LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol. 2 # 18: Catalyst Lass vs. the Preacher!
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 5 22:46:08 PDT 2006
CATALYST LASS in...
| |-| \
| |-|  /
| | |  egion of \ volume 2
| | | __     / # 18
| | | [___][ \et.__eroes \
| | | \ ] [ __ ] /
| |-|     \
| | BY TOM RUSSELL
| | NOTE: This takes place _after_ the
| | current KILLFILE WARS crossover.
| | I'm assuming that since the characters
| | appearing in this story are either mine
| | or in the unreserved pool, that Willey
|_| won't be killing them off. :-)
PART I: The Death of Namedropper Lad!
Catalyst Lass reclines on her bed this evening,
reading an appropriately trashy book (HER ITALIAN
BOSS'S INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE). She wriggles her
freshly-painted toes, hoping to expedite the drying
process; Cat stretches her bare feet, allowing the
wads of cotton between her toes to slip away like
A quiet evening in, reading a few chapters of a bad
book by the light of her night-table, some classical
music (Salieri, chosen at first to be contrarian but
eventually appreciated on its own merits) playing
softly, to be followed by eight hours of solid sleep
and pleasant dreams heavy with Italian Bosses,
accompanied by a subliminal self-esteem tape. It is,
in short, too perfect an evening to exist at LNHHQ.
And, what's more, Cat knows this. At any moment,
she expects to hear a knock at her door. Some newbie
lost in the hallways. Some net.villain has broke in,
and the Ninja is calling for all hands on deck.
WikiBoy is being tortured by Master Blaster again.
And, as usual, she has a plan.
The knock comes just after ten o' clock, right
between "His kisses are of a vintage all its own, dark
and juicy grapes left to ferment for long, lonely
years" and "Emily's gorgeous girl globes yield once
more to his flickering pink flame of a tongue". Cat
spreads her toes once more, and deftly scoops up the
balls of cotton between them. She tightens her toes
and beckons her visitor to come in.
"You net.heroes are so trusting!" chortles her
visitor as he enters. "And that shall be your
undoing! Your undoing at the hands of... the
Quartermaster!" He strikes a dramatic pose, which is
somewhat undercut by the sound of jiggling change.
[*-- remember him from THE COMING OF PANTS RABBIT
Cat takes a look at the huge, quarter-filled
garbage bag that passes for an ominous costume, and
sucks her teeth. "So, I suppose you want to fight
"That would be the general idea, yes."
"I'm sorry I can't oblige," she says. "I just had
my toe-nails painted." She wriggles her toes for
"Hmm," says the Quartermaster, taking this into
"Quite sorry," she says again as she lets herself
slowly melt into her bed, her hair billowing somewhat
improbably as her head finds its place in her pillow.
She yawns, opening her mouth wide, stretching out her
arms above her head, her entire body a taut wire for
the briefest of moments; her body shrinks back to a
state of repose, emulating more the dependable and
lulling movement of a slinky coming to rest than a
spring snapping back into place. Cat grabs her book
and begins to read, allowing her full pink lips and
tiny pink tongue to move, slowly and deliberately,
lavishing attention on each syllable.
She hears the Quartermaster swallow, and feigns
surprise when she glances away from her book. "You're
He opens his dry mouth to speak, but finds his
tongue heavy and slumberous.
"Why don't you be a good little boy," she purrs,
"and go turn yourself in?"
"Some joker showed up in one of the holding cells
overnight," says the Ultimate Ninja, tossing a photo
of the Quartermaster across his desk for Cat to
consult. "I assume that's your doing?"
"I just showed him what was in his best interest."
"You know," says the Ninja, "every villain you
convince to reform or turn himself in is another that
doesn't fall to my ginsu blade."
"I figure after that business with the Killfiles,
you'd be more open to my methods. After all, they did
kill you. Twice." [*-- see KILLFILE WARS # 1 & 4.]
"But if you had been less successful in talking
enemies out of fighting, there would be more villains
to fight," says the Ninja. "And if there had been
more villains to fight, my other selves would have
kept their ninja powers sharp. And then maybe, they
wouldn't have died."
"So. Let me get this straight," says Cat. "You're
saying that if there were more people trying to kill
you, they may be less successful at actually doing
"Yes," says the Ninja.
"On the other hand," says Cat, placing her palm on
his desk with her fingers outstretched, "each villain
that I disarm is one that doesn't hassle you. You
have enough stress in your life, just keeping this
organization together. Not to mention all those petty
bureaucrats you have to deal with. I mean, you
deserve some me time, don't you think?"
