Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works
Part 2: I Can See For Miles (Revision 4)
Part 2: I Can See For Miles (Revision 4)
The beautiful magical girl with long black hair tries and tries to dispel the darkness devouring the world. But the more she fights the darkness, the more viciously the darkness attacks the world, until it is destroyed. Helplessly she watches herself transform into a monstrous evil witch born from the darkness, a horror of pure entropy. For the darkness is her own despair, flowing from her like cascading tears—
halfway house, los angeles. She wakes up screaming, sitting bolt upright, panting heavily as if she has just run a marathon’s distance from a serial killer. Her violet eyes are full of panic. Her bobbed black hair is pasted to her head by drenching sweat. She looks around and finds herself sitting completely naked among the blasted ruins of her bed. She takes in several deep breaths to calm herself down. Leila Shelley, disgraced fashion model too cynical, worldly, and hurt to be only fifteen, forces herself to return to reality.
A beautiful red rose matching the signet on her ring that once stood proudly on the nightstand now lies next to the shattered bed among the shards of its vase. A sweetly perfumed blank greeting card, decorated by her secret admirer with ballpoint flowers and a passionate love poem written in French in a beautiful upright hand, remains on the stand intact. She lets out a slow deep sigh and looks longingly outside the window. Thick smog from millions of commuting cars has turned the morning sky red.
Her two terrified roommates emerge from the closet. One black, one Mexican, they are heroin addicts here in hopes of kicking the habit. The black girl says, “You think you’re so special. So why they dump you for sweet Clarissa Eglantyne?”
The Mexican girl adds, “Didn’t you say those nightmares make you wanna die?”
“So when you gonna kill yourself?”
Leila shoots them a murderous look. They hide back in the closet and slam the door.
She hears clattering outside her door. Someone throws the door open; several people rush in, led by the treatment center’s head nurse. The others gasp when they see the devastation.
“It was the drugs again, wasn’t it,” says the nurse, annoyed.
Leila gets up without bothering to dress. “No. What I’m supposed to take the drugs for,” she says in a soft Irish accent. “They didn’t work.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t care.”
“That furniture was expensive! If you cost us any more money, we’re sending you back to Mr. Brinkman to do with you as he wills!”
“No you won’t.”
The head of security stands beside the head nurse. “You’re unworthy of being chosen by the Lady, you filthy little whore!”
The head nurse and security chief glare at Leila; she stares defiantly back. The other residents, concerned for Leila, start cleaning up the mess. Her scared roommates slink out of the closet to join them.
Suddenly the door flies open. “Mum!” cries Leila joyfully. In burst Leila’s mother Taylor Brinkman, sporting scary Rocker tattoos and sexed-up gothpunk battle dress matching her sleek black hair; her younger sister Ariel Shield; and Leila’s twin brother Robert and redheaded younger sister Fiona.
The head nurse tries to keep them away from Leila. “You are not authorized to be here! Leave the premises or we shall call the cops!”
The security chief cries out, “Guards! Remove these people! Find that stone now!!”
Taylor shoves the head nurse sideways across the room into a wall. Ariel gets between the security chief and Leila; she coldly commands, “Don’t interfere.” Rob and Fiona take Leila by the hand and pull her to her feet. Leila’s fellow residents throw clothes to her; she quickly slips on a long printed T-shirt and flip-flops. The five rush to the door. A small army of guards find themselves confronting two scary beauties in all black.
The security chief barks, “Stop! or we’ll have you arrested for trespassing, maybe even kidnapping!”
Ariel stares deep into his eyes. “Get out of our way.” He and several guards move aside blank-eyed.
“You’re not supposed to be here!” he weakly squeaks.
Taylor glances back at Leila, then retorts: “Neither is she. Now let us through.”
“But Lady Drusilla—”
“Dru can go fuck herself!”
The guards stare at each other in shocked silence, then at the women. They back away and let them pass through. Taylor, Ariel, Fiona, and Rob surround Leila protectively and walk her down the hall to the front door and out into the ominous rush-hour smog.
Wanting to get in the last word, the security head fires an ineffectual parting shot at the unheeding rescuers: “The Lady will never let you get away with this!”
Leila Renata Shelley
kiss the razor’s edge
kiss the razor’s edge
the streets, washington, d.c. In the imperial capital of the world, under the omnipresent logo of President Goldman Sachs & Company and the all-seeing eyes of ever-paranoid Echelon, the tall handsome blond soldier in blue camouflage watches from a distance two warriors in battle uniform begin their mission: Oliver Thorwald of Biotron, Incorporated, tall and lean, Imperial Ranger and Pistol Knight ranked second lieutenant; and his rough redneck point man Johnny-Johnny Johnson. He strides confidently up the sidewalk wearing a government-issue neckstrap with his mission card and a black crystal as they stalk their target. The Honorable Senator George C. Ryder, leader of a prominent political faction in the Conservative Revolutionary Party, has been caught sexually corrupting a child, yet he has used his Party connections to get away with his crime. His handler for this mission, Shepherd Ward Tremayne of the Church of America, appears on his AR goggles. “Target’s coming in range.”
