Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 5: I Lerned Alot in Skool
Part 5: The Battle of Dictel Park (Final Revision)
Part 5: The Battle of Dictel Park (Final Revision)
2 september 2014.
kitsap kouriers. Shira walks in with her hoverboard slung over her shoulder, not in a good mood. Kei looks curiously at Shira’s face. “You don’t look your usual cheerful self today.”
“I have never been so fucking appalled in my life.”
Shira throws out her arms. “It’s a scam, not a school system! I’ll have to spend the whole school year there...”
Kei gasps. “Oh my god, is it really that horrible?” She holds Shira tight and gives her a long sweet kiss.
“Thanks, Kei, I love you,” Shira sighs. She kisses Kei back. “Got anything for me?”
Kei gives her the job card for the night. “Just a pizza delivery thing. Godfather Renzo likes us.” She winks.
“As long as Mr. Ferrari keeps payin’, that’s fine by me.” Shira winks back.
teacher’s office. Into his mouth he pops a pair of raw bull testicles he stole from Mobley’s refrigerator. As he chews them he inserts the steel straw into his nose and carefully snorts up the two lines of powdered crystal meth he has laid out on his desk.
He takes the duster coat off the rack and puts it on dramatically. He fastens the mask to his face. He crowns himself with his floppy hat.
He picks the photograph off the desk. The target: Karen Kubota. The charge: treason. Ross’ directive: terminate with extreme prejudice. He studies the photograph to memorize the face, then lights a match and burns it.
For all their use of the police as personal mercenaries, Corporates have never liked them. They remind them of government bureaucracy. Extrajudicial means are the true Corporate style.
Master Sergeant Mark Bernkastel, Blade Knight, is ready for war.
bremerton. Shira flies three Pizza Mafia pizzas up the Eastside and out toward the county fairgrounds. Pizza delivery means easy money, but she also likes it because, unlike the big deliveries that force her to watch her back, flying pizzas gives her time to think. This time, though, she cannot calm herself with her thoughts. Her cargo compartment might as well contain stolen uranium. She keeps her senses high-keyed. She expects the Flyen Monkeez to collect on her at any time.
AEGIS’ owl head pops up in the bottom right corner of her goggles to interrupt her train of thought. “Shira, you’re keeping something from me.”
“That’s why I shut you off this morning,” Shira audiomessages in reply, “in case you got hacked.”
“What exactly are you up to?”
“You don’t have the necessary security clearance. Not now.”
“Is this as dangerous as your delivery to Thorwald?”
“I didn’t know till it was over. This one I don’t want them to know about.”
“Don’t get yourself in trouble.”
“Trouble is the reason I’m at school.”
“Very well, then. Please be extra careful.”
“When you’re dealing with paranoids, that’s a no-brainer.”
She flies across the water to meet her next client in Silverdale.
downtown bangor. In a half-abandoned out-of-the-way strip mall covered in the polychrome territorial pissings of gangland graffiti vandals equally fond of pissing directly on each other to stoke their eternal feuds, the metropolitan Westside’s anti-Caliphate exiles meet at the Beit al-Qahwah (Arabic for “coffee house”). But all true revolution is one. So its operating collective gather together the unofficial student clubs of Bangor High, to fuse them into one Student Union.
Sana prepares a triple latte. “Lemon-lime, please,” says Schuyler.
“You really thing they’ll let us get away with it?”
“Shira says if they don’t, they’ll be helping the Caliphate.”
“Sounds crazy to me.”
“If Shira can convince Karen to risk it, it’s definitely worth the risk.”
south bangor. Delivering pizza to the Bangor subdivisions is never pleasant. Shira has served enough gangs here that she has learned to expect getting stiffed by customers or robbed by rival gangs.
She flies her hoverboard in to a smooth landing in front of her customer’s porch. She gets off, walks onto the porch, and knocks. An aging Asian beauty opens the door. Her long blue-black hair is cut in the hime style Leila had before she bobbed it. She is a bit drunk. Shira smells wine, looks down at the bottle in her hand: Mad Housewife. Probably fits. She puts the bottle down so she can pay for the pizza and take it.
“You look like just the kind of person who would order a Decadent Supreme,” says Shira.
“Say, you look familiar.” The client’s accent is weak, but just strong enough for Shira to recognize it as Japanese.
A golden butterfly seemingly made of light flits out. Shira pretends not to notice it. “There’s this character I look like.” She takes the woman’s check and gives her the Decadent Supreme. The name on the check: Eri Ejimoto. Suddenly she feels one of her Companion Cube earrings jerk. She isolates it from her PAN.
