Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 21: High School Banned
Part 4: Test Your Might
Part 4: Test Your Might
28 october 2014.
Shira’s apartment. Hope has turned her office into election central. Shira gives Leila the tour. She sweeps her arm panoramically and says, “Welcome to our command center.”
“Isn’t that just another ‘Single Point of Vulnerability’?”
“Not the way we’ve designed it. It’s a node, not the node. Basically we connect with other nodes, and then we connect ’em.”
“I hope you have a better security system now.”
“Actually, the whole building does. All the condos in town upgraded after Vinnie and Becky attacked Ai-chan.”
“How’s Ayla doing, anyway?”
“Charlie and Desiree are giving her their special TLC treatment, so she’s back to her bubbly old self now. She absolutely adores ’em. I think they’ve fallen hopelessly in love with her. I hope they adopt.”
“At least that’ll keep the little freak out of my hair.”
Shira laughs. “Anyway, (“Hi, Moon!” Moon: “Hiiii!”), Moon’s manning security on the Darknet side. The Roaches are taking alternating shifts till the Big Day.”
“You mean those naked guys who took over our bed?”
“Hey, everybody here knows only barbarians wear clothes in the house.” Shira winks. She points at Selene. “Big sister here’s helping us set up the comm system. Alex and Nick already set up the vote system on the Darknet. Open source, of course, unlike that hopelessly rigged proprietary Diebold crap. All voting’s by phone this time. Deth Pussy contributed the Phreaks’ foolproof system for detecting Diebold hacks, ’cuz were all expecting all the Mob’s botnets to pull some doozies. Its packet filters also work on DDoSes...”
“Distributed Denial of Service attacks. The botnet specialty. This time we expect Echelon to pull its biggest one since the Infowar. I think it’s jealous.”
“No, they’re jealous.”
Moon sighs hard. Selene groans, “Tell me about it.”
“Never underestimate the malice of power-hungry royals. This is Saudi America, remember. But you already know that.”
“So what’s Grandpa Wally cookin’ up these days?”
“You know, the standard police state overreaction? Hello, Shira?”
“You mean his usual bully crap, when he’s not trying to force his Moses Plan down our throats.”
“Moses Plan?” asks Moon.
“As in Robert Moses, the guy who tried to deconstruct New York. Jane Jacobs stopped him fifty years ago before he could put ten lanes through Washington Square. Today, Wally’s got Tim ‘Darth Horses-Ass’ Eyman [Moon giggles at the nickname] in charge. Darth wants to blast some twenty-lane canyons into Seattle’s densest neighborhoods, even as we’re trying to put all our downtown freeways underground to get em out of our way. Sound Transit’s convinced Darth’s hiring Wog suicide bombers to blow up all the transit lines. I hear people around here are downloading his least favorite book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities in record numbers.”
“I didn’t know about that one,” Leila confesses.
“Oh yeah, Grampa had you stashed away in Pretty City. Speaking of which, the Moses Plan’s ultimate goal is to depopulate the cities and imprison everybody in isolated Arcologies. Those are the old suburban Edge Cities crossed with company towns, stashed out in the middle of nowhere. That way, the Corps can own the people there. You can’t vote where you’re bought and paid for like a slave.”
“I should go tell Grandfather’s slaves.”
“Moon, any trouble yet?”
“I just saw some zombies from Russia try and drop off some dead people votes,” says Moon airily. “They fell off the face of the earth. The dead people votes, I mean. The zombies were running iOS.”
“Ah, so the Russkies are at it already.” Shira grins. “Apple traitorware has its uses.”
school. An angry and disturbed Christian Fleer confronts Shira in the main hallway. “You killed my father, didn’t you.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Those videos. Didn’t you release ’em?”
“Hardly. I didn’t vid those adulterous affairs your father was carrying on, especially with Honey Falconer. Your mother did that. I didn’t record his little games with those poor slave girls; he did that himself. And I certainly didn’t contest the Exception he and Vivian bought for themselves.”
“You forced her to kill Father, didn’t you!”
“C’mon, Christie darlin’, I think Vivian was entirely justified for once. Who knows, your big sister might have saved your life.”
“Then why did you make those vids public?!”
“Your mother did that herself. I was merely connected with the one media outlet that wasn’t toadying him. She wanted him to repent, you see. Turns out he was too far gone into kamikaze mode. If you wanna blame anybody, blame him. If you dont believe me, ask Vivian.”
