Friday, October 7, 2011

Spanner 21.1: No Leaders

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 21: High School Banned
Part 1: No Leaders

School’s out forever...

26 october 2014.
football field.
“You guys okay?” asks Colette. Her clothes too have disappeared; like so many others at the rave, she is clothed only in mud.

Shira replies, “Us, yeah. Ayla, in hospital, good condition. But Becky Skeever and Vinnie Corson, hell no.”

“We’ve had enough violence,” says Leila. “We need to dance.”

They rejoin the raver crowd, dance away their worries, work themselves back into the heated state that can withstand the cold rain.

Dawn. The rain subsides, the dancers disperse, the crews begin breaking down the equipment. Shira and Leila decide they want to make love while they’re still buzzed from the E. Alex copies a few of her mixlists off her laptop onto Shira’s phone, Shira downloads the songs still missing off the Darknet, and the girls decide to take their little love parade home — but not to Shira’s...

Leila’s house. Brushes take off the dead skin. Sponges and special soap smooth their skin again and remove the last traces of mud. They shampoo each other’s hair. They use their hands while rinsing off the remaining soap simply for the pleasure of touching each other. They take time drying each other’s bodies with thirsty thick towels.

They find themselves languidly kissing, touching their tongues together. They drift into Leila’s bed, kiss harder, fondle each other’s skin, impelled by E-injected pure love and Alex’s New Rave mix; they invert positions to 69, drink deep from each other’s cunts, drive each other to sweeter ecstasy while the Ecstasy still lasts and the golden disc outside smiles on them warmly through the window on the day that bears its name...

golf course. Jack Becket finds Pete Ross on the fourth-hole tee. The fat man swings his driver, swings it again. He doesn’t care that the grass is still wet. The COPCO chief interrupts. “You lucked out this time. what do you have to say about that?”

“I’d say you’re in the way. You wouldn’t like to lose your remaining eye, would you?”

“Okay, okay.” Becket scampers out of the way of Ross’ ball. “Now explain that rave on your property.”

Ross makes another practice swing. “So a school fight club wants a victory celebration. I say, let ’em have one, especially if they pay the fees and don’t cause problems.”

“Peter, this was a fundraiser for a known subversive’s legal defense. Lost cause, if you ask me.”

“So let ’em. They know they can’t beat the system.”

“Excuse me, but the leader of the fight club that held this rave just happens to be our old friend Shira Thomas, who specializes precisely in beating the system. Do you even get it?

“Right now I’m more worried about her mother. She’s the one in a position to break the system. If I were you, John, I’d keep one eye on her at all times. If you know what I mean.” At last, Ross hits the ball. As usual, it drifts away from the fairway and into the rough.

“The daughter knows your handicap. But do you know hers?”

Ross and Becket stare at each other.

hospital. Shira and Leila are still groggy from their sleepless night and their moods have crashed now that the E has worn off, but still they run together with Fiona into Ayla’s hotel room. Hope, Selene, Charlie, and Desiree are waiting for them. Koji cries over the bed; Ayla strokes his hair to comfort him. Nenene gets in the girls’ way. “You fault,” she tells Shira.

“No. The fault of Vincent Corson of the Moral Enforcement Crusade, and of Roger Becket Skeever of the Skeever Brothers Syndicate. And you know what? I’m damn happy that karma bit their ratzi asses so rapidly. They just happen to be languishing in a jail cell as we speak. Now let me see my loli.”

Leila pushes Nenene out of the way. “Hey!”

“Excuse me,” says Leila contemptuously.

Shira runs over to the bed. “Ai-chan!”

Shira!” Ayla puts her arms around Shira and holds on for dear life. “Why did you leave me?” she sobs.

“I was still very busy, but you knew I’d come back for you.” Shira plants a big kiss on the girl’s lips.

Nenene faces Leila down. “Who you?”

“I’m Shira’s girlfriend,” Leila purrs. “Don’t mess with me now. I’m a bitch.”

Shira comforts Ayla in her arms. Koji asks her, “Can we take her back?”

“Of course not,” says Shira. “She ran away from you guys for a reason.”

“She don’t look to safe with you!”

“If you guys had her, you’d be visiting her at the morgue right now. Just leave her to me, okay?”

“If you say so.” Koji turns sullenly to stare out the window.

Charlie asks, “What do you think we should do to these guys?”

Shira kisses Ayla, then sits up. “It’s more than just ‘these guys’ and you know it.” She flashes her a cockeyed smile. “Whoever’s behind ’em, they don’t know it, but they’re already doomed.”

Mudlark House. They have come by car, van, bus, bicycle, and foot. The members of the Bremerton High Student Union, students and tutors and faculty advisers, crowd the huge living-dining room at Jennifer’s house to discuss their plans for the week and a half before the election that CPMC vows will never happen. Willa equipped the house with a PA system just for occasions like these. In the corner of the living room they built a stage, where six organizers stand and one man in a black duster sits. Officially, Sparks represents not COPCO but a section of the Police Guild, which has troubles of its own.

