I Dream of Channon (Transmetropolitan fanfic)

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I Dream of Channon

by Radical

And now, on to the story proper...
The bastard. The mother****er. How dare he do that to her?

That was what Channon Yarrow was thinking as she ran across the street.

Her boyfriend Ziang Huai had broken up with her to become a cloud of dust.

Technically, that was an oversimplification. Ziang had joined the Autumn Rainfall Nanohuman Community and had saved up enough money to have his consciousness downloaded into a pile of nanomachines the size of a virus. This pile was then known as a "foglet" because when the machines were condensed in their electrical field, they looked like fog or smoke. She had seen one foglet, a former human known as Tico Cortez, create a lily for her (which she then fed to Spider) literally out of thin air, simply by altering molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide and God knew what else was in the air.

She had seen the process of becoming a foglet. A cloud of nanomachines had fallen on Ziang, downloaded his memories and intellect into their supremely microscopic computers, and then..."eaten" his body for the fuel they needed to kick-start.

But that hadn't been the worst part. The worst part came after Ziang was a foglet. He and another foglet, Xiehe Golovko, had merged together into a single, larger cloud with lightning shooting out of it.

Tico's explanation was, "Essentially, without getting into heavy physics or anything...Xiehe and Ziang are having sex."

Ziang had sex.

With another "woman" (if she could be described as such).

Right in front of Channon.

How could he? The stupid bastard...

Channon ran out of the Community building, as if literally trying to escape the reality of what Tico had said. She wasn't paying attention to where she was going, especially not to Spider's voice...

She certainly wasn't paying attention to the car that hit her.
"CHANNON!" screamed Spider as the car struck her. She went flying fifty feet...slammed into a bus stop...and Spider heard her neck break.

"SHIT!" Spider yelled, as much with anger as horror.

He couldn't ****ing believe this! What a hell of a day!

Here he was, being nice as you please, inviting her to her ex-boyfriend's downloading, even getting a damn tux for the occasion, blowing all his money on expensive shit because he thought she deserved it...and how did she express her gratitude?

By getting ****ing killed, that's how!

He wasn't sure if he loved Channon or not, but one thing was for certain: if his boss Mitchell Royce came in now asking for his "****ing column" as he was always referring to it, and he found out Spider'd gotten an assistant killed, he'd fire Spider's ass!

Spider broke into a run. Now that traffic had stopped, at least he wasn't gonna get slammed by a bus or anything. He raced over to her body and picked it up. Christ, she was heavy! Had she been eating all the caribou eyes?

What the hell to do now? The nearest hospital was too far for their horse-drawn taxi to walk...

Suddenly, Spider saw the Autumn Rainfall Nanohuman Community building. Maybe...

No. No ****ing way. He'd have to be crazy to...

But what other ****ing choice did he have?

Besides, maybe this way she could have her revenge on Ziang for dumping her and causing this in the first place.
Channon was dreaming.

Her childhood. Her maturity. Becoming a stripper. Becoming
Spider's assistant. Ziang...

Channon woke up. She sat up...and realized that she had no legs to sit
up with.

Just a stream of pink smoke.

She was a foglet.

She was a ****ing foglet.

Channon handled this in the calmest, most rational manner she knew how.


"Nice to see you too, Channon," scowled Spider. "Long story short, you died, I brought you back here, poof, you're a foglet."

"Where's Ziang?" demanded Channon.

"Right here," said her ex-boyfriend's voice. The nanomachines that made up his body coalesced together to form pink smoke, and the smoke sprouted a face.

"Good," said Channon in a tone Spider didn't like. Part of Channon's cloud turned into a hand, drawn back to strike.

"Channon, no!" Tico tried to warn her. Too late.

Channon's "hand" slapped Ziang's "face" hard. The meeting of their two electrical fields created a lightning bolt, complete with accompanying thunder.

"AAAH! ****in' Jesus!" shouted Spider as he closed his eyes and covered his ears. When he opened them, all was dark.

"Hey, who turned off the lights in here?" he demanded to know. Then, "Oh, shit."

Shouting as loud as he could, he yelled, "Channon, I hope you can hear me, because right now I can't ****ing hear me!

"When you gave Ziang a *****-slapping -- something I would've done if he was still solid -- the meeting of your electrical fields caused thunder and lightning. You wanna know what it's like at a distance of three goddamn feet?!"

"Now, thanks to you, I'm blind, deaf, choking on ozone, and if I had any hair it'd be standing on end! I --

"Oh, Christ, now my eyes are itching! My ears, too! Like there's dust in them or..."

He stopped, realizing something. "That you doing that, Channon? Or is that Tico? Ziang? Xiehe?

"I hope it's one of you ****ers, and that you're fixing the damage, because this itches like hell!"

When his eyes stopped itching, he opened them. He could see again. Channon's pink misty face floated before him, looking contrite. "Channon? Thanks. When you're done, I think you'll want a full explanation for all this."