Shira walks away calmly. Christian glares at her and resists the temptation to shout something foolish.
cafeteria. Shira finds Mimi blissfully blushing in Rob’s comforting arms. “Rob’s a totally sweet guy,” says Mimi. “I’m so glad he’s letting me get to know him.”
“Hi, Shira,” says Rob. Shira hugs and kisses them both. ”How’s Leila handling things?”
“She hasn’t told you about the meeting yet?”
“Homeroom bell rings, we’re meeting in the library. Be there or be square.” Shira winks.
library. Dave Whitmer and Sylvia Plame have cancelled their homeroom classes so the Peace Committee can meet in closed session. Officially, it’s a Team Bremelo meeting, but everybody knows the team now covers for the Student Union. Leila enters with her arm around her cousin Rachel.
“Isn’t she banned?” demands Polly.
“Not since the Student Council collapsed, Polly,” says Rachel. And I didn’t realize how much it freaked Leila out. I’m horribly sorry.” Rachel goes to hug Polly, but the younger girl hesitates. But then Polly decides to forgive, and gives Rachel a big hug and kisses her on the cheek. Rachel cries in gratitude.
Dorian Fleer insists on entering, but Cory and Kio get in the way. “You can’t come in, Fleer,” warns Cory.
“No Mafia allowed,” adds Kio. “That means not just soldiers but princesses.”
“You can’t do this without me,” says Dorian. “Try it, and they’ll eat you alive. You need me. And I’m the only one who can bring Karen back.” Everybody stares at Dorian. “Well?”
“Let her in,” Shira says. “Charmian too.”
After several seconds, Cory and Kio relent, and Dorian takes a seat at the big table. “Thank you.”
Shira looks at Rachel and then Dorian uneasily. “Okay, then. Since Karen’s still kidnapped?”
Dorian laughs. Everybody looks at her, annoyed. “I never thought of it that way. But I did overhear him talking about it. You were his next target, Shira.”
“I knew that.” Shira stares at Dorian for a pause. “Did he say anything about a police, army, or Minuteman strike?”
Dorian starts to sweat nervously and struggles to remember.
Harumi interrupts. “I heard a lot of bad things on the news.”
“Tell me,” says Shira.
“They were saying peace people are bad, and they’re betraying [air quotes] our fighting men who sacrifice their lives for our nation, and they ought to beat us up for being such chickens.”
“I think they were telegraphing their plans.”
Dorian says, “Bart says his brother plans to break him and his Team out of jail.”
Cory, Kio, and Chuck laugh. “You mean they went to jail?” mocks Cory.
Shira winks. “If they weren’t such sore losers, darlin’, they wouldn’t be there.”
“Right after they lost,” says Jennifer scornfully, “those losers went around smashing everything in range.”
“Bart destroyed the fisherman statue downtown with his bare hands,” Mimi marvels.
Harumi and Seika stare at each other in shock. “Oh my...” says Seika. Jennifer and Connor shake their heads in disbelief. Leila rolls her eyes.
Dorian stands up and asserts, “We need to do this for Karen’s sake. The rally must go on.”
Leila says coldly, “Famous last words, Dorian. You know my grandfather will double their efforts to smash us for your father’s sake. Billions of dollars in defense stocks are at stake. I fully expect Dictel-Blackwater itself to brush the police and military away and do away with us directly. Its board members still control this state. Remember?”
Shira stands up and smiles wide. “That’s where we come in, girlfriend. Let’s start a new subcommittee just to deal with the threat, with me, Jennifer, Cory, and Harumi. Let’s call it the Defense Subcommittee, just for giggles.”
“And what is that supposed to do?” asks Dorian skeptically.
“We’re not taking the bad guys on directly, no. We’re gonna trick em out of our way. And I don’t mean just disinfo this time. I mean magic.”
Jennifer slaps her forehead. “Now why didn’t we think of that before?”
Dorian says, “That’s not going to get Karen out of jail.”
Shira winks. “We’ve already got that planned.”
“So how are we going to get her out?” asks Polly.
“We use the bad guys as our weapon.”
29 october 2014.
school lobby. The Spics, most savage of the Mafias, have arrived. Los Punkz rumble in on their two-wheeled war machines. Debbie yells, “Incoming!”
“Everybody take your positions!” commands Shira. “This is our first test!”
