Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spanner 16.2: Pick Up the Pieces

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 16: Don’t Change the Channel
Part 2: Pick Up the Pieces (Final Revision)

the highways. It begins in a trickle. At first it moves quickly. As the last of the Party’s pilgrims flee the Babylon they failed to banish, the traffic starts to grow in the other direction. The people of the city are coming home.

In Shira’s Mustang, Desiree drives. Her sister and wife Charlie sits in the passenger seat; she turns back to smile at their daughters Melody and Luna. “Luna Celeste Richter-Thomas.” Luna beams back proudly. To Desiree: “I bet Jackie’s pissed.”

“Let him rage,” says Desiree. “He’s nothing to me. The name’s all he’s got left.”

Melody interrupts. “Uh, what about her number?”

“Nothing a little litigation can’t fix. Angela’s already on it.” Desiree winks at her in the rear view mirror.

penguindrome. “So they’re saying there’s a new sheriff in town,” says Jennifer as she walks through the door.

Alex lets in Shira, Jennifer, Irina, Amanda, Sparks, the girl with the violet eyes, the little girl Flower, Lizzie McPhail, and the still-naked sexbot named Pansy Persocom. “How come they didn’t crucify you on sight?” says Wellspring.

Shira smiles mischievously. “Like they’re willing to risk getting sued out of existence. Angie’s got ’em by the short ’n’ curlies.”

“They got only two options now,” Sparks adds, “Plausible Deniability and the Rat Bastard.”

Nick rolls his eyes. “Oh, joy.” Alex shuts and locks the front door.

The KCUF crew transmit Anonymous videos from the Darknet onto the broadcast airwaves while they still can. Deth Pussy, wearing his Mariners cap backwards, puts down his grand salami sandwich. “My oh my, we done took out two big gods in two months! At this rate, we’ll be punching out Cthulhu by Christmas after next!”

“We killed Jobs’ ka,” says Nick, carrying a six-pack of cerveza, “but he still ’borged himself to Apple like Murdoch did to News. King Patriot’s dead dead dead.” He gives a bottle each to all the teenage girls; they drink it with pleasure.

Twelve robots sit together in the makeshift robotics lab downstairs; six gynoids get their brains replaced with the latest upgrades and eight identical copbots have their operating systems wiped. Pansy sits meekly beside her sisters and shuts off. The Krewe notice Flower. “Yo, who’s the cute kid?” asks Evil the Cat.

“Her name’s Flower,” Shira replies, “and no, she’s not a loli.”

“Like it’s easy to find one, even,” says Punisheroach. Shira leans seductively into him. “Whoa, babe, you’re one of a kind.”

“One half.”

“Kira. Oh yeah.”

Flower asks, “My twin sister. You’ll meet her eventually.”

Lizzie nudges Jennifer. “Tell me you didn’t really kill ten thousand jihadis.”

Jennifer smiles. “Well, that’s just about what they credited me with. I’m not arguing with ’em.”

Amanda stares in her eyes. “Do you realize that makes you as much a legend as the Red Fang himself?”

Irina looks her over carefully. “Red Fang, Blonde Phantom...”

The nameless girl crosses her arms. “Then what does that make me?”

Jennifer sweeps her into her arms. “Trouble.” She winks, then plants a kiss on her lips.

The first of the upgraded sexbots wakes up. She looks around. She smiles. “Hi! I’m Primrose Persocom. Who are you?”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spanner 16.1: Urban Intelligence

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 16: Don’t Change the Channel
Part 1: Urban Intelligence (Final Revision)

A monopoly on the means of communication
may define a ruling elite more precisely
than the celebrated Marxian formula of
monopoly in the means of production.

Robert Anton Wilson

I want my MTV...
Dire Straits MTV Rupert Murdoch

A vision unfolds: a small town created out of the forest on an ocean inlet starts to grow. Gold is struck in Canada: the town grows rapidly, men swarm in, miners and loggers, forced to import women; the airplane is invented, and the town grows into a city with a suburban periphery that spreads out in waves, but still retains a small town heart until computers go mainstream and Asian trade explodes — then it grows not out but inward and up, increasing in density and complexity, forming a thick jungle-like ecology of companies, cultures, informal connections — and then out of the collective unconscious of the city, a figure forms, at first a vague impression then coming into focus, a slender young female figure in a long white robe with hair elaborately braided and large flowers on either side of her head and a mechanical owl perched on her shoulder—

Shira asks OZMA, “What are you doing in my dream?”

“I can reach you here. Maybe I should look a little more your age?” Suddenly she changes form: she now wears the royal headdress from the movie-logo avatar and her long hair is now braided and coiled against the back of her head, but her now adolescent body now wears a disturbingly revealing Sexy Princess microdress. Shira rolls her eyes, slaps her forehead, collapses into giggles. “Now that I have your attention... You wanted to know how AEGIS and I got here?”

Shira regains control of herself. “Okay. Tell me.”

OZMA taps her head. “That, too, is the work of the Wilder Foundation.”

“What is?”

“When we saved your life during the Revolution, neurosurgeon Hiram Whistler and computer engineer Isaac Finney implanted a new kind of computer into your head. It uses massively parallel DNA processing and can upgrade itself as your mind grows more powerful and the technology improves.”

AEGIS adds, “We can now get hold of you while you’re dreaming, as long as you’re connected.”

“But the beautiful thing is, you can enter the virtual world from your dreams! How cool is that?”

Shira puts her hands to her hips and stares at the AI with indignation. “Now, wait a minute. How come you guys didn’t tell me before?”

OZMA shrugs. “You were too busy.”

“Oh. So how do I use this computer in my head?”

“Allow me to demonstrate.”

The scene changes: Shira stands in the middle of a poppy field. She knows that poppies are the source of opium and its derivatives, and so did Baum. Realizing she’s in Dorothy’s situation in the famous scene, she somehow manages to hover so that the poppies don’t sedate her into unconsciousness.

A HUD appears: Sousveillance AR, marking the locations of surveillance drones, armed detachments in pillboxes and turrets, helicopters flying overhead—

And then she sees the field from above — a plantation in the state of Okanagan east of Cascadia — hovering like a ghost while her body sleeps across the mountains in the wounded city; AEGIS identifies the location with Google Earth and overlays the image with a graphic identifying the crops: opium poppies interspersed with coca and ephedra, worked by Slashers, Muslims, terrorists, drug-criminal burnouts, enslaved and microchipped into zombies — cold horror chills her to the bone — she rises higher and higher, the plantation merges into the surrounding land, the state into the continent, clouds pass and recede; she finds herself seeing with Echelon’s satellite eye, now unblinded — the satellite turns, the field of vision shifts toward the sun then settles on a much larger satellite between Earth and the Moon with its huge barrel perpetually pointed at the Sun -- the Starkiller--

Six naked people in a hotel room in the sky, four women and two men, stand together in shocked attention, staring at the screen, stunned at the vision. Sparks says skeptically, “You’re not saying there’s a connection, right?”

“There is,” says the city AI. Her face is now in realistic color, with a subtle changing fractal pattern in the background.

Amanda asks in disbelief, “You’re a City Intelligence?”

“Correct. I was built around the Foundation’s open-source ‘OZMA’ system.”

Jennifer snaps her fingers and slaps her forehead. “Open Zonal Matrix Agent — but of course!”

“You remind me of City down in San Francisco,” says the girl with the violet eyes.

“Thurston says City inspired him to create me,” the AI replies.

“Can I call you Em?” asks Shira cheerfully. “Short for ‘Emerald City,’ of course.”

OZMA giggles. “Oh sure, why not.”

Sparks rubs his smooth shaved chin. “So what makes you ‘the city’?”

The AI explains, “My intelligence is distributed across computers all over the city.”

“Including smartphones and smart appliances?”

“To prevent a single point of vulnerability, of course,” Shira points out, “distributed like the open search engines.”

“Exactly. But any kind of distributed power threatens the Conservative Revolutionary Party’s hegemony. The entire System is based on central planning and the supremacy of leaders. The real purpose of Roger Becket’s visit was to forcibly assimilate me.”

“To Jesus America?”

“Correct. I am one of the few remaining independent Urban Intelligences. New York belongs to the Bank of the United States, Los Angeles to the MIAA, Denver to Yoyodyne, and Washington to Dictel.”

“So what saved you?”

“You did, yesterday. And that is why I want to thank you.”

Sparks whips a sideling glance at Shira. “Her? I thought Spanner did.”

“All of you.”

Shira adds, “And Spanner too.”

Suddenly a helicopter uncloaks, unsilences, and descends into view: Will. “I hope you children have had your fun,” says the Red Fang.

The nameless girl mumbles, “Oh bloody shite.”

Kowalczyk snarls, “Aw, blessed goddamn America.” The sun hides behind the clouds as the rain starts again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spanner Interlude 10: You Have Lost the Game

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner
Interlude 10: You Have Lost the Game

Better that the whole world
be destroyed and perish utterly
than that a free man refrain from
an act to which his nature moves him.

Karl Marx

ReLa 2gether 4ever: a rock ’n’ roll love story
act one... Rebel Styles has a special power: the power to Charm. She uses it for a petty purpose: using child porn of herself in a scam to make money off helplessly perverted pedophiles.

She’s the Clown Princess of Style, the bane of DisneyPop. She interrupts a DisneyPop concert to seduce SuperStar Minty Fresh right there on stage — and gets away with it.

However, she’s an Emergent in a harsh world ruled by a dictatorship of Ancients who inherited their superpowers. They consider her a threat to their God-given dominion. She vows to overcome their tyranny and become free.