"A ninja has no me time," says the Ninja. "He
strikes like a cobra at injustice. He curls like a
garden snake, hidden from view. His most feverish
desire is death in the service of others."
"Well," says Cat, leaning back in her chair, "I'm
not sure if she requires your death. But you do have
a visiting niece who wouldn't mind an hour or two of
"Nina," says the Ninja with a nod. "Unfortunately,
I'm very busy, and I just don't have the time...."
"Make the time," says Cat, slamming her fist on the
The Ninja eyes her with scrutiny.
She smiles. "It's in your best interest."
"This isn't going to work," says the Ninja
suspiciously. "You can't manipulate a ninja. Ninja
invented manipulation." He pauses. "And death."
"Hmm-mm," says Cat.
"As a matter of fact," says the Ninja, "I was going
to make some time later this afternoon for Nina,
"Part of me wants to not go through with it, now,"
says the Ninja, "just to show you."
"But that would only prove how susceptible you are
to being manipulated," says Cat. "By changing your
mind, you're admitting that I'm having an effect on
"Well... like I said, it was only one part of me."
"The only way to prove for sure that you are not
subject to manipulation is to spend some time with
Nina right now," says Cat. "The only way."
"The only way," says the Ninja. "I suppose I'll
take her to my tea garden, introduce her to Haiku
"But will she really appreciate the awesomeness
that is Haiku Gorilla?" says Cat. "She's only
fourteen, she's still a little girl, really. Better
to do something less introspective. A hike, perhaps.
All the way to the top of Ninja Mountain?"
"You're right," says the Ninja, opening the door.
"Could you get Nina... some... equipment...? Oh."
Nina stands on the other side of the door, hiking
boots and a back-pack in tow. "Are you ready to go
yet?" says Nina.
The Ninja's keen eyes dart from his niece to
Catalyst Lass, becoming narrow scars on his face.
Then he smiles. "Sure, Nina. Let's get going." They
start off towards the door.
Nina turns around and mouths a "thank you" to Cat.
"Cat?" says Organic Lass as she catches the maven
of persuasion in the hallway. "Can I talk to you a
"Sure, Ori. What's up?"
"It's about Namedropper Lad. I understand you had
a little altercation with him yesterday?"
"Cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake," bemoaned
Namedropper Lad. "Always with the cheesecake! Hey,
I'm talking to you, tubby!"
"You have a problem, friend?" said Cheesecake-Eater
"My problem is that you're always making nothing
but cheesecake!" said Namedropper Lad. "You know, my
good friend Ernest Borgnine refuses to come here
because of your cheesecake."
"Dude, Ernest Borgnine's like totally dead," said
"Actually," said Obscure Trivia Lad, "he's not."
"Um, guys?" said Catalyst Lass. "This is my
flashback. Do you mind backing off a bit...?"
Cheesecake-Eater Lad piped up. "Ernest Borgnine
can talk to Steak and Potatoes Man, then, if he
doesn't like my cheesecake!"
"First off," said Cat, "I'm sure Borgnine would
adore your cheesecake. And so would Namedropper Lad,
if he just tried it. You haven't, have you?"
"Oh. It's... divine." Cat closed her eyes and
licked her lips, tossing her head back
"I would try it," said Namedropper Lad, "but..."
"But nothing," said Cat. "Come on. For me...?"
Gets them every time.
"What about it?" says Cat. "Way I understand it,
Namedropper Lad loves Cheesecake-Eater Lad's
"There's a reason he didn't eat them before, Cat,"
says Ori. "He's allergic to them."
"Oh! Is he alright?"
"No. He's dead." Ori stares at her with cold, hard
eyes. "This is very serious, Cat."
"Yeah, but no one liked him, anyway."
Ori's expression suddenly softens. "That's true.
Hadn't thought of it that way."
"You can't say he didn't deserve it," says Cat.
"You've got a point. Well, no reason to bother the
Ninja with this."
"Thanks, Ori. You're a sweetheart."
"Oh, and Cat? Frat Boy was looking for you."
"Thanks," says Cat. "Busy, busy, busy!"
Cat knocks on the door, and Frat Boy answers. "You
look like you've been crying," says Cat. She puts her
hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong, FB?"
"Well... as you know, I'm a fairly religious
Cat stares at him.
"What?" says Frat Boy, taking umbrage. "Some yahoo
writes a story where I'm gay, and everything's just
fine. But I get a little spiritual and I get the
"I didn't say anything," says Cat, pointedly.
"You had a look," says Frat Boy.
"There was no look."
