LNH: LNH Comics Presents #52: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #17

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 17 08:26:10 PDT 2007

LNH Comics Presents #52:


"Growing Pains"

By Rob Rogers

8:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 17

    Really, Adamant-Authority-On-Everything
thought, the only difficult part about leading the
Legion of Net.Heroes was having to deal with all of
the Legionnaires.

   Of course, that wasn't his problem.

    At first, Adam had been annoyed when the Legion
had turned to Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats-Lad for help
in choosing a new leader, rather than asking for
his advice.  His frustration had turned to anger
as invariably, that walking lottery machine had
selected Legionnaires who were distinguished only
by their obvious incompetence at leadership.
Master Blaster?  Faq Boy?  Adamant-Authority-On-
Everything shook his head. He'd never liked
Ultimate Ninja's style of leadership -- too much
discipline, too little finesse, in his opinion --
but at least the Ninja knew how to make
the flight.thingees run on time.  What this crew
really needed was a babysitter.

    And then he had a wonderful idea.

    Why be the leader -- especially when those in
charge seemed to disappear at the end of every day
-- when he could be the man behind the curtain?
As deputy leader, he could maintain the continuity
of the Legion's government during this time of
crisis.  Let the other heroes serve as figureheads.
As the only one who really knew what was going on
in the inner workings of the Legion, Adam would
wield real power.  And that, he thought was worth
everything, even if it sometimes meant having to
deal with people like Easily-Discovered Man Lite.

    "Minister Lite reporting for duty, sir," the
boy said.

    Adam scowled.  "I see Frat Boy has made you
part of his cabinet."

    "Yes, sir.  I'm his Minister of the Ulterior.
His Leadership Frat Boy asked me to seek your
advice regarding the situation in France."

     There was something about Easily-Discovered
Man Lite that rankled Adamant-Authority-On-
Everything -- the way he seemed to slouch when
standing up straight, or the way his voice sounded
sarcastic even when he was pretending to be polite.
Still, a request for advice was a request for

    "What situation in France?  Why wasn't I
informed of this?"

    "We've only just learned of it, sir.
Apparently, Crown Prince Albert of Monaco has been
forcibly detained while attending the Cannes
film festival.  No one is sure whether it's
terrorists, super-villains, or someone from the
'E' network.  Frat Boy has been considering our
diplomatic options..."

    "Diplomatic options, my aunt Petunia!"
Adamant-Authority-On-Everything snorted.  "Hand
me that microphone."

    Lite did as he was told.  Adam turned on the
Legion's public address system.

    "NOW HEAR THIS!  NOW HEAR THIS!" he bellowed.

    Lite slowly backed out of the room, doing his
best to keep a straight face until he reached
Ultimate Ninja's corner office, presently
occupied by Frat Boy.

    Never one for unnecessary ornamentation,
Ultimate Ninja had kept his office Spartan,
its bare white walls accentuated only by a
miniature waterfall and a pair of ceremonial
swords.  During the last two weeks however,
each of the Legion's temporary leaders -- with
the exception of Suddenly-Exploding-Boy --
had added something of themselves to the chamber.
Writers Block Woman had left behind a row of
expensive-looking handbags.  Master Blaster had
included an autographed picture of Seka.  Even
Sister-State-the-Obvious had placed a sign on
the desk that read "Property of Sister State-

    Frat Boy's contribution was a neon "Miller
High Life" sign illuminating the office's sole
window.  The Gregarious Guardian of Greek
Brotherhood basked in its glow behind Ultimate
Ninja's desk, dressed in the ceremonial toga and
gilt-leaf tiara he'd designed for the occasion.
Ultimate Ninja's secretaries were dressed in
similar robes.  John, a thin blond man who
constantly looked like he smelled something
unpleasant, held a telephone, while frizzy-
haired Sally carried a plate covered with

    "Lite!" Frat Boy said, standing up to shake
his fellow sidekick's hand and reach for a
couple of grapes at the same time.  "I heard the
announcement.  Nice one."

    "Thanks," Lite said.  "But I really don't
feel like I'm doing my best work.  I mean, I'm
always happy to take the piss out of Adamant-

    "I'll drink to that," Frat Boy said, and did.

    "...but sticking it to the man just isn't the
same when one of my best friends is The Man.
Who'd've thought you'd ever grow up to be
leader of this bunch?"