“You’re a courier?”
“The place is new.” A hunch tells her this woman knows more than she lets on.
“Oh. Thank you.”
“Thank you.” Shira winks. The woman closes the door. Shira gets back on her hoverboard and flies off.
coffee house. They carpool in. Bangor High’s school clubs send their representatives: the unofficial Science, Computer, Art, Music, and Ping-Pong Clubs; the banned Gay-Straight Alliance and Peace Committee; five Instant Fanclubs: all overlapping.
Ostensibly the back room is a casino styled after Rick’s Café Américain, part of their cover. When the owners wheel the roulette wheel and slot machines away, rearrange the tables into square formation, and surround it with chairs, they reveal its true function as a meeting room where the exiles wail their usual despair over their inability to break a cult’s power over their homelands.
The room fills with eager teenagers in school uniforms, fired by hope and a cause. The usual despair vanishes. Today even the exiles will be able to make a difference.
hallway. Through the windows the outside sun is bright, though the late-afternoon shadows grow longer. Karen and Colette take their backpacks out of their lockers, put their schoolbooks in, and close and lock the lockers as Zac Finney watches. He raises his thumb. “Good luck, girls.”
Karen smiles. “Thanks! I think we got—”
From out of nowhere the Blade Knight throws Colette against the lockers across the hall; with inhuman speed he beats her unconscious in under five seconds.
Karen has no time to scream. He rushes her, knife drawn, immune to reason. Her thought shifts from brain to body; she executes a complex throw that spins him onto his mask. Shira’s voice says, Hurt him enough and he’ll come after you. She glances at Colette and Zac; she stomps Bernkastel’s knife hand, kicks him in the groin as hard as she can, and runs. The enraged super soldier wills himself to his feet, roars like a rabid beast, and runs after her.
Zac takes out his phone and calls 911. Karen leads Bernkastel out of the building and makes a call of her own.
coffee house. Courtney is talking with GSA club president Lorelei when her phone plays Karen’s ringtone. When she answers, Karen is panting and in a panic. “Sorry, Courtney, I’m gonna be a bit late.”
“Karen! What’s wrong?”
“Bernkastel’s the killer, and he’s chasing me.”
“Oh my god, call the cops now!”
“They won’t help. Call Jen. I’ll lead him into the park. ’Bye!”
Courtney stands paralyzed by horror. Lorelei demands, “Tell me what’s going on.” Courtney hesitates, then calls Jennifer.
seabeck highway. Jennifer approaches Northwest Eightieth Street driving Shira’s Mustang when she hears Courtney’s ringtone on her phone. She syncs it to the car. “Hey, Courtney.”
“Mr. Bernkastel’s after Karen with a knife.”
“Into the park.”
“I’m so there!” When she reaches Eightieth, she makes a full U-turn.
south bangor. Shira hears Jennifer’s ringtone. She switches to audio. “What’s up, Jen?”
“Big trouble, and it’s after Karen.”
“Oh shit. What happened?”
“Mr. Bernkastel’s chasing Karen into the park. Renzo says he’ll eat the cost. Meet me there.”
“Gotcha.” She turns north, ignores POTaTOS’ complaints, and flies turbo toward Dictel Park.
dictel tower. Richard Becket sits up in the fortieth-story penthouse bed, being copulated by a moaning clone of Shira plumped and aged to twenty-three in the vat when the Soviet-style wired phone he installed out of Cold War nostalgia interrupts his sexual meditation. He checks the caller ID, then snaps up the receiver. “Bernkastel! What do you want?”
“General!” reports Bernkastel breathlessly. “I’ve penetrated to the heart of the ‘Student Union’ conspiracy! I’m pursuing the traitor Kubota right now, but I need backup!”
“Have you notified Mobley?”
“Anson Mobley is a corrupt fool!”
“Don’t tell me you didn’t plan your strategy.”
“General, it was too—”
“Are you a cocksman, Bernkastel?”
Bernkastel blurts in shock: “What?”
“If you were a cocksman, Bernkastel, you would be conquering women instead of butchering them like animals. Shira Thomas would be your slave, there would be no Student Union, and you would not be in this mess. Understood?”
“You are already dead.” He slams the phone receiver onto its base. As the Shira clone bounces on his cock uninterrupted, he returns to his meditation.
eightieth street. Karen weaves through the cars speeding down the main thoroughfare. Bernkastel pursues her madly, bounces off cars, sends them spinning out to avoid him, gets hit to the pavement by one, leaps back up, and returns to the chase. Karen is already in the park with a head start.
