Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 19: Hackers of Reality
Part 4: The Copbot Suicides (Final Revision)
Part 4: The Copbot Suicides (Final Revision)
17 october 2014.
shira’s apartment. After Shira’s turn is done, Kira lies down on the bed so Posy Persocom can make love to her. The girl with the violet eyes takes her to the shower without a word until she turns the water on. “Do you really have to have a love robot?”
Shira lasciviously soaps her bare-handed. “Why can’t a girl have her toys?”
“You have me. I’m your lover, remember?”
“So I’ll share. It’s not like I’m robosexual or anything.” She gives her lover a soapy kiss on the nether lips, making her shriek.
When Kira finishes her shower, she joins a conversation already in progress. Hope says, “I hope you aren’t about to provoke him into using ’em against y’all.”
“One-Eye don’t need provoking when his Ego’s at stake,” Shira replies. “All we can do is stop him.”
Kira drapes herself over her twin. “Won’t your plan ruin our toy girl too?”
“Don’t worry, we already took care of that.” She gives Kira a sloppy kiss.
The vidphone pompously whistles Dixie. Shira stands up, silently signals her companions to stay out of her way, casually strolls over to the desk and sits down, taking her time to torture her caller with the delay. She takes the black queen off her chessboard, fondles it, puts it to her lips. Once the Party Chairman is sufficiently flustered, she answers. The bespectacled old man is as impotently angry as expected. “I hope you do not intend to make this a habit, Miss Thomas,” Henry Becket says.
She licks the queen. “I admire your stubbornness, Doc, but I’m afraid it makes you predictable.”
A crude white CGI chessboard appears on screen. He moves a bishop in an attempt to protect his endangered king.
Shira puts her queen back on its square, moves the rook on her chessboard, and captures his bishop. “I hope you’re not about to make these weekly white riot things a regular occurrence, Doc. There’s only so much the city and its local business community can tolerate before they start calling their lawyers.”
“Not even an infinite number of lawyers can withstand our superior firepower,” says Henry Becket grimly.
“Not till you run out of ammo. Checkmate.”
Dr. Becket punches his videophone and breaks the signal.
telesphere. The Fearsome Foursome talk at each other in duelling press releases:
penguindrome. In the Mad Science Laboratory, the upgraded Persocom sisters smoothly bring the Team Bremelo girls to a screaming climax. When they’re done, Jennifer declares, “The lesbian test is a screaming success! Now it’s your turn, boys.” She tells the gynoids, “Now lie down, girls.” They meekly obey her and wait for the boys to begin the full heterosexual test.Fleer: Since CPMC, COPCO, Minuteman, and the Moral Enforcement Crusade have failed to stem a series of street insurrections against Our Nation, it has become clear to me that only the United States Armed Forces can keep order.Chief Becket: The Admiral should speak. He started the whole thing by trying to reserve all civilian rations for his favorites.Fleer: Mr. Becket is full of lies.Everson: Both the Admiral and the Chief are speaking impiety. They squabble and quibble over who started what, while the Communist threat persists among us and plots the destruction of America. We must get back to faith in America—Fleer: Shepherd Everson claims I am speaking impiety against America. He needs to realize that the strength of America is only in the heroic men who sacrifice their lives through service to Our Nation in our Armed Forces. America exists only because our brave military heroes gave their lives and their blood, and only their sacrifices can keep America foremost in the world and extend Our Nation’s sacred dominion to the universe.Everson: The soul of America is those who dedicate their lives to the worship of Jesus America, the faithful men of the Church of America and the Conservative Revolutionary Party.Brinkman: Stop it right now, you fools! All you’re doing is breaking our unity. We need to pull together if we want to destroy the Communist threat once and for all!
In the living room, Alex tries vainly to cajole Luna into putting on some clothes only for the Bremelo girls to come upstairs all naked. She gives up with a sigh. Luna runs over to the nameless girl. “Why do girl robots have to have names when you don’t?”
Jennifer says, “They’re more identical than twins, so names are the only way normal people can tell ’em apart.”
The girl with the violet eyes smiles. “Luna, I don’t have a name ’cos I don’t want one. Really, my life’s been better since I went nameless.”
“I think you’re the coolest girl in the world,” says Luna.
“Oh, I love you.” She hugs Luna and kisses her on the cheek.
Jennifer’s phone rings. She picks it up. “Hey, Angie, what’s up?”
Angela replies, “I got bad news for you and Shira. First you.”
“You know your friend Irina?”
Jennifer looks at Irina, who looks back puzzled. “What about her?”
“‘The Rodfather’ just found out you killed her owner, which by the Rules of Tournament makes you her new owner now, so saith the Law.”
Jennifer gasps in shock. Irina’s heart visibly sinks. Brandi’s expression goes dark. “So circumstances have come to bite.”