Dozens of students scramble to take the positions Shira and Jennifer have mapped out for them. One group of six remains: Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Cory, Harumi, and Leila. “I hope you’re right about this,” says Leila.
Shira kisses her and winks. “Trust me.” Harumi giggles.
Soon enough, the Spics’ vehicles roar up to the door. Several gangsters leap out and jump the unprepared guards.
Jennifer says, “Test number one, commencing.” The six run to their hidden positions throughout the lobby and cafeteria, and await the gangsters’ arrival. After pummelling the guards, the gangsters burst through the doors. Finding no one to beat up, they spin around in confusion. One points to the principal’s office. Another rushes in, opens the door, finds nobody.
(Harumi whispers, “Where’s the principal?” Shira chuckles; “Cowering under his desk in the back office.” Harumi rolls her eyes; “Oh.”)
Suddenly the lights go out. Jennifer, Connor, and the Shelley twins pull the shades over the front entrance so that no light enters, then evade flailing gangsters in the darkness. Shira leaves Harumi and darts between the gangsters, hitting them, provoking them into punching each other. They scream at each other in Spanglish and go to war. By the time the lights come back on, theyre beating each other to bloody pulp.
The Defense Subcommittee casually reassemble. Jennifer says, “That was easy.”
Shira shrugs. “Actually, I could have done it in broad daylight. It’s the steroids.”
ferry terminal. “Test number two,” says Jennifer.
“You got two groups of Caliphate suiciders coming here?” gasps Polly. “At the same time?”
Shira kisses her on the cheek. “Don’t forget to duck when I give the signal.” She winks. Polly sighs in frustration.
Before the Westside buses arrive, two cars race up the bus ramp. Shira calls Cory on her Droid. Now! The fire alarm sounds. People scatter away from the exposed walkways. Shira’s team and the police on the scene hide in sheltered nooks from where the cops can shoot.
Then another group of cars speed the wrong way up the opposite ramp and ram the cars already at the bus dropoff; several more armed men get out. The two groups shoot at each other and accuse each other of blasphemy at the top of their lungs in Arabic. Soon no Wogs are left alive to detonate their bomb jackets.
When the Subcommittee get back together in the fountain plaza, Sparks comes up to them and asks, “How’d you do that?”
“Oh, I let each of their bosses know the other jacked their heroin stash,” says Shira casually. “Subtly, of course.”
Evergreen Park. “Test number three,” says Jennifer.
“You’re gonna like this one,” Shira says to Harumi. The Japanese girl grins.
“So what’s the trick going to be this time, Shira?” asks a flustered Polly.
“Remember what Batman said?”
“You know I don’t read those silly old comic books!”
“He said, ‘Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot.’ This is where the magic comes in.” Shira winks.
They hide behind trees, gazebos, sheds, picnic tables, trash cans. Some cans move. They assemble inflatable monsters and arm them with Roman candles and bottle rockets. They return to their hiding places, put on scary costumes, and pick up spud cannons.
(Polly: “We’re doing this in broad daylight?” Shira winks.)
Soon the Honkies race into the parking lots, wantonly smash cars, try to run over picnickers and joggers and dogs on the grass. Jennifer winks; Harumi grins, Shira flashes a wicked cockeyed smirk.
Inflatable monsters pop out of the trash cans and firepits. Controlled by phones, wands, and Wiimotes, they fire at gangsters and four-bys. Other monsters leap out from behind barriers and descend from the trees, shooting potatoes into Honky windows and skulls.
The Honkies panic. The suddenness of the attack and the freakishness of their attackers convince them that they’re under attack from demons. Some run aimlessly and scream for Jesus America to save them. Some stop driving and cower under their four-bys. Some lash out in irrational rage and shoot wildly. But the demon attack does not let up. Soon the gangsters pile into their trucks and speed away the way they came, as fast as their panic can propel them.
The Bremeloes take off their hideous masks and let out a wild collective whoop.
“That was the trick?” asks Polly, stunned.
Shira winks. “Hey, magic is the art of illusion.”
COPCO Seattle. Jack Becket reviews intercepted phonecam videos of the Evergreen Park disturbance. “Looks like some clever gangbusting to me.”
