Monday, February 11, 2013

Spanner 17.1: We Control Your Signal

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 17: Power, Corruption, and Lies
Part 1: We Control Your Signal (Final Revision)

Advertising is legalized lying.
H.G. Wells

I’ve got the power!
He-Man Snap PowerBoost Energy Drinks

9 october 2014.
The video image of ESPNBC reporter Amanda Currie starts to break up. The audio goes out. The cable signal seems to be stuttering. The digital signal erupts into chaos in random bursts. Suddenly the picture degenerates into analog static.

Analog static? That hasn’t happened since CRTs were phased out in 2006. Someone has hacked into the Telesphere!

AM radio static squeals in and out, oscillating between white noise and voices. One voice finally comes in loud and clear:
Simon Remington: This is Pirate Television KCUF, live to wherever you are. We are now on the air.

25 december 2012...
Amanda Currie kneels before Shepherd Drusilla Becket Draper at her Tuesday night revival in the new ESPNBC studio and wails as her father the Admiral looks on.
Amanda: Forgive me, Lord Jesus America, I have sinned!
Drusilla: (lays hands on Amanda’s head) Do you accept Jesus America as your personal Lord and Savior? Will you serve Him with your whole soul?
Amanda: Yes, Lord! Yes! Praise Jesus America!
Drusilla: In the name of Jesus America, thou art HEALED!
Slain in the Spirit, Amanda falls backwards into the waiting arms of her catchers. She twitches and channels the Unknown Tongue. Admiral Currie, well pleased, smiles in triumph.

shira’s apartment. An anonymous beauty wakes up to her first morning without a name, sandwiched between two gorgeous girls she adores. “Is this real,” she asks softly, “or am I dreaming?”

Shira says, “Maybe you’re waking up to reality.”

“Yeah.” The woman watches Shira with concern. “Are you okay?”

“I’m better, at least for now.”
She closes her eyes and silently calls to the sleeping girl embracing her from behind. The girl wakes with a start. “See? We don’t even need to call each other by those awkward descriptives.”

The girl stares with her violet eyes. “How do you know about newtypes?”

“That’s why Dr. Thorwald spared me.” The girls’ mouths drop open.

telesphere. The Rat Bastard plays his next move in his game against Spanner:
[the high-pitched buzz tone of the Emergency Alert System]

This is the Emergency Alert System. A Code Red Terror Alert has been issued for the entire West Coast in the wake of the attempt on the life of King Patriot the First on Sunday. Secretary of Homeland Security Karl Radisson is offering a fifty million dollar reward for the identification and capture of the terrorist known as Spanner. The King’s sons, Thomas, Richard, and Henry Becket, are offering double the reward to anyone who brings them the terrorist’s head.

[patriotic music, flag waving in the background — this is where Litton’s propaganda begins, with a bombastic male voice]

Announcer: People of America, Our Nation is in danger. The terrorists sent by Satan to destroy the Nation have struck again, and the Devil has sent his deadliest agent:

[still frame of a black motorcycle helmet with mirrored faceplate and skull-and-crossed-wrenches insignia]

Announcer: ...the man known only as Spanner. His words betray that his only goal is chaos, destruction, and anarchy. His destruction is our holy patriotic duty—

—We interrupt this message—

[montage of stock news footage of labor strikes being ruthlessly suppressed, accompanied by an increasingly frenzied free-jazz soundtrack and the robotic voice of Spanner]

Spanner: Why are the workers always forced to fight in the streets? Because the Corporations put them in crippling debt but refuse to give them a living wage, for their basic needs steal from the all-important profit needs of the Corporate élite. The people are the Conspiracy against America. The people are the enemy of the State.

[old black and white film footage of stereotypical “fat cat” Robber Barons gleefully throwing money around]

Spanner: There is no god but Mammon...

[silent film footage of workers being trapped in a factory’s giant gears and ground to bloody pulp]

Spanner: ...and Jesus America is his only-begotten son.

[the logos of Dictel Corporation and Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited duel to the death over a corpse-strewn nuclear wasteland]

Spanner: A-fucking-men.
mudlark house. Soft New Age music drones hypnotically. Jennifer, Daisy, and Irina soak together in the hot tub. Jennifer leads them in meditation. At this stage in the meditation she says nothing so her friends can let their minds settle.

Suddenly a noise breaks her meditation. From the sounds she can sense the pattern: burglars have broken in. She leaves the water as quietly as she can so as not to disturb the others.

The burglars find themselves blinded by lights suddenly turned on. When their eyes get used to the brightness, they find a lone nude woman, tall and beautiful — Jennifer. She recognizes three of the anarchists from Sunday, including the girl. “Hmph.” They pull their pistols. She slips behind Lizzie McPhail, slips her left arm around her neck, swipes her gun, points it at her head; she laughs. “You actually have the gall to steal from thieves?

