LNH: Possum-Man: Relinquished #5: Lady of the Manor

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Sat Mar 8 03:08:43 PST 2008


It's been weeks since STICKS TARQCHEVSKISON's apartment was ruined
after a fight with the infamous GREEN-ON-BLACK which revolved around
Sticks' flatmate, STONES. As the moderately courageous POSSUM-MAN,
Sticks was able to best Green-on-Black, as well as his net.villain
companions THE WHITE BOOMER and DUCK McMUCK. Working alongside police
officer HANK, Pos apprehended the criminals and saved his friends
lives, including the life of MONICA JADE, his ex-girlfriend who had
just returned from Ame.rec.a.

We now return to the story as Sticks, a party-clown-for-hire by day,
attends and performs at Monica's housewarming party...

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

_____         ___  ____
\  _ \        \  \ \  /
 ||_||         ||\\ ||
 | _/          || \\||  O
 ||   OSSUM-MA ||  \ |  O
/__\          /__\  \|

 An ongoing        5
    LNH SERIES     5555
         by            5

-{ Lady of the Manor }-

The cover shows the silhouette of Possum-Man kneeling and bowing his
head before a lady sitting on a throne. The background is a grey stone
wall covered in a banner split into three colours; black, green, and
white. The left-most third of Green-on-Black's face is on the black
section, the middle-most third of Duck McMuck's face on the green, and
the right-most third of the White Boomer's face on the white. The
banner is being held by a feminine hand.
The word 'sssh' is written near the bottom of the page, accompanied by
a lipstick kiss.

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

"And for my next trick," Sticks declared as he emphasised the
placement of his hands on his hips, "I shall need two volunteers! Any

The crowd looked around expectantly.

"Come on, guys, I need two volunteers!"

"You know, Sticks," Stones said in a mock-sympathetic tone, "that
there are only two people in the audience, don't you? You realise
that, right?"

Monica laughed as Sticks drew his lips tightly together. "Yes," he
conceded. "But apparently no volunteers!"

"We've both already volunteered for a billion of your tricks already!"
Stones playfully argued.

Sticks sniffed melodramatically. "Fine then -- if you don't want my
tricks and shows and wonderfulness, fine! See if I care! I'll show
myself out, then, shall I?"

"I'll volunteer, I'll volunteer for one more," Monica laughed as she
jumped out of her seat, clapping her hands together.

"Goodo! One more, that's all we need. One more volunteer!" Sticks sent
a deliberate glare to Stones.

Stones looked around as if purposefully ignoring him. "Oh, me? Don't
look at me, I'm not going up there again. I steadfastly refuse!"

"Steadfastly, eh? That's a big word for you."


"Prove me wrong."

"How's this for a big word; you _stink_!"

All three present laughed, but said laughter was cut short when
Sticks' phone began ringing in his pocket.

"That's a nice tune," murmured Monica as the monophonic device
tweedled away. "What is it?"

In truth, it was the Possum-Man theme song that Sticks had written for
himself, but he couldn't really admit to that. "Uuh... I dunno. Came
with the phone."

He glanced at the words 'Incoming call: Hank' on the screen, and
excused himself.

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

Decided to get a dramatic jog going just to make it feel a little more
exciting, Sticks got a dramatic jog going. It made talking on the
phone feel a little more exciting. "What's happening, Hank?"

"Ah, Possum-Man! I'm glad I could get onto you." Hank, just like
everyone else, had no idea of Sticks' dual identity, but by a random
programming fluke, Sticks had enabled calls dialled to 'possun' to be
automatically redirected to his mobile. Yes, 'possun', with an 'n'; it
was a random programming fluke, after all, and it's still remarkably
similar. On the other hand, 'n' and 'm' are both on the '6' key of
most phone keypads, so thus far the error, if it could really be
called an error, had gone unnoticed. "We think we've located the cargo
ship that Green-on-Black stole the other month. It was located by a
journalist; name of David Sawley."

Sticks slowed his jog slightly. "David Sawley, you say?"

Dave Sawley, a writer for the local newspaper, was the one journalist
who Possum-Man had been unable to convince of the heroicness of his
actions. What's more, Dave had hired Sticks to host his son Deano's
party... and it really hadn't gone according to plan. At the end of the
day, Dave had a thing against Sticks in both his egos, and his
presence here now, so close to the heart of Green-on-Black's plan,
didn't bode well. [*]

[* See Possum-Man: Relinquished #3 -- Footnote Girl]

"Yeah, Sawley. He actually works for the paper that the White Boomer
smashed into the other week. You can make your own way there and meet
me, yeah?"

