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.

“What’s with these bots?” cries Agent 40125, watching with alarm at the COPCO situation room. “Are they malfunctioning?”

Jack Becket grimly chuckles. “Somebody’s playin” with my toys.” To the techs in their cubicles, he barks, “Get me a trace on this bastard, now!”

“We are tracing him, Chief!” replies Agent 686454. “There’s no traceable signal coming from anywhere!”

“The angel of chaos must have slipped in a rootkit, Jack,” says FBI Director Karl Radisson.

“A rootkit?” gasps Agent 40125.

Agent 686454 asks, “Where would our cyberterrorist find that?”

“Only everywhere on the Darknet,” says Chief Becket. “Whatever your operating system is, they got a rootkit for it. Install it and the system’s yours to command. Wipe the victim’s hard drive, steal identities and intel, assemble a botnet for a denial-of-service attack, you name it.”

“Then we must find these terrorists,” says Radisson, “and punish them severely.”

“Better yet, find ’em and blow ’em back to Hell.”

Diana Shockley appears on one monitor. “Jack! Chief!”

“Diana, you catch any terrorists yet?”

“SHIT, RUT, and POP have been completely neutralized. We’ve taken out most of the Al-Qaeda suicide squad. But we still haven’t found the SRO.”

“Keep looking. We can’t let even one stop the Ceremony.”

Shockley salutes. “Roger!”

Behind Shepherd Mobley stand the Imperial family; representatives of President Goldman Sachs, Commerce Secretary Bain Capital, Energy Secretary Standard Oil, Transportation Secretary General Motors, Culture Secretary News Corporation, War Secretary Dictel Corporation, and the other Owners; and the Conservative Revolutionary Party Central Committee: Party Chairman Karl Rove, Vice Chairman Richard Cheney, Vice President Sarah AMERICA!, Treasury Secretary Richard Becket, Homeland Security Secretary Henry Becket, War Secretary John Bolton, Secretary of State Rush Limbaugh, Attorney General Joe Arpaio, Propaganda Fuhrer Randolph G. Litton, Media Fuhrer Lord Rupert Murdoch, Censorship Fuhrer Lord Peter Mandelson, Eugenics Institute CEO Dr. Siegfried Heiler, EU President Marine le Pen, UK Prime Minister Sir Adam Sutler, Colonel Tom Becket, Sir Lewis Prothero, and Shepherds Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Bryan Fischer, Scott Lively, Randall Terry, Drusilla Becket AMERICA!, and Mobley himself, who begins: “God Bless America...” All: “America Bless God!” To the babbling base holding their right hands up, he invokes the Nation: “My fellow Americans, we are gathered here today in this God-forsaken Babylon to bind and banish Satan’s servants, the evil spirits of Democracy, Liberalism, Socialism, and Communism...”

North of the square, copbots yelling “You’re under arrest!” attack a terrorist group on the South Lake Union streetcar. During a lull in the fight, Sparks’ group board the trolley, beat up the remaining ERF and BARF extremists, and toss them out onto the street. The driver collapses in a sigh of relief. Sparks counts his crew: Jennifer, Akimi, and Daisy; Evil the Cat, El Kabong, Shane Chantry, and his black friend Cowboy Bebop; two anarchists dressed cop, including the girl; and Stu Kowalczyk, dressed like Sparks. “Freelancers?”

Sparks shrugs. “Contractors. You know Dad.”

“Cheapskate.” Kowalczyk looks at the three Bremeloes. “How come they’re naked?” The tall pale woman takes off her helmet and shakes out her long blond hair. His jaw drops when he recognizes the legendary Blonde Phantom. “You can hack?” Jennifer winks.

Above, on the monorail station platform, Frank Becket spots a familiar hoverboard. The boarder has a double take and turns back toward him. “Adam!”

Frank’s jaw drops. “Radica? What the hell are you doing here?”

“Earning my Achievement, dummy!”

“Get out of here before you get killed!”

Below them, in Westlake Station, the Toymaker toys with the thought of detonating the platform now. But hears footsteps — a man’s voice — “Toymaker!”

He screams when he recognizes the skull and crossbones, the bandanna mask — “Black Terror?

John Peck slams into him, tackles him, pummels him with fighting-gloved fists — then takes his detonator away from him, drops it on the station floor, and smashes it with his motorcycle boot.