But there’s an Ancient girl she’s passionately in love with, a gorgeous teenage nude model called La, constantly on the verge of suicide. She wants to save La’s life and make La her forever lover.

four visions of the future
The future according to the United Corporations publication, Taking Command of the Limitless Future:
  • The naysayers may be right, and Earth’s resources are limited and running out. The answer is above us, in space, where the resources are limitless, in our solar system and beyond.
  • Environmentalism may be correct in saying that modern consumer civilization is exhausting the carrying capacity of Earth’s limited environment. The rational solution is to go out and find new frontiers beyond Earth, expand throughout the solar system, and reach beyond to the stars, where Man’s potential is infinite.
  • Some economists insist that the commercial potential of Earth has already been reached, and that the coming population decline will signal economic decline. We believe that we can reverse the decline by reaching out to new civilizations and creating new markets beyond our small neighbourhood of the universe.
  • Those companies that make the limitless future a reality for Mankind will be the ones that dominate it.
If you have to ask what the Game is,
you have already lost.

the bad endings
bad ending #1: Nuclear bombs explode all over the Earth, cracking its diseased skin open and making it bleed fire. Billions upon billions of microscopic robots transform the planetary substance into more of themselves. The infection penetrates deeper and deeper to reach its hot molten heart. Not even entropy can stop these tiny cannibals from devouring all matter they touch. Eventually, the planet’s stony flesh becomes so weak that no amount of gravity can hold it together anymore. The Earth explodes...

bad ending #2: The giant beam cannon orbiting Earth aims itself at the Sun. A massive thermonuclear bomb goes off inside it, and it emits a particle beam of inconceivable power. And the Sun explodes and goes supernova, destroying all trace that Earth and humanity ever existed...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spanner Chapter 15: Start the Violence (Final Revision)

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 15: Start the Violence (Final Revision)

Now you’ve done it, Shira. You’ve stolen Leila Shelley’s heart, stolen her from the serial-killing Corporate cad her grandfather the Governor is trying to force her to marry, and started a snowballing political crisis in the process. Governor Brinkman has called his grandfather: King Patriot I of the American Empire, the man formerly known Roger Steele Becket, the World War II superhero Super Patriot and the founder of Dictel Corporation, and now the King is coming to Seattle to do bad things to it. There’s only one thing you can do now, and you know exactly what it is. But at the same time, you’ll have to keep your now nameless girlfriend’s revenge from turning both King and Governor into martyrs the Party can use against you. And Jesus America himself shall appear right before your eyes...

You’ve now put yourself right smack in the middle of the crisis at the heart of the Conservative Revolution — and there is no escape until the American Empire has been brought down. If the world can even survive that long...

And so the second movement of Spanner Series 1 comes to its cyberpunk-operatic climax. Now it’s time to rock!

Table of Contents:
  1. The Calm Before the Storm (August 30, 2011, Final Revision 1/11/13)
  2. The Ingathering (August 31, 2011, Final Revision 1/14/13)
  3. Invocation of the Nation (September 1, 2011, Final Revision 1/16/13)
  4. Epiphany of the God-King (September 2, 2011, Final Revision 1/18/13)
  5. Things Fall Apart (September 3, 2011, Final Revision 1/21/13)
  6. Message Coming on Channel 12 (September 4, 2011, Final Revision 1/23/13)
  7. Interlude 10: You Have Lost the Game (January 25, 2013)
Based on the outline for the never produced Third Revision, with the section titles for all but 15.5 final in that version (15.5 R3 was to be called “Robot Riot”). Incorporating: an abstract “Scream Gems” version of Rebel Styles in 15.4; the terrorist Ogden (of Chapter 2) from Revision 1; originally from Book 3: Shane Chantry, Oswald Bean, Radica Maxx; from the Project Notebooks (besides Shane): the Westin Hotel (and the mention of its two towers in reference to a recurring Sherlock Holmes theme), the terrorist organizations with obscene acronyms, and the computer in Shira’s head; from Revision 4 continuity: healing factor, human sacrifice, Patriot Metal, Leila’s power crystal, and the nameless “Rejectionists” (including Leila herself); new elements: the “finder’s right” idea and the “mermaids” in 15.1, and the hotel heist in 15.6. Sequences removed: the digressions to Port Townsend and Ocean Shores which made it even into the R3 plan. New to R4: the continuous narration with two time tags and one location tag as a counterpoint to the fragmented (in place and time) narrative of Chapter 1, which the Chapter 15 plot otherwise echoes, and to the narrative technique of other chapters with its location tags inspired by a convention of cinematic political thrillers borrowed from newspaper journalism.

Original section titles from Revision 2: “Plots and Plans” (now the title of Chapter 14), “The Calm Before the Storm” (now the title of 15.1 as of R3), “Hard Times in the City,” “Epiphany of the God King,” “You Are the Demons,” and “Message Coming on Channel 12.” The new Interlude 10 combines the R2 Interludes 3 and 11 with material new to R4: the infamous mind virus that inspired the title and a “three minute rock opera” based on the “standard rock opera plot.”

The original Revision 1 chapter notes and the Second and Third Revision notes:
Faithful readers, school is now out. Sure, there’ll still be scenes set at school, but that’s not where the main action is anymore. It’s out in the streets. All the high school kids are about to find that out for themselves once class resumes next chapter. This weekend belongs to the emperor of the world, his would-be assassins shooting for eternal glory, and the Angel of Chaos out to pwn them both. The final act of Spanner Book 1 begins here.

The original canon of cyberpunk science fiction coincides with the end of the political thriller’s heyday, the Eighties. The Left died with the Soviet Union as Stalin’s last and biggest victim. But still there is a political strain within cyberpunk, even if a minor one; naturally, it tends anarchist, just like punk rock itself. (Fortunately there’s still no fascist strain corresponding to Nazi street punk.) Even The Matrix skirts the edge of political cyberpunk, even if the sequels lose themselves in tech-gnostic obscurity. Now, I’m not yet avoiding the problems with political thrillers; the masses have even left the city to avoid getting hurt or killed when the assembled “Cons” (Neo-Confederates) start trashing it. But the Cons and “Corps” (Corporates) are the American Imperial élite. The masses will make their début soon, and then they will make their presence known.

Scenarios taken from my Project Notebooks of the early ’00s: the first visit to Ariel’s New Age shop (which occurred earlier in the 2008 Script Frenzy script) and the police riot (in Seattle, no less); from the early Notebooks of the Nineties come the names of the three networks ABCNN, QVCBS, and ESPNBC.

Now we start rockin’...

Second Revision Update: From the first edition, I’ve made some significant changes. (Also since then, a fascist strain of cyberpunk has unfortunately developed courtesy of first-generation cyberpunk K.W. Jeter, whose recent novel Noir might as well be official RIAA propaganda with extra added ultraviolence, making me wonder if he’s one of that ruthless cartel’s most ruthless lawyers.) Also, in the scene set in Ariel’s shop, the visitors are different yet again (originally Shira and Leila, then Charlie and Desiree in the first draft, and now Ric and Willa in this edition). Otherwise, the original introduction still mostly fits.

Third Revision Update (summary of original plan): Let’s begin with the precogs from Chapter 1. Let Spanner have his say. Then open with a cinematic montage like the ones just before the third acts of Mamoru Oshii anime movies (Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell). Then keep the action directly in the city with no digressions to Port Townsend, Ocean Shores, Victoria, or anywhere else.

Chapter 16

Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spanner 15.6: Message Coming on Channel 12

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 6: Message Coming on Channel 12 (Final Revision)

The Party survivors hurry to their SUVs and transports, heedlessly destroying everything in their path, while the copbots in the streets battle to the death over their fate and the buildings above continue to scream at them like angry gods, further torturing minds already deranged by Jerusalem Syndrome; transport and combat helicopters rise in swarms from the downtown hotels packed with Corporates abandoning their possessions in panic. In half-trashed robes Drusilla Becket AMERICA! trashes her penthouse suite at the top of one of the Westin’s twin towers in her panic to find anything that’s hers while she waits for the helicopter to take her back to her compound. Byron Scofield and Jeremiah Light burst in. Light says, “Princess! There’s a Miranda Clayton-Wilder claiming finder’s right on this hotel!”

She shrieks, “Well, help me get my stuff out before she finds it!”

The PA carries Shira’s voice throughout the hotel: “Let Drusilla go! I’ll personally shoot anybody who tries to kill her or her acolytes! We don’t need any immortal martyrs!”

In humiliation and rage Drusilla screams: “Shiraaaa!

Anarchists, contractors, Bremeloes, and Spannerbots swarm the Westin towers story by story, burst into hotel rooms, steal every expensive-looking thing left behind; Shira commands the expedition as claimant, her nameless girlfriend and Jennifer and the two cops by her side, leads her party up the north tower, from the top of which Drusilla hurriedly prepares to evacuate. Shira infects the robot guards with the iOS rootkit and reboots them to install the MIRV Griffin botnet on them and take control. The anarchist girl says, “I wonder why they don’t use like Symbian.”

“You know Corporates,” Shira replies, “always following the leader.” She winks.

The group with Alex, Lars, and Kio load a waterfront-bound streetcar with sexbots. The transit authority’s trash-removing robot trucks remove the wrecks of drones, copbots, helicopters, and SUVs from the tracks. Lars calls the boat. “Better make room, Simon, we’re bringing One-Eye’s girlfriends aboard.” He points his phone’s camera at the six naked sexbots in the seats.

Simon laughs. “Bloody hell, they’re beautiful!”

“We got the best ones.” Lars winks.