"Yeah..." Sticks drawled, checking out his surroundings and finding
himself deserted. "Give me five minutes."

He pocketed his phone, and looked around nervously. He'd never done
this before; he slipped his mask on, and started sprinting down the
street. A dramatic orchestral piece began playing as he grabbed his
collar and ripped his shirt apart, revealing the Possum-Man insignia
on his spandex. His cape billowed out behind him, flapping
dramatically. He reached down to undo his laces and kneed himself in
the face.

Naturally, the music stopped playing as he shrieked and stumbled head-

Rubbing his sore nose, he looked around and, once he'd confirmed that
no one had witnessed his clumsiness and paid off those who had with
'quiet money', sat down and undid his laces normally. He then tried
the dramatic running again, but was met with a similar end when he
tripped over his half-down daks yelping, "How do I take my pants off
while I'm running?!"

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

When Possum-Man entered the offices of the newspaper, he was greeted
by Hank in the foyer. "Pos! It's good to-- wait. Didn't you get new
pants and a vest for the twenty-degrees-above-freezing Alt.stralian

"Yes," Pos conceded, "but I had to do the thing where I run over here
and get dressed on the way, and I didn't have the vest and the right
pants with me. I mean, I had pants, obviously, but they just wouldn't
have gone with this outfit."

"Very few things would," replied Hank. "Well, at least you're he- uh,
Pos, you don't even have your boots on."

"No, I had shoes on before, and, like my vest and pants, I didn't have
my booties with me."

"You're barely dressed!"

"Sorry," the Possum-Man apologised, but he knew -- like you and I,
dear, gentle, beloved reader, -- that he had his layers of styrofoam
muscles on underneath all the spandex.

Hank looked around agitatedly. "Listen, I was waiting for you out here
because I didn't want to start talking to Sawley and just have to
reiterate everything he said, but if I walk in with a bare-footed
net.hero, we're _both_ going to look stupid. Wait here, I'm going to
go and see if the receptionist has some tissue boxes or something.
We'll need to improvise."

"Right," mumbled Pos apologetically as Hank went off to secure him
some replacement booties. "Sorry. I'll just wait here, then." He
looked around with mild interest at the foyer, and began wiggling his
bare toes.

Hank returned a few minutes later with two plastic shopping bags.
"They didn't have tissue boxes, and, well, this is the best that they
could do."

Pos mumbled something kind of like thanks but not really very similar
and tied the bags around his feet. "Okay. All done. Ready to confront
Sawley now?"

"Thought you'd never ask."

Possum-Man and Hank marched through the building with regular
'schklrzsh schklrzsh schklrzsh' kind of noises from the plastic bags
around the Possum-Man's feet. By the time they reached Dave Sawley's
desk, the majority of the staff were watching them with varying
expressions of confusion.

"Dave!" Pos boomed as he leant over the desk. "I am, as you'll no
doubt remember, the Possum-Man!" Small applause broke out throughout
the journalists who had accompanied Pos in issue #3, and he smiled,
waved, and blew kisses at them in recognition. "With me is police
officer Hank. We'd like to talk to you about the location of a stolen
cargo ship from Port Com.bla; we've been led to believe you have vital
information about its whereabouts."

"Possum-Man," Sawley greeted coldly. "Officer Hank. You're right; I
think I've found it."

After a moments pause, Hank prompted, "So... where is it?"

Dave sighed and rose from his desk. "If you'll follow me a short
distance?" Pos and Hank nodded their respective consents, and followed
Sawley as he led them up a small flight of stairs and onto the roof of
the building.

Hank meandered around the rooftop, carefully observing a small ant
colony in the northernmost corner. Heh, that one only had five legs.
Silly ant. "What have you brought us up here for, Mister Sawley?"
asked he.

"It's a trap," mumbled Possum-Man half-heartedly. "See, now we're out
in the open, so someone with, say, gosh darn laser eyes can just pick
us off really really easily."

"It's not a trap!" Sawley snapped. "I've brought you up here for two
reasons. The first is to show you the patched up hole where a certain
White Boomer felt fit to burst through last time you were here."
Looking the hero in the eye, he continued, "Thanks so much for helping
us out with the three hundred thousand dollar bill."

"Three hundred thousand dollars?" Hank scoffed. "That seems a bit

"I either may or may not be exaggerating. But regardless," continued
the journalist, "the second reason I brought you up here is to show
the view of Www.ollongong Harbour."