Litton keeps his steely eyes on the screen. “You’re supposed to think that. Don’t be deceived. Our opponent is extremely clever. She’s obviously got something up her sleeve.”
dogfight arena. Several Bremeloes and Slasher Hunters sneak themselves into strategic locations throughout Oliver Thorwald’s property. Safely away from the action, Polly asks Shira over the phone, “What’s the trick this time?”
“It’s the dark-night test. The gangsters are hyped on adrenaline and steroids. They’ll be distracted by Tournaments. Too bad Debbie couldn’t come along. I’d so love to see her watch her big brother get pwned.” Polly groans and hangs up.
“Test number four,” says Jennifer.
“This time with flashing lights,” adds Shira.
When the day was still bright and the property still empty, four Hunters (Brandi, Arisa, Lars, Martin) and three hackers (Deth Pussy, Evil the Cat, El Kabong) hid inflatable demons in all the trash cans, firepits, and outhouses, and in every hidden nook and cranny in the warehouse and the crudely kludged arena. In them, the hackers installed portable light shows in addition to the firework weaponry. While they had time to spare, they replaced all the hidden cameras with holographic projectors that look identical and contain microcameras to eliminate suspicion.
After dark, when the criminal crowds arrive, the Bremelo ninja team (Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Cory, and all three Shelley siblings) sneak in and use the crowd itself as their camouflage. They slip remotely triggered firecrackers and compact fireworks into jacket and jean pockets and down the exposed butt cracks of fat gangsters. They put noisemakers into purses, pouches, and pockets, down breast and butt cleavage. Leila in particular takes great pleasure in boobytrapping everything Thorwald touches — his knife sheaths, his gun holsters, his jeans pockets — and plants hints that point toward her personal vendetta.
Frank Becket will not come tonight. Team Spanner know that this canine Tournament masks a meeting of gang bosses over how to spring Frank and other criminals. Shira has already sent a rumor onto the grapevine saying that Frank intends to kill his own father, the Chief of Police.
The preparations are finished. No Bremeloes or Slasher Hunters will be present to fight the gangs this time. They sneak back out of the arena, snake through the parked cars and out of gangsters’ field of vision, back to the vans. The hackers join Lars in the unmarked Real News van. The ninja team join the Hunters and take out their phones. Lars appears on their screens. “You all ready?” The Bremeloes click yes.
The Skeever Brothers arrive: Johnny, Geordie, Tony, and Eddie. With them, the members of Eddie’s hate metal band, Gang: the Hitler Brothers, Sikki Sykopath, and Barney SATAN! The assembled gangsters hail the Skeevers like conquering heroes. Johnny Skeever commands the crowd like a Mongol khan. The gangsters are all as juiced up as their drug-maddened fighting dogs. Johnny is about to give the signal to unleash the dogs into the pit when the attack begins.
Glowing demons pop out of trash cans and hidden corners, firing their bright screaming Chinese explosives into the packed crowd of agitated gangsters.
Johnny Skeever growls, “Oh. fucking. shit.”
“Whoooo-hoo!” cries Lars. Shira flashes a beautiful wicked grin as she taps her Droid wildly to activate multiple arrays of luminous inflatable attackers. Hackers and bounty hunters and high school fight clubbers wildly manipulate their controllers to remotely guide the monsters to hit their panicked targets. Gangsters shoot wildly at brightly lit moving targets; all too frequently they hit each other.
Shira taps the speaker icon. Deafening sirens scream between buttocks and breasts. Gangsters and molls howl and writhe in pain and struggle to get free of the painfully vibrating noisemakers and fling them away from their bodies. Before they can recover their breaths, she taps the firecracker icon. Firecrackers explode inside gangsters butt cracks; fireworks burn their way out of pockets; injured gangsters scream and rage and shoot and shoot and shoot.
“Consider yourselves owned, boys.” Shira taps the ghost icon to activate the holovid projectors. Ghosts and demons suddenly materialize and swoop down on the terrified Honkies, Russkies, Wops, and Tinks, firing lasers in five colors. The criminal crowds storm the arena exits in blind panic and trample each other to death.
Impotent in the face of the assault, Oliver Thorwald screams, “Leilaaaaaa!” Through the noise, he can hear her sweet laugh of malevolent triumph. Left alone on the platform, humiliated and enraged, Johnny Skeever screams at the top of his lungs the name of Spanner.
on to the next... →
Back to Chapter 21 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...
Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 2, 10/10/11: Material from the first draft edited to fit Third Revision continuity, to correct text errors, and for style.]