“...we bind and banish the demons of blood made dark with the dung of the Lord of Hell...”

On the yacht, Deth Pussy watches Akane and the Cockroach Twins hack mons. He coms Shira. “Hey babe, you got room for extra mons?”

“Only if they’re fusable.”

Moon breathlessly adds, “We like modded several games’ worth!”

“Hmph!” complains Akane, “Persona Online players.”

Lars chuckles. “Those terrorists only think they can dish out the terror. We’re gonna show those posers how it’s really done.”

Jack nervously chomps his cigar. Locke Holmes complains, “I don’t see why you’re so infatuated with these robots, Johnny.”

Jack snarls back, “Well, they’re more reliable than emo FBI agents, Johnny.”

Radisson struggles to restrain Holmes. “Stop it, you fools!”

One of the cops manning the monitors cries out, “Did you see that?”

“What?” the two chiefs say in unison.

More screens are turning blue. They see camdrones lured to where copbots snatch them and stick them in their mouths. All in the room stare in shock.

“...eternal curse upon the traitorous liberals, socialists, communists, sodomites, and other Muslims, the evil armies of the Cube of Darkness who have fought against the Pyramid of Light since time and eternity...”

Sparks’ crew reach headquarters’ main entrance. Kowalczyk chuckles. “You seriously think they’ll let us in?”

A soothing female voice says, “Welcome, Agent 98393. Your request has been approved. Please come in.” The doors open. Sparks smiles at Kowalczyk and raises his eyebrows.

They stare at each other as the others go in. “Don’t try anything funny, Jimmy.”

“Tell the Rat Bastard.” They follow the others in.

“The Roaches got the Kuangs,” says Nick, “you got the mons; they make their move, we hit the ICE.”

“Shira and Jen are in position,” says Alex, “Leila takes hers soon. They sync, we’re ready.”

“Mons uploading,” says Akane.

“Show’s about to begin!” says Lars.

Alex says, “Soon, we’ll cause a distraction.”

Deth says, “Then we hit the ICE.”

Lars says, “Then we take out the terrorists.”

Simon says, “That’s when we strike.”

“...may Our Nation’s eternal dominion extend to the infinite kingdom of space! America Bless God!” Jesus America’s chosen explode into cheers, screams, thunderous applause, and the Unknown Tongue as the giant Imperial flag rises behind its image on the big screen: the holy object, the idol of Jesus America, Manifest Destiny encapsulated into a single symbol: by this sign, thou shalt conquer. The Marine Corps Marching Band plays the National Anthem and the Army Chorus sings the lyrics in full; the massed pilgrims down below break out into mass glossolalia, thanking Jesus America in the Unknown Tongue. After the last held note of the anthem stops, all spotlights converge on the man dominating the stage: Patriot the First, King and Emperor of America, the man once known as Roger Steele Becket of Dictel, eerily preserved in time despite his ninety-six years as if he were the same Super Patriot defending America against its Cold War enemies, wearing over his superhero costume a robe beyond splendor, woven from fibers made out of precious metals and encrusted in glowing backlit gems. His daughter Drusilla and Vice President Sarah AMERICA! stand to either side of him to kneel in adoration. He holds out his arms; the faithful hail his godhood.

Kowalczyk marvels, “They still got employees here?”

“They’re not Corporate,” says Jennifer, “they’re expendable.” She removes her hard-knuckled diamond-clawed fighting gloves to reveal laser-pointed datagloves more precise than any combination of Kinects, then puts her helmet back on. Like a conductor she plays the Kinects to bring up a holographic display that fills the whole huge room, then flicks icons, avatars, and windows around almost faster than the eye can see. Cops, anarchists, and Amazon employees find themselves in a dizzying Holodeck view inside a Patternist’s mind, making and breaking connections, finding new context where none was apparent, a constantly shifting three-dimensional shadow of something even most superhumans cannot comprehend.

An SRO terrorist attempts to throw a grenade (“Eat this, fascist running dogs!”); but a copbot eats his hand (“You’re under arrest!”), bodyslams him, and blows up on top of him, obliterating him and creating more martyrs. Another terrorist shoots bullet after bullet into two approaching copbots. When he’s empty, they chase him, grab him, sandwich him, and crush him between their bodies. Two more copbots gruesomely disassemble two more would-be suicide bombers. Some terrorists, recognizing their defeat, attempt to flee only to find themselves overtaken by jetpack agents and then swarmed by copbots.

