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.

copco seattle. Outside, hoverboard racer Radica Maxx looks uncomfortable in front of the television cameras as she finds herself surrounded by very important and scary men: Governor Brinkman, Shepherd-Mayor Everson, FBI Director Radisson, COPCO Chairman Sparks, Admiral Fleer, and General Peterson. Brinkman says his boilerplate, gives her the medal, and leads the cheers. The badge appears on screen as the announcer announces: “It’s official, folks: Radica Maxx has earned the ‘Saving Throw’ Achievement!” It was not the Achievement she came here for, but what the hey.

Inside, the debriefing. The anarchist girl tells Lavette Perry and Stu Kowalczyk, “I was just doing what you guys hired me to do.”

First interrogation room: no table between Locke Holmes and Shira. He shoots a well practiced intimidating glare into her eyes. To his annoyance, she remains calm and unmoved despite the electric needles sticking out of her. Quite the martial artist. Shira shrugs. “Sorry, Great Detective, just earning my bounty legit catching terrorists.”

“You are Rebel Styles,” Holmes grimly asserts, “and your presence proves you’re here to destroy us.”

“Teh rich coming from the rapist of invisible women. Remember that hot night you paid mad yen for at that love hotel in Chiba? Ban-san does. Harm me, the whole world’ll know too.”

Second interrogation room: Will Becket sighs, “He’ll never get anything useful out of her that way.”

Jennifer sits across the table. “He’s been watching too much slick Hollywood torture porn.”

He laughs. “From one hero to another. Clearly it’s in the blood.”

Third interrogation room. Brinkman, Everson, Fleer, and Jack Becket chomp their cigars and stare down the girl with the violet eyes. Jack says, “Leila Shelley.”

“No,” she corrects them.

Brinkman yells, “Don’t pull that no-name shtick on me, Leila!”

“You control my name, Grandfather, but you don’t control me anymore.”

Holmes hisses. “You’re in no position to accuse me, Rebel Styles! Confess your guilt, or...”

Holmes presses a button to switch to a view of Talia being tortured via electrode needles stuck in her skin by COPCO’s masked enhanced interrogation specialists. He smirks triumphantly. Shira and Talia gasp at the sight of each other. “Shira!” she cries out. “Don’t care about me, just don’t give in!” The masked men switch on the electric torture machine once again,and she screams.

Shira flinches at her sister’s pain. She shoots a hard scornful look back at Holmes. “Plausible Deniability in reverse. I’ll confess to kicking your puppy, sleeping with your wife, and killing Cock Robin, but even if I really did kill Cock Robin I’ll still be lying to save my ass.”

In cold fury Locke presses another button to electrically torture Shira; she convulses shrieks and moans. “Confess, Styles!

She falls still, covered in sweat. The groans turn to hard breaths and then to contemptuous chuckles. “Okay, okay. I did kill Cock Robin, ‘perfesser,’ and two plus two equals five.”

Jennifer says, “All I did was kill a bunch of screaming psychopaths.”

Will shakes his head “Even that wasn&Rsquo;t enough. The race itself is the demon’s body. That’s why Dresden and Hiroshima were necessary, and Mecca must die.”

“That’s what we just did.”

Everson leans over the nameless girl. “What do you know about the Prophecy, Leila?”

She refuses to be intimidated. “You lost.”

Holmes gasps — his Resculpted pretty face goes into ugly contortions. “Don’t, call, me, Moriarty!

Shira’s ironic smile mocks him. “When’d you go over to the ‘enemy,’ Shedlock Homes? You’re supposed to be FBI.”

“There are civilians in the Caliphate, fighting against it,” says Jennifer. “Will, I work with them. We can help them break the proxies’ control.”

Will demands, “But why attack your own Nation?”

“Did I?”

“Your no-name girlfriend did.”

“Then ask her.”

The Fearsome Foursome stare at the girl with the violet eyes in awkward silence. They stare at each other. They stare at her again. She smiles back.

Angela Coyne enters, Shira sighs, “You’re my hero.” Angela winks.

Caught like a rat in a trap, Locke loses all reason, jumps Shira, and tries to strangle her. Five uniformed local cops rush in to pry him off her. “You bloody traitor whore—”

Shira flashes him a cockeyed smirk and purrs, “Takes one to know one.” She winks.

“Why would you do it?” asks Will.

Jennifer smiles ironically. “Why did he sack the Central Committee? Cruel necessity.”

Everson throws up his hands. “What do we do with her now?”

Fleer snarls, “Just kill her and—”

“We can’t! That’s the problem!”

You try, Alan,” Brinkman growls. “We’ve got your replacement already lined up.”

The anarchist girl says, “So Miranda Clayton-Wilder let me have a few goodies. Why not?”

Holmes sulks in the first interrogation room. Jennifer smiles at Will. Perry and Kowalczyk get ready to release their troublesome contractor to collect her paycheck. The girl with the violet eyes leaves; Everson says, “Walter, old friend, I’m sorry to say this, but Alan has given me a better offer. Your acquisition effort has failed.” Brinkman’s cigar falls out of his mouth.

