Carrie Nation was in Sojourner’s Truth’s face in the main conference room of SASSLab, where the Society for American Solutions and Sensibilia was headquartered. “What were you thinking, Truth?!?”
Sojourner was not one to be intimidated by anybody, even if she was a really tall white lady with a booming voice who carried an axe. With her finger in Carrie’s face, she exclaimed, “You got to get ’em where they are! People ain’t gonna pay no attention to the League of Historical Women.” She spat the last word out like she’d taken a bite out of a stink bug. Just then, Stanton came on the intercom. This was what the women had been waiting for.
“It’s too late now, Carrie. What’s done is done. The League of Historical…Bitches, it is. I’m not exactly happy about it either, but we had just one shot at branding. Truth may have a point. This name may appeal to the young in ways that our original idea might not have.”
At that, the room erupted into chaos. Amid Truth and Nation’s verbal brawling, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s soft tut-tutting, Anne Bonny was silent. Annie Oakley grinned and shrugged her shoulders, flopping into a massive leather chair at the head of the table. She laid her revolver on the table and kicked her legs onto the table along with it. Marie Curie paced the room, wringing her hands, trying not to touch anybody.
“Bitches!” Stanton’s voice boomed. The room finally fell silent. “Well, there’s that,” she remarked to herself, chuckling, and filed the data away for later. Bitches was a verbal silencer. “As you well know, we’ve got work to do. Tell me how it went.”
“It was just as you said, Stanton. They were vampire squid,” Carrie remarked dryly. “I ended up killing four of ’em myself.”
“Soledun O’Murphy didn’t even put up a fight,” said Sojourner, obviously disappointed.
“Well, she didn’t see it coming,” said Eleanor. “I took control of that newsroom pretty quietly.”
“And you were able to disable communications at Ghouldmen Suchs, Madame?”
“No problem,” remarked Curie. “And I killed one. And a half. Anne took care of the other half.” Anne flashed her a grin.
“Very good,” Stanton remarked. “Very good, indeed. Already the stock market is dropping on news.”
“And that helps how?” shot back Annie. “The monster part is obvious enough, and reason enough, too. But how does a dropping stock market help our cause?”
” I want to know, too,” piped Marie Curie, finally taking a seat.
“Okay,” said Stanton. “Good question. You ladies learned during your training about all the monsters that inhabit the centers of power in this once-great country. You learned about the zombies of Academia and the wereweirds of Hollywood, as well as the alien vampire squid and the media golems you fought yesterday.”
The ladies nodded, paying intense attention to the intercom. Sojourner stood sentinel behind Marie Curie and Eleanor Roosevelt, her hands clasped behind her back.
“All of these areas of power are connected by the vampire squid, who are the top of the monster of food chain. And they feed off greed. As you could see from your weapons and bullets, silver and gold are deadly to them. This is the reason, in fact, that we have paper money today.”
“But wait. We had paper money back in my time,” said Carrie. “I remember when it was introduced during the Civil War. Are you saying that vampire squid were around back then?”
“Yes, I am, Carrie. They’ve been around since before America existed. They were introduced to America in the 1850s by Alois Suchs, who brought some from his native land. There he’d learned how to please them, and in return they made him a rich and powerful man. Now his name is on everything, from Ghouldmen Suchs to MicroSuchs to This Suchs! Studios.”
Carrie could not wrap her mind around this. “You mean, while I was smashing up bars and organizing women to sweep the streets for reform, these monsters were taking control of our country?” She slumped on the table, burying her face in her folded arms.
Eleanor began softly, “Well, I knew.”
“How?” asked Annie Oakley, defiantly. Continue reading