    "Not me," Frat Boy said.  "For one thing, my
powers keep me from getting any older, so I
never expected to grow up at all.  I feel like
I've been the same age the entire time we've
known each other."

    "So do I," Lite said, "but I chalked that up
to laziness on the part of my writer.  What
worries me, though -- and I'd never admit to this
outside of this room -- is that I'm running
around playing pranks on the senior staff while
our leaders keep disappearing.  I feel as though
I ought to be doing something more important."

    "Keeping up morale is important," Frat Boy
said.  "Especially when it's mine."

    He tossed a grape to Lite, who caught it in

    "But since you asked," Frat Boy said.  "I've
asked Gorilla Grad and Squidman to try to make
sense of what Dr. Stomper was working on before
he disappeared.  Master Roster Man and Anal
Retentive Archive Kid are looking for any
patterns in the disappearances we might have
missed.  Luke and Emily Jones are trying to find
out if any mystic forces are at work.  And
Ripping Dancer is appearing in a series of
public-service announcements to let people know
we're still out there, doing our job."

    "Ripping Dancer?"

    "People seem to want to listen to what she
has to say," Frat Boy said.  "It was Gamer Boy's

    "I'd been wondering what he thought of all
this," Lite mused.  "You know, F.B., you're
actually doing a great job."

    "Don't tell anyone," Frat Boy grinned.  "I've
got a reputation to keep up."

    "LIIIIITE!" the loudspeaker barked.

    "Sounds like our deputy leader wants to have
a word with you," Frat Boy said.  "Keep me
posted.  Personally, I stopped listening to him
ever since he put No-Sense-Of-Direction-Man
in charge of the expedition to find Ultimate

    "I'll let you know how it goes," Lite said.

    "So," seethed Adamant-Authority-On-Everything,
as Easily-Discovered Man Lite entered his
undisclosed office location.  "I suppose you think
it's terribly funny to nearly involve the Legion
in an international incident simply to make me look

    "It would be wrong of me to try to improve
upon nature," Lite said.  "But I do the best I can."

    "Very well," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything
said.  "Since you obviously don't have enough
to keep you occupied here at headquarters, why
don't you investigate this request we've just
received?  A group of parents is complaining
about the possibility of abuse at a day-care
center a few blocks from here, and want us to

    "A child abuse case?  Isn't that a little out
of our jurisdiction?"

    "Are you questioning my authority?"

    "Yes," Lite said.  "But I'll go anyway."

    The door had just irised shut on Easily-
Discovered Man Lite when All-Knowing-Last-
Chance-Whiner-Destiny-Woman materialized beside
a potted plant, dressed in a Federal Express

    "I bring you tidings of fear and despair,"
the Apocalyptic Adventuress intoned.

    "At last," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything
said, knitting his fingers together.  "You have
news of the missing leaders?"

    "Far worse," All-Knowing...etc. said,
unfurling a scroll of pale yellow parchment.
"I bring you... the Legion's fuel bill for the
previous month.  Look upon it, ye mighty, and
despair!  Also, sign here."

    Adamant-Authority-on-Everything signed, and
gasped at the document as All-Knowing-Last-Chance-
Whiner-Destiny-Woman disappeared.

    "There's nothing in the budget for this," he
said. "And it's been getting more and more
difficult to get the Stork Foundation to agree
to any funding increases since Irony Man
disappeared.  I suppose I could always ask Gorilla
Grad to come up with another source of power,
but I've never been a big believer in alternative
fuel sources.  If only..."

    He slammed his fist down upon his desk.

    "That's it!" he shouted, enjoying the deep
sense of satisfaction that always came with
shouting.  Rising from his seat, he raced down the
hall and burst into Frat Boy's office.

    "We need to invade Ve.net.zuela!" he gasped.

    Frat Boy raised an eyebrow.

    "Is someone holding our leaders there?" he

    "If there was even a one percent chance that
the Chavez government was involved," Adamant-
Authority-On-Everything said, "wouldn't it be
worth sending a team down there to make sure?"


    "But they have barrels and barrels of sweet,
precious crude... not to mention weapons of
mass destruction," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything


    "Doesn't it follow that anyone with reserves
of oil would have weapons of mass destruction to
protect them?"

    "Adam, you've been doing a helluva job,"
Frat Boy said.  "But you've also been working
awfully hard.  What you need is a beer."

