LNH: 58.5 #8
lalo.martins at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 09:52:08 PDT 2007
In a high school in STUFF.org, Connectioncut, a history teacher
was going over mythology.
"So Heracles and Theseus went to face the Amazons, which were
some of the fiercest warriors of its time according to legend."
A dull-looking blond girl in the third row seemed bored out of
her skull. She was taking remedial classes at night because she
couldn't keep up with what stupid bag of testosterone conquered
which country and when; guys were all the same. But
mythology? That she knew everything about.
"One interesting thing here is that, for all we know of the
period, it's entirely possible that there actually was a tribe
of warrior women in Scythia..."
But just then, the sky seemed to explode in the west. A column
of white light descended from the night and crashed into the
girl, with a loud BANG and a blinding explosion. When everybody
could see again, she was almost a foot taller, at least twice as
strong, and so beautiful that all teens, of either sex,
immediately developed a crush.
"Amanda!", exclaimed the teacher. "I don't know where you think
you are, but this school will NOT put up with this sort of
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Wormwood", she said, coyly. "It won't happen
"I certainly hope it doesn't!"
She shuffled her feet a bit.
"Mrs. Wormwood, can I be excused from class?"
"What is it now?"
"I believe my brother just died."
The teacher pondered for a moment. "Very well. Gather your
things and go see the principal. He'll call your mother and ask
if this is true. If Mrs. Zing confirms your story, you can go.
If not, I'm sure the principal will want a word with you."
"Thank you, Mrs. Wormwood."
Who Cares Studios spookily presents...
/ ____( __ ) / ____/
/___ \/ __ | /___ \
____/ / /_/ / ____/ /
Bright Lights, Big City
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
Mary Smith Whatever mine
Blackbird Jones Blackbird mine
(unpronounceable) Locked Room mine
Old Ugly mine
Green Delaware Tree-Hugging Kid mine
Meredith Samuels Analytic mine
Blur Blur mine
Daniel Hunt Contraption Boy mine
Tamela Mother Time Saxon Brenton's/
And featuring the Fornya family by Arthur Spitzer, and some new
characters by yours truly.
"Fools! I am Mister Manhandler, and I manage Net.ropolis for
the mighty Crime Empire!"
"And you seriously don't have a problem saying that out loud?",
asked Cannon Fodder.
The very wide villain roared and charged him; but Fodder just
pointed his Big Gun and fired. Manhandler wasn't vaporized as
expected, but still fell to the ground, with a loud THUMP.
"Well, that was a quick fight scene." He came closer and leaned
over to look.
And faster than Fodder could react, the villain got to his
knees, and grabbed him by the throat.
"Cannon Fodder!", exclaimed Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any-Beige-
"Cretin hero sycophants. I have been upgraded by the Empress
herself. I cannot be defeated that easily."
"Is that so?", said the azure avenger, flying straight at him
like a cannonball.
"Indeed", answered Manhandler, stepping out of the way and
catching the other hero by the hair on his free hand. "I
survived the firing pits and sweat shops of Workolips. I was
the only human to ever survive Aunt Authority's Internship
Camps, and I took all her seminars to heart!"
"Any idea what he's talking about?", Fodder whispered.
"I was taught ten thousand ways to kill with my bare hands by
the master assassin of Workolips, the great Deadline! I studied
torture under Eithaar... literally under, I don't like to talk
about this part so much."
"Can you get free with superstrength?"
"Been trying. Why don't you shoot him point-blank in the face?"
"I survived all that and more by swearing vengeance on the
Empire, for sending me there on a grunt interchange program!"
"Er, because I'd die?"
"Yes well, you'll get over it."
"But when I finally came back, with a letter of recommendation
from the dread DarkCEO himself, I learned how the Empress had
upgrade my body before I left, so I would survive! And I was
promoted to head of Net.ropolis! Only then I realized how the
whole experience had been a fantastic growing opportunity!"
"Kid, I don't want to die. I'll lose my guns. My powers only
cover myself and my uniform."
"I'll get them for you."
"And now, you are about to be my first victims! I will snap you
like the insects--"
"Dude", said Fodder, touching both gun barrels to Manhandler's
face. "You talk way too much."
The ensuing explosion knocked Manhandler out, doing quite the
mess on his face and suit. Kid-NAIABMS was bruised and knocked
back to the other side of the warehouse. As soon as he could,
he flew back, tied up the villain, and proceeded to look for
Cannon Fodder's weapons in the rubble.
But they were nowhere to be found.
"Hmm. This is odd." He tapped his comm.thingie.
"Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any... argh, you know who, to LNHQ.
"Hey Kid", answered the voice of Insomnia Boy.
"Can you please check if Cannon Fodder is in the Peril Room?"
"Sure thing. I'm on monitor duty. Yep, he's there. Let me
turn on a camera to check how he is... seems fine, but
unconscious as he usually is after dying. Hey..."
"How come he has a pair of guns?"