Pos and Hank raising their eyebrows at each other before turning to
squint into the distance at the distant harbour. Hank raised a hand to
shield his eyes from the sun, and Possum-Man made a silent note to try
to find some goggles that didn't obscure his long-distance vision. In
this case his current ones were proving to be quite inadequate indeed.

He could still, however, make out the outline of a large ship.

"Is that... is that the ship that Green-on-Black stole? That just there,
docked at the harbour?"

Dave gave a slow, smug nod. "I believe so, yes."

Hank frowned. "What's it doing there, just sitting in the harbour?" he
demanded. "How long has it been there for, Sawley?"

"About three days, I'd wager."

"Wager..." Possum-Man murmured to himself. He reflected on this word for
a second, and then stared Sawley straight in the eye. "You're a
gambling man, aren't you, Dave?"

Sawley, clearly suspecting a trick of some kind, glared back and
cautiously responded, "Isn't everyone?"

"To one degree or another, yes. But I'd say you more than anyone else
I've met." Pos paused to arrange his arguments better. Dave Sawley was
up to something, and the Possum-Man wasn't going to get snared by a
journalist who couldn't even recognise a preposition. Deciding to use
one of his hardest hitting arguments first, he went straight for what
he knew was Sawley's personal soft spot. "Tell us more about your son;
Deano was his name, yeah? Which school does he go to?"

Bingo. Sawley went bright red and stammered, "I hardly think that this
is any-"

"Sawley, when a net.hero asks you a question, you generally answer
it." Pos could see Hank frowning at this turn of conversation, but the
policeman was staying out of it until he could deduce what was going
on. With a surge of pride, the hero realised that Hank trusted him to
know what he was doing. "When I was researching Miss Jade's
disappearance, you were the only one out of dozens who wouldn't help
me -- who refused to help me, and went so far as to threaten me, and
by doing so endangered Miss Jade's life. You know what condition I got
her out of there in; heck, you wrote the article! And I can distinctly
remember reading your own opinion; that if the Possum-Man had been
just a few minutes faster, Jade would have been in hospital a few days

Sawley was now stammering uselessly, and Hank was glaring at him
disapprovingly. "Now you've pointed out the location of a net.villain
base to us, one hidden in plain sight and that no one else was able to
recognize as said base. Give me one good reason to believe that you
aren't working with the rest of those net.villainous swine."

"They- they kidnapped my editor!" Dave managed. "Why would I- what
would I have to gain from this?"

"You were an inside man, weren't you Sawley? What did they promise

"What? No! I-"

"I hope it was worth poor Deano not having a daddy. Hank, can we lock
him up under suspicion? Or something like that?" Pos silently
reflected that he should probably have a better knowledge of the law
if he was going to keep doing this net.hero thing until Duck's
conspiracy was rolled up.

Hank nodded dutifully and whipped out some cuffs. "I'll pick up the
kid," Pos declared, "and meet you at the harbour. Can you have some of
your men run a check on the ship to see if it's the same one?"

"Done and done," Hank replied. "You're doing good, hero. We'll get
these crooks yet."

"But you've got it wrong!" Sawley cried. "I'm not-"

"Shut it, criminal slimeball," Hank scolded, followed closely by a
'tut tut tut' noise. "By which I obviously really meant 'you have the
right to remain silent or else'."

Hank turned to address Possum-Man once more, but found the hero had
already gone.

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

Pos gripped onto the ledge of the roof of the building, determinedly
trying to convince himself that managing to sneak away while his feet
were wrapped in plastic bags was impressive enough to override the
fact that he was now left dangling from the northernmost corner of the

A small ant crawled onto his bare, ungloved hand.

"Hey there, ant," Pos grunted. "I don't suppose you'd be able to pull
me up?"

The ant nodded.

"Really? Wait... can you understand me?"

The ant shook its head.

"Oh, right, okay th- heh, you only have five legs! Silly ant."

The ant gave him a prompt bite. With a falsetto yelp, Pos snatched his
hand back and fell to the ground below.

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

The Possum-Man entered the school and stood in the middle of the
playground, his hands on his hips as he raised his chin heroically.
His theory was that eventually someone would recognise him -- by his
heroic stance and easily-recognised outfit -- as the heroic and
recognisable Possum-Man, and tell him where to find the Sawley boy. It
was only right to let him know that his father was a menace to society
and would be dealt with accordingly, after all.

A half-chewed sandwich slapped Pos on the side of his face, and he
slowly turned to face his oppressor as it slid off of his mask,
leaving a wet, slimy trail in its wake. A group of children who looked
to be about eight were laughing and high-fiving each other for their
courage and accuracy.