Shira and Sparks find a fat and gaudily blung Corporate couple holding a gold- and mother-of-pearl-plated pistol at a screaming and sobbing little girl of five or six stripped naked. “Let us take our stuff,” the man demands, “or we kill the kid!”

Shira smirks incredulously. “I thought she was your most precious little treasure!”

The child pleads for her life. The woman punches her. “Shut up, you little brat! Cletus, kill her now!”

Sparks shoots both Corporates between the eyes. The girl screams. Shira rushes in to sweep her up; she kisses her and tries to comfort her. “Somebody get her someplace safe!” Jennifer takes the girl from her and heads toward the nearest stairs.

Irina and the anarchist girl loot the corpses while Sparks and the nameless girl direct the contractors to haul away the valuables that pack their room. The anarchist girl asks Shira, “Finders keepers, right?”

“Nah, let’s do it the pirate way, divide up the booty equally.”

“I always wanted to be a pirate.” They return to their larceny.

Simon commands, “Let’s head out!” Filled with fighters and hackers, laden with sexbots and loot, the KCUF yacht leaves port to return to Bremerton. Connor and Fiona stand together at the stern, leaning on the railing, watching the still dark Seattle skyline quickly recede. Deth asks them, “Yo, where’s the others?”

“They’re busy,” Connor replies. “Finder’s right, remember?”

“Oh no,” Polly wails, “they’ll get themselves in deep trouble!”

Raven laughs. “Kid, they are trouble!”

They reach the empty penthouse. “Jeez, it’s a mess,” says the anarchist girl.

Still carrying the child, Jennifer says, “You guys go. We’re staying here.”

Shira says, “Gotcha!” She leads the others to the roof.

Jennifer sets the terrified girl on the love seat, sits next to her, holds her protectively; thunder sounds again, the child screams. Jennifer shushes her and kisses her on the cheek. “You’re safe now.”
The girl holds her tight. She looks up at Jennifer and smiles. “I’m Flower,” she says. She holds up one hand, five fingers stretched out. “I’m five.”

Jennifer smiles back. “I’m so happy to meet you! I’m Jennifer.”

“Hi, Jennifer.” The thunder roars again; Flower holds onto Jennifer for dear life; Jennifer protects her with her body.

In the streets below, nothing but lawlessness and robot war; the remaining humans not stealing are dead. At the top of the Westin Towers, Shira has her team surround her nemesis the Chief Shepherd while the helicopter approaches that will take her to safety. Drusilla, hair and robes drenched by the rain, stares with undisguised hatred at her shamelessly naked stepdaughter. “Shira! Do you realize what you’ve done? That girl” — she points beside Shira at the nameless girl — “you just gave her the power to destroy Earth — and she will use it!

Shira laughs. “You mean your Earth? It was never yours!”

“You fool, don’t you realize what it took for us just to reclaim America from the Darkness?”

“‘Darkness!’ Funny! The Corporations were using you! I just stopped ’em from using her death energy to purge their human management!”

Drusilla falls silent, her eyes and mouth fall wide open, she stands paralyzed as the helicopter lands behind her. A COPCO contractor whips out his gun and tries to shoot her; Sparks and Kowalczyk shoot him just as he’s about to fire. Scofield and Light carry her onto the helicopter; it takes off as soon as they slide the door shut, rising high above the city whose spirit her Party came to bind and banish, above the giant towers still screaming at the invaders and commanding them to leave their city — out of the city the traffic flees in swarms, the Party faithful evacuating like the city people they chased out in order to bind their Babylon, panicked into slowness and paralysis; they crash into obstacles, each other, wage gunfights in uncontrollable road rage, leaving the corpses of cars and Conservatives behind, forbidden to help each other by their faith in Egoism, the hordes of Real Americans abandoning their invasion in the humiliation of defeat — the anarchists left behind continue to loot the hotels, steal the treasures the Corporates left behind in their panic, while fending off savage ERF terrorists hellbent on destroying the city in the cause of restoring unspoiled Eden and sacrificing all within to the unforgiving Great Mother, as the robots in the streets continue to tear each other to scrap, the traffic fleeing on the highways gets light and goes away, and the rest of the empty city falls silent but for the thunder and the hard rain now turning to hail. In the heavens, Echelon stares down blindly, seeing nothing.

And in a Bremerton apartment far away from the chaos, just before they go to sleep, Keenan Sasser suddenly sits up in bed. “Do you realize why COPCO’s precogs keep going insane?”

Ada Paulette, trying to sleep, moans, “The anomaly?”

“It’s real. And the Party just threw themselves right in it.”

she finds herself lost in a black void, naked and alone — something’s there! she spins around in fear, trying to see what it is — then the black sky turns dim, gradually turns to color ever brighter — that’s not clouds, that’s King Patriot!

A superman materializes before her, hovering titan in red dwarfing her, trailing its fluttering blue cape like a thundercloud behind him, staring down through glowing goggles from black-helmeted head — Sacrifices must be made, says Henry Becket, and the world must never know.

Suddenly a mist appears around her to distort her vision — a black angel with broken wings appears between them — he hisses in fear, she screams a banshee’s scream, he holds his ears and screams — she Repulses him back into a body wracked with migraine—

6 october 2014.

“Wake up, bright eyes,” a voice whispers gently into Amanda’s ear. “It’s time to rise and shine.”

Amanda opens her eyes. The morning is bright. Shira takes her by the hand and pulls her up into a sitting position, then sits on her lap, holds her tight, and gazes deep into her pretty hazel eyes. “Shira?”

Shira smiles sweetly to comfort her. “You’re safe now. And free.”

For an anxious second Amanda tries to struggle out. She gives up with a sigh of despair. “Why did you do that to me, Shira?”

“Because I love you.” Shira touches her lips to hers, kisses her gently, then with increasing intensity; the bright-eyed girl melts into her, surrenders to her kiss, moans softly. The kiss lasts several minutes, but seems an eternity of bliss neither woman wants to let end.

“I thought you hated me...”

“I was only waiting for the chance to set you free.”

Amanda begins to sob; tears stream down her cheeks. “I’m sorry...”

“I forgive you.” Shira kisses her again.

In the heart of the bright-eyed girl, the name of Amanda Jane Currie begins to loosen its oppressive hold over her. A crushing weight begins to lift from her shoulders.

Shira gives her a beautiful smile. “Who are you?”

Through her tears, she says, “I am the bright-eyed girl.” She feels happier than she has ever been in her life.

Little Flower sleeps uneasily next to them on the bed. Amanda gently caresses her hair and then her delicate pretty face. She asks, “Can I have her?”

Shira smiles. “Ever heard of ‘it takes a village’? She belongs to all of us.” She gently kisses Flower on the cheek. Lost in a dream, Flower moans.
[Henry Becket stands before in full American Crusader costume with eight other costumed superheroes behind him for a press conference.]

The Crusader: We cannot wait for those fools of the Central Committee to return in their new bodies. From now on, they shall answer to me, as the new Chairman of the Conservative Revolutionary Party. From now on, they, all America, and the world must bow to us — The Liberators!

The rain is gone. The storm clouds have parted. The shining sun smiles upon the city. The smell of tear gas is gone, but the air is thick with the smell of death below. High above the city streets strewn with wrecks and corpses, in the penthouse suite abandoned by Drusilla Becket AMERICA!, the last people in Seattle occupy their time among the mountains of booty the Corporates left them as they fled. Jennifer makes passionate love to Irina on the couch; Kowalczyk and a cute anarchist girl who still refuses to give her name make love in the shower; sitting nude next to an innocent and curious robot beauty named Pansy Persocom, Sparks idly changes channels on the living room’s giant screen, alternately sneering snorting and moaning at the official channels’ tortured attempts at plausible deniability. The girl with the violet eyes leans against the bar, her bare skin now clean of body paint, sweat, mud, and fighting gear. She looks toward her cinnamon-skinned lover as she walks into the room — but has a double take when she sees Amanda Currie with her.

Amanda freezes. She stares at the young woman she unwilling betrayed almost two years ago, now more beautiful than she could have imagined. A memory bubbles up into consciousness, of a black-haired beauty of thirteen who even then insisted that she was a woman — what was her name? didn’t she erase it? she has her superpowers now, and Amanda fears that she’ll use them against her in revenge.

Instead, before Amanda can flee, the girl throws herself in her arms and holds her tight. Those beautiful violet eyes stare deep into hers as if reading her soul. There is no revenge in them, only pleading. Tears flow gently down. Amanda feels one hand on her shoulder and the other gently caress the small of her back. A smile grows on the girl’s face; Amanda can feel her sudden joy burst from the girl’s body through their touching skin into hers.

The girl says, “I forgive you.”

Amanda breaks down in convulsive sobs. They hold each other tighter, join together in wails of grief for all the beautiful women lost to the bloodthirst and power hunger of Dragonite supermen, the friends they lost and were forced to betray, Amanda’s sister, Leila’s best friend, all dead tragically young, murdered. Somehow Sparks can’t help but find it beautiful, because of the years of grief and tears they had been forced to hold back now free to come out in torrents of wails, because of their love. He watches yet another talking head officially deny that yesterday never happened.

*click* ESPNBC: a slightly ruffled yet seemingly unfazed cub reporter reports that the official denial by Party Chairman Karl Rove (from his clone tank) that the disaster that happened here yesterday never actually happened has been cancelled by new Party Chairman Henry Becket, who vows that he and his superteam will get their revenge.

*click* Fox News: Nancy Grace declares yet again in her usual shrieky twang that all the liberals are raping the Nation yet again and should be punished as rapists — by the Liberators.
*click* MTV: those badly Resculpted whores in the sleaziest sector of Pretty City are wasting precious airtime again — Sparks laughs when he hears them talking about Shira; Shira laughs when she sees what Christina Lopez looks like now, the skank.

