Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 23: Black Panic in the Suites
Part 2: Warriors of Rock (Final Revision)
Part 2: Warriors of Rock (Final Revision)
A call the Party Chairman made earlier that morning to Willa, leaked onto the Darknet and just now reaching the official news:
In Seattle, Portland, Vancouver; in Tacoma, Fort Vancouver, Victoria; in every significant city throughout the state of Cascadia, people crowd the city centers carrying worker committee banners, Cascadia state flags, and protest signs demanding the ouster of CPMC. They are working people: people reduced to near-slavery, people threatened with near-slavery, people no longer able to work at all because wages are considered uneconomical: and they make themselves heard as they wait for the chance to vote.Henry: How come nobody’s been able to put down your accursed little insurrection?”Willa: (smiles) You won.Henry: That is not an answer!Willa: You defeated the liberals. You destroyed the Democratic Party. You pulled off the Conservative Revolution. Yet not once did you realize that by wiping out the liberal establishment, you eliminated the precious liberal buffer that insulated your class against popular discontent. Now that liberalism is no longer there to serve as a breakwater, you have to face the storms of popular revolt directly.Henry: (stares uncomprehendingly) (pause) You have got to be kidding me.Willa: Congratulations, Harry. You got your wish. You destroyed the Democrats. You swept liberalism into the trashcan of history. Now taste the fruit of victory! Have a nice day, darling! [laughs maniacally, raises her violin, plays — a strange loud noise blows up the phone]Henry: Willaaaa— (punches camera)
Strikers: (chant) Cascadia is free! Dump CPMC!CPMC’s answer blots out the sky above: countless drones, most of them newly shipped from Yoyodyne assembly lines accelerated into overdrive; a new army of USPF Mech Knights hellbent on avenging their fallen comrades; combat helicopters armed with sound cannons ready to assault the city with weaponized Patriot Metal whose Superstar, Tom E. Breydon, awaits Brinkman’s command.
The pirate networks answer with a fleet of flatbed trucks bearing the sound cannons Shane and Oz got off the black market, each one connected through an amplifier and pedalboard to an instrument wielded by a Rocker. In Seattle, Breydon must face the full extended lineup of his old band, the Band with No Name: guitarists Ric Thomas, Jon Angel, Ryuji Suzuki, Rayer Pace, and Simon Remington; electric violinist Willa Richter-Thomas; keyboardists Betty Shears, Mylan Ferris, and Rumour Pace wielding circuit-bent Casios; bassists Raven Shears, Ruby Shears, Tim Drake, Randell Taylor, and Sari Angel; drummers Len Schafer, Paul Angel, and Sheryl Case; and turntablists Shockmaster Rock and Alex Plus.
A “scopevid” from someone’s fashion AR goggles records this exchange between a striker and three nudefighters:Ric: How come Rock ’N’ Roll ain’t been this relevant in ages?Willa: We only got to be Rock Stars and intimidate people.Ryu: (to the crowd) We! are! the Warriors of Rock!
Down below in the subway, unbothered by buses and light-rail trains idled by the strike, a part-wood steampunk robot dominates a deranged hacker (identified by the COPCO system as one J. Freedom Mobley) who abases himself before her because this is no ordinary wood girl but an exobody for Harlequinette the Clockwork Girl. Security video captures them in strange communion, but there is no audio because Harlequinette speaks directly to his bicameral mind. She reminds him that his brothers Anson and Terry are inferior because they are dead; he replies that he too is dead, dead to the world, and he is now only her instrument, the righteous terrorist who bears the superhero name Toymaker, master bomber to the Conservative Revolution.Striker: What the— Why won’t you girls put on any clothes?Elle: (excitedly) The Party are pitting Men’s Rights against workers’ rights, and we’re ready to fight! (punches into left hand)
Locke Holmes: You persist in your traitorous insurrection? I have planted bombs where they will kill the most people. You cannot find them. I won’t tell you where they are or how many. I am confident there are none among you who can comprehend my genius.cpmc headquarters. The Fearsome Foursome are (current lineup) Governor J. Walter Brinkman, Chief Jack Becket, Shepherd-Mayor Luke Everson, and Admiral Reynard S. Currie. They assemble in the vast boardroom of the Salem corporate head office with Holmes, Radisson, Litton, General Patrick Peterson, Drusilla Becket AMERICA!, her Patriot Metal Superstar acolytes Byron Scofield and Jeremiah Light, and the Investors, High Corporates so blessed with infinite wealth they are able to buy sovereign immunity and a place in the hierarchy outranked only by the Houses of Becket and Brinkman. One of them, a Mr. Vronsky, says, “It is indeed as Mr. Buffett said—”
“Are you advocating anarchy?” snaps Brinkman. “You pay us to protect freedom against anarchy! I’ll liberate this Communist hellhole if it kills me!”
Holmes grins triumphantly. “No, Mr. Brinkman, we’re liberating it from the Communist rabble even if we have to kill ’em all.”
“By any means necessary,” says Everson. “We’re faced with counterrevolution.”
“We’re trying to prevent the return of 1917,” says Currie.