You must not harm Lucie Stenbeck,
or the Lady will not be pleased.
or the Lady will not be pleased.
“He’ll be back, preach.”
In his proper place.
From the other direction, U.S. Marshal Gloria Wright and COPCO agent James Sparks track the same prey. Drusilla’s elder brother, C. Henry Becket, Secretary of Homeland Security, commanded them to bring the Senator back alive to stand trial. Technically New African by race, Wright is a Professional dedicated to efficient performance in her field of expertise no matter the cost. Sparks has the anonymous beauty of the surgically Resculpted, common among undercover agents: if he still had the face of the chairman of COPCO, he would have been long dead. Wright is Sparks’ mission leader. Bring him to me alive, C. Henry Becket, Secretary of Homeland Security, commanded them. For his crime against Our House, he deserves far worse than death.
Down the street, screaming police sirens and high-volume Party sound trucks blasting a Patriot Country soundtrack announce the Senator’s arrival. The people on the sidewalks crowd their way to the curb to gawk. The pursuers struggle their way to the front. Sparks and Thorwald catch sight of each other and trade a hostile glare that carries a Challenge. People notice Thorwald’s aloof and intimidating High Corporate aura and sense danger; silently they shy away. He sighs. “Poor muggles, can’t handle my heroic awesomeness and damn good looks. It’s a fucking curse, I tell you.”
A woman’s deep voice next to him replies, “Stop whining or I’ll break your nose.”
He turns to see a tall young bronze beauty with a wild shock of unmanageable red hair, exuding Rocker charisma and shamelessless, wearing spiked leather dog collar, Sexy Catholic Schoolgirl microskirt, midnight blue baby tee with hot pink triple-star Sigue Sigue Sputnik logo, high-fashion knuckle gloves and combat boots made with leather from the tattoo-decorated multi-hued skin of executed gangsters, cyberpunk-mirrored augmented-reality goggles perched over her bright green eyes, and Trackers Guild ID and bounty hunter license cards dangling from ear covers secured by a harness hidden in her hair. Fangirl squeals not meant for him betray her identity: Shira Thomas, here to interfere. His expression turns ugly. Involuntarily he clutches the crystal. “She’s mine, bitch.”
She answers his snarl with that look. “Dream on, boy.”
On the other side of Thorwald, Johnson snarls in revulsion at Shira’s dark skin. An uncanny-valley reaction tells Shira he’s not quite human.
Two elderly church ladies in American-flag headscarves, proudly flaunting their immunity to reason in the name of Jesus America, accost her. One screams, “Young lady, what in the holy name of Jesus America are you doing prancing around naked like a whore!”
Shira leans down intimidatingly. “You ladies never saw me.” The old ladies flail in panic as if they have just seen a ghost who vanished before their eyes.
The fangirls discover their idol in distress and run over to confront her tormentors. The confrontation becomes a screaming match and then a fistfight in quick order. Shira uses the distraction to sneak out of the crowd.
No one can hear their own thoughts over the deafening sound trucks as they boom past. Johnson moves to slash all these annoying mundanes right now, but Thorwald stops him. “God’s work, Johnny.” Johnson grumbles.
The police cars pass, followed by a convoy of armoured black stretch Hummers. Most of them contain Secret Service agents. Only the last carries the political VIP they guard. Secretary Becket warned his agents: Beware of the factions dividing the Party; they will send mercenaries. Shepherd Tremayne warned his mercenaries: Secretary Becket will stop at nothing to satisfy his craving for power; he will send agents. Cops, mercs, and Tracker prepare to strike.
At last, the transport approaches carrying the Senator and his captive. Wright gestures to give the signal. A squadron of cops appear; guns drawn, they surround the transport and order it to stop. Wright and Sparks join them to make the arrest.
Suddenly, Thorwald whips out a handheld sound cannon and blasts out the stretch Hummer’s windows. Several cops go down writhing, trying to hold their ears, screaming in pain. Johnson fires a shot pistol into the terrified Ryder’s head to obliterate it mid-scream in an explosion of blood. The little blond girl behind him faints at the horror. Mission accomplished, they turn to congratulate each other, only to hear the cocking of guns. “Freeze!” yells Wright. The cops surround them.
Johnson raises his shot pistol at Wright; Sparks pulls her away so that Johnson’s blast misses. Thorwald drops his sound blaster and whips out a pair of Glock 9s with thirty-shot magazines, fires wildly into the cops, dropping eight. Four pretty headshots: four cops are dead. Johnson tries to yank the unconscious girl out of the car. Thorwald pulls him away by the arm and barks, “Not now, you idiot!”
