LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #28.5 (repost)

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 10 17:56:11 PDT 2008

[LNH] Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #28.5 (repost)
Repost note: The original post of this story was cut off at about 
mid way when it appeared on usenet and Google groups, but came 
through in whole on the mailing list and in the Eyrie archives 
For the benefit of those who only use Google, here is the concluding
half of the story, picking up at the most recent scene break.  There
is about six paragraphs worth of overlap of text:
 [] egion of              
 []__ [] []   []  []      
 [___][ \[]et.[]__[]eroes       'Funky Monkeys' part 2
      []\ ]   [ __ ]      
      [] []   []  []      
     The Hyphenated Eaters Corps quickly dressed in their costumes. 
Their new costumes, that is.  They may have looked exactly like their 
previous, home made ones, but the costumes that they had been issued by 
the Legion were made of metastable weave.
     Okay, pause there for a moment and I'll explain metastable weave. 
Yes, it's like fabric made of unstable molecules, except that amateur 
fiction writers won't gets their butts sued off by Marvel Comics if they 
talk about metastable weave.  But like unstable molecules, clothing made 
of metastable weave adapts to peoples' superpowers, can be programmed 
to transform from civvies to costume when you need an instantaneous 
quick change, is insulated, hard wearing, and when it *does* get damaged 
in a fight will never be totally destroyed but instead will shred and 
tatter in just such a way as to preserve modesty.  Unless it's an 
Acraphobe rated story, in which case the reader gets to see the 
character's naughty bits.
     Best of all, a costume of metastable weave makes you *look* like an 
iconic superhero.  Alex Ross may do some absolutely gorgeous 
photorealism paintings of superheroes, but his figures are all wearing 
clothes that wrinkle and bunch up so that they look like physically fit 
adults who have been nagged by their kids into dressing up for 
Halloween.  Metastable weave doesn't do that.  Metastable weave clings 
to the body in just the right places, highlighting musculature while at 
the same time covering over the vicious scars accumulated through years 
of hand-to-hand combat with the forces of evil.  People who wear 
metastable weave *look* larger than life, and at least as far as their 
clothing is concerned are always photogenic.
     In any case, in an amazingly short time span Fuzzy found the Corps 
back in action and taking over the cheesecake preparation, freeing her 
up for sentry duty again.  She threw a look over her shoulder as she 
left the kitchen.  She had to admit that Cheesecake-Eater Lad had the 
teenagers well in hand.  It made her feel a little bit less guilty about 
they way she had palmed them off on him when they had first turned up... 
Had it really been less than a week ago?
     She shook her head ruefully, then pushed the whole thing out of her 
mind.  Guard duty in the middle of an enemy occupied building was 
not the time to be dwelling on that sort of thing.  Then she got a 
telepathic message that almost scared the crap out of her.
     =( Hey, Fuzzy.  Incoming. )
     She had already grabbed her gun before she consciously registered 
that the tone was friendly.  She didn't immediately recognise the 'voice' 
however, and thought a stern and wary challenge of, .oO( Who's there? )
     =( Psionic Lad, and I've collected Outfielder Boy.  I'm glad we've 
found you.  I was beginning to wonder if anyone else was free.  We're on 
our way to your location, so don't go anywhere. )
     As if that was likely, thought Fuzzy.  She poked her head back into 
the kitchen to warn the others, and the two newcomers had arrived by the 
time she had finished passing on the message.
     "I'm glad we found you all," Psionic Lad repeated.  "Listen, I've 
done some poking about, and I think I know what Krodd's planning."
     "Well obviously his next move will be to extend his mind control," 
said Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass, who was the smartest of the 
Hyphenated Eaters Corps, but also the prickliest because of her lack of 
patience with those slower than herself.  "Which implies that the thing 
he's having built relates to that."
     "Unless it's a distraction for his real plan," offered Pasta-Eater 
Lad cheerfully, not bothering to look up from the food preparation he 
was involved in.
