[LNH/ACRA/WRIMO] Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use Of Overkill #5
saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 13 19:25:15 PST 2010
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use Of Overkill - part 5
A Legion of Net.Heroes miniseries for the RaccoWriMo writing month
Written by and copyright 2010 Saxon Brenton
It turned out that Neko hadn't been mistaken, misinformed, or
outright delusional. The Yakuza enforcer hadn't had all the facts - and
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid had had to ferret around in other gangsters'
head to flesh out the details - but it was indeed the case that the head
of their crime family, the late Oyabun Sukoyoza, intended to resurrect
himself as a god.
Or maybe not a god. Perhaps as just a very powerful kami. Of
course, at that level of power and influence there wasn't much difference.
He was now back in the story-subjective present again, having
followed Neko's group of thugs back to their rendezvous point. It wasn't
in the city of Net.ropolis, but rather in a penthouse in the centre of
New York. ARAK had continued to methodically poke around in their heads,
gathering intel and judging their worthiness. This had eventually brought
him to Mr Tokufuja, who was the onmyoji (practitioner of onmyodo sorcery)
overseeing the criminal's apotheosis.
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid took a moment to examine the setup that
Mr Tokufuja had created. It was impressive, but it seemed that impressive
had been the whole point. A large part of the ritual's superstructure
was based on the magical symbolism of the superiority of man-made things
over the natural world: of skilfully constructed and intimidating culture
and artefacts having more symbolic weight than that of crude nature. A
design like that would have made no sense had it operated on scientific
principles - man-made items could be easily destroyed if a typhoon or
earthquake hit after all, as well as the 'civilisation is only three meals
away from savagery' truism - but magical thought was all about emphasising
lines of intuitive reasoning that were useful and carefully ignoring
those that weren't.
And so the venue was atop a skyscraper - itself a triumph of human
engineering - overlooking a city that was not necessarily the largest in
the world but was easily one of the most symbolic of 'city-ness'. It
would be even more impressive at night when the ritual was due to take
place, since you wouldn't be able to see the smog and could therefore
symbolically ignore one of the downsides of human endeavour. Mr Tokufuja
had arranged for the wide balcony doors to be opened and good quality
furniture, pieces of intricately carved wooden panelling, and exquisite
pieces of artwork to be set up tastefully around the large balcony area,
so that the enclosed inner life of the human home and office could spill
over into the outdoors. For exactly the same reason there were also
several pieces of high tech electronic equipment set up to do nothing
other than look impressive, including television screens set off
discretely to one side showing continuous coverage of world stock market
prices. Finally after all that there were trappings of traditional
Asian occultism, such as the yin-yang and the Eastern net.elements of
pixel, flame, thread, hardware and processing.
And there were also guards.
David Washington was a ninja trained in the ways of shadow walking.
He wasn't ethnic Japanese, but as he had looked around for something with
better career advancement than running in a street gang he had discovered
that there were always options open for training to become a ninja.
What his teachers at the ninja training school had *not* told him or
any of their other recruits was that the reason that there were always
places open for ninja is that they were continually being slaughtered by
trenchcoaters. In particular the A Guy In A Trenchcoat Fighting Ninjas
had a high kill rate, but even the likes of Malcolm Barnstable, the
Jellomancer, or the Dvandom Stranger would occasionally take time out
from their normal business to kick ninja butt. It was all that the ninja
training schools could do to keep up with demand.
However, even if they hadn't fully explained to their recruits how
much of a threat the trenchcoaters were, those same duplicitous ninja
sensei had at least explained that trenchcoaters were the enemy and
emphasised that they would not be pushovers.
So as David did his rounds of the penthouse using ninja type
stealthy stuff, his attention was attracted by something like a
flickering out of the corner of his eye. He paused and looked carefully,
but could see nothing. David, however, was no fool. If he could walk
undetectably in shadows, was it not possible that others might have
similar means of concealment? Rather than dismiss the incident out of
hand he decided to investigate more carefully, using indirect means.
Calling upon almost-but-not-quite mystical ninja senses he managed
to discover an intruder. A young Caucasian male with light brown hair
and glasses, wandering causally around Mr Sukoyoza's balcony as though it
were an open park rather than private property. But obviously he knew
that he shouldn't be here, otherwise he wouldn't be so heavily cloaked.
Was he a trenchcoater?
Well, he wasn't wearing a trenchcoat, but that didn't actually mean
anything. Trenchcoaters were tricky. Almost as tricky as ninja were.
So he might be a trenchcoater in cunning disguise. And as David looked
he could sense a darkness about this intruder. For the most part that
darkness was because of the disease that lay in his body, but there
might also be something about the soul...
Best to kill first and ask questions later. David pulled out a
throwing star and stepped forward.
Everyone here created by me.
Behind the scenes these episodes have slowly been growing bigger.
Which is cool. It's not even a surprise, since IIRC much the same thing
happened while I was writing the 'A Devil Came Down To Georgia Arc' for
the _Daily Super Short Short Story_. It's just that for reasons of
either adding in more confrontations and fight scenes for better dramatic
suspense, or because I'm such a wordy writer, I'm finding it easier to
simply take what I'm producing and chop it up into more pieces, so it
looks like I'll be having one or two more episodes than I originally
expected, which will stretch this story arc out beyond the November date
of the WriMo. Not that that's a big deal, of course.
And purely as a throwaway line, look: the Eastern net.elements
finally get codified in a story. The Western net.elements (earth, air,
fire and water) received internet pun counterparts (pixel, net, flame
and thread) way back in _Constellation_ #7 in 1993. They've had minor
modifications and additions to include timeindex as a counterpart for
plasma, and more recently Andrew Perron included compress as a counter-
part for the Bose-Einstein condensate. I also added the concept of
Northern net.elements in _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #57, but that only added
archive as a counterpart for ice.
But the Eastern net.elements are tricky. They're not just
archetypal substances, but also processes linked together in twin cycles
of generation/creation or suppression/destruction. I've been working on
and off for years at finding appropriate fits for the cycle of earth,
fire, water, metal and wood - but while the net.names of the substances
was no problem, and those same net.names work fine for the generative
cycle, they suck big time for the suppression cycle. All this means
that the final two Eastern net.elements may be subject to future
retconning if something better occurs.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
"These 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex
world of jet-powered apes and time-travel." - Superman, JLA Classified #3
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