LNH: 58.5 #7

Lalo Martins lalo.martins at gmail.com
Mon Aug 6 05:46:18 PDT 2007

It was already night in Net.ropolis.  Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any-
Beige-Midnight-Story and Cannon Fodder were once more standing
in a warehouse in the middle of fallen Crime Empire goons.

This time, Fodder was armed, with his own, personal, modded Big
Gun, and a newly acquired sample of the smaller version, the Big
Sidearm.  He seemed much happier, even confident, than you'd
normally expect of Cannon Fodder.  That's probably because he
hadn't been dying so much in missions anymore.  Sure, between
missions it was still just as bad, and sometimes right after the
mission.  But not at the hands of enemies; no, he could almost
say he was kicking @$$ now!

His musings were interrupted by the entrance of a very large man
in a pinstriped suit.  In fact, he wasn't so much large as he
was *wide*; his whole shape seemed almost square.

"You have interfered with the business of the Crime Empire one
time to many, fools."

"Er", said Fodder.  "We're not really after you, we're tracking
the Xinerama..."

"Cease your banter!  Your motives are of little interest to me,
when your actions speak for themselves!"

"And who", said Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any-Beige-Midnight-Story,
determined not to be surpassed in the field of Fancy Four-Color
Comic Talk, "might you be, that you think you can measure up to
our combined might?"

"Fools!  I am Mister Manhandler, and I manage Net.ropolis for
the mighty Crime Empire!"


Who Cares Studios spectacularly presents...
                        __________    ______
                       / ____( __ )  / ____/
                      /___ \/ __  | /___ \
                     ____/ / /_/ / ____/ /


                   I Don't Wanna Be a Lion
          'Cause Lions Ain't a Kind You Love Enough

                       by Lalo Martins

 (unknown name)        Cannon Fodder          wReam's (special
                                              thanks to Dvandom)
 Terry                 Kid-Not-Appearing-In-  Saxon Brenton's
 Bonnie Chique         Bandwagon Chick        Sue Clark's
 "Fran" Blake          Dramatic Pause Lass    mine
 Mary Smith            Whatever               mine
 Blackbird Jones       Blackbird              mine
 (unpronounceable)     Locked Room            mine
 Old Ugly                                     mine
 Green Delaware        Tree-Hugging Kid       mine
 Roger M. Zing         Hyperbolic Boy         mine
 Meredith Samuels      Analytic               mine
 Blur                  Blur                   mine
 Daniel Hunt           Contraption Boy        mine

And featuring The Lion Pack:
 Mr. and Mrs. Trend      Analytic powers
 Mr. and Mrs. Sorcery    Sorcerers (d'oh)
 Mr. and Mrs. Tech       Gadgeteers
 Mr. and Mrs. Vega       Nature manipulators
 Mr. and Mrs. Future     Time-travelers from the far future
 Mr. and Mrs. Bipolar    Weirdness Magnet I and some woman
which are all mine with one exception... to be revealed!



"We figured out what?", asked Analytic.

"You mean you arranged this?", asked Mrs. Trend.  "Picked their
group to correspond to ours?"

"Oh no, not as such.  I had precious little choice in the
composition of the New Misfits.  No, that was a bit of
Fourth-Wall humour.  You see, the Lion Pack, New Misfits, and
myself, were all created by the same Writer, if not necessarily
every member.  It's clear that one of the groups was created to
be the other's nemesis.  But which?"

But at this point, any philosophical considerations were
interrupted by the first shot, fired by Mr. Tech.  He hit
Hyperbolic Boy solidly on the chest, with a spectacular BANG and
flash, but no other visible effect.  Roger smiled.

Mere seconds later, Mrs. Tech fired at Blackbird.  Her aim was
perfect, and death seemed inevitable.  Everybody gasped for a
moment, in expectation and terror--

-- and in that moment, Fran jumped and threw Blackbird to the
ground.  The beam shot past them, and made a big hole in the
floor, blasting away a star.

"Hey", shouted Mrs. Trend, "watch the property damage!  That's
very valuable!"

"I *told* you guys to meet them on the hills", said Mr. Vega.
He and his wife were now engaged in a furious battle against the
kiwi, their very fit bodies against the bird's small size and
stronger martial arts.

