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Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 18: White Riot in the Streets
Part 6: Chaos out of Order
Part 6: Chaos out of Order
14 october 2014.
CPMC boardroom. Four men stare at each other with open hostility. Four men silently accuse each other of betrayal. All of them are right. Right now, the Fearsome Foursome are betraying each other.
Eventually, all attention settles on Governor Brinkman. “John. Sunday, you overkilled one riot and failed to quell another. Luke. Yesterday, you started a riot yourself and lost. Alan. Today you declared martial law, tried to usurp me, and failed. You have one thing in common. Incompetence.” He stands up and pounds the table with his fist. “Why do I have to keep cleaning up your messes?”
“Walter, you failed us first,” says Admiral Fleer grimly. “Your incompetence started the whole thing in the first place.”
“You’re accusing me?”
Shepherd-Mayor Everson points at both of them. “You’re both failures!”
Chief Becket fires a shot into the ceiling. “Now then. Aren’t we forgetting something? Namely, a certain video terrorist who’s destroying our reputations?”
The rest of the Foursome stare at him in bitter resentment.
Shira’s apartment. Five women and four men sit around the living room coffee table, all of them young, beautiful, and naked. On the couch, from left to right, Desiree, Amanda, Shira, Leila, and Jennifer sit close enough that they touch; they sit with their arms around each other’s shoulders, or they caress each other’s legs. The men sit apart: Connor and Rob on the loveseat, Sparks and Cory in chairs. Sparks leans forward, elbows on knees and head in hands. “This may sound obvious, but I think the Foursome are getting desperate.”
“They’ve given up on our people, Jim,” says Desiree. “They’ve decided that if we won’t listen to their siren song, they’ll use the blunt instrument.”
“The first bludgeon they tried to bash us over the head with was their king,” Shira adds. “That worked out well for them.” Amanda looks at her strangely; she smiles sweetly back. “My sister didn’t get the message, but at least we got to save Amanda.”
Amanda protests, “Shira, you all but raped me, then you guys ruined my well-earned reputation.”
“I sprang you from a prison, Amanda. The reputation was prefabricated. You were a trope, not a person. Now you’re free. And I did it because I refused to stop loving you.” She kisses Amanda on the lips; Amanda rests her head on her shoulder and sighs.
Jennifer reports, “While the Admiral was trying to use the National Guard against us, he all but disowned three of his daughters for insufficient ruthlessness and split the Student Council, and now the two sides are feuding, which means trouble’s in store for the school.”
“But that also spells opportunity for the Student Union,” Shira says. “If there’s two groups vying for the title of Student Council, that gives us the opening we need. If we’re lucky and nobody does something insane, we might even hold Council elections on Election Day.”
Leila sighs. “I don’t see that happening. There’s too many insane people at school who never got over the death of their king and who refuse to forgive us for it. Christian Fleer, the ruthless sister, for one. Then there’s the principals, their Party commissar, Bart Green...”
Cory asks, “Shira, do you realize how close he is to throwing a Challenge at you?”
“Cory,” Shira purrs, “you forget we own his style.”
“And he lost his girl, too,” says Rob. “Without Charmian, Bart’s a time bomb ready to go off any sec.”
“We have Charmian and Dorian on our side now,” Jennifer adds, “and Julian usually follows them. And since Fleer decided to purge the Brinkmans in a fit of pique, we can win over Leila and Rob’s cousins too.”
Sparks says, “I see you kids got that pretty much taken care of. So now that the Foursome are down for the count, what do you think we do with them?”
Shira grins mischievously. “I say we strike the fatal blow while we still can.”
Amanda quickly replies, “I second that!”
Desiree raises her hand. “I third it! And Charlie’s in on it too.”
“We can hit ’em as hard as we want,” Shira adds, “but we gotta do it quick, before they can recover.”
Sparks stands up. “That’s settled. I say we start now.”
admiral’s house. Admiral Fleer returns to Naval Base Bremerton by helicopter. No one arrests him. COPCO remains in disarray. Governor Brinkman seems to have decided to use the adultery charge as leverage against him.