She pulls Irina close, stares in her terrified eyes, strokes her hair, rests her head on her shoulder so she can cry. “If that’s true, Martin won’t be pleased to hear it. I swear to you, him, and her right now, I won’t treat her like a master, I’ll be her adoring wife.”
Irina perks up, still scared. “Really?” Jennifer replies with a passionate kiss that melts her.
“Does that mean we’re over?” asks Brandi.
Jennifer looks at her with an expression that says she still loves her. “Only if you want us to.” They gaze eloquently at each other. Suddenly Jennifer has a realization. To Angela: “Don’t tell me Luna too.” Luna gasps in terror.
“You own the name, you own the person.”
“So Jackie Boy, so saith the Law. Find a way to correct that, will you, please?”
“I’ll do what I can.”
telesphere. The next member of the Fearsome Foursome to throw his Challenge at Shira on live television is Jack Becket. He begins with the now-famous final scene of TerrorVision: Shira kissing his daughter Debbie as Dave ’n’ Deb meet their fiery demise behind them.
Chief Becket: (voice-over) The one forcing herself on my own daughter is the same Shira Thomas we believe connected to the terrorist known as Spanner. She has only contempt for the moral laws that keep Our Nation favored by God. This is exactly the kind of perversion our RoboAgents have been programmed to put a stop to.Shira’s response: A line of anatomically correct yet faceless female sexbots with, naked except for high-heeled go-go boots, dance together and shake their oversized breasts in mechanical lockstep. Shira steps in front of them. Zoom slowly onto her face.
Shira: Did I hear all those politically correct people say this is supposed to be a free country? And yet we’re supposed to follow moral laws that make a convent look permissive? Some freedom!ferry terminal. He said pick one at random. She said Italian. Disgruntled cop and nameless reporter share lunch below. Italian music plays. Their wine is deep red. They touch their glasses together. The bright-eyed girl says, “I was wondering if you still have any reasons to hate me.”
And then the Revolution gives the police job to some politically connected company called COPCO a no-bid monopoly at immoral cost to non-rich taxpayers, which then gives Yoyodyne a no-bid contract for security robots at a similarly obscene price. It’s not just CPMC’s godfather selling his granddaughter to the head of Biotron, forcing me to steal her for myself just to save her. It’s this:
[cut to grainy digital video of Chief Becket, completely naked and having sex with a series of bizarrely shaped custom sexbots]
Shira: (voice-over) That’s right, Mr. and Mrs. America. This is the kind of thing your taxes are paying for in the name of racial salvation. Think about that.
“Same reasons why I’d hate myself,” Sparks replies.
“Do you still hate yourself?”
He shrugs. “Why bother.”
She smiles. Her smile fades away. “You think you have a future after the robots replace you all?”
He touches his face. “I can moonlight as a model.”
She laughs, but stops herself. “I’m sorry.” She studies his face carefully. “I like your new attitude. Goes with your new face.”
A wicked glint flashes in his eyes. “Dad hates it, which is all that counts.”
This time she lets herself laugh. “Have you been watching the duel on TV?”
“Shira had better be careful. You do not want to slip up against the Rat Bastard.”
“If you tell her that, you know what she’ll say.”
“‘Find his price and you’ll find his weak point.’”
“I want you to know I’m working on a story right now.”
“What’ll people say when they see us together?”
“Who the hell cares what people say?”
Above, Team Bremelo limit themselves to friendly hugs and pecks on the cheek while Jack Becket’s copbots watch on. A Caliphate suicider causes a commotion. The girl with the violet eyes looks questioningly at Shira. Shira winks back; the girl smiles.
Before the copbots can neutralize the terrorist, Shira appears in his face and stares hypnotically into his eyes. His expression of absolute hatred fades behind the beard. She says, “You are totally unable to kill. Say it.”
“I am totally unable to kill,” he says wanly in an obviously American accent.
“Now drop everything and surrender.” He drops his weapons, takes off his bomb jacket, strips naked, raises his hands high, and waits meekly for the copbots. The Bremeloes watch the bots arrest him as their bus leaves for Bangor.
bus. Shira gestures Charmian to be silent and nods her head. Charmian smiles weakly. Shira winks back. The nameless girl casts her a jealous look. Shira’s smile tells her, Trust me.
AEGIS appears only to Shira. She asks, How’s the trojan penetrating?
You only need to infect a few units, it replies.
If it’s still slow, just find the right vector and they’re mine.
school lobby. Frank hides behind a bank of advertising monitors when his father calls him. The Chief snarls, “You saw what he did to your sister and your father on Empire-wide TV?”
“It was highly amusing, to say the least.”
“She’s out to ruin my reputation!”
“You’ve surely given her a lot of help, Father. You don’t need any more from me.”
