Tales Of The Knotlands: Bow Loin – 1. Channel Watching

Stood looking out over the Channel, that thin ribbon of water separating France from England – Angleterre; the Angled Tear; the Spirit Of Angle Hand sat next to him. Robespierre’s thoughts were guillotine edited; a swiftness cutting through the pretence he had been wont to display in the past. Wanker they called him – and they laughed as he tossed merde tete back at them.
How long was it since those forces had invaded his home and buckled the tower, razed the remains of their culture to the ground? Every single person with any kind of power suffering, it seemed, l’esprit d’escalier; tongue-tied when their words of power were most needed. France had fallen, like everywhere else, under the tide of shadows that swirled through the body of their planet.
‘So, exactly how fucked is it old chap?’
‘You are, how do you say, the spirit of the place? You should be able to sense that, non?’
‘Of course, Jacques, I was just hoping you might give me some conflicting information. Yes, cross to the front of me, dragon to the rear, I surely do have a good notion of precisely how far up the river we are without the proverbial paddle. it’s just not bloody cricket, is it?’
‘Hmm, je voudrais un biere, et tu?’
‘Anything stronger?’
‘Absinthe.’
‘Sure, why not? Can’t do any more bloody damage, can it?’
John let out a sigh that had so many things to communicate it wasn’t exactly sure what to sound like. The Spirit Of Angle Hand – they told him the piece of metal in his possession was the sword of King Arthur and that he could slay anything that threatened England with it, but the fact that he had been forced to turn tail and go to ground in this sympathetic hidey hole in France didn’t give him much hope. Seriously though, why was the bloody thing so small? If he was threatened by a slightly menacing cocktail sausage then he might be able to despatch with one swift prod of his trusty Excalibur; other than that he’d have to rely on a miracle to get him through.
Jacques returned with the beer and the absinthe. They’d bonded over their common roles; their common failures. They were both resurrected archetypes meant to protect their homelands but both countries had them set to revenge protocols which meant they were both activated once the damage was done.
‘You know, Jacques, old bean, I feel like I’m about as much use as soft toilet paper at a colostomy bag convention.’
‘I know what you mean; it’s like we’re patients on permanent bed rest who they roll once in a while to stop us getting pressure sores.’

Tales Of The Knotlands: A Merry Curr – 1. Liberty

How long had he lived inside the hollowed out form of this ancient thing? He wasn’t sure it really meant anything to him or anyone anymore – they had stopped calling it the Statue and referred to it as the Shrine and he had become some kind of priest by default. It was true that he defended the thing but he didn’t believe in liberty or anything.
Seriously, what was it that they were free of? Authority had disappeared for sure – when it became obvious that a centralised power system wasn’t going to work anymore the country had fragmented not just into the constituent states which made up the country but communities operating on a much smaller basis and with a more local site specific set of laws. No one felt oppression being pushed on them from above – instead the thing that oppressed them was the all pervasive poverty and the lack of any route out of it. America didn’t mean much as word or a concept any more. Did he think they might be able to rebuild it from the raw materials that they had here? He doubted it – he didn’t actually think that anyone was even vaguely interested in that kind of horseshit anymore.
Vulture was out on a sweep to pick up what carrion he could – he was the best scavenger in the business, and Charley Stick did not think he would have fared so well for so long without him. Charley Stick: High Priest of Liberty – he climbed the stairs and went to light the torch.
He’d heard that packs of bootleggers were roving through his neighbourhoods; doing battle with a group calling themselves Prohibition. These rats weren’t bothered about being on a sinking ship as long as they got to call it their own.
The dry twig snap of gunfire in the distance was a daily thing. People being territorial in a kingdom of fuck-all; it was as stupid as it had always been, but it was their choice, and they held to it steadfastly.

Robe Hot 1

Mortimer was a direct descendant of Babbage’s computers and he was very proud of it — he had a plaque in the centre of his chest that proclaimed that very fact. The chipheads weren’t of as distinguished a lineage as he could claim. There was doubt as to the future of that line though — apparently the company which manufactured him had, of late, fallen out of fashion. As far as he was concerned the various Silicon Valleys that had sprung up around the world were scars upon the surface of the Earth. These new critters that called themselves robots were ugly blighters.

He was part of a revolution, or would it perhaps be better to call it a resistance movement? They had released a horde of ants that seemed to rather like snacking upon silicon and it was doing a wonderful job of reducing the number of viable chipheads.

The steamers, as they termed themselves, were called luddites by some, which seemed odd given that they considered themselves engines of progress. One political commentator had compared the battle between the species as being akin to Neanderthals versus Homo Sapiens — that, as far as Mortimer was concerned was just plain insulting. Why people felt the need to talk about steamers as if they were mere adding machines, incapable of anything else.

When they burned out the mother factory of Siliconsqeuences people started to take them seriously. Started to think of them as a threat. It began to look increasingly dangerous to be a steamer at that point — they started to move underground. Mortimer couldn’t believe it had come to this.