The net.hero paused for a moment, analysing the degrees of guilty
pleasure on each face and the tallying the high-fives given to each
member of the circle. When he was confident that he'd identified the
thrower of the sandwich, he marched boldly up to the group. The
children stopped celebrating for a moment to look up at him.

"Feelin' lucky, punk?" he growled at the child.

The kid blinked innocently, once, twice, and then uppercut the Possum-
Man in the loins.

With a howl of pain, Pos sank to the ground, writhing in agony. The
children broke into uproarious laughter once more, and ran off
playing. After a few moment of catching his breath, Possum-Man became
aware of a teacher standing a metre or two away, tapping her foot
impatiently, arms crossed beneath her supple bosom.

Pos let out an immature snort at the phrase 'supple bosom'. The young
teacher, however, was not amused.

"What, may I ask, are you doing in this schoolyard?" she snapped.

"I'm looking for a little boy," he replied honestly.

The teachers glare only became more penetrating as she scolded,
"Forgive me, but I'm generally not in the habit of allowing random
strangers who dress in figure-hugging spandex, wear plastic bags as
substitute shoes and who claim to want little boys to stay in the
school for any longer than it takes to get them out. Could you please
escort yourself off of the premises?"

Possum-Man pulled himself off of the ground, dusted himself off, and
gave some serious thought to what the lass had said.

"Well... what if I took the plastic bags off of my feet?"

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

By the time Possum-Man reached the harbour, it was approaching late
afternoon. He had, naturally, stayed to argue with the teacher, and
had been put on detention as a result. You may be wondering, dear
reader, what right that teacher had to put a fully frown man on
detention, because, well, he wasn't a student at the school -- but if
you were Possum-Man, and you were told you weren't allowed to stay
somewhere simply because you weren't a student, you would've enrolled
too, wouldn't you?

After breaking out of detention, he had succeeded in stealing the
student records, but no trace of Deano Sawley could be found. Finally,
he had demanded to unenroll and gone home to get his gloves and
booties, and had to get the correct forms signed by his mother back to
the school by tomorrow to say he wouldn't be there any more.

Of course, Hank wasn't overly understanding of the situation.

"What do you mean, you 'broke out of detention'?" he fumed.

"Well, the other kids were picking on me, and I had to get out, and
Ms. Lamont was standing outside the door so I smashed a window and
climbed out-"

"You smashed a window?! Why didn't you just _open_ the window?"

Pos shrugged. "I dunno. It didn't occur to me?"

"It didn't-?! Urgh, Possum-Man, listen to me!" Hank growled. "Every
time you mess up now, it's just hurting the cases against Sawley and
Duck McMuck. No one's going to care what some window-smashing whacko
has to say about a reasonably well-liked journalist."

After a long sigh, Pos replied, "Fine. Sorry. What do you want me to

Hank cast a glance at the titanic ship behind him. "Well. You could
always go on there and make sure that there's nothing nasty waiting
for us."

Pos looked up at the stolen vessel, and decided that it was better
than detention.

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

Conspicuously tip-toeing around the ship without drawing too much
attention to himself was surprisingly easy, as Pos soon found out.
There was no crew to speak of, but Possum-Man could hear their words
of praise for his stealthy invasion of the ship anyway; "My! (they
would have exclaimed) Do have a gander at that chap over there!
Dressed in form-fitting spandex and conspicuously tip-toeing about,
eh? Oh? What's that? Sound the alarm? What on Earth would we do that
for? If he were up to no good, then _obviously_ he'd be being a bit
more careful than that. No, no -- just let him be."

Possum-Man snickered quietly to himself. How easily he had fooled the
hypothetical crewmember into underestimating him! Encouraged by his
earlier success, he soon found himself facing off against all kinds of
foes in the confines of his mind -- most notably, against the villain-
of-the-hour Mistress that he would be sure to soon encounter. In his
mind, a punch usually did the trick. Occasionally he would mix his
musings up by inserting flips where his opponent least expected them.
Or kicking her instead.

Not that Pos was any kind of misogynist, of course. He had nothing
against women. He didn't want to beat this one just for the heck of
it, he wanted to beat her because she'd apparently arranged for the
deaths of most of his old peers, including Stones and Monica. She'd
also sent super-powered goons like Green-On-Black and the White Boomer
after him, which earned her, as I'm sure you'd agree, dear reader, a
rather stern smack on the wrist.

