Monday, July 9, 2012

Spanner 1.7: Enter the Monkeywrench

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works
Part 7: Enter the Monkeywrench (Revision 4)

night. The shadow perched like King Kong atop the Empire State Building views the scene from above even the President’s endlessly multiplied face. He observes the armoured hordes of Dictel, COPCO, and DHS swarming around Madison Square Garden, heavily armed with the latest antipersonnel tech. He notices the guards posted at the entrances to Penn and Grand Central Stations, nervously protecting the subways from a tagger’s dare. All of midtown Manhattan has been evacuated and security-locked for the ceremony. One cannot sneak in at ground level. Infiltration must be by air, and fast.

The swarm allows only approved stretch Hummers and Strykers inside. Those militarized armoured limos contain the highest cadres of entire sectors of the Cartel, particularly the tightly locked telecom sector into which the new initiate is being assimilated. Its legendary chairman cannot join them in the flesh. But the Corporate aristocracy don’t care; to them, the body is just another host machine for the ego. His ego will project its image onto the giant plasma screen inside.

Behind the mirrored faceplate, the shadow smiles. He intends to wipe that arrogant expression off that face, for all the world to see.

Wolveroach rushed in before the rest of the Cockroach Twins. “Dewds! Like, you won’t believe who they got joining the Cartel!”

“Like, why are they even doing this thing anyway?” asked Moon Roach (her real name) as she caught up.

“Neron says if American Corporatism doesn’t assimilate the Technosphere first,” Alex Plus replied, “Chinese Corporatism will.”

Loca Fantoma cocked her head. “So why that one?”

“Why not? That way, the MIAA gets a permanent monopoly on computers, phones, and set-top boxes.” Loca Fantoma sank on weak knees and sighed in dread.

Punisheroach asked, “When’d you figure this out, Alex?”

“When they disappeared Fake Steve.”

Inside the arena, ringed about with golden Swoosh icons iterating the face of Nike, one entire side of seats has been removed and replaced with a platform dominated by the giant screen behind it. Thirty thousand seats fill the arena; to each seat, a man in gray flannel suit and black hood, a Corporate aristocrat chosen for his ability to afford immortality and complete absence of human feeling, masked with the golden double-barred dollar-sign insignia of the American Remnant, is being escorted with military efficiency. The masks hide their identities from terrorists, foreign spies, blackmailers, paparazzi, and each other.

Heavily armoured COPCO agents posted throughout the arena look over them warily, under orders to prevent the usual strife. The catwalks above are manned by Delta Force snipers, prepared to take out any terrorists lucky or clever enough to make it inside to invade.

Outside, the shadow pats his trenchcoat at the waist. He reaches in elsewhere to extract a flaregun. He looks toward Madison Square Garden, then toward each subway station in turn. He loads a flare and cocks the gun.

Daimajinkaiser cut the call and lowered the phone. “Bumblepuppy says he’s got us a place.” He hugged a Genki Girl fidgety with unbearable excitement.

“Before we start this,” said Alex, “first we gotta know our enemy.”

Willa began: “Capitalism and democracy were born together, but they’ve been at war ever since.”
Richard Becket: The freedom of the market is incompatible with the freedom of the masses.
Hope continued: “Eventually the Corporates felt driven to destroy democracy with the help of the Patriot theocrats, then tax the people into poverty to keep themselves rich.”
Karl Radisson: Freedom is a gift of God that only the few who are strong in spirit can handle. For many are called, but few are chosen.
Genki Girl explained: “They call themselves Titans, but they are really Asuras, living self-righteously from the world of Anger. But remember the gigantic Asura who terrified countless beings until the god Siva confronted him; then he shrank so he could hide in a tiny flower.”
Oswald T. Mobley: ...we the few, we the chosen, we the masters of reality...
Wellspring said, “Every centralized system has a single point of vulnerability. In a hierarchy, you find it at the top.”