He orders his six daughters into a line in the living room in order of age: Vivian, the oldest (19); Dorian (18), Charmian (17), Christian (16), Julian (14), and the youngest, Lillian (11). “Atten-tion!” They stand rigid. He walks over to Dorian and Charmian. “You two. If you’re wondering why I personally took you off the Student Council, it’s because you’re not being ruthless! You’re supposed to show the slobs who’s boss, not pussyfoot around like mere girls! You’re better than them. Am I understood?”
“Yes sir!” shout Dorian and Charmian nervously.
He bypasses them to stand in front of Christian. “Now you, Christian, please me. You are as ruthless as your sister Vivian. You have been willing to show your inferiors their place. I believe you’re worthy. Are you ready to take your sister’s place at the head of the student body?”
“Yes, father!” says Christian with an ecstatic smile. “I’ll do anything for you.”
The Admiral meets with his wife, Eden Becket Fleer, in the bedroom. Suddenly she slaps him.
“What was that for, Edie?”
“You saw the tape.”
“Those were fakes! Spanner is a terrorist!”
“I took the videos of you with your lovers”
“Somehow your terrorist friend has gotten a hold o’ those. You can publicly repent of your adultery, and I will publicly forgive you, and we’ll go right back to being one big happy family. But you better hope that last one’s a fake. ’Cuz if it’s real, and you really did commit the vile act with your own daughter, I will not forgive. In fact, I’ll kill you myself.” Eden slams the door when she leaves.
The admiral stares at the closed door with murder in his eyes.
COPCO boardroom. As soon as Fleer and Everson leave, Brinkman calls for R.G. Litton, Brendan Sparks, and Drusilla Becket AMERICA! to join him. Presently they arrive in Salem to meet with him. Drusilla brings her pet Prophet, Byron Scofield. “Welcome. Sorry I had you come on such short notice.”
“It’s no inconvenience to me, Walter,” says Drusilla. She approaches dangerously close to Brinkman. She knows his nephew still has a strong attraction to her. She tries to inflame it so she can control him. Scofield glares at her jealously. She smiles back at him. His jealous look disappears.
Litton says, “Looks like your buddies done failed, Wally. Fleer? After Spanner showed those tapes, he’s done for. Everson? There’s pedo vids of him on the Darknet. Sooner or later, they’ll blow up in his face. I suggest you drop ’em and leave ’em to dry. That goes for you too, Dru. Dump Everson.”
“I’m so sorry to tell you this,” Drusilla coos, “but that’s not my job to do. Only Jesus America himself can do that.”
“His failure proves he ain’t got no faith. I say, deliver him unto the tender mercies of Rebel Styles.”
“How can you say such a thing?”
“They don’t call him the Rat Bastard for nothing,” says Brinkman. “So what is it this Spanner has that we don’t?”
“He’s a folk hero,” Litton replies. “Like Robin Hood, John Brown, Jesse James, Billy the Kid...”
“You’re the genius here, Litton. So he’s an outlaw who’s got a way with publicity.”
“No,” says Chairman Sparks. “Spanner’s not a man. He’s a media virus. We’ve tried tracking this man down and arresting him, but we’ve found no trace of the man.”
“Very observant, Mr Sparks. He’s a crude picture, a robot voice, and a costume. So the question is, how the fuck do we disinfect him.”
“What we need,” says Drusilla, “is miracles. True miracles that will bring the rabble back to the feet of Jesus America.”
Litton glares at her skeptically. “You got any ideas, Ms Superwoman? You better start with those backstabbing sons-of-bitches Everson and Fleer.”
dreamspace. The dream assassin invades Amanda’s dream; Shira, Leila, and Jennifer follow. They shock Amanda awake, then surround the assassin. “Fools! I have a target to terminate,” he says.
Shira flashes him an ironic smile. “You’ll have to go through us first.” The girls shift into the form of angels with red, gold, and black wings, armed with thunderbolts, holy fire, and a ring-pass-not in which they trap the assassin.
“That’s impossible!” says the assassin. “Angels can’t incarnate!”