Smiling and humming the Mortal Kombat theme to himself as he sank
further and further into his vivid vainglorious imaginations, and
further and further into the bowels of the labyrinthine ship, the
Possum-Man completely failed to notice that at each bend was a small
arrow, pointing consistently in the direction that he was going and
had written, in extremely small letters and in a very subtle manner


And immersed as he was in the depths of his reverie, Pos followed the
arrows unerringly, completely oblivious to the subliminal messaging
that he was falling victim to.

Woe! Woe, woe, woe!

Alas, poor Possum-Man. We have known him, gentle reader/responders; a
fellow of infinite jest, of most excellently fanciful chest hair: he
hath borne many burdens 'pon his back a thousand times over: and now,
he is actually kind of screwed! There bulges his large yellow goggles
that I have mentioned I know not how oft, but that it has been oft
indeed. Where be thy attentions, Possum-Man?! Thy focus?! Thy thoughts
of purpose, sharp and clear?! But now he gets himself to the Lady's
chamber unwittingly; with a head clouded with idle dreams of idle
victories! She shall paint Her floor with his blood, an inch thick in
some places and maybe a bit more if She decided to do the second layer
this afternoon, but really, you'd think that She'd let it dry first,
wouldn't you? Thou makest Her laugh, Possum-Man. Laugh quite heartily
and with ill intent indeed.

On a more positive note, however, (more POS-itive, one might say, eh?
Eh? That's pretty neat, don't you reckon? I didn't even MEAN to do
that, I was just going over this and I was like, WOW, I'm REALLY
FUNNY!! Actually, speaking of which, I've been performing with one of
my friends lately, we're a comedy duo, you know, we're very funny. I
think we've stopped now, though, because all the local comedy
festivals are over, but something like four hundred people turned up
to our second show, it was quite successful indeed. We really did need
microphones, however. Kind of hard to shut the crowd up when there's
four hundred of them laughing hysterically and you're just kind of
tapping your foot going "Yeah, come on guys, it wasn't THAT funny!"
But anyway, anyway, I feel as though I've completely lost where I'm up
to. Oh, right, now I remember. I was up to a more positive note. Which
I suppose I'm still on, really -- this IS a more positive (POS-itive!
Ha!) note, just not the one that I was on before. I wonder if I should
be using square brackets? So, yes, back on track, however,) Pos
realised that he was being subliminally messaged when he reached a
large set of twin iron doors, each surrounded by arrows and each with
the stylised head of a fox carved into it.

His thoughts were, I believe, something along the lines of 'How do I
get these doors open without the boss key?'

While part of him protested heavily against entering the chamber and
engaging in MORTAL KOMBAT before having done any proper dungeon
crawling within the area, another part of him had just been imagining
how easy it would be to waltz right in there and confront his foe. So,
being the Possum-Man, that's just what he did.

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

Pos walked into a lavishly decorated room and was shot instantly. In
the head. Numerous times. And died before he hit the ground.

I'm not kidding.

Alt.stralia was taken over by a giant crime empire and the world
economy crashed since pristine white sand could no longer be exported
to tropical tourist destinations; with nowhere left to holiday,
businessmen and businesswomen slowly slid into indifference and decay,
leaving the Looniearth a flaky, empty shell.

The End.

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

Naaw, I'm just messing with you. I lied!

Here's how it really went down.

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

Possum-Man cautiously opened the large door, and stuck his head
through first. Blinking in the dim lights of the large chamber, he
began to take in every single detail quite carefully indeed.

The metallic floors and walls had been carefully, articulately painted
so that they resembled ancient stone surfaces, and a long red carpet
with golden trimming lead to long room's focus point; a throne,
sitting high at the top of a short staircase.

Pos's eyes widened beneath his goggles, and it was then that he
noticed a loud scrubbing noise. Turning his attention to the wall on
his left, he noticed a large banner split into three areas; the banner
that you would recognise from the front of the comic, if you'd been
bothering to pay attention. Beneath the banner was a cardboard cut out
of a silhouette of Possum-Man bowing down before a female figure, and
someone had spray-painted "sssh" on it, along with something
resembling a kiss. It was this spray paint that a net.villainess was
scrubbing at, trying to clean off. She had a white apron with pink
frills tied around her waist, and a bonnet keeping her hair out of her

The villainess looked up, noticed Possum-Man, and let out a squeal of
terror. She raced over to the door and slammed it shut in his face.
"What are you doing here already?!" she screeched from the other side.

"I -- uh, I think I came to fight you? Um... are you this Mistress that
everyone keeps talking about?"

"Of course I am!" she snapped. "But what are you doing here so soon?"

"Well... I followed the arrows. The ones that told me where to go."