"There was a definite look," says Frat Boy. "Gah!
This is just like arguing with Frank."
"Frank," says Frat Boy. "My... boyfriend." He
mumbles something which sounds very similar to
'rassum-frassum Russell', but Cat can't be certain.
"Well, like I said, I go to church every Sunday,
here in LNHHQ."
"Self-Righteous Preacher's service?"
Frat Boy nods. "He kicked me out of the church."
"So go to a new one," says Cat.
"I would, but... well, damn it, I shouldn't have
to! It's not right. God turns no one away, so why
"Please, Cat," says Frat Boy. "Please tell me
you'll do it."
Cat is trepidacious. "Do what, exactly?"
"Make Self-Righteous Preacher change his mind."
PART II: Introducing... Useless Powers Lad!
She finds him in his chapel, preparing for the
"Good morning, Catherine," says Self-Righteous
"Morning, SRP," says Cat. He seems to be in a
pleasant enough mood. Maybe this won't be so bad
after all. "I'm here to talk to you about Frat Boy."
"Frat Boy?" said the moral major, his voice at once
shrill and throaty. "Frat Boy is an abomination to
the Lord! The filthy heathen degenerate is lucky I
merely excommunicated him from my church, and that I
didn't beat him mercilessly within a inch of his
"Some things never change," say Cat.
"The difference between right and wrong is a
constant," says the preacher. "And I hope God gives
me the strength to be a bulwark against your so-called
"Is it really wrong, though?" says Cat. "I mean,
really, who does it hurt?"
"Who does it hurt?" says the preacher. "It is an
affront to God, to marriage, to all that is held
holy!" He stops for a moment in mid-harangue,
something suddenly occurring to him. It's actually
"Here, Catherine," says Self-Righteous Preacher as
he digs into his pocket. He plucks a small pamphlet
out of it and hands it to Cat.
She looks it over in disbelief. "A mini-comic?
You read mini-comics?"
"Jack Chick comics are the only comics Jesus wants
you to read," says the preacher sincerely. "Maybe
this one will help you see the light."
Cat briefly looks over the tract as she walks down
the hall, and is overcome with disgust. She is about
to throw it out when she sees Dr. Stomper escorting a
new legionnaire around the premises.
The young man looks to be in his mid-twenties and
looks vaguely familiar. Stomper introduces him as the
second Useless Powers Lad.
"Any relation to the first?"
"Near as I can tell, no," says Stomper. "We think
someone used the Imperfect Duplicator Ray on Kid
Unique. But since we can't find Steven Howard, we
really have no way of figuring out if that's what
Cat smiles at UPL. "Doesn't talk much, does he?"
"No, he doesn't. But near as we can tell, he's
only been alive for six hours, and so non-verbal is
Cat blinks. "Imperfect Duplicator Ray?"
"Oh, sure," says Stomper. "We've had one of those
for a long time. It makes an imperfect duplicate of
whatever it zaps. You know, same basic concept as the
original, only the opposite."
"Wait," says Cat. "How does that work?"
"Well-- if UPL here is an imperfect duplicate of
Kid Unique, I'm just saying if-- then he has Kid
Unique's capacity to have just about any power he can
think of. But while Kid Unique can only have those
powers that no one has ever thought of before, Useless
Powers Lad can only possess those powers that are of
no use what-so-ever. Like... I dunno. UPL, show her
The young man makes a sound that could be roughly
translated as "meep" before transforming into a circus
"A circus bear!" Cat turns towards the sound of
the voice, and is unfamiliar with its owner.
"That's the imperfect duplicate of Stephen
Colbert," explains Stomper. "He's no longer scared of
bears, but he still has balls."
"Here you go, big fella!" says the imperfect
duplicate, rolling a star-adorned circus ball towards
the bear. Instantly, he is transformed back into
Useless Powers Lad.
"You see," says Stomper, "because with a circus
ball in the vicinity, a circus bear would be useful."
"I understand," says Cat.
Maybe this Chick tract will be of some use, after
Haiku Gorilla is on duty when Cat approaches the
"I need the ID," says Cat.
He crosses his arms. Cat knows that Haiku Gorilla
only answers requests put to him in haiku form.
"Can't you just skip it?" she says, leaning close and
batting her eyes. "... for me...?"
He exhales sharply through his leathery nostrils.
She runs a gloved finger along the thick bristles
of his arm hair. "Must be awfully warm..." She takes
off her glove and dips her fingers into a nearby water
glass. She runs the water across his forehead, and
his body loosens.
