Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spanner 25.3: Tyranny for You

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 25: The Public Be Damned
Part 3: Tyranny for You

10 november 2014.
Harborside Commons.
The interchangeable blonde presenter du jour who is not Amanda Currie parrots the official Party line like an unnaturally coiffed robot. As video of a tax protest being ruthlessly crushed by armoured COPCO strike agents wielding shields, truncheons, and sound cannons plays, she announces, “Today yet another demand for unearned subsidies was put down with righteousness and justice by the heroic police agents of COPCO, defending the Homeland from terrorists and moochers since the Revolution. COPCO, Jesus America thanks you!”

Most of the people in the food court either struggle to tune it out or groan at the annoying gratuitous advertising that the Party’s Corporatist policy has made so inescapable. Shira, however, laughs. The friends at her table (and Leila’s aunt Ariel) stare at her.

“What’s so funny?” demands Debbie.

Shira replies, “Merely the way the lamestream network robo-Barbies keep flubbing their reports in the exact same way, that’s all.”

Leila sashays up to her and flirtatiously hip-bumps her. “Don’t forget, girlfriend, that this is the actual cultural standard. The entire Corporate society really is like that.”

“Only it don’t play too well outside Corporate circles. It’s like Barney Dinosaur, only justified.”

Polly throws her hands up and sighs in despair. “Why do they keep treating people like they were terrorists when all they want to do is put food on the table?”

Ariel explains, “You cannot understand unless you think like a Corporate. To Corporates, money is not a physical thing at all. It’s metaphysical. It’s not a reward for hard work, nor for prosperity consciousness.”

“It’s their blood,” Shira adds. ”Their real blood, that is.”

Polly crosses her arms. “That’s impossible!”

“Not if you think of Corporatism as a cult. Unlike us mundanes, to use the Gnostic fundamentalist term, a Corporate’s soul is in the public image, not the body, making money not just their blood but their life force. That’s why Corporates are so paranoid and bigoted: they think everybody below ’em in the hierarchy are out to raise themselves at their expense by stealing their money. They think we’re vampires!”

“Polly,” adds Leila, “I’ve been around Corporates long enough to know that Shira is exactly right. The richer you are and the higher up you are in the Party hierarchy, the more likely you are to believe this superstition. It’s worst among the bankers and oilmen, and it goes double for those princeling heirs of theirs who never had to actually earn money even once in their lives.”

Debbie snarls, “And I assume you actually earned money, Miss Expert?”

“Rob and I actually had to work our way up from the bottom tier of Pretty City models.”

“Lemme guess. Y’all were too lazy to handle the work, so you quit.”

“Oh, we could handle the work just fine, Debbie, which is why our fellow Corporates look down on us. It’s just that we were too sensitive to handle the constant humiliation the Fashion-Industrial Complex inflict on its models as a matter of policy. Which is also why Corporates look down on us.”

“You weren’t too sensitive to chop off that devil man’s head.”

“He deserved it. Ollie had backup clones, but I needed to piss off my grandfather into granting my wish for a pre-emptive divorce.”

Jennifer interjects, “That’s another reason why Corporates look down on ‘mundanes.’ Thanks to the miracle of Cold War defense technology, they’re now able to buy themselves immortality. They can afford to live without a conscience now. They’re even social-engineering the social animal out of human nature. I won’t be surprised to find them developing the custom of killing each other as a way of saying hello, like Formic hive minds in Card.”

A small detachment of COPCO agents enters the food court to enforce the Party ban on social gatherings, which are considered inherently subversive to Party dictatorship. “Uh-oh,” says Polly, “I think we’d better split up.” The girls divide into three teams (Shira and Debbie, Jennifer and Polly, Leila and Ariel), silently agree to reassemble at their next meeting place, and leave by three different entrances.

Bremerton High. They join the rest of Team Bremelo on the Ohio Avenue sidewalk overlooking the parking lot crammed with portable classroom trailers. Polly is surprised to find they’re empty. “Isn’t there supposed to be school today?”

Cory answers, “Yeah, but not while CPMC’s suing the Consortium for control of the District. They can’t hire teachers while the suit’s going on, and Boss Wally’s gonna be suing for a long time. Therefore, no school.”

“The Party was always against quote-unquote ‘edjamacayshun’ anyway,” says Jennifer bitterly. “Shutting down the schools was actually one of their primary goals. Ignorance makes obedience blinder, after all.”

Zac Finney, the head custodian, joins them. He says in his charming hillbilly accent, “You know what’s even better than that? They won’t even let the custodians clean up the school. They talk about filthy rednecks? Y’all oughta see the huge messes the Corporates like to make outta entire states.”