There was a lengthy silence from the other side of the door. Possum-
Man was just considering opening the door again when the woman
continued, "And you... you didn't suspect a trap or anything? You just
barged right in?"

Deciding that admitting to his unfocussed attitude wouldn't be the
best way to win his opponents respect for the upcoming battle, he
bluffed, "Yeah, well, you know. Of _course_ I suspected a trap. But
I'm a hero. I'm not afraid of your traps." He then scoffed, just to
show how deadly serious he was. Action heroes in movies, he had
noticed, always scoffed when they were deadly serious.

There was another pause before the villainess continued, "You weren't
even paying attention, were you? You just followed the signs."

"You don't know that!" Pos shot back, a little too hastily.

A muffled sigh came from the other side of the door, and then she
began talking again. "This is the first time I haven't guessed your
actions weeks before you even knew you what you were doing in months.
Believe me, Possum-Man -- I will not overestimate you again."

"You're bluffing," Pos scowled. "You haven't known what I was going to
be doing. And--"

"And you're also trying to lure me into a false sense of security,"
the voice finished. Possum-Man went silent as his face flushed with
anger; he's played right into her hands. "You think you're going to
finish me off with a punch, don't you?" she questioned idly. "Maybe
mix it up with a flip here and there, now that I've said that. Trust
me, Possum-Man," her voice dropped drastically, sounding, for the
first time, truly threatening; "I'm out of your league."

Pos shuffled around uncomfortably, entirely aware that he'd been
outplayed. Whether or not this woman had been playing him for months
now was irrelevant; she was playing him now and winning... and at his
own game, too.

"I'll tell you what," she then continued. "I'll just finish off
cleaning the front cover shot off of these walls, and I'll let you in
in about half an hour. You can do whatever you want between now and
then, but please -- don't ruin our spectacular showdown by running in

The lightbulb came on above Possum-Man's head as it occurred to him to
silently sneak back to where Hank and the other policemen waited. This
Mistress clearly didn't have him under surveillance, or she would have
known he was there before. Or had that entire exchange been planned by
her weeks ago...?

"You can get your policemen friends if you like," she called again,
though her voice sounded further away this time. A faint scrubbing
noise started up. "They won't do you any good anyway."

A mind reader! Pos could have hit himself for not having considered it
before. Clearly, to defeat this foe, he'd have to rush her without
thinking about anything he was doing, with no plan, no backup, no
thought whatsoever...

It occurred to the Possum-Man that this would be a great way to get
himself killed.

Deciding that he would have to face this villainous villainess alone,
he ruled out the option of calling for the police. Then he sat down,
visualised the room -- or what he had seen of it, at any rate -- and
thought about what she had said. What wouldn't she be expecting him to
do? How could she know what she did?

It was these questions that occupied Possum-Man's mind for the next
half hour.

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

A loud knock on an iron door startled Pos out of his sleep as he
choked on a snore and glanced around, trying to figure out where he

Ship -- harbour -- Mistress... right. Right.

"You can wake up now," her voice called from the other side of the
door. "I'm all ready to kill you."

"I wasn't sleeping!" Pos retorted as he tried to wipe the sleep from
his eyes; unfortunately, his goggles were in the way. Bother. "But...
yeah. So I just open the door?"

Receiving no reply, the Possum-Man gathered up his courage and opened
the door for the second time.

This time, his eyes slid straight to the left of the room; the banner
had been taken down, and all of the paint had been removed, revealing
the metallic, slightly rusted surface that had been beneath the
cosmetics. Looking up at the throne, he recognized the Mistress,
though this time her apron was missing. He could just see a glimpse of
the badly folded cut-out silhouette shoved behind the throne, and a
tassel from the bottom of the banner was sticking out as well.

"Allow me to formally introduce myself," the crime empress purred as
she rose from her chair. "I am...!"

"Hold up, whoah there, lady," Pos interrupted. "Sorry, but you've left
your little bonnet thing on. Did you want to take that off?"

"Wha...? Oh, yeah, right." She turned around and hurriedly took off her
headgear, throwing it behind the throne. As she did so, the Possum-Man
got a prime view of his nemesis' hair; it was long, almost hip-length,
and an incredibly bright, vibrant orange. It was done in a ponytail,
so that it cascaded out like the tail of a fox. The tips also dulled
to white, and shone in the unusual light of the chamber.

"Let's try that again," she restarted. "Allow me to formally introduce
myself. I am..."

This time she paused for dramatic effect, giving you, the reader, time
to turn the page and encounter the two-page spread of her declaration
of identity.

"...the Vixen!"

