Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo Starts at Midnight! My Writing Plan for Spanner Book 3

This being Halloween, I'm deliberately avoiding the trick-or-treaters tonight and spending my time at my computer preparing for NaNoWriMo 2011. I've already decided the novel I'll be working on is Spanner Book 3, and it begins with this sentence:
Agent Diana Shockley points her pistol into a reality distortion field.
This is the opening of a scene that came to me fully formed one day as I was walking alongside a busy city street on the way home from the gym. Also in Book 3: gang wars in Las Vegas, the destruction of Phoenix in a Conservative Revolutionary Party factional war over "conservative democracy" and crashed by psycho Mexican biker gang Los Punkz, the kidnapping of Shira and Leila's desperate attempts to rescue the woman she loves, the love triangle that Kira forms with rogue cop J.T. Sparks and investigative reporter Amanda Currie, and the increasingly hysterical crackdowns by Party Chairman Henry Becket even as his superpowers become ever more unstable. It is in Book 3 that it becomes clear the conflict is between good bad guys and evil good guys (unfortunately, the masses are pretty much left out until Book 5).

My writing plan: since a typical Spanner chapter is approximately 10,000 words long (and structured like a TV show), I intend to write one chapter every two or three days. I'll also be delving deep into my Project Notebooks to dig out scenarios I planned long ago to use in Book 3, including the scenes of Leila going into dream reality in order to rescue Shira from the pocket universe Eugenics Institute chief Dr. Sig Heiler has imprisoned her in, and the Neal Adams-inspired sequence at the end in which, to get Shira's mind out of Dr. Becket's, Team Spanner provoke him into losing control of his superpowers and involuntarily letting out a huge electromagnetic pulse that reaches hundreds of miles away from the epicenter in Colorado Springs. I described these scenarios in great detail in multiple entries. There should be others there. However, the Phoenix arc is entirely new, and inspired by an episode of the anime Kino's Journey and the cult movie Intrépidos Punks, both of which I discovered only this year, the former on TV Tropes and the latter in a book on punk rock in movies, Destroy All Movies!

Meanwhile, I'll continue to edit Book 1, this time using yWriter5 so I can keep the entire book together, and posting new installments of Book 2 starting tomorrow. And, of course, I'll keep you posted on my NaNo progress.

Here goes...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2011

It's that time of year again. After preoccupying myself with editing Spanner Book 1, I'm ready to get back out into the world. I've already returned to most of my social networks, and I've created my profile on the new NaNoWriMo site and started posting to the forum.

And what am I writing this year? Spanner Book 3, of course.

But at the same time, I'll be working on Books 1 and 2 as well. I'm still not done editing Book 1; the Third Revision hasn't gotten past Chapter 10 yet, and there's still work to be done even on those first 10 chapters. I begin posting Book 2 on alternating weekdays starting November 1, starting with Interlude 12 and going on to Chapter 24.

I have my NaNo plan. The next challenge is to go back through several of my Project Notebooks going back at least to 1999 and extracting from them the scenarios I'll be putting into Book 3 (and the ones I haven't yet used in Book 2 as well). Once I put those in, I'll add the new scenes necessary to connect them. This time I'm shooting for 100,000 words instead of the usual 60,000+, since it's a big book, I have the outline already prepared since 2000, and so many scenes have already been plotted.

I'll be upping the frequency of posts here, and on my other blogs as well. You can keep track of my progress here and on Twitter. Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Third Revision Update: Thickening the Plot

Now that Spanner is finally complete, at least in its Second Revision (the first stopped two chapters short), it's time to shift my attention to editing. Editing the main plot in, in fact. This is the reason for the Third Revision. So far, it's up to Chapter 10. I'll be editing some things into those first 10 chapters so I can have that part finished at last, then I'll turn to the all-important central section, Chapters 11 to 15.

First of all, there's the escalating sexual relationship between Shira and Leila which directly causes the disasters beginning in Chapter 15. The links between Chapter 8, in which Shira saves Leila from suicide and finally takes her to bed, and Chapter 15, in which the Conservative Revolutionaries come to Seattle in order to wreck it, are:
  1. Leila openly defying the marriage arrangement her grandfather the governor forced on her, to a whiny serial killer from a rich Corporate family, thus defying the marriage laws that mandate arranged marriage and ban personal love.
  2. Leila breaking the anti-miscegenation laws enacted by the Party and the Eugenics Institute to restore the purity of the "American Race".
  3. Leila breaking the anti-sodomy laws by openly carrying out a passionate sexual relationship with another woman.
  4. Oh, and both Shira and Leila are underage.
The result? The rage of the conservative ruling class. The Corporates go full-tilt terrorist on the hated liberal city of Seattle. The link between the forbidden love of two pretty schoolgirls and the attempted conservative destruction of a city is the heart of Book 1 at least: l'amour fou, mad love: a love so out of control that it can lead to personal liberation and the destruction of society. Consider that, despite the continuing vogue of Surrealist painting among the Corporate caste, the Surrealists themselves were political radicals who longed for revolution. Movement leader André Breton even coauthored a manifesto, called the Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art.

Spanner is about the fall of empire. The empire refuses to fall. Starting in Book 2, the divine-right imperial oligarchy will go to any terrorist extremes to make sure the empire remains in control of the world for all eternity. Thus, the fall of empire involves revolution. Now that the Third Revision has reached the heart of book 1, it's time to make this perfectly clear.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spanner 23.6: I Am the Future

At last, the end of Spanner Book 1! I never thought I’d make it even this far, especially considering how weak and fragmentary I left the final two chapters in the first draft. There’s still a Third Revision to complete, but at least I made it to the end — something I haven’t done much in my life so far.

When I start with Book 2, I’ll take it slower, especially during NaNoWriMo. Still, like Shira says below, and with four more books to go, I’ve hardly even begun...

Note: I was reading the TV Tropes page for The Plotted A Perfectly Good Waste when suddenly I realized that once I summoned Ayn Rand’s concept of “the sanction of the victim,” what followed in the plot turned out to be its logical corollary, the impotence of evil. Naturally, the villains of Spanner do not like this...

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 6: I Am the Future

4 november 2014.
Westlake Plaza.
Fireworks explode in the night sky above the city. The people won the election. CPMC lost the post-election. The winners deserve their party. The Slasher Hunters van belongs to the guest DJs for the rest of the night. The dancers strip off their remaining video body paint, climb down naked, and run to the nearby fountains to shower off the paint fragments and the sweat. They find many other people here dancing naked around them. Shira and Leila climb out nude together and give each other a long sweet victory kiss.

They dry off in the van, put their clothes back on, and leave the van and the plaza hand in hand. Suddenly they find Will Becket standing in their way. The SEAL looks as scary as ever in his blue camouflage uniform, but there is an unmistakable smile on his pretty face. Shira says, “Fancy meeting you here, Commander.”

“Congratulations on your victory. It was yours, after all.”

She looks back at the crowd. “All they had to do was to stop giving their power away.”

“And you convinced them.”

“You forget, I said I’m just the messenger.”

His smile disappears. He leans toward her slightly. “But don’t expect to keep the edge forever. We will find your pattern eventually, and then we will destroy you.”

“Tell your superiors that from now on they should always expect the unexpected.”

“I’m afraid your time is past. You have no future.”

“No. I am the future.” She smiles at him, then takes Leila and passes him. Leila looks at him suspiciously. He watches them as they leave for the ferry terminal.

Bremerton boardwalk. They ride the foot ferry home. They follow the few other passengers off the boat and down the pier. When they reach the boardwalk, Shira and Leila find themselves greeted by the thunderous cheers of a crowd that treats them as conquering heroes. Strangers hug and kiss them, people they barely know treat them as friends; they find Jennifer, then Karen and Colette with Dexter and Kio, then Mimi, Polly, Harumi, Debbie, Seika, Rob, Fiona, Cory, and Connor. Team Bremelo assemble spontaneously and set off up the waterfront promenade toward Shira’s building.

Polly says, “I wouldn’t have thought up ‘video dancers’ thing in a thousand years!”

Shira grins. “I got that idea from Japan. It kept people’s spirits up, at least. Angie’s suit? We planned that far in advance. The important thing is that it hit the Fearsome Foursome when they weren’t looking.”

Cory asks, “Is it true they were had the Rat Bastard on their side?”

“Yep! His problem is, you gotta make do with what’s at hand, and if the only tool you have is a hammer...” The others laugh.

Shira and Leila hug their friends at the door to Shira’s building. Leila gives Rob and Fiona an extra special hug and kiss. Then the two girls kiss, and their friends cheer. They wave them goodbye and enter the building.

Shira’s apartment. They find themselves assaulted by overjoyed hackers at the door. Hope phones an order to Pizza Mafia. Shira describes the video-dancer plan as “reality hacking,” which she calls her specialty. Girls and hackers trade tales, some of them tall, Shira’s especially. After pizza, cola, and cake, they call it a night.

“We can deal with the Empire’s inevitable self-destruction later. You guys party all you want, but my lover and I need the bedroom for a special victory celebration of our own.” To the cheers of the Team Spanner Election Team, Shira and Leila withdraw to the bedroom, shut the door behind them, their heads filled with erotic possibilities.

CPMC boardroom. Gloom and despair on the losing side. Four big men take abuse from the face on the big screen over the chairman’s throne. “You were not supposed to allow such a disaster to happen, Walter,” chides Chairman Becket.

“Uncle,” Brinkman says, “I’m afraid we didn’t have enough analysts on hand. We relied too much on Uncle Henry’s precognitives.”

Jack Becket says, “We didn’t apply enough force when it was needed, Uncle.”

R. G. Litton says, “We didn’t use the most advanced and effective propaganda techniques.”

Pete Ross says, “We didn’t move to automate the workforce quickly enough.”

The Cartel Chairman glares down upon the defeated Fearsome Foursome. “No. This is all the work of one person. Find whoever is behind this Spanner, and crush them. That is all.” His face disappears from the screen, signalling the end of the videoconference.

