[LNH] Miss Translation Untranslated #11

Jamie Rosen dq831 at FreeNet.Carleton.CA
Sun Mar 28 16:36:19 PST 2004

Low Budget Productions proudly presents

    The Continuing Misadventures of

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  Brought to you by the Legion of Net.Heroes


                                                        "Movin' On"

             [Cover shows Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl,

            Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid, Miss

            Translation, and Blue Wave walking away from LNHHQ

            with moving boxes in their hands. Leaning out of

            the partly closed doorway is Ultimate Ninja, who

            is shaking his fist and shouting "And stay out!"]

  Ah, the Legion of Net.Heroes headquarters. That beacon of all that is true

and good in Net.ropolis (and a few things that aren't.) That last bastion of

true heroism and tomfoolery. Home to untold numbers of men, women, and dogs

in strange costumes. Untold numbers that have just gotten smaller.

  Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl tossed the last of her unmentionables into

the cardboard box on her bed. "I can't believe we're being thrown out of our

own headquarters!" she exclaimed.

  Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid leaned in her doorway, holding

his own cardboard box in front of him and lazily knocking the doorjamb with

his heel. "It's not our headquarters anymore," he reminded her. "We're dead

wood, remember? They cut us loose." [For "losing" the Normalizer during

Flame Wars 4 -- Ed.]

  SWAA Girl rolled her eyes. "Like, don't remind me. As if getting rejected

by every guy I meet isn't bad enough, now my whole *team* is rejecting me."

  "At least in this case it's not because you're a zombie." Not bothering to

wait for a reaction, Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid took off

down the hall, whistling the tune to a Dennis Leary song.

  After watching him disappear into the elevator, Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive

Girl went back to her packing. "Stupid SAFNAR Kid," she muttered to herself,

jamming her clothes down and trying to close the box on top. Naturally, as a

cardboard box being packed with things, it refused. "Stupid box," SWAA

added, climbing up on her bed to lean down on the lid with all her weight.

  "Need help?"

  SWAA Girl looked up. "Oh, Blue Wave," she said. "No. Well, could you pass

me that roll of duct tape?" She pointed to a roll on her dresser.

  "Sure thing." The aquamarine-clad avenger came into the room and handed

her the tape. "What do you have duct tape for?"

  She smiled coyly. "It has it's uses," she said, pulling a long strip off

and affixing it firmly to the top of the box. "There."

  "May I sit down?" Blue Wave asked, pointing at the bed.

  SWAA Girl nodded. "Sure." She went over to her dresser and pulled out a

scrunchie to tie her hair back.

  Settling down on the bed, Blue Wave grimaced as the springs squeaked and

squawked noisily. "How are you taking the move?" he asked.

  "I don't know." She finished putting her hair in a ponytail and jumped up

to sit on the dresser, crossing her legs in a way that used to get Sarcastic

Lad's drool all over his shirt but now was more likely to get his lunch

there instead. "I mean, like, it's not like I ever really *did* anything

with the LNH. Well, other than, you know..." She trailed off. Something

about Blue Wave made her modest. Embarassed, almost.

  "Well, we all..." He paused uncertainly. "We all have our niches."

  SWAA Girl smiled. "I guess. But yeah, it's not like I ever went on

missions or anything -- I got eaten by a zombie, once, and then I came

back." She shrugged. "But still, it was nice to have a place to call home,

you know? And now I'm being -- we're being -- thrown out." She started

fiddling with the hem of her skirt. "I don't know. It's just weird. I feel

like I've been through a lot lately, you know?"

  Blue Wave nodded, and she laughed.

  "Yeah, I guess you would know," she said. "How about you?"

  Blue Wave adjusted the nose of his mask. "Well, in all honesty, I haven't

had much of a chance to settle in. I'm still in the adjustment process, and

this is just another part of it for me."

  "Yeah, like, I guess you'll feel weird wherever you are. Like, for a while

at least."

  Before Blue Wave could respond, SAFNAR Kid came back into the room.

  "Sorry to interrupt your makeout session, guys, but they're saying we've

only got ten minutes to get our stuff out of here."

  "Who's saying that?" Blue Wave asked, standing up.

  "The Legion."

  *  *  *

  Miss Translation loaded the last of the boxes into the back of the yellow

cab and looked back at LNHHQ. She hadn't been there all that long, when you

got right down to it, but the people inside were the only people she knew on

this planet. Well, and the three people who were going to take the cab with

her. And the Normalizer, but he was in the hospital. And then there was the

woman at the library, and that bartender, and of course t'Kiila, demon of

intoxication. [Bet you thought we'd forgotten about him -- Ed.] But other

than those people, the only people she knew on the Looniearth were in the

Legion headquarters. And here she was, having to say goodbye to them. Of

course, none of them were saying goodbye to her -- they were all pretty

busy. Sighing, she turned back to the cab.