" imperfect dupe ray
natural unknowing poet
warm, warm summer warm "
The old Catalyst Lass charm works again!
He hands her the imperfect duplicator ray, and she
winks at him.
"That's one fur coat I wouldn't mind wearing, even
in summer. You ever get lonesome..." Her voice
doesn't trail off deliberately, though she disguises
it as such. It trails off because it is at that
moment that she realizes that her request--
I need the ID
can't you just skip it for me
must be awfully warm
-- could be considered, technically, to be haiku.
Once she gets back to her room, she trains the
imperfect duplicator ray on the Chick tract. Within
moments, as promised, there are two of them,
side-by-side: one about the conversion of an evil
homosexual to the kingdom of Christ, and the other
taking the opposite side of the debate.
There is a knock on Cat's door. "Come in, Nina."
The Ninja's niece enters the room, dressed in black
pajamas. "What is it, Cat?" says Nina. "You said you
had a favour...?"
"One that will, as you correctly intuited, require
the ninja training your uncle has given you," says
Cat. "I need you to take this minicomic and place it
in Self-Righteous Preacher's room while he sleeps. If
you are caught, I will deny any knowledge of your
"Hai," says Nina, taking the tract and melting into
The next day, Cat enters the preacher's chapel. He
is standing at the lectern, reading something in a
muted voice. She tries to get his attention, and is
quite sure that he sees her, but he does not stop
speaking. After a moment, she sits down in one of the
It gradually begins to dawn on Cat what
Self-Righteous Preacher is saying; the casket at the
front of the chapel confirms it. It's a funeral
service. For Namedropper Lad.
After it's over, the preacher thanks her for
"Guess he didn't have as many friends as he
thought," says Cat.
"No one should be alone," says the preacher.
"Someone must be friend to the dead."
Cat nods somberly, then sees her chance: "Isn't it
better, though, to be friends with the living?
Like... like Frat Boy."
"I assumed this was yours," snarls the preacher,
producing the imperfect mini-comic and tossing it to
the floor. He stomps it beneath his boot. "You're
not as clever as you seem to think you are,
I've only just begun, she thinks to herself. "SRP?
Could I have a moment with Namedropper Lad? To say
"Take your time, my child," says Self-Righteous
Cat waits until the preacher has left the chapel
before she opens the casket. She peers inside.
"Hi, Namedropper Lad," she says. "Sorry I killed
you and all that. But not as sorry as this turn-out.
Geez! I mean, for someone who's so well-connected,
you've got nobody. No Bendis, no Dvandom, no Ditko,
not even Fabian Nicieza."
The corpse began to murmur. "Fabian... Nicieza...
"I know," says Cat. "I loved his run on New
Warriors. Well, it's too bad you only get to have one
funeral. It'd have been nice if you had a real proper
send-off... too bad you'll never really be appreciated
for your incredible ability to lie through your teeth
about famous people you claim to know..."
"Not... lying..." His dry lips open, but he's still
"Well," says Cat, "you could come back. After all,
you are a hero. And no hero stays dead. Not even
"Ed... Brubaker... close personal friend of
mine..." The corpse begins to rise out of the casket.
"Not so fast," says Cat. She places her hand
firmly on his chest and pushes him back into the
casket. "While you're still dead, you can do me a
Self-Righteous Preacher awakes to find his room
awash in light. "What devilry is this?"
"Not devilry," says a voice. The light dims just
enough so that an angel is visible, still glowing
"My Lord Jesus has come to reward my years of
steady service," says Self-Righteous Preacher. "He's
sent you to give me my reward!"
"Eh, not quite," says the angel.
"Then, he's sent you with a mission?"
"You could say that," says the angel. "He wants
you to lay off on Frat Boy."
"... and gay people in general," adds the heavenly
host. "Wait. Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Search your heart," says the angel. "You know
that I am truly sent from the Lord."
"I've always trusted my heart," says the preacher.
"Facts can be so deceiving. But why would you tell me
this thing? The Bible..."
"The Bible says a lot of things," says the angel.
"Including that a man is unclean after urinating."
"I know," says the preacher. "That's why I don't
"Mind over matter," says the preacher. "And if I
was a woman, I would stop my monthly contamination."
"But, don't you see?" says the angel. "All those
old laws are no longer relevant. Jesus, by
sacrificing His life for us, threw out the old Mosaic
law-- the need for blood sacrafice, having to marry
your dead brother's wife, and all those laws in
Leviticus, including the thing about homosexuality
being an abomination!"
"That's one way of looking at it," says the
preacher. "But wouldn't that invalidate all laws,
including the Ten Commandments?"