They stare at each other for several minutes. Brinkman breaks the silence. “Next time, we can’t show them any mercy.”

“Cousin,” says Jack, “we weren’t trying to show ’em any mercy today. We just got our asses monkeywrenched, that’s all.”

They stare at Litton. “You lookin’ for failure? You won’t find it on my side. Somebody was playing at my level, or higher.”

“I know how she did it,” says Ross.

“What?” ask the others.

“I never figured my shameful little hobby would become useful. The trope in question is the ‘Outside Context Villain.’ Think: the Arabs against the Byzantines and Persians, the Mongols against the Arabs and Chinese, the Mule against the Foundation, Ozymandias in New York, Al-Qaeda on 9/11. The Outside Context Villain is defined by the fact that he defeats you by blindsiding you. This is Spanner, and his creator. I thought Shira Thomas would be like her communist subversive mother, or like her terrorist sister. But we now know enough about her to realize we know nothing about her. It turned out that not even the great ‘Rat Bastard,’ master of spin, had any defenses against her. If we do not find out how she does it, and, more importantly, what she is, we and our Revolution are done for.”
Do you see the cracks in the castle walls, in the foundation? I see every single one. The entire citadel of American Empire is made of bigotry, power lust, greed, and corruption. The entire foundation of their Conservative Revolution is built on the pure quicksand of evasion and lies.

Don’t you dare let yourselves get complacent. And don’t give ’em an inch. If they get the chance, they’ll take a mile. They’re parasites. It’s their nature. The fight isn’t over. It’s hardly even begun.
Enumclaw, night. Everson built his villa outside this small and conservative King County town east of Tacoma. His MIB chauffeur drives his bombproof stretch Hummer up the long driveway. In the back seat, he sits flanked by two MIB bodyguards who dwarf him. He figures he needs all the protection he can get.

The armed guard at the first gate ask for identification. The chauffeur lowers the back left window slightly. The guard sees Everson; he nods, and the guard waves the Hummer through. At the second gate, the guard makes the same request; he sees Everson, and waves them through. The guard at the third gate simply lets them through.

The chauffeur lets Everson and his guards out next to the front entrance. Flanked by the guards, he walks up to the door. He swipes his keycard and enters his secret code on the keypad. Thirty seconds later as usual, the butler opens the door—

with a knife sticking out of his forehead

—and slowly falls dead in front of him, revealing — Byron Scofield. He holds his Ruger pistol straight at him. They do not exchange a word. The guards do nothing to help their boss.

Byron Scofield shoots Luke Everson between the eyes — and Everson collapses to the tiled walkway behind him, lying still in an expanding pool of his own blood, dead.

dreamspace. She stands in the center of a grove of ancient cherry trees in full bloom. The shining sun smiles warmly on her skin. Shira descends to her from the blue sky above. She is beautiful, she is nude, she is a demon flying toward her with long red bat wings. She lands before her, slips off her tunic, takes her now nude body into her arms, and gives her a long, soft, deep kiss.

“My angel,” Shira commands, “stretch out your wings.”

Slowly, sensuously, Leila stretches out her beautiful black wings. The wind caresses the soft feathers.

Together they fly, hand in hand, angel and devil in love. Together they fly, into the sky, to heaven, where they will slay God.

continued in Book 2: Rage of the Prophets.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 23 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

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

[Revision 2, 10/25/11: The scene at Everson’s mansion edited slightly to fit Third Revision continuity; everything else is new material.]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spanner 23.5: The Fuses Have Been Lit

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 5: The Fuses Have Been Lit

4 november 2014.
Once they descend to University Street Station, Shira and Leila find the buses and light rail trains not running. COPCO would have blown them up if they were. Luckily, the Slasher Hunters van drives up from the south, turns around, and stops so they can get in. In the front passenger seat, Peck asks, “So what’s your plan this time?”

Shira says, “One, parade float; two, video body paint.”

Arisa (driving) gasps; Lars (back seat) goes “OOOooooh.” Peck says, “Please explain.”

“Once we get back to Union Station, we’ll have some of our camhead friends mount a platform on the van while Leila and I strip naked and get ourselves painted. We’ll get back on the street, you drive slow through the crowd, and we’ll dance while piratecasts play on our bodies. Lars, you broadcast.”

“I wanna join!” says an excited Arisa.

Leila crosses her arms and looks at Shira jealously. Shira smiles sweetly back. Leila relents and sighs. Shira leans forward to kiss Arisa. “Great! Now take off your clothes as soon as we get there.”
[Drusilla Becket AMERICA!, Supreme Shepherd of the Church of America in Cascadia, sports an ultra-luxurious (and extremely expensive) robe whose shimmering fabric is made entirely out of gold and jewels and the world’s most expensively complicated hairdo.]

Blessed people of America, the spiritual truth of Our Nation is under threat from the schemes of the unenlightened and unblessed. We must restore the Hierarchy to its natural order, or—

[The official message is interrupted by a screaming red-haired Rocker, Drusilla’s ex-husband and nemesis, Ric Thomas, wielding cherry-red Gibson Robot Flying V guitar, pick hand raised high—]


[As he brings his hand down and strums the strings wildly, the rest of the Band With No Name join in. The camera zooms back to reveal the stage, built illegally in the middle of Seattle Center, surrounded by fans (the girls pointedly taking the front), the band’s slashed-red-circle logo hanging proudly behind. Players on stage: Ric, bassist Raven Shears, electric violinist Willa Richter-Thomas, drummer Len Schafer, lead guitarist Betty Shears, keyboardist Mylan Ferris. Fired for the first time since the coup by real revolutionary passion, the postpunk legends slam into their ferocious hardcore short opener:]

The Band With No Name:
[Ric singing (sic) “Destruct” (1996)]
I wanna pull my hair out
All you ever do is lie
You went and ripped my heart out
I wish you’d just diiieeee!

[Brief lead guitar line]

You always harass!
You turn up the pain!
Jam it up my ass!
You’re just plain insaaaane!

[Willa tortures her violin]

We’re all through with you!
It’s the end of you!

[On their 1996 album Destruct, “It’s Not About You”, the definitive anti-Drusilla song, follows. Instead, they next play one of their politically radical signature tunes:]

[Ric singing “Well, Well, Well” (1993)]
I wanted just to speak my mind
But they won’t let you disagree
They say I’m guilty of thoughtcrime
They strip me of my dignity

They say that what I do is wrong
They say I’m bad and don’t belong
They tell me that I must obey
I wish they’d get out of my way

Well, well, well...
Well, well, well...
Well, well, well...
Well, well, well...
Union Station. Shira, Leila, and Arisa leap out of the van as soon as they reach the International District subway station and strip naked as fast as possible. Four mechanics mount the dance platform atop the van, reinforcing it to keep the frame from being crushed by the weight of three dancers. The women run to the nearest storm drain and take turns pissing into it. Lars watches them and grins. “I’d love to see them do that while they’re dancing.”

Peck says, “You piss on the big men, not on those whose hearts you’re trying to win.”

Lefty Lucy gets to apply the video body paint to the girls’s bare skin, starting with Shira, because she likes to feel up pretty girls. “Don’t have too much fun,” says Shira, “we want this stuff to stick.” Lucy winks. Once she’s done with Shira, she does Leila next. Shira puts on a pair of high-heeled leather boots and returns to the van to pick up her devices and call Alex. “Cuz, could you send us some riot videos?”

“What for?”

“Leila, Arisa, and I are broadcasting it on our bodies.”

“Figured you’d find a good use for that stuff.” Alex winks. “Here it comes.” While Alex sends a big zipfile and a playlist torrent, Shira syncs her phone to Lars’ computer and the van. When Leila and Arisa join her, she has them sync their phones to hers. On their bodies, she has Lars build up personal area networks: phones, outboard graphics processors, wearable-computer headgear that leaves their hair free, friction power from their boots, skin sound processors, USB storage earrings and nipple rings; then they combine their PANs with each other and the Hunters’ system to form a small local area network. The mechanics mount speakers on the platform and a retractable ladder on the rear. She calls the five into a huddle. “Here’s the plan...”
Chairman Becket:
Traitorous liberal rabble, you think you have won. You think you’re going to rob the deserving for your communist welfare schemes. You think you just voted yourselves into power you do not deserve. Well, think again. You’ve got another thing coming—

[The video distorts, then returns to the No-Names concert piratecast:]

The Band With No Name:
[Ric singing “Step on the King” (2009)]
...They murdered him in a frenzied rage
Then they ripped his corpse apart
They offered him up as a sacrifice
And the king then ate his heart

The lesson here is completely insane
Don’t dare you ask me why
Dedicate yourself to theft and greed
But if you step on a coin, they’ll MAKE YOU DIE!

Desecrate the body where it lies!
Pioneer Square. Underground Resistance now playing. The techno beat booms. They snake through the crowded streets like a one-van Love Parade. On the dancers’ bodies, scenes of riot, revolution, torture, execution. All who see them dance can feel the deep love Leila (the black-haired one) and Shira (the tall redhead) have for each other, that Arisa (the blonde) has a monster crush on Shira and the two used to dance together, that they love their bodies and are really into each other’s.

Leila asks Shira, “How do I know your dad’s not Paul Weller?”

Shira laughs. “Same way you’re not Robert Smith’s kids. Besides, he ain’t ginger enough.” Now Leila laughs.

“You think we’ll pick up any big DJs?” asks Arisa.

“The almighty Alex Plus ain’t enough? deadmau5, come to Rebel!” The dancers laugh together and keep dancing as the van slowly advances on Westlake.
I dedicate this song to Wally.

[Cheers and howls from the crowd. Betty and Len play the lead-guitar-and-drums intro, then the full band slam into the song.]

