Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 17: Power, Corruption, and Lies
Part 3: Special Delivery for the Man of Mystery (Final Revision)
Part 3: Special Delivery for the Man of Mystery (Final Revision)
introduction to s.p.e.c.hallway. “Oh, no!” cries Debbie, running toward the group by her locker in dismay. “She can’t be coming here!” She throws herself into the nameless girl’s arms.
Two rival factions, the Educators and the Indoctrinators, perpetually battle to control education. In the Metropolitan Seattle School District, Hope Reston leads the dissident rank-and-file majority group of Educators in the Teachers Guild. The Indoctrinators, vanguard-party hacks (“Corpos,” short for COnservative Revolutionary Party Operatives) with no teaching ability or training, control the Guild hierarchy. To break the rank-and-file, they brought in hedge-fund manager Peter T. Ross to forcibly merge the Guild local with a privatized school district to create SPEC: the Seattle Public Education Corporation. The purpose: to carry out the Party’s imperative: corporatize government at all cost, price no object.
To complete the transition from unionized public service into Corporate profit center, Ross intends to disenfranchise the teachers to break worker power and destroy the Guild. Any teachers who resist demotion to disposable low-wage labor will be disposed of in favor of incompetent scab teachers chosen for their blind faith and their willingness to accept sub-Chinese wages and an absence of benefits. Desperate for infinite profit, the Guild leadership are determined to purge their own membership.
They have succeeded only in radicalizing the teachers against them. Even worse, by forcing the students to pay for their own increasingly substandard education, they have driven them to support the now powerless teachers with a Student Union.
Blind faith in capitalism combined with infallible righteousness is the American way. But hubris blinds one to unintended consequences. That can be fatal.
“So she finally decided to do it?”
“Is there any way to stop her?”
“Just don’t put your faith in her, and you’ll do just fine.” She kisses sobbing Debbie on the cheek.
Sana and Seika look at them strangely. Seika asks, “Who’s she?”
Frank scornfully answers, “Our mother.”
Shira explains, “Rexelle Steele, evangelist, is coming to ‘Pray Away the Gay,’ attendance mandatory by order of Our CEO.”
“Is she really crazy enough to do it?” asks Sana.
“She believes illness is caused by demons, not microbes,” Jennifer replies. “Sexual incorrectness? Unfaith? Liberalism? Same thing to the Shepherds of Jesus America.”
Shira smiles ironically. “Shepherd Rexie and Big Chief One-Eye already suffered one black eye when it turned out their elder daughters were doing each other.”
“That’s what they divorced over,” Frank says.
Barry asks, “I hope you’re not gonna help her stop our marriage.”
Frank pats him on the shoulder. “I already think of you as my brother-in-law.”
“Then why would she wanna ‘cure’ Debbie’s love of women now?”
“Don’t say that, Polly!” complains Mimi. “You’re only giving her ideas!” She stands behind Polly with her arms crossed.
“Apparently she decided it’s all due to...” He looks at Shira. “...influence.”
“So I’m like torturing Rexie in her sleep?” asks Shira.
“Actually, you are.” Shira grins; Frank answers with a smile.
copco seattle. Sparks knows Jack Becket, staring him down with his one eye, will not like what he’s about to say. “What makes you think,” says the Chief, “you can get away with letting these bounty hunters stab us in the back?”
“Sorry, Chief,” Sparks says calmly, “but as long as the U.S. Police Force remains a military service barred to the Police Guild, the Trackers won’t let us have our monopoly. The best we can do is cooperate. After all, they did manage to catch all the terrorists who managed to survive on Sunday.”
“They’re still a threat to our business, Mr. Sparks.”
“I’d worry about the military trying to socialize the industry. Father does, and so should you.”
homeroom office. Shira and the girl with the violet eyes find Dave and Sylvia talking. “Hey guys, what’s up?”
“We’re shaking things up a bit,” says Dave.
Sylvia asks, “How would you like to be in my homeroom? You and all the tutors, I mean.”
The girls smile at each other. “Cool!”
Adam Treece (i.e. Frank) comes in with a package. “Hey, Adam, what’s the box for?”
“Special delivery.” He gives it to Shira.
“Your other job?”
“Day job,” Shira says. She pulls Frank close. “How come you’re giving me the job?” He looks at the nameless girl; Shira immediately gets the impression of a man in black with long black hair. He shrugs. “Ohhh.” She looks into his eyes and with a single thought makes him understand he is not to harm Sylvia. The nameless girl nods to underline it. Shira strokes his long blond hair. He looks at Sylvia and smiles to reassure her.
Suddenly they sense a presence in the doorway: the bright-eyed girl watching them, smiling brightly. She waves. She takes Frank from Shira and takes him to a corner. She whispers, “My sister...”