  "And we gotta take *her* with us?* Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason

Kid was saying, jerking his thumb in her direction.

  "Those were the stipulations for our receiving these new lodgings," Blue

Wave said. "What's wrong with Miss Translation, anyway?"

  "You mean other than the fact that she's always charging off into

trouble?" SAFNAR Kid asked. "And that without Time Waster Lad, there's no

*way* we'll be able to figure out what she's saying?"

  "I think she's nice," offered Sleeps-With-Anything-Girl.

  "Thank you," Miss Translation said.

  SAFNAR Kid rolled his eyes and thrust his hands into his jacket pockets.

"Fine, she's nice, she's coming with us, whatever. At least we get a place

to stay and I don't have to go back to packing groceries at Hooper's. Still,

I don't like this whole 'anonymous benefactor' deal. Those things never work

out well."

  "What are you talking about?" Blue Wave said. "Look at Max Lord! Or the

Secret Six! Or... oh. Well. Indeed." Choosing to abort this particular line

of discussion, he quickly pulled the cab's rear door open. "Ladies?"

  "Thank you," Miss Translation said, nodding her head slightly as she got

into the cab.

  SWAA Girl giggled as she got in, her slowly decaying voicebox making a bit

of a rasping sound at the same time. "Thanks."

  "SAFNAR?" Blue Wave said, looking at his erstwhile teammate.

  Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid rolled his eyes again. "Fine,

I'll ride in the back," he said. Then, turning on his heel, he gave the

LNHHQ the double bird before getting into the car.

  Blue Wave shook his head as he closed the door and got in to the

passenger's seat. Regardless of what happened, this was definitely going to

be different from the Net.Hero Society.

  *  *  *

  The room was spacious, with high-vaulted ceilings. Two entire walls were

taken up with video screens, showing what seemed to be every possible

location in Net.ropolis, and possibly beyond. In the centre, a man sat in a

high-backed chair that swivelled from side to side as he looked at the

various screens.

  He was not what you would call a big man. He was slender, and while the

golden cape and cowl he wore made his presence more intimidating, neither

they nor his crimson spandex costume did much to hide his lack of any

significant muscle mass. Nevertheless, his movements he gave the impression

that the sort of activity that required such bulk was generally foreign to


  One particular image caugt his eye -- four members of the Legion of

Net.Heroes, crammed into a cab that was speeding along the Filled With

Innocent Bystanders Expressway. Four *former* members, he corrected himself,

dialing up one of his agents.

  "Overtaker," he said into the receiver. On his monitor, he saw the

slouching, beige-clad speedster snap to attention.

  "Mr. Everywhere!" Overtaker said. "Yes, sir?"

  "It seems some new faces will be moving into the neighbourhood," Mr.

Everywhere said, absentmindedly twisting the cord around his finger. "I want

you to make sure they receive an... appropriate welcome. Gather the rest of

the Conscripts and see to it."

  The Tan Streak saluted. "Yes, sir, Mr. Everywhere, sir." He scampered off,

and Mr. Everywhere leaned back in his chair, stretching. If only he could

have closed his eyes, even for a second, his relaxation would have been


  *  *  *

  The address they'd been given turned out to be in the abandoned warehouse

district. Fittingly enough, it was, in point of fact, an abandoned warehouse


  "I don't like this," SAFNAR Kid said, looking around as he got out of the

cab. "This is a bad neighbourhood."

  "A bad neighbourhood?" Miss Translation asked.

  "Yeah, you know -- the kind where evil geniuses build fifty-foot killer

robots and super-gangs divvy up their loot."

  "I see."

  The cabby, an overweight guy with five o'clock shadow at eleven in the

morning and the stub of stogie hanging stereotypically out of his mouth,

leaned out the window. "Hey, you going to take your stuff outta the trunk or

you want me to drive off with it? Meter's still running, you know."

  "Ah, blow it out your ear," SAFNAR Kid said, but Blue Wave was already

pulling their boxes from the trunk while SWAA Girl payed the driver.

  The car drove off, leaving the four of them standing on the sidewalk

staring at their new home. It didn't look very good. It was run down, there

were posters upon posters upon posters stuck on the walls, and the front

door moved to and fro in the breeze.

  "How can Net.Villains stand to live in places like this?" SAFNAR Kid

asked, picking up his box.

  A new voice came from behind them. "Low rent. And the leases tend to be

pretty loose about what sort of modifications you can make to the place."

