LNH: Possum-Man: Relinquished #3: Regaining the Mantle

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Tue Oct 2 22:00:04 PDT 2007

Last time in Possum-Man: Relinquished, a lightning-wielding villain
named Green-On-Black stole a large cargo ship from the steelworks at
nearby Port Com.bla. At the behest of the policeman Hank, Sticks
Tarqchevskison (known to the public as the courageous but slightly
unhinged Possum-Man) battled and defeated Green-On-Black in an epic
duel that consisted largely of rather cheap shots. Upon avoiding the
police in his attempts to look cool, however, Possum-Man set the stage
for Green-On-Black to escape. Combined with the earlier disappearance
of the murderer Duck McMuck, public favour of the net.hero is
beginning to waver. Now, we return to the story as Sticks
Tarqchevskison makes a mad dash for a party he is late for, a party he
is meant to be performing at as a clown-for-hire...

----=== {PM} ===----

Mitchell Crouch's
_____         ___  ____
\  _ \        \  \ \  /
 ||_||         ||\\ ||
 | _/          || \\||  O
 ||   OSSUM-MA ||  \ |  O
/__\          /__\  \|

                   3   3
                   3   3

-{ Regaining the Mantle }-

The cover shows a crowd of Possum-Men, each with a slightly varying
costume. They're all conversing and socialising casually, while the
actual Possum-Man stands alone in the middle with his hands on his
head and looking really, really confused.

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks Tarqchevskison dived out of the car and ran for the house,
slipping on a large novelty red nose as he went (by which I mean he
put it on his face, not that there was a large novelty red nose on the
ground upon which he stood and, by extension, slipped on). Arriving at
the front door of his current employee's home, he rapped sharply on
the door.

After a painfully anxious moment, the door opened, and a stern-looking
middle-aged man stuck his head out. Looking Sticks up and down with an
unamused expression on his face, he snapped, "Yes?"

"Uh, hi. I'm Sticks Tarqchevskison? Clown for hire? You, uh, hired me
to do a party?"

"I hired you," the man replied curtly, "to be here for my little
Deano's birthday at precisely eleven o'clock. It is now one thirty.
There is no possible way you can explain that sort of faineance."

"Um," agreed Sticks. "I had a really bad toothache?"

The slightly bald man sighed.

"A really, _really_ bad toothache?"

He began to close the door.

"No! Wait!" Sticks cried, throwing himself into the man's doorway.
"You don't seem to quite understand. I really, really need this munza.
Seriously. I could, like, do odd jobs or something for you, 'round the
house. Mow the lawn. Pick the tomatoes. Trim the carrot tree?"

The man stared blankly at Sticks for a while longer, before opening
the door a little wider. "You have precisely one hour before the party
ends. Do not make me regret this. Am I perfectly clear?"

Smiling cockily and performing a flippant salute, Sticks marched in
proudly. "Trust me, buddy. This'll end up being the smartest thing you
ever did."

The older man closed and locked the door before grabbing the clown by
the arm and forcefully guiding him through the house. "There is to be
no mess," he stated as if by rote. "No inappropriate jokes. No
inappropriate actions. No inappropriate... _touching_. No inappropriate
anything. If I catch you looking at any of those children in a way I
find even slightly out of the ordinary, or hear anything that could
even vaguely be interpreted as sexual innuendo, you will find yourself
in a very, very regrettable situation. Am I perfectly clear?"

"Don't you go worryin' now, sir," Sticks said with a fake Ame.rec.an
accent. "I ain't no gosh darn commie."

The man grabbed Sticks by the collar and held him up to his face. Real
close to his face. Close enough that Sticks could practically taste
his pores, and smell his sneer. "You'd better not be," the man hissed,
before roughly shoving the clown into a different room.

Sticks was just about to make one of his hilarious one-liners when the
man slammed the door in his face. "Geez la-weez," murmured the usually
ineffable Sticks. "What's he got stuck up his pooper?"

