attached. He drools onto Lucie’s face as he pumps into her. She awaits his attack.

As soon as he approaches climax, his hands go to her neck. She knees his testicles hard. He grabs his injured groin, writhes and howls in pain. She grabs the knife he wants to dismember her with and brings down the blade through his eye deep into the brain. He gasps in mortal shock. She throws on her clothes and rushes out. He twitches, gurgles, goes stiff. The car still hogs the pump. In the glovebox, a grenade. Ten seconds later, the whole station blows up and the motel catches fire.

Lucie slips into the night.

seattle. Meanwhile, a lost young girl, trapped an ocean away from home, runs away from the squalid apartment that has been her prison while her captors are still asleep. She never wants to see the evil kogal Nenene and her tattooed pet Yakuza again.

She saw Shira Thomas on television today. She is certain that Shira is here, somewhere in this city. She is in love with her, she will find her, and she will be with her forever.

on to the next...

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

[Revision 3, 10/1/11: Changed Diana Shockley’s first name to her last to match the rest of the Second Revision; added new final scene to replace one to be removed from Chapter 7.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Added Leila flashback repeating the events of 3.1 from her perspective and scene connecting to next chapter.]
[Revision 4 Final, 7/27/12: First scenes moved to 4.5 (4.4 in Revisions 2 and 3), remaining scene heavily revised; plus all new scenes.]

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