The angel sighs. "No. It just invalidates the
"But who's to decide which are the silly ones?"
says the preacher. "Okay, let's say that
homosexuality is in, does that mean that that incest
is still a sin?"
"Of course!" says the angel, flabbergasted.
"They're both in Leviticus," says Self-Righteous
Preacher. He reaches for one of his many bibles.
"I know which verse it is!" says the angel.
"That's not the point. The point is, J. C. wants you
to... you know, why don't I just call Him down here?"
A small, tinkerbellish dot of light appears.
"Would you settle for the Holy Ghost?" asks the
Self-Righteous Preacher shrugs.
"Jesus couldn't make it," explains the Holy Ghost.
"I think Jamas Enright still has him reserved. But
Saint Wally the Archangel here is correct. You see,
SRP, as people become more enlightened, notions of
right and wrong change. And things that are seen as
being wrong-- like homosexuality-- aren't really wrong
because they don't really hurt anybody."
"Neither does incest," says Self-Righteous
The Holy Ghost sighs. "Incest and Hitler, incest
and Hitler. Why do they always invoke incest and
Hitler? Okay, look: incest is wrong because it
corrupts the nature of familial love, and it pollutes
the gene pool."
"Doesn't homosexuality pollute the gene pool?"
counters the preacher. "By not participating in the
siring of children and taking themselves out of the
gene pool, it means that more and more people will be
forced to commit incest, thus polluting the gene
"That doesn't even make any sense," says the Holy
"And the acceptance of the secret homosexual agenda
will lead to a higher number of homosexuals," says
Self-Righteous Preacher. "And the inbreeding from
incest will result in more genetic aberrations, like
the homosexual gene-- if it exists, which it doesn't,
it is a choice and thus a sin--"
The angel's mind boggles and his head explodes.
The preacher continues nonchalantly. "--
eventually resulting in every man, woman, child and
eggplant becoming homosexual! The race will die out,
and the last man and last woman on Earth, too busy
being selfish and engaging in recreational
non-procreational masturbation, will refuse to do
their duty and be fruitful and multiply!"
"Gah!" says the Holy Ghost, flying away as fast as
The Holy Ghost returns to Heaven, and lets the
Classic Looniverse God know about the death of Saint
"What I don't understand," says the Ghost, "is how
Namedropper Lad got into Heaven in the first place."
God cocks his head to the left, indicating Saint
"I'm sorry," says Peter. "Okay? I said I was
sorry. He said he was a friend of God's. He was very
persuasive, seemed to know all the right people..."
"Sorry it didn't pan out," says Namedropper Lad.
"I'm not finished yet," says Cat. "Perhaps it's
time for a more subtle tactic..."
Catalyst Lass kicks open the chapel door while
church is in full service, eliciting gasps from the
"What is the meaning of this interruption?" bellows
In response, Catalyst Lass produces a gun and
fires. The radioactive imperfect duplication rays
bathe Self-Righteous Preacher. When the eerie light
fades, there are two figures. One is Self-Righteous
The other has similar facial features and body
structure, but his hair is more unkempt and he is
dressed more casually: instead of a black frock, he
wears a plaid t-shirt, a single leather-wrist band,
yellow-tinted sunglasses, baggy pants and designer
"You have created man without woman, woman!" says
Self-Righteous Preacher. "The ultimate homosexual
"Don't listen to him," says his duplicate in a
smooth, mellow tone. "Jesus loves you, Catherine, and
he'll forgive you." He turns to the congregation.
"Jesus loves all of you, because we are all his
Self-Righteous Preacher is incensed. "Blasphemy!"
PART III: THE COMING OF MEGACHURCH MAN!
Stomper runs some tests on the imperfect duplicate
in his lab. After an hour, he meets with Catalyst
"He calls himself Megachurch Man," says Stomper,
perhaps after consulting the chapter title. "All his
vital signs are normal, and he appears to have no
"Why is it he can talk," asks Cat, "when UPL
Upon hearing his acronym, Useless Powers Lad sticks
his head into the room. He looks very nervous.
Cat smiles warmly and waves at him. He suddenly
becomes intangible and falls through the floor.
"Self-Righteous Preacher is a very talkative man,"
"I know," says Cat. "I heard about the time he
tried to convert the hosts of hell to Christianity."
[*-- see CAULIFLOWER THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE POOCH # 3.]
"Since Self-Righteous Preacher is such a
charismatic speaker," says Stomper, "it stands to
reason that his imperfect duplicate is also able to
speak! If-- and I'm only saying if, mind you-- UPL is
the imperfect duplicate of Kid Unique, the Kid was not
known for the length of his oratory."