Turning around, he found himself facing a room full of young children,
all of whom had just heard his previous statement. One had dropped his
meat pie. The meat pie had not survived the fall.


The silence was broken by the creak of the door behind Sticks opening.
The balding man appeared in the doorframe. "I distinctly remember
saying no mess. No inappropriate remarks. So what do you do in your
first three seconds here?"

Sticks looked around for support, although the kids offered him none.
"Uh... leave?"

"Truly, your wisdom is your greatest strength."

The clown began to hurriedly scurry out of the house. "Well, you know
what they say," he blabbered as he was pushed through the house and
out the front door. "A clown without wisdom is like a net.hero without


"-fat, balding, middle-aged pain in the pee-dizzle. Fo' shizzle."
Sticks glowered angrily at the door before marching away, muttering
angrily to himself. "One day, you're gunna need my help, jerk-face.
Izzle. And I am _so_ not going to give it to you...!"

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks arrived home, the day's newspaper tucked under his arm. He
closed and locked the door behind him, and noticed something very
different about his apartment.

"Uuh... Stones?"


"Where did you get a Wii from?"

Stones smirked. "Nicked it from the children's ward." When Sticks did
not react as though he were terribly amused, he continued, "By which I
obviously mean I used money from the crazy-Duck-destroying-my-
apartment and nutty-electro-zappo-guy-more-or-less-ruining-my-career
compensation funds."

"...yeah. Cool." Sticks had begun to read the paper, and a chill ran up
his spine as he read:

Residents fear net.villain two-in-one limited edition! Full story page

That would not be good, Sticks reflected. Duck McMuck had admitted to
wanting to hunt down Monica, Sticks' ex who had dropped off of the map
a long time ago. Green-On-Black had been _that_ close to hurling
Stones into the unforgiving ocean, like he had done to dozens of other
staff at the Port Com.bla steelworks.

What if they did join forces?

What if they already had?

What if Stones and Monica were actually in danger right now,
completely ignorant of their situation?

Sticks cast a worried look at Stones, who was having fun making
inappropriate actions with the Wii Remote. "Ha ha, Wii! Like 'wee',
but 'Wii'!" he was laughing. Sticks frowned, and began to revise his

What if _Monica_ was in danger from Duck right now, completely
ignorant of her situation, and Green-On-Black was... was... well, he'd
beaten Green-On-Black once before. And it's not as if McMuck and GoB
together _really_ posed _that much_ of a threat to Monica.

Not while ever Possum-Man was around to vaguely hinder them until a
handy dandy plot device appeared, anyway. He watched as Stones,
fumbling with the controller, started up some sort of sports game.

After a moment, Sticks' friend turned to face him. "This guy keeps
beating me. Do you think I can get a refund on something I paid for
with the governments money?"

Sticks sighed, and his thoughts drifted back to Duck McMuck and Green-
on-Black. They needed to be stopped. They were his responsibility now,
whether he liked it or not.

Possum-Man, now more than ever, was actually needed.

Sticks considered this thought as he glided silently into his private
bedroom, and muttered to himself, "I guess there really is a first
time for everything."

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks, as Possum-Man, dropped out of the sky and landed clumsily
outside of the Www.ollonong Police Station. He strode inside as an
epitome of masculinity, his cape shuddering in the winter cold as he
squealed and huddled closer to an indoor heater. Once feeling had
returned to his extremities, he approached the incredulous

"Hello, kind woman!" he boomed. "Ah, I see my sheer 'wow' factor has
caught you off-guard! 'Is it a nerd?' you ask yourself. 'Is it a
pain?' No, my dear -- it is I, Possum-Man! come to see Hank. Do you
know if he's in?"

"Pos," the receptionist stated bluntly. "It's me. Hank."

Possum-Man blinked, and bothered to actually regard the policeman
sitting in front of him who was, evidently, Hank, and definitely not a
woman at all. "Ah. So it is." He looked around awkwardly, trying to
redeem his dignity. "I knew that all along, of course. I was, uh,
wondering if you did. Just testing! Ha! Eh heh heh!"