Radica spots the anarchist girl in the lobby. “Well, well, well, ain’t it Epica McPhail.”

“That's ‘Lizzie’ to you, ‘Maxima Radd’!” COPCO agents pry them apart to keep the two screaming swearing women from fighting. Kowalczyk shakes his head.

Sparks points at the office door as Angela leads the medics carrying Shira out on a stretcher, the two other nudefighters alongside. He holds out his hand and grins. “Pay up, Stu.” Perry laughs.

westlake plaza. Prison slaves with explosive collars carry away the Patriot and terrorist dead. Scavengers scour the wreckage in the plaza collecting bent steel, broken electronics, and shredded simuflesh to sell to black market scrap dealers. Debbie wails unintelligibly for her slain great-grandfather the King at the ruins of the platform. When the FBI investigators try to coax her away, she screams at them, blaming their incompetence for his death. Oliver and Bunny decide now is the time to come out of hiding. Bunny yells, “It was your funny idea, dummkopf!” Suddenly they see Debbie standing over them, almost in their face. Bunny snorts and smirks. “Your girlfriend killed your King just to get out of [elbows Oliver] his marriage.”

Oliver snaps back, “Then why the fuck didn’t she kill my grandpa, huh?”

Debbie snarls, “Watch your language, boy.”

“Yer mother.”

“You shut up.”

Nearby, a voice says “Fuck!”

They stare at each other. Bunny asks, “What was that?”

“Ain’t no kids round here,” Oliver replies.

A crow flies to the top of one of the mounds of wreckage, clearly visible, and says, “Fuck!”

Their mouths drop.

Debbie picks up a rock and throws it at the cursing crow. It says “Shit!” and flies away. She goes stiff with rage and growls, “Shira—”

Under what’s left of the platform, the Toymaker’s bomb explodes.

hospital. Shira emerges out of uneasy dreams still half delirious from pain and endorphin. She focuses her mind, opens her eyes, sees the doctor and two nurses — she admires their courage for staying behind to do their job. A window opens up to the rainy sky outside. She turns on the switch so the bed will lift her up — is this Swedish? Virginia Mason? the downtown view tells her: Harborview. She sighs in relief: no angry priests demanding female patients confess and submit. The Catholic Church owns the Westside hospital monopoly.

Behind the medical personnel, she sees Sparks, Jennifer, and her beloved girl with the violet eyes, who with a wail leaps onto her and kisses her with all the violence of passion and grief, until Shira surrenders to tears and the fury of her lover's kiss.

Shira and the girl with the violet eyes nude on the roof as the rain resumes, locked in tight embrace, caressing each other’s bare wet skin, sharing a long passionate kiss. “Have you ever come so close to death, you fall in love with life?”

“The night you saved my life. I’ve been in love with you ever since.”

“I think I actually died in there. I felt my consciousness grow weak and go out. But then the most extraordinary thing happened: I felt myself dissolve into the planetary energy stream. I dissolved into the whole universe. Mystics spend years mortifying their flesh just to get a taste of this experience. I tasted death, yet I come back overwhelmed by a passion for life I’ve never felt before. And I wanna lose myself in you.”

They look up at the sky, at the patterns of light and dark in the clouds. “Does it know about us yet?”

“I’m sure Wally the Dog gave it his sincere confession by now.”

The violet-eyed girl smiles at her. “Then it doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s tell our love to the world.”

Shira gazes into her eyes. “I wanna make love in the rain.”



“Let’s do it.”

“Let me body kiss you first.”

“That would be so beautiful.”

She drops to her knees, firmly holds her breasts, plants a firm kiss on one beautiful hard nipple and then the other, showers the trembling soft breasts with passionate kisses, caresses and squeezes makes her moan scream cry I love you; she sits on her heels, runs her hands over her wet buttocks, kisses her nether lips with uncontrolled passion overflowing in her heart so the girl cries a beautiful wordless music and her soul explodes into violent bliss and sweet female nectar flows freely onto her tongue — switch places, Shira standing, the girl on her knees, squeezing caressing sucking biting her breasts, making her scream and her mind explode; hands squeezing her buttocks hard, feverish soft lips on her nether lips, tongue opening them wide, plunging deep into her cunt, tasting the hot nectar she drinks down intoxicated like wine — kneeling with legs interlocked, not caring who sees them, nether lips pressed together, the girl’s left hand bracing them together, Shira’s pressing their hot spots within them, right hands on each other’s breasts, dancing together the true lesbian kiss, crying together without restraing, defying the Eye above, till their identities vanish, all reason falls away, their souls fuse and lose themselves in each other, and the wind carries their beautiful loud sweet duet of ecstasy to all parts of the city and upon them the soul of the city smiles.

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

[Revision 4 Final, 1/28/13: Heavily revised for Fourth Revision continuity. Final sequence new to R4.]

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