Suddenly, one bodyguard breaks ranks, shoots two more, points a rifle at the King, and screams the Shahada; Frank leaps on him from above, breaks his neck, and sends him flying upward. Five US Police Force soldiers rappel down the side of the tower to surround the King. Five copbots punch their fists right through their torsos, cutting through Kevlar like butter. The RAIJ team launch their hoverboards and attempt to shoot him from the sky; Drusilla cuts in front of him with Sarah AMERICA! cowering behind, holds her arms out in front of her, closes her eyes, and whispers her invocation of power — The assassins shoot; Drusilla opens her now glowing eyes; the bullets bounce off her Repulse field. The snipers atop the skyscrapers shoot the flyers down. Drusilla collapses to her knees and pants in exhaustion.

But suddenly, a shot rings out. Blood spurts from a new hole between King Patriot’s eyes; he stumbles, collapses, and falls.

The crowd goes silent.

One US Police Force Sky Knight hovers in front of the platform. The jetpack-riding armoured Sky Knights were created to fight the Syndicate hoverboard bandits plaguing American cities since the coup. The mole raises his gun high and lets out his war cry: “Ad majorem gloriam Dei!

Shockley gasps, “Ogden?

Sparks blurts, “He’s with RAIJ!

Jennifer says, “You know this guy?”

“Used to be an FBI agent before Rebel Styles got him.”


Brandi, Arisa, and the Shelley twins converge behind the plaza fountain. “Did we miss something?” asks Arisa.

Rob laughs. “Looks like the Pope just delivered ’em a gift!”

Suddenly one of the hoverboarders breaks from the formation and attacks Ogden (Frank: “Radica!”) — she switches his jetpack to maximum speed, sends him flying straight up — Debbie stands up, lets out a fierce delighted howl, and shoots the jetpack to blow it up and Ogden with it. The nameless girl takes the opportunity to dash underneath the platform (Brandi: “Leila?” Arisa: “Where’d she go?”) and begin her ten-mudra qigong meditation.

All snipers and strike cops in range shoot down the remaining RAIJ flyers; they kamikaze toward the platform but land short, giving Jesus America new martyrs. The king’s four guards put his corpse back on his litter and whisk it through the door. Then they emerge with another litter—

—and on it sits King Patriot — alive! They set down the litter in the same place. He stands up, raises his arms again as if to embrace his entire congregation, and they roar out their adoration louder than before. (Jennifer: “He pulled a substitution trick!” Sparks: “No. Clone resurrection.”) Behind him, a figure of light in red-white-and-blue tux and top hat, bearded head crowned with thorns, rises; glossolating their adoration of the Nation, the worshippers behold Jesus America, rising nine hundred feet tall. As US Police Force soldiers drag the SRO squad toward the altar, Talia glares with absolute hatred at the smugly smiling King. He feels her hate and smiles back in triumph. You should have known we would be ready for you, slayer. Do you think we would let ourselves share your race’s inevitable eclipse?

Sirens go off at Amazon, the server room flashes red, employees flee in panic — Kowalczyk: “Malware alert?”

At once Jennifer traces it — to the Jesus America. El Kabong yells, “Shit, that’s not an avatar!”

Evil the Cat shrieks, “It’s a virus!

Jennifer says, “Litton’s trying to hijack the Consortium! Pengo, you read me?”

Nick says, “Ready?”

“I sure as hell am now!”

“We got the Kuangs,” says Deth.

“I’ve got the mons,” says Akane.

“I’ve got POTaTOS,” says Shira.

“And I’ve got the power of Amazon,” says Jennifer.

Together: “Let’s rock!

The giant apparition starts to waver and flicker — it mutates and warps — people in the crowd scream—

—then Jesus America vanishes, leaving a void—

hovering over the crowd at the center of a Reality Distortion Field, a grotesque clownish face wrapped around an invisible female human torso, surrounded by four yellow tentacles, writhes grotesquely — giggles and moans in the voice of Rebel Styles

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 15 index...
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 4 Final, 1/16/13: Based on the outline for the never produced Third Revision version. Completely reorganized and re-edited from Revision 2; Rebel Styles from 15.4 added in R4 “Scream Gem” form to provide a cliffhanger; new scenes added to fit Fourth Revision continuity. R2 name: “Hard Times in the City.”]

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