[LNH] The Continuing Misadventures of Miss Translation #19

Jamie Rosen jamie.rosen at sunlife.com
Tue May 3 18:52:03 PDT 2005

Low Budget Productions proudly presents

    The Continuing Misadventures of
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                              "Desperately Seeking Miss Translation"

                 [The cover is largely white space,
                 although there is a bed and dresser
                 in the middle. Miss Translation's
                 teammates look puzzled: Blue Wave
                 is peering behind the mirror, SWAA
                 Girl is checking under the bed, and
                 SAFNAR Kid and the Normalizer are
                 standing around, scratching their

"Miss Translation?" Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl knocked on the
partially-open door to her friend's bedroom, then entered. "You in
here?" She looked around, but there was no sign of her teammate. The
bed was made, and the room looked to have been stripped of most
personal belongings. Puzzled, SWAA Girl noticed a letter sitting on top
of Miss Translation's desk, and went over to read it. Slowly, the
realization of what had happened sunk in. "Oh no!"

Distraught, she brought the letter into the common room, where Blue
Wave and the Normalizer were playing the PlayStation 2 game based on
the movie adaptation of the popular comic inspired by the Legion of

"Hey!" the Normalizer shouted as Blue Wave punched in an elaborate
button combination and unlocked the hidden Rebel Yell character. "No

Blue Wave shrugged. "If they didn't want you to use him, he wouldn't be
in the game, right?"

The Normalizer frowned but said nothing.

"Guys! Guys!" SWAA Girl exclaimed, holding the letter above her head.
"Miss Translation's gone!"

"Gone?" Blue Wave said. "Where?"

"I don't know! She's just... just gone! Look!" She handed the letter to
Blue Wave, who helpfully read it aloud.

"'Dear Friends,'" he read. "'I must go.' Well, I must say that wherever
she went, her English has certainly improved."

"She must have been labouring over that for hours while we were off
dealing with Laminate Man and Kid Paternity,"
Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl reasoned as
Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid and Lamar Dunston, the
team's benefactor, returned from doing the groceries. "Oh, why couldn't
we have stayed in -- maybe she wouldn't have felt the need to run

"Who ran away?" SAFNAR Kid asked, setting a bulging brown paper bag on
the kitchen table.

"Miss Translation," Blue Wave explained.

"It's about time."

SWAA Girl spun around. "WHAT?!??!"

SAFNAR Kid backpedalled hastily. "I'm using sarcasm to mask my pain at
her departure."

"Oh. Well, I guess that's okay then."

Lamar Dunston began unpacking the groceries: a six pack of Mr. Paprika,
a six pack of Diet Mr. Paprika, a 2-litre bottle of Ms. Paprika...
"This isn't good."

"Well, don't let SAFNAR Kid do the groceries next time," Blue Wave

Lamar Dunston shook his head. "No, I meant Miss Translation leaving.
We'll have to get this straightened out -- the comic is named after

The others turned to look at him. "The comic?"

Lamar regarded at their blank faces. "We just signed a licensing deal
with Untimely Comics," he explained hastily. "They're supposed to be
publishing a series based on our exploits starting this summer."

"Oh," SWAA Girl said. "Cool."

"Very. But without Miss Translation, that deal will likely vanish like
so much unsecured credit. If only we knew where she could have gone..."

At this point, the Normalizer cleared his throat.

"I think I know where she went," he said.

"Oh really," SAFNAR Kid said. "Do tell."

The Normalizer adjusted his sunglasses. "She's gone home. Back to

"What?" SWAA Girl exclaimed. "You mean she's in *space*? But how?!"

The Normalizer shrugged. "We aliens have our ways."

Lamar Dunston, who had continued unpacking groceries throughout the
conversation, shut the refrigerator door with a solid *thunk*. "Well,"
he said. "We need to get her back. And I know just how to do it."

*  *  *

In the basement of their warehouse headquarters, the four former
Net.Heroes gawked at the object before them. It was about the size of
two tour buses placed side by side, but it had a much more streamlined,
aerodynamic look. It was, in fact, quite striking, if you ignored the
rather garish colour scheme and swirling, psychedelic flowers and
slogans painted across its hull.

"You. Have. Your. Own. Space ship?" SAFNAR Kid said slowly.

Lamar Dunston shook his head. "Technically, it's not mine. It was given
to me as collateral by a down-on-his-luck Yu-Gi-Oh player. I believe he
won it in a card game from some time-travelling space hippies from
beyond the stars." He keyed some commands into his PDA and the ship's
airlock opened. "And I believe it should suffice to get us to Miss
Translation's home planet of Vulgar -- so long as the Normalizer is
willing to provide us with directions."

They turned to the suit-wearing alien.

"What? What makes you think I know where Vulgar is?"

"Clarabelle, your race and hers have been feuding for untold

"Hmm. Well, there is that." He shrugged. "Sure, I think I can get us in
the general vicinity. But I have to warn you -- it ain't pretty."

"That's okay," SAFNAR Kid said. "Neither was she." SWAA Girl elbowed
him in the ribs.

The inside of the ship fit in perfectly with its exterior, sporting
bead curtains, illumination provided chiefly by lava lamps, and shag
carpeting on not just the floor, but the walls and ceiling as well. The
ship was designed along open-concept lines, so that while the beads
divided it into different areas, there was relatively little true
privacy. The whole place had a slightly strange odour to it.

"Far out," observed SWAA Girl, lying down on one of the expansive
beanbag chairs. "You know how to fly this?"

Lamar Dunston shook his head. "No, but that's not a problem. This ship
has Otto Pilot."