Further down the street, Brandi arrives from the coffee shop and waits for a break in the traffic, then crosses. Once in the park, she hides in the trees.
coffee house. Courtney announces to the worried crowd, “Mr. Bernkastel just attacked Karen and Colette. Karen got away, but Colette’s been badly hurt.” They respond with gasps and screams. She holds up her hand to signal silence. “He clearly intended to suicide-bomb this meeting, but Karen got him away from us and Jen and Shira are joining her.”
Lorelei gasps. “How’d he find out?”
Cory demands, “Who told him?”
“He planned it beforehand,” Connor explains. “Shira planned against him.”
“He’s not here, which means so far Shira’s counterplan’s working.”
Fiona looks around in near panic. “Where’s Leila?” Rob takes out his phone.
dictel park. Jennifer opens Rio’s trunk in the parking lot. “I don’t know how long I can hold him off,” says Karen.
“Notice anything about him?”
Karen looks carefully. “He’s using his phone?”
“He’s using GPS to Trace you.”
When Shira arrives she switches her hoverboard off in mid-air and does a quick dismount next to her car, then puts it in the trunk, strips off her tights to throw it in, takes her fighting skirt out, and shuts it. Rio autolocks itself. She puts on the skirt. Jennifer glances into the park, Shira nods, and they run in.
A lone and smugly arrogant Klown strides down the path swinging a nunchuck. Karen steals it from him and hits him in the temple to knock him out.
Oliver Thorwald’s van screeches into the parking lot beside the Mustang. Oliver takes out his shovel, slams the door and continues to complain. “The wife ain’t getting away from me that easy.” Johnny-Johnny merely giggles and sneaks toward the Mustang like a stalker.
Sneaking through the trees, using darkness as her cover, Brandi reaches the edge of the big lawn. On the other side, the Dictel Towers look like fantasy castles in the distance. She notices a figure sitting on one of the benches around the dead fountain. When she sees the hairstyle, she knows at once it is Leila.
Rio warns, “No touchy.” Johnny-Johnny tries to key it anyway; it zaps him hard enough to slam him against the van. Thorwald grabs him and pulls him into the park.
dictel tower. The clone screams in climax. then collapses beside the Chairman into a stupor. He rolls over, bites his neck, and drinks the blood gushing from the punctured veins. She struggles helplessly against him. Slowly, she grows weak until, her blood drained at last, she dies.
He rolls off her onto the pillow. Off the endtable he takes a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, extracts a cigarette, and lights it. He breathes in the nicotinic fumes deeply; he is blowing it out when his assistants arrive. “Not the original, but at least it’s refreshing.”
“What should we do with it, my lord?” asks the chief assistant.
“The President of the President is coming. Let’s prepare him a special treat, shall we?”
“Yes, sir!” The assistants pick up the dead clone and carry her out of the bedroom.
dictel park. Tears stream down Leila’s face. “This is my choice. I love you, Rob. Goodbye.” She ends the call and puts her phone down.
Shira and Jennifer find their way blocked by two shirtless gangsters in baggy pants. One says, “Shit outta luck, bitches.” He reaches into his pants to get his pistol, but Shira hammers his hand so hard he shoots his own groin. The girls yank down the other’s pants and run for it.
Bernkastel’s attention turns toward the shot. Karen takes advantage of his distraction to knock the phone out of his hand. She runs deeper into the park. He picks up the phone; enraged, he chases her. But when he reaches the clearing, he spots Leila, stops cold, and forgets about Karen.
Reno Corson and Bunny Strakeljahn park his yellow Hummer next to Thorwald’s van. Reno says, “Leila really here?”
“Ollie says so.” They cock their pistols and run into the park in pursuit of Oliver and Johnny.
Brandi watches Leila from a distance.
coffee house. Fiona cries, “Leila’s trying to get him to kill her?” She throws herself into Rob’s arms and wails helplessly.
Schuyler puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Fi. My cousins won’t let him.”
“Easy for you to say!”
Courtney announces, “Colette’s hurt and Karen’s busy, so it’s all up to us!”
“Clubs, represent!” calls Lorelei. “LGBTQ, banned!”
Connor stands up. “Humanists, banned!”
Sana: “Anti-Caliphate Resistance, blanked out!”
Schuyler: “Peace Committee, banned!”
Lyssa from Shira’s Love Slaves: “Artists, unofficial!”
Harumi: “Science, unofficial!”
Akane: “Computer, unofficial!”
Lyssa’s girlfriend Chuck: “Music not the Glee Club, unofficial!”