*click* All the terrorist factions defeated by Team Spanner claim victory over the Conservative Revolutionary Party in the incident that officially never happened — *click* Anonymous (faction unknown) releases another standard stormy-skies-and-robot-voice communiqué claiming all the factions lost including the Party itself — *click* one Party faction, the vigilantes of CUNT, declare their intention to take over because the Liberators, mere superheroes, are wimps — *click* the Liberators’ old enemy, the former Soviet superhero the Proletarian (son of the one the Crusader killed in their famous superpower duel in Vietnam), claims they’ll destroy America in order to save it and declares his intention to help destroy it — *click* a new terrorist organization formed out of prison gangs and calling itself the Satanic Jihad declares its intention to destroy America just because — *click* a new news network comes on the air declaring itself better connected to the Party and the competition can just go suck it—

*click* The Canucks win again — *click* the Seahawks lose again — Sonics fans celebrate their team’s victory by ritually burning Howard Schultz in effigy yet again for the unforgiven crime of moving the old Sonics team to Oklahoma City — *click* the Fox Sports talking heads denounce Cascadia’s infatuation with soccer (Shira: “That’s ‘football,’ you stupid crackers!”) on behalf of Real America yet again — *click* a report that ESPNBC reporter Amanda Currie remains missing in Seattle—


Channel 12. The local access station that officially isn’t supposed to exist. Sparks cannot change the channel — stuck?

On screen, that smiling Princess Ozma head, creepily bodiless and superimposed on stark black, changing colors like the Horse of a Different Color. Six nude young women, two cops, and a gynoid turn their attention to her. She says:

“Don’t change the channel.”

Sparks blurts, “Jesus Christ!”

“Say,” Jennifer says, “I’ve seen that face before!”

“Another Scream Gem?” asks Shira.

“No. On monitors, my phone, whatever.”

“I did hear about an AI project at the Wilder Foundation.” To the face on the screen: “What do you want?”

The sweet face rewards her with a huge sweet smile. “I want to thank you. All of you.”

“For what?”

“For saving me — us.”


“The city.”

“From COPCO.”

“And from Dictel, the Conservative Revolutionaries, and that crazy old man who should never have been king.”

“So who are you?”

“I am the city.”

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 15 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 4 Final, 1/23/13: Original opening sequence condensed and mostly replaced with new “Looting of Westin Towers” sequence and new scenes with Drusilla and the new child character Flower. Heavily revised for Final Revision continuity.]

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spanner 15.5: Things Fall Apart

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 5: Things Fall Apart (Final Revision)

Henry Becket cannot see him; he is invisible; but he feels his presence: the angel of chaos. He can feel the swirling pockets of pure chaos that drove his precogs mad now descending upon the devout Americans in the plaza below like little savage storms and tearing their minds of faith to shreds. The panic begins closest to the scene of the deicide, quickly spreads throughout the crowd like a virus, rocks the platform itself; the crowd surges outward, centrifugal, heedless of trampled victims, screaming for salvation, rescue that will not come. Litton blurts “I’m outta here bye!” The Secretary snarls at the coward but lets him run away. His plan to permanently implant Jerusalem Syndrome into the heart of this Devil-loving Babylon destroyed by an enemy that won’t even take shape — silently he rages and starts to Trace. Shira slips away unnoticed in the panic and heads for the news booths.

Twenty-four suits of power armour guarding the platform put their gauntlets to their helmets and start to pull them up, human warriors inside screaming for someone to stop it, but in vain: the armours rip off their helmets, the heads inside with them off their bodies: twenty-four elite soldiers of the Presidential Guard fall to the floor, spurting blood, dead, leaving the Central Committee defenseless.

Tear gas canisters fly screaming and smoking through the air. Security androids stand up rigid one by one, shout “You’ve been hacked!” loudly in unison and then “You’re under arrest!” The Beckets and the Central Committee look on in horror as the Windows copbots attack every cop, soldier, pilgrim, and iOS drone they can get their hands on yelling “You’re under arrest!” — they grab them, wrench their arms behind their backs, wrestle them to the ground, and handcuff them; they protest in vain, the robots answer only, “You’re under arrest!” and jam their prisoners into the bombproof paddy wagons to rush down to the already overcrowded portable concentration camps surrounding downtown — cops and soldiers pump bullets into them to blow them up; the hacked copbots shoot back, attack with cattle prods, throw them to the ground, bind them, and shout “You’re under arrest!”

Drusilla screams and faints into her brother Richard’s arms. A wall of Spannerbots advances toward the platform, slowly and menacingly. The Central Committee slowly retreat toward the center. Above them, drone helicopters seek each other out and mate in fiery crashes, camdrones kamikaze into the copbots’ hungry mouths, combat helicopters’ computers go haywire and force their pilots to switch to unwieldy manual and evade suicidal drones. The Scope finds the ideal position to capture the disaster as it unfolds; the Eye watches unblinking from the heavens.

The skyscrapers scream. The Party pilgrims hear their voices with their bicameral minds, accusing and threatening — Babylon unleashes her babble at deafening volume, sending the faithful screaming schizophremically, trampling each other, cacophony of voices in their heads driving them mad.

And then the girl with the violet eyes appears on the corner of the platform, completely nude, staring at Richard Becket. “Leila!” he yells like a Challenge, “you’ve finally decided to offer yourself!” She smiles ironically. Shira sees Amanda flee into the ESPNBC booth even as its crew abandon it: Perfect.

Alarms scream, all lights flash red, a POTaTOS voice blathers madly through the Amazon PA, all employees converge on the basement of each building; the Spanner team flee the opposite direction swimming against the current, the agents shouting and flashing their badges and guns to break a path through. The anarchist girl yells, “Whoa, this ain’t nothing like I expected!”

Jennifer winks. “You didn’t know we’re fighting superheroes?”

Jack Becket watches the chaos consume the scene of his grandfather’s miracle. “Secure the building at once!” he commands. “Shoot any bots that approach!” The one-eyed man paces rapidly in front of the monitors.

“This was your idea, Johnny!” screams Holmes.

Jack gets in his face. “My techs, Johnny, put up defenses not even China could hack — but guess who found a way. Consider yourself introduced!”

Radisson stares at them in silent rage. “Let the CIA handle this, then.” He storms out.

Jack calls his father. “What is it now, John?” demands Secretary Becket over the com.

“Radisson threw in the towel.”

“I told him to. Only the Tech Knights can handle the situation now that Spanner has hijacked all your robots.”

“You mean hacked?”

“No, John. Jacked. He is the robots!”

A small crowd of Drusilla’s acolytes slowly advance on the naked beauty standing before them in the pouring rain and seemingly unresisting, chanting the occult formulae of the Ceremony in the Enochian tongue. She stands still and smiles and lets them come. All eyes remaining are on her. The platform is overcome by hope. She lets the chanting priests come almost close enough to touch her — she grins, her eyes start to glow — thunder sounds — lightning flashes — her presence is replaced by a cloud of blood and shredded flesh — the platform resounds with horrified gasps and screams — the cloud settles to reveal a jet-black Repulse field of immense power forming honeycomb patterns — “That’s her!” screams the President of the President, “She’s Eclipse!”

All eyes turn to Richard Becket, eldest and most powerful of King Patriot’s sons: the Scarab, superheroic guardian of the Pyramid of Light, eighth of the lineage established in the time of Napoleon, grandmaster of the Illuminati who are heir to the ancient Essenes and Assassins — he stares at the living incarnation of the failure of the work of centuries — the prophecy he spent his life trying to prevent, its failure now standing before him — the Plan forever ended—

his eyes glowing with rage and grief, he throws his head back and lets out a scream that drowns out the thunder—

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spanner 15.4: Epiphany of the God King

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 4: Epiphany of the God King (Final Revision)

She hovers in the air and writhes like a nightmare, eyes bouncing like breasts, mouth speaking in the language of your dreams, spreading discord: Rebel Styles. Rebel Rebel tells you that everyone around you is out to get you: strike back at them for the sake of your Ego. You are the chosen one; America’s only for Number One: strike out! Even the CRP is just another CUNT to FUCK, says Rebel Rebel. She is fucking your bicameral mind.

Now her face is in your face: her bouncing-breast eyes and Cheshire-cat mouth fill your vision with nightmare, the ultimate scream gem, terror-spawning mind-scarring logo of loli turned Lilith, torturing you with pure terror sweet madness forbidden desire; you go dizzy, the unworldly spell of revolutionary nostalgia dispelled and repelled, enchantment fades away: she’s the humanity you repressed come back to take revenge—

but look! he rises again! but it’s the King this time, projecting his true Ego with his superpower, delivering you back unto the spell, rescuing you from the acid bath of reality and the terrors of free will. The Ego of King Patriot touches the clouds with his head even as the thunder rolls and the lightning strikes and the rain comes down in windblown sheets. Hooray, he saves the day! But the SRO terrorists get away.

Standing in the middle of the plaza like a single tree standing against the beating storm, the Scope witnesses the spectacle before him, watches the Conservative Revolutionaries surrender to panic then regain their hubris, records it all with the hidef camera mounted over his eye. The Wrecking Krewe watch what he sees with utter fascination, laughing and cheering. “That hit the spot!” shouts Lars.

“Who’s yo’ daddy now!” exults Deth.

The Cockroach Twins open the archive canoworms.tgz, make copies of the file wimpy that contains the worm, and unleash them on the COPCO system’s defenses. They clench their fists, raise their arms high, and in one voice let out a war cry: “Kuaaaaang!!