He looks at her apologetically. “I was being daddy’s good little boy. Speaking of which...” His tone turns scornful. “...mommy’s coming tomorrow for little sister, attendance mandatory. All the newtypes plan to be there. You coming?” Her smile answers. He winks.
copco seattle. Jack Becket and Walter Brinkman face an SPEC CEO trembling with rage. “We have a ‘student union’ problem, John, but your men don’t seem to be doing a thing about it.”
Jack says, “You’re accusing us of incompetence?”
“Your division in Bangor, certainly.”
“Pete,” Brinkman asks, “what the hell is this ‘student union’ thing?”
“Only a Communist counter-revolution!”
Jack growls, “You have to do something about this, Pete. You know that.”
“I have. How much do I have to pay you people just to get some justice?”
Brinkman glares at Jack. “He’s right, Jack. We need to put the fear of Jesus America into these people with as much force as necessary.”
Jack says, “Walter, we tried that last weekend.” Suddenly his old-fashioned desk telephone rings. He takes the receiver from its base. “Hello?... Yes... No!... Thanks. Goodbye.” He slams the receiver down. “Gentlemen, we have a problem.”
“What is it this time?”
kitsap expressway. Shira rides the storm’s air currents southward on her hoverboard, high above the expressway, her cargo secured behind her feet. This particular cargo must be very important if she’s bringing it to such an important man. He seems rich and connected enough to buy an order to keep the sky-darkening flocks of black TSA drone aircraft from interfering with her flight. Right now he drinks an amphetamine-spiked milk drink and waits.
The rain washes the infamous pulp-mill stench out of the air as she approaches the city. The fast-growing suburban expanse of Gig Harbor, once a charming small town, sprawls out below her, such a contrast to the fashionable downtown where she’d rather be, and to her poverty-stricken and crime-ridden destination. She would have been surprised at Frank’s unwillingness to endure the journey if she didn’t know how little the two men get along.
The Narrows Bridge approaches. She aims between the two spans. She could hot-dog it like Radica at the Party convention disaster last Sunday, but she keeps her focus on her payment and flies straight. Over the water, between the spans, then straight. The cargo must be delivered.
nameless girls’ apartment. A knock on the door. The slim Asian girl peers through the peephole: two short-haired beauties smiling, their hair light brown and sleek black, arms around each other’s shoulders, standing completely nude. She opens the door and lets them come into her arms. She kisses one and then the other. “Where’s Shira?”
“Making a special delivery,” says the bright-eyed girl.
“She does courier work for Kitsap Kouriers,” says the girl with the violet eyes.
The slim girl shuts the door and calls to her roommates: “Hey! Our bright-eyed girl’s back!” The other anonymous beauties come in to hug and kiss the newly nameless girls.
school lobby. Bart stands in Rob’s way to block him. “Well, hello there, Mr Head Boy,” Rob taunts. “What’s a-botherin’ you today?”
Bart says menacingly, “I’m a-hearin’ bad things ’bout you, pretty boy.”
“Been hearing the girls squee about me boyfriend? Not man enough to handle rumors, Barty?”
Bart takes a swing at Rob. Rob parries it, knees Bart in the groin, then stomp-kicks him in the chest so hard he slams against a door, slips through, falls down, and rolls over. Bart puts his hands on the floor and slowly raises himself back to his feet. Rob is there, smiling mischievously. He glares back and breathes heavily in his rage.
“This a Challenge?”
“You want one?”
“You don’t. I’m as dangerous as my sister.”
Bart shakes his fist at him. “I’m gonna show that bitch who’s boss!”
“Your funeral.” Rob blows a kiss. Bart stares at him as he walks through the door.
east tacoma. The rainclouds get darker. The Kitsap Expressway ends at Interstate 5, the barrier between civilization and badside. She crosses it and beelines to her destination.
She hovers over the nondescript building. She descends in ever narrowing circles. Behind the building, in the alley, she makes her landing, not far from where Desiree stole her getaway car from the Wops. She carefully she unfastens the cargo box from her hoverboard and extracts the leather pouch containing the cargo from the box. The RFID reader at the door detects her Kitsap Kouriers ID. After a short delay she knows Adam Toren and Warren Smith are too impatient to tolerate, the Russky doorman opens the door, and she goes in.
nameless girls’ apartment. Five beautiful young women with no name, sitting nude together around the coffee table drinking tea. The bright-eyed girl looks at the slim girl intensely enough she tilts her head with curiosity. “Has Charlie or Desi told you yet?”
“Newtypes and Bangor High.”
“‘Newtypes’?” asks the woman with long brown hair. “Is that a kind of super?”
“A ‘new type,’ according to our late ‘maximum leader.’”
“Our power’s like telepathy,” the violet-eyed girl explains, “but with instant understanding and no need for clumsy words.”
“Ever wonder why there’s so many supers at Bangor High? Old Roger Becket never did anything without an ulterior motive.”