Mr. Tech was taking aim for another shot, while Mrs. Tech was
shooting aimlessly to keep the New Misfits busy.  Suddenly, he
felt a light tap on his shoulder.

"What?"  He turned back to see Green, standing there
nonchalantly, with a smile.  "How did... we're on the third
floor!  You were just there..."

"Trade lumber for ore?"


A thick branch from a nearby tree decided to swing that way,
knocking him on the head and interrupting the conversation.

"Thanks", said Green anyway, leaning down to pick up the Big
Gun.  The youngster then walked back to the window, and threw
the weapon to Contraption Boy.  "Hey Daniel!  Ore for brick!"

"Gotcha", Daniel said.  He picked the Big Gun in the air, and in
one fluid movement, turned in the opposite direction, and fired
many shots at the building where Mrs. Tech was camped, making it

Big Ugly and the little mammoth were locked in a furious fight,
blood flying everywhere, while Locked Room and the Futures did
little more than cheer.

Analytic was "dancing" a very strange martial art fight against
Mr. Trend; neither so much hitting hard, but rather, trying to
predict each other's movements, while looking for vulnerable
spots.  Which led to very little actual contact.  Analytic
ducked capoeira-style away from a very subtly telegraphed punch;
in one swift movement, he picked a handful of dirt, and threw at
the villain's face.  But Trend saw it coming, and protected his
eyes with the other arm, while swinging for a kick.  And so on.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trend, despite her amazing deductive powers, had
been reduced by a few well-placed insults into a common catfight
with Bonnie.  It seems, no matter how smart the woman, "you look
fat in this" and other basic pearls of inter-female relationship
still have the same effects.  Or maybe Blur was giving a little
help there.

Blackbird and Roger were fighting the Sorceries' invocations,
with darkness and fists.

And Fran stood in the middle, looking all around, prepared to
run and help any of her friends in case of disaster.  Er, need.

Elsewhere -- more precisely, in one of the restaurants around
the scene -- Mr. Bipolar was crouched behind the counter, having
a fit of depression.

"Darling", said Mrs. Bipolar, as she finally found him, "you're
missing the fight."

"Don't care.  I had to be here, but I don't have to be part of
it.  I won't."

"Andy, what's wrong?"

"Everything.  The world.  The coming crisis.  Two of me.  And
this battle... I can't help thinking, whatever the results, I'll
be the loser."

She sat by his side and put a hand on his shoulder.  "How can
you say that?  After so much planning and scheming?  If the Lion
Pack loses--"

"Then the New Misfits already know who I am, and they won't
leave me alone."

"But our plans!  And anyway, what happened to the man I got
involved with, always enjoying to see the building on fire?"

"I don't mind being in the fire.  It's the lights I'm not mad
about.  Being in the centre of attentions."

She sighed.  "That has nothing to do with it, does it?  You're
afraid that this is the point of no return.  Before this fight,
you could still go back to the LNH and pretend all this never

He looked at her with shock.  "Never!  Leave you?  But you're
the best thing that--"

"I know.  You'd never do it.  But there was comfort in knowing
it was still possible, no?"

He pressed his forehead against his knees, and thought for a
moment.  "Maybe.  Yeah, you could be right."

She pulled his head and cradled it in her arms.  "But dear,
you're not that man anymore.  You've grown.  You're so much more
now.  You can't be a net.hero, any more than you can be five
years old.  What you are now--"

He raised his head and kissed her.  "I know.  And it's thanks to
you.  You're right, as usual.  Let's just go find a comfortable
place to watch the fight..."

They got back just in time to see Old Ugly kill the mammoth, and
start eating it gingerly.  "Noooooo", screamed the Futures,
charging the trilobite.  Here's a hint to our readers: if you
ever see a giant trilobite eating, no matter how much its
creator says it's intelligent, it's a bad idea to interrupt.
You read it here first.

All wasn't going equally well, though.  The Vegas had knocked
out the kiwi, then Daniel, and were now in a fight with Green.
The Sorceries had overpowered Blackbird, and Mrs. Sorcery was
now fighting Roger; Fran was checking if Blackbird was all
right, and by her expression, it didn't quite look like he was.

