Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 11: Talk of the Town
Part 2: Everybody’s Talkin’ ’Bout (Revision 2)
Part 2: Everybody’s Talkin’ ’Bout (Revision 2)
26 september 2014.
Shira’s bed. The eight-bit audio notification wakes Shira up. Groggily she rolls away from Leila and reaches out till she touches the Droid on her nightstand, fumbling with it till she gets a solid grip on it. She holds it up to see who sent it. Sender: “Debaser” a.k.a. J.T. Sparks. The title: “WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING”. She touches the name on the touchscreen to open the GPG-encrypted email using his key.
Just got word COPCO plan to deploy shiny new
combots to police the election. They may be
testing some already. Don't let anybody know
I sent this to you.
“Policebots... hmmm...” She sits up at the edge of the bed, slides out the phone’s keyboard, and invokes the file manager to see what’s lurking in various neglected directories on the phone’s hard drive. She saves the attached 7-Zip archive J.T. sent containing the specs of various military, police, and corporate security robots currently in use or in development. When she opens the zipfile to read the technical papers contained in it, she laughs when she finds out that some of the robots run Windows. “Hmph! I could neutralize those bots just by rebooting ’em.” The rest run iOS. Only the proprietary systems for the Man.
Leila moans groggily. Shira looks back at her, then climbs back onto the bed, flips the covers off Leila’s naked body so she can get a full view of her, and kisses her gently on the lips.
“What’s going on with the phone?” asks Leila.
“Oh, that?” Shira holds it up so they can both see it. “A hacker friend with security clearance just sent me the specs on some robots COPCO Seattle bought. Your grandfather plans to use them to keep the unwashed masses from fucking up his re-election. Among other things...” Shira touches the screen to navigate back and forth through various subfolders. One of them catches her eye, called “kits?. She opens the directory to look at the files. She recognizes them with a start. “Rootkits?”
“What are those?”
Shira grins wickedly. “Just the thing to hack a horde of hostile robots. And I’ve got just the apps to put’em there.” She starts her phone’s text editor, loads a series of source code files she’s been working on for the past year, picks the one she feels best suited to her needs, and thumbs away furiously at the keyboard to edit it. Leila leans against Shira’s back, puts her arms around her, and looks over her shoulder at the screen, fascinated.
after breakfast. Ayla grins wide and blushes deep red as she stands naked in front of an equally naked Shira, sitting at the edge of her bed at home. Shira smiles at her and affectionately pats her butt with both hands as Leila comes through the doorway.
“Shira, what are you doing?”
Shira winks at Leila. “I’m teaching Ayla how to be naked.”
“You don’t have to learn to be naked.”
“Not you or me, but she does. She didn’t grow up naked like we did.” Shira pulls Ayla close to her and holds her tight. “Before she came to me, she mostly wore a full-body mask like most people do, and even when she went without clothes she put on a dramatic mask for the camera. Like most people, she never learned to be normal without her clothes like we did. So we’re keeping her from wearing clothes in the house so she can learn how to just be naked.”
“So how come you have to teach her how to be just plain naked when she grew up naked on screen” I don’t get it.”
“When you’re a ‘lolita’ owned by child pornographers working for organized crime, you don’t get the chance. You gotta be full-on superslut all the time, or else. I should know. I found that out the hard way, and I made sure they paid the price.”
before class. The day after the talent show fiasco, Shira is the talk of the school. The Hip Kids supported her from day one; but then, she’s always been one of them. The Cool Kids mob her and treat her like a conquering hero, not just for being so Stylin’ last night, but also because she owned Minty Fresh, current incarnation of the DisneyPop they despise. The In Kids stare at her warily; to them, she’s even more of a freak than she was before, and they resent the way she’s treating their idol Minty Fresh. But some kids still don’t bother to notice her; they stick to their cliques.
Shira, Jennifer, and Polly go all over the school to hand out invitations to the girls they like most. The card says that this weekend’s slumber party at Jennifer’s house will double as Shira’s ‘Song War’ victory party, and only the special girls are invited. Meet in the girls’ locker room next to the pool after school.
period 1. Shira gets uncomfortably close to “antebellum cosplayer” Mr. Smith and lectures him on the New South. Her talk inevitably turns to Atlanta, and herself. The students watch on in fascination as the squirming teacher listens helplessly. Some of them fail to suppress giggles.
“What I was trying to do last night?” she purrs seductively. “One hundred percent “Hotlanta. But then—”
Jennifer interrupts. “Hmph! I thought it was pure L.A. Style myself.”
“Shh! To continue: But then, I read in several of my history books that the Old South never really accepted Atlanta as one of its own. The pious slave lords always thought of the city as a painted whore. Today, even the city establishment is black. Jayzus, the billionaire purveyor of African-American pop music, even hails from there. He’s come cross-country several times to try to sign me to a Faustian bargain, but I tell him no every time...”
The students find Shira’s history of the world and the history of Shira far more fascinating than anything the obsessed Mr. Smith has ever tried to teach. One boy asks her, “Why are you so much more interesting just sitting down and reading than he is when he opens his mouth?”
Shira chuckles. “Notice he’s always cosplaying? Everything’s ‘blue and gray’ in his eyes. Fanboys are way boring. Especially those who never grow up.”
lunch, cafeteria. One of the four surviving girls in the outcast clique surrounding the serial killer known as Ollie-Ollie Oxenfree comes up to Shira. Clearly Hispanic. “Shira, you gotta help me.” Accent: Arizona Chicano.
“Yeah.” She paces around awkwardly, then blurts out, “I wanna be a Styler like you, Shira!”
“Well, yeah! you’ve come to the right person. What’s your name?”
“Marina. Marina Reyes.”
“You were from Phoenix before the purge?”
“Tucson, actually. My family left before the purge and settled in Yakima. Then the Kingdom of Oregon purged us and now we’re here and we don’t know anybody here, so...”
“Here you are.” Brandi happens to pass by. Shira grabs her by the sleeve. “Hey, we got a request for help.”
Shira looks at Marina. “This is Marina Reyes. Marina, Brandi Quinn.”
“’Allo,” says Brandi.
“Hi,” says Marina.
“I hear you’re stuck with Ollie-Ollie.” Marina nods sadly. Brandi smiles. “If you want my ’elp, I’ll do anything I can.”
Leila appears behind Shira. “I’m going with.”
Brandi shoots her a stern look. “No you’re not.”
“Yes I am, whether you like it or not, so don’t stop me.”
Shira grins. “She’s going.”
“Don’t be a fool, Shira,” warns Brandi.
“It’s not ’cuz she’s got a score to settle. I’ve got a plan, and it revolves around her.”
“And that is?”
“Think! We’ve got the perfect opportunity to not just cash in Ollie, and maybe his butt buddy Johnny-Johnny again if we’re lucky, but also break Leila’s marriage arrangement and give Gub’nor Wally his first big embarrassment of the election season.”
Brandi glares skeptically at Shira, then Leila. “Okay. She comes with us. But if you get ’er in trouble, you get the bill.”
Shira grins. “It’s Wally’s fault. Whatever happens, I’m sending the bill to him.”
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2.0.1, 8/6/11: Format error correction and small story addition (the students in Mr. Smith’s class giggling).]
[Revision 2.0.2, 8/7/11: Worked around Blogger bug that doesn’t allow me to use the HTML <pre&rt; tag correctly.]