The Band With No Name:
[Willa singing “Settle for Nothing” (1985)]
You are such a boy
You think I’m a toy
Throw me all around
Stomp me to the ground

You are really sick
Don’t be such a dick
You know what I’ll do
When I’m through with you

Too much ain’t enough
Give me what I want
Or settle for nothing

You’re so fucking tough
You’re a stupid cunt
You’ll settle for nothing
KCUF studio. Alex Plus segues to Messiah’s “There Is No Law”. Simon coordinates several of the sound cancellers around Bremerton. One helicopter blows up over base. Deth exults, “Whooo-hoo! Shofar, so good!”

COPCO Seattle. Jack Becket waves his arms around in a frenzy. The control room monitors change pictures uncontrollably. “What’s happening?” he screams. “What the hell is happening?”

Agent 2468 cries out, “We’ve been infected by a virus!”

The familiar face of Spanner appears, repeating “blah blah blah blah” without a break. He takes over all the monitors, hijacks all the computers in the building, transforms the COPCO system into himself. Outside, all Chief Becket’s precious roboagents suddenly start saying “blah blah blah blah...” followed by military robot copilots. The COPCO robopilots fly their helicopters into each other. The robot copilots and ground agents tear their heads off.

“Oh my god,” Becket sighs in despair, “the motherfucker’s turning the entire system into a Spannerbot...”
The Band With No Name:
[Ric singing “Domination Paradigm” (2009)]
...There’s a limit to what people can take from them
Only so much terror and unearned guilt
Provoking the people to rebel against them
To bring down the power their money built
But they can call on one even greater than they
One whose power is omnipotent
The master of masters who lives in heaven
Justifying all of their evil intent

Masters of the nation!
Power addicts living only to control
Paradigm of domination
We have no choice but to do what we’re told
The pleasure of annihilation
Feasting themselves on the dread they spread
Paradigm of domination
Torturing us all until we’re all dead!
Westlake Plaza. The van stops on Pine Street mid-plaza. Some of the strikers decide to surround it and dance along with Shira, Leila, and Arisa; others make way for others to dance. On the platform, the dancers rely on second wind. The sweat has begun to erode their paint, bare skin emerging in places. Scenes from this week’s protests now play on their bodies and on the screens that surround the plaza.

Suddenly the music stops, the dancing stops, Shira catches her breath, then says through her headset into the speakers, “We’ve got one final announcement we need to make! Look at us, look at the screens, but listen!”
[Angela Coyne waves around a sheaf of legal papers, representing the court case she is now filing.]

Attention, board members, executives, and shareholders of the Cascadia Public Management Corporation. On behalf of the Wilder Institute, I have just filed a class-action lawsuit against CPMC on behalf of hundreds of thousands of its victims. CPMC has been engaged in massive fraud since it was established. Its existence depends entirely on fraud, robbery, insider trading, and other crimes, up to and including murder. CPMC executives have been caught subsidizing, and taking money from, known criminal organizations. Here is proof:

[A series of surveillance and phonecam videos of CPMC executives and investors, including Brinkman himself, accepting bribes from Chinese agents and Syndicate leaders. Dozens of them, back to back, looped.]
The announcement is greeted by huge cheers, here, elsewhere in the state. At COPCO, Jack Becket takes in the scene with his one eye and stares, stunned and paralyzed. At CPMC, Brinkman screams and smashes whatever he can reach while Ross flees screaming and Litton plots his revenge. When the stock market opens tomorrow, CPMC and SPEC stock will collapse.

8:00 p.m. Election Day is over. Victory at last.

One final burst of protest in the streets, the crowds united against their Corporate enemies, determined to put an end to CPMC once and for all. From out of their collective defiance, like a middle-finger salute thrust into the face of CPMC, the war cry emerges first here, then all across the state, and finally empire-wide: “The people united will never be defeated!”

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 23 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

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

[Revision 2, 10/24/11: The sound war sequence expanded from outline in the unpublished first draft; everything else is new material. The pun “Shofar, so good!” courtesy of FAWMer Third Time Lucy from the 2011 “FAWM Superhero” forum thread. All songs © the author: “Step on the King” and “Domination Paradigm” from FAWM 2009, “Well, Well, Well” from 50/90 2010, “Destruct” and “Settle for Nothing” lyrics written 10/17/11.]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spanner 23.4: Vote Early, Vote Often

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 4: Vote Early, Vote Often
The issues on this election’s electronic ballot:
  1. CPMC Recall: effectively a vote of no confidence in the Corporate régime.
  2. Drug Decriminalization: a referendum on whether to continue Prohibition — and the gang wars it generates.
  3. Anti-Bullying: this would ban Tournament.
  4. Marriage Equality: this would repeal the eugenic and moral purity laws, making marriage a matter of individual choice and banning the Eugenics Institute from Cascadia.
  5. Anti-Sharia: this would forbid the enactment of religious laws in Cascadia, not only Islam but the Church of America as well.
This ballot is an open secret. Only the Corporate régime does not know about it — until it’s too late...
4 november 2014.
Immediately, a time bomb is discovered hidden between tree planters. Jennifer runs to reach it with only a minute to spare. Polly joins her. “Don’t you have to cut the right wire? or the wires in the right order?”

“This is not one of those movie-type bombs like the Toymaker makes,“ says Jennifer. Besides the wire from the timer to the detonator, there are four wires, all black. “This one goes to the timer, this must be the ground, these are the positive and negative...” She turns off a switch, and the timer shuts off. “...and there’s the switch, and here’s the battery.” She takes a nine-volt battery out of its holder, then pulls out all the wires. By then the bomb squad are here, so she gives the bomb to them.

Sparks gets there late. “Bomb trouble?”

Jennifer sighs. “Yeah.”


“True believer, probably. Simple construction, standard, probably got it off the Internet.” Jennifer shrugs and smiles.
To our rebellious subjects: There is no election. You are not the government. The government is CPMC. The government is me. I am the law. My word is the word of God. Obedience alone is of God. All rebellion is inspired by Satan. You will cease your Devil-inspired rebellion against God, or we shall be forced to destroy you all, to the man, root and branch.
Suddenly a piratecast interrupts the official announcement:
[An eight-bit representation of the head of the Statue of Liberty replaces the blue screen, opening and closing her mouth in clockwork fashion; descending red, white, and blue gradients replace Spanner’s rainbow background, speaking in a cheery female computer voice.]

Lady Liberty:
Good morning, America! I’m Lady Liberty, and I’m here to remind y’all that if you don’t vote, you can’t be free.

[The computer image of Lady Liberty is replaced by a series of portraits of great American founders and leaders, mouths animated ventriloquist-dummy style.]

Thomas Jefferson:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

Thomas Paine:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

Abraham Lincoln:
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable — a most sacred right — a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

Lady Liberty:
So y’all better rush on over to the polls and make your votes count! Let’s show ’em People Power! Let’s show ’em that America is We the People! Get off your duffs and make your votes count!
Litton and the NewsCorp techs finally interrupt the real piratecast, but not before the damage has already been done. Governor Brinkman returns to the screen, angrier than ever, looking less human by the second, venting his sovereign wrath in an escalating rage that distorts his face. (Sparks: “He’s starting to look less human.” Shira: “Good. Then people will see what their owners really are.”)
Y’all are traitors! Goddamn liberal communist Muslim faggot nigger-lovers! I’ll kill you all! I’ll eat y’all alive! I’ve got nukes and y’all don’t! I’ll rip your—

[Brinkman’s face is replaced with a comic book image of the Wolf Man and the sound of a howling movie werewolf.]

Lady Liberty:
Not so fast, Fido!

[The eight-bit image of Spanner appears. This time the famous graffiti tag of badge-shield, crossed wrenches, and Old English “S” is superimposed on his faceplate..]

People of Cascadia: You are being faced with a choice. The Synarchy are throwing you a Challenge they think you can’t possibly win. Accept it and throw it in their faces. Is America truly the land of freedom and democracy, or just an Islamic Caliphate of the ultra-rich dedicated to the cult of Mammon? The choice is yours and yours alone. This is Tournament, and you are the fighters under Challenge. Go forth and win.
CPMC boardroom. The Fearsome Foursome — Brinkman, Becket, Everson, Litton, plus Ross — face the wrath of Chairman Becket, who pounds on his desk, jerking his vidphone image. “You incompetents! Why are you letting those monkeys stomp all over you? We fought the Revolution against these animals! Explain! John?”

“Yes, Uncle!” says Jack Becket. “Somebody, and I have a very good idea who it is, is starting gang wars statewide just to divert our precious police resources away from the real threat, out on the streets.”

“Uncle, I don’t understand why the worthless rabble’s trying to mooch away our deserved reward,“ Brinkman complains. “Why don’t we just wipe ’em out!”

Ross says, “They’re just ungrateful swine, Walter. They’re incapable of earning an honest buck, so they’re after ours.”

“Because Jesus America didn’t choose them to be gifted with wealth,” says Everson. “God commands us to put them under ordeal and prove their worthiness to him. We have no choice.”

The four argue among themselves until Litton whistles. The boardroom falls silent. The Chairman says, “You had something to say, Mr Litton?”

The Rat Bastard looks at the other four with a hint of disgust. “You guys can argue all you want. Now it’s my turn. Sit back and watch.”

telesphere. The presenters on the official news channels speak with one voice, warning the “little people” to obey their betters and not vote, Or Else. Suddenly, they pause to prepare for Litton’s move. (Shira: “The lamestream sure know how to telegraph a fake piratecast, don’t they.”) He gives the order: “Now!” His TV techs switch the signal on. “Take that, motherfuckers!”

All the video signals disappear, and—
[—a man in a black motorcycle helmet appears. But it’s not Spanner. His jacket, for one, is Minuteman red. He speaks in a scrambled voice.]

The Terrorist:
I know you stupid commie faggots. You like to call me “The Terrorist.” In Jesus America’s name, don’t call me the Terrorist! I’m an angel from God.