"Yes," Hank stated. "Your concern is noted. What are you actually
doing here?"

Pos looked around conspiratorially, and then pulled a small piece of
paper out from behind his possum-head-shaped belt buckle. Gazing
around casually, he slipped the paper across the desk to Hank.

Hank raised an eyebrow, and unfolded it. The message inside read: DID

The officer's response was cut off by Possum-Man's furious hushing
motions, and he saw that two new folded messages were on the desk. One
was labelled YES, and the other NO.

While Hank unfolded the YES message, Pos meandered around the room,
looking over-the-top casual and observing everything around him in

Again, YES and NO papers were present on Hank's desk for him to choose


Hank sighed, and selected the next YES paper.



"Pos?" Possum-Man interrupted. "As in, Possum-Man? I don't see Possum-
Man here. Do you? What would Possum-Man be doing here? I mean, who is
this 'Possum-Man' you speak of? What is a 'Possum-Man'? I don't know
what you mean. Quite sure I don't." Pos followed this up with a
ludicrously large wink, which was completely missed because of his

Hank sighed, got out some Post-Its and scribbled on them as he wearily
asked, "Do you want my help or not?"

Possum-Man turned around to see that Hank was holding two folded Post-
Its; YES and NO. Nodding approvingly, he snatched both. The YES one
contained an address, which Possum-Man memorised instantly. Out of
curiosity, he also read the NO note, which contained a single word:

With a huff, Possum-Man turned and left the station.

----=== {PM} ===----

Two seconds later, he was back, shivering around the heater once more.

"It's really, really _cold_ out there!" he squeaked as Hank sighed
bitterly and resumed the paperwork.

----=== {PM} ===----

Sticks, back home in the secrecy of his bedroom, removed the thick
vest from the sewing machine, snipped the excess cotton off, and
turned it inside-in and outside-out. He took off his frameless
glasses, and examined his handiwork; beautiful.

A big, furry, silver vest, with his golden Possum-Man logo dyed onto
it, of course, and some thicker golden-brown cargo pants to cover his
legs. That, he thought to himself (as opposed to thinking to someone
else, naturally), was far more practical for the twenty-degrees-above-
freezing Alt.stralian winter.

He placed the vest on over the top of the spandex costume he still
mostly had on, pulled the cargos up over his leggings, and then
slipped his cape, boots, mask and gloves back on.

He smiled smugly as he eyed himself in the mirror, confident that
countless heroes would be jealous that they hadn't thought of it

Heh heh.

Silly heroes.

----=== {PM} ===----

Possum-Man, all warm and cosy and snug as a bug in a rug, slowed his
bike down to a halt and looked up at the house. He checked it against
the address that Hank had given him; it was the right one. He thought.
Was that a one or a five? He cut off the chugging motor, and swung his
right leg over the bike, his cape fluttering with a flourish.

He ran to the side fence, out of view of the windows, and snuck around
the back. Crawling along under the window sills, he soon reached the
frame of a large glass door, which, he decided, no doubt served the
function of the heinous 'back door'. He paused a second, wanting to
justify calling the back door 'heinous' before continuing.

"Let's see," he mumbled. "It... let's people get out the back. When it
would really be more convenient for them to go out the front. Unless
they wanted to go out the back, in which case it makes it far, far
easier for them... hrm. Sloth! Aha, that's it. One of the seven
deadlies, that is." He wagged a disapproving finger at the back door.
"Shame on you! You've dragged untold millions of souls to hell!"

When the back door failed to reply (which, he later decided, was
probably for the best, considering that it was an inanimate object and
all), he peeked through its glassy glassiness and into the house. And
yes, 'glassiness' is an actual word, as is 'glassily'. Learn something
new every day, eh?

"Bingo...!" Pos gasped. For through the glass door he could see, sitting
in front of a fireplace and wrapped in a green feature-obscuring
hoody, the diabolical outline of Duck McMuck. Or, at least, he assumed
that it was Duck McMuck. For who else would so evilly be sitting at a
fireplace on such a cold day? Actually, (he reconsidered,) that was a
stupid conclusion to reach.