As vice president of the Student Union Organizing Committee, therefore acting president in Karen’s absence, Colette presides over this planning meeting. “First order of business,” she says, “is how we’re going to bring Karen back.”

Shira interrupts. “Oh, we’re already taking care of that.”

“And how’s that?”

“How else? Embarrass the leaders.”

“Good luck with that. Anyway, Karen’s arrest has thrown a wrench into our plans. That means we gotta hammer out Plan B.”

“Actually,” replies Jennifer, “the plan’s still on track. The only problem’s that we don’t have a leader now.”

Cory says, “But we built Plan A all around Karen. I’m with Colette. We need a Plan B.”

“Then we should have planned for it before they kidnapped Karen. We’d have Plan B ready right now.”

Courtney stands up. “If Shira’s right and all our original rally will do is bring in a horde of gangsters wanting to beat us up, then how about we do this for Karen?”

“You mean,” Colette asks, “we hold our rally, say, at the jail and call for her release?”

“That’s right!”

Polly asks, “Isn’t she being held at the Bangor Jail right now?”

“Isn’t the brig on base more secure?” asks Kio.

“Not with what’s been going on at the base lately.”

“No,” says Colette, “let’s keep it on the boardwalk. That way

“So who’ll lead it?” asks Courtney.

“Can’t you?”

“I’m afraid I’m nothing like Karen that way.”

“Well,” says Colette, “if nobody else wants to do it, then I will.”

Suddenly Sparks springs up. “No!

“What are you saying?”

No leaders!

The whole crowd goes silent. “What?” goes Colette.

“A leader is either a tyrant or a martyr, sometimes even both. But he’s a Single Point of Vulnerability. Take out the capstone, the pyramid falls! Our plans have to be collective, democratic, and clandestine if we want to even survive!”

“But that’s impossible!” protests Sally.

“Then resistance is futile. Think of the Internet. Just think of it! Why did it survive in any form even after Echelon destroyed the Web? Because its structure is distributed. Data goes takes as many routes as it can, not just for speed but to prevent a bottleneck that one hack can take out. The Net was designed to survive a nuclear war! How? By preventing the emergence of any Single Point of Vulnerability!”

“What are leaders? Nothing but targets. One martyred leader is one martyr too many!”

“So what do we do then?”

“Do what we do on the Darknet: crowdsouce authority. There’s many loudmouths on the Darknet, but not one leader, ’cuz all the leaders were taken out years ago. Right now they’re languishing in hard-labor camps. One person comes up with an idea, but all must choose it together. The only action left to us is collective.”

Jennifer slaps her forehead. “That’s exactly right!”

“So how does it work?” asks Colette.

Sparks explains, “When a movement has just one leader, take out the leader and you destroy the movement. That movie, The Warriors? That’s a perfect illustration: when one lone gunman takes Cyrus down, the gangs of New York don’t unite. But when everybody leads together, you can take out any number of people and still not hurt the movement. The entire federal counterterror strategy is based on taking out leaders. Please do not make it easy for them.”

Shira hits her fist into her palm. “You know, you’re right! Colette here’s been killed once already, and Karen’s being held for ransom right now.”

Jennifer says, “Crowdsourced planning, encrypted messaging, flash mobs — It’s all coming together!”

Leila looks at them skeptically. “But won’t this degenerate into anarchy?”

Sparks says, “Shira, please explain anarchy to your girlfriend. She needs to know.”

Shira puts her arm around Leila. “Darling, the exact meaning of ‘anarchy’ is ‘no leaders.’ Absence of leadership.”

Jennifer puts her hand on Leila’s shoulder. “Government without leaders is called ‘democracy,’ the collective self-rule of the people. Surely you felt the feeling of unity at the rave.” Leila nods. “Democracy is that kind of social unity transformed into a system. Democracy is social politics, just as socialism is social economics. To be truly social, there can’t be any leaders to muck it up.”

“That’s also why anarchists can’t be terrorists. Terrorism’s just how bullies become leaders. The leaders want you to think anarchy’s nothing but what they call ‘chaos,’ but that’s just a terrorist battle royal over which gang boss becomes the supreme leader who puts an end to anarchy.”

Sparks puts his hands on Leila’s cheeks, looks into her eyes, and smiles. “Got it?”

“I’ll have to let it sink in,” answers Leila.


“Yeah,” says Colette grimly. “I get it.” To the crowd: “Everybody think it’s a good idea?” The crowd explodes in cheers; she steps back in surprise at the response. Shira and Jennifer each put an arm around her shoulders and wink at her.

on to the next...

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

[Revision 2, 10/7/11: Student Union meeting heavily modified from Chapter 20 first draft; everything else is new material.]

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