The hero in azure scratched his head and kicked the rubble
around. "Very odd indeed."
A few days later, in Hollywood Hills. The New Misfits had been
taken in by California Kid's dad, to recover and give Bonnie the
time to repair her bandwagon. It was hardly a completely
altruistic gesture, to be honest; they had to spend a few hours
of the second evening in a reception he threw in their honor,
which would surely enhance his image of a politician with
Now they had all finally crawled out of bed, wolfed down the
very generous breakfast, dodged California Kid's sister, and
gathered around the bandwagon, where Bonnie was at work with
Daniel's help. They spent most of that time relaxing and
recovering (except for Bonnie and Daniel), but now most of them
felt ready to get back to serious business.
"Face it, gang. We blew it, no pun intended", said Blackbird.
"The villains were mysteriously killed on the way to jail. We
almost blew up our ride. One of us is dead, another left..."
"Feh", made Mary. "Roger was all right. But I don't think
Drama Queen Lass was ever one of us, and she can't go too soon.
She was hiding something; I wouldn't be surprised if she was
spying on us or something."
"Mary--", said Sammy, a hand on her shoulder.
"Seriously. Mark my words, that bay-ach will still come back to
"Oh", said Blackbird, "I won't argue there. And our lack of
care with Roger, too."
"Care?", said Locked Room. "For sprok's sake, he was the most
powerful of us all. With the possible exception of yourself,
and then again only some of the time."
"Still, I can't stop thinking we could have done something."
"This is a common feeling of inexperienced heroes", said Bonnie,
from under a panel. "Doc Stomper calls it 'heroic insecurity'.
You have awesome powers, so you should have been able to stop
the unstoppable, avoid the unavoidable. It wasn't our fault,
Blackbird. We had no powers, and none of us was near enough."
"I was", said Mary.
"I know I was gagged and bound. But I did return his powers,
didn't I? If I had managed that a second earlier..."
"Kiwi kiwi kiwi kiwi."
"No, I can't help blaming myself. I need to know more about my
powers. I need to control them better."
"Er, you actually understand what he says?", asked Daniel.
"Sure. Don't you?"
"I can deduce it", said Sammy, "but I certainly don't speak
Kiwi. And I don't think anyone else does."
"Let's not change the subject", insisted Blackbird. "We need--"
"Children! Thanks God you're still here!"
"Oh, good morning, Mr. Fornya."
"Hal! I told you kids to call me Hal!"
"Yeah, in the reception", said Sammy. "But in general, I
have learned that things a politician says in a reception
shouldn't be believed."
"Haha, you crack me up! Right you are! So let's say it
privately now, you kids please call me Hal!"
"Er. Hmm. All right, Mr. Hal dude."
The congressman's eyes welled up. "Now you remind me of my
son. Oh, I hope he's all right."
Behind his back, Daniel made a gesture with his finger to the
side of his head. Sammy nodded in agreement, and the
congressman was happy, believing the young hero was agreeing
with his concerns.
"Anyway, I didn't come here to bother you about Calvin. My
Mallory was watching TV... of course she would normally be on
the beach in such a lovely morning, but she was all nervous
about you being here, so she didn't want to go out, anyway, she
just saw it, it's horrible--"
"What is?", asked Blackbird, taking a deep breath.
"It seems Las Vegas is under attack by giant robots."
A wave of raised eyebrows spread over the New Misfits' faces.
"Giant robots?", asked Mary. "Like in the cartoons?"
"Well", said the congressman, "it's not like it never happened
before, is it? Giant robots show up in Net.ropolis all the
time, as I understand."
"Yeah, but Vegas?", asked Daniel. "What is it, gambler bots?"
"Or worse", said Mary, "crappy music fan bots."
"Actually", said Mr. Fornya, looking a bit embarrassed, "I think
it's yuppie robots."
The New Misfits and friends (sans Bandwagon Chick) arrived on
the scene two hours later, courtesy of Congressman Fornya's
hummer. Daniel was driving.
Said scene was one of chaos and mayhem. (I love writing that.)
[*] People were running and screaming everywhere; some of them
carrying jackets full of coins, others dressed in funny-looking
stage clothes that would look sexy to someone drunk enough.
Three of the robots they could see looked normal enough... for
whatever "normal" means for a giant robot, I suppose. But the
others were quite a sight. The one making the most damage
seemed to be made of gold; it made so much damage because about
half the people in its vicinity couldn't muster the willpower to
run away, instead running towards it and trying to chip a piece
off its feet or legs. Which resulted in a rather large number
of fatal casualties. Another seemed to be made of wood and
fabric; very high quality wood and fabric, at that. One was
clearly made of colorful plastic. The other two required quite
a bit of imagination to be even called "robots"; if they were
seen alone, the label that would come to mind would be "giant
creature". One looked like an origami thing of cloth; the other
was made of glass and razors, and filled with something white,
which it would fire on people who got to close -- and those
people would seemingly fall under its control.