But, since there's currently no way to contact the
mysterious Steven Howard, the mysterious mystery of
UPL's mysterious paternity will remain a... mystery.
"What else does Megachurch Man have in common with
Self-Righteous Preacher?" asks Cat.
"From the time I spent with him," says Stomper, "he
seems to be just as passionate about Christ and just
as resolute in his core beliefs. But there are some
differences in that belief system."
"Well, for one, he accepts evolution as fact. When
I asked him if that contradicted the Bible's account
of the creation, he just shrugged his shoulders. He
didn't seem bothered."
Stomper continues. "He accepts gays, lesbians,
transvestites, what-have-you. Has no problem with
recreational sex or unmarried couples.
"Most striking of all in our brief conversation is
that he never once mentioned the fires of hell,
eternal damnation, or the mark of the beast. Time and
again, he steered the conversation to love,
acceptance, and the goodness of God."
Cat smiles darkly. "The preacher is going to be so
Cat has lunch with Megachurch Man the next day.
"I just want to say thank you for creating me,"
says Megachurch Man. "I guess that makes you and
Self-Righteous Preacher my parents, huh?"
His kisses are of a vintage all its own, dark and
juicy grapes left to ferment for long, lonely years.
Her gorgeous girl globes yield once more to his
flickering pink flame of a tongue.
"Repent," he says, huskily. "Repent."
"Gah!" says Cat.
"Are you alright? Did I say something wrong?"
"No. I actually wanted to talk to you about
"I take it you don't care for him much?"
Cat shrugs. "He's always telling other people how
to live their lives. And that's wrong."
Megachurch Man nods.
"Most of all, though," says Cat, "I feel sorry for
poor Frat Boy. He really wants to go to
Self-Righteous Preacher's service, but he can't. SRP
won't let him."
"That's dad's loss, then," says Megachurch Man.
Cat shudders again, briefly under siege by another
mental image, this one plagiarized from THE LUSTY
LIBRARIAN'S PROUSTIAN SCHOLAR.
"People don't change until they want to change,"
says Megachurch Man. "I say, just get the information
out there, help people out when they need help, and if
they're ready, they're ready. If they're not, you're
not going to change them. At least not in any
"That's a very good attitude. I bet you'd be a
much better chaplain for the LNH than Self-Righteous
"Well, thank you," says Megachurch Man. "But I
wouldn't want to do that to dad."
Cat shudders; this time, it's from ROSES IN MY
PAPOOSE, a sexy epic romance about a single Cherokee
mother and the dashing rogue of a Cavalryman who
slaughters her people even as he woos her.
Megachurch Man continues, nonplussed. "My motto
is, let people be. If that's the way he wants to run
his church, let him. As for me and mine, we'll spread
the love of Christ."
"It is a shame, though, that Frat Boy has no place
"Why doesn't he go to one of the churches in the
city? There's one just two blocks down..."
"Personally? I just think he's lazy."
"So," says Cat, "moving on. What are your plans,
"I'd like to have a church of my own, get a small
congregation of maybe, I dunno, five hundred, six
"What if... I just an idea here... what if I asked
the Ninja if you could use his tea garden, and you
could have your own service right here at LNHHQ?"
"Well... I wouldn't want to make any waves," says
Megachurch Man. "I don't want to encroach on dad's
"Ugh." KIRK AND SPOCK: ENDLESS LOVE. "There are a
lot of LNHers who don't attend Self-Righteous
Preacher's service. His message just doesn't appeal
to them. Maybe you'd have a better chance...?"
"I want to thank you all for coming," concludes
Megachurch Man as he addresses Catalyst Lass, Frat
Boy, Frank, and Super Apathy Lad. "Remember that you
are loved, and that there's nothing more important in
this world than the person next to you. Please come
back next week, and don't forget to spread the word."
"Eh," says Super Apathy Lad.
Frat Boy chats with Cat in private afterwards. "I
guess this means that you've given up," he says.
"No," says Cat, her eyes gleaming. "Everything is
proceeding according to plan."
"Hey, WikiBoy!" says Cat. "Where are you going?"
"To mass," says the LNHer Anyone Can Edit.
"Then you're going the wrong way," says Cat.
"Megachurch Man is holding his mass in the Ninja's tea
"But I'm going to Self-Righteous..."
"Oh!" says WikiBoy. "I better hurry over to the
"You do that," says Cat. "And don't forget to
spread the word."