     "It's the former," said Psionic Lad.  "That giant metal frame is 
going to be a psychic broadcaster aerial that he can blanket the whole 
world with his mental commands.  See, from what I can figure out it's 
like this.  When Krodd first got his psi powers he was surprised by the 
fact that not everyone was automatically susceptible to them.  So he's 
had a system set up that lets him gather more power from the minds he's 
already dominated.  Taking out the Legion was strategically sound as 
well as a act of revenge, but we're going to have to stop him before he 
implements his next phase of attack and grows stronger still.  We," and 
here Psionic Lad indicated everybody present in the kitchen, "may not 
be able to withstand his control if he increases his power up another 
level of magnitude."
     "Cheesecake-Eater Lad," ventured Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass. 
"The first batch of chocolate fudge is almost ready, but if Krodd 
carries out his plan any time soon we may need to start preparing the 
hollandaise sauce ripple instead."
     Psionic Lad looked confused.  "Hollandaise sauce?"
     "We've got different flavours of cheesecake that are good for 
protecting against different strengths of mind control," said Cheesecake-
Easter Lad  distractedly as he considered the problem.  "How soon is he 
likely to start use the broadcasting web?"
     Psionic Lad shrugged.  "Any time within the next few hours, I guess."
     "Okay then.  Pasta-Eater Lad, Pop-Tart-Eater Lass, you finish 
making that chocolate fudge cheesecake," Cheescake-Eater Lad ordered. 
"The rest of you start on the hollandaise sauce ripple straight away." 
He looked at Fuzzy and Psionic Lad.  "We're going to need to find a way 
to spray this over as many LNHers as quickly as possible."
     "A pity almost everybody is outside," said Fuzzy thoughtfully. 
"There's an obvious way to do it indoors."
     Just under an hour later Outfielder Boy and Open-Faced-Club-Sandwich-
Eater Lad were making a few final adjustments to the pipes in the plant 
room.  "Okay, that's got it, I think," said Outfielder Boy as he used a 
wrench to tighten the final connection.
     "You think?"
     "Dude, I honestly doubt if the sprinkler system was designed to 
distribute cheesecake through the building.  It'll pump the stuff in," 
he said, gesturing to the vat of cheesecake they had just connected up, 
"but I have no idea if it'll flow through the pipes."
     Open-Faced-Club-Sandwich-Eater Lad looked pensive.  "Well, it's the 
hollandaise sauce ripple fudge," he said.  "It's been watered down to 
the consistency that it should flow through the pipes, but still be 
strong enough to wake up people who are under mind control."  He checked 
the connections again.  "How did you manage to resist Krodd's control, 
by the way?  Special mental training?"
     "Me?  Jeez no, I wasn't able to.  I had to have outside help."
     "Oh," went OFCS-ELad, still somewhat distracted and making the 
assumption that he'd had assistance from Psionic Lad.  "I guess that's 
it then.  You can tell the others that we're..." and then he was cut 
off as he was suddenly smothered in wrapping paper.  .oO( Aw fsck!  Not 
again, ) he fumed.
     Outfielder Boy looked up to see Gift-Wrapping Granny in her bloomers 
at the door.  Now, he was essentially a good hearted kid, so his main 
reaction was, .oO( Oh no!  Another enslaved Legionnaire! )  But he was 
also shallow enough in certain areas that he also thought, .oO( Ew!  Ew! 
Ew!  Naked wrinkly old person flesh!  Ew! )
     =( Are you okay? )= asked Psionic Lad, who had picked up that last bit.
     =( Small problem.  Taking care of it now, )= Outfielder Boy thought 
back.  He jumped to one side as she tried to blast him with her eye 
beams, grabbed some of the cheesecake that they had on hand for just 
such an emergency, and thwacked her in the face with it.
     Gift-Wrapping Granny blinked, scraped off some of the cheescake with 
her finger, licked it and said, "Hmm.  Hollandaise sauce."
     =( Well done, )= observed Psionic Lad.
