LNH/NTB: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #25
saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 24 19:38:19 PST 2008
[LNH/NTB] Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #25
This issue of:
 egion of
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[___][ \et.__eroes Volume 2 #25
\ ] [ __ ]
   
has been hijacked to present one of the
'Idiot Plot: It Was Worth It'
written by and copyright 2008 Saxon Brenton
Mr Anthony Nicolls bounded down the steps of the Net.ropolis
Supreme Court with a huge grin on his face. He felt almost giddy
with excitement as he skipped out from under the eves and into the
sunlight (startling a flock of pigeons into flight) and down to meet
the waiting news media and paparazzi. His lawyer, Duncan Trelth,
trailed behind him with considerably more decorum and quite a bit of
confusion. After all, the settlement case had gone against Nicolls.
Gone against him very badly, in fact.
The press' questions rose like the babble of magpies:
"What's your reaction to today's ruling...?"
"Anything to say to your wife...?"
"Will you be lodging an appeal...?"
Nicolls ignored them. "Hello reptiles of the press!" he declared
with that same beaming smile. "I'm glad you're all here today. I've
got a statement to make, and afterwards... I guarantee I won't be
taking any questions." It was a comment that elicited a ripple of
"For those of you who haven't heard the details yet, half an hour
ago Mr Justice Harahan awarded custody of my children and control of
my wife's estate to her sister." He beamed. "I dispute this ruling.
I dispute it most strenuously.
"But that's not the reason I'm so glad to see you all here today.
I wanted to tell you all to your faces that this is all you fault.
You were the ones who hounded myself, my wife and our family for your
petty media coverage. Her stress and drug problems were created by
the pressure that you jackals behaving irresponsibly. And now it's
time to pay."
The crowd perked up at this, while paradoxically most of them were
also mentally switching off. Hysterical rants were always good for
coverage, although not quite as visual as fistfights breaking out, of
course. But trying to follow it on the off-chance there was a line of
argument hidden there somewhere was the job of whoever was editing
the sound bite. Just shoot the purty pictures. A few of the more
intelligent crowd members shifted their stances warily, just in case
Nicolls pulled a gun and started shooting people, but instead Nicolls
held up a photograph.
"This is a picture of Dan Cooper, who's an excellent example of
everything bad about 'paparazzi'. Is Mr Cooper here today?"
There was a small commotion in the crowd as some of the other
photographers and camera crews standing next to Cooper gave him some
good natured ribbing.
"An absolute shit of a man," summarised Nicolls in the same
smiling manner that a TV show host would smarmily introduce a
contestant. "Devoid of any sort of morality, and who wouldn't even
know how to spell 'journalistic ethics', let alone be able to tell
you what they meant."
"Yeah, yeah, screw you," said Cooper in a undertone as he kept
snapping pictures. Cooper was going to get paid for these snaps, while
at the rate Nicolls was going all he'd be getting out of this would
probably be more costs from a bunch of defamation cases.
"This photograph," continued Nicolls grandly, "has been treated
to be a voodoo fetish. Not just for Mr Cooper, but for all paparazzi
within two miles of it."
Nicolls smiled. "And that's why I'm so glad that you're all here,
within range," he said as he ripped the photograph in half. He was
still smiling as the blood and gore of the nearest of dismembered
bodies splattered across him and the screams started. Oh the
wonderful, wonderful screams.
Just under a year later it was another lawyer, Maxwell Stimns,
who was accompanying Mr Anthony Nicolls. Also with then were two
prison guards. They were making the comparatively short walk to the
execution chamber where the laser death ray was set up. (Four colour
comic book universes have access to ways of executing people that are
far more efficient, quick and humane than mere lethal injection or use
of electric chairs.)
Stimns was... professionally irritated. Not about losing the case.
That was a risk of the job. Rather, after following Nicolls' stated
preference to plead 'Not Guilty' to over seven hundred counts of
murder, Nicolls had made no attempt to put any spin on the facts of his
case. It was subtle, but he suspected that his client had wanted
something like a forum to show off how clever he was. Except that
wasn't quite it either.
"That was idiotic," repeated Stimns. "If you were really so set
on killing someone and could do it from a distance, you shouldn't have
advertised the fact in broad daylight. And if had to do it in the open,
then you should have gone for an insanity plea."
Anthony Nicolls shrugged, seemingly indifferent. "Maybe. I don't
care. It was worth it."
Everybody here is a throwaway characters created by me for this story.
Back in late January 2008 Tom Russell issued another one of his
creative writing challenges: to write a story predicated on a type of
Idiot Plot, where the protagonist(s) behave in a foolish manner but
win through to get a happy ending. Various examples of how this could
be handled were discussed. My suggestions tended to involve people
who were not themselves idiots, but were deliberately acting that way
as a means to an end - and possibly for metatextual reasons.
This vignette isn't quite pitched at that level, but nevertheless
runs the outer edge of the story criteria.
I decided to present it as a Net.Trenchcoat Brigade story because
of the three imprints that typically appear in the Looniverse - LNH,
NTB, and OSD - the weird tales format of the NTB could most easily be
stretched to include an EC Comics style horror story. It's more
about mood than which characters (don't) appear. (Although come
to think of it the morality tale/revenge fantasies of the Order of
St Doomas could have made a plausible claim under only slightly
It also occurs to me that with only a slight change in focus by
adding follow-up reactions from the public, this could have been
presented as one of my Intermezzo stories that tie-in, thematically at
least, with Beige Countdown. Look at it this way, in a world like the
Looniverse which encompasses both the four colour superheroics of the
LNH and the weird tales antics of the NTB, events like the above story
are bound to happen from time to time. The public will be rightly
horrified and demand action to stop this sort of thing, just as with
the STUFF.org disaster in _58.5_.
And in a setting operating in horror mode this will do absolutely
no good whatsoever, because the forces involved -- whether they are
literal occult forces like demons from Hell, or merely the universe
being actively out to get you as per Sod's Law -- are outside of any
government's ability to control.
However, on the up side, while the Net.ahuman Registration Act
might not be able to stop something like this, it would mean that
there's an agency with a large number of net.ahuman operatives to act
as disaster relief afterwards. Kind of like the way that FEMA of the
ASH universe is a top-notch rapid response group.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
"These 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex
world of jet-powered apes and time-travel." - Superman, JLA Classified #3
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