Leila says, “You’re assuming Catholic doctrine. Shamans and pagans long ago broke those barriers.”
Shira warns, “Don’t you mess with our friend, motherfucker, or we’ll mess with you, big time.”
The assassin says nothing. Then he disappears.
15 october 2014.
COPCO Seattle. Homeland Security Secretary Karl Radisson meets with Brendan Sparks and Jack Becket in the top-floor boardroom. Where Chairman Sparks should be sitting, Radisson sits instead. “Mr Sparks,” says the Secretary in his Australian drawl, “your company has allowed two disasters to spiral out of control in two consecutive weeks.”
Chief Becket replies, “It’s hard not to, Mr Secretary, if you got this wacko terrorist attacking out of nowhere and picking you to pieces.”
“Do you have any idea who this terrorist is and where he operates from?”
“No clue. All we know is he calls himself Spanner and drops by to throw his monkeywrench at the worst possible time.”
Radisson glares at the COPCO CEO. “You should have invested more in detectives like I suggested, Mr Sparks.”
Chairman Sparks protests, “We were fighting terrorists, Mr Secretary! We never expected to be attacked by some ghost!”
“This guy’s a national security threat, not some crook,” says Chief Becket. “We’re just cops. He’s out of our league. How come your men aren’t on the case?”
Sparks starts to pack up and leave. “Going somewhere, Mr Sparks?” asks Radisson.
“I’ll be back soon enough. But first, there’s an appointment I need to keep. I gotta pay my prodigal son a visit.”
school. “You betrayed me!” screams Bart at Charmian while Kelly watches on, terrified for her.
“I was only doing my duty, you brute! I never loved you, and you sure as hell never loved me!”
“Bart!” calls Christian from behind him. “She’s not right for you. You deserve me. Leave her, and come with me.”
Charmian’s jaw drops in shock at her sister’s treachery. Kelly tugs gently at her friend’s uniform. “She’s right, Charmian. Please come with me. Let’s get away from him.” Charmian reluctantly lets her take her away.
Bart scowls at Christian. She smiles triumphantly back at him. “Come, Bart. We have a Student Council to rebuild.” She holds out her hand. His scowl disappears. They leave arm in arm.
Polly hides her face in her hands and shakes her head. “I hate these people,” she sobs, “but I can’t bear to watch ’em tear each other apart!”
“Me, I can’t wait for the Team Challenge,” says Cory.
Shira pats both of them on the back. “This is our big opening, guys. Once we let Karen, Colette, and Lorelei know, we make our move.”
A guard comes up to Shira. “Miss Thomas?”
“Somebody’s here to meet you in the principal’s office. Somebody very important.”
Shira looks at the other tutors. She nods. They nod in acknowledgement. She follows the guard to the office; the tutors follow her, and Polly and Cory are not far behind.
principal’s office. The man standing behind Principal and Falconer this time is not Morton Spiekerman, but COPCO CEO Brendan Sparks. From his height, he surveys the teenagers before him: tutors Shira Thomas, Leila and Robert Shelley, Jennifer and Connor Blair; students Cory Belmont and Polly Parker. He gives the guards the signal to bring in his son James. He points at Shira. “James, is this the suspected subversive you’ve been, shall we say, working with?”
Shira says, “Sorry I can’t shake your hand right now, but I’m Shira Thomas, owner of Rebel Styles Ltd.”
“You named it after the video girl, right?”
“We sell surfwear online. Now I’ve got a little problem with your company.”
“You’ll have more than just problems if we find out you’ve been working against the government!”
“Not that kind. The problem’s not mine. It’s yours. It could prove to be a fatal weakness.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Miss Thomas?”
“You’ve got no accountability. Sure, I’m aware you people don’t believe in accountability.” She starts to pace. “But government police agencies had to be accountable, at least in theory, or they could be abolished. Private companies don’t.”
“I don’t believe this.”
“I’m not finished yet.” She comes up to the desk and leans toward Chairman Sparks. “COPCO is just a glorified security guard company. And it’s publicly traded. Now, what if the company that hired you to do cop work, say, found itself facing a hostile takeover attempt by the Chinese? Hell, you could be taken over by the Chinese. I know for a fact the Mobs have a large financial stake in you.”
