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Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 20: Things Fall Apart
Part 2: Simple Matter of Planning
Part 2: Simple Matter of Planning
ESPNBC:21 october 2014.
U.S. Navy authorities have found Admiral Alan Fleer, Armed Forces Supreme Commander for Cascadia, dead at his home. No details are expected to be revealed about the circumstances surrounding his death. A spokesman announced today that the official cause of death is an accident...
hospital. Will Becket ordered Karen taken to the public Harrison Hospital rather than the Naval Hospital: one, because she is a civilian; two, because the is the victim of a crime that threatens to embarrass the government.
The surgeons race to stop all internal bleeding. They operate on the injuries Fleer inflicted in his fatal bout of unreason. Governor Brinkman passes down orders to keep her alive so CPMC and its associates in the state and city governments can avoid a major public relations disaster.
CPMC boardroom. The Fearsome Foursome meet in their new lineup. R.G. Litton has effortlessly replaced Alan Fleer in his position in the Quadrumvirate.
“Don’t let her live,” says Everson. “She could come out of this as a major threat.”
Brinkman shoots him a look that says Shut up, you idiot. “If Kubota dies, she is a major threat. Luke, don’t forget that there are more dangerous threats out there, such as the terrorist Spanner. A martyr could be very useful in such hands.”
“We need to break her,” says Jack Becket.
“Alan tried,” Litton replies. “He used the methods he learned from his father during the Argentine dictatorship. One big reason why he’s now dead.”
Jack leans over the table toward him. “How about the methods I learned from my father? Wipe her mind, program her with a new and more useful personality,”
Litton raises his voice at him. “It still doesn’t change the fact that she’s a fucking mudblood!”
They glare at each other without saying another word. Brinkman clears his throat. The others stare at him. He does not need to speak. A sense of foreboding descends upon the boardroom.
the brig. As Vivian Fleer is brought to her cell, she feigns the nobility of a political prisoner. The working-class sailor girls in the surrounding cells aren’t fooled by her pose. They mock the fallen princess relentlessly.
Diana Shockley is surprised to find Sparks assigned to the interrogation. “What were you in the Navy?” she demands.
“Submariner,” he answers casually. “Radio man.”
“So you were MP before the revolution?”
“Yeah. Medical discharge, of course. Now stay clear. No relatives allowed. I say this only for your own good, and your niece’s.”
In the interrogation room, he attempts to ask Vivian a question. “Okay now, Miss Fleer, can—”
Offended, Vivian gasps and interrupts him. “I am a princess of the realm. You will address me properly, officer.”
Sparks is unmoved. “Yes, Your Highness. Now, Your Highness, will you please tell me—”
“And you will cut that silly emo mop top. It’s an insult to American manhood!”
“Noted. Now can you tell us the circumstances surrounding your father’s death?”
“He was going to leave me for that hideous Falconer woman! He already murdered Mother, and now he was trying to kill me! The treacherous bastard! That woman needs to be destroyed!” Vivian begins to cry.
“You’ll be pleased to hear, then, that she’s being questioned as a material witness. Drug-related charges may be filed. You may plead self-defense at the arraignment, and you may file charges against Falconer if you prefer.” He stands up. “That is all, Your Highness. You may go.”
Vivian sniffs and wipes a tear. “Thank you, Agent.”
Back outside, Shockley tells him, “That was quick.”
“She may prove useful.”
“That was awfully callous of you. You know she just lost both her parents.”
“She’s your niece, not mine. Besides, she orphaned herself.” Shockley glares at Sparks as he walks away.
As the guards lead Vivian back to her cell, the enlisted women resume their mocking. One goes, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” The other prisoners laugh. Vivian haughtily harrumphs.
Elsewhere, Falconer testily denies any involvement in either murder to a pair of civilian NCIS agents. “I wasn’t there when Eden Fleer was murdered, and I wasn’t there when Alan Fleer was murdered. Now can I call my lawyer?”