You’ve pissed me off for the last time, you faggots. This is my last offer. You give me all the money you’ve got and your total and humiliating obedience and, hmm, crown me your king and worship me as your god, [camera zooms out] I might spare your worthless liberal faggot lives by not blowing up your butt-ugly commie liberal city. [gestures toward nuke behind him] You’ve got until [checks watch] about five minutes from now. I’m kinda hoping youAAAh!—

[A bat hits and shatters the Terrorist’s faceplate from off camera. The helmeted man who becomes the object of the camera’s attention is Spanner. He hammers the Terrorist in the shoulders and face several more times, then wrestles him into a full nelson and forces the villain to face the camera.]

Well, well, well. I should have known. The Fearsome Foursome are back up to their old tricks again. They even hired a mercenary assassin to destroy the city. His name is... [he wrests the helmet off the man’s head to reveal a steroid-faced Moral Enforcer with a shattered nose:] Stanley Green, drug pusher!

Stan Green:
You fu—

[Spanner interrupts the bullyboy with his fist, breaking his jaw and then knocking him out with a strike to the left temple. The signal suddenly goes out—]
—and regularly scheduled news entertainment programming resumes with all network presenters screaming.

Westlake Plaza. Someone dropped a time bomb in one of the trash cans nearby; it was discovered when one of the local homeless people remembered hearing a ticking sound earlier. COPCO’s anti-terror specialists evacuate the area. Suddenly Shira gets through and inspects the bomb. She recognizes the Toymaker’s work at once. A COPCO counterterrorist warns, “You are not authorized—”

“I know the Toymaker and you don’t.” She holds the bomb in her right hand and holds out her left. “Screwdriver. Common.”

“No, you can’t—”

You can’t. I can. Now gimme that screwdriver.” The COPCO bomb technician gives her a standard-size common screwdriver. She ignores the four thick red wires on the bomb’s surface and pries around the complicated closed box to find the hidden wires. “The Toymaker’s different from most bomb makers in that he does it the way movie villains do.” She finds one of the hidden wires: black. She holds out her left hand again. “Wire cutters.” The bomb tech gives her his. She gently pries out the wire and snips it. The timer goes out. “That was the negative.” She resumes prying around with the screwdriver. “You have to find all three hidden wires, negative, positive, and ground, before you can cut the big wires. If you don’t, you go boom. That’s his signature.” She finds the positive and ground wires, also black, and snips them; then she cuts all the red wires and gives the dead bomb and the tools back to the tech.

“Who’d put a bomb here?” the tech asks.

“Anybody could have, but the real question is, who would benefit? Someone with something to lose in the election: the Party, the Church, the banks, CPMC.” People crowd in to cheer her latest victory over the Toymaker. “And these are who they’re losing to.”
The election results:
Unlike mail-in ballots (normally required by Cascadian law), votes by phone are counted as soon as they are made. Most people voted within the first two hours, and already the results defy the sovereign will of CPMC:
  1. CPMC Recall: Yes 86%No 34% — Governor CPMC is officially overthrown. It does not pay to alienate your constituency in an age of decentralizing technologies, when word travels worldwide at light speed. But CPMC announces it will continue on in power in open defiance of the people, like an overconfident king who willfully denies that daggers are being raised behind him.
  2. Drug Decriminalization Initiative: Yes 72%No 28% — CPMC tried to frame this as a matter of simple morality: eliminate drugs, followed by alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and fatty foods, and the people will automatically become moral. The issue turned out to be the incestuous relationship that COPCO and Dictel Correctional Industries have with the Syndicates, and the growing totalitarian threat of the supergang known as the Omega Syndicate. Cascadians, particularly in the cities, voted to nullify the federal Prohibition Amendment in their own state constitution.
  3. Anti-Bullying Initiative: Yes 67%No 33% — Cascadian voters fed up with the Conservative Revolutionary Party constantly beating up on them in the name of American Manhood have now officially banished the sacred institution of Tournament from their state. School and police bullying are now criminalized under the assault laws.
  4. Marriage Freedom Initiative: Yes 56%No 44% — The coup prevented the former states of Washington and Oregon from repealing their Defense of Marriage Acts and expanding marriage rights to same-sex couples. This corrects that and also serves to nullify the federal Defense of Marriage Amendment, the basis of all moral and eugenic purity laws, in Cascadia. The wording leaves room for marriage to “artificial persons,” whenever that term is defined. Even more than the Church of America and the Eugenics Institute, the Mormon Church, which requires opposite-sex marriage dedicated to procreation as a prerequisite for salvation, is protests the vote. All marriages to Jesus America performed by the Party stand.
  5. Anti-Sharia Amendment: Yes 91%No 9% — Principles of religious law, whether Sharia or Halacha, are unconstitutional in Cascadia. This is a direct rebuke to the CRP, which made strict application of Halacha the centerpiece of its “Moral America” policy, which Cascadians revile as “moral Stalinism.”
The will of the people has spoken. Naturally, the Conservative Revolutionary Party, the Church of America, and the United Corporations declare the election null and void at once. It reeks of democracy.
technosphere. The Team Spanner Election Committee meet on the Darknet. Shira is greeted by cheering avatars. Deth Pussy exults, “We won! We got the vote in! Let those money-eating bastards eat our dust!”

“Not so fast, pussycat,” says Shira. “Sure, we threw a big pie in CPMC’s face. But they still got the Rat Bastard, and he can still win it for ’em. We won Round One. The Mob botnets’ll still be trying to steal the election till eight, and the Rat Bastard and I still have our grudge match. Time for Round Two.”

Westlake Plaza. The strikers celebrate their victory. The face of Shepherd-Mayor Everson fails to sway them or even be heard above their cheers. But the sound cannons still attack from above, still difficult to silence with the sound cancellers on the ground.

Shira and Leila allow themselves a long sweet victory kiss. People around them cheer them on. In Cascadia, two women can marry each other if they want, now that the law allows it. If CPMC allows the election to stand.

“So what’s next?” asks Leila.

“Hard players think ahead. The Rat Bastard makes his move anytime now. I’m ready for mine.”

A helicopter slams into a nearby skyscraper and explodes with a sonic boom, knocking everybody in range to the street, including Shira and Leila. Hot metal and glass shards rain to the ground, injuring even more. People climb off each other, struggle to stand up, give each other some of the medical attention the city government is forbidden to provide. A wave of anger ripples through the crowd. They will not be cowed.

But Litton is a hard player. Shira plays her gambit. With one finger tap on her phone, she releases the virus.
There was no vote! It never happened! There’s only one vote in this state, and it’s mine! I’m the chairman, CEO, and sole owner of this corporation, and...

[The video signal distorts into noise, then fades into snow.]
on to the next...

Back to Chapter 23 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

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

[Revision 2, 10/23/11: All broadcast sequences edited from the unpublished first draft to fit Third Revision continuity; everything else is new material. All quotes by historical figures taken from the original sources.]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spanner 23.3: No Time This Time

Four installments left in Book 1. The final day begins. The final reckoning is at hand — at least for CPMC, the people of Cascadia, and the two beautiful rebels whose passion for each other set the whole thing in motion...

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 3: No Time This Time

4 november 2014.
General strike, day five. Election Day. The beginning of the end — or just the end of the beginning?
[A grinning man in a business suit gleefully whips a bound, naked, and scarred black slave who screams each time the whip hits his bloody back. The soundtrack: the ominous Jaws theme.]

My fellow citizens. You may be wondering what the “real” Americans, your leaders, have in store for you. It is, of course, this. It is what makes them leaders. They alone are permitted to exercise will, which is theirs alone by divine right. We, the people, are their niggers. Our duty as the non-chosen is to obey the chosen in abject fear. Look well, citizens, at the true face of leadership. It is what you are up against.

[The grinning business-suited man stabs the camera repeatedly and viciously with a large knife, to the screeching violins from Psycho. The camera bleeds.]

It is a matter of survival. We the people have proven ourselves bad niggers indeed. This is how they intend to punish us. It is not enough for you to cast your votes today. You must take away theirs. For they vote, not with ballots, but only with bullets. Their bullets are aimed at you. This is your first chance. Don’t let it be your last.
dreamspace. Dr Henry Becket faces down a chaos with angel wings. “You cannot prevail against the power of God, Good, and authority, Spanner. It is not possible.”

“Your precious Order cannot stand against the Law of Entropy, no matter how Good it is absolutely,” Spanner replies in a chorus of female voices. “The ramparts of your castle are falling without need for enemy cannon.”

“The eternal Order of Heaven stands forever against the ravages of the fallen world of matter.”

“Matter is not spirit, Doctor. Your error is to force eternal order on a world where things fall apart. See? The center no longer holds, the center of the race of man.” Spanner points toward a giant sphinx, walking through the burning valley below, destroying all it touches, firing death-ray beams at all that moves. Its movements become stiffer, its stony frame more unstable, until it starts to fall apart. Above, to Dr Becket’s horror, the citadel on the mountain above begins to fall in on itself...

Shira’s apartment. In the bedroom, Shira and Leila strive to become one in a hurry. Driven by pure adrenaline, they race through foreplay with extra fury, suck each other’s breasts at the same time, then their cunts; Shira gets on Leila, presses their cunts together, presses both their G-spots, they rub their clits together and their cunts turn to fire and they bodies to light and they finally merge...

In the bathroom, they share one last languid bubble bath before the battle. “What happens if we lose?” asks Leila.

“We fight on. Either we win, or they destroy us. Either way, we fight, or we die.”

“As long as we’re together, I don’t care.”

“A few more years of this, even I’ll probably get tired of this. There’s a reason why the bad guys prefer to have others fight their wars. Ollie found that out the hard way.”

Leila sighs. “Let’s concentrate on immediate things now.” She resumes running her hands all over Shira’s body, Shira does the same to her, and soon they are kissing. They are interrupted by a clipped scream. They turn to see Moon Roach.

“Am I interrupting you guys?” asks Moon.

They smile at her. “No.”

She starts taking her clothes off. “You don’t mind?”

“Of course not,” says Leila.

“Go ahead,” says Shira.

Moon strips naked and gets into the shower. Not athletic, but still attractive. Moon starts the water; Shira and Leila smile at each other, then resume kissing.

