Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 13: The Girl with No Name
Part 4: Guess Who’s Coming (Final Revision)
Part 4: Guess Who’s Coming (Final Revision)
1 october 2014.
hospital. She thinks she can hear Karen’s soothing voice encourage her. She remembers almost nothing after the first day of school; what little she does is little more than a blur. All she remembers is voices speaking in her ear.
It’s blurry at first when she opens her eyes at last. The voices, all of them together, jar her fully awake with their volume and the extremity of their joy. All of them are here for her: her parents, big brother James, and her most devoted friends: Karen, Mimi, Trishie, Ruthie, Cory, and Kio, the love of her life. They throw themselves all over her, crying with joy, telling her how much they missed her and that they’ll love her forever.
Colette is awake. Soon she’ll be coming home.
shira’s apartment. Hope wakes up from a surprisingly sensual dream to find not Shira but her violet-eyed girlfriend in her arms, smiling sweetly at her. “Good morning!” the girl sings.
She eyes her suspiciously. “What are you doing in my bed?”
The girl looks hurt. “I’m trying to love you as much as Shira does. You’re the most special person in her life. For that I worship you.”
Hope sighs and smiles at this young nameless beauty so determined to touch her heart. Overjoyed to see her mother and girlfriend in each other’s arms, Shira drapes herself over them both and squeals ecstatically. “Oh, I so love you both. Can we share our love together now? Please?” Her mother opens her mouth to answer when Sparks’ ringtone goes off, outside. . .
The police siren wails on the Droid Mega, waking up Shira and Leila. Leila complains, “What’s that for?”
“I’ve got friends. If you know what I mean by. . . friends.” Shira winks. Leila rolls her eyes and rolls away from Shira.
Shira sits up, picks up the phone, and says, “Hello?”
Shira in the living room, Sparks on screen. “Sorry to pile on the lovely news, red, but word travels fast here in the Blue Mafia. One of the girls in the office has a few friends among Bremerton’s finest, and she says our so-called friends in Moral Enforcement got plans to drop by your picnic. She also tells me they plan to test a few of the one-eyed man’s brand new copbots.”
“Does she know what they’re running?”
“Top of the line expert system, immune to DDoS, better surveillance than an entire police department, can sniff a dissident from a mile away. Hot stuff, this. What’s it running on? You’ll never guess.”
“Well, well, well!” Shira grins wickedly. Visions of malicious ActiveX exploits dance in her head. “Well! I know just what to get, then.”
“Love ya babe. Be careful.”
Shira kisses at the screen. “Ciao, babe.” The call ends.
“Scofield,” says Leila grimly.
“Him? What does he want?”
“The prodigal daughter, back in the fold. I might as well take it as a Challenge.”
nameless girls’ apartment. Shira says, “You said you had a daughter?”
The slender girl’s expression turns sad. “Yeah. I lost her in the Revolution. She would have been ten now. That’s really why I went anonymous. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I recently took in a runaway. She was a slave I stole from the Yakuza once, but the government gave her back and kicked me out of Japan. Yet another reason to hate the Conservative Revolution, of course. As luck would have it, her owner did too, and she knew where I lived, so she came here. She’s really beautiful and she reminds me of you.”
“Shira, please don’t give me false hope.”
“Would you like to meet her? If she’s not yours, you can still let her into your life. But if she is. . .”
“Yes. I want to meet her.”
Shira picks up her phone and calls her own apartment. Hope answers. “What’s so important you have to call here from next door?”
“Somebody here may actually know somebody there,” says Shira. “Could you put Ayla on the phone?”
The slender girl’s jaw drops at the mention of the name Ayla.
“Ai-chan, there’s somebody here next door who really, really wants to meet you. She’d love it if you come over.”
Shira can hear Ayla take in a breath. “Okay!” The call ends.
The knock on the door comes only a few seconds later. “You answer it.” Shira winks.
The slender girl gets up slowly. She takes tentative steps toward the door. She hesitates to open it. She takes in a deep breath and lets it out. Finally she opens the door.
The girl is as naked as she is. Their eyes go wide, their mouths fall open, their hearts stop, they let in a huge breath. Each sees what they have lost: the most important person in their lives, who they thought they had lost forever. “Mama?”
“Ayla. . .”
They throw themselves into each other’s arms, hold each other as tight as they can, cry for each other, for the years they have lost; overwhelmed by the joy of finding each other again, a mother and the lost child now come back to her, two people who love each other more than anything else in the world.
They have cried themselves into exhaustion and are cuddling on the couch by the time the blond and brown-haired girls get back with the groceries. They are shocked to find her with a child they have never seen before. “Is she yours?” asks the blond girl.
Mother and daughter nod together. “She came back to me,” she happily sobs. “She came home.”
school lobby. Past the guards and through the gauntlet of adverts go Shira, Jennifer, Connor, and Schuyler. In one corner of one monitor, Jennifer can see the disembodied princess face wink conspiratorially at her. She winks back. Behind them, the girl with no name is being mobbed by girls hero-worshipping her and boys longing to date her; they’ve decided she’s the coolest thing to hit Bangor High since Minty Fresh became a DisneyPop SuperStar. Kelly smugly asks Debbie, “Aren’t you glad she’s not your Special Friend anymore?”