"Not too late to surrender", said Mr. Trend, jumping out of the
way of a very subtle leg sweep.

"Dream on, Mr. Pitiful", answered Analytic, rolling on the floor
to avoid a riposte kick.  The roll left him in a great position
for a nutcracker, which he attempted, even knowing it would
probably be dodged.

And suddenly, his powers failed him, and he was punched in the
face and thrown to the floor.  Green was similarly surprised,
which earned her a kick in the stomach.

"I got you now", said a voice, coming from the Mystic
Bandwagon.  All eyes turned in that direction.  Mr. Sorcery was
standing in the door.  Mary was floating in the air in front of
him, her hands and feet immobilized by magic ribbons, with
another covering her mouth.  She looked somewhat groggy, but
awake; her eyes were surveying the scene.

"Mary", said Locked Room, breaking the silence.

"That's what was protecting you, right?  You should be under my
spell now.  No powers."

"Well done, Sorcery", said Mr. Trend.

"Damn", said Fran, "Didn't anybody lock the bandwagon?"

"I did", Bonnie answered, her hands on Mrs. Trend neck, and her
hair in the Asian woman's hands.

"Feh", said the sorcerer.  "The magics in your vehicle are so
primary.  Your 'locks' couldn't stand my power."

"Mmmm", made Mary.

"That won't help you for long", said Analytic.  "Whatever
doesn't need to speak to use her powers.  Or gesture.  Soon she
will figure out what to do, and we'll have powers again.  For
that matter, she may take away *your* powers, or cancel your
spell."  Sammy sounded very sure, but in truth, he had no idea
whether or not he was bluffing.  The Mary he knew definitely did
need to speak to use her powers; but she had been giving many
signs recently that what they knew about her powers was just the
tip of the iceberg.

"Maybe you're right, maybe you're right", said Mr. Sorcery.
"Which means we can't waste any time, can we?  It's all about
what we do with the next minute or two."

Roger charged him.  Mary closed her eyes and seemed to
concentrate very hard.  And a noise came from the rubbles where
Mrs. Tech had been knocked out a while earlier.

And then, just as Hyperbolic Boy reached Mr. Sorcery, he was
shot in the back by a Big Gun.  Since he was powerless, the shot
went straight through him, through Mr. Sorcery, and made quite
the damage inside the mystic bandwagon.

Mary broke the spell a second too late, returning everyone's
powers right as Roger M. Zing fell to his knees.

And then he exploded.  The first burst of light was enough to
blind everyone in the area; then came the shockwave, smashing
everybody against the ground, and smashing all surrounding
buildings.  If it wasn't slightly angled upwards, it would have
killed everybody else.

The sound that followed made all ears bleed and all heads ache.
And then a second burst of light, like a column of fire, shot
out from the spot, reaching upwards and expanding.  A spaceship
that was passing by the solar system at that moment saw a whole
side of the third planet light up, and a huge column of pure
light shoot out and join with the sun.

And then it was over.  People sat up and looked around.  The
buildings around them were intact; at least the ones who had
been intact before the explosion.  Nobody was blind, no ears
were bleeding, and no heads were aching.  As a matter of fact,
as their rational minds kicked in, they were now certain the
explosion hadn't been *that* spectacular at all; it had been
more like a loud "poof", and a faint, sickly light.

In front the bandwagon, about a meter from Mary, they could see
the charred corpse of an average-looking, not very strong
teenager, with a poorly-made and badly-fitting costume that
vaguely resembled Hyperbolic Boy's.

Some of the New Misfits were shocked.  Others remembered their
training and kept their cool.  Mary Smith, rather, was enraged.
By simply looking at each of the villains in turn, with furious
eyes that felt like embers, she canceled each of their powers.
Her teammates fell on them quickly enough, and soon they were
all bound.  The last to be caught were the Bipolars; as Bonnie
and Locked Room approach them, they just smiled and held up
their hands.

"We surrender."

A few minutes later activity was resuming on the street; Mary
had broken the stasis field, and then collapsed of exhaustion.
The authorities came and collected the Lion Pack; what with most
of them being famous and/or influential, the court battle was
probably going to be fierce, but for the moment, the evidence of
them being in that place, wearing those clothes, and with that
equipment, was enough to take them in custody; the word of a
Legionnaire (Bandwagon Chick) also helped.