He wriggled around, trying to get a better view of, or at least a
better justification of why it would be, Duck McMuck. After a few
minutes of trying out a few different windows, a voice came from
behind him; "Find what you're looking for amongst the glassily glassy
glassiness of my glassy glass windows? And soul-damning door?"

Pos whipped around. "Duck! Wait. How long have you been there?"

Duck McMuck, sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch, raised an
eyebrow. "The entire time, you idiot. Why do you never look behind

Possum-Man frowned. This was not quite entirely how he'd planned the
meeting to go. "Um. So. Who's that inside?"

"My stunt double."

"Oh. Right." Pos looked around awkwardly. "So. Stunt double, eh? What
would you use one of them for?"

"My," Duck growled, "stunts."

Pos awaited further explanation. It didn't come. "Well. That's jolly
good, then, isn't it? I, uh, don't suppose that that means you've
given up on the whole net.villain thing, and, y'know, reformed, become
an actor?"

"I don't suppose that at all," Duck agreed, his tone icy. "Tell me,
amazing Possum-Man, spectacular Possum-Man; why are you sneaking
around my 'hidden lair', of sorts?"

"Ha! Well," Pos began, "it's actually a really funny story. Tell me,
Ducky, have you read this morning's paper? About, y'know, you and

"I have. And it's garbage. That journalist should be sacked."

"Ah. Yes. Quite, quite."

Duck raised an eyebrow. "You don't even know what I'm talking about,
do you?" He sighed, and tossed Possum-Man a copy of the newspaper.
"Page three, second line."

Pos cleared his throat, and began to read out loud; "Uh, yadda yadda
yadda... here we go. '...Duck McMuck, and the infamous Green-on-Black, who
citizens fear he may be working with.'"

"Exactly! Do you see?"

Possum-Man nodded angrily. "Boy, do I ever. 'He may be working with'
indeed! Ending a sentence with a preposition. That's disgusting! And
from a journalist, too!"

"Society's become a den of drivelling swine," McMuck agreed airily.

"That should _clearly_ be 'with whom, citizens fear, he may be

"Clearly. And you just let it pass, eh, Possy? Shame, shame, shame.
Far more criminal than the backdoor, no?"

Possum-Man nodded angrily. "Quite! I'm off to the paper offices right
this second!" With that, he stomped back around the side from which he
had come.

Duck watched him go, his face expressionless. When he had well and
truly gone, the man inside in the hoody rose, and moved over to the
backdoor. "Well?" he rasped.

Duck nodded thoughtfully. "Your mistress is well-informed on the
psychological condition of our furry friend. But I see no real reason
to accept your offer."

The man clenched his fists. "You will."

And with that, he turned and left the home of Duck McMuck, who now had
a lot to think about.

----=== {PM} ===----

"You!" Possum-Man gasped as he approached the illiterate journalist.
"You bloody bastard! I knew you were bad, but I didn't know that you
were this bad!"

The balding, middle-aged man looked up. "Wait, what?"

"You! You are David Sawley, are you not?"

"Well, yes-"

"Your grammar in this article on Duck McMuck and Green-on-Black is
atrocious! Look! What is this rubbish? And," he concluded as he
revealed his secret previous relationship with the man, "I know how
you treated that party clown, and I am disgusted!"

For, in truth, Pos recognised the man instantly -- it was the same
balding, middle-aged man who had kicked him out of his house just
because he wasn't exactly the Charlie Chaplin of party clowns.

"Uuh..." Dave looked around, evidently confused. "Okay. Um, maybe you'd
like to speak to my editor about things, then? I mean, it's her job
to, y'know, edit things, yeah?"

"Yeah!" Pos agreed violently. "Show me to your mistress! Where is she,
the no-good, useless, stupid, not-grammar-using stupid stupidy stupid-

Dave pointed shakily in the direction of a small office on the other
side of the room. Pos followed his finger, and began marching towards
the office. "Right. Oi! Editor lady person! I am the Possum-Man, and
I'd like to have a word with you!"