“And to suppress the truth, they hire their mercenary COPCO agents to bash heads. Is it any wonder nobody likes ’em?”

“They don’t care whether anybody likes ’em,” says Ariel. “They’re superhuman now, or so they believe. Humans are an inferior species. The old cur actually comes out and says it.” She turns to Zac. “The twins’ mother and I happen to be the Governor’s prodigal children. We know him better than anyone else. Our mother stayed behind in Europe when he left during their divorce to keep him from turning werewolf and eating us alive in public.”

“That’s one reason why they insist on cracking down on us. Their entire superhuman society is based on fear of the threat from below. Right, Debbie?”

Jennifer’s mention of her name catches Debbie off guard. “Wha—”

“I just think everybody not already bought off by the Party resents being kept down by the Party,” Shira says. “If we actually had an actually free society, there wouldn’t be near as much resentment. But the Corporates and quote-unquote ‘Real Amurricans’ gotta indulge their entitlement mentality in the most authoritarian ways, then project it onto their victims, a.k.a. mooching vampires who only wanna mooch off the deserving rich people who are only ‘deserving’ by definition.”

Jennifer adds, “And because the Corporate notion of ‘freedom’ strongly implies the antisocial nature of their posthuman species, they express it in the form of Tournament: a society based on dominance hierarchy, social advancement through treachery and backstabbing, and, above all, tyranny. It’s their nature, and it goes completely against ours. We being mere puny humans, of course. Keeping us down is the Party’s entire purpose, after all.”

Debbie half-whispers in half-panic, “Don’t say it where they can hear! They’ll torture us for it! Remember?”

“So when did you develop a conscience, Becket?” asks Leila scornfully.

Shira answers for her. “Since her own mother outed her as a lesbian sex criminal and caste-slash-species traitor, and she had to find friends to turn to. Meaning us, love. So be nice to her now. She needs us.” She goes over to Debbie, hugs her, and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

Debbie blushes. “Oh, thank you, Shira. I love you.” Leila stares at them with a pang of jealousy. Debbie sees the look on Leila’s face; fearing that she could unleash her power in a jealous rage, she rushes over to Leila to give her a hug and a kiss. Leila sighs.

Zac’ phone rings. He looks at the on-screen caller ID. “Deth.”

Shira says, “Switch to speakerphone mode.”

“Gotcha.” He taps the screen to switch the audio mode. “Hey, kitty, what’ goin’ on?”

“Dude!” exclaims Deth Pussy’s voice over the phone. “You gotta see the Moral Enforcer riot goin’ on downtown! Scofield’s bringin’ ’em in from out of state, Homeland holy warriors venting their holy hatred unto big bad Babylon. They’re torturing everybody they can get their claws on, slingin’ tear gas and pepper spray, wreckin’ everything in sight—”

Shira laughs. “And the Consortium’s got no agents yet, and they can’t rely on COPCO, which no doubt is enabling the wreckers. Byron, darling, you want a gang war? I’ll give you one!”
Scofield:
Man was not meant to build Babylons and build their towers into the heavens to challenge God. Man was commanded by God to obey Him and offer himself up in sacrifice to Him. I have vowed unto God to dedicate my life to purging the Nation to restore unto Him its glory! The tyranny of the Lord must be restored and made absolute!

I am his chosen one, the agent he has commanded to do his work. I shall purge Babylon from this earth, and the evil ones who serve the dominion of demons over it, as the Lord commandeth! I shall not fail!
Bangor squats. Talia’s phone rings. It’s Shira. “What do you want, you little brat?”

“I love you too, big sis. You and your vigilante friends got a counterterror plan against Scofield yet? You know you need one.”

“That’s none of your business, Shira, and you know it.”

“Ohhh, but it is my business, and always has been. I just told all the gang bosses that Scofield’s out to conquer their turf, steal their loot, and declare himself king of kings. Fortunately, they aren’t taking the news too well. Gangland terror against Moral Enforcer terror. Nice day to be a guerrilla warrior, ain’t it.”

“Okay then, if it really is your business, then you’d better spring that do-gooder cousin of yours and her friends. Stan Green and his goons are probably raping ’em as we speak.”

The Terrorist. Figures. Can’t get enough o’ them knuckle sandwiches, can he. We’re already on it. ’Bye, sis, love ya!”

COPCO Bremerton. The local police headquarters has been hijacked by Stan Green and his Moral Enforcer militia. Team Bremelo lurk behind a nearby apartment house. “Looks like the Party’s havin’ a party,” says Rob.