Cat watches with interest as Self-Righteous
Preacher enters the cafeteria. He regards her with a
grunt as he passes and he walks up to WikiBoy's table.
"WikiBoy," says the preacher, "you were not in
church this morning."
WikiBoy murmurs a response; his voice doesn't carry
like the preacher's does.
"Megachurch Man? Megachurch Man?" the preacher
says shrilly. "Thou sinner, I hereby edit you to
denounce that perversion!"
Oh-oh, thinks Cat. She hadn't been expecting this.
"Revert," she whispers.
WikiBoy says something to the preacher.
"You dare to defy me? I edit you again, thou
"Revert," says Cat.
"You will be in my church on Sunday!"
"Revert," says Cat breathlessly.
"You will be in my church on Sunday!" repeats the
"No," says WikiBoy. "I won't."
Cat smiles and thanks the Lord for the three-revert
"I'm not much of a church-goer," says the Ultimate
Ninja. "Thanks for the invite, though."
Megachurch Man leaves the office with a shrug. Cat
stays. "You know, UN, a lot of people look up to
"And that's why I'm not getting involved in this
Megachurch Man/SRP thing. I'm too influential among
"Actually," says Cat, "I was talking about Nina.
She hasn't been to either service. She's a young
woman now, she's at that age where she needs some
spiritual guidance. Do you want her to get advice
from Self-Righteous Preacher, or Megachurch Man?"
"Did you hear?" says Namedropper Lad, stopping in
front of a small group of LNHers. "UN is going to
Megachurch Man's service."
"Really?" says one. "Wow. This guy must be good,
then, to get UN to go. Maybe we should give him a
"Certainly easier on the ears than SRP," says
"You see," says Megachurch Man, addressing the
packed mass of people via his special Megachurch
Megaphone, "what matters most is not personal
accomplishment, but interpersonal accomplishment. A
poor man who spends time with his wife is a better man
than the rich one who spends his time making money to
take care of her." Megachurch Man stops speaking, his
jaw ajar. The congregation slowly follows his eyes
towards the back of the garden.
"Self-Righteous Preacher," says Megachurch Man.
"Uh, welcome. Please, come on in. We're all friends
"I'm not here to join your fruity church," snarls
"Then why are you here, friend?" says Megachurch
Man. "I know you have your own service to give in the
"There's no one left," says Self-Righteous
Preacher. "Not a single one."
Cat looks around and realizes that this is true;
every Christian LNHer is present. She has succeeded
beyond her wildest dreams.
"I'm going back to my chapel," says Self-Righteous
Preacher as he turns to exit. "Anyone who wants to be
there, fine. Anyone who doesn't, is no longer
He leaves. Silence pervades over the crowd.
Megachurch Man is visibly shaken. "Let's... let's
all pray... let's pray for Self-Righteous Preacher..."
They bow their heads and begin to silently pray.
Cat herself hasn't prayed in several months, and she
finds herself going through the motions once again,
bowing her head and closing her eyes as her thoughts
flood to the next step in her plan. It's the same
thing she's done at all the past services; the only
difference is, this time, she feels bad about it.
Why? She doesn't have an answer.
She hears something, loud and terrifying: it's
Self-Righteous Preacher giving his sermon, his voice
carrying all the way from the chapel, louder than it
has ever been before.
She opens her eyes and sees that many of her fellow
legionnaires are also perturbed. The only two she can
see who are not distracted are Megachurch Man and the
Ultimate Ninja. Eventually, the other legionnaires
close their eyes and bow their heads anew.
Cat works her way through the throng of people,
heading towards the door.
She sits down in one of the pews, and if
Self-Righteous Preacher notices her, he does not
acknowledge her; instead, he just continues giving his
service, teaching his lesson with passion and fire to
what was an empty room.
When it is over, he steps down from the pulpit and
sits next to her.
"I guess neither of us won," says Cat. "I didn't
get you to change your mind, and now you've got an
"They'll come back," he says.
"How can they? You've forbidden them all from
stepping foot here."
He grunts. "They had their chance at salvation,
and they threw it to the wind. Let it come flying
back into their faces and sting their eyes."
"They're not lost," says Cat, "unless you give up
on them." She stands up; Self-Righteous Preacher
draws his knees inwards, allowing her to pass in front
of him. She heads up the aisle and through the exit.
Catalyst Lass arrives at the tea garden just as the
service is wrapping up. She sees that Megachurch Man
is talking with Nina, while the Ninja is plucking
blood-red ninja bush from his maple trees.
Cat starts making conversation with Frat Boy when
he freezes up. She turns around to see Self-Righteous
Preacher fast approaching.