     =( Thanks, )= Outfielder Boy replied, then telepathically passed on 
the information that they were set up as he started tearing off the 
paper from OFCS-ELad.
     Psionic Lad himself was concealed near the foyer of the building 
with some equipment that he and Pop-Tart-Eater Lass had snuck out from 
the kitchen.  He had been a bit worried about Outfielder Boy and 
Open-Faced-Club-Sandwich-Eater Lad, since of the three teams sent to 
make arrangements to spray cheesecake in and around the LNH-HQ theirs 
had been the only one without the ability to render themselves 
undetectable to some extent.  The internal sprinklers had simply been a 
lower priority because, as noted, almost everybody was outside.  However, 
the boys seemed to have things in hand.
     "Look," stage whispered Pop-Tart-Eater Lass, although there was no 
need to keep their voices down.  The mental 'don't notice us' that 
Psionic Lad was sending out would cover anything up to normal speaking 
tones.  Psionic Lad looked where she was indicating, then sent a second 
heads up back to the boys in the plant room and to Fuzzy and Cheesecake-
Eater Lad's team on the roof: =( Krodd's coming with the Furry Fruit 
Flavours.  Get ready, he may be about to start! )
     .oO( Firing up the pumps, ) Fuzzy replied.
     Super-gorilla Krodd knuckled out the front door with his entourage 
of minions.  He looked up with pride at the completed giant neural 
webwork.  It was magnificent.  And now he was ready to begin the next 
phase of his plans.
     However, just as he was about to give the orders to Cherry Red 
Chimp, there was the distant sound of a pump, and a shower of something 
soft and semi-liquid and smelling alternately of chocolate and 
hollandaise sauce began to fall from somewhere above the building.  At 
the same time the sprinkler system went off and showered runny 
cheesecake throughout the LNH-HQ (which you just *know* is going to 
stain the carpets something dreadful).
     Krodd gave the order, "Go and find out what's happening," but got 
no further because Psionic Lad and Pop-Tart-Eater Lass came out of 
hiding and started using a firehose to spray cheesecake over those 
enthralled Legionnaires who were present at the front of the building. 
To Krodd's momentary bemusement they didn't even aim at him or the Furry 
Fruit Flavours, instead spraying upwards and outwards to sprinkle as 
wide an area as possible.  What possible use could that be?
     Almost immediately Psionic Lad began broadcasting, =( Legion alert! 
We have mind controlling villains on the premises!  Disable the antenna 
web and then fight the villains at the front entrance! )=   At which 
point hundreds of Legionnaires either started to converge at the front 
of the LNH-HQ or use their powers to tear apart or melt or disintegrate 
the giant metal scaffolding. 
     Bananey Yellow Bonobo zoomed forward and tore apart the pump that 
Psionic Lad and Pop-Tart-Eater Lass were using - but he was far too 
late to stop his team's reversal of fortunes.  And anyway, he almost 
immediately had to fend off the attention of Kid Quickclick (who was 
back for a rematch) as well as several other Legionnaires.  Psionic Lad 
turned his attention to Krodd and began to mentally battle against 
the super-gorilla.  The ape's power was much diminished, but still 
considerable thanks to the number of non-net.heroes he still had under 
his control who were out in the streets surrounding the LNH-HQ and 
therefore too far away to be covered in the spray of cheesecake.
     You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad leapt forward to confront 
Grapety Purple Gorilla.  Yay!  Another opportunity for fan-pleasing 
frivolous fisticuffs!  Grapety Purple Gorilla just sighed, then dropped 
and rolled onto his back and grabbed the overenthusiastic net.hero as he 
came within grappling range, using the LNHer's own momentum to catapult 
him across the street.
     The Legionnaire went -CRASH!!!- into a wall, the rose up looking 
mightily peeved.  "No, you villain!  You're supposed to *fight* me!" 