Willa added, “The same goes for hierarchical minds. Psychology calls it the nemo, the abyss they build their faith and ego to hide lest it stare back.”
Henry Becket: God built America so strong, even He cannot strike it down!
“Time!” Alex Plus faced the assembled hackers. “Everybody got your iPhones?”

Fifteen hands raised fifteen phones. “Yeah!”

“Let’s head out now!”

Fifteen hackers shouted in unison: “Wrecking Krewe, assemble!”

The arena lights go down the moment the last of the High Corporates is seated. The giant monitor, dark yet glowing, looms above them. Everything goes silent.

Will Becket commands the Delta Force snipers. A soldier next to him says, “I’m amazed you got away from that exploding Slasher intact, Commander.”

“There were a few scratches,” says Will. “I’ve survived worse.”

“Maybe we’ll catch something this time?”

“Only if it can get through the best security in the world.”

Down below, Spanner has surely escaped all guardians’ notice; by now he should be hard at work on his promised task. Above, the shadow prepares to deliver a surprise gift to the men inside. He fires up his hoverboard.

It was a dark and stormy Seattle morning as fifteen shadowy figures in black trenchcoats and motorcycle helmets assembled in the abandoned dogpit. Six years ago, Alex Plus and her wife Lya Cassir (handle: Scatcat) created the Wrecking Krewe in order to stop Colonel Tom Becket and his military conglomerate Dictel Corporation from destroying the American Republic. Everybody called it the Old Republic now. The helmets all bore the same crossed-wrenches emblem. As leader, Alex began the ritual.

First, the libation in honor of their fallen founding leader. All the hackers and monkeywrenchers held their bottles of Mexican cerveza high. Amplified by the helmet’s speaker, Alex cried out: “For the ’Caaat!” In unison the entire Krewe shouted out their lost leader’s name: “For the ’Cat!” They poured out the cerveza onto the overgrown grass.

“Now for the sacrifice!” Every Krewe member took out an iPhone and raised it. Jailbroken or otherwise, these iPhones had to be sacrificed to Eris, goddess of discord and strife. All of them were on, for Eris demanded a live sacrifice. The Krewe took their sacrifices to the clearing they made in the center of the backyard, in the middle of which they built a mound of compressed dirt. They embedded the phones into the mound, kicking them into the hard dirt if necessary. They reached for their holsters and pulled out their pistols. These pistols were illegal: they all had oversized magazines and were silenced so the sacrifice wouldn’t bother any neighbours.

“Ready!” The Krewe surrounded the mound.

“Aim!” They aimed their guns at their intended victims.

“Fire!” They unleashed a hailstorm of bullets. Screens shattered, chips flew, cases bent and distorted spasmodically. The iPhones were quickly destroyed. Soon the guns ran out of bullets and started clicking. The sacrifice was complete.

Alex Plus raised her pistol. “Hail Eris!”

The Krewe raised their guns in exultation. “All hail Discordia!”

Over the PA, the announcer commands, “All rise!” The walls of the arena, specially lit, turn to gold and glow bright to create the illusion of a magic temple made of pure gold, existing eternally in heaven but now manifesting itself on earth. An image of the one-star American Imperial flag fills the giant screen. Thirty thousand High Corporates rise in unison with right arms thrust out in the legionary salute and cry out their devotion in the Unknown Tongue. Spotlights light up the platform. The anthem of the United Corporations plays.

Two acolytes escort the ailing Most Reverend Oswald T. Mobley, Supreme Shepherd of the Church of America, onto the platform to the fist-pumping chant of “U.S.A! U.S.A.!” They wear the robes and insignia of the Shepherd priestly order. When he reaches the podium, the announcer commands, “All be seated and join our Supreme Shepherd in prayer to Our Nation.”

Despite his age and frailty, Shepherd Mobley speaks in a powerful voice when he intones the opening invocation in his aristocratic Southern drawl. He holds out his arms and proclaims, “God bless America!”

The High Corporates respond in unison, “America Bless God!”