Lizzie gasps, “You?

Jennifer sweeps her arm around the room. “All this? Castoffs we got for nothing. And our only weapon was the System itself.”

The girl says grimly, “What about my family’s lives?”
a diary no longer secret. I am a woman without a name. By chance a woman came to my room to steal it from me. I gave it to her freely: my name, my Ego, and my life. What I once was, she now is. I am now nothing but myself, without masks, without illusions, without the social and political burdens that enslaved me, without a name.

I am a body now free to seek the pleasure I deserve and crave. I am a soul free to seek the joy and love I need. I am a mind free to know and learn to my heart's content. But I am no longer an Ego controlling and suppressing my inmost desires. I gave that away with my name to a woman who deserves it more. It feels like a burden of eons has been lifted from my shoulders. I have never felt so free and so happy in my life. From now on, I shall devote my life to the desires that were denied me.

I am a nameless beauty now, one of many, the same as any other. What a relief it is to be just an ordinary anonymous woman! Specialness is so overrated. The truth is that we are all the same. We have our humanity in common. Anyone who believes differently believes in a lie. My anonymity is not that of the replaceable cog in the System, but of a free individual with no more need for names. At long last I am nothing more than myself.

I am now ready to come out. The few friends I kept for myself already know; they're happy to call me "girl." I'm making new friends who love my new nameless life. The nameless beauties accept me as one of their own. Soon I'll be ready to come out to the world as my true self, without a name.

I have achieved the freedom of anonymity. For the first time in my life, I feel truly alive.
telesphere. Suddenly your picture goes out. All you can see on all channels is a blue test pattern on white. The face is a Guy Fawkes mask. Your stomach sinks to the floor. “Oh, no.

It speaks in a robotic voice. The voice is not Microsoft like Spanner’s, but Apple. It announces itself as — Anonymous.
Anonymous: Another city has been destroyed in the name of the Conservative Revolution. Why does the Party hate the people? Because they are power junkies. Democracy threatens their addiction. We shall be their MPTP.
We are Anonymous. We are your SPs. We are legion. We are everywhere. You cannot find us. You cannot kill us. Information wants to be free. You cannot kill an idea.
We are not men. We are entropy. The American Empire shall fall. The Law of Social Entropy shall prevail.
shira’s apartment. “Wow!” says Ayla, surprised and delighted. “you’re nameless too now?”

The bright-eyed girl nods. “Just like your mother.”

“Cool! But what can I call you?”

“Hmm... I’m bright-eyed, brown-haired, I don’t know what else right now, but I’ll tell you.”

Shira enters the living room bearing a tray of tea for four. “So how does it feel to be a nameless beauty at last, bright-eyed girl?”

“I’ve never felt so free in my life. And to think I had to go through two years of hell.”

The girl with the violet eyes enters. “But didn't you say being without a number is to be marked for death?”

Shira winks. “I’ve survived just fine without a number for two years.”

The nameless beauties gasp and stare at her. The violet-eyed girl narrows her eyes. “That's impossible.”

“You thought it was impossible to get rid of your name, oh nameless lover, and then you did.”

The bright-eyed girl looks to Shira with hope. “Can you get rid of my number, too?”

“Where there’s a will, there's a way.” Shira winks.

mudlark house. Jennifer studies her cute intruder carefully. “Let me guess: the Sporked Man.”

Lizzie keeps her gun pointed at her. “You mean the one-eyed monster who killed my parents in front of me and laughed?”

“John Becket was responsible for my cousin Kira’s disappearance. You know how he lost his eye? Her sister Charlie jammed a spork in it.”

Her male companions gape at Jennifer in awe, but Lizzie remains skeptical. “How are you any different from him?”

Jennifer winks. “You gotta have a conscience before you can mindsync.”

telesphere. BlipVerts race rapidly across your screen trying to give you epilepsy. Giant disembodied lips say in a sexy female robot voice, “We control the horizontal.”

Now the BlipVerts wobble dizzily up and down. “We control the vertical.”

shira’s apartment. Sparks stares at the blond woman on the TV screen who calls herself Amanda Currie. He looks at the nude brown-haired look-alike smiling brightly at him. He points at the on-screen double. “What the hell is that?”

“Why, that’s Amanda Currie, reader of the Party line for ESPNBC.”

He looks again at the woman on screen. "How’d she...?"

“I gave it to her.”

He stares at the brown-haired woman in shock. “You gave her... your identity?” She happily nods. “My god, you really are serious.”

“Three years, Jim. I finally took off the mask.”

She turns her head as if called. Shira enters looking at the screen. “I see you’ve met the prodigal daughter about to return to the fold.”

He looks at the nameless woman again. “So what am I supposed to call you other than ‘hey you’?”