Courtney asks, “Everybody here, mostly?” All the students stand up and cheer. “From now on, we can’t depend on any vulnerable leaders. We’re all in this together. We make all our decisions collectively.”
“Whose idea was that?” asks Rob.
“Mine and Jen’s,” Connor replies. “Karen just has too many enemies.”
“So we’re going to do this together,” says Akane, “right?”
Chuck stands on her chair. “We do it together, or we don’t do it at all!” The students roar their approval.
dictel park. Three bootleg Deads follow Shira and Jennifer. Jennifer gives Shira a worried look, but Shira looks at the cannibal corpses. POTaTOS warns the mon, “Stop torturing me with those delicate butterfly wings, you monster.” Shira and Jennifer stare at each other in surprise; then Shira slowly turns a mischievous look at the Deads. Out of her earring, through her phone, into the Deads’ control units: POTaTOS redirects them back toward Bernkastel.
Leila stares at him. “Aren’t you going to kill me, Sergeant?”
“Fool!” he yells. “Go back to Lady Drusilla and prepare for your Ceremony!” Shira and Jennifer gasp; he turns to see them stare at each other in shock.
Oliver holds his shovel in Bernkastel’s back. “Get away from my wife, motherfucker.”
“You haven’t married her yet, Thorwald.”
“I will, if you don’t fuck her up like an idiot.”
Three Deads attack. With amazing speed, the three killers decapitate them with their blades as Leila watches.
And Brandi watches them all. The butterfly mon flits away.
coffee house. Connor puts his phone down. “Shira’s analytical just called. They’re close to catching Bernkastel, so it’s only a matter of time before the cops get here.”
Courtney proclaims, “Meeting adjourned! Let’s all get out of here before the cops do.”
The students leave in surprisingly organized fashion, directing each other out. The exile owners of the Beit al-Qahwah quickly rearrange the meeting room back into a casino, then shut off the lights and walk calmly to their cars. The last cars pull out, leaving the place as dark and deserted as the rest of downtown Bangor.
dictel park. Shira and Jennifer reach Leila, and Karen joins them. Jennifer taunts, “Did I hear someone mention a ceremony?”
Bernkastel spins to face her. “Blair! That’s none of your business!”
Shira says, “That business is mine, Bernkastel.”
Bunny sneers at him. “You call yourself American? Just kill the bitches!” Oliver slams the shovel in Bunny’s face and knocks her down.
Shira gets in Johnny-Johnny’s face and stares hypnotically into his eyes. “Go eat shit.” He runs away, finds a dog taking a dump, and eats the poop.
Karen yells, “Thesis!”
Jennifer replies, “Human sacrifice?”
Shira says, “Shotgun wedding?”
The cousins triangulate Bernkastel: loaded yo-yo spinning in Shira’s left hand, stolen nunchucks held out in Karen’s left hand, token right-hander Jennifer holding fully extended kubotan. Oliver, Johnny-Johnny, Bunny, and Reno surround them in turn. The Blade Knight spins and looks at each in panic, knowing if he strikes one the others will attack. The butterfly flits around them-but suddenly it charges into Bernkastel’s phone.
He stands in shock. The ringtone. He puts the phone to his ear. “Eri!”
Eri Ejimoto replies: “Mark?”
The phone explodes. The super soldier bursts into flame.
Bunny screams. Reno shrieks, “Jesus H. fuck, that was a mon!” Oliver gasps, “Fucking shit!” The burning man writhes and flails and screams in pain and terror of death.
The cousins converge on Leila. “C’mon,” says Shira, “we gotta go.” Leila takes her hand. The four girls run toward the car as fast as they can.
Sirens approach. Oliver, Bunny, and Reno pull Johnny away from another turd. In the girls’ direction they run.
Shira has Leila get in the back seat with her; Jennifer takes the wheel; Karen takes the remaining seat, and they shut their doors together. Rio backs up, peels out, and leaves. By the time Police Chief Mobley’s COPCO force arrives, all the vehicles are gone.
Brandi smiles and disappears into the darkness.
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 6/29/11: Added character of Nicole, expanded dialogue, edited story to fit Second Edition continuity, corrected text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 2.1, 9/29/11: Changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3, 10/1/11: Edited descriptions of the Fearsome Foursome and the librarians to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 3.1, 10/22/11: Edited description of the Fearsome Foursome to match Interlude 12 in Book 2.]
[Revision 4 Final, 8/2/12: Now merged with the original 5.6 and massively revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity. New "Battle of Dictel Park" sequence added, and title changed accordingly. Scene "Pizza Mission" moved here from the original 5.7, expanded, and integrated into new sequence.]