“O my brothers, we are united here today, setting aside our mortal strife in order to initiate one man into the pantheon of the immortals. He has died to the corruptions of the flesh and of the material world; tonight his glorious Ego shall be born again as immortal spirit. We the men of the mind, who love not the flesh, we to whom the material world is dead, we the chosen of God who deserve and have earned the treasure of eternal life which is stored in heaven where the moth and the worm touch it not, let us welcome our brother to the synarchy of the elect, in the name of the Lord Jesus America who is Our Nation for time and eternity, so mote it be.”

The Corporates stand up to cheer and chant as the acolytes escort him slowly off the platform. Outside, the shadow switches his cloaking device to full power and prepares to fly.

One final detour to the situation room at Mudlark House: the fifteen members of the Wrecking Krewe stood in front of their leader’s master computer wearing Bluetooth-linked augmented-reality goggles. They all wanted to see the Technosphere from within in case the Cartel succeeded in destroying it. Right now a beautiful kaleidoscope of lines and nodes of data surrounded them in the virtual space. Small companies, crowds of independent and team users, and a few huge international corporations holding out from the Cartel and shielding the Technosphere. If Spanner failed, all this would be quickly reduced to perfect stasis, AT&T’s all-consuming Circle-Bell symbol subjecting it to the totalitarian icelock of Corporatism.

The countdown flashed on their monitors. Time was running out. They broke the link. They would have to plan the operation as fast as possible. The plan needed to be virtually foolproof. But whatever they lacked in rational foresight, Spanner would make up in chaotic action.

Loca Fantoma said, “We need to do one last thing before we take off.” She went to the guest room at opposite side of the basement, where Alex once shared her bed with her beloved Lya, and the others followed. She picked up the framed photograph of the beautiful dark face ringed by snow-white hair, flanked by five-year-old Shira and her twin sister Kira, their flame-red hair framing their faces like halos of fire. She cried at the sight. The whole Krewe stared at it as if this were the last time they would ever meet them. “This one’s for you, teach,” Shira whispered. “And for you too, Kira.” She kissed the picture.

Deth Pussy pumped his left fist. “Now it’s ass-kickin’ time!”

Alex Plus shouted, “Get your wrenches!” The Krewe stampeded into the garage, where there were seven wrenches, five hoverboards, and no cars. Alex took a pipe wrench and handed the rest to the operation’s core players, who then formed a circle surrounded by the remaining hackers.

Space Penguin cradled the picture of Lya and the twins in his left arm and held out his wrench in the right: “We hereby declare...”

Alex Plus raised her wrench: “The System is the shell that is smothering the world.”

Blonde Phantom raised hers: “The old world must be destroyed before the new one can be born.

Daimajinkaiser raised his: “The time has come to awaken the sleepers and end the dream before it destroys them...”

Deth Pussy held up his left-handed. “...smash the liberties of the few for the freedom of all...”

Genki Girl also raised her left hand: “...transform hope into victory and transform human destiny forever...”

Loca Fantoma thrust out her wrench in her left hand like a sword: “...and seize the power to bring about the world revolution!”

Prince Richard Astor Becket of Dictel, Incorporated, all-powerful President of the World Bank and Chairman of the Board of the United Corporations, walks onto the platform. The thirty thousand princes of Corporatism rise to hail the only man who can unite them. Chairman Becket is, like his brother, a large man with the imposing figure of the superhero he once was, another Cold War crusader against Communism, codenamed Neron. He wears his suit like a Templar’s mantle; it shimmers in interwoven gold and emerald. His royal-purple tie bears a gold dollar-sign pin covered in tiny shimmering diamonds. Neatly trimmed silver hair rings his shining bald head like a Caesarian crown of laurels. His lantern jaw exudes strength; his cold blue eyes pierce and intimidate; his gold-trimmed cowboy boots symbolize Individualism; his one ring bears the sign of the Dragon. He glows with the aura of the world-historical leader. Baring sharp white teeth in a grin of triumph, he raises his arms barely above his shoulders (why he can’t raise them higher: war wound). The Corporates raise their arms into V-for-victory above their heads and unleash a collective howl of affirmation as he gestures the sacred Sign of the Dollar.