“No, Reynard,” says Litton, “this is 1792. You know what that means.”
Holmes pumps his fist. “Unleash the Terror to save the Revolution!”
Brinkman exclaims, “Let’s open a can of Revolution on their commie asses!”
Suddenly the air goes still. All talk stops. All attention goes to the big screen above the Chairman. He gasps when he sees a grinning Shira, arms strategically crossed, in front of the bouncing-breast eyes and Cheshire Cat grin of Rebel Styles’ emblem. “How are you gentlemen!” she purrs. “Wanna know why you can’t kill me? The reason is simple. Her name is Rebel Styles.” Everyone holds their breath in terror as the terrifying emblem replaces Shira in the foreground and fades into Rebel’s delicate loli head until Shira returns. “She’s a faithkiller, a mind virus engineered to cause horrific death by destroying the mind of faith, MPTP for jihadis.” Gasps and muffled screams answer her.
“You stole my granddaughter, what the hell else do you want?”
Shira answers with video of Rockers stationed next to the surplus sound cannons. “We’ve connected Rock ’N’ Roll instruments to sound blasters all over the city. Never mind what they can do to your precious drones and mechs. Harm me, my friends, or my people, and the Rockers will play, and Rebel Rebel will sing just for y’all. Wanna know what happens when she opens her mouth? Just ask Wayne Tremayne. ’Bye, Wally!” She disappears, and the pretty head of Rebel Styles takes over to open her mouth; just before she can speak, the call abruptly ends and the big screen turns blue.
Dead silence. Brinkman breaks it with a howl of rage.
i am the lord your god
Along the march route they find the Toymaker’s finest creations, four bombs he believes can annihilate the whole strike. The twins have the computers Dr. Whistler implanted in their skulls; Jennifer and Sparks wear shoe-powered hat computers: they communicate by audiomessage. Sparks: These are some damn complicated contraptions.
Shira: He put some love into ’em for sure.
Kira: He really thinks he can stump us this time?
Only long enough to get rid of us and half the city.
Sparks: Don’t forget, one bomb goes off, all civilians are automatically convicted and the blood orgy begins.
Jennifer: Wait a minute—
The others: What?
I can’t see the electricity through this thing, but I can sure see the pattern.
Shira: Kirlian app!
Okay, got it — whoa baby, sending pictures right now. She sends a series of app-enhanced photos of her bomb with circuits glowing. The twins study it.
Shira and Kira: *gasp* That’s it! They send the others complete disarming instructions, and AEGIS transmits them to the bomb squads in other cities.
Nameless Reporter: Big Brother, watch out! Little Brother is everywhere, and he’s watching you!The people on the street learn about the Terrorist from the Darknet. None of them watch the official channels or even care. They record what they see with the cameras on their phones and AR goggles. Crowdsourced information tells their AR apps where the rallies are and will be, where the authorities are attacking, where the bombs are still being removed, and where the left-wing factions are trying to hijack their collective effort. One fanatical faction leader in a black mask insults the crowd and demands they get violent revenge against the Party. A beautiful naked girl with pale skin, black hair, gangsterskin fighting gear, and no name climbs up and punches him off the platform to the strikers’ cheers.
Nameless girl: Don’t listen to these guys! They’re only vigilantes! They only wanna kill people!Holmes checks his watch. He switches the monitor to all the networks: no terror news? “Why aren’t they going off?”
The Toymaker calls sobbing, “They ruined my babies, Rocky! They’ll pay for hurting my babies! Harlequinette will make them pay!”
Harlequinette slips behind him and tells him comfortingly, “I have other tools. They are flying in the sky. They will collect our victims and hunt the angel of chaos.” She knocks the Toymaker out and escapes into dreamspace; now just another unused exobody, the wooden girl collapses to the floor with a clatter.
She approaches Holmes only to see him tightly wrapped and hidden inside an eldritch entity, his own Ego. Unable to possess him and direct the destruction of the cities, she finds a COPCO Shirabot in Seattle and slips into it only to find it already infected by the Spanner virus. She prepares to battle it, confident that she can defeat a mere virus; but the virus’ mistress appears as a giant face. One reality distortion later, Harlequinette finds herself in limbo.
telesphere. On all screens, a man in black motorcycle helmet and Minuteman red jacket commands the picture, only he’s not Spanner. His voice is scrambled.
The Terrorist: I know you stupid commie faggots. You like to call me “The Terrorist.” In Jesus America’s name, don’t call me the Terrorist! I’m an angel from God.A bat hits and shatters the Terrorist’s faceplate from off camera. The helmeted man who becomes the object of the camera’s attention is Spanner. He hammers the Terrorist in the shoulders and face several more times, then wrestles him into a full nelson and forces the villain to face the camera.