[* Yeah, gotta love the word Mayhem -- the editor]
They drove around for a while, trying to figure out what to do,
and maybe identify the leader, or whether the robots were being
controlled by someone else. Eventually, they noticed a woman
sitting on a leisure chair in a terrace, seemingly enjoying the
chaos; every now and then she'd say something in what they
assumed (in the distance) to be a radio, and one of the robots
would go attack something new; clearly, she was either
controlling them, or helping them. They parked in front of the
building, and were preparing to enter, when one of the metal
bots said, from two blocks south:
"Beemer! I see a hummer parked in front of the building we're
using as observation center!"
"I'm on it, Jetset", said another robot, rapidly approaching.
"Yuppie robots, check", murmured Analytic.
Daniel, reacting fast, pointed his Big Gun at the robot, and
fired. (He managed to keep one, thanks to Congressman Fornya's
influence.) Beemer was moderately damaged; it stumbled back and
fell on a casino.
"My, my, these insects sting! Premiumlatte, Rolektron, give me
a hand here!"
The third "normal" robot and the golden one approached. The
latter snarked: "Getting soft now, Beemer?" But a shot from
Contraption Boy on its very expensive head helped him give them
a bit more respect. Which wasn't necessarily a good thing, as
they now stood surrounded by the three robots.
But before anyone could attack, the woman walked out of the
building behind them, a smile on her face, and a radio that
looked like an extremely old mobile phone (or "cellphone", I
should say) in her right hand.
"Ah, what a pleasant surprise! If it isn't my supposed friends,
the New Misfits!"
It was Mother Time.
"Er", said Mary. "I don't know--"
"Oh, spare me. I already knew who you were, joining the support
group to try to get information on me. Crapper saw you on his
chronoscope, it seems you'll be involved in something rather big
in the near future, assuming you live that long. But even if I
didn't have the chronoscope... why, you were all over the news
last week. Not very efficient spies after that, are you?"
"Mother Time", asked Blackbird. "What are those things? And
what are you doing?"
"I wouldn't call them 'things', Gaiman boy. The Yuppicons are
non-organic life forms. They've been frozen for about twenty
years... Crapper and I have been gathering and reactivating
them ever since we learned of their existence and figured out
what they wanted. We'll help them to get there, and then, we
will be kings!"
"Oh. And what *do* they want then?"
"Ah, you're going to like that! We're building a better world!
Safer, peaceful, and with enough toys for everyone! Without
hunger or disease or crime... there will certainly be work for
everyone. And no need for poor people, lower classes, or
humiliating jobs. They will provide machines to take care of
that kind of work. No, everybody will love their work! It will
be a true utopia!"
"Er... that doesn't sound right."
"But it is. See, they are very good with machines. They can
easily have enough machines to run the world... the entire solar
system, as one big productive unit. But, someone has to manage
all that stuff. They could build more robots, or intelligent
machines, but then they would have to share the power... or they
would be effectively creating a class of future rebels, with
enough power to overthrow them. Humanity is perfect for them;
enough brains and power to run their empire, but not enough to
be a threat. Specially if everybody is conditioned to love
nothing more than their job and the shiny expensive things
they'll spend all their money on and never actually have time to
enjoy, working on the same building where they live and working
16 hours a day, 6 days a week, all year round..."
Sammy was a little suspicious.
"Hmm, isn't that a bit outside your usual M.O.?"
"Maybe. But think about it. There will be no more time
travelers, from our victory to, well, forever. This puts us in
an uniquely privileged position within the new status quo. We
will finally be able to have... well, pretty much anything we
want! How can I not love it?"
"And obviously", said Mary, "the first step towards world
domination is to trash Las Vegas. Because... yeah."
Mother Time laughed. "Well, we need a few hundred million bucks
to get started. I couldn't think of any other place with that
much cash, except for banks and stuff which, you know, tend to
have everything numbered and marked."
"Brilliant", said Blackbird. "Just brilliant. Except... didn't
you seriously think someone would stop you?"
"Like who? You? It's not like your team is exactly optimized
to fight giant robots, is it? Sorry, I mean non-organic life
forms, of course. What are you gonna do? Depress them to
death? Call all animals and plants in the area -- not much,
mind you, what with being in the middle of the desert -- to come
and be squashed under their feet with you?"
"Maybe", said Locked Room, advancing in her direction with her
pet trilobite. "But on the other hand, we could kill *you*."
"I think not." She waved her scythe. "Hmm, I wonder if
devolving the two of you a few steps would result in a modern
human and a normal... whatever that thing is?"
Before the beam could hit Locked Room and Old Ugly, a green
flurry intercepted it. The kiwi fell to the floor, in a cloud
of dust and feathers.
"Interesting", Mother Time said. "What would a kiwi devolve to?"
Everybody watched intently, as the dust cleaned, revealing a
green, feathered humanoid figure, about a meter tall.
"Oh man", he said, looking at himself. "I'm naked."
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