Discordia’s chosen launches his hoverboard. The hovering camdrones, distracted by threatening random illusions, do not notice something swoop down toward the service entrance.

Chairman Becket solemnly intones into the microphone, “Brothers! Our final triumph is at hand! The new world order is about to be born!” Again the men in the gray flannel suits rise up and applaud thunderously. At his signal, they cease and sit at once. Losing himself in the excitement, he begins to gesticulate dramatically. “Two years ago today, our Revolution liberated the rights of property from the tyranny of politics and the mooching rabble. Today we shall create the ultimate weapon to eliminate the liberal threat once and for all, and to create at last the new reality! Long ago we evolved beyond production of worthless things for mere consumption. Soon we shall go beyond Man himself. At last our transcendence is at hand!” The Corporate Elect stand up again and add their roars of approval to their thunder.

The guards and workers in the cargo bay are suddenly hit by an unexpected strong gust. One guard says to another, “What was that?” One worker says to the worker next to him, “Was it Superman?” The other answers, “I hope to Jesus America it ain’t!”

“...that nothing shall ever again contradict the eternal truth of absolute liberty, eternal dominion, and infinite wealth. Soon the Technosphere will be ours, and then we shall escape the world and corruption of death, fulfill the freedom we have purchased, and conquer the universe at last! Utopia is finally at hand! The world is in our grasp! Our destiny is manifest!” The Chairman flings out his arms to his sides for a final flourish. The Corporates rise in unison to thunder their applause loud enough to raise the roof.
Why 2014 is not like “1984”: if the runner from the original Macintosh commercial had tried to destroy the image of Big Brother today, she would have quickly been neutralized by sonic booms from Yoyodyne’s newest Sonic Disruptors. Then power-armoured guards armed with machine guns would have immediately surrounded the fallen runner and blasted her into bite-size bits. Thirty years make all the difference in the world. Then, Steve Jobs fancied himself the liberator. Who would have guessed thirty years ago that he himself would become Big Brother?

Two years ago, such a runner tried to save the life of Barack Obama, last President of the old Union. Lya Cassir failed: no one could have survived inside the blast radius. Along with the President, his Secret Service detail, and several hundred other people, Lya was obliterated. The people were overthrown, the American Empire saved, the tyranny of Corporatism established under the rule of the Conservative Revolutionary Party, and Goldman Sachs & Co. enthroned as President-for-Life. If Spanner fails, President Goldman Sachs will make its epiphany on the big screen and seal the end of Net freedom forever...
Chairman Becket looks up at the screen. The spotlights shut off and the temple walls cease to glow, restoring darkness to the Garden. The screen turns on, the Beatles song “Revolution” begins to play. In unison the High Corporates stand up for the final time and let out a deafening roar as their newest initiate appears on the screen at last: the icon of the Bitten Apple, first polychrome on black, then silver on white, until it makes way for the giant countenance of a man—the face, that of the young idealist of 1984; the expression on it, the contempt and ruthlessness of the Corporate despot of 2011. Steven Paul Jobs, Incorporated, looks down on them, the man reborn as his brand, his apotheosis at hand: his discarnate ego become god, Apple its body; through it he lives again, eclipsing Richard Becket himself even as the Chairman eclipsed his cadres. The image itself projects a powerful reality distortion field that makes the whole arena sparkle. And the first words the ghost speaks:
Contradiction is truth. The evolution of the free market advances through contradiction and creative destruction...
Back at the Penguindrome, Wellspring leaps from the couch when he sees the face on the big widescreen monitor. “I thought Jobs was dead!

Willa stands up, laughs, pumps her clenched right hand. Nick demands, “What’s so funny.”

She struggles to catch her breath. “They did it to Freddie Mercury, why not Steve Jobs too!”

