[LNH/ACRA/WRIMO] Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use Of Overkill #5

Saxon Brenton 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.
Character credits: 
     Everyone here created by me.
Author's notes:
     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

More information about the racc mailing list