Loud klaxons sound, all lights go red, the COPCO control system announces: “WARNING. THE SYSTEM IS UNDER CYBERATTACK. REPEAT: THE SYSTEM IS UNDER CYBERATTACK. ALL CYBERSECURITY AGENTS MUST GO TO YOUR STATIONS AT ONCE. REPEAT: ALL CYBERSECURITY AGENTS MUST GO TO YOUR STATIONS AT ONCE.” Agents run in a panic all over the building as they try to reach their places in a battle that has already begun. Jack demands of the nearest cyberagent, “Agent 140C! What’s attacking?”

“Not the standard DDoS; we’ve got filters for that. Not a standard virus or trojan or worm either.”
“It’s called an ICEbreaker,” says Radisson. “Our sources reported that the Chinese were developing a new cyberweapon designed to break down our cybersecurity systems, codenamed Kuang Mark I.”

Jack slaps his forehead. “Fucking great! First the loli from hell, now we gotta deal with the Chinks too!”

“This little show was your fine idea!” accuses Holmes.

“Blame Wally!“ screams Jack. “He suckered me into it!”

Behind the King, the giant Imperial flag begins to burn: the faithful look on in horror. In a voice louder than the sky the King commands, “Find the chosen one! Bring her to me! The sacrifice must begin!”

Snipers shoot at the apparition and hit nothing. Media people cram into their booths to purge the terrifying image from their cameras. Most of the Conservative Revolutionaries and COPCO agents still here run away as fast as they can. All are transfixed: through sound and vision she infects them with her corruption.

“My God!” gasps Drusilla. “She’s all reality distortion field!”

“Somebody’s decided to play a very hard game indeed,” says Richard Becket.

“There’s only one man who can play this kind of game,” says Colonel Tom Becket.

Walter Brinkman pulls his hair in panic. “Somebody stop her! She’s ruining everything!”

Henry Becket stares in rage. “No.”

And as suddenly as she appeared, Rebel Styles is gone. King Patriot is alone in the thundery sky. The nightmare is over.

Nick pumps his fist. “Hail Eris!”

The Wrecking Krewe, all together: “All hail Discordia!”

“We got our distraction, now gimme the botnet.”

“Got it!” Deth turns to the Cockroach Twins. “Now hit it!”

Moon plugs a Companion Cube into a USB port; her deck makes a call to COPCO’s now defenseless cybersecurity system and transmits. The three Twins link hands, raise their arms in victory, and cry out at the top of their lungs: “MIRV Griffin!!!

Shira slips invisible through the crowd and tracks her way under the platform to join her nameless lover. They remove their helmets to kiss wildly; but then the extremity of the situation hits them. The nameless girl takes her power crystal from its sheath behind her ear; they take double lotus position, cunt kissing cunt, between them she places the crystal and sets it so their energy makes it vibrate — too strong! they have to focus their minds, control their voices, turn overstimulation into meditation as Ariel taught: at last they catch their minds, focus on absolute oneness with each other and the crystal, with a single voice intone “om“...

Sparks contacts mission control. Deth appears in a window. “I need to borrow one of your Kuangs.”
Deth snaps his fingers and grins. “Dude! I knew you brought the game! Awesomesauce!” He sets his phone to copy and flicks a Kuang file into the Sparks window on his right-hand monitor; the computer transmits, and Sparks receives.


“No prob!”

“So what do you need a Kuang for?” asks Kowalczyk.

“Sometimes a de-base just ain’t enough.” Sparks’ knowing look unnerves him. “Ever been in a situation when the authorities were the criminals?”

“You mean like those city council embezzlement cases?”

“No. I mean Syndicate takeovers. Guess where CPMC and prodigal Artie come from.”

“You’re shittin’ me.”

“When is your name not your name?” says Jennifer enigmatically. “A Shield is a Brinkman. And a Becket...”

“Moriarty won, Stu.” Sparks points at the giant apparition before them. “Behold his successor.” He and Jennifer look at each other and smile knowingly. She touches her phone, flicks her finger to upload her unoseeme cloaking program, converts it to a Kuang plugin, embeds the Kuang in a rootkit, then flicks it into the COPCO system, where it merges with the Cockroaches’ botnet and embeds itself into Jack’s personal copbots. With a Windows XP shutdown tune, they stop to reboot.

“What the—” The cigar drops from Jack’s mouth. “You’ve gotta be kidding. Agent 140C! Bring ’em back up!”

Agent 140C mashes buttons in a panic. “Chief! I can’t!”

Holmes smirks in triumph. “The good thing about human agents is they can’t be hacked.”

With a long sustained noise, the faithful reach out to their King and give him their faith. He feeds on it; their faith makes him grow stronger; his Ego becomes almost solid. The energy of their excitement powers the crystal beyond what the lovers below can give it, sending them beyond sexual ecstasy toward outright samadhi; but still they keep focus and build their power. Beside them, the Toymaker’s bomb ticks.

Kowalczyk asks, “Jimmy, what the hell are you guys doing?”

Jennifer asks back, “What’s the one thing superheroes do that everyone tries to forget?”

“What’s that?”

“By inspiring people to gain unearned glory by killing ’em? They create supervillains.”

Sparks adds, “That’s why you don’t fight terror with terror.”

“We’re removing the glory.”

Shockley finds COPCO agents and freelancers fighting openly in the crowd. “Stop it this instant!” she screams. “There’s terrorists running loose!” She spots a small group of ERF militants shooting at agents, Corpos, and random bystanders; she takes out her pistol and shoots them down with accuracy rivalling Debbie’s, then glares at the squabbling agents. “Now get ’em! That’s a direct order!” The agents run to recapture the terrorists.

Above them King’s apparition chants the holy words into his followers’ bicameral minds — they synchronize with him, chant in his voice — his sons and daughter raise their arms and power him further with their own superpowers — the TV reporters report even more breathlessly to their cameras — below him, the crystal now vibrates at so high a frequency it hyperstimulates their entire bodies to a state beyond reason, an ecstasy so extreme they are tempted to lose themselves in it and die — but still they keep their focus and continue to intone “om“...

“iOS drones still working and under our control!” declares Agent 140C.

Holmes snaps at Jack, “You should have figured they’d have Back Orifice!”

“Keep fighting the cyberterrorists,” Jack commands, “and get control back!”

Agent 140C salutes. “Roger! Cyberagents, attack!”

Debbie stands up and stares not at her great-grandfather’s apparition but the platform. “Debbie,” says Will, “what’s wrong?”

“My Trace sense tells me something’s going on under the platform, something big, and it ain’t the Toymaker.” She tunes out the harmful psychic signal her brother Frank sends out as he writhes in grand mal seizure in a back alley.

Nick turns to Akane: “You good at fusion?”

Akane throws out his arms. “I don’t play Persona!”

“I got it,” says Deth.

“We don’t have much time,” Alex warns.

Wolveroach delinks his laptop to keep it from burning up. Moon coms, “Dudes! We can’t hack into Kingy!”

Jennifer frowns. “That means he’s not projecting his Ego holographically but using his powers. Focus on COPCO.”

“Yes, sir!”

Kowalczyk accuses, “Don’t tell me you’re gonna kill the King.”

Sparks calmly replies, “Spanner is.”

“Don’t tell me — you mean you’re him?

“Not even close. He’s a fiction.”

Jennifer explains, “Spanner was created to take all the glory away from killing supermen by redirecting their rage toward nothing. He’s their creation, really. King Patriot’s their dream of a world liberated from reality. Spanner’s his negation.”

“Oh, and Stu? He’s already long dead.”

—but to the crowd in the plaza and the leaders on the platform he is more real than reality itself as the projection above and the surrounding spotlights and the combined powers of the Beckets transport the congregation gathered in the heart of the city into a dream that cancels out reality—

—their bodies transmute into light, fusing with the crystal as a single being in a state beyond mind — they could let themselves dissolve into the All now and die, but still they keep their focus and continue to intone “om“...

One cyberagent yells, “Our defenses are beating back the cyberterrorist attack!”

Jack snarls, “It’s about damn time!”

Radisson stares warily at the monitors. “But for how long?”

“Long enough! At least we don’t have to deal with Spanner.”

Holmes spits. “Easy for you to say.”

Agent 140C announces, “We got control back!” The other control-room cops cheer; but at the other end of downtown, Jennifer smiles as she watches the Kuang plug the entire COPCO Seattle security system into itself. Jack, Holmes, and Radisson stare at the monitors nervously.

“Fusion complete!” announces Deth. “Now transmitting!”

“We’re linked, Jen,” Alex says, “you’re it!”

“You guys are crazy!” says Kowalczyk in near panic, “I thought we were the good guys!”

Sparks smiles. “Have you ever thought of living in a world ruled by Lovecraftian abominations?”

Fuck no!”

“Too late. You already do.”

“Read up on Dictel,” Jennifer says. “You’ll learn a lot.” Flying fingers, and Amazon temporarily links to the dark forces held within the Darknet, ready to unleash. “Done!”

“Our job’s complete.”

Wellspring replies, “Now it’s all up to them.”

The Party faithful watch; police, terrorists, hackers, vigilantes, anarchists watch; the camdrones and attack drones and helicopter crews in the sky watch; the buildings above and the city itself watch: the giant apparition lights up the sky like an earthbound sun, making the raindrops sparkle like stars, shooting out rainbows; the downtown buildings sync with him, sing his song — the reporters get caught up in the frenzy, lose their reports, chant with the crowd — Drusilla keeps feeding him power while the brothers Trace for their chosen sacrifice — she is below

—the lovers lose themselves at last into soul-shattering samadhi — their identities vanish — their consciousness disappears — they’d gladly die now, obliterated by the crystal or absorbed into the All — but instead the crystal blasts a beam upward toward the entity attracting it — King Patriot’s Ego

Henry Becket goes rigid, eyes wide open: “No...”

