Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spanner 1.5: The Lost Cause

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works
Part 5: The Lost Cause (Revision 4)

copco new york. “A terrorist strike force is coming our way,” Secretary Becket proclaims to his brother, United Corporations chairman Richard Becket. “We have already predicted their every move. Delta Force is in perfect position to intercept and destroy them.”

“Did your precogs envision this beforehand, brother?” asks the Chairman skeptically.

“We did not even need the precogs. I analyzed the SRO mathematically. They operate on a series of simple set patterns. We are using these patterns to bring them to us. . .”

“. . .and lure them into our trap. How clever.”

“We had no need for cleverness, either. Like I said, they operate on fixed patterns.”

“So now we know they pose little or no threat. But what about this. . . anomaly your precogs have been seeing? This chaos?”

“It’s the signature of someone who follows no discernable patterns at all.”

“Or random ones. Do you think, Harry, that your people can prepare themselves against a man who operates strictly by whim?” Henry Becket stares at his brother grimly, saying nothing. “You know you must prepare, whatever the cost.”

subway. The stolen COPCO security aircars move swiftly through the PATH tunnel. Their best fighters, Rodor and Michalski, take the front; the most vigilant, Gabriel and Espinoza, take the rear. The Amazons, Saionji and Blaney, follow behind the front; Lynch and Persson fly second from the rear. In the middle is their commander, Bram Rodchenko. Personnel carriers flank the commanders’ vehicles. Together, the SRO expeditionary force numbers forty. All of them are dressed in COPCO SWAT gear.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” says Talia.

Adam replies, “Don’t worry about it. We have the advantage of speed and deception. The COPCO forces will not realize until it’s too late that their comrades are not their comrades. We will win.”

copco new york. “Zoom in,” says Henry Becket. The map on the wall screen zooms in to focus on the PATH tunnel and follow a group of blips travelling at high speed through it. “This is Adam Gabriel’s technique: steal the face of your enemies until you are among them, and then launch a surprise attack. I myself used that tactic against the Communist invaders in Afghanistan. As I said, they are completely transparent.”

“They’re moving awful fast,” Agent 6 comments.

“This does not matter. Their single route is a bottleneck. We have sent a detachment of Dictel forces to intercept them before they reach the World Trade Center station. The terrorists have already lost.”

subway. “Up ahead!” shouts Rodor.

“Incoming!” adds Michalski.

“Fire!” commands Rodchenko. Missiles fire from air vehicles and hand-held grenade launchers at the Dictel mercenaries up ahead. The militants take out their rifles and spray cover fire at the enemy.

But the missiles explode before they reach their target. The mercenaries retaliate with a solid wave of sound. High-powered sound blasters shatter glass, torture eardrums, send the militants twitching and screaming in unbearable pain; they lose control of their vehicles, which spin in mid-air and bounce off the sides until they fly out of control and crash. Five air cars and six transports slam against a solid wall of sound—

copco new york. Talia was injured in the crash, but still her captors tied her naked to a restraining frame. A sound cannon blasts her, torturing every nerve, making her scream and convulse for what seems to her an eternity. As suddenly as it began, the torture stops, and she can hear.

The grim, implacable face of Henry Becket stares at her through his thick dark glasses. He barks, “Now where is Spanner and what are his plans?”

Talia laughs. “I bet he just gave us to you as a Revolution Day gift, all gift-wrapped and everything.”

“Tell me—now!

Her laugh subsides into a chuckle. “You know where Spanner is. He’s always where you least expect. And his plan’s to do what you least expect him to do. He disrupts. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be Spanner.”

Dr. Becket growls and suppresses the urge to tear the woman’s head off. He turns around and commands, “A long period solitary confinement should be sufficient time to meditate on the error of your ways. Take her away.”

His men stare at him until he leaves through the open door. Then they turn off the sound cannon and untie the weakened woman from her restraint.

Suddenly, loud klaxons sound and the lights go red. The building AI’s female voice repeats, “Warning. Cyber defenses breached.”

“I assume this must be our Spanner,” says Agent 6.

Dr. Becket punches all the way through the wall. “Damn!”

Shira stared at a framed photograph in her hand. The man it pictured was a soldier in full dress uniform in front of an American flag. The soldier was Oliver Thorwald, Army Ranger and Corporate supremacist. I hate it when they doll me all up with medals and crap, he once said. I’d rather get down and dirty with the enemy.

Jennifer stared down at her jealously. “Oh, great. Now you’re staking a claim on Leila Shelley too?”

“What does Leila Shelley have to—”

“I’ve seen your stalker shrine, darling. Complete with Viking Ollie dartboard, always used.”

Steve said, “Whoa! bickering married couple alert!”

Shira held Jennifer close. “What my dear Jen doesn’t realize yet is that Ollie’s got something I want, something of Gub’na Wally’s. It’s the key to Leila, and so much more.”

Hope asked, “You’re talking about stealing from a serial killer?”

“Steal the killer himself and his psycho sidekick, sell ’em for a nice big bounty, and take from ’em what I want.” Shira winked.

Jennifer crossed her arms. “Assuming you steal the key to Leila Shelley, doesn’t that mean you get Leila Shelley with it? C’mon, Shira, she’s evil!”

Shira kissed her. “Consider this, love: wouldn’t you rather have Leila on our side?” She winked; Jennifer frowned bitterly.

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Copyright © 2010, 2012 Dennis Jernberg.
Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 4 Final, 7/7/12: Expanded and revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity. Flashback has been massively revised.]

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