“What the hell are you getting at?”
“The Chinese Corporatist Party and several Mafias not only have financial interests, they’ve slipped in sleeper agents too. You won’t believe how many. I’d even go so far as to say that may be one reason for your company’s failures the past week and a half. My guess is, the sleepers are starting to wake up.”
“James! Is this true?”
J.T. says, “I’m afraid so, Dad. Spanner’s bound to take advantage, and there’s no chance he’ll give us time to get ready.”
As Shira and her friends leave, Charmian stares through the door at Falconer. The Vice Principal calls out her name. When the last tutor has left, Charmian enters and walks all the way up to the desk. “What are you staring at?”
“Stay away from my father, Major Falconer,” says Charmian coldly. “If you destroy my family, there will be hell to pay.” She turns on her heels and flounces away.
Falconer stares at her in shock. For the first time she can remember, her blood goes cold.
Spanner:Minuteman command center, Colorado Springs. Shawna AMERICA! sits on her throne like a cruel queen. One of her commanders enters the tent and salutes. “Commander! The Wops are raiding our supply lines!”
Remember when America used to have cops? Not anymore. The Conservative Revolution replaced them with COPCO, a private company for hire. Conservatives have a hopeless infatuation with the idea of private government agencies. All it does is make them much more corruptible.
The cops who arrest you may not even be cops at all. They could be gangsters impersonating cops. They could be gangsters working as cops. They could be Chinese spies out to shanghai you. They could be serial killers with a badge. Chances are you won’t even make it to a Dictel Corrections-owned jail.
Attention, COPCO agents. Are you sure your fellow agents aren’t impostors out to get you?
“I ain’t gonna take their shit! Go fuck ’em up!”
Don Gennaro Ricci’s mansion, Las Vegas. The Italian Mafia leader’s consigliere enters his boss’ office as the Don pours himself a scotch.
“What is it, Rico?”
“Don! The Honkies are making revenge attacks against us for no apparent reason. What should we do?”
“Deal with it.”
COPCO Seattle. Agent Vito Paglia pulls a gun on Agent Russ Williamson. “You Honkies have been robbing us!”
Williamson pulls his pistol on Paglia. “Bullshit. Y’all done been robbin’ us!”
The two shoot each other dead. Soon, Paglia’s Mafia comrades are battling Williamson’s Minuteman comrades to the death. Soon, other rival Mobs join in, and shooting war engulfs police headquarters as cop shoots cop in a police gang war. The shooting spreads to the streets; cops join hitmen to kill cops belonging to rival gangs. The same thing repeats over and over in city after city throughout the country and into the farthest colonies of the Empire, until the entire company is engulfed in chaos.
Desiree:In the boardroom, Jack Becket says through gritted teeth, “This Spanner is starting to inflict damage on us.”
Breaking news: Gang war has broken out within COPCO! Gang-affiliated police agents are waging war against fellow cops belonging to rival gangs. The authorities fear anarchy on the streets...
“Maybe the terrorist has a point,” says Secretary Radisson. “He can help us purge the Agency of criminal and foreign agents. Then we can be a united and effective force again, and we can take the war to the enemy.”
“What the hell are you saying?” screams Chairman Sparks. “Our company’s tearing itself apart, and you’re saying it’s a good thing?”
“Maybe Fleer and Everson had a point when he called our company a bunch of incompetents,” snarls Jack.
“You’re out of line!”
“Me? Maybe I oughta take over the company myself!”
Chairman Sparks and Chief Becket stare angrily at each other. Then they look at Radisson and wait for him to speak. “Maybe,” he says coldly, “the Party should have the government reevaluate its contract.”
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 9/24/11: The “COPCO Wars” sequence comes from the Chapter 19 first draft. Everything else is all new material.]
[Revision 2.1, 9/29/11: Changed Nicole’s name to Colette to fit Third Edition continuity.]
[Revision 2.2, 10/4/11: Removed opening note (which was strictly for personal use).]