Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 22: There Is No Law
Part 4: Massive Retaliation (Final Revision)
Part 4: Massive Retaliation (Final Revision)
3 november 2014.
Monday, the first work day of the week. The day before the election all Conservative Revolutionaries want to prevent. What started as a high-school pep rally for conscience-ridden teenagers in a dying military-industrial suburb escalated into the demands of a hundred thousand teenagers across the city for student tuition refunds that brought SPEC to bankruptcy. Their teachers led other unionized workers to strike against their own Guilds demanding control over their own dues. Workers without Guilds formed strike committees to demand living wages and health benefits.
Now the business of the city has been paralyzed by a citywide general strike which threatens to go statewide. The Party, the Consortium, the Fearsome Foursome, and even Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited are forced to confront their worst fear.
They refuse to give in. They refuse to shut up about it.
The working masses refuse to back down. A pep talk:Currie: (severely miffed) Are you people mad? All you’re doing is bringing back the spectre of Communism that America fought against for over a century! American dominion saved Western Civilization from certain destruction! And now you want to raise the corpse of Joe Stalin? Try it, and we’ll destroy you.Drusilla: (archly) Are the little people rebelling against the sacred dominion of enlightened leaders? (shrieks) They rebel against God himself! (grimly) We may have to propose a final solution to their impiety.Brinkman: (in costume as the Nightwolf II of the Liberators) Disobedient subjects of of the People’s Collective of Cascadia. You have rejected righteousness and truth for the last time. You think you can devour your betters by collectivist means. But you are creatures of Original Sin, Takers mooching off the virtuous Makers like parasites eating a dying lion alive.Your immortal souls cry out for a hero. We liberated you from the hell of politics in order to restore the righteous dominion of heroes, yet you reject us. You must accept us, the American Liberators, as your heroes. If you do not follow heroes, your Sin Nature will lead you to follow (shows copy of The Black Book of Communism) villains.There is no other choice. Follow your heroes, or we the heroes shall be forced to treat you as villains.Everson: This is not a so-called strike. The little people are incapable of such a thing. It is Spiritual Warfare, Satan’s revolt against God’s eternal dominion. It is Good versus Evil, God versus Satan, righteousness versus depravity. Our Nation’s God-given mission to bring salvation to the world and the infinite kingdom of space is in jeopardy. We liberated America from the commonist dictatorship of Satan. We may be forced to restore the dominion of God — by force.Jack Becket: Economic terrorism’s even worse than political terrorism! Keep destroying the economy that makes America great, and we’ll have to put you down like the terrorists you are: with righteous violence!
The immovable object. The irresistible force.Hope: American tradition has always put its hopes in the power of one standing alone against the universe, the knight in shining armour charging in on his white horse. But every engineer knows that if the one cable breaks, the whole bridge falls down. Many small cables wrapped together are stronger than a single large cable the same size.People are the same way. Alone, we are vulnerable and weak; together we are strong. The fall of one will not break the many. Our strength comes from not leadership but solidarity. If we keep our courage and our faith in one another and our ideals, reason and justice will prevail.
east tacoma. In the morning when it’s closed, Shane and Oz take the delivery behind Loco Moloko in the parking lot. Leonid Stroman looks at them skeptically. “Where did you get the money for this?”
“You don’t feel the need to tell us where you get yours,” Shane replies, “and we don’t care anyway.”
Stroman stares up at the sight behind them. “I assume you won’t tell us what you intend to use them for, either.”
“We’ll figure something out.”
“Very well. In any case, gentlemen, they’re yours.”
Twenty-three military sound cannons, surplussed by mercenary corporations fighting Third World wars. And Oswald Bean, blackest of the rodeo cowboys, turns toward Seattle to shake his fist and yell, “Yo, motherfuckers! We bringin’ the real heavy metal!”
dictel tower. They stand before the apparition: the brothers Richard, Tom, and Henry Becket; from the next generation: Martin, Diana, Jack, and Will. Martin is especially uneasy: his grandmother died screaming in his arms. Now the holoprojected shade of their Patriarch, Roger Steele Becket, the late King Patriot I, begins to fade, and he leaves a grim message. “The Plan is falling apart.”
“We have failed, Grandfather,” says Martin.
Jack elbows him. “Be a Man, Marty. Suck it up.”
The ghost delivers a blinding flash to catch their attention. “Sons, there is a reason I am now in this state. Somehow, a single Factor Positive has come into her power, a power equal to that of our enemy Ariel Shield. Even Ariel could not have derailed the Plan like this. This required a Random Factor.”
“Father,” says Henry, ”the Random Factor’s name is Shira Miranda Richter-Thomas. His child, with the power to cloud the future.”
“And she is not alone, Harry,” says Richard. “Her cousin, your stepdaughter, Jennifer Blair, who has the power to see the connections between all things.”
“And these two live in sin with the prophesied one, and all work together against destiny itself.”
The flickering ghost stares down at them. It takes time for him to think: the daemon’s circuits are fading and the construct is decaying. “Henry. You have the power to restore the Plan. But the rest of you must first do away with my murderer’s companions. Only then can she be destroyed and the Plan restored.” The audio begins to crackle out. “I leave the... rest... to you...”