"No. Otto Pilot." Lamar walked over to the control panel and flipped a
switch, and a holographic display of a long-haired man with half-closed
eyes hidden behind John Lennon glasses appeared in the centre of the

"Cool, man," the holographic display said. "Like... passengers. Whoa."

SAFNAR Kid and the Normalizer exchanged skeptical looks.

"Like, what is a passenger anyway?" it went on. "Does anybody ever
passenge? Think about it."

"I'd rather not," Blue Wave said sternly.

"Whoa, man, suit yourself. Just don't, like, harsh my buzz."

SAFNAR Kid turned to Lamar Dunston. "This..."

"... is Otto Pilot," Lamar explained. "The Normalizer, if you will give
Otto the coordinates for the planet Vulgar, he will take care of the

The Normalizer nodded and began conversing with the holographic

"You ever used this thing before?" SAFNAR Kid asked.

"No," Lamar admitted. "I've never really had a reason to. But it should
work perfectly well; I make sure it gets a tune-up every six months."

"From who?"

"I know a guy."

"Personally," Blue Wave said, "I find this all rather exciting. It's
been some time since I ventured into space, and I'll be interested to
see how your universe differs from mine in that regard." He sat down in
one of the bean bags, and a puzzled look came over his face. "Is
anybody else hungry?"

"Yeah," came the reply, and: "Me too."

Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl closed her eyes and tried to relax.
She'd never been in space before, although she had been dead and it
probably wasn't any worse than that, but still, if things kept on as
they had been... what a long, strange trip it was going to be.

*  *  *

The only way they knew when their trip was over was that Otto Pilot
appeared again and informed them as much.

"Like, you're here, man," he said.

"On screen," Lamar instructed, doing his best Captain Picard

Otto Pilot vanished, and section of the shag-carpeted wall slid out of
the way to reveal a viewscreen. Outside was the black emptiness space,
with nary a planet in sight.

"I thought you said you would take us to Vulgar," SAFNAR Kid said,
turning to the Normalizer.

"I said I'd take you to the general vicinity. Damnit, Jim, I'm a
doctor, not a navigator!"

"You're not a doctor!"

"Well I'm not a navigator either!"

Lamar Dunston stepped between the two arguing teammates, his hands held
up. "People, people, please, let's not raise our voices." He paused.
"Thank you. Now, I'm sure--" His words were cut off as something flew
past the viewscreen. "What in the... ?! Otto, zoom in on that."

"On what?" the holograph asked.

"Whatever it was that just flew past us."

"Oh... that..."

The screen magnified, and the crew could see what appeared to be a man
of Southeast Asian extraction, clad only in long orange shorts and with
his hands and feet taped up, flying away from them.

"Is that what I think it is?" SAFNAR Kid asked.

"..." Lamar Dunston thought for a moment. "It's a Thai fighter."

SAFNAR Kid buried his face in his hands. "That's what I was afraid of."

Blue Wave, not understanding what his colleagues were getting at,
approached the screen. "It looks like he's heading for that small
moon," he observed, pointing at a small round object in the distance.

"That's no moon!" the Normalizer exclaimed.

SWAA Girl looked closer. "Yes it is," she said.

"Oh. Sorry, false alarm." The Normalizer shrugged and went over to sit
on one of the bean bag chairs.

Lamar Dunston looked pensive. "Otto?"

"Yeah, man?"

"How close are we to the Normalizer's coordinates?"

"Bang-on, man."

"And the date?"

"Uh... I dunno, man. Pretty close."

"Pretty close?"

"Give or take a couple hundred years."

A silence settled over the ship.

"We're... a couple of hundred *years* out of time?" SAFNAR Kid asked.

"Like, I think so. Hold on a sec." Otto disappeared from view for a
moment, then reappeared. "Sorry, man. Got that wrong."

"Well, that's a relief," SWAA Girl said.

"It's closer to a thousand."

Before the crew could determine whether or not it were possible to
painfully eviscerate a holographic projection, the image of the space
on their view screen was replaced by that of a woman neon-green bikini.
Quite literally: her bikini appeared to be composed of neon lights.

"Greetings, visitors!" she proclaimed. "On behalf of the Sci.Police, I
would like to welcome you to the Loonited Federation of Planets. Please
reduce your speed and prepare to be boarded."



Hmm. Write an author's note about putting this series on hiatus, and
then crank out almost an entire issue in the same day. Maybe I just
needed to take some of the pressure off, although really the idea of
having pressure on at all as far as RACC is concerned, especially as
regards the LNH, is really kind of laughable.

This was my second crack at writing #19. The first crack will probably
turn up at some point in the future, since the story it tells is 100%
completely different from what you have just read.

By the time you read this, you've probably seen some of the other
things that have been keeping me occupied the last few weeks. The debut
of my own version of what should theoretically be the LNH's core title,
"The Legion of Net.Heroes"; the launch of the Eightfold universe with
Tom Russell... It's interesting, because on the one hand I feel like
I'm overflowing with ideas, and on the other I feel like it's a
constant push and struggle to get them out. The key for me is to have
fun, and I fully expect another temporary RACC burnout at some point in
the future, as my tastes shift back to other forms of writing and I
decide to start getting back into the paying writing gigs. But for now,
RACC is where the fun and pleasure of writing is for me, and so you're
the (un)lucky group that gets to see the progeny of my imagination.

Many thanks to Saxon Brenton, whose monthly overviews are required
reading and have spurred me to keep pounding keys on more than one

The Normalizer, Blue Wave, and Lamar Dunston created and reserved by
yours truly.

Sleeps-With-Anything-Alive Girl is reserved (Yeah right!)
Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid is reserved.

SAFNAR Kid created by Tom Russell, I think, although he was surprised
when I mentioned it, and SWAA Girl definitely created by Tom Russell.

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

Copyright 2005, baby!

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