"Excuse me, Catherine," says Self-Righteous
Preacher. "I'd like a moment with young Frat Boy."
"So?" says Cat. "What'd he say?"
"He wants me back in his church on Sunday," says
Frat Boy. "He says that he can't convince me to
repent if I'm not there to convince."
Cat celebrates with THE PRESIDENT'S BLUE-GARBED
Useless Powers Lad, Namedropper Lad, Megachurch Man,
Haiku Gorilla, Nina, Quartermaster: Tom Russell. Feel
free to use these characters in cameo/gag capacities;
otherwise, please ask for my permission.
Organic Lass: Rebecca Drayer. The character is
reserved, but the author's email is unknown. However,
since Ori is a vital part of the Legion's medical
personnel, she usually makes small cameo appearances
acting in this capacity.
To the best of my knowledge, the rest of these
characters are not reserved.
Catalyst Lass: Elisabeth Riba. The author would like
to acknowledge the influence of Jeff McCoskey and
Jameel AlKhafiz on this story.
Dr. Stomper: T. M. Neeck.
Ultimate Ninja, Self-Righteous Preacher: wReam.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad: M. Jotham Millheiser.
California Kid: Daniel Danehy-Oakes.
Frat Boy: uplink.
Master Blaster: Martin Phipps.
Super Apathy Lad: Jacob Lesgold.
Obscure Trivia Lad: Brian Perler.
This story has been through several drafts; in its
initial stages, it went by the moniker THE WEDDING OF
FRAT BOY PART ONE. And though Dave Van Domelen was
kind enough to pass my request on to uplink, I never
got any response, and so I assume that Frat Boy's
creator is (a) against Frat Boy being married, (b)
against Frat Boy being gay, or (c) hasn't checked his
email in a long, long time.
Whatever the case, I didn't feel write making such
a major change to a character without his creator's
permission, and so it looked like the story was going
to be shelved. But, after rereading it, I was able to
make a few changes to the text in order to save it.
And while the motivation isn't as strong as it was
initially-- it makes more sense for Frat Boy to want
to be married at LNHHQ than for him to simply want to
attend church; and, convincing Self-Righteous Preacher
to officiate at Frat Boy's wedding is a whole world of
difference from convincing him to allow Frat Boy into
his church-- I think it's still a fairly nice Catalyst
Lass centered story, which is what I wanted to write
in the first place.
And it really is Cat's story, and not the
Preacher's, or Megachurch Man's, for that matter. I
hope to do a Megachurch Man/SRP story sometime in the
near future, if only to better establish different
ways in which this new character can be used.
At any rate, I feel that this story is better than
the original, if only because it focuses on the heart
of the matter-- Catalyst Lass vs. SRP, and some ways
in which they are more common than they think--
instead of making it part of a big five-part "event".
It also works, I think, as a sort of sequel to the
original "Frat Boy is gay" story, in last year's LNH
VOL. 2 # 10.
Feel free, of course, to use the imperfect
duplicator ray-- after all, Otto Binder thought of it
Just try not to misuse it; the last thing we need
is a bunch of second-rate knock-offs of other people's
Ultimate Mercenary, Ultimate Nina, and Pool Ninja
sniffle with big, big eyes. "Nobody loves us."
Now, that's not true. Merc, you've got yourself a
series-- and a damn good one-- written by Adrian
McClure, who has found a number of ways to show how
you're different than UN.
And, Nina? I brought you back for the summer.
Hell, I've got plans for you next year. Don't grouse.
I'll cut your dolly's head off.
And as for you, Pool Ninja... okay, well, you're
right. Nobody loves you, Pool Ninja. Just go away.
Nobody loves you.
(C) COPYRIGHT 2006 TOM RUSSELL.
Director of MILOS, LIFE AND TIMES OF A DREAMER
Limited autographed dvds now on sale, directly from the filmmaker
"In the beginning, Milos seems to have no clue how to relate
to anyone. He is quizzical, leaving the viewer questioning
-- Ryan M. Niemiec, co-author of MOVIES AND MENTAL ILLNESS
Movies, comics, prose, and all things Russell
"If a comic book, book, movie or novel is not somebody's fantasy
then who wrote it and to whom does it appeal to? In order for a
shared universe to have a widespread appeal, it has to appeal on
a primal level. If somebody says superhero comics are just 'wish
fulfillment' then he needs to explain what is entertainment that
doesn't satisfy our wishes and what satisfaction at all you can get
from it." -- Dr. Martin Phipps
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