In the study, eight hackers man the machines at election central: Jennifer, Steve, and Ken; Evil the Cat, El Kabong, and the Cockroach Twins. Jennifer acts as team spokesperson. Hope asks, “Systems ready?”

“Voting system operational, firewalls running, spam vote blockers running, all defenses up. So far as we know, everything’s A-OK.”

“Everybody get the word out?”

“It’s spreading as far as it can go. We expect the bad guys to try to DDoS us, but we’re ready for that.”

“You think the system can hold up?”

“This one works better with heavy volumes. That it?”

“That’s it. All we can do now is wait on the starting gun.”

CPMC boardroom. The Fearsome Foursome and friends assemble before the big screen. “This is the second time this Spanner has decided to attack us directly,” says Chairman Becket. “We must stop him before he causes any real damage. I want him dead.”

Litton says, “Spanner is a very clever man. We need to match him with a very clever plan.”

“And what do you have in mind, Mr Litton?”

He sends his plan via text message that unpacks in a window on the Chairman’s monitor. He reads it. He tilts his head. “Hmm. Very clever indeed. Do your CPMC colleagues know about it?”

“We discussed it in detail, Mr Chairman.”

“I’m afraid it will take more than that to take him down. Still, we need every advantage we can get. Do it.”

Yoyodyne Seattle. The Empire’s largest defense contractor ramps up the assembly lines of its factories in Bangor to maximum. Its robots work overtime with a precision and endurance impossible to mere humans. Right now they are assembling an order of combat-grade sound cannons intended for crowd control. Governor Brinkman intends to keep Tuesday’s plebiscite from turning into a real election.

They mount the sound blasters onto military helicopters. When each copter’s cannon is installed, the copter is refuelled and sent to the launch pad for immediate takeoff. They fly to every corner of northern Cascadia. Other Yoyodyne and Dictel factories do the same thing, throughout the state and the increasingly unstable border areas. The pilots and operators do not know that the pirate broadcasters and their sound cancellers already await them.

Thorwald property. The owner is dead. The woman his father arranged with the Governor to marry has relieved him of his head. No one lives on the property anymore. The surviving Skeever Brothers declare it ownerless and decide to squat. The Spics who had been squatting, who decided to have their Aztec sacrifices of dogs and men there, became their own sacrifice. The dogfighting arena became their funeral pyre.

Jordie drives them back to the property. The rest are armed with AKs. Eddie rides shotgun. Tony and Beck guard from the back seat. “This oughta be easy,” says Tony.

“You never know,” says Beck.

“What you sayin’, Beck?” snarls Eddie. “You wussin’ out on us again?”

“Y’all never met an angel of chaos. I just don’t trust fate anymore.”

Jordie grumbles, “Suit yourself, kid.”

They turn up the pitted driveway. They pass the open gate. They reach the dark and empty warehouse. They get out of the car, carefully check the area for threats, agree that the coast is clear, then shut the car doors and head for the building.

Suddenly the warehouse lights turn on and blind them. The alarm sirens scream for the first time since the warehouse was abandoned; the brothers cover their ears. “What the fuck’s goin’ on?” cries Eddie.

“It’s her!” shrieks Beck. “The angel of chaos!”

“Why didn’t you tell me”

“I did!

Jordie roars, “I bet she brought her team!”

The Shelley twins burst out bearing earmuffs and strange guns. The Skeevers aim their rifles at them. Rob and Leila answer with twin beams of concentrated sound, making them cover their ears, drop to the ground, and scream in pain. The car’s windows shatter. The twins hold the sound blasters on them so they can have the pleasure of making the gangster brothers squirm and writhe on the muddy pavement. As soon as they stop, Shira flies out a second story window on her new custom hoverboard. She flies above them and drops a rain of M-80s that go off around them.

Eddie, Tony, and Jordie Skeever flee to their car and drive off, leaving their little brother behind. Shira lands next to him; Leila and Rob join her on foot. Beck whimpers, “Don’t hurt me. Please...”

Shira reaches down to offer an open hand. Beck stares at her for several seconds and blinks. He looks around and sees no sign of the brothers who abandoned him here. He sighs, then reaches up to take Shira’s hand. She pulls him to his feet.

Dictel Criminal Detention Center Bangor. Four heavily armed guards escort one heavily chained Islamist hardman to the prison telephone bank. The moment they get there, one phone rings. The attending guard picks it up. “Hello? Yes, sir.”

“Who is it?” growls Ali Muhammad.

The guard holds the receiver toward the Jamaican. “It’s for you.” Muhammad does not reply. The guard puts it to his ear and mouth.

The voice of R.G. Litton says, “Salaam alaykum, shahid.

“What you want, kafir?”

“As you know, today is Election Day.”

“Dey blaspheme Allah an’ His Chosen! You no elect Allah’s Chosen!”

“Precisely, Mr Muhammad. The liberal blasphemers are out of control, so the Good Lord Allah, blessed be he, hath laid a duty upon you and your men to put a stop to this horror.”

“You no fool me, Rat Bastard.”

“Are you a man, Ali Muhammad? If you are a man, you will put an end to this effeminacy once and for all!”

“I be man! I go’ keell faggotdem!”

“Good. We have restored your safe houses and given Dictel Corrections management the order to release you and your men at once. You will strike without mercy. Then you shall rule.”

Al-Qaeda in America’s Cascadia branch are assembled at the prison gate. They are former Klan, Zeta, Red Triad, Black Mafia: all converts, not one Caliphate native among them. Once outside, Ali Muhammad rallies his troops. “De infidel dey have election!” The hardmen boo, roar, hiss their hatred. “We smash! We destroy infidel! We conquer fo’ de Holy Prophet Osama bin Laden!” They approve with a deafening roar.

Back inside, the guard at the phone bank makes a call of his own.

Shira’s apartment. Shira’s phone rings. Deth Pussy. “Yo, Deth!”

“Wussup babe!”

“Got me a scoop?”

“You’re in luck! We got ourselves a man inside the Cage, and he says the Wogs there just got officially sprung!”

Shira frowns. “You don’t say. Anything to do with the election?”

“They got orders to smash it. Our man says the orders came from one Rat Bastard.”

Shira’s frown morphs into a wicked grin. “Well, well, well. I think I’ll go tell a few friends. If you know what I mean by friends.”

Thorwald property. The escaped Caliphate terror agents assemble at the dead serial killer’s abandoned headquarters. They have no need for the destroyed dogfighting arena (they can always build their own). Dictel helicopters sent by Litton drop the weapons he promised them. When the crates land, the terrorists open them with the supplied crowbars, open the boxes, and take the weapons and ammo, bootlegged from China. Being the savages they are, they celebrate by firing their guns at the sky.

They find themselves being shot at by punked-out Mexicans on motorcycles. Los Punkz have returned for revenge. Al-Qaeda in America answer rage with rage. The Spics and the Wogs go to war, each war tribe hellbent on annihilating the other. Soon COPCO Seattle is forced to redirect precious strike forces away from the strike to suppress this gang war, only one of the many gang wars going on throughout the city.

the strike. The crowds build to full strength before 8:00. Echelon is already trying to destroy all their phones and the entire Darknet. Every Corporation, Syndicate, and rival Empire in the world tries to prevote every single one of them with their botnets. Most of them, some not even striking, have set their phones and computers to send their votes precisely at, or shortly after, eight; those without smartphones or computers will vote by phone, whether cellphone or land line, if the phone networks stay up and AT&T does not preblock their votes or prevote them for CPMC.

Already the protest sites are attacked by swarms of helicopters blasting their sound cannons at them. The pirates’ sound cancellers switch on, cancel out their blasts, even destroy sound cannons and make their helicopters crash.

Voting will be the easy part. The hard part will be keeping CPMC from cancelling it. The strike must go on.

Shira’s apartment. The clock ticks toward 8:00. Every second seems an eternity now. Everyone at election central holds their breath and crosses their fingers.

OZMA calls up Shira. “Do you think we’re going to prevail?”

“You just do your thing, and I’ll keep doing mine. If the plan works out, yes. If it doesn’t we’re all dead.”

“T minus twenty!” yells Jennifer.

In the living room, Willa puts her arm around Leila. “Think of the Conservative Revolutionary Party as a criminal gang made up entirely of Oliver Thorwalds. These are the rich men addicted to absolute power who go into homicidal frenzy whenever one of their slaves even thinks of exercising their will. They must steal the last crumb from the starving and the mites from widows. If they prevail, they’ll keep turning back the clock until there’s no more reality standing between them and their sovereign whim.”

“Can’t we do to them what I did to Oliver?”

“Darling, he was just one man. The terrorists try over and over, but they always fail. That’s because a gang is a different kind of beast from a bestial man. It thrives on faith created through fear. We have to starve the beast, and the only way to do that is for us to swallow our fear and together abandon our faith.”

Jennifer: “Five...”

Wolveroach: “So far we’re standing up to Echelon!”


El Kabong: “Anti-spambot defenses holding!”


Evil the Cat: “The big hit’s comin’! Prepare yourselves!”


Shira and Leila rush out the door, the Cockroach twins cross their fingers...


Moon sings, “It’s heeere...”

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 23 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

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

[Revision 2, 10/22/11: All scenes at Shira’s apartment (“election central”) and the Thorwald property are heavily revised from the unpublished first draft to fit Third Revision continuity, with some material removed; everything else is new material.]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Spanner 23.2: Spanner Q and A

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 2: Spanner Q&A

3 november 2014.
Bangor squats.
Jennifer transmits the contents of Arvid’s SD card to KCUF. Deth Pussy gives the signal, and Anonymous seize control over the airwaves. Simon Sez initiates the piratecast. Into her phone, Shira speaks.
Do not adjust your TV set. We have full control. This is a special presentation about J. Walter Brinkman, alleged Governor of Cascadia. Witness the true source of his power.