Will Becket enters. “Evidence says she’s right. It was an internal family thing.”
“Thank you, Commander.”
“I still need to remind you, Major, that adultery is still a crime, and moral crimes are not lightly punished. Yours managed to destroy a very important man and his family. So don’t let yourself get too confident.”
Falconer refrains from spitting at him and says nothing.
KCUF studio. Shira says to the assembled Team Spanner, “So far, Fleer’s out, Honey Bunny’s in deep shit, our Student Council’s imploded, and CPMC’s got a huge scandal on its hands in the leadup to the election they wanna prevent.”
Colette says, “Our Student Union’s having talks with other schools so we can take it citywide before the Halloween protest.”
“You still forget you’re tempting the wrath of the gods,” warns Peck. “The Conservative Revolutionary Party was built on hate. They think nothing of massacring an entire city to purify their holy land.”
Shira winks at him. “That’s why we still need misdirection. The Foursome are still fearsome, they still have it in for us peons, and now they’re pissed and want revenge. If we wanna have our protest, much less an election, we need to redirect their rage away from us and toward each other. It’s the only way we’ll even survive.”
Moon Roach says, “I thought we were like fighting ghosts, Shira.”
“Moon darling, think of it this way,” replies Leila. “Only an angel can kill a devil.”
“Like in those ‘spiritual warfare’ novels the official publishing houses way overprint?” says Polly cheerfully.
Shira puts her arm around Polly’s shoulders and gently shakes her. “You know that’s not real, no matter how many people put their faith in it. A better metaphor would be smashing idols.”
“Speaking of smashed idols,” asks Cory, “how come the Admiral got away with screwing his own daughter for so long?”
Jennifer says, “Corporate princelings can do that, you know.”
“Whoa,” says Deth, “you mean like kill their wives and marry their daughters?”
“If they buy the right Exception, they can marry their daughters and still remain married to their wives, however many wives they have. Polygamy is perfectly legal under the Eugenics Code.”
“But porking their own daughters ain’t.”
Jennifer grins deviously. “You mean you haven’t yet heard the news about the Eugenics Institute’s new Pharaonic Rule? The Pharaohs insisted on marrying their own sisters to keep their bloodline pure.”
Polly mock accuses her. “I bet you and your mother had something to do with it, didn’t you.”
“Anything to fuck up the Rules.” Jennifer winks.
Deth: “Oh shit. Oh, fuck. This is starting to get interesting like the Chinese curse says! I love it!”
22 october 2014.
technosphere. The hacker underground gloats over the death of Alan Fleer. But Spanner releases a video whose message can be summed up as “not so fast, dudes”:
Spanner:In her new MyTube vlog post, Shira (LocaFantoma99) warns her fellow Student Union members (and her legions of fans) that the fall of one man does not spell total victory:
Comrades, do not be deceived by the apparent weakness of the Fearsome Foursome. They lost one member, but they just gained another. They can get away with this because vanguard revolutionaries are interchangeable by design. Russia, China, and the Caliphate have perfected this to the point where everybody’s already forgotten their leaders’ names.
CPMC is still governor of Cascadia. COPCO is a wounded beast. The military retaliation plans are not Fleer’s but Defense Secretary Dictel Corporation’s. The ruling cult still rules. Our strategy must remain the same. We give them Tournament.
Shira:Shira’s apartment. Leila wakes up in Shira’s arms. “Good morning, O love of my life,” she coos.
Nine days left. They still have time to stop us. We still have tons of work to do. The Man just won’t give up.
We can take back our freedom. But we have to take it from them. They won’t give it up easily. They still intend to keep us down. We give up, we lose. So don’t you ever give up.
“Good morning, lover,” Shira purrs. She gives her a long sweet kiss. “I love you.”
