Monday, December 5, 2011

Spanner 24.6: No More Miss Nice Guy

Now that the technical difficulties and my recovery from NaNoWriMo victory are over, NaNoFiMo is here and I can concentrate on Spanner Book 2 again. The madness resumes, once again on a daily basis.

So I drafted one Locke Holmes, boy detective turned infamous manga villain based on Professor Moriarty? But remember the “high concepts” behind the characters of Diana Shockley and her brother Will Becket back in 1992: she is “Deunan Knute as a villain” (I will forever hate Deunan for killing Chiffon in Appleseed book 1); he is Char Aznable, American. Likewise, their archenemy Arvid Shield was the long-haired “Evil Bishounen” of horror anime (particularly Apep in Seraphic Feather), at least until he picked up some of the characterization of Ayn Rand’s hero Francisco d’Anconia. And of course the Beckets stab each other in the back like the Royal House of Torumekia. But these are just the starting points. What I learned after I created those three characters is that eventually, everything changes — something they themselves will find out the hard way. And this Locke Holmes is also part Lelouch from Code Geass...

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 24: Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud
Part 6: No More Miss Nice Guy

9 november 2014.
CPMC headquarters.
What?!” Brinkman spits his coffee all over his huge executive desk and chokes.

“I said,” Litton repeats, “the new Seattle Public Management Consortium hired Hope Reston.”

“Those fools! Don’t they realize they’re only enabling treason in their midst?”

“You think that’s interesting, listen to this. The consortium head just delivered us a series of left-handed compliments, to wit: ‘Thank you, CRP and CPMC, for giving America the benefits of economic stagnation and a Third World economy. We congratulate you for making unprecedented profits selling out our country to Chinese and Russian corporate raiders. You know exactly what makes America great.’ That kinda shit. I think they have it in for you, Wally.”

Brinkman slams his fist down on the desk. “They call themselves men of business? They don’t know what capitalism is! They’re defying the natural order of things! This must be stopped!

Westlake Center. Hope Reston accepts the position of acting mayor of Metropolitan Seattle to the thunderous acclaim of the multitudes in the plaza. “Thank you! Now let’s get down to the first order of business. The Consortium board has voted to allow all locally based businesses, large or small, to buy an ownership share in the Consortium. Outside companies, domestic or foreign, are not invited. Our goal is to keep the city running. To this end, the board has also voted to eliminate all protectionist regulation currently on the books in all jurisdictions within the Metropolitan District. Small businesses are the creators of jobs and the generators of growth. We need as many as we can get. We are striking the first blow against Corporatism.”

The crowd erupts into even louder cheers.

“Corporatism is nothing more than Soviet Communism for ultra-rich parasites who can’t tell the difference between production in a free economy and parasitic finance. The nomenklatura of the so-called Revolutionary Party is sucking America dry. We call it corporate welfare. We call it un-American. From now on, corporate Communism has no place in this city. The commissars of CPMC have no place in a free country. Together, we must take back our state.

“We are holding all-city elections next year. If you are a thirty-day resident of the Metropolitan District, please make sure to register to vote, and then make your voiced heard. We must move away from ownership back to citizenship! Join me, and together we’ll take our city back!”

COPCO Bremerton. The last thing Shira remembers is becoming dizzy all of a sudden and blacking out. Now she finds herself back in the interrogation room, facing not just her number one hater in the FBI, Diana Shockley, but a new man. It takes her a while to focus her eyes again. But then she recognizes the cold blue eyes, the weak chin, the cowlick. Her eyes and mouth slowly go open as she recognizes him; she takes a long deep breath. Then she grins. “Well, well, well. I never figured I’d have an audience with Inspector Moriarty.”

His eyes go wide; his lips go tight; his shoulders go tense and make his head sway; he snorts and blows his cowlick. John Locke Holmes, COPCO’s new Cascadia section chief, hisses in a fading English accent that could be the fading Boston accent of a Becket, “We’re onto you, Shira Thomas. You and your democratic rabble. We’ll stop you from destroying the natural order of things. Now tell me who your leaders are, and I might let you off easy.”

Shira laughs. “You forget you’re not dealing with the Invisible Maniac now. Leaders? You must be thinking the election was some kinda military operation like you people do. Clearly y’all don’t live in the twenty-first century. The beauty of this operation is that masses of people pulled it off without leaders.”

“You people clearly have no understanding of the nature of things. Where there is action, there is command and control.