     Grapety Purple Gorilla continued to look at him with a hangdog 
expression and didn't bother to disagree with him.  Actually, it was 
GPG's job to *defeat* him, but if the net.hero failed to realise what 
rules the game was being played to, well that was to the ape's advantage 
wasn't it?  Was there anything in the bag of tricks that Cherry Red 
Chimpanzee had prepared?  Hmmm...
     Grapety Purple Gorilla took a deep breath and held it, threw a 
grenade and watched YNHMHELad take a face full of superfast acting 
sleeping gas, causing him to fall unconscious (but not without some 
dramatic thrashing about first).  Grapety Purple Gorilla poked him once 
with a big meaty finger to make sure he was insensate, then looked up to 
see what else was happening.  Well, obviously nothing good for his team, 
as the Furry Fruit Flavours were surrounded by hundreds of angry 
net.heroes in cheesecake stained underwear.
     Berry Blue Baboon was trying to use his ice blasts but was being 
overwhelmed by the combined efforts of Captain Napalm and Invisible 
Incendiary.  Similarly Apricoty Orange Orangutan was slowly being forced 
back by Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any-Beige-Midnight Story and CAPTAIN 
     Limey Green Lemur had been worked into a frothing rage by Frat Boy. 
It seemed that the lemur's faux-British reserve made him particularly 
susceptible to Frat Boy's power to make people rant about the antics 
of irresponsible young people.  "Frink!" the lemur blustered about 
philistines who drank beer rather than tea - and *cold* beer at that! 
Then Writers Block Woman grabbed the lemur's pith helmet and clubbed him 
with it.  "Revenge," she declared, "is mine!"
     Out of all this Cherry Red Chimpanzee seemed to be doing the best. 
She used a displacement device to make herself slightly out of phase 
with where she appeared to be.  Then, once that bit of personal protection 
was in place, she went to town, gleefully jetting around the field of 
combat and attacking Legionnaires left-right-and-centre with an arsenal 
of toys.  A number of net.heroes were brought down when she stuck little 
devices onto them which nullified the heroes' invulnerability to their 
own powers.  An antigravity ray made people begin to float away, meaning 
that other net.heroes with flight had to divert their efforts in order 
to rescue them.  And a vertigo inducer had any number of LNHers reeling 
and falling to their knees.
     Cherry Red was just about to throw out a bag's worth of totally 
frictionless marbles into the path of Kid Quickclick when her jetpack 
cut out.  And her backups (including a gravity sheath parachute) didn't 
work either.  The ape fell and landed at the feet of a female LNHer 
wearing a bomber jacket.  "That's just about enough of that," said 
Glitch Girl and then gave Cherry Red Chimp a solid right hook punch to 
the jaw.  Cherry Red went down unconscious, and Glitch Girl relaxed the 
concentration that she had been focusing to make the chimpanzee's 
technology fail.  She also massaged her smarting knuckles.  "So worth 
it," she said with satisfaction.
     Psionic Lad was finding it hard going trying to overcome Krodd and 
decided to call in some specialised assistance.  =( WikiBoy, I need your 
help over here, )= he called telepathically.  WikiBoy, the Legionnaire 
Anyone Can Edit, made a field combat dash up to him.  "Hi.  What do 
you need?"
     "I need you to be a power booster," said Psionic Lad.  Immediately 
he felt an increase in his own mental powers.  Unfortunately Krodd felt 
the increase in power too and upscaled his response to match Psionic 
Lad's attack.  "I mean, you are a touch contact power booster only," 
Psionic Lad hastily amended, and placed his hand on WikiBoy's shoulder. 
Instantly the power balance shifted, and Psionic Lad made quick work of 
the gorilla.
     The fight quickly became a rout, and all too soon there was nothing 
left of it but the Red Herring skipping about in mid air doing a mocking 
dance and going, "Ooo yeah!  Ooo yeah!  Who owns the fight scene now?"
     Nothing left of it?  Er, no.  Not quite.  The neural webwork was 
done in, and the simian villains were captured and piled (some of them 
unconscious, some of them not) in an ungainly heap, but there was 
something the net.heroes were forgetting.
