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.

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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.]

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