[Brinkman raping a beautiful boy. The child is his son Arthur, the future Arvid Shield, and this is the crimelord’s start of darkness. Women beaten, children beaten, children molested. A child sex slave ring: Brinkman, Becket, Tremayne, Fleer — the Fearsome Foursome at the height of their power, untouchable even by God’s angels of wrath.]

These were shot by his ex-wife, Drusilla Becket. The threat of her wrath controls him. Without her, he and his Fearsome Foursome are nothing.

[Brinkman shifts unstably between man and werewolf. The man is tall, slender, flowing-bearded, almost pretty like his son; the wolf, a giant fearsome beast that tears human victims with his hands and fangs. Blood flies, flows, bathes him, blinds the camera.]

Why does he control you? Is he man or monster? You fear him.
Pioneer Square. As soon as the camdrones fly away distracted, a red Mustang skids in, and Charlie and Desiree get out. Desiree grabs Leila and pulls her into the back seat. Charlie decides not to use her channel-changing ability and just zaps the monitor instead; Brinkman’s face explodes. After Desiree locks Oliver Thorwald’s head and shovel into the trunk, the sisters slam into the car and squeal out.

technosphere. Forums and social networks overload with reposts and comments. Blogs and broadcasts ask, who is Walter Brinkman really, and is he even human? The faithful support him with absolute faith and blame the liberals, the hackers, the media, Congress. Others, heedless of potential consequences, scream for his blood.

Spanner holds a press conference via MyTube VideoChat. Instead of the usual eight-bit cartoon avatar, a man in the black jacket and motorcycle helmet sits in a chair on a soundstage. Even before he speaks, official reporters start calling it the Spanner Q&A. “Ladies and gentlemen of the lamestream media,” he announces, “I am now taking questions.”

First up is Amanda Currie’s replacement at ESPNBC News, yet another interchangeable conservative blonde. “Why do you have it in for Governor Brinkman?”

Spanner replies, “Want the list? It’s so long, the whole thing would DDoS this conference. We showed you only a small sampling of his crimes. That he always gets away with them speaks libraries about your revolution.”

Commotion and shock. A fat male reporter with an angry red face demands, “Why are you a terrorist?”

“When did you last beat your wife?”

“I asked you a question, damn it!”

“I asked the same question. Next!”

A redheaded female reporter asks, “Is it true that you and Rebel Styles are the same person?”

“Even if we were sock puppets of the same human, the Law says we’re not the same person. Are Batman and Catwoman the same?”

“I guess not. But aren’t ‘human being’ and ‘person’ the same thing?”

“The Law says all corporations are persons but some humans aren’t. Go check your law books. Next?”

Another blond female reporter: “You’re wrong about your precious anarchy, Mr Spanner. If there’s no rulers, who will keep the people under control?”

“The question you should really be asking is, who keeps the rulers under control? How do you justify controlling the people when the rulers themselves are out of control? How do they think they can control the people when they can’t control themselves? You saw the Brinkman tapes. Next!”

A male reporter with a bad haircut shouts, “What the hell do you think we are, terrorist?”

“You people are loudmouth propagandists for the current régime, that’s what you are. But you probably mean, what do I think of your bosses. They know what they are: the élite vanguard of the revolution, the chosen ones with the divine right to make everybody else’s decisions for them in the name of the one true morality, which by definition is superior to all the other one true moralities foisted on us by all those lesser revolutionary élites. Those revolutionary vanguards are inferior because their revolutions all failed.

“Problem is, you’ve got the exact same problem that destroyed all those inferior revolutions. It’s called ‘the sanction of the victim.’ Your revolution, like all those lesser ones, assumes that all you need to keep the unwashed rabble in line is your mission from God and a big stick. You don’t care that you make your slaves hate you every time you whip ’em. You sowed the wind, and sooner or later a Spartacus or a Nat Turner comes to unleash the whirlwind. I only popped the cork. The people are taking matters into their own hands.”

A balding older male reporter: “The people don’t know nothin’! Somebody’s gotta keep those little ingrates in line, somebody who knows how to rule!”

“The so-called art of ruling is really the art of beating people up. You people see ’em only as tools and treat ’em as such. Now they see how you treat ’em. The slaves have decided to shake off the yoke and blow the plantation. So you decide to throw those perfidious monkeys away and replace ’em with robots, because robots always obey. Robots pose no — as the Governor himself likes to put it — ‘threat from below.’ Next!”

Another blond female reporter asks, “Why do you hate America?”

“Broken record, broken record, broken record — next!

One of Litton’s public relations acolytes shakes his fist. “You’re lying, terrorist! We always had the people’s best interest in mind!”

“You serve man. Of course. With hollandaise sauce and a side order of caviar. Well, guess what? Tournament is coming to an end, people. It’s the championship match, and there can only be one champion. It’s a duel to the death. Who’s gonna win, Jesus America or the Euro-American people? I know your bosses’ Plan. I know it all too well. You’re gonna have to kill all those treacherous little monkey people, all seven billion of ’em, right down to the last one. And then you’ll upload yourselves and leave the future to the robots. Hell of a Plan, people.”

A régime lawyer who is not Marshall Brinkman threatens, “You’ve seen what we can do. You don’t stand a chance against us!”

“I’m watching what you’re doing right now. But do you think you can beat the masses back into submission even when they think you’re out to kill ’em all and they’re fighting desperately just to survive you? Do you think you can stuff the angry genie back in the bottle you stuffed him in? Some of you deny there’s any such thing as the Law of Evolution. Your entire system assumes there’s no Law of Entropy either. Your denialism will prove fatal. Look outside. What do you see? Entropy, that’s what. Your machine has worn down. It’s lost all its fuel. It’s falling apart, and yet you deny it. Plausibly, of course. I’d tell you to look at what’s really going on, but you’ve already plucked out your eyes.

“That’s it! I’ve said everything. Goodbye, and good riddance!”

Spanner’s signal goes out, leaving an army of reporters, flacks, and officials frustrated.

Thorwald property. Los Punkz took over as soon as they saw Leila hold Oliver Thorwald’s severed head on camera. Now they hold their Day of the Dead sacrifices one day late. Steroid-maddened pit bulls rip each other to shreds in sacrifice to Satan and the Aztec death gods. Soon El Anticristo will cut the hearts out of captive COPCO agents.

Suddenly a firebomb hits the dogfight arena’s stands. Thorwald kludged it up from scrap wood and never bothered to maintain it; he felt he had more important things to do, like assassinate dissidents and murder pretty women to sell their eggs for profit. The stands go up in flames like a pile of dry straw, killing dozens of screaming gangsters.

Anticristo orders a lieutenant to give him binoculars. Through them he sees Geordie Skeever about to fire another round from his bazooka. He orders his surviving minions to take their AKs and attack the Skeever Gang. Another round hits the arena, sending burning shards all over the property.

Eddie Evil giggles. “That’ll teach those fuckin’ Spics to steal our property!”

“I thought it was Ollie’s turf they was squattin’,” says Geordie.

“Well, we’re stealin’ it from them!” Eddie lets out an evil-clown laugh.

As Anticristo leaves the place behind, his Spics grab their weapons and mount their warcycles. Toward their Honky assailants they ride. The Skeevers launch their rockets.
We have just received breaking news of a gang shootout in the far western Seattle suburb of Bangor...
Bremerton boardwalk. Shira ends the video streaming on her phone and repockets it. “That’ll keep ’em busy for a while,”

Mimi asks, “Will the rich people see us differently from the gangsters now?”

“Sorry, but that’s not how the Corporate mind works. All they’re capable of seeing is threats to their wealth from below. Their response is always the same: panic and lash out at anything that moves.”

Polly asks, “Why can’t they settle down and be reasonable like normal people?”

“Because their egos have become so identified with their wealth and power,” answers Jennifer, “that they are no longer capable of reason. Any psychologist recognizes the signs immediately.”

Colette directs them to take a good look at the armed Navy personnel remaining in their positions and not attacking the strikers. “Anybody care to explain this?”

“They could be Christians who never converted to Americanism, or they could come from union families back in poor Southern or Midwestern regions, or they could be just plain sympathetic, or they blame Fleer. Wild guesses, but it could be any of those, or something else.”

“We still can’t trust ’em.”

Shira says, “The probably don’t, either. Who knows who might have slipped ’em some moles.”

COPCO Seattle. Jack Becket demands of Shira, “Explain how you pulled that trick over at the Thorwald place.”

“Oh, you know, big gangster gets whacked by angry moll, his rivals get ambitious, they all arrive at the same time, they go to war. It’s ridiculously easy to manipulate these guys into shooting each other up. You oughta try it sometime. It could seriously cut down on the gang population.”

“Well, right now your little gang war scheme is distracting precious agents we need to stop your friends from stealing our well-deserved dollars!”

“Why would we want any of your funny money? We just want you rich boys to stop playing KGB on us. Haven’t you heard? The Cold War’s over.”

Agent 2468 screams, “The crusade against the evil of Communism can never end! It’s a supernatural struggle—” Annoyed, Shira sighs and cuts the signal.
The Corporates are not like you and me. They’re hungry ghosts. Some of them aren’t even human. Some have corporations for bodies. Even if they are human, but don’t carry the Infection, they’re still vampires. They want to drink all your money, what little you have left. They cannot stop until they drink you dry.

These hungry ghosts called Corporates are incapable of reason. They’re like dragons hoarding golden treasures in their caves. Try to relieve them of their precious gold, and they’ll scorch you and then eat you. Deprive them of their regular diet of princesses, and they’re come to your castle to eat you and your knights. Try to reduce a Corporate’s wealth or power, and they&rsuqo;ll panic and respond with ultraviolence.

You defied them. They want only revenge. They are out to destroy you. Their mood is irrational rage. You have no choice but to fight them if you want to survive.
the strike. The emergency calls snowball in from COPCO central. In the urban ghettoes, in the most meth-ravaged, gang-ridden small towns, the Syndicates are going to war to settle old scores. The helicopters and strike teams leave the protest sites to try to put out the rumbles.