You’ve pissed me off for the last time, you faggots. This is my last offer. You give me all the money you’ve got and your total and humiliating obedience and, hmm, crown me your king and worship me as your god, [camera zooms out] I might spare your worthless liberal faggot lives by not blowing up your butt-ugly commie liberal city. [gestures toward nuke behind him] You’ve got until [checks watch] about five minutes from now. I’m kinda hoping youAAAh!—
Spanner interrupts the bullyboy with his fist, breaking his jaw and then knocking him out with a strike to the left temple. The signal suddenly goes out—Spanner: Well, well, well. I should have known. The Fearsome Foursome are back up to their old tricks again. They even hired a mercenary assassin to destroy the city. His name is... [he wrests the helmet off the man’s head to reveal a steroid-faced Moral Enforcer with a shattered nose] Stanley Green, self-righteous drug pusher!Stan Green: You fu—
—and the regularly scheduled newsertainment resumes with all network presenters screaming.
thou shalt have no other gods before me
Amanda: The heroic Tech Knights are making their move now!The drone fleet descends from the clouds to the city, ready to bomb civilian gatherings and shoot civilians into bloody shreds.
The Rockers’ hands are in position, ready to attack their instruments. The Tech Knights remote their drones into position and await the order. Civilians flee into buildings and subway entrances.Nameless Reporter: The Warriors of Rock are tuned up and ready to destroy!Ric Thomas: (holds out arms) I am the god of hellfire!
The Rockers launch into scorching solos amplified into lethal blasts of sound that shatter windows and rattle the drones before the Tech Knights can start mashing buttons.Admiral Currie: Rock them monkeys to Hell!Willa: Fire!
They scour the sky with their sound cannons; they search for drones to destroy; they target from near and far and devastate the drone-filled skies with weaponized Rock ’N’ Roll. Before long, the drone fleet is destroyed or crippled; shrapnel and machine parts rain from the sky.Ric: Up to eleven, motherfuckers! (destroys dronecam)Amanda: Eeeek!
Nameless Reporter: *sigh* ♥
The leftist factions run out into the metal rain, smash every storefront in sight, throw Molotov cocktails — and get beaten up by Spannerbots.Admiral Currie: Wha— No, that’s impossible! They’re only celebrities!General Peterson: Now it’s my turn.
Shira: Dear vanguardist vigilante elite, you suck. Stop interfering with our strike. Y’all ain’t taking our moment away from us just so you can be the Man by beating the Man. So get your posses out! No vigilantes allowed!The Syndicates launch attacks against the factions and each other. They battle for the love of battle, not caring that they might get brained, and some do. Whatever gangsters remain alive and uncrippled are summarily beaten by hacked copbots.
Shira finds Talia alone and injured in a hidden nook of an old building. But the first thing Talia says: “Shira! Why the hell are you naked?”
“Fighting right-wing vigilantes, that’s why. If you’re wondering why the Slasher Hunters aren’t joining you, well, you just can’t do revolution by posse. Case in point: every failed Latin American revolution ever, and Jesse James.”
“Shira, you’re in our way.”
“Wrong! Your posse’s in the way of our general strike. Real revolution’s for civilians only, not some vigilante élite. Wild West’s over, girl. The frontier’s closed forever. Now let me call you up some medical attention.” Shira kisses her. Talia sighs in resignation.
Outside, civilian strikers once again flood into the streets to clean the streets of drone debris and the broken bodies of the fallen warriors of crime and vengeance.
Amanda: The virtuous men of wealth are voting for CPMC to the tune of billions of dollars!“Mama, it can’t work,” says Talia over the phone to election central.
“Talia, stop being so defeatist,” Hope replies. “We’ve been preparing for this for two years. We know so much about our opponents now, we cant let that go to waste.”
Shira interrupts. “Hope darling, she thinks civilians are just like Corporates, just like the Corporates.”
“Tal darling, let the people show the world what they’re made of. This revolution belongs to them.” Talia sighs bitterly.
“Plan B’s like ready,” says Moon Roach.
“Plan C is go,” says Evil The Cat.
“CCP’s not that easy, guys,” Shira says. “Better be ready to use Plan Z.”
i am a jealous god vengeance is mine
Her red hair wind-whipped like a revolutionary flag, a beautiful and vivacious adolescent girl, nude yet seemingly unconscious of her nudity, scales a platform to inspire the strikers.Amanda: This is amazing! They’re taking time from the strike to clean up the mess left by the drones!Admiral Currie: (angrily, bright red) Those insurgent fools should be lying there with the trash! They’ve got no respect for authority!
Elle: We can’t give up when we’re this close to our goal! Let’s keep fighting till we take back our lives and our freedom at last!Mr. Xi warns Brinkman, “You have no choice but to allow Chinese Corporatist Party (Holdings) Limited to acquire your company. It is the only thing that will save your property from complete anarchy.”
While thousands of hacked copbots relieve the strikers of cleanup duty, joined by USPF mechs carrying the corpses of their Mech Knight pilots, the naked hoverboarders prepare to launch: Shira, Kira, Liz, Radica, Akimi, and Elle. The bots stop to shake their metal fists collectively at the Black Tower. With one voice, the voice of Spanner, ten thousands Spannerbots shout at CPMC, “You have no chance to survive make your time!”
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Copyright © 2013 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 4/16/13: Mostly new material, plus various older scenes heavily revised for Final Revision continuity.]