Without another word, she sprang forth, flipping through the air and
rolling between Pos' legs. Possum-Man spun around to face her, possum
and fox engaged in an eternal life-or-death struggle.

Now he had a better view of his enemy, at least; it looked like she
was wearing a black one-piece that covered her from the toes up to her
neck, covered in places by more protective orange gear. The back of
her palms had one such piece of metallic protection, with claws
protruding from near the knuckles in a manner reminiscent of Duck
McMuck's weapon of choice. The claws on the ends of her gloves seemed
similarly equipped to dish out pain.

Remembering what she had said before about anticipating him, Pos let
loose with the one move he was sure would baffle her: a PUNCH!!

True to her nature, the Vixen had spun out of the way before he had
even drawn his hand back, and her hair flicked up and whipped in the
face; several scratches dug into his right goggle, and a long, deep
gash was opened along his cheek as he realised that the white tip of
her hair held some kind of sharp cutty device of pain.

He flipped backwards to gain some distance, and by the time he was the
right way up again, she was already charging at him. "I'm about to
dice your styrofoam," she warned.

His feet had barely touched the ground before her right fist pummelled
into his stomach with incredible force, ripping out a large chunk of
his styrofoam muscle and knocking him backwards onto his hands and

Pos, sighting an opening, leapt between her legs, hoping to trip her
up as he dove past. The Vixen, however, had planned this fight out
long in advance, and held true to her plan. She brought her knees
together, and the metallic orange plates covering them collided with
Possum-Man's temples, knocking him to the ground and rendering him
paralysed from the shock of impact.

An instant was all the Vixen needed.

She jumped onto his back, and before he knew it, a long cord covered
in various sharp metallic objects was held at his throat, drawing
blood. She rotated her hand slightly, and each device began to spin,
drawing more blood and a howl of agony from our intrepid hero.

After a moment of allowing the device to maul at his neck, the Vixen
lowered it, allowing Pos a much-needed breath. "This can all stop,"
she growled, "if you just gave up being a net.hero. Did I mention
that? That all you have to do is stop being a net.hero. And we can
both get out of here alive. Wouldn't that be nice?"

Pos' eyes widened. Not because of the thought of getting out alive
after just having a large portion of his neck sliced up, nor because
of the absurdity of the idea of him giving up his mantle as a
net.hero. His eyes widened because he was _considering_ it.

He'd given up being a net.hero before -- why not do it again? He'd
only come back to stop Duck McMuck, and McMuck was locked up behind
bars now. He had no reason to keep on being a net.hero.

But what about the Vixen? She was complicated in this, too. By
accepting responsibility to stop McMuck, he'd accepted responsibility
to stop the Vixen. "I can't," he moaned.

The metallic rope was brought back up to his neck, the blades sticking
into his bloodied neck, but the sections not spinning this time. "You
think you can't because I'm your responsibility," the Vixen purred.
"That it's your _duty_ to protect Www.ollongong from me."

"I have to stop you," he painfully responded, sounded far more
apologetic than he meant to. He briefly wondered who he'd be
apologising to.

"You're a no-one, Tarqchevskison," the Vixen continued. In his current
state, the use of his real surname didn't shake the Possum-Man perhaps
as much as it should have. "No one would hold it against you if you
gave it up. The cute police officer you run around with is way more
equipped to handle the things that you do -- and he gets paid for it."

"Getting paid isn't the issue," Pos gasped. "And Hank isn't cute."

"Yes he is."

"No, listen, he really isn't. Have you even seen him? His nose is
just... no. No, Hank's not cute. I mean, sure, he's a great guy, and I
have nothing against him or anything, but... he's not cute. No." There
was a brief silence. "You were trying to distract me, weren't you?"

"Yes," Vixen replied sorrowfully. "You're not meant to be a hero,
Possum-Man. Give it up. Go home before more people get hurt. And trust
me -- more people _will_ get hurt."

"Only if you hurt them."

"Only if you don't give it all up."

Pos scoffed. This time it was a more of a show of bravado than a show
of deadly seriousness. "And I suppose that you give me your word as a
net.villainess to stop being bad if I stop being good?"

The Vixen loosened her grip on Possum-Man's neck. "All of my cards are
on the table. I won't bother making promises for someone who doesn't
want them."

"You're right," Pos admitted, putting as much defeat into his voice as
he could. "I don't want your promises."

And with that, he jerked his head backwards, smashing his skull into
the Vixen's nose. She yelped in surprise and pain, and Possum-Man
bobbed his head out from under the metallic rope device and rolled his
enemy over in one smooth move, slamming her weapon down against her
own throat. Holding her hands down with his own, and with a leg either
side of her, he poked his tongue out at her and growled, "Anticipate

Then he punched her.