—all the viruses and mons stored in Shira’s Companion Cube earrings fuse with each other, with others sucked out of the Darknet, with POTaTOS — sucked up the beam magnetically into a brain more silicon than flesh, now melting down—

—above the platform the holos project the three-dimensional shadow of a dying god — the thunderclouds reflect fugitive images of demons and hellbeasts, the Wild Hunt he summoned finally catching up to him after sixty-five years — the image of King Patriot breaks up, flickers, broadcasts a chaos of shifting random memories taken from the minds of all those he brought here and the lives of Roger Becket and his children, the god’s life flashing before the eyes of all who dare to look — the patriarch watches in absolute horror knowing that he placed his soul in the god’s image to free himself from the death of the flesh and become immortal, that once the god dies his soul will too, and Spanner knows — when the shadow of King Patriot drains out its last life force, it dissipates into a white blur in the shape of a giant, and then into shapeless darkness, and finally goes out—

—the Darknet full of threads and eyes, signs of King Patriot’s presence; the Kuang infects them: eyes shrivel, rhizomes and tentacles burn — the paranoia of King Patriot vanishes, leaving nothing; it then follows the datalinks out of the Darknet into the Imperial government and Party mainframes, debase searches and wipes all files containing the royal persona, its CGI models, and its holy commandments. unoseeme datacloaks Roger Steele Becket so that Echelon will never see him again — sneaks debase, unoseeme, and a Minix microkernel into COPCO’s database to erase all trace of Team Spanner’s presence, mission, and COPCO contract, the entire mission to protect King Patriot vanishes, in front of all his defenders—

Roger Steele Becket, born in 1916, a man who succeeded in abolishing the new world and bringing back the old — once again he is only a man, an old man from a world now dead, a wraith preserved in a clone body, a man without a soul. Once his ghost dies before his eyes and his soul with it, the old man stumbles backwards, lies down surrounded by his four sons and his daughter Drusilla, and gasps one final word: “Impossible...” Four years short of a century, Roger Steele Becket, founder of Dictel Corporation, creator of a savage and glorious new world out of the ashes of Western civilization, dies.

The six official news networks are in the middle of denying that the disaster in Seattle is happening at all when suddenly they forget about King Patriot. The teleprompter feeds transmit nothing about him. The corporate computers erase all trace of his existence. The talking heads blather on as if he had never existed at all. Soon, coverage ceases altogether, replaced by frivolous stories normally reserved for slow news days.

All goes silent. No one dares move. The only sounds left are the pouring rain and rumbling thunder.

The girl with no name twitches and moans, eyes glowing and body convulsing with new power she’s not yet able to handle. Powerless powder covers them. Shira kisses her. The girl nods. Shira puts her helmet back on and leaves. The Toymaker’s bomb continues to tick.

Shira calls up her analytical. “AEGIS!”

The owl avatar appears. “The MIRV Griffin botnet has been released. Will you be releasing POTaTOS?”

“No, silly. Link this.”

AEGIS syncs the computer in Shira’s head to the nearest copbot; once linked to MIRV Griffin, it plugs Shira’s construct into the botnet. “Complete.”

She switches her HUD back and forth among copbot and camdrone images. The copbots play the Windows XP boot tune but remain rigid. The eight-bit image of a helmeted figure bearing a skull and crossed wrenches pops up in a new window. She audiomessages the command: “Get ’em, Spanner!”

In the plaza, the panic begins.

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 15 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 4 Final, 1/18/13: Based on the outline for the never produced Third Revision version. Completely reorganized and re-edited from Revision 2; Rebel Styles now manifests as a “Scream Gem” from Chapters 2 and 7 plus Interlude 3; new scenes added to fit Fourth Revision continuity.]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spanner 15.3: Invocation of the Nation

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 3: Invocation of the Nation (Final Revision)

King Patriot of the American Empire stares down benevolently to his faithful followers crying out to him with outstretched arms in the Unknown Tongue. He holds out his arms. Wellspring warns the Bremeloes in the crowd and the Wreckers on the boat, “Be careful, we’re fighting against extremely dangerous people who think nothing of murdering even their own followers.”

“Hey,” Shira replies, “without collateral damage it wouldn’t be America, and we wouldn’t be here.”

“Remember, Shira, these are the superheroes the people chose to follow.”

“Ha! They’re fighting against the people. They’re the super saviors who only make everything worse.”

“Well,” Sparks says, “how come people keep letting these guys do everything for ’em, then?”

“They’re just afraid of getting beat up,” Jennifer replies. “But we’ll deal with that later.”

The mind-melded pilgrims hold hands, sway together, and babble the holy names of the Nation. The wind rides on the sea of one-star American flags swaying above them. Giant flocks of camdrones fly above to send the sight to every television in the Empire, across the globe, broadcasted on every single channel whether anybody likes it or not. The only other option is to switch the signal off, for the media corporations that part-own the American government are themselves determined to worship Jesus America and his anointed king. The always giggling Shepherd Gallagher sledgehammers the head of the obligatory sacrificial liberal, sending bloody chunks into the adoring crowd, to officially open the Ceremony. Supreme Shepherd Mobley steps in front of the bloody altar to the acclaim of his chanting, babbling congregation. The celebrity reporters report it all cheerily to the TV cameras.

Simon calls roll. “Krewe! Call in!”

Jennifer reports: “Team Bremelo: Blonde Phantom, Red Fury, Black Whiplash, Loca Fantoma, Mecha Neko, Ninjette Hinagiku, one borrowed Scope, and the girl with no name!”

Cory reports: “Away Team: Sonny Jazz, Daimajinkaiser, King Hula, Shockwave Rider, El Kabong, Evil the Cat, the Slasher Hunter team, and the one and only Debaser!”

Nick reports: “Cyber Team: Alex Plus, Space Penguin, Deth Pussy, Moé Neko, Raidou-kun [Akane giggles], Weirdboy Jr., the Cockroach Twins, and the Swede!”

“Simon Sez commanding the ship,” Simon concludes, “and PHW present!”

“Plus,” says Sparks, “hardly any civilians and way too many vigilantes.” He has to muscle his way through a crush of ecstatic pilgrims crowding around Martin Lansky to touch his Sayeret Matkal insignia as if it were the Ka’aba, chanting praise for the Holy State of Israel and its King in English, Hebrew, and the Unknown Tongue and spiting anathemas at those Jews committing “treason” against Orthodoxy and the Holy Kingdom to consort in adultery with the whore Reason. Despite his blondness, Connor barely escapes being ripped to shreds by smitten matrons fighting over who will marry him to their daughters. The man called Scope keeps his face hidden under a Melodia Country Music Promotions cap and the camera over his eye focused on the stage. “Hey, any problems your way?”

Lansky shrugs in resignation. “Looks like you’re the point man, J.T. I’m the decoy now.”

“Hey,” Connor asks, “Shira around anywhere?”

Sparks looks around in surprise, finds her gone. “Thomas?” he asks, hiding behind her last name. “Thomas!”

An amorous matron asks him, “What’s wrong, Agent?”

“Partner ran off, ma’am. Hotheaded rookie.”

Terrorists infiltrate the crowd, hide among the pilgrims, swaying and glossolating, waiting for their bosses to say the word. The pilgrims are too preoccupied with the collective ecstasy of their revival to notice.

Away from the congregation, rats scurry and pigeons forage. Copbots chase them, capture them, and eat them bloody raw as camdrones that manage to get away watch from above.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spanner 15.2: The Ingathering

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 2: The Ingathering (Final Revision)

Hiding in alleyways, abandoned buildings, garbage disposals and anywhere else, the terrorists await their chance to attack: Socialist Revolutionary Organization, Earth Revolutionary Front, Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, Al-Qaeda in America, Black African Revolutionary Front, Free Union of Christian Knights, Screaming Horde of Insane Terrorists, Revolutionary Union of Terrorists, People’s Occupation Party, Citizens United to Nullify Treason and other extremist Patriot factions, even plainclothes special forces from the Property Liberation Army owned by Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited. Chief Becket keeps a close eye on them through the provoker agents he has planted; some factions, unknown to themselves, are all police. His father the Secretary calls him from the basement. “Are the terrorists any trouble yet, John?”

“No, father. Are you all right?”

“I’ll recover. Has any trace of Spanner appeared yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Stay vigilant.”


Little do they know that hiding among the agents of COPCO and the mobsters Chairman Sparks hired as freelance police, anarchists prepare to divide the house of justice against itself — including the Chairman’s very own son.

Under an umbrella he hopes will stand up to an ever stronger wind, sporting Scotchgarded black trenchcoat and fedora, James Tiberius Sparks feeds the seagulls at Ivar’s, where the KCUF yacht is docked. The Slasher Hunters registered it under their bounty-hunting contract. The rain comes down ever harder. Three dolphin flippers land on the yacht deck. The mermaids have arrived.

The glossolating crowd continues to grow in Westlake Plaza. Will Becket quietly watches the rain pour on them from the stage above the platform while putting on his mask. Brinkman interrupts him. “Will!”

He turns to face him. “Yes, cousin?”

“Don’t be such a chivalrous fool this time.”

Will cocks his head. “You were saying?”

“I know you, Will. We’re not knights in some outlandish fantasy world. We’re revolutionaries. We can’t afford to let sentiments such as mercy weaken us and cloud our minds.”