“I’m in love with you, too.” Leila looks down upon Shira’s firm breasts and puts her left hand on Shira’s right breast to caress it. She smiles at her lover. “The depression’s gone now. I’m no longer afraid.”
“No chance of turning evil like Reina Sterling now?”
“Not as long as I can worship you.” Leila kisses her.
“You know there’s a lot of other people who really, really love you, Leila. There’s always the chance you’ll lose me—”
“Please don’t say that—” Shira silences her with a kiss.
“Let me continue. If you lose me, they’ll be there to pick you up. Like Fiona. She wants you to know that if you lose me, she’ll be there for you. Let her take my place in your bed.”
Leila gasps. “No—” Shira kisses her again.
“She’s in love with you, and you know it. There’s nothing wrong with it, or my own sisters wouldn’t have married each other. Fuck the Law. If you love each other, it’s right no matter who you do it with. That includes your own sister. Can I call her over so I can watch you two make love?”
“Please? She’ll love you forever, and I’ll love you regardless.”
Feeling herself blush hot, Leila sighs. “Okay. I’ll make love to my sister, just for you.”
“Thank you.” Shira gives her a long sweet kiss.
“What about Colette? And the others?”
“What about ’em?”
“I know my grandfather. They’ll all get themselves killed.”
“Knowing your grandfather and the Beckets in general, we’re all doomed anyway, so the least we can do is go out with one big middle-finger salute.”
“Then I’m joining you.”
“Going out with the rest of us?”
“No. Making sure at least somebody survives., even if it’s only me. And Fiona.”
“That leaves Ollie...”
“He needs to die.”
“Even if you kill him, don’t martyr him.”
Shira gently taps Leila’s temple. “Think, love. How would a Fashion Assassin do it?”
Leila thinks for a moment, eyes open, lips parted. Then the realization comes over her entire body. She smiles. “Ohhh...”
before school. Lieutenant Spiekerman and a guard escort Principal Principal, Vice Principal Falconer, and the assistant vice principals the tutors call Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from the faculty parking lot, across the length of the school, to the office. They do not speak to each other. They look around warily. They are surprised to see Shira Thomas staring at them with a Don’t you pull nothin’ look. As suddenly as she appeared, she is gone.
Spiekerman says, “I don’t see how you manage to tolerate her.”
Falconer says, “I don’t see how she even manages to exist.”
Principal says, “The real question is, does she even exist at all.”
The others stare at him. His permanent smirk disappears. He says, “Consider the codename she uses. ‘Loca Fantoma.’ Spanish for ‘insane ghost.’ How do we know we’re not really mental patients at Western State hallucinating her through the drugs?”
“You mean the whole school year was a lie?” asks Rosencrantz.
“That’s what she seems to be telling us,” replies Guildenstern.
Spiekerman barks, “Shut up and get to work.” The principals stare at him sullenly. He leaves for the office. They follow.
In another hall, Charmian arrives at her locker at her usual early time. She opens it, then her backpack; she removes books from the backpack, puts them in the locker, folds up the backpack and her coat, puts them on top of the books, and shuts the locker door. When she turns around, she finds Lucy Wilkinson, the Student Council treasurer, standing in her way. Lucy has a smug look on her face. Charmian crosses her arms. “What are you doing here, Lucy?”
“Funny, I was about to ask the same of you, now that you’re the orphaned child of a criminal.”
“You’re replacing me as council president.”
“You are correct. Besides, your sister is too unstable for the job.”
“I know that. So do you believe you can handle the Student Union on your own? After what my late father did to their leader, they are not in a good mood.”
“Don’t worry your empty little head about that. The police will take care of them soon enough.”
Charmian smiles. “Good for you!” The smile vanishes. “Now excuse me, Madam President, while I go lose myself in a book.” She flounces away as Lucy watches her go.
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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 10/2/11: Vivian interrogation scene modified, and KCUF scene and Shira/Leila love scene heavily modified, from first draft. Everything else is new material.]