    "Look," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything said.
"We know that the Chavez government has been
investing heavily in yellow cake.  Yellow cake!
And what other reason could there be for them to
do so other than to lure Cheesecake-Eater-Lad
-- practically Ultimate Ninja's right-hand-man
-- to South America?  It's an open-and-shut case!"

    "Okay," Frat Boy said, "you can invade


    "No," the Scion of Sybarism said.  "Are you
out of your freaking mind?  Get back to... hold it.
There's a priority alert signal coming through
from Easily-Discovered Man Lite."

    "Feh," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything said,
crossing his arms.  "He's just screwing with us."

    "No," Frat Boy said.  "We've set up a
separate channel for that.  Whatever he's dealing
with must be serious.  Let's check it out."

    Moments later, a Legion landspeeder purred to
a halt before a grey stone building in the
garment district.  A plastic banner suspended
over the entrance bore the words "Mother Time's
Bide-A-Wee Day Care."  Below the sign stood
Easily-Discovered Man Lite, anxious and out of

    "We could have walked here," Adamant-Authority
-On-Everything said.  "Do you have any idea how
much fuel this thing uses?"

    "Yeah, but I've always wanted to drive it,
and this might be my only chance," Frat Boy said,
as Ordinary Lady and Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
leapt from the back of the vehicle.

    "Thank God you guys are here," Easily-
Discovered Man Lite said.  "The woman who runs
this place has some kind of power over time.
She's been aging the kids in her care and
sending them to work at the factory next door,
then de-aging them at the end of the day and
sending them home to their parents."

    "By Reagan's red jellybeans!" Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy said.  "The Land of Opportunity
is no place for innocent young men and women
to be forced into lives of slave labor.  We
have whole sections of the Third World set
aside for that!"

    "Those are serious charges," Adamant-
Authority-On-Everything said.  "What
evidence have you collected?"

    "Well, first it occurred to me that the day
care center seemed awfully big and expensive for
the number of children it was serving," Lite said.
"Then I noticed that every one of the children I
saw had calluses on their fingers, which you don't
often find in a three-year-old."

    "Circumstantial," Adamant-Authority-On-
Everything said.

    "I thought so too," Lite continued.  "But I
found it odd that the factory next door would
be blasting Raffi through its loudspeakers.  And
then there's the part where the day care manager
saw me peeking through the factory window and
came after me with a great big hourglass and a

    "Right," Adamant-Authority-on-Everything said,
crossing his arms.  "And now I'm supposed to say
'Really?' and you say 'Scythe!' and everybody has
a great big laugh at my expense."

    "Actually, you're supposed to scream as I
blast you with my time-blade," said a tall woman
in a glittering grey dress.  She had high heels,
a massive, snaggle-bladed scythe and the kind of
pale silver hair one sees only on grandmothers
and comic-book femme fatales.

    She leveled the weapon at Adamant-Authority-on
Everything, who opened his mouth to object.  Before
he could, the scythe made a sound like a swarm of
bees suddenly holding its breath, and Adam found
himself looking up at the woman -- as well as his
own tiny pink toes.

    "But the laugh at your expense?  Absolutely,"
the silver-haired woman said.

    "She's made a baby out of Adam!" Ordinary Lady

    "Self-defense," the woman said.  "You invaded
my business.  What's a mother supposed to do?"

    Frat Boy stepped forward, the edges of his toga
catching the breeze.

    "Lady," she said, "we're the Legion of Net.
Heroes.  We've come here to chew bubblegum and
kick ass.  And I'm fresh out of... oooh, hold on
a minute," he said, finding a fresh pack of
gum in the folds of his robe.  He handed out
sticks to Easily-Discovered Man Lite, Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy and Ordinary Lady.

    A few moments later, when the gum had lost
its flavor, he continued.

    "As I was saying," he said, "nobody turns a
bunch of children into mindless slaves on our

    "Now you're just provoking me," the woman said,
firing her scythe through the doorway behind her.
Three massive, muscled adults -- a woman and two
men -- toddled through, peering at the assembled
heroes with wide, unblinking eyes.

    "Children, these naughty naughty people have
made Mother Time very angry," Mother Time said.
"Show them what happens when someone makes Mother

    Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy and Lite immediately
adopted Power Rangers-style fighting poses, while
Infant-Authority-on-Everything began to cry.
Ordinary Lady merely stood there, waiting.