  The four Net.Heroes turned around to face the man who had spoken to them.

He was a young black man, no more than twenty-two or twenty-three.

  "Who are you?" SAFNAR Kid asked.

  "My name's Lamar Dunston," he said, crossing the street and extending his

hand to SAFNAR Kid. "I'm the guy who set you up with your new place. Your

'anonymous benefactor.' The rich philanthropist who's choosing to use his

vast resources to fund a group of down-on-their-luck crimefighters."

  "But anonymous befactors aren't usually -- I mean, you're -- "

  "Black?" Lamar's laughter had a tinge of bitterness to it. "Thanks for

pointing that out -- I hadn't noticed.

  Miss Translation elbowed SAFNAR Kid in the ribs, glaring at him. "Sorry,"

he mumbled, looking at his feet sheepishly.

  Blue Wave stepped in and shook Lamar's hand. "I'm sorry, sir.

Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid isn't exactly renowned for his

people skills."

  "Oh, it's not like it's the first time I've gotten that reaction," Lamar

said. "Sometimes I wonder if you people even watch tv -- haven't you seen

_The Cosby Show_ or _The Fresh Prince of Bel Air_? But that's neither here

nor there. I'm guessing you'd like to come in and see your new home."

  When they stepped across the threshold and into the warehouse, all of the

complaints that had been on SAFNAR Kid's lips and everyone else's minds

disappeared. The interior of the building was all gleaming chrome and little

flashing lights, the floor was as clean as Captain Cleanup's kitchen, and

there was even a big screen tv and some easy chairs in one corner.

  "Is that better?" Lamar asked, smiling broadly.

  "I call the tv!" SAFNAR Kid said, dropping his box, running across the

building and vaulting over the back of one of the chairs to land in it with

a satisfied groan.

  Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl spoke up. "Um, Mister Dunston?"

  "The quarters are up those stairs and to the right," he said, answering

her question before she could ask it.

  "Thanks." She trotted off up the stairs to put her things away.

  Miss Translation and Blue Wave stayed where they were, still looking

around the building.

  "Is everything to your satisfaction?" Lamar asked.

  Miss Translation nodded. "I think so."

  "Say, Mister Dunston..." Blue Wave began.

  "Call me Lamar."

  "All right. Well, I was wondering..." He pointed to a corner of the

warehouse that was closed off from the rest. "What's that?"

  "Oh, that? That's the embassy -- I'm renting out part of the building,

since I figured we wouldn't need the whole thing. And it will help to cover

the costs you'll undoubtedly accrue with the nature of your business."

  "The embassy?" Blue Wave asked.

  Lamar nodded. "Yes, the -- well, there's the ambassador himself. You can

talk to him." He pointed out a grey-haired, heavily muscled man with metal

doohickeys sticking out of his skin.

  "You!" Miss Translation said.

  "You?" said Cabell, taking a step back. "I hope you're not looking for

another fight. I served my time."

  Lamar looked from Cabell to Miss Translation and back again. "I take it

you two know each other?" he asked.

  Blue Wave tried to remember what he had been told about Cabell. "They...

that is to say... I believe Miss Translation was one of the people who

halted Cabell's rampage in the Net.ropolis map district and convinced him to

change his ways. But I don't know how he got out so fast."

  "Diplomatic immunity," Cabell said. "As Ereh.WAN's only representative,

I'm the de facto ambassador. Mr. Dunston's been kind enough to let me rent

out part of this building as my embassy." He looked at Miss Translation,

then at Blue Wave, then at SAFNAR Kid, who was busy shouting at the image of

Jim Rome on _The Last Word_. "I guess now I know why the insurance rates

were so high."

  Suddenly an explosion ripped through the district, rocking the very

foundations of the warehouse. Bits of plaster and technical-looking doodads

fell from the ceiling, and the heroes almost lost their footing.

  "No," Lamar said when the shaking had stopped. "*Now* you know why the

insurance is so high."

  *  *  *

  On the second floor, Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl was busy hanging her

clothes in her new closet -- a large, walk-in type with a full-length mirror

taking up the far wall. She was also merrily singing the latest Sidekickz

hit to herself. She liked to sing, even though she knew she wasn't all that

good at it; it helped take her mind off her problems.

  "What's been going on? I can never tell," she sang, attaching her flare

pants (don't call them bellbotoms) to the hanger with clothespins to avoid

creasing them. "All this fuss and fighting, makes me want to give a rebel


  She had just picked up one of her pairs of hiphuggers and was about to

hang it when the floor began to shake.