As the hitmen flee the scene, Sparks shouts into his communicator, “Senator and eight officers down! Sound a Terror Alert at once! Condition Red! I repeat, this is Condition Red!”
A chorus of air-raid sirens emits a deafening scream citywide. The hitmen slip into the nearby slum. Thorwald sneers, Johnson giggles; they shoot down every bum, hippie, drug dealer, and gangster they come across. On a whim, Johnson shoots down two black bystanders. Thorwald glares down at him. Johnson grins submissively and says, “They was just niggers, bubba.” Thorwald yanks him by the arm, and they run away.
Wright, Sparks, and a small army of enraged cops follow the gunshots and the trail of dead. “Keep running, we’ll catch ’em!” yells Sparks. “When they stop for their fun, they’re ours!”
“Eat justice, parasites!” war-cries Thorwald as he sprays bullets into a group of screaming prostitutes. Johnson jumps one survivor and giggles while he stabs her to death. “Johnny, you idiot, save the fun for later!” scolds Thorwald. Johnson quickly hacks a breast off the corpse and crams it into his mouth.
“Freeze!” Wright and Sparks behind them, pointing their pistols—
Before they can get off a shot, Thorwald flips his rifle up and fires once into Wright’s chest. Open wound—armour-piercing shell—
Suddenly two boots slam into his face, knocking his brain haywire, sending him stumbling backwards. Johnson swallows hard, spins around, and finds himself facing the dark-skinned redhead from the street. He screams, “Bounty hunter! Shit!”
Battle fire in those pretty green eyes, cockeyed smirk on her big sensuous lips—the Tracker’s on the warpath, fighting gear exposing her taut abs and powerful legs as she bobs up and down like an impatient boxer. Lust-crazed men join their howls to the fangirl squee. Their roar energizes her; the dizzy air sparkles electric. Johnson grabs her tee, brings down the knife; she twists so all his blade cuts is fabric, and she vanishes. When she pops back up, her firm hard-nippled breasts mock him. He grabs her skirt’s waistband and slings his blade at her breasts; she falls backwards so his grip yanks her skirt down and snaps off her flimsy thong, and she rolls out of them and back up, revealing fashionably hairless pubis and large tight shapely butt. Now she wears gloves, boots, collar, AR goggles, ID cards, wicked grin, and nothing else. In her left hand she wields Thorwald’s card; around her neck she wears the crystal.
“Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Her lilting taunt sounds like a Charmer’s command.
Thorwald grabs her from behind and tries to take back the crystal, shrieking “You fucking bitch!” She snaps her head back to shatter his nose, slips her sweaty body out of his grip, flicks his card into his eyes, sends a rising back kick into his jaw. Johnson rage-rushes her, hammers the knife down; she slips between his arms, headbutts his jaw knocking back his head; he falls, twitches, moans, rubs his head where it hit pavement.
Thorwald shoots at a ghost. “Give her back!” he wails. She reappears up against him, elbow rising into his jaw, bends his right arm backwards, slips around him to ease the arm out of its socket so he drops his gun. Butt him sideways, slip through his legs, stand on both arms to double kick upward into the jaw so he flies backwards; she handstands for a second before twisting back onto her feet and upright. Cops swarm in; she slips behind them and vanishes.
The cops swarm the killers. “Let go, you fucking faggots!” screams Thorwald; they respond by beating him with cattle prods. Sparks runs to Wright. Her wound coughs out blood.
“Wright! Are you—oh my God—”
“Shoot those bastards before they get away,” moans Wright. “They’re too dangerous. . .” The Marshal dies.
The cops shoo off all bystanders and zip up Ryder’s headless corpse. A black stretch Hummer rushes in and opens its back door, revealing the terrifying bearded face of Ward Tremayne. MIB-suited agents throw the little blond girl in. She screams “Shira!”—he punches the girl to silence her, an agent slams the door, and the Hummer speeds off.
Shira watches from a distance. A spike-haired blond female head appears in her HUD. Everything go okay?
Alex, they got Lucie.
Shit. Alex disappears from Shira’s view; Shira disappears from the scene.
Sparks personally cuffs Thorwald. “Well, well, look who’s taking the fall.”
“You can’t arrest me, Jimmy,” Thorwald taunts, “I’m on a mission from God.”
“I have to,” Sparks replies. “You killed a United States Marshal.”
“Government parasite on our heroic essence, not a hero.”
“Still makes you a terrorist.”
“Well, ain’t we all.” Sparks punches Thorwald’s face and knocks him to the ground. Thorwald laughs. “He likes me.”
Sparks narrows his eyes. “You won’t be looking so pretty when Bubba gets done with you.”
“I’ll just hire your plastic surgeon then.”