“On our faces, no less.” Shira adds.

Debbie looks at Shira. “So we’re gonna crash the Party’s party, right?”

“That’s the idea.” Shira winks.

Suddenly a bomb goes off at the entrance. Shira says, “That must be big sis and her boyfriend.”

“Terrorists?”

“Yep. The Socialist Revolutionary Organization, vigilante posse of the revolution. But they’re not alone. Here come the gangsters to punish our good fiend the Terrorist for disrespectin’ ’em, something he’s quite good at.”

The loud sound of souped-up chopshop Harleys approaches from the hill above: Los Punkz. Hot-rod vans approach from downtown: the Klownz. They lob rockets at the police station; the Moral Enforcers shoot back.

Taking advantage of the chaos, three disgruntled COPCO lead out prisoners, some of them helping others who have been injured, accompanied by Amanda and Scope. J.T. Sparks, Stu Kowalczyk, and Lavette Perry urge the escapees across the street, through yards, to the vans waiting in the alley between Burwell and Fourth, where Lars Izquierdo, Arisa Saionji, and John Peck of the Slasher Hunters are ready to whisk them away from the hot zone. The Bremeloes meet them in the alley once the vans take the prisoners away. “That was one slick misdirection, redhead,” says Sparks.

“Made the operation so much easier,” Perry says. “How’d you manage to tip off the gangs?”

Shira shrugs. “I insulted ’em. Called ’em girls for letting the Terrorist insult ’em. Works like a charm on those gangster egos.”

Jennifer adds, “We didn’t notify the terrorists, of course. They were already decided long before. You were counting on this, of course.”

“We should go join the others,” says Leila. “I’m sure our rescued prisoners have a lot to tell us.”

Bangor squats. In the abandoned ministorage the Slasher Hunters use as their headquarters, they have set up an impromptu medic station. One rescued political prisoner says, “They were crazy! Completely irrational! Anything we said or did would set ’em off. You couldn’t reason with ’em.”

Another prisoner: “Their leader said they were punishing us for being un-American, whatever that is. They were like some crazy cult, like this was North Korea or something.”

Charlie is the one who set up the medic station with some of her fellow nurses and Willa as the attending physician (since she’s an M.D. as well as a Ph.D.). While Willa directs the nurses around as the injured prisoners need them, Charlie attends to her injured cousin Karen. “It’s amazing how much they have it in for you.”

Karen smiles. “We won’t back down, we won’t give in, we won’t let ’em beat us. Right, Colette?”

“I’m beginning to have second thoughts about this, Karen,” says Colette woozily.

“Peaceful nonresistance requires tough people, Shira.” Karen winks.

Shira winks back. “Hacking the Party hierarchy takes smart people, Karen. We gotta use our brains wherever we need ’em.”

“Especially against those who would force a moratorium on brains,” Jennifer adds. ”Wherever they’re weak, we need to strike.”

Sparks says, “And their weakest point is right up there at the top. The single point of vulnerability.”

Shira puts her arm around him. “And what is tyranny but centralizing all power in the single point of vulnerability at the top? Nobody seems to learn the lesson of the Soviet Union, that central planning of everything never works.”

“Of anything, more like.”

telesphere. Amanda Currie sends in her report from the field.
Amanda:
New Chief Shepherd Byron Scofield’s latest attempt to seize complete control over Metropolitan Seattle was foiled by the angry response of rival factions and criminal gangs. He has vowed to crush all rivals to his power, including the Seattle Consortium, Acting Mayor Hope Reston, COPCO Section Chief Locke Holmes, and CPMC vice president Peter Ross. Everyone we’ve talked to expects the struggle for power to continue indefinitely.
technosphere. Debaser asks Anonymous to avoid taking credit for the Moral Enforcers’ latest destructive failure. A certain Angel of Chaos with the standard Windows robot voice must get his word in, however:
Spanner:
The Moral Enforcers are just another gang. Byron Scofield is just another crime lord. His crime, however, is not black-market contraband sales, or the trade in slaves or whores or sexbots. It is tyranny, crime made political.

Everything the Party believes in is just an excuse. It was power lust, and that alone, that created the Conservative Revolution. The Corporates and the Americanists are so consumed by power lust they’ve gone paranoid. Just look at their conspiracy theories about we the people. They’re junkies tweaking on the ultimate drug. They’re so high on power and money, they’re incapable of seeing that we’re mad as hell and won’t take their shit anymore.

We have no choice but to take away their drug. We have no choice if we want to survive. I know I do. But do you? Your mission is to prove it.

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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