There was a dull clang as the back of her head connected with the
metallic floor, and Pos jumped up and bolted. By the time the Vixen
could focus her eyes again, he was out of sight. She pulled herself to
her feet, grimacing at the mixture of blood that covered the floor. He
had almost beaten her. He might've, if he hadn't run.

She thought he'd be more willing to give up the net.hero life than
that. She was still missing a piece of the puzzle. She knew why he was
a net.hero _now_...

...but why had he donned the cape _before_ Duck McMuck's resurgence?

She was just touching on these questions when a sharp pain flitted
through her shoulder. She spun around to face her attacker, and saw
the Possum-Man, his thumb and forefinger clawed in prime bra strap
flicking position.

Her eyes widened in indignation and fury, and Possum-Man began waving
his arms above his head and giggled impishly as he fled the chamber,
the Vixen in hot pursuit.

"Bwee hee hee, hee hee, hee hee hee!"

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

Possum-Man sprinted onto the deck of the cargo ship, glad to have
finally escaped the confines of the hallways, and even gladder that he
hadn't taken a wrong turn and ended up cornered with the murderous
Vixen right behind him.

Hell hath no fury like a woman strap-flicked.

He ran towards the portside of the gigantic ship, and heard the
villainess emerge seconds later, the sound of her boots clanging
sharply on the metallic deck. As he approached the edge of the boat,
he realised that they'd left the dock.

"Oh," he squeaked.

Casting a quick glance over his shoulder at the rapidly approaching
Vixen, he set off like a rocket once more, this time towards the bow.
If he was right -- and by the looks of things, he was -- they still
hadn't left the actual harbour yet. When they went through the break
walls, he should be able to leap off to safety. Of course, he was
making a lot of assumptions with this.

Firstly was that he could actually make the jump. If he couldn't, then
he's probably end up sandwiched between the cargo ship and the sharp
rocks that comprised the lower portions of the break wall.

Secondly was that the Vixen wouldn't follow him. He was hoping that
she wouldn't be willing to give up her massive steal just because he
flicked her bra. This assumption was becoming increasingly less likely
as time went on.

Part of him questioned the wisdom behind taunting the woman who had
almost ripped his head off, but deep down inside his comedic senses
were tingling pleasantly. His mother, however, would probably be

The ship approached the break wall, and Pos, not giving the Vixen a
single chance to catch up, leapt prematurely.

His limbs flailed helplessly as he soared through the air, and it
occurred to him that it was still five metres down to the break wall.
In the second that seemed like forever, he began calculated the force
with which he would smash into the ground. Or a sharp rock. If he was
five metres up, and he was accelerating at nine point eight metres a
second a second, and he was already travelling at--

Before he knew it, he'd hit the ground and was rolling away, alive. He
looked up, and saw the ship gliding smoothly out of the harbour, the
Vixen silhouetted against the setting sun, howling with rage.

Joy slowly crept up on him as he realised that he'd survived. Sure, he
was really in for a beating next time, but for now he was alive. He
took no comfort, however, in knowing that the Vixen knew where he

He began strolling along the break wall, confident that his days work
was done. He'd get back to the search for Sawley's kid, Deano,
tomorrow. And also unenroll from that school. For now, it was time to
celebrate with a nice warm bandage around his neck where it had been
sliced up by a whacky metallic thingy.

"Pos!" came a voice from behind him. "Pos!"

The hero turned around to see Hank, fishing line and tackle box in
either hand, chasing after him. "Hey! So, did you find anything
dangerous on the boat?" There was a momentary pause. "And why is your
neck bleeding? And what happened to your face?"

Possum-Man shrugged. "It's probably a metaphor or something," he
replied, "for the way my net.hero spirit is leaving me again, seeing
as how she cut me just as the doubt entered my mind. Or something. I
never was really very good at English."

"Oh," replied Hank, silently wondering who 'she' was.


Ha ha! IT'S STILL THIS WEEK!! Man, does it ever feel good to post
another story, after only a long time since my last post which was a
story which was indeed a long time. I have written most of this within
the past twenty-four hours! Can you tell? More specifically, I'll
totally find some kind of prize to give to someone if they can tell me
which paragraph I began on yesterday after several weeks of not
touching this document. Just for kicks.


PS -- Totally stoked for next week's Russell's Reviews now. AGAIN JUST

PPS -- Need more sustenance than sugar. Bed now. See you in Spring.

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