As soon as they leave, the crowds return. To the places the Corporate revengers chased them from, the strikers return to resume their protests. The enforcers have made them angry. They announce that their demand is now non-negotiable: CPMC must cave in, or else.

CPMC boardroom. “This madness has to end now!” shouts Brinkman. “Don’t they know our demands are final?

Far less panicked, Litton says, “From what I’m hearing, so are theirs, otherwise there wouldn’t be a strike.”

“And what do you plan to do about it?”

“I say fire ’em all, give all their jobs to slaves and robots. When they find themselves starving to death, they’ll come running back to us, kissing our asses, begging us to hire ’em back for peanuts. If they don’t, they’ll turn terrorist. We can easily squash those.”

(Shira: Watch these Corporates not even consider the possibility that people could go into business for themselves.)

“Then what about this damn election they’re trying to pull on us?”

“Treat it as an opinion poll. If CPMC ain’t holding it, it’s not an election at all. Remember, Wally, you are the government. The rabble ain’t.”

“Well, then we’ll need to find some way to put the rabble back in their place.”

Shira’s apartment. “I wish we could take a break,” moans Wolveroach.

Shira asks, “Everything all set up for tomorrow?”

“Yep!” answer the three Cockroach Twins in unison.

“Okay, guys, get your rest. We start at 7 tomorrow morning.”

They run to the bathroom as fast as they can, then argue over who goes first. Shira asks Jennifer, “How’s our firewall been holding up so far?”

“Pretty good under the circumstances,” Jennifer answers. “It’s standing up to all the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian botnets. Tomorrow’s the big test, though. That’s when Echelon joins in. We expect some spam votes to get through, so we set up a filter to drop ’em as they come in. The Rat Bastard has a more sophisticated system, but I’ve managed to model it so that the vote system drops any Party votes that match the pattern. They try and cheat any other way, we’ll have to deal with it on the fly. Other than that, I think everything’s A-OK. You think you’ll be okay in Seattle tomorrow?”

“Me, yeah. The terrorists, not so much. Leila and I’ll be meeting Rob and the Hunters over there. Charlie’s driving. The pirate sound crews are setting up their disruptors as we speak. Other than that, we cross our fingers.”

Shira and Jennifer cross their right arms. Then they hug and kiss. “Good night, Shira.” “Good night, Jen.” Shira races to her bedroom and throws herself onto the bed beside sleeping Leila.

on to the next...

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Spanner Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites

Chapter 22

Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites (Revision 2)

At last! After ten months’ delay, Chapter 23 is finally being posted, and Spanner Book 1 is finished at last! And so we come full circle, with the Conservative Revolution facing its first real Populist threat since it saved the American Empire from democracy. Spanner throws himself into the works and even holds a press conference, while the Wrecking Krewe and the rest of Team Spanner pit their souped-up boom trucks to cancel out the Fearsome Foursome’s helicopter-mounted giant sound cannons as the crowds battling the authorities below attempt to turn Brinkman’s sham plebiscite into a real election. And of course the Man declares war against the People and tries to force them back into slavery. For the threat of equality promises the end of sovereign freedom, the divine right of oligarchs. And when the victims withdraw their sanction, the predators perish...

The balance of power in Cascadia is shifting. Nothing will be the same after this. As for Byron Scofield, fanatical Prophet of the Church of America: he has decided that the time for tolerance has ended, and the time for war is now...

Table of Contents:
  1. Settle for Nothing (October 20, 2011)
  2. Spanner Q&A (October 21, 2011)
  3. No Time This Time (October 22, 2011)
  4. Vote Early, Vote Often (October 23, 2011)
  5. The Fuses Have Been Lit (October 24, 2011)
  6. I Am the Future (October 25, 2011)
And so the stage is set for Book 2, Rage of the Prophets, which contains some of my strangest and most interesting plots and characters (particularly villains). Book 1 was just the intro. Now it’s time for the Author to bring his A game. Now we get serious.

Interlude 12: The Crisis

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spanner 23.1: Settle for Nothing

When I came up with the title for this first installment of the final chapter of Spanner Book 1, I thought, “This would be a great name for a punk rock song.”, Well, let us rub our whiskers like Roger Ebert and go back in time, into the backstory, to 1985, when a four-year-old Anglo-American glampunk band called the Band With No Name released their now iconic third album, Street Lethal.

The year before, 17-year-old electric violinist Willa Richter-Thomas released her solo album The Amazing Misadventures of Rebel Mudlark, Space Cowgirl, her beautiful, ethereal, and spunky elegy for New Wave icon Klaus Nomi. The record industry executives, who at that time thought of themselves as part of the fashion industry (or the “fashion-industrial complex,” as Willa sarcastically called it), wanted more Rebel Mudlark. The No-Names gave them the most ferocious A side in the history of glampunk. Track one: “Go,” their new iconic opener, perhaps the first pop-punk song identified as such. Track two: the glampunk anthem “New Wave Video Slut.” Track three: “Settle for Nothing,” a hardcore raveup Willa called at the time “an X song for my ex,” whom she”d recently punched out, tied up, and dumped on the side of a heavily travelled section of US 101 after he listened to Rebel Mudlark and went hysterically homophobic.

“Settle for Nothing” was deliberately intended to be as un-Rebel Mudlark-like as possible. Some rock critics saw the X influence clearly; others called it “Joan Jett gone hardcore,” others in retrospect would call it the original Riot Grrrl tune (being from Bremerton, the No-Names were close enough to Olympia to be part of that scene). Every single record company executive from that point on has called the song “a personal slander against me.”

Meanwhile, in current events news, it strikes me (no pun intended) as uncanny that I’m throwing a general strike into this novel right when there’s one going on in Greece and another being prepared in Portugal. And did you know #OccupyWallStreet intends to “murder us all”? If by “we” you mean the Corporate caste, who by definition (a.k.a “the Law of Social Darwinism”) are the only people that count...

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 1: Settle for Nothing

Power concedes nothing without a demand.
It never did and it never will.

Frederick Douglass

The time to buy is when blood is running in the streets.
Baron Nathan Rothschild
There will be no election! CPMC does not have elections! CPMC is the government! CPMC is owned by me! I’m the sole owner of CPMC! I, and I alone, am the government! I am the president, the legislature, and the judiciary! It’s all me! I am the law! The law is my word, my whim! You’re on my private property, you parasites! Stop protesting, and get back to doing what I say! Okay? Please?

[The KCUF News Team analyze the Governor’s statement.]

Governor Brinkman looks highly flustered. Could it be the stress of the election period getting to him?

Well, knowing my cousin as I do, Amanda, I’ve seen how he lives for political crises that would stress out a normal man. It could only have been watching his granddaughter Leila Shelley duel to the death the man he arranged her to marry, practically rape her to death, then cut off his head and hold it up for him to see. She fought the whole duel completely naked to signify her open contempt for everything he believes in. If reports I’ve heard are right, and she’s inherited some kind of invulnerability, whether from him or not, then there’s no way even he can stop her. Some consider her decision to openly flout modesty, marriage, and eugenic purity regulations one of the causes of the political crisis now unfolding.

Thank you, Desiree.
3 november 2014.
Shira’s apartment.
Shira sits on the edge of the couch to keep her sticky stuff from mucking up the upholstery. Leila stands before her, just as proudly nude, so she can feel up and down her smooth white body. She kisses each cone-shapped nipple and gently bites them to make sure each one is hard. Jennifer and Steve watch them from either side of the couch. Shira asks her lover, “So Leila darling, how did it feel to kill a man?”

“For once it actually felt good to give in to the hate and destroy him. When I killed that rapist, I puked right in front of his dead body and felt guilty for a year at least. But this was a formal Challenge against an evil man I hated with all my heart. I knew I had no excuse to feel remorse. For the first time I can remember, I feel free. It feels good to be free.”

“But you killed him,” says Steve. “His blood’s on your hands. Don’t you feel at least a little guilty about it?”

“You don’t understand Corporates. A Corporate is not a mere person. His soul isn’t in his body. It’s in his public image, like Shira said.”

“In his public image?”

If I’d simply killed him, his public image would have survived him and gained martyrdom cred, and then he would have been immortal. It would have taken a miracle to make him actually dead. So I had to humiliate him in public. I had to kill his image first. Only then could I kill his body. The reason I feel no remorse is because Corporates aren’t like human beings. You can’t commit homicide against ’em. You have to commit deicide.”

Jennifer smiles at Steve. “She’s right, Steve. Consider the extreme amount of trouble we had to go through just to kill King Patriot. It would have been a simple matter of regicide — only had he been a mere tyrant. Like Leila says, we had to kill a god. Once the god was dead, the man collapsed like an abandoned puppet.”

Steve says, “So the next god we’re trying to kill is CPMC. Right?”

“Ding ding ding!”

Shira is resting her head on Leila’s breast. “He wins the Cheezy Prize™.”

“And that’s what the election’s about?” asks Steve.

“Bouncing Governor CPMC should help, at least.”

The sound of commotion emanating from the study wakes up Hope and Selene. They walk naked into the living room. Hope declares, “Time to get breakfast, get showered, and get dressed so we can head on out.

From the study, Moon asks, “Are Talia and her friends like gonna try and ruin it this time?”

Shira yells back, “If she does, I’m gonna pie-kill her.” The others laugh.

They take turns eating, showering, and dressing. The Cockroach Twins take turns napping. Shira is in her full yellow school uniform, complete with sailor-type hat, when she records her latest vlog post.
A friend of mine who once read Atlas Shrugged told me about a concept she’d gleaned from it, called “the sanction of the victim.” That’s basically Ayn Rand’s way of saying “Stockholm syndrome.” Political scientists have long had a problem with the concept of “the consent of the governed,” since nobody who came after the generation that consented to make the laws had any say in the matter. They had to be coerced into obeying the laws that already existed, as if the original consent never mattered. It did matter once, but only once.