The girl with the violet eyes enters. “You know the rules, Jim.”

The woman says, “I’m bright-eyed and brown-haired at least.”

Sparks touches the beauty mark on her breast. “If you say so.” She smiles.

mudlark house. Jennifer says, “The important thing about power is not that you have it, but how you use it. Not just mind synchronization, but intelligence, beauty, and charisma too.”

Lizzie rolls her eyes. “With great power, huh?”

Jennifer grabs Lizzie’s gun hand — memories of war horror love flow into Lizzie’s mind — patterns too complex to comprehend form before her eyes — Jennifer lets her go; she drops the gun and falls into a sitting position. She stares at Jennifer in shock. “What the hell was that?”

"Power synchronization. You know I’m a Patternist now, and I know your talent is psychometry."

Her eyes go wide with terror. “How do you know?

Jennifer lowers her glasses and smiles. “I see the pattern.”

cpmc headquarters. In the media control room, the techs struggle to regain control of the airwaves. Brinkman screams, “Jesus fucking America, Litton, what the hell are you doing?”

Litton smirks. “If I can lock onto their signals so I can decode ’em, I can take control and use their own signals against ’em.”

“We’re under cyberattack, Litton! Hurry the fuck up!”

shira’s apartment. “A— How did you manage to get rid of your name?” asks Hope.

“I gave it away the celebrity way,” the bright-eyed girl replies. Desiree and Charlie, attentions piqued, flank Hope; Shira and the nameless women, black- and brown-haired, sit across from them on the couch.

“Tell me why you’d really wanna go nameless.”

Desiree offers, “So sorcerers can’t command you with your name?”

“That’s the intention,” says black-hair. “The Law even says my name’s the Governor’s property and hers belongs to Admiral Currie.”

Charlie looks at brown-hair strangely. “So— uh, bright-eyed girl, how come someone else has your name?”

“She figures she can deal with the consequences better than I can,” brown-hair replies, “so I let her.”

Hope says, “And you’re content to be a nameless nobody?”

The bright-eyed girl smiles cheerfully. “Better that than a celebrity slave. For me, anonymity really is freedom.”

telesphere. The analog static is long gone, but the digital signal remains random and chaotic, continuing to jerk and squeak despite all the network techs’ efforts.
Announcer: We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please wait one moment.
mudlark house. The anarchists holster their pistols. Lizzie asks, “What's the reward for killing you, hero?”

Jennifer grins. “Seventy-two houris.”


“If Mahdi Osama doesn’t believe in life, why should he believe in money?”

The door unlocks and opens. Willa enters. She stops at the sight of the three black-clad intruders. “Visitors?”

“My dear wife, will you tell ’em how you drove Henry Becket to divorce you?”

The anarchists stare at Willa. She winks. “Violin torture.”

The boys howl in awe. Lizzie blurts, “Cool!”

nameless girls’ apartment. Three young women stand nude before the door: two nameless, one with many names. A nervous bright-eyed girl knocks. No response. She knocks again. The tall woman with long brown hair opens the door; she gasps in shock when she recognizes the woman with short brown hair in front of her. “Amanda?”

The bright-eyed girl gives her a huge smile. “Sh-she’s on TV. I’m here.”

The tall brunette’s eyes and mouth go wide with surprise; she takes in a deep breath. “Oh my—” She rushes inside to breathlessly inform her roommates. “It's her! She’s here! She finally did it!” She comes back with the blond and the slender Asian, all ecstatic.

The blond asks, “Is it true?”

The slim one asks, “You really are anonymous now?”

The bright-eyed girl nods enthusiastically. “Your bright-eyed girl is coming home!” Four overjoyed women with no name embrace her, cry together with her, take her inside with Shira to celebrate her decision to join them, a fellow nameless beauty devoted to the freedom of anonymity.

telesphere. Party Chairman Henry Becket broadcasts his reply to Spanner and Anonymous in his usual style: ultimatum.
Becket: Cyberterrorists hiding behind masks are threatening the social order of Our Nation. They are threatening to destroy everything America. They laugh at us. They blaspheme Our Nation. They are cowards.

We shall find them. We shall hunt them. We shall exterminate them. We shall save Our Nation from these vermin.

America’s eternal destiny shall not be in doubt. The Conservative Revolution shall not fail. I shall not cease to fight until the world and the Evil One are vanquished. I am the Crusader. I shall forever stand by my word.
—cut to—

Digital signal breakup. Analog static. Out of it a Guy Fawkes mask emerges. In its unnerving robotic voice, it laughs at the tyranny of the superhero who rules the world.

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

[Revision 4 Final, 2/11/13: The “Telesphere”-related scenes heavily revised for Revision 4 continuity. Everything else is new material.]

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