As Possum-Man approached, the door opened, and a willowy figure
stepped out. Her long hair was tied into a professional bun and a pair
of glasses framed her intelligent, calculating eyes. Pos' jaw dropped.


Pos' jaw dropped again.

"We reached the end of an issue without introducing a new villain or
having a ludicrously clichéd fight scene?!"

Suddenly, the window on the other side of the office shattered inwards
as a white blur zoomed through the office. It landed next to Monica,
and the blur became a man.

Pos' jaw dropped again again.

He took in the sight of the costumed man; white, from head to toe. His
outfit was like a deranged mirror of Sticks' own; where Possum-Man was
grey and golden-brown, this new combatant was white and silver. The
man even had a furry vest to cover him, as well as wrist and shin pads
made out of a similar material.

"Wrist pads," Possum-Man muttered, "why didn't I think of that? At
least I have cargo pants. You just look silly."

"Funny, that," the man replied in a gravely voice. He parted his
hands, and brought them together with an almighty smack. Much
almightier than your average almighty smack, mind you. This almighty
smack resulted in something not entirely unlike a sonic boom.

Pos, Dave, and a number of other employees, inanimate objects and
interchangeable plot devices were thrown backwards. The Possum-Man
heaved himself off of the ground as the man continued, "You just look

Possum-Man ran at the white-clad villain, but before he could get
within five metres, the man grabbed Monica and jumped. The ceiling
blew outwards like a giant soggy piece of confetti covering the main
turbolaser of the Death Star, and they were gone. Pos stared at
disbelief at the hole and, realising that it was an appropriate
moment, allowed his jaw to drop.

"Crikey," was his sole comment.

The civilians began to pick themselves up and examine the net.hero
closely. Pos, oblivious to their stares, continued to study the hole.
"He'd wanna have a bleedin' thick skull to withstand that sort of
impact," he murmured. "Furthermore, I hope you folks have some really
decent insurance on this place. Seriously, that ain't no hole that's
gunna fix itself, ya dig?"

"B-but," Dave spluttered, "but what about Miss Jade?"

"Who? ...oh, Monica, right. Yeah." Possum-Man scratched his chin
thoughtfully, and looked off into the distance as though he was in
deep contemplation. "Well, it occurs to me that if she's still 'Miss
Jade', that means that she's not married yet, right?"


Pos grinned cockily. "Sweet as."

"But, Possum-Man! Aren't you going to save her?"

"From what?"

"That massive man in the white costume!"

"Wait, wait... what? I thought he was like, her date for the evening!"
Possum-Man scratched his head confusedly. "I thought that he was just
angry that I was mackin' on his lady and insulting his fashion sense!"

Dave blinked. "Are you serious?"

"Of course! Why else would he have grabbed her before he jumped... out...
the roof... uh, do we have a hostage situation here? We have a hostage
situation here. Right. Well." Possum-Man began pacing around the room.
"You're all reporters, aren't you? Report! Where could he have gone?"

"I don't believe this!" one of the reporters cried out. "Possum-Man,
in the midst of this dire emergency, is attempting to teach us and
train us and thuswise make us better members of society!"

"What a great guy!" another agreed.

"Yes," Pos slowly drawled, "yes, that's exactly what I'm doing. So,
where do you think that he could have gone?"

"This might help, Possum-Man!" one journalist enthused, waving a small
white card in the air. Pos grabbed it, and read:

has been KIDNAPPED by
Quality kidnappings at LOW LOW PRICES!

"The White Boomer, eh?" Possum-Man mused. "Where did you get this

"The guy left it here when he fled the scene! There's also a phone
number on the back, sir!"

"Excellent skills of deductology!" the net.hero applauded as he turned
the card over. "Ah. A local number, I see!"

"We can contact Telst.rec - they'll be able to track down whose number
that is!" another journalist suggested, referring to the nation-wide
phone service.