“Then destroy her!”
“I’d rather keep her for myself, but she’s a lot more entertaining when she’s with Cousin Wally’s granddaughter. You know, the one with no name?” The characteristic pop tells Frank his father just threw his phone. He holsters his own and trades winks with Shira as she enters hand-in-hand with her girlfriend.
She scans the cafeteria and into the halls. So far the robots show no visible sign of infection. So far, so good.
Debbie stomps up to her scowling. “I hate you, Shira.”
She pulls her close and gazes lovingly into her eyes. Debbie screams and runs away. Shira sighs. Charmian pretends she’s not there and walks determinedly past.
Chief Becket: Give up, Shira Thomas, you can’t win. You say you have all the cards, but I don’t play silly games.hallways. It begins with the robots harassing students and teachers unfortunate enough to have business in the halls. Suddenly, they interrupt whatever they are doing, stand up rigidly straight, place their hands firmly under their too-square jaws, and lift until their heads come off and they hold them pillar-like on raised hands. The witnesses scream, faint, laugh.
Next to commit suicide are the robot guards at the doors, leaving the school defenseless if some gang or militia were to invade and get revenge. The news has spread like a raging inferno by the time the virus tells the robots guarding the classrooms to self-terminate.
Shira: (mock-shocked) Why, Chief, did you speak too soon?noon. It begins within the sacred precincts of the Holy City arcology itself. In the towers filled with bureaucrats, in the halls of the police and spy agency headquarters, in the very courts of President Goldman Sachs & Co., Vice President Sarah AMERICA!, and the late King Patriot, millions of identical security androids rip their heads off their bodies and hold them high.
“It’s him!” scream several agents.
FBI Director Radisson commands, “Trace him!”
The wave of robot suicides sweeps down into Texas and across the nation in a radar arc. Millions upon millions of copbots decapitate themselves in Dallas and Houston; Atlanta and Miami; Charleston and Charlotte; the long megalopolitan corridor from Norfolk, Virginia to Portland, Maine; through the ruined cities of the Rust Belt and the urban oases of the Midwest and into the mountains; into Cascadia and down the West Coast into California; and finally coming back through the Minuteman-ruled desert ruins of the Southwest.
Radisson stands before the king’s giant televised image. “See” I warned about this possibility, Your Majesty.”
“This Spanner is resourceful,” says the ghost. “He is an extremely dangerous man. You must find him and destroy him before he can work his way to Us, and to Our people.”
bangor high. All the security robots stand motionless in every part of the campus, holding their heads high above their bodies, useless. Some of them have already fallen to the floor; some were pushed by mischievous students. People stare at them in horror or laugh at their impotence. Debbie, eyes wide open, mouth shut tight, stares at the ruined machines and silently curses her father. Frank nearly faints from laughing. Shira, Jennifer, Harumi, and Steve look at the dead machines far more skeptically.
“So what’s the verdict?” asks Steve.
“The moral of this story is,” Jennifer replies, “‘one size fits all’ solutions never fit.”
“Easy for you to say!” cries Charmian.
Dorian hugs her sister from the side. “Aw, calm down, Charms.” She kisses her on the cheek. Charmian sighs.
Harumi tells them, “You’re not technical. You wouldn’t understand.”
“I doubt the weapons techs at Dictel Research understand any better,” says Steve.
“Bureaucrats never understand, Steve,” says Shira. “They assume. Assuming and knowing are two different things.”
Jennifer concludes, “That’s what we’re counting on.”
telesphere. All the official news channels show scene after scene of self-decapitated security androids from every part of the Empire, all standing erect and still, never to move again.
Sun: This is a disaster beyond all imagining for COPCO!Fox: Every member of COPCO’s highly promoted RoboAgent force has been found holding its detached head above it.ABCNN: COPCO’s stock price has been falling rapidly since the news broke out.QVCBS: How will America’s ability to protect order and restore it where there is none ever recover?ESPNBC: When our reporter asked Shira Thomas if she had any part in this atrocity, she laughed in his face.
[Pan slowly along a row of dead COPCO security robots in military formation, all holding their heads high above them. The last robot is dressed as Spanner and speaks in his synthesized voice.]
Spanner: Trust COPCO to put the bite on freedom in the name of freedom. Their freedom is the freedom to commit any crime with no consequences. Your freedom is the freedom from crime. That means: freedom from the criminals who rule you. The purpose of crime is to destroy freedom. Its target: you.
Freedom, or crime? Make your choice. You don’t have much time.
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 3/19/13: Most scenes retained from Revision 2 but heavily edited for Fourth Revision continuity. The section climax is based on a major scenario from the Project Notebooks. Original title: “The Memetic Terrorists”; I chose a far more relevant title for the final R4 version.]