Hope points at the screen. “Guys, there’s something wrong with the image!”

“It’s sparkling?”

“It’s trying not to distort,” declares Angela. “He spent how long getting corrupted by absolute power?”

Nick’s jaw drops. “No! His reality distortion field—it’s distorting!”

Wellspring says, “His personality construct’s been scrambled.”

“The key to Leila,” Hope sighs.

“He’s come back as a distortion,” says Willa. She opens her hand: she holds the Dragonite signet ring she stole from Henry Becket when they divorced. “Those men don’t know it, but they’re already dead.”

The giant visage is visible from the hallways across the arena. Out of one of them, a battery of foul-smelling smoke bombs flies in and explodes over the Corporates, obscuring their vision as much as Lord Apple’s reality distortion field. They duck and try to cover their noses. Cloaked by cloak and smoke, he whips out his flaregun and fires exploding rounds at the catwalks to knock them down. Delta Force snipers fire wildly at the whirlwind as they fall to the floor. Will Becket watches in horror. “Spanner?

His father, the Secretary, watches the scene unfold from the safety of the COPCO field office, protected from the light by wraparound sunglasses. He pounds the table in front of him in rage. “Spanner!

The last word Agent 6 can manage to squeeze out before the falling debris crushes him is: “Spanner...”

The Chairman stares at the chaos in front of him, watching as a dead man emerges from the swirling cloud of black smoke to threaten another. He thought he had slain the Monkeywrench during the Revolution, and yet here he is, hovering before him in defiant contempt.

The Angel of Chaos himself. In terror and rage, Richard Becket gasps: “Spanner—

—two reality distortion fields reach out, touch, collide, fuse—the black crystal flashes bright, drones, floats like a firefly—vision distorts, wavers wobbles warps—light sparkles and chimes—all that is solid melts into air—illuminated eyes cloud up, go dark—unmoored men in free fall faint and scream—

Spanner unclips the big wrench from his hoverboard and holds it high with his left hand, plasma disruptor blinking in its maw. He spins and spins to build velocity, then unleashes the wrench in the direct path of Lord Apple’s apparition. Time slows down: Richard Becket tries to run away from the screen, the cadres below panic and run and trample each other to death, the catwalks crash and bring death and injury to Corporate and counterterrorist alike—

—the monkeywrench spins through the abyss toward the giant ghost that stares and speaks in helpless indifference—all perception dissolves in a hurricane of mass vertigo as his third eye meets the wrench and illuminates it—plasma disruptor mates with plasma-lighted image, white-hot wrench fuses with the screen, armourplastic-reinforced glass warps, one face multiplies fractally into thousands, the glass cracks and splinters, superhot plasma escapes in flares—

—and in a blinding burst of light, the screen explodes

—and the ka of a Corporate king revisioned as his own Orwellian nightmare vision goes out in a supernova that consumes the entire inside of Madison Square Garden and blackens the golden icons of Apple and Nike. Taking advantage of the chaos he has created, Spanner vanishes as if he were never there.

“Find that goddamn terrorist! Now!” screams Chairman Becket, his face contorted with rage and burning humiliation. “Put him out of my misery! Kill him!

From under a pile of bodies and debris, Will Becket digs his way out. His quiet chuckle grows into a laugh as he climbs to the top of the pile. “Spanner!“ he exults. “I accept your Challenge!”

The surviving Corporates and counterterrorists are being evacuated. Soon all the hospitals in Manhattan will be overcrowded with them, and they will take priority over everybody else because they are the System. Police and military helicopters, personally commanded by Will Becket under his uncle the Chairman’s direct command, search and scour the city for signs of Spanner. Chairman Becket orders the entire TrumpCity Administrative Zone put under martial-law lockdown and total surveillance, even the outer parts of the city that were not evacuated; but still there is no trace of Spanner.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 1 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

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

[Revision 4 Final, 7/9/12: Expanded and revised to fit Fourth Revision continuity. Flashbacks have been massively revised.]

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