“Obviously you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘anarchy.’ It doesn’t mean ‘battle royal of the central planners’ the way you people think it does. It means the complete absence of central planning authority. ‘Archon’ means central planner. The problem with central planning is that it doesn’t work. It forces you central planners to deny all reality outside the central planning hierarchy. It wasn’t really America that brought down Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. It was central planning. Corporatist America is doomed for the same reason. So stop playing games and face up to reality, okay?’

“I should warn you, Miss Thomas. Unlike Dr Becket, I don’t play games.”

Languidly, Shira plants her elbows on the table, clasps her hands, and leans forward to rest her chin on them. “You say you’re Locke Holmes, super detective? Or are you really Lochlan Macbeth, superhero of the Conservative Revolution, with the chimera army swiped from Biotron? You forget the first rule of Tournament, your much beloved ‘Law of Social Darwinism.’ You’re not only playing the game, you’re trapped in it. Your mentor knows it. You don’t seem to.”

He puts on his sunglasses — to hide his intentions behind a poker face, or in a futile attempt to shield himself from her own unnerving stare? “Doesn’t matter. All your games are over for good. I shall see to that.”

“I like a man who lies to himself. You just told me that the real game has begun. Face it: you just tossed me the Challenge of a lifetime. And if you and the Doctor decide to tag-team it, I’ve already got the right partner. She’ll be more than happy to take you on — in court.”

Mudlark House. “You’re late,” says Jennifer as Shira slams the front door. “What took you?”

“Oh, I was, how you say, inconvenienced. World’s greatest detective? Lousy interrogator is more like it. He’s so arrogant, he makes even mean old Doc Becket look humble and considerate.”

Jennifer frowns. “Locke Holmes, you mean.”

“You can’t mistake that combination of forelock and Moriarty stare.”

“Sounds like the old Doctor’s decided to step up his game.”

“Big Daddy Sparks, more like it. He came out of the dugout with the hook and yanked Ol’ One-Eye off the mound. Holmes must be his newly acquired ace reliever. He just threw me his big pitch. All that’s left for me to do is hit it right outta the park.”

A mischievous smirk grows onto Jennifer’s face. “Speaking of Ol’ One-Eye, why don’t we introduce our new friend to his prodigal son.”

Shira answers with a cockeyed smirk of her own. “Anticipate my move, why don’tcha.”

Jennifer takes her cousin into her arms. “The more I know you, the more I understand you. And I’ve known you longer than anyone else in the world.” She kisses Shira on the lips.

Skeever property. You want games? reads the note in Shira’s beautiful handwriting. I cordially invite you to the canine gladiatorial games at the House of Skeever, where there’s someone I’m dying for you to meet. The note gives the address.

Holmes is at the address, outside the jerry-rigged stadium with which the Skeever brothers replaced the one Team Spanner burned down during the pre-election riots while Oliver Thorwald still owned it before he re-enlisted in the Army to get away from Leila Shelley. He is here because John Becket failed to suppress the riots. Shira told him the one-eyed incompetent’s depraved son Frank is coming. He’s prettier than you, and he came by his sense of entitlement honestly, by being born to it. I think you’ll like him.

“Tell me about your nephew Frank,” he tells Diana.

“One, he’s completely amoral and in it only for himself. Two, he’s a hero to the Corporate élite precisely because he’s only in it for himself. Three, he’s prettier than you, and twice as vain. I’d smack him again, but I gave up when I found out he liked it. Fortunately, he knows what’s good for him, because if he gets too close to my daughter, I’ll tear him to pieces with my bare hands.”

“You think you could actually do that?”

“For as long as you’ve worked with my father, you clearly don’t understand my family. We’d sooner stab one another in the back than say hello.”

“I shall try to remember that whenever I am forced to deal with them.”

Frank Becket surprises them from behind. “You must be that ‘world’s greatest detective’ old man Sparks hired to replace my dad. You think you can take on the insurgent rabble by yourself, world’s greatest detective? You didn’t handle that one invisible super soldier too well, now did you.”

“Shira Thomas did say you were a pretty boy. Blond, too. I wonder how you fend off all those steroid-maddened gangsters trying to rape you.”

“You don’t look to bad yourself, Holmes. But don’t forget who put you back together after the invisible soldier tore you apart.”

Holmes crosses his arms and frowns deeply. “I am fully capable of destroying you by other than superheroic means. If I wanted, I could rape your pretty corpse myself and get away with it.”