Government is a parasitic entity that feeds on the consent it coerces from its victims. It’s really just an abstract version of the warlords of ancient times, or of modern gangland, but based on abstract hierarchy and police-enforced rules. It’s the game you’re forbidden to quit. When one victim withdraws their sanction, you get dissent. Most governments punish dissent without mercy, because they know it threatens their parasitic life. When enough victims withdraw their sanction, the result is revolution.

Until recently, the hardest thing people could do was keep their sanction withdrawn. The notion of “the consent of the governed” kept getting in the way, and so we got new constitutions, new republics, and, more often than not, new dictatorships, like the one we have to deal with in Euro-America right now. But if we dispense with that notion, we can avoid setting up a new order that becomes an old order in due order. If we keep our victim’s sanction withdrawn — if we reject the idea of authority altogether — we can achieve something that’s never happened before: permanent revolution.

As for the Conservative Revolution? The moment they smashed the liberals, that revolution was over. The new order’s been fighting to prevent any further change ever since.
Dr Henry Becket calls her on the vidphone. “What was that supposed to be?”

She leans in seductively on her elbows and purrs, “Answer me this, Doc: what’s a free market?”

“I don’t know wh—”

“Anarchy in economics. ‘Free’ means ‘free from government.’ Now you, Doctor, being the rationalist technocrat you are, are probably not able to understand this, but to more objective minds it’s glaringly obvious that moral synarchy and economic anarchy make for a glaring contradiction. Two opposites in the same system are certain to destroy the system. It’s a matter of simple logic. A is not non-A.”

“I swear, you will not get away with your insolence.”

“I say you cannot get away with having your A and your non-A too. Things just don’t work that way. Goodbye, Doctor.”

“You—” Shira abruptly cuts off the call.

Mudlark House. “So this was the room where you and Kira used to sleep,” says Leila. She looks around the room, which looks the same as it did the day of the coup because that’s the way Alex wants to keep it.

Shira says, “At least when we came to visit.” She shows Leila the picture of Shira, Kira, Alex, and Lya. “Actually, Kira never liked you much, but she knew I was in love.”

“Why we’re here,” Alex interrupts. She looks around the room. Present: Shira, Leila, Jennifer, Desiree, Charlie, Sparks, Amanda. “We’re facing another day of reckoning. Desiree, explain.”

“I’ve done some economic research,” Desiree explains, “and I came to realize the reason there was a Conservative Revolution in the first place. Of all the economic theories I studied, that of Marx best fits the facts. Capitalism has built-in a permanent tendency for the rate of profit to fall. That’s the amount of profit in relation to investment. Competition forces most companies to cut retail prices in order to survive, and that cuts into their profits. From the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, they were able to mitigate this by making manufacturing more efficient, improving machines, automating and exporting labor. But by the end of that period, they couldn’t do it anymore, so they had to cut wages, cut corners, lower quality. The only means the capitalists had left to increase their profits was speculative finance unconnected to production, and that became increasingly predatory. After the crash of ’08, they had to rely increasingly on government subsidies. But taxpayers became increasingly resistant to paying increasing taxes just to subside the greed of what they called ‘banksters’ and ‘corporate welfare kings.’ So they took over the government. That was the Conservative Revolution.”

Leila feels her head spinning. “I never thought of it that way.”

“You were not supposed to. The words every Corporate dreads most, the ones they dare not speak, are ‘fall in the rate of profit.’”

“And now their profit needs are driving the civilian masses to revolt.”

“Exactly. They privatized government, put the Corporations on permanent subsidies, inflated the dollar, euro, and pound, eliminated the minimum wage and imposed maximum wages, magicked up ever more esoteric forms of speculation; and yet the dreaded day has finally arrived. The rate of profit is now zero. Capitalism is now officially dead. And now the workers are in the streets. The class war is joined.”

Sparks says, “So now it’s come down to the battle in the streets between police and revolutionaries.”

“It’s worse than that. Only one class can survive, the capitalists or the workers. Their evolution is diverging. The workers have finally seen reason and are taking their destiny into their own hands. The Corporates, on the other hand, have already begun to revert to primitive savagery.”

“As in COPCO hiring gangsters.”


“So it’s already too late to choose a third way?” asks Amanda.

Shira, Desiree, Charlie, and Alex nod. Desiree says, “The only question left open is, which side are you on.”

Leila says, “I choose the future.”

“Which future?” asks Alex.

“If what Desiree’s saying is right, the only other option is no future. I have no wish to be a pawn or a sacrifice in a new dark age. I choose the future.”

the city. Day four of the general strike. The day before the election, and the first work day in which the workers of Cascadia refuse to return to their jobs. Instead, they protest. They protest in the town centers, in the city plazas, in front of corporate headquarters. They no longer feel it possible to demand pay raises or benefit improvements. They demand their basic rights, the rights the Conservative Revolution stole from them in order to preserve American dominion and save the ruling Corporate élite from otherwise certain extinction.

Soon protest will no longer be enough. The Corporates are beginning to panic. When a predator is backed into a corner, it abandons all reason and lashes out with irrational fury.
I ordered you to cease your petulant protests. I reminded you that they are in defiance of the Law. I warned you that your defiance threatens the very order of existence. Henceforth, I declare martial law statewide, effective immediately. From now on, I am dictator. My word alone is law.

I have fired all my employees. For that matter, I have expelled all the students, and I have no intention of giving back the tuition they forfeited with their insolent defiance against me that started all this chaos. I am selling SPEC to the Church of America, which will at least put some teeth into the national education.

Brendan Sparks:
We fought the Revolution to save the world from collectivist tyranny. And now the population of your entire state is committing defying all order to impose the Communism we fought so long and hard to defeat? This is the last straw. Starting immediately, our company will send all the agents necessary to put down this treasonous insurrection. If necessary, we will call on our friends in Russia and China to supply reinforcements.

Drusilla Becket:
Jesus America is the one and only God. Jesus America is not the God of the many. God has chosen the few, the deserving, the individuals. He has gifted his chosen with infinite wealth and fame. Now the many have rejected their place in humble service to God’s chosen and turned as a collectivist mass against Our Nation, the one God. He shall punish them with his wrath, and then he will punish them with supernatural torment for eternity.

Richard Becket:
You fools! Don’t you realize you’re committing mass suicide? We no longer need unreliable human workers when we can now produce everything we need with machines. We no longer need fickle consumers now that wealth is fully independent of consumption. The System no longer needs you. If in your petty resentment and your greed for the unearned you decide you want to destroy the System, then we’ll get rid of you. We have already entered the posthuman age. Humanity is obsolete. Corporations, not men, are the heirs to the future.

General Peterson:
Insolent monkeys! You have defied your betters for the last time. This is our final demand. Surrender unconditionally, or we will be forced to declare the entire State of Cascadia collectively guilty of treason and begin saturation bombing at once. America bless God!
Soon enough, LocaFantoma99 posts the unofficial reply to MyTube on behalf of the Seattle Metropolitan Student Union (and still wearing her yellow school uniform):
So the Conservative Revolutionary régime have finally lost their cool and thrown their ultimatums. Their Challenge. Well, I’ve taken the pulse of the people on the streets, and... no go. Not because we won’t, but because we can’t. You’ve backed us into a corner for the last time. It’s become a matter of simple survival. Either we fight on, or we die. Either Tournament ends now, or we do.

Oh, and General Peterson? You’re promising to use the one-size-fits-all American military strategy against Americans? Didn’t work too well against the Communists in Vietnam or the Caliphate in Afpakistan. In fact, that’s why you lost ’em. Prepare to lose Cascadia too.
The helicopters launch, carrying the Shofar LRADs. From the aircraft carriers ported and Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton, they launch. From the airstrips and helipads at Combined Base Lewis-McChord, they launch. From every U.S. Armed Forces base in the entire state, from every COPCO-owned and -leased facility statewide, the helicopters launch, to invade the cities and attack the people with sonic torture.

KCUF studio. “Roll ’em out!” commands Simon Sez. The sound trucks roll out. Martin Lansky’s chip now boosts the power of their sound cancellers many times over, giving them the ability to counter even combat LRADs.

“You think this’ll work?” asks Amanda.

“Every pirate broadcaster in the state’s on this, so don’t worry. As soon as Scope gets here, be ready to fly out.”


Shira’s apartment. It’s not yet Election Day, yet Team Spanner Election Central is a madhouse. Yellow-clad ex-tutors and cyberpunked-out hackers run back and forth, man the laptops, defend against botnets, ICEbreakers, DDoSes. Colette marvels, “They’re still trying to spam the votes!”

“That’s the Mob for ya,” says Evil the Cat.

Shira asks, “Any sign China’s trying to steal votes?”

“Not yet,” Moon replies, “but we’re ready!”

Leila stares at the monitors with growing concern. “I’m wondering if they really can cancel the future.”

“Direct confrontation’s not the only way to beat the Man. Let’s give him a distraction.”

CPMC boardroom. The Fearsome Foursome assemble with Brinkman at the head. They are joined by Drusilla Becket, Brendan Sparks, Byron Scofield, and General Patrick Peterson. Brinkman faces away from the table, and says to the uncle vidphoning him, Dr Henry Becket: “I have told them, this is not 1919 or 1999. Those were limited local disorders. This is 1917.”

“No,” warns the Doctor grimly, “theirs is the counterrevolution. The revolution is ours. This is 1792. The only way to save the revolution, and thereby the world, is to unleash upon them the full force of terror.”

the protests. In every city and town throughout Cascadia, the streets are full and all work has ceased. The Shofars are flying to try to stop them. The pirate broadcasters’ sound trucks are rolling out to counter them. COPCO is sending agents, the National Guard is sending soldiers, the Conservative Revolutionary Party is sending militants. The battle is joined. The fate of Cascadia lies in the balance.
Attention, mainstream and independent media! I am holding a press conference at noon sharp. Be there or be square!
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[Revision 2, 10/20/11: All new material (the unpublished first draft starts with the next installment).]