Debbie snarls, “You shut up.”
When Debbie and Kelly enter, Trishie makes sure to pass them. “Murderer,” she whispers. Debbie sneers back.
Just past the principal’s office, teachers Cherry Anne Bernkastel and Lovie Thorndyke sip coffee together and chat. Cherry Anne complains; the passive Lovie always agrees because Cherry Anne is her best friend. “These fangirl types. . . ’shippers, they’re called?”
“Don’t you think they’re completely out of their heads?”
“You know that girl who got killed last Friday night, don’t you?”
“She went crazy trying to force poor Jennifer to have perverted sexual relations with that creature.”
“There oughta be a law against it!”
The ’shippers close enough to hear Cherry Anne’s rant either ignore it or try to laugh at it without her hearing them. When Jennifer enters with Connor and Steve instead of Shira, the “Shiffer” ’shippers let out a collective cry of dismay. When Shira arrives hand-in-hand with the girl with the violet eyes, the “Lira” ’shippers (who still insist on calling their ’ship “Lira” even though the violet-eyed girl is “Leila” no more) let out a mighty squee. Cherry Anne rants at them and tries to get her hands on some. A few squee until they faint.
“Oh, no!” cries Polly.
“What?” asks Shira, confused.
Polly narrows her eyes. “You didn’t.”
“You know what that was?”
“That was the Fangirl Death Squee!“
fangirl death squee
A crowd of fangirls, all in Japanese-style sailor-suit school uniforms, squee in unison. Their squee becomes fainter until they all collapse to the ground in a faint.
cafeteria. Polly, Shira, and the girl with the violet eyes pass by, watching the Fangirl Death Squee spread throughout the crowd of “Lira” ’shippers like a tarantella, causing fangirls to go dizzy and faint, until no fangirl is left standing. The violet-eyed girl looks at them strangely. “What’s got into them?”
Shira grins. “Whatever it is, they’re out of our hair now. Let’s go.” They leave to find Jennifer.
Polly stares at the crowd of fallen fangirls one last time. “Hmph!” She runs after Shira and the violet-eyed girl.
They find Jennifer staring down at Lady as the freshman rep brags to her, “We’re coming to Challenge your picnic, and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. So there. Pass it on.” Soon she finds Shira, Cory, and Kio surrounding her and staring down, and Leila glaring at her from a distance. She giggles nervously and dashes off.
Christie steps in front of Leila with arms crossed and a smile that carries a Challenge. “You know Oliver’s mine now, no-name girl.”
The girl with no name smiles. “I’ll help you get him.”
Debbie stomps over glowering at Christie. “Hands off my friend!”
“So Princess No-Name’s still your Special Friend, cousin?” taunts Christie. “Does your mother know yet?”
Debbie’s about to take a swing when Dorian puts an arm around her sister’s and cousin’s shoulders. She smiles at the Bremeloes. “You’re not watching our game tonight?”
Shira says, “Sorry, our picnic’s prescheduled. We’ll watch online.”
“You’re missing a good thing, I swear.” She winks, then leaves with Debbie.
Around the corner, in a half-closed doorway, Rob steals a kiss from Connor. The protest is half out of Connor’s mouth when Rob puts his finger to his lips and gives him a smile and a wink. They can hear worried Polly sigh in relief.
homeroom. Roll call begins with the tutors this time. “Tutors,” says Dave, “raise your hands so we know which ones are here.” They raise their hands. “Connor, Jennifer, Cory, Dorian, Kio, Robert, Shira, and, uh, Miss Anonymous.” He winks at the nameless tutor; she smiles mischievously back.
Mimi, Trishie, and Ruthie rush in breathlessly. “Colette’s back!” cries Mimi. All the tutors and most of the students leap up, let out cheers, and hug the three girls and Kio. Only the Conservative students groan.
Polly snaps at them, “Are you cheering for the maniac who tried to murder her? You’re disgusting!”
Kelly screams in her face, “Isn’t that what Patriot Knights are supposed to do to you commie traitors?”
Shira chokes her from behind. “Kelly darling, maybe I should have Eri-san blow you up with a mon.”
The whole room erupts into a screaming match that threatens to turn into a brawl. Dave calmly takes Bernkastel’s Colt .45 semi out of its desk drawer, aims upward, and fires a blank into the ceiling. Everybody stares at him, spooked. He clears his throat. “Now that we’re calm and rational, let us continue.” All the students and tutors scurry back to their desks.
lockers. Mimi protests, “How could Kelly even say such a thing?”
Sana replies cynically, “She’s a terrorist just like Bernkastel. All those Patriot types are.” Akane pulls her closer and kisses her. She sighs in despair.