The other nameless beauties stare at the short-haired girls with fascination. The slim girl smiles. “Please tell me more. I have to know everything.”
loco moloko. All eyes fix upon the courier. She removes her helmet and shakes her copper-red hair free. The mobsters feel their blood go cold; some gasp. Shira Thomas, it turns out, has a heavy rep in the underworld: all fear her unpredictability, some fear her uncanny ability to turn their own weapons against them, but Rebel Rebel haunts the nightmares of those who fear her most. She dramatically removes her wet jacket to reveal the skin-tight courier-firm tank top that flaunts her spectacular figure. She walks up to her client like not a messenger, but a herald of the gods. Russky muscle informs the client that his courier and her cargo are here.
Leonid Stroman walks in to meet his visitor personally. “I have heard that little Rebel Styles has grown into a spectacular young woman. But I needed to see you with my own eyes.”
Shira turns to him, strikes a ravishing pose, and looks at him with both suspicion and curiosity. “Seems I’m the most famous person here.”
“And the most beautiful. You’re definitely a sight for sore eyes.”
The client clears his throat to catch her attention. A tall elegant man sporting long black hair and a black trenchcoat conceals his face behind a noirish black fedora. He spins around in his chair and reveals himself. She smiles. “Arvid Shield, I presume?”
“You’re even more beautiful in person,” he purrs sexily with a trace of an Irish accent. He puts the hat on the table before him and shakes out his beautiful long black hair to its full length.
She drinks in the sight of him. “You’re awful pretty yourself.”
“Forgive me for ruining your night. I was trying to protect my niece. Judging from Sunday, I needn’t have worried.”
“No prob then. So why me specifically?”
Suddenly she feels him link his mind with hers; she goes rigid, her eyes widen. He breaks the link and smiles. “It’s true. She deserves you.” She loosens up and almost laughs. The mobsters around them stare in confusion.
She gives him the package. He gives her one of his own. She gives him a quizzical look. She alone hears his answer: It’s better than money. You know who to trust. Don’t reveal it to anyone else till the time’s right.
What is it?
This is a sound blaster core, the sonic equivalent of a briefcase nuke. That contains information powerful enough to destroy governments and powerful men.
Your nuke for mine?
His wink answers. She shoots the clueless gangsters a sharp look that makes them flinch. She throws on her jacket with trademark style, puts her helmet back on, takes her reward, and leaves. The mobsters find themselves unable to take their eyes off her until the door closes; even when she’s gone from view, they know she will obsess them for days.
dictel tower. In the penthouse suite of Bremerton’s tallest skyscraper, looking every bit his eighty years, a brooding Richard Becket has an audience with his nephew Will. They stare at each other for an uncomfortable . At last Will breaks the silence. “You look unwell, uncle.”
“Power has its limits.”
“It failed to prevent the prophecy?”
“Mere women could not have defeated us, dear William. Mere women could not have destroyed your grandmother. Women!” He pounds his mighty fist hard on the desk. “We bear the Light in our blood, William. It is our gift, our burden, and the source of our power. You know what women want, William: they want our essence. Deny them your essence!”
“And take theirs?”
“Are we not Dragonites? Are we not descended from the Ninefold God Himself through His angels? We must defend the Light not just against the Cube of Darkness, but against perfidious Eve and evil Lilith. Our battle never ends.”
Will stares at him skeptically. “I see.”
“The love of women has made you soft, I am afraid.”
Offended, Will stands up. “I, who slew the Evil One. Trista will be interested to hear what you just said. Goodbye, uncle.” He turns and leaves for the elevator. The Chairman, his self-righteousness undiminished, sighs in disappointment.
nameless girls’ apartment. The blond girl asks, “Are you really determined to report that story?”
The bright-eyed girl winks. “Hey, I let someone else be just another interchangeable blond news vomiter. I’m in this for real now.”
The slim girl grips her shoulders and smiles with excitement and determination. “There’s no way you’re leaving me out of this.” Someone knocks. “I’ll get it!” She scampers to the door, peeks, opens it. Shira, already nude, smiles mischievously and holds up an SD-HC storage card. She rushes in so the slim girl can shut and lock the door.
The violet-eyed girl sits in Shira’s lap. “That’s what he paid you?”
“He told me it’s better than money.”
The slim girl studies it carefully. “What’s on it?”
Shira kisses her more deeply. “Don’t you dare blame yourself. If by a miracle she survived, we’ll find her somehow. But if she really is dead, a lot more Corpos will pay than just the Fearsome Foursome.” She takes the SD card out of the phone’s pouch. “And this is how we’re gonna make the bastards pay.”
“What’s that?” the violet-eyed girl asks. The slim girl takes the card and looks it over carefully.
“That, dear friends, contains the downfall of the Conservative Revolutionary Party. Every scandal censored by the lamestream’s right here.” She takes the card back, holds it up, and smiles wickedly. “Ladies, we have officially got our hands on a nuke.”
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 2/15/13: Scenes taken from other parts of Chapter 17; new scenes added; the title sequence heavily edited for Fourth Revision continuity.]