Frank laughs. “The world’s greatest detective can’t resist my charm! And no, Aunt Diana, I didn’t touch Belle. I didn’t even go near her. But if I do, it’ll be to save her from that creature Shira Thomas. You know what she does to pretty girls. You should see what she’s been doing to that little Jap loli of hers.”

Holmes says, “And she probably bought the ownership Exception to do her with. Shame about Ollie Thorwald, though.”

“Him? He can kill all he wants in Siberia, but he can’t handle one pretty girl. Mind you, that beauty’s a beast. Leila Renata Shelley’s her name, and she’s already tried to kill me twice. I think she likes me. Did you know she bit off Johnny-Johnny Johnson’s johnson? Not with her teeth. The otheer teeth, down below. She and the creature are doin’ each other now. Go figure.”

“And you’re not a criminal? You think you’re not the kettle calling the pot black?”

“You think I’m a criminal? At least I don’t do sexcrime, not with lads or lolis. And I don’t do intellectual property rape. Or at least I don’t have a Wilder Foundation to get in Lady Mendelson’s way, or something like that. Not since One-Eyed Daddy disowned me and called me a whore. And who’s a whore? One-Eyed Jack ain’t the one to ask. You have my permission to call him that, Chief. Because he hates it. By the way, you’d better get back in disguise. The owners are coming.”

When the Skeevers return, they find among the howling crowd in the stands two strangely calm people, a blond man who looks like Frank and a pretty young woman with short black cowlicked hair and a strong resemblance to an untattooed Taylor Brinkman. Johnny grabs Frank and growls, “You sure that ain’t your Uncle Will? ’Cuz if it is him, we’re fucked, and so are you.”

Frank grins. “No, Johnny, that’s his big sister, Agent Shockley. Don’t mess with Aunt Diana, or you’re fucked.

Eddie sneaks up on the the black-haired girl from behind and starts fondling her. “Looks like Frankie brung hisself a tenderoni. I’m gonna have me a bite.” He licks her neck.

She grabs his tongue hard enough to make him scream in pain and says in a male voice, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Eddie.” Holmes lets go. The Skeever Brothers stare at him in disbeliefe.

Johnny slaps his forehead. “Great. The fucking world’s greatest detective thinks he’s gonna pick on us in drag. Well, mess with us, world’s greatest detective, and we’re fucking well gonna mess with you.”

Holmes flashes them a pretty smile. “Your funeral. Ta.” He turns and slowly walks away. Shockley follows him, keeping her eyes on the Skeevers and her hand near her service pistol.

Shira’s apartment. Henry Becket, Will Becket, Walter Brinkman, Peter Ross, Byron Scofield, Brendan Sparks, John Locke Holmes, Drusilla Becket AMERICA!, the Rat Bastard. All of them have one thing in common: they refuse to recognize the loss of their victims’ sanction. They are not men but gods, and their victims’ fear and faith is their food. They will do anything to get it back, anything they feel necessary, even turn the entire State of Cascadia into a radioactive wasteland.

The Team Spanner core meet in the living room. Present: Shira, Jennifer, Connor, Leila, Rob, Cory, Kio, Polly, and Colette from Team Bremelo; Alex, Sparks, Deth Pussy, and Moon Roach from the Wrecking Krewe. Shira says, “Sorry, I love you to pieces, Jen, but I say we won round one. It wasn’t no knockout, ’cuz we didn’t knock the Man out. He’s back up and swingin’, meaner than ever, and this time he’s going for the KO.”

Jennifer says, “Apology accepted, darling. But let’s think team sports. They lost some players, but they’ve got a deep bench. Some of the subs are mean like Colonel Green; others are diabolically clever like new chief inquisitor Locke Holmes. Both of ’em are masters, but you gotta play ’em differently.”

Sparks smirks. “John Holmes. Isn’t that a dead porn star’s name?”

“Wrong Holmes. This one’s related to No-Shit Sherlock, not Johnny Wadd.” Sparks loses his smile and sighs.

Leila stares at Sparks’ face. “Are you really sure I took your face, that this John Holmes didn’t take it and replace it with his own? You look an awful lot like him.”

“That must be your ingenious disguise. I must admit, your new face looks a lot prettier. Girls like that.” Shira winks.

“But the real Locke Holmes is here now. That’s bad news indeed.”

“Think: what do bad guys do when they lose the first round? They up their game. They ain’t been cheating so far? They will. So we up our game too. It’s time for us to tell the bad guys: no more Miss Nice Guy.

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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[Revision 1, 12/5/11: First entry written and posted during NaNoFiMo.]

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