The violet-eyed girl says, “At least there’s two happy endings here: Colette and Kio, and you two.” She winks at Shira; the others smile conspiratorially.
Jennifer spots Debbie approaching, muttering to herself. She storms into Debbie’s face. “You’re a Patriot Knight, Becket, just like Bernkastel. You gonna go murder Colette yourself?”
“I’m not the one trying to kill her!”
“Well, tell Kelly that next time I see her, I’m calling Gang Rules.”
Charmian arrives with her sisters, Kelly, and Lucy. “Are we talking about Rosewater?”
Shira declares, “Harm one hair on her head, and I’m calling Gang Rules on all y’all! If you want her, you’ll have to go through me first.”
Jennifer growls at Kelly, “McLendon, are you really that keen on joining Bernkastel in Valhalla?”
Debbie stares at her in shock. Kelly panics and darts behind Charmian. Charmian remains silent for a long moment. “Tonight, Team Bremelo. Come on, Kelly.” She takes Kelly by the hand and leads her away. Julian and Lucy, terrified by Jennifer’s unusual ferocity, hurry away. Debbie tries to go to her locker, but Christie tugs on her and points at all the hateful eyes glaring at her: Jennifer, Mimi, Trishie, Ruthie, Sana, Akane. She smiles nervously, giggles, and runs away, followed by Christie.
Shira says, “They’ll be nice to her if they know what’s good for her.” The others turn their glares to her. She only gives them a cockeyed smile and sashays away.
library. Today the fighters of Team Bremelo, tutor and student, are excused from class to plan their club picnic in the meeting room. They don’t even have to face the late Mrs. Turnipseed’s replacement, who is even nastier to students and more willfully destructive to the English language. This is no ordinary high school club planning food purchases. Team Bremelo must also plan defense. From the transcript (note that the girl with the violet eyes retains her former name here for the sake of the record):
hallway. Shira has no classes or tutoring scheduled today, so she walks the empty halls during the late classes. She discovers she has the misfortune of being in the halls during Mr. Smith’s period as hall monitor. He clears his throat behind her.Kio: So who are we up against again?Jennifer: The Valiant-Pretty superteam. . .Shira: . . .some of Chief Becket’s copbots. . .Leila: . . .and Byron Scofield.Brandi: (skeptically) Copbots?Shira: Yeah. Copbots. Out for testing, running Windows, oh so hackable. J.T. even sent me rootkits.Cory: If those don’t work, you got your hacker friends for backup. (winks)Polly: I wonder how Debbie will react when her dad’s bots interrupt her fight. . .Kio: So who are we putting up against the Valiants?Connor: Probably you, me, Rob, Jen, and Brandi.Rob: It’s Shira they’re really afraid of.Cory: Damn, after what she pulled off Sunday night, I’d be surprised if they weren’t!Jennifer: What I’m really concerned about is protecting all the non-fighters coming. Remember, it’s not just fighters crashing our picnic, it’s crusaders too.Connor: Knowing Scofield, he’ll probably be bringing Moral Enforcers and who knows what else.Leila: I’ll take care of that myself.All: (stare at her) Yourself?Leila: He’s coming for me alone. Whoever he’s bringing with him are there for me alone. Even the Moral Enforcers will be there to drag me away. He wants to coerce me back into that “acquisition” even Oliver wants out of.Shira: And if it’s me the Valiants are really afraid of, it’s probably me they wanna fight. I can probably take ’em, but it sure as hell’s gonna live up to the name “Challenge.”Kio: I’m bringing Colette.Brandi: The Student Union are joining her.Kio: Which means it’s doubly important to make sure they’re protected.Shira: The other local high school fight clubs’ll be there. They pick a fight with us, they’ll find out they started a war.
“Excuse me, Mr. Smith, but you know you can’t cite a tutor for skipping a class she’s not required to attend.”
“Young lady,” he drawls in a suspiciously self-satisfied tone, “you should consider yourself lucky there’s nobody listening to us.”
She turns around, crosses her arms, and stares him down. Her eyes go wide in surprise when she sees the look in his eyes. Too lustful. Edgar Olney Smith, Civil War reenactor and amateur Confederate historian, considers himself a Cavalier. Ungainly as he is, he is enslaved to the romance of Confederate aristocracy. He did not take it well when the insolent redhead declared to the whole class that he is forever trapped between the covers of Gone with the Wind. But a real Cavalier always mixes his business with pleasure. Her eyes narrow. “What do you want, Mr. Smith?”
“Rumors have been going round that you’ve been, shall we say, a little too friendly with a certain pretty lady.”
“I believe friends should be more affectionate.”
“That’s not what the Law says. Maybe we should discuss it in my office.”
His leering gotcha grin meets stone. She pauses, apparently to think. Then she says, “Okay.”
“Good girl.” He turns toward his office. Shira lets herself grin. Gotcha.
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Copyright © 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 12/17/12: Originally 13.2 in Revision 2. Contains scenes from R2 12.2, 12.3, and 12.5. Everything else new to the Final Revision.]