     "Mommy, why aren't they wearing clothes?"
     The LNHers stopped dead in their tracks.  Some of them turned to 
face the child who had spoken.  GAK!  They were all in their underwear! 
As the child blinked his eyes (and sucked his thumb), the Legionnaires 
all ran (or flew, or teleported) inside, leaving only those few 
individuals who were already dressed or didn't wear clothing in the 
first place.
     "Kiwi," said a voice in a 'nothing to see here, move along' tone.
     Rolling her eyes at the latest LNH antics, the mother pulled her 
child on their way.
Epilogue 1:
     Later that afternoon Gift-Wrapping Granny returned to the Legion's 
headquarters after going home for a shower and change of clothes.  She 
encountered Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, who had changed his clothes but 
still had cheesecake dried into his hair.  "Haven't had the opportunity 
to wash up yet?" she asked, not without sympathy.
     He rolled his eyes in self deprecating amusement.  "'Fraid not.  I 
picked one of the high numbers on the shower queue."
     She hesitated, then said.  "I wanted to ask you something.  If 
you don't mind."
     "Sure, go ahead."
     "Organic Lass prescribed a course of Urple Ray treatments to 
improve my vision.  They're working quite well.  But the Urple Ray 
is supposed to be capricious, and some of the people I asked mentioned 
that you hadn't had much luck with it."
     He nodded.  "That's right.  I'm HIV positive, and the Urple Ray 
hasn't done anything to cure that, or even do much to keep it in 
remission that prescription medication wasn't doing already."
     "Oh," she said, momentarily flummoxed.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't 
realise it wasn't..."
     "An injury gained in battle?"  He shrugged.  "Well, technically it 
is, but that's neither here nor there.  The thing is, when it works the 
Urple Ray can heal almost anything, far beyond the scope of normal 
medical science - but like all .thingie technology it runs on drama, and 
means that sometimes it doesn't work for any explicable reason."
     That was an oversimplification of course, since .thingy technology 
- when it failed - usually did so for story related reasons of dramatic 
     "Anyway, the bottom line is that even with super science, there 
doesn't seem to be a universal panacea.  Just like with Krodd and his 
attempts to create the ultimate mind control power, you either reach 
the point of dimishing returns or find some other sort of drawback."
Epilogue 2:
     Nick (alias Outfielder Boy) was dressed in civvies as he walked 
through the city.  He was focusing his attention on trying to find this 
Xil kid, and while he was making progress with that task it was taking 
up a lot of his concentration.  After he almost walked into a wall he 
had taken to pausing every block or so to locate his target, then walking 
a block or so, then pausing again.  Eventually he found the teenager he 
was looking for.
     Xil looked up and saw Nick.  He stared at him in panic, with the 
thoughts .oO( Oh my god, he's come for me! ) blazing in his mind, and 
which if Nick had been able to see would have probably found endearing. 
     "Hey there," said the net.hero.  "I wanted to return this to you," 
he said, handing back the psi-screen, "and say thanks for the loan of 
it.  It really came in useful.  Against Krodd, I mean."
     "Uhm.  Okay.  I'm glad about that."
     "I'm Nick, by the way.  And you're Xil, right?"
     "Jamie Xil," the Qwarst corrected with his cover name.  Nick could 
see the boy suddenly become skittish again, and went, "Right, right, 
sorry.  My mistake.  Uhm."
     "Was there anything else?"
     "Uh, I thought maybe we could talk.  You know.  About stuff."
     Xil looked undecided for a second, then smiled and said, "Yeah, 
sure.  That'd be great."
     Later they ended up sharing a pizza for dinner before catching a movie.
Character Credits:
This issue of LNHv2 starred:
  Cheesecake-Eater Lad created by Matthew Jotham Millheiser.
  Fuzzy created by Connie Hirsh.
  Hyphenated Eaters Corps created by Mike Friedman.