At last he fades away. The boardroom goes dark. Silence. Then as one, the Beckets salute where the Patriarch once was.
penguindrome. One by one they bring the stolen copbots into the garage where Jennifer’s assistants Sana and Harumi stare at her fight-geared but otherwise naked body. Deth Pussy speaks their thoughts. “Yo babe, you really gonna get away with fighting naked?”
She shrugs. “If it’s worked for me all this time, why change. Besides, the Fashion-Industrial Complex won’t get a penny.” She winks.
Together the assistants go, “Ohhhhhh.”
Shira, Kira, and the girl with the violet eyes arrive in the cherry-red Mustang equally intolerant of clothes. Akimi joins them from the studio with the newest MIRV Griffin upgrade, still tickled at getting away without clothes. Harumi stares wide-eyed at her sister’s well-toned body. Akimi rubs her head and says in Japanese, “You’ll get used to it.”
“I don’t know...” Sana covers Harumi’s eyes, but Jennifer signals her that it’s okay. Sana relents; Harumi smiles, looks down at Jennifer’s body, and gestures her to get back with Shira and their nanashi kunoichi.
Freddy Freakbeak sits enthroned atop Shira’s hat; Kira wears a red Angry Bird plush cap that AEGIS uses to speak through. “COPCO and the USPF plan to use their crack Homeland units against the strike.”
Sana asks, “Isn’t that overkill?”
“Girl, we’re talking panic in the suites,” Shira replies. “Sacred Corporate Egos are in danger of annihilation, so they’re taking spiritual warfare to the next level. Can you compute disruption probabilities?”
“At this level of panic, a near certainty,“ says AEGIS. “But you already sensed this and no doubt have a plan worked out.”
“That’s why we’re here.” She tinkers with one of the copbots. Her expression slowly shifts into that look. “Let’s give ’em something they’ll never expect.”
They put on electrical gloves; the naked techs don white lab coats; all wear AR goggles except for Shira, Kira, and Jennifer. They replace the copbots’ vocal units with sound cannons. They upgrade Slackware, Perl, and Back Orifice packages from the Darknet. They install the new MIRV Griffin botnet plus a Dissociated Press implementation translated from Emacs Lisp into obfuscated Perl and intended for mangling Revolutionary platitudes. Finally, they install a new batch of Windows and iOS malware.
El Kabong and Evil The Cat bring the hoverboards and costumes in a rented truck. Melody comes down to shield the workshop from Echelon’s eyes. The Krewe remove the COPCO uniforms and dress up the bots in identical wrench-equipped Spanner costumes. Time to turn them on.
It takes a few minutes for them to boot up and finish installation. Everybody holds their breath. Shira activates the test script. The Spannerbots stand up.
In perfect unison, they declare, “I am Spanner. And you are... a joke! HA hahahahaaaah!”
The workshop erupts in cheers, howls, high-fives, and dancing hugs.
seattle. The streets are filled with a sea of humanity: workers striking against corporation and Guild alike, carrying the banners of their rank-and-file committees and of their demands; all the Student Unions of the SPEC system withdrawing their tuitions along with their sanction; protesters carrying signs of various causes; random people caught up in the idealistic atmosphere; the various opportunists and fanatics trying to derail the strike to the service of their particular causes.
But the sky begins to darken, and it isn’t from rainclouds...
penguindrome. The garage door opens. Melody begins to strain her power. The Spannerbots start their hoverboards. The Wrecking Krewe and the nudefighters retreat to the KCUF studio. Nick warns, “You know that once Echelon sees ’em launch, this house is toast.”
“Find a new one stat,” says Shira. She assembles everybody at the table. “If you’re wondering why we’re launching ’em now, Admiral Currie’s already launching his drones. Their job’s to lead the Tech Knights on a wild goose chase and infect the new batch of copbots One-Eye just got from Yoyodyne. The bots’ll take the battle to the U.S. Police Force and maybe even infect their robot armour. Now let’s launch!”
The Spannerbots fly out on their hoverboards. Melody hits the garage door opener, stops using her power, and drops to hands and knees to catch her breath. AEGIS sets the transponder signals to maximum power. The Krewe watch the camera signals on the monitors. Soon they approach the Tech Knight drone fleets. The battle has begun.
seattle. The sky above the city goes dark with clouds of Tech Knight drones, Echelon drones, military combat aircraft, and the flying robot armour of the United States Police Force. Party leaders and network talking heads scream archaic Cold War slogans with revolutionary frenzy on every MSM channel, even as Anonymous begin their attack on the media signals. Jack Becket sends armies of COPCO strike agents and copbots to bust up the crowds and beat up the protesting masses. Drusilla leads thousands of Shepherds in fervent death prayers. Mercenary and Syndicate forces eagerly announce their intention to increase their Man Scores by massacring unarmed civilians.
Once they see the extremes to which Corporate power will go to preserve the supremacy of profit, the strikers begin to panic.