"Excellent, excellent! Just what I was thinking!" Possum-Man bluffed.
"Yes. Telst.rec. Let's go then, eh?"

----=== {PM} ===----

Half of an hour later, Possum-Man, Dave, and a half a dozen other
journalists arrived in their own respective vehicles at the local
Telst.rec building. Pos, grinning charismatically, lead the way inside
as reporters and photographers eagerly followed, recording everything
in their wake.

Possum-Man swaggered up to the reception counter, and flung his cape
out for dramatic effect as he leaned on the desk. He met eyes with the
young receptionist, and greeted her with a charming, "G'day."

The young woman blinked. "Uh. Hi."

"I don't suppose you'd be able to identify the owner of this number,
would you?" Pos held out the number, and leant in close to the woman.
Whispering conspiratorially, he added, "It's, uh... net.hero stuff.
Nothing to worry about, I assure you."

"Actually, I can't divulge this information to you," the pretty blonde
replied at an equal volume. "Privacy policy. Gets in the way of
everything, doesn't it?" The girl eyed Possum-Man's mask with an air
of detached interest.

Underneath his goggled mask, Sticks blinked. Privacy policy? "Isn't
there anything I can do to get you to give me some contact details
other than the phone number?"

She shook her head. "Not unless you're a policeman, Mr. Furry. Are you
a policeman?"

Possum-Man paused. "Give me two shakes of a possums tail, lady. I'll
be right back." Turning back to his excited followers, who eagerly
anticipated the outcome of the hushed conversation, he declared, "I've
got the address!"

The reporters cheered.

"But this is where our journey must end," he lamented, "for I must now
brave dangers that are... dangerous. And I cannot take you with me, for
to do so would place you in grave, uh, danger. So... yeah. Sorry 'bout
that, guys."

The reporters moaned and kicked the ground sulkily.

"Hey, come on, guys. Play time's over, go home."

"But Possum-Man, we want to stay with you!" "We want to fight
alongside you!" "Brave, brave Possum-Man!"

Pos held up his hands to calm the audience. "People, please. Where I
walk, I must walk alone."

The journalists recorded his every word, and photographers snapped
away at his styrofoam-muscled bod. Sure, they didn't know that it was
styrofoam, but they snapped away nonetheless. Eventually, the crowd
began to thin out until only Possum-Man, the receptionist, and Dave
were left.

Dave gave Possum-Man a dirty look. "I know you don't have that
address, 'Possum-Man'. I don't know what you're up to, or what you
plan to do about Miss Jade's disappearance... but _I'm_ going to get to
the bottom of it! And y'know something else? I'm going to get to the
bottom of _you_!"

Possum-Man regarded the older man with a distinct air of distaste.
"Run along, Dave Sawley. Go back to little Deano. I have work to do."

Dave's eyes widened, and his face flushed red with anger. His face
contorted into a mask resembling a grumpy geography teacher, and
turned and stomped out. When Pos was sure that he was gone, he whipped
out his yet-to-be-patented possumaphone. "Yo, Hank? Yeah, it's Pos.
Listen. How do you feel like aiding the cause of the justice and
whatnot, eh?"

An hour later, Hank was walking through the door.

Pos and the receptionist (who he had now gotten to know quite well)
looked up, and the net.hero greeted his partner with a welcoming
welcome. "Welcome! So, Hank, I don't suppose you could let my lovely
blonde friend here give me access to the Telst.rec archives? I need to
look up this number."

The Possum-Man held out the number to Hank, who glanced at it
casually. "Oh. Well, what do you want to know about it?"

"I need an address and a name."

"I can give you those right now," Hank offered. He handed the phone
number back to Possum-Man. "You've already got both."

"Really?" Pos frowned. "Whose number is it?"

Hank's usually cheery face carried a resigned, weary expression. A
defeated face on a man who had fought hard to, y'know, do stuff. Good
stuff. And then his reply struck a similar blow to Sticks; "Duck

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