Channon nodded, then put a finger to her lips as if shushing. Taking the hint, Spider shut up and waited for his ears to be fixed.
"...so they took memories of your DNA coding and sent it to Reclamation,"* Spider explained once they were back in their horse-drawn taxi. "Once they copy your body, you'll be re-downloaded into it. This foglet is just a rental."

Channon stroked her smoky chin thoughtfully with a smoky hand. "Actually," she said, "I think I have my own way around that."

"Huh?" Spider asked, confused. "You do?"

"If they can create flowers from thin air," she reasoned, "then this shouldn't be a problem. Besides, unlike them I don't really care to spend the rest of my life as a cloud of nanites." She closed her eyes and concentrated. The mist drew tighter...tighter...the nanomachines taking air molecules and turning them into...

"My ****ing God," Spider swore.

"See?" smiled Channon. "Nothing to OH MY GOD!"

You see, Channon had perfectly recreated a female human body, aged around thirty...but she'd forgotten clothing.

"Okay, okay!" she breathed. "I can do this!" She closed her eyes, concentrating further, and the air condensed into clothes.

"Do I still have my job?" she asked.

"Depends on what we tell Royce," Jerusalem frowned. "Meantime, you still owe me a column..."

The next day, Spider found a weird-looking bottle on his living room table with a note attached. It read, "DRINK ME."

Spider stared at the bottle. It looked like a museum piece. Finally he shrugged. "Okay," he said warily, "but you'd better be some damn good

He opened the bottle and was about to drink whatever was inside when pink smoke poured from the opening. "What the **** -- !?" Spider yelled, dropping the bottle.

The smoke coalesced into Channon. She was dressed in some kind of nutty belly-dancing outfit and had her hair tied back. "How may I serve thee, O Master?" she smiled, bowing before Spider.

After Spider regained his composure, he frowned at Channon. "You can start by putting on some real clothes," he answered annoyedly.

"Fine," groused Channon disgruntledly as her outfit became a tight sweater, slacks and boots. "But if I'm gonna spend part of my life as a dust cloud, you could at least let me have fun with it."

"No time for fun," Spider argued. "Did you write the column?"

"Yep," Channon smiled. "I even sent it to Royce early so he wouldn't have to yell, 'Where's my ****ing column?' like he usually does. God, I swear it's his catch-phrase or something..."

"What exactly did you write?" Spider wanted to know, rubbing his eyes.

"Oh, this and that," Channon replied.

"'This and that' doesn't tell me anything," Spider retorted.

"Oh, all right," Channon pouted. "It's titled My Life As A Dust Cloud if that tells you anything."

Spider stopped rubbing. His eyes were wide with shock. "You mean to tell me you wrote about that?!" he screamed. "If Royce finds out I got you killed, I'm gonna get killed!"

"Calm down, Spider," said Channon. "Royce may be an *******, but I doubt he's the murderous type. Not the type to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, anyway. No, what concerns me is if I still have a job."

Just then the phone rang. "Oh, Christ, there's the phone," groaned Spider. He got on his computer to receive the message.

Royce's face was displayed on-screen. To Spider's surprise, he was smiling.

"Spider, good to see you," beamed Royce. "And where's Channon?"

"Right here," Channon replied smiling. "I take it you like what I wrote?"

"Oh, yes," smiled Royce cheerfully. "It's the scoop of the millenium. Why, I'm even prepared to make you a full reporter."

"Really?" asked Channon ecstatically. "That's great!"

"Yes, well, we have a shortage of desks, so...I'm afraid we'll have to let you go, Spider," Royce grinned evilly.

"Oh, that's okay, I..." Spider did his second double-take that morning. "You what?!"

"Ta-ta!" smiled Royce as he signed off.

Spider spent the next five minutes calling Royce a "dog****er", "father-rapist," and every other filthy phrase he could think of. Channon spent the same five minutes trying to apologize.

Finally, after they both calmed down, Spider groaned and rubbed his nose. He had a headache.

"You wanted to be a genie, Channon?" he grunted. "Fine, 'cause I've got the perfect wish. I want you to take Royce and..."
Five minutes later, Royce was sitting in his office when a cloud of what looked like pink smoke flowed under the door. Royce wasn't surprised; he'd been expecting it.

"Ready for your interview, Channon?" Royce said pleasantly as the fog solidified into his soon-to-be new reporter.

"Not exactly," Channon frowned angrily.

Seconds later, Royce's screams filled the air as a major percentage of his body mass was painfully reconfigured into free oxygen radicals.
"...so after I turned him into a gerbil like you wanted," Channon explained as they sat on the couch watching the TV and Amfeeds together, "I opened a window. After all, no sense letting what little fresh air the city has left go to waste."

"Good thinking," smiled Spider. "You'll make a good journalist yet. After we get a new editor, I'll see if we can't both get jobs."

"Meanwhile, what do we do?" Channon asked.

"Dunno, Channon...but as they say, tomorrow's another day."

And Spider Jerusalem smiled.


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