Up in the sky, the drones sense a group of taunting transponders approaching from the west. The camdrones flock to see: before they short out, crash into each other, or fall into the water, they spot—Jack Becket: (laughs maniacally) You chattering monkeys think you can turn back the tide of history? All of you are nothing compared to one of us! God and History abandoned you and made us supermen! We’re the future, and you’re history!Will Becket: (stares grimly, cradling The Black Book of Communism) We cannot tolerate such acts of Communist terrorism. Surrender now, or be destroyed.Brinkman: Smash those counterrevolutionary mother[censored]s! We can’t have everything America stands for destroyed!Willa: Boys, boys. If you think just sending in the cavalry will save the day, you’re forgetting your Little Big Horn could happen at any moment.Henry Becket: (looks up in the sky) Oh. my. God. no—
Spanner? A whole fleet of him, riding hoverboards, trailing black trenchcoats like capes.
The Tech Knights scream in terror turning to rage.
Every drone in the sky abandons its mission to do battle with the angel of chaos. They find what seems to be his image in multiplicity as if reflected in a compound eye. But the images split up into chaotic flight paths.
The USPF Mech Knights fly into the chaos for the opportunity to slay the terrorist and earn the rank of Hero of the Nation. But when they approach mélée range, their mechs’ computers go haywire — they find themselves under massive malware attack from the Spannerbots; the icebreakers weaken their firewalls, the viruses infect their operating systems, Back Orifice inserts trojans, until at last MIRV Griffin reboots them into assimilation. They lose control of their mechs to Spanner’s botnet — they become Spanner — the Mech Knights scream in terror, their own mechs tear some of them apart—Jack: (shocked) Holy [censored]! That’s what happened to my [censored]ing bots? You— (punches his camera)
The infection quickly reaches the COPCO copbots and transforms them into a new army of Spannerbots.Will: (shakes head sadly, clutching his fin) Flyboys. Always seeking glory above all else.
As if on cue, the terrorists come out: the Socialist Revolutionary Organization, Earth Revolutionary Front, Black African Revolutionary Front, People’s Occupation Party, Revolutionary Union of Terrorists, the remnants of the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus, and the black-masked anarcho-terrorists (sic) of the Black Bloc — they smash everything in range, beat up strikers and cops alike, beat each other up, whatever violence their blood tells them is righteous. But—Jack: Nooooooooooooo!Spanner: (in Votrax voice) Too bad, spaaaaace cadet. ha ha ha ha
—the copbots break out into creepy laughs and launch themselves at any terrorist, cop, or Patriot they can find, to beat them into pulp until they are no longer a threat. Then the media assault begins:Spanner: Terrorism is Conservative Revolution. Conservative Revolution is terrorism. No, stinking, difference; not, one, bit.Karen: (sits up in hospital bed) We were only trying to rally for peace.Spanner: Kid, some people experience peace as the torments of Hell.Brinkman: (half transformed to werewolf form, pulls his hair) GRAAAAAAAAA!!!
penguindrome. The air-raid siren wails. The truck hauls away the KCUF studio equipment. The studio crew leave in their van. Everybody else leaves with what valuables they have by car or in the Slasher Hunters van. The neighbours evacuate.Jack Becket copulating with his freakish sexbotsAnson Mobley chumming it up with Leonid Stroman, downing synthemesc-spiked milk, surrounded by whoresCOPCO agents gleefully selling themselves out to Syndicate after Syndicate and even Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited
The house is empty of squatters by the time it comes. A Predator on a suicide trajectory. Slowly it follows its implacable path. When it reaches the house, it turns vertical, missiles into the house, and explodes.
The neighbourhood is in flames, and the Penguindrome is gone.
copco seattle. The land line rings. Jack picks up the receiver. “What the fu—”
The voice on the other line says, “You have moles.” The call ends.
Locke Holmes enters. “I heard that.”
“Well then, let’s smoke ’em out!”
Holmes salutes. “Yes, sir!”
rich passage. Sparks hangs up as he speeds the hijacked catamaran to Seattle with the entire Team Bremelo on board, nudefighters and all. No one dares interrupt Shira, Jennifer, and the girl with the violet eyes as they make love in the cabin. The KCUF trawler follows on its own slow path behind, ready to broadcast and to hack.
downtown seattle. Desiree and her daughter are already perched nude in the strong wind on the roof of the Black Tower, waiting. They watch the events unfold far below as they wait, Desiree calmly, the girl nervously. At last she comes.
Drusilla rises above the neighbour buildings, rich silk robes billowing in the wind, angry eyes full of injured narcissism. In a goddess’ voice she commands: “Give me back what is mine! I want Lucille now!”
Desiree calmly smiles and says nothing. Her daughter smiles at her. She takes the girl into her arms and shares with her a passionate lover’s kiss in front of their enemy.
Drusilla lets out a rising scream of rage. She unleashes a fireball at her daughter.
Desiree Repulses it back at her — Drusilla barely evades: Desiree’s fierce triumphant grin tells her: I’m your equal now.
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, revision notes here. Original R2 title: “The Spanner Show”.]