It takes four cops to restrain Sparks from caving Thorwald’s face in while others whisk Thorwald and Johnson away. Sparks’ glib partner Stuart Kowalczyk arrives also wearing black fedora and duster. “Whoa, pard, chill. Our job here’s done.”
“Ruined is more like it.”
“He’ll sing like the fat lady. His kind always do.”
“That woman. . .”
“You mean that naked chick, looks like Rebel Styles?”
“What the hell is she?”
“Beats me, but she sure has it in for Ollie. I’d sure like to see what she does to him once she gets him.”
Sparks frowns. “She better stay out of our way. She knows damn well what we’ll do to her.”
They walk to their car and follow the regular squad cars out. Soon no one is left in the evacuated area, and all is dead silence.
James Tiberius Sparks
justice served cold
justice served cold
mindspace. Jennifer sees the pattern: emanating from Secretary Becket’s eyes, lines link to hell-tormented souls that feed him life force and information. The lines converge on Shira’s sister to cut her to bloody fragments.
Apparitions. Jennifer: long lean white phantom with long flowing hair. Shira: luscious neon silhouette crowned with fire. They embrace, they kiss—the force of their love fuses them into one power—all fate turns chaos—Becket screams—
apartment, seattle. Keenan Sasser, 38, once-trendy pretty-boy auteur turned by the coup to obscure pulp hack, replays the vision in his mind. He thinks: how come the Civet timeline keeps terminating this way? There’s got to be some anomaly. He gets out of bed, stumbles to his desk, and opens up his laptop. Ada Paulette Wintergreen, his artist wife, brings the coffee into the room. The first one up gets coffee duty; this time it’s Ada’s turn.
“The world blew up on you yet again?” says Ada.
“Still trying to figure out what the anomaly is.”
“Who turned left at Albuquerque?”
“Might as well be.” Keenan scans the scene lists for his five cancelled Civet novels on the screen. “So where could it be?”
“I think it was back in Book 5, when Dr. Forster got whacked and his nanites got stolen. Then everything unravelled for eighteen volumes after that.”
“Then the publisher stole our copyrights and told the hacks to ruin everything.”
“Keenan, you know they won’t do anything but that awful space-military shit anymore.”
“Hell, science fiction’s what the Zukunftskulturkammer says it is, ever since that religious writer made himself high commissar. Him and his Revolution made the future itself politically incorrect, damn it! We’re like trapped in a pocket universe permanently set to 1954.” Keenan and Ada sigh together. “Now let’s see, where is that scene?”
A notification appears on screen: call from one Steven Ragoczy. Keenan taps it, and a young man sporting mirrorshades, dark mop top and goatee, and black Dead Hello Kitty logo hoodie appears in a new window. Shira, her arms around him, wearing her mirrorshades up in her hair, smiles at them from over his shoulder. “Yo kids!” he says. “World blow up on you again?”
Keenan chuckles. “How’d ya guess.”
“Just checked out that timeline you sent me.”
“Turns out Dorinda got lucky. Back in reality, the schedule just got sped up.”
“Make way for bad ending number two,” Shira adds.
Ada gasps. “How could that even be possible?”
“Yeah, guys,” adds Keenan, “tell us.”
“I’ll field this one,” says Shira. “Word is, old Doc Becket had the CIA snatch some nanotech from Japan, and he wants a replicating doomsday device in just two years. Not 2112, but 2016.”
Keenan and Ada suddenly feel cold. “You’re kidding,” says Keenan, “aren’t you.”
“You know,” adds Ada, “like the Doctor’s supposed to be slaughtering dissidents?”
Shira’s expression goes serious. “Don’t piss yourselves yet, it even gets better than that.”
Keenan sighs. “Like how much?”
“Just got leaked intel about a secret project out in the asteroid belt,” says Steve. “Big defense bucks on that one. They got crews from GE, Boeing, Yoyodyne, and Dictel out there. Turns out they’re building a nuke-powered sun gun.”
“What would they want a ‘sun gun’ for? Sounds like science fiction to me.”
Shira shoots a You’re so clueless look at them. “Why else? To blow up the sun, of course!”
Keenan looks back at Ada; her eyes and mouth are wide open. She says weakly, “Bad ending number three. . .”
He looks back at the screen in wide-eyed horror. “Oh. shit—”
retina of the mind’s eye
retina of the mind’s eye
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Copyright © 2010, 2013 Dennis Jernberg.
Some rights reserved.
Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4, 7/4/12: Expanded and revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity.]
[Revision 5 Final, 5/16/13: DC scene (“Hunting the Hunters”) edited to begin new revised character arcs for Tremayne (from 1.3) and Sparks. Sparks replaced with Deth Pussy (from 1.4) in the Keenan scene. Other revisions made for the new Final Revision continuity.]