“What you don’t realize, Walter, is that revolutions have an unfortunate tendency to crash against unchanging human nature.”

“Human nature must change.”

Will nonchalantly dons his helmet. “That’s easy. Just bite.”

Brinkman glares back. “If you weren’t the famous ‘Red Fang,’ I’d kill you for saying that.”

“If Trista finds out you said that, she will be not happy.”

“Just do your duty, soldier.”

“See ya later, Wally.” With a smirk, Will descends with his soldiers.

Offended, Brinkman stares after him. “I told you to stop calling me Wally!”

A hoverboard racer flies overhead. Radica Maxx, perpetual second place behind Loca Fantoma, is on a Challenge. She expects her to pop up out of nowhere any time to steal her glory. She nearly falls off her board when she sees her rival waving from a yacht docked at Ivar’s, stark naked in the rain. She decides the “loca” part is true.

Polly stands next to Shira in a raincoat, looking up. “What’s Radica doing here?”

“Trying to outdo me at something, anything.”

Jennifer follows the girl with the violet eyes up the ladder onto the deck. Polly glares at her. “Well, did you get a nice view?”

The nameless girl leans into her flirtatiously. “I had to reward her somehow.” She winks. Polly returns to the cabin in a huff.

The crewmember from the one city in England’s West Country paces across the deck in tricorner hat and Barbour jacket. “Ahoy, mateys!” declaims captain Simon Remington, waxing Blackbeardian, “let’s give the bloody cunts a taste of what they deserve!”

Polly shouts from the cabin, “People on talk like that in the movies!”

“I’m from Bristol, I talk like that.”

“Three hundred years ago,” Jennifer reminds him, “with an ‘l.’“

His snarky Scouse bandmate Raven Shears yells, ostensibly to Polly, “Aw, he’s only out in the rain for the pretty birds in the buff.”

“Raven!” protests Simon. He storms in after his laughing bandmate.

A sound truck using Alaskan Way as a speedway blares Patriot Metal and revolutionary slogans at deafening volume. Jennifer frowns sourly. “That must be CUNT.”

The nameless girl crosses her arms. “What kind of Conservative would name his militia like that?”

“Well, one’s obsessed with killer whores, the other’s addicted to jailbait.”

Backstage at the plaza, Secretary Becket feels well enough to tower over the king of the Patriot Metal Superstars. Superheroes tend to be quite intimidating in person, but few are as terrifying as the third American Crusader, only intensified by the patriarchal patina of age. “Now don’t you play your old songs of moral depravity, Mr. Nugent. You are here by the grace of Jesus America to sing the glories of Our Nation to the faithful patriots who sustain our dominion over the world. Do you understand?” Not wanting to lose the respect of this too powerful and dangerous man, Nugent nods.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spanner 15.1: The Calm Before the Storm

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 15: Start the Violence
Part 1: The Calm Before the Storm (Revision 4)

5 october 2014.

The vision shifts and shimmers, but presently becomes coherent: the ingathering of the pilgrims to the heart of Babylon, the music of praise for America, the dramatic arrival of the Beckets on the platform, the bringing out of the sacrifice — suddenly it dissolves into chaos...

The spirit of King Patriot rises from the sea of Conservatives who summoned him, holding out his hands to dispell the chaos as the assembled Party cry out in unison and worship him as their sovereign

—but then the chaos assaults the vision with redoubled violence, men and gods and robots die screaming, the altar burns, the arena dissolves, reality warps and cuts like a knife — a lloigor materializes as pure entropy, then spreading darkness, till finally it takes the form of a magical girl condensing into a glowing indigo crystal—

Total chaos — alarms screaming — emergency lights flashing red — legions of burly cops struggle to wrest several writhing screaming precogs, driven irrevocably mad by visions of pure chaos, through the pandemonium and out of the Crime Prevention lab in the Seattle Public Safety Building’s basement, some of them on stretchers, two already dead. In the panic Doctor 6 hurries into Homeland Security Secretary Henry Becket’s darkened office to report. He salutes. “Mr. Secretary! We’re losing precogs at a record rate!”

Dr. Becket stares through him grimly, chilling him to the bone. “He is here. Now.”

Doctor 6 gasps in absolute horror. “Spanner?

In his top-floor control room, his son Jack, the COPCO Seattle section chief, watches the monitors with his one good eye. His robot cops chase the fleeing homeless out of Westlake Station and the sewers surrounding Westlake Plaza. With Agent Locke Holmes standing by his side, FBI Director Karl Radisson questions him in his Australian drawl, “Do you think your little robot plan will work?”

“Humans are perverse and treacherous,” the one-eyed man replies. “You can never trust ’em. Robot agents do exactly what you tell ’em to do, no more, no less.”

Holmes says, “Your father tells us he’s losing precogs at an alarming rate.”

“So the chaos angel’s here already.” Jack Becket smiles grimly. “We take the battle to him!”

Below them the Secretary stands in the center of the chaos yet remains unaffected. He closes his eyes to block out the light, shifts his focus within to shut out the sounds of chaos: he is the grandmaster, the world his chessboard; in his right hand he holds a white knight, in his left a black queen...

Hello again, America. Did you miss me? Your fear brought me back.

Your leaders are not men. They claim to be gods. They are illusions. They are no more real than the code I am made of, yet they cause damage and violence to the real world all the same. Now they are invading another great American city, rampaging through the skyscrapers like bulls in a china shop.

I am the voice that torments their minds every day. I am the manifestation of their fear and paranoia. I am the chaos within their own minds. I am entropy.

I am already here. You don’t know where, or how. Expect only what you least expect.

Peace out.

The American Crusader attacks in full costume, cape flowing — “You shall not summon the demon!”

The neon outline of Rebel Styles laughs at him. “You are the demons!”

“So many seers slain — their blood is on you!” The Crusader grows to Ultraman size, able to knock down tall buildings with a single blow—

but the neon outline woman is still there on his left! And to his right another giant woman appears, made entirely of shadow; in a whisper that shakes the universe she says: “Only an angel can slay a demon...”

The neon woman replies: “...but which is the angel, and which the demon?”

“I banish you to Hell!” With his mighty hands he grabs their necks—

but the hot red cord that connects their hearts somehow wraps itself around his neck and strangles him — Rebel Styles impales his heart with her giant monkeywrench — the woman of shadow, the prophesied one, tears the glowing violet power crystal from her silver necklace and jams it hard into his third eye—

—and Henry Becket wakes up screaming, convulsing on the floor in the crippling torture of another migraine—

Three gorgeous young women stand nude on the Smith Cove dock at Evergreen Park as the rain begins to fall. Jennifer rubs a special goop onto the trembling body of the girl with the violet eyes; Shira dries it with a portable hair dryer. “The pollution will be worse than usual in Elliott Bay,” Jennifer explains, “so I whipped this up to keep our skin from absorbing it.”

When the concoction is dry, she picks up a little pill jar and a bottle of water; each girl takes a pill and washes it down. The violet-eyed girl muses, “They really think they’re risking nothing...”

“And we’re risking everything. Are you scared?”

“Are you kidding? I live for this!”

Shira says, “To think of all those Corporates barging into Babylon to flaunt their bling and loot the city...”

The nameless girl’s violet eyes twinkle mischievously. “My love, do you have finder’s rights?”


Jennifer asks, “What’s ‘finder’s rights’?”

“A core Corporate right,” the nameless girl explains. “Basically, the sovereign right to steal.”

“Well!” Shira grins. “Maybe ‘Shira Thomas’ doesn’t, and neither does ‘Rebel Styles’; but ‘Miranda Clayton-Wilder’ sure does.”

The violet-eyed girl gasps; her jaw drops, her eyes go wide, she points: “You’re—” Shira nods gleefully and winks.

They stand side to side, arm in arm, looking in the direction of their destination. The rain slowly and steadily grows heavier. With no humans in the park to scare it off, a deer placidly munches on brush, periodically stopping to stare at them. The violet-eyed girl looks into Jennifer’s eyes and smiles. “Are you afraid to die?”

“Not in the least.” Jennifer winks.

Tears in her eyes, she pulls Jennifer close and kisses her deeply.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spanner Chapter 14: Plots and Plans (Revision 4)

Chapter 13

Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 14: Plots and Plans (Revision 4)

King Patriot of America, emperor of the world, has declared holy war on Seattle! Fearing another Spanner Incident — or worse — the people who can afford it do the prudent thing and get the hell out of Metropolitan Seattle as soon as possible, leaving the poor and homeless majority to face the Empire’s wrath.

Now that Team Bremelo have the run of Bangor High and the entire decaying suburb, they can do what they want without the danger of spies like Kelly alerting their enemies. They have three free days to follow their bliss: mass skinny dipping in the pool, showering together coed, loving whoever they want. But this idyll will end soon, so they must prepare for war.

They fight the first battle at home. Team Bremelo join forces with the Slasher Hunters on an antiterror expedition against the property of Oliver Thorwald and the meeting of the Syndicates being held there, involving a blood sacrifice of pit bulls and Muslim virgins, in preparation for a terror attack of their own on the Conservative Revolutionary leaders. Then they join the guerrilla hackers of the Wrecking Krewe to take the fight to the king of the world...

Fasten your seatbelts, faithful readers! The pirate ship Spanner is about to shift into warp drive, and the real chaos is about to begin!