  "What the heck?" she asked, reaching out to steady herself. Her fingers

almost seemed to slip through the surface of the mirror, but she didn't have

a chance to notice as the next moment the shaking stopped and she found

herself pitching headfirst into her clothes, the leaning she had been doing

subconsciously to avoid falling now having the opposite effect.

  "*OOF!*" she exclaimed as she fell in a heap. Rubbing her head -- mostly

out of habit, since she didn't actually feel any the worse for wear -- she

looked around the room for what had caused the shaking. "That was, like,

weird." Standing up and casting a forlorn glance at the pile of clothes that

was now spread out all over her bed, Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl decided

to run downstairs and see what was up.

  *  *  *

  Miss Translation stood immediately outside of the door to the warehouse,

Blue Wave and Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid beside her,

looking up at the platform that hovered one story above them, and the five

people who stood upon it. At the forefront stood a man in a beige bodysuit,

with a large 'O' -- or perhaps a zero -- emblazoned on his chest in brown.

Slightly behind him and to his right crouched a plaid-clad man who looked

like he was from either Pakista.net or Ind.IO, while to the 'O' fellow's

left stood a woman in a fur coat. To the right and left of *them*,

respectively, stood a young man in dayglo orange body armor, with a logo on

his chest depicting a pair of scissors, and a slightly odd-looking older man

wearing slacks and a sweater vest.

  "So," the beige clad man, presumably their leader, said, "you are the new


  Miss Translation moved to speak, but Lamar Dunston stepped from the

shadows inside the building before she could.

  "Yes, we are," he said.

  "Good. Mr. Everywhere has a message for you. Madame Empire?"

  The woman in the fur coat threw something off of the platform. "Welcome to

the neighbourhood," she said in heavily accented English. Before anyone on

the ground could react, the platform disappeared from view, accompanied by

the sound of an explosion that rocked the very foundations of the warehouse.

  Miss Translation continued to look at the space where the platform had

been just moments before, then turned to what they had thrown to the ground.

  "What is it?" asked Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl, who had arrived just

in time to see the exchange.

  Lamar Dunston crouched down to examine the object.

  "It's a gift basket."


  The cover is, in part, an homage to the issue of JLA in which Steel's

grandfather (I believe) throws the JLA (then including such underrated

heroes as Vibe and Vixen in one of my personal favourite line-ups) out of

their headquarters, which he owns. I'm talking about the original Steel, not

the battle-suited fella who came around with the _Death of Superman_.

  I've always had a soft spot for the so-called 'second string' DC heroes,

especially as members of the Justice League. I mean, let's face it, while it

may make sense from a marketing standpoint to have the "Big Seven" fill the

roster of the JLA (or E, or I, or whatever), most of these guys are pretty

busy already. Superman has, what, four or five monthly comics? And Batman

has about the same amount. Where are they going to find the time to run off

to their Justice League sattelite, or fight intelligent apes, or whatnot?

People like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, on the other hand, have a much

more room in their schedule. Besides, from a fan's point of view -- if I

want to read about Supes, I'll buy one of his titles, but if I want to read

about Rocket Red or Metamorpho, what can I do?

  Don't get me wrong, I do understand why the big guns would form the core

of the JLA (they're supposed to be the premiere team, after all), but I

don't see why we couldn't have it both ways. With the LNH, the equivalent

opportunity is staring me right in the face, so I'm going to try to do

something like that with _Miss Translation_. What will that mean? For one,

it means that underused characters will hopefully be getting a bit more use.

Also, with luck there will be some guest appearances once the exact

relationship between these outcasts and the LNH proper gets hammered out.

Who knows, perhaps a change in title may also be in the offing, as this has

quickly turned into something of a team book on me.

Cabell, Lamar Dunston, Mr. Everywhere, the Conscripts, Miss Translation and

Blue Wave are mine and reserved. Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl is reserved

(Yeah right!) Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid is reserved.

Ultimate Ninja is unreserved.

SAFNAR Kid created by Tom Russell, I think, although he was surprised when I

mentioned it, and SWAA Girl definitely created by Tom Russell. Ultimate

Ninja was created by wReam, I believe.

Filled With Innocent Bystanders Expressway created by Marc Singer, first

appeared in _Saviors of the Net_ #16 (I believe.)

Many thanks to Carl Tashian's multibabel website Lost in Translation

<http://www.tashian.com/multibabel/> for helping with the unique

character of Miss Translation's speech. Mind you, where necessary I have

taken some liberties, to keep all of her words in the English language.

Copyright 2004, baby!


Jamie Rosen's e-book _Vessel of Heaven_ is now available from Jintsu Etexts
Check it out at http://www.eggplant-productions.com/jintsu

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