  Psionic Lad created by Carolyn Vaughan.
  Krodd and the Furry Fruit Flavours, and Outfielder Boy created by 
Saxon Brenton.

And also featured:
  Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Gift-Wrapping Granny created by Saxon 
  Bad-Timing Boy created by Vernon Harmon.
  CAPTAIN CAPITALIZE created by wReam (Ray Bingham).
  Captain Napalm created by [unknown].
  Glitch Girl created by Marie Antoon.
  Frat Boy created by uplink (John Scheibeler).
  Invisible Incendiary created by Steve Hutchison.
  Kid Quickclick created by Ben Rawluk.
  Kid-Not-Appearing-In-Any-Beige-Midnight-Story created by Matt Rossi.
  Kiwis created by Ian Porrell.
  Red Herring created by Kieran O'Callaghan.
  WikiBoy created by Tom Russell.
  Writers Block Woman created by Jaelle (Jessica Ihimaera-Smiler).
  You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad created by Arthur Spitzer.
Author's notes:
     Let's talk about mind control as a plot device.  Considering how  
annoying it is when it's over used (and here we have to point the finger 
at Chris Claremont's near-fetish with it) I feel a bit guilty about using 
it twice in rapid succession - first in 'Attack Of The vampire Cows' in 
#24 and again in #27-28.  Still, #24 was a Ripping Dancer story designed 
to showcase her versatility.  When she was introduced in _LNHv2_ #14 she 
boasted that she could rip through anything, and I decided to take her 
at her word and it was necessary to show her ripping through mental 
enslavements as well as physical objects and the fabric of space-time.  By 
contrast Krodd's mind control was used solely because it was a quick way 
for me to set up the 'One nation, undies visible, under Krodd' joke.  It 
was lazy of me, and I admit it.
     That said, there *is* a useful story point to Krodd's antics, which 
is to show that Legionnaires are aware of the problem and are working to 
counter it.  Whether or not they actually succeed is beside the point. 
Mind control is a relatively popular story element - even if it tends to 
be used as a plot device to take out a large number of characters and 
generate dramatic tension.  In any case different types of mind 
controlling techniques will trump or be trumped by different types of 
mental defences, depending on the power and quality of the technology, 
psionics, miracles, magic, or baked goods involved.
     Another roster entry.  It seems that Fuzzy's entry hasn't been 
updated since the original, uber brief version originally posted to 
usenet back in the 1990s.  *Obviously* she needs an extended update 
suitable for inclusion on the web.
NAME: Fuzzy 
  TYPE: Public Domain.  
  CREATED BY: Connie Hirsch.
  POWERS: "Vagueness and ambiguity that confound my enemies."  Has an 
    Ambiguity Field of variable area and intensity which can be used 
    for a range of confusion causing effects.  Carries a handgun.
  ADD NOTES: Spent some time as male prior to the first _Flame Wars_ 
    because of confusion among the Writers. 
    Has brown hair, although this usually isn't apparent. 
  PERSONALITY:  Originally given to confusing people with vague or 
    contradictory statements.  Started speaking more plainly during her 
    angry-with-newbies phase.  Has grown into a tough and competent crime 
    fighter, but now tends to be the straight woman to a lot of the 
    Legion's silliness.  As Arthur Spitzer once noted: "A happy well-
    adjusted Fuzzy who gets along with people is a boring Fuzzy." 
    Developed a resentment of the new characters that Writers were 
    introducing into the Legion (_Pliable Lad_ #30), eventually blocking 
    the LNH membership application of Green Cheeezarr (_C.H.E.E.E.Z. 
    Corps_ #17) and fighting Writers Block Woman (_Writers-Block Woman 
    (and Mouse)_ #17) before being assigned by Ultimate Ninja to mentor 
    the Misfits (_Misfits_ #3).  Has since dealt with her anger issues 
    and so was unaffected by the hated inciting One-Man-Abusive Reaction 
    (_Flame Wars 4_ #3).
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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