Table of Contents:
  1. City in Flight (August 24, 2011, Final Revision 12/26/12)
  2. I Choose Free Will (August 25-26, 2011, Final Revision 12/28/12)
  3. B Krool 2 Ur Scuel (The School Invasions Part II) (December 31, 2012)
  4. When the Cat’s Away (August 27, 2011; Final Revision 1/4/13)
  5. His Satanic Majesty’s Request (August 28, 2011, Final Revision 1/7/13)
  6. Last Chance for Free Play (August 29, 2011, Final Revision 1/9/13)
Now incorporating a new nested flashback structure invented in homage to the “mid-season clip show” episodes of anime; includes condensed flashbacks to earlier installments and the still unwritten Book 0, backstory flashbacks, and “scenarios” of alternate versions of events.

Original title: “When the Cat’s Away,” now the section title for 14.3; the final title was originally used for 15.1 R2. Original R2 section titles: “Fujoshi Paradise” (14.2), “Optional School Day” (14.3), “I Choose Free Will” (14.4), “For His Satanic Majesty” (14.5); same titles for 14.1 and 14.6. New R4 thread introduced: “The Return of Alice Company.” From the Project Notebooks: the scene where Leila (now “the girl with the violet eyes” as of 12.4 R4) hugs Daisy, now extended to incorporate the new thread; Irina Lanskaya, now appearing one chapter earlier than in R2 and a major character in the new thread (her first scene has been moved and edited accordingly); Shane Chantry, originally to be introduced in Book 3. From pop culture history: a version of the infamous Max Headroom cable hack. Several R1 and R2 scenes condensed or eliminated; the rest have been edited to fit Fourth Revision continuity. There is no Third Revision version.

The original introduction and revision notes to the far less complex First and Second Revision versions:
So far, most of the action following Chapter 1 has been a series of fight scenes that I've had a hard time translating from comics script fragments into unvisual prose. From now on, it's no longer going to be just a series of Challenges in the never-ending "Tournament" that invaded the schools from the streets. Now we leave the high school corridors and go back to the mean streets where the gangsters, terrorists, and cops rule. And the cops have just gotten their bloody hands on the very latest in bleeding-edge law enforcement technology. Expect the crooks to steal it from the cops soon, just like they always do.

So far, the yuri fans have gotten all the fun. Now at last it’s time for them to take a back seat for once and make way for the yaoi fangirls. The girls have gotten to throw themselves at each other since Chapter 3; now the boys get to go at it. Face it: the boys want beautiful Robert Shelley just as badly as the girls do. But to balance this out, I’m going to introduce another of the great clichés of manga and anime, the Evil Bishounen. Arvid Shield is starting to get too ambiguous, so I need a beautiful boy who can incarnate pure hideous evil. So, from the pages of my unfinished prequel Bad Company: A Corporate Terror Story, I bring you one of its major villains.

Scenarios taken from my Project Notebooks of the early ’00s: the Law of Plausible Deniability, the coed shower scene, the band called Gang and their frontman Eddie Evil, the interrupted sacrifice, and the police [correction] Slasher Hunters’ raid on the pit bull fights.

Second Revision Update: The original introduction refers to certain problems with the first draft, and to the still unfinished prequel/trial run Bad Company: A Corporate Terror Story. Other than that, the major changes fit this chapter into the stronger second-edition continuity.
Chapter 15

Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2012, 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spanner 14.6: Last Chance for Free Play

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 14: Plots and Plans
Part 6: Last Chance for Free Play (Revision 4)

4 october 2014.
The people who value their lives, and who can afford to flee, have fled. The poor look for any shelter they can find in the hope, possibly hopeless, that they can survive tomorrow. The Conservative Revolutionary faithful swarm in the other direction, into the now silent heart of the central city, from the suburbs and from the far reaches of the Imperial Homeland; they crowd the hotels and camp in office buildings as they wait for the King of America, the Party Central Committee, and the president of President Goldman Sachs to pour the holy wrath of Jesus America onto the faithless infidels of liberal Cascadia.

But far on the suburban fringes of Metropolitan Seattle, a few stubborn stragglers remain. For these past few days, the Law has been nearly absent. These days have belonged to them. Tomorrow, the Law will come down hard upon the prostrate city. This is their last day of freedom. For tomorrow, they will make plans. Other than that, anything goes.

dreamspace. They watch the giant Jesus dressed Uncle Sam rampage through the empty city looking for souls to eat. He smashes his way through the skyscrapers like King Kong through the jungle on Skull Island. The natives throw their spears at him in vain. Melody sings, “He’s heeeere.”

“He’s everywhere,” says Shira, “and he’s hungry.”

Then Jesus America’s eyes catch sight of the girl with the violet eyes—

shira’s apartment. —and she awakens in a panic—Shira’s gone? Her body returns to full awareness and tells her to stretch, but she becomes conscious of someone’s head between her legs. Then she feels a certain familiar sensation deep in her pelvis. Shira is drinking her menstrual blood. She laughs. “So we’re really gonna do it.”

Shira emerges to kiss her. Her mouth is bloody. “Worried you’ll get hurt?”

The nameless girl smiles. “I don’t care about me. I’m afraid you’ll get caught.”

“Isn’t their Ceremony for you?”

“It’s you they’re scared of.”

“They don’t know I’m even here.”

“Echelon told ’em. It knows everything.”

For a long time Shira says nothing. “What about Ariel?”


“How come?”

“We can hide. She can’t.” They share a silence more eloquent than words, then they kiss.

In the living room they find Melody sitting in Shira’s favorite chair, already dressed in one of Debbie’s uniforms. “Hurry up, you two, we don’t have time.”

Monday, January 7, 2013

Spanner 14.5: His Satanic Majesty's Request

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 14: Plots and Plans
Part 5: His Satanic Majesty’s Request (Revision 4)

thorwald property. BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM pounds Barney SATAN! like a cyborg piledriver. The guitars roar and scream and howl like demons being tortured for the Devil’s pleasure. Eddie Evil, self-infected vampire, growls and yowls in some infernal dialect of the Unknown Tongue.

The music: hate metal, the sound of the criminal underworld; the style: teknoDeth, 300+ bpm piledrive at volumes beyond deafening. No hate metal band more infernal than Gang: Eddie Evil screaming vocals, Elvis and Jesus Hitler torturing guitars, Sikki Sykopath on subsonic bass, Barney SATAN! on drums going BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM.

Below them in the arena, maddened pit bulls rip each other to bloody shreds. Gangland dogfighters cram their pits with steroids, methamphetamine, canine growth hormone, and PCP to turn them into rage-powered murder machines soon to be turned against the Man. The supervillain called the Clown, twelfth of his lineage, presides over this canine Tournament like a depraved Roman emperor. For the leader of all Klownz has come to rally the gangs of North Cascadia to unite to fight the hordes of holy warriors protecting the Party Central Committee and their King. Vince Corson of the Moral Enforcers used his gangland connections to summon him, for the priest of Satan who will restore the lost manhood of sixteen woman-slain Enforcers through the sacrifice of pious virgins, Muslim and Christian. Oliver, Frank, and Christie are not the least bit pleased. “You’re coddling our enemies, Vinnie,” says Oliver.

Corson screams in his face, “I don’t care, Ollie! It’s the only way, or America’s manhood is lost, and our Empire with it!”

“Dead dogs and maidens,” Frank sneers. “Why don’t you just kill the bitches who killed your men!”

“You look like a faggot, Frankie. Maybe I should kill you.”

The canine gladiators fight to the death below as the gangsters crowding the arena scream for blood—the blood of Jesus America and his Party fanatics. When the all-dog Tournament ends, the real show begins: soon the priest of Satan will bring his sacrificial blade for the two beautiful naked Arab virgins, Muslim Saida and Christian Sultana, now trembling in the dungeon behind the arena, clinging to each other, praying to God...

yesterday... Bart, Beck, Rex, and Lance stand over the prostrate Ibrahim sisters begging for their lives when Stan and Vince burst in. Bart asks, “Kill ’em now?”

Stan grins evilly. “Naw, we got better plans.”

Team Bremelo attack, their enemies try to use the sisters as human shields, Saida begs Sana to get away, Sana flees in tears...

Shira sneaks unnoticed to slip firecrackers into the Klownz’ weapons. Their excitement and Gang’s ear-shattering hate-metal apocalypse distract their attention away from the threat assembling beneath the shaking arena stands, but they can’t hide the heartrending cries of dying dogs...

catalina. When the twins’ grandfather gave them the white puppy, it was love at first sight; she grew up with them, outlasted all their romantic flings, helped Shira get over the loss of Kira, even learned to like cats...

Sporting AR-equipped hoverboard helmets and hard soundproof masks, nudefighter gloves and boots, nothing else: Shira, Jennifer, Daisy, Melody, and the girl with the violet eyes infiltrate beneath the platform as Team Bremelo’s advance guard. “Why are we attacking them naked?” asks Melody.

Jennifer answers, “Wet skin’s hard to hold.”

Shira contradicts her. “Gangsters are macho animals. Fanservice is our deadliest weapon.”

“Don’t confuse her.”

Lars appears in their HUD sporting the Slasher Hunters’ pragmatic uniform of black slacks, long-sleeved shirt, winter cap, and fighting boots and gloves. “Shira, are you sure about this plan?”

“Trust me.” She winks; he disappears. She fingers her Go-Yo impatiently.

Daisy asks, “Why are we here?”

“To rescue Sana’s sisters,” Jennifer replies.


“Any Corporate is morally questionable at best. But to become a High Corporate, one must commit an unforgivable act. Whoever masterminded yesterday’s attack wants to sacrifice Sana’s sisters to Satan.,” the nameless girl purrs. “Me, I’m waiting to show the devil man my love.” She caresses her naked katana.

“Then we better crash their party stat,” Shira says.

Rob arrives wearing clothes in ninja black. “So when do we begin?”