    "Now!" Mother Time shouted.

    One of the transformed children wandered back
into the day-care center.  The second tried to
hug Mother Time, while the third picked his nose.

    "Of all the!  Fine," Mother Time snapped,
pushing the affectionate henchman away.  "I suppose
I'll have to do this myself."

    "So are you really a day care administrator,
or just another angry b***h with a scythe to
grind?" Easily-Discovered Man Lite asked.

    "Depends on the time of the month," Mother
Time snarled, whipping around and firing her
weapon at Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, who'd been
trying to flank her.

    "My arms!  My voice!" America's Proudest Hero
gasped, as his voice climbed several octaves.
"You've made me into Ame.rec.a's future!"

    "You want to know what time it is?" Frat Boy
said, stretching his arms out so that he
resembled a Street Fighter character.  "It's
Miller time!"

    A stream of clear amber liquid, distilled at
the Plank Road Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
burst from Frat Boy's palms and shot toward
Mother Time...

    ...only to be countered by a blast from her
scythe, which transformed the liquid into something
dark, foul-smelling and flat.

    Frat Boy fell to his knees.

    "You... you... skunked my beer," he moaned.

    "F.B.!  No!" Lite shouted, leaping to his
friend's side just in time for the silver-haired
woman to catch them both in a blast from her

    "If I'd known it would be this easy to take
down the LNH, I'd have done this a long -- hold
on," Mother Time said, as Ordinary Lady spiraled
toward her, a sword shining in each fist.

    Mother Time dropped her scythe and reached
into the pocket of her dress.  With Ordinary
Lady's blades only a half-inch from her throat,
she held up a small hourglass attached to a chain.
Ordinary Lady hung motionless in the air, arms
raised, eyes focused and cold.

    "Time to regroup," Mother Time said, picking
up her scythe and heading back into the day care

    "Oh, what the heck," she said a moment later,
and blasted the still-immobile Ordinary Lady with
her weapon.

    Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy was the first to

    "She's gone," he chirped.  "Place looks cleared
out, too.  She's probably on her way south of the
border by now."

    He looked at Ordinary Lady.  "Looks like you
got through all of it okay."

    "I'll manage," Ordinary Lady said, smoothing
her hair, which now included a long white streak.
I've always looked younger than my age."

    "Poopie!" screamed Infant-Authority-On-
Everything, kicking his arms and legs.

    "I couldn't have put it better myself," said
a taller, slightly heavier Easily-Discovered
Man Lite.  "At least I'm finally old enough to
date Mouse."

    He reached an arm out to Frat Boy, who was now
dressed in a blue three-piece suit.

    "Hey, F.B...." Lite began.

    Frat Boy rose, stared at the scene around him,
and grabbed Lite by the front of his Oxford shirt.

    "No time for idle chatter," Frat Boy said,
his voice deep and powerful. "No more jokes.  No
more pranks.  I've got less than twelve hours now
to catch that woman, restore our ages, find out
what happened to our leaders and make this the
kind of Legion it was always meant to be."

    "What.. what are you?" Lite gasped.

    The Legion's leader pulled him closer.

    "I'm Fratman," he said.



    Destiny Woman, Sister State-The-
    Obvious and Ultimate Ninja.... wReam

    Anal-Retentive Archive Kid
    .... Saxon Brenton

    Cheesecake-Eater Lad
    .... Matthew Jotham Millheiser

    Doctor Stomper.... T.M. Neeck

    Easily Discovered Man Lite
    .... Rob Rogers

    Faq Boy, Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
    and Suddenly Exploding Boy
    .... Jamas Enright

    Frat Boy and Gamer Boy
    .... upLink

    Gorilla Grad.... Tony Pi

    Irony Man.... Doug Moran

    John and Sally.... Descrii

    Luke and Emily Jones
    ....Ben Rawluk

    Master Blaster and Ordinary Lady
    .... Martin Phipps

    No Sense of Direction Man
    .... Steven Howard

    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats-Lad and
    Ripping Dancer.... Arthur Spitzer

    Squidman.... David Goldfarb and
    Dave Van Domelen

    Writers Block Woman
    ....Jessica Ihimaera-Smiler

    "Nature gives you the face you have at
    twenty.  It is up to you to merit the
    face you have at fifty."
        --Coco Chanel

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