And during all that time, Analytic did little more than get up,
walk to Roger's corpse, kneel on the ground, and stay there,
staring down.


About an hour later, the New Misfits were in a nearby hospital,
where the wounded were being treated.  Things between them were,
let's say less than friendly.

"You are a gang of damned amateurs", barked Fran.

"Oh, and you're the pro?", Blackbird barked back.  "I thought
you said you had zero net.heroing experience."

"Ah, now you're accusing me of not telling you the truth about
my past?  Is that what you're saying?"

He blushed, and turned to Locked Room instead.  "And what's with
killing their mammoth?"

"Kloorve me, noofer, what the grife did you expect me to do?  Do
you think the grifing beasts surrender too often?  It's an
animal built to fight.  It was going to grifing fight until it
couldn't, and more fiercely the worse it was hurt.  Grife, maybe
we could have knocked it out, but I have no kloorving idea how
to do that, do you maybe?"

"And what happened to you?", Fran was asking Sammy.  "We were
all hit hard when Roger died, but you, we'd expect you would
keep your cool?"

"I was thinking about Whino Boy.  And Roger.  Whino Boy said
once: 'Death is way too spectacular'.  Was this what he was
talking about?"

"Argh", screamed Fran.  "You know what?  You guys are useless.
I'm leaving."  And she did, slamming the door.

"Chill, noofers", said Mary, sitting up with difficulty.  "We
won, didn't we?  The Lion Pack lost, and I doubt they're
bickering this much about it."

"Yeah", moaned Daniel.  "They're probably swearing revenge."

Elsewhere, an armored car with power dampeners was conducting
the Lion Pack to a holding facility for Net.ahumans.  Inside,
they were, you guessed, swearing revenge.

"My lawyers are on it", said Mr. Trend.  "We'll be out in no
time.  This will be less than a minor setback."

"Will it?", asked Mrs. Vega.  "We've been exposed, Trend.  We've
been seen together, which we've been avoiding for years.  And
we've been accused.  Whether or not your lawyers can get us off
the hook, or effectiveness will be hampered forever."

Mr. Future was crying in his wife's arms.  "They killed Ruggy",
he whimpered.

"Ruggy?", roared Mrs. Sorcery.  "They killed my husband!"

"Technically", said Mr. Bipolar with a cynical smile, "Mrs. Tech
killed your husband."


"You did."

"And what were *you* doing?", asked Mrs. Trend.  "I didn't see
either of you in the fight at all."

"And what's this damn smell?", asked Mr. Tech.

"You see", Andy said, still smiling.  "One thing I love about my
wife... one thing of many, to be sure... is the way she
periodically sprouts entirely new powers.  For the last few
weeks she's had the coolest--"

"Are you saying you'll break us out?", asked Mr. Trend.  "Don't
be stupid.  Whatever her powers, this car has dampeners, she
shouldn't be able to use them.  And if we run away, we'll be
pretty much admitting our guilt."

"You know, I never liked you", he said, leaning back leisurely.
"You interrupt too much, and you think you know everything.
Yeah, she can't use her powers.  Namely, the power of hiding
stuff in her body.  So ever since we've been put in this car,
the toxic gas we hid there two hours ago has been oozing off.  A
gas which, of course, both me and her are immune to.  You people
shouldn't last much longer."


"As for breaking us out.  Our people, that is, hers and mine,
will blow this car in about five minutes, as we're crossing the
bridge.  They could rescue us anywhere, but you know, I really
like cross-overs.  Then they'll carry the two of us away.  You
will, of course, be already dead, so we'll leave you behind.
Admitting guilt?  Yeah, sure, but who cares, our names were
false anyway."

"Damn you, Bipolar.  Why?"

"You've been controlling California for years.  If we just tried
to move in, you'd have fought us, and maybe even won.  This is
easier, and also so much more fun.  Now California can, like
most other interesting places, fall under control of the Crime
Empire."  He kissed his wife's cheek.  "And its beautiful,
beautiful Empress."  But there was nobody else alive to hear.

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