LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #26

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Wed May 14 16:05:17 PDT 2008

[LNH] Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #26

___  ___________________________
| |-|                           \
| |-| []                        /             #26
| | | [] egion of               \  'Where Monsters Come From' 
| | | []__ [] []   []  []       /     (Intermezzo - Act 3) 
| | | [___][ \[]et.[]__[]eroes  \  (A Beige Countdown tie-in) 
| | |      []\ ]   [ __ ]       /
| |-|      [] []   []  []       \ written by and copyright 2008 
| |-|___________________________/         Saxon Brenton
| | 
| | 
| | 
| |  The cover shows a puppy, which has rolled over on his back and 
| |  is having his tummy scratched.  There's also a small picture of 
| |  a dancing Continuity Porn Star in the top corner indicating that 
| |  this issue contains continuity references.
| | 
[A Silver Age-style roster of characters in the form of a series of mug 
shots in little circles runs down the side of the title page:]
Roll call for this issue: 
  o Very Big Boy!
And introducing: 
  o The Nope Lads and Lasses!
These are just some of the super-powered do-gooders who belong to an 
organisation that thinks that running around with your underwear on 
the outside is acceptable as a fashion statement.  They are: the 
Legion of Net.Heroes!
     The following is an important Public Service Announcement.
     This is Jimmy.
     [A teenaged boy dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt waves at the 
audience]  "Hey there."
     Lately, Jimmy's body has been changing.  His voice has been getting 
deeper.  He's become interested in crime.  And he's discovered that he 
can emit particle beams in the form of concussive force blasts from his 
eye balls.
     [Jimmy sees some ram raiders drive into an ATM at a shopping mall, 
and promptly blasts the tires off of their SUV.  The ram raiders are 
forced to run away without being able to steal the ATM or its contents.]
     Jimmy is going through puberty, which is the period in the life of 
every young person when they grow to become a man or a woman.  This is 
an important time, since growing to become an adult means that taking 
on adult responsibilities.
     Jimmy: "What sort of responsibilities?"
     Well, such as such as helping your parents by doing more chores 
around the house, or taking a part-time job after school to pay for 
your music CDs and teen interest magazines.  And most importantly of 
all, registering with the Legion of Net.Heroes if you've gained 
superhuman powers.
     Jimmy: "Wow, the Legion of Net.Heroes!  But, what if I'm not good 
enough to join them?"
     The whole point of registering with the Legion of Net.Heroes is 
so that you learn to use your powers so that you *are* good enough to 
join them.  And even if you aren't interested in a full-time job as 
a net.hero, learning to use your powers properly is part of the 
responsibility of growing up.  Do you remember the first time you used 
your powers?
     Jimmy (ruefully): "Yeah.  We were eating dinner and I accidentally 
blasted my dinner plate.  The walls ended up covered in food and the 
table was split in half."
     Making sure that you can use your powers isn't just about learning 
how to fight crime.  It's also about making sure that you aren't 
accidentally a danger to yourself or your family.  That might not sound 
as exciting as battling an army of giant shape changing mecha bent on 
world conquest, but the first step in being a responsible adult is 
always about mundane day-to-day matters.  That's why the government of 
President Hexadecimal Luthor has passed the Net.ahuman Responsibility 
Act, so that everybody with superpowers knows how to use them.  It's 
like making sure you know how to use a car before you start driving 
     Jimmy: "Hey, you're right.  So how do I go about registering for 
     You can visit any LNH registration office, or just ring the number 
on the screen below: 1-800-LNH-RGSR.
     Remember: Superpowers.  They aren't just for a summer crossover 
event, they're for life.
     We now return you to your irregularly scheduled program.
     So, the reader may ask, what sort of things are involved in 
superhuman training?  A wide variety of things, actually.  It depends 
on what sort of powers someone has, their age group, whether they're 
interested in becoming a net.hero, and whether a particular class is 
based in practical or theoretical learning.  As an example of one of the 
more unusual lessons, let's have look at this field trip about daikaiju:
     Very Big Boy approached the puppy warily.  It was a very big puppy 
- as in, four stories tall big - and instead of spots was covered in 
irregular areas of circuit patterns.  Fortunately he was all tuckered 
out after all the romping about he'd be doing that morning, and was 
currently curled up in the Soldier Field football stadium in Sig.ago.  
But don't be fooled by that innocent looking demeanour!  He'd caused 
considerable consternation earlier in the day when he'd marked his 
territory on the Sears Tower.
     The Legionnaire picked up the puppy and scratched him on the back 
of the neck in the good spot.  The puppy licked his hand.  Very Big Boy 
applied a patch to the dog's head which caused the animal to temporarily 
shrink down to more manageable size, shrinking himself down as well and 
then carrying the puppy back to his waiting squad of trainees, who were 
mostly Nopes of some kind.
     The various Nope Lads and Lasses at least had registered for 
training under the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act rather than wilfully 
ignoring it.  However in one way or another they all took the position 
that they may be required to train to learn to use their powers, and 
that this might even be useful and necessary in a lot of cases, but they 
weren't going to stick around afterwards to be superheroes.  Instead, 
there was a half-serious mass movement to simply use the codename 'Nope-
I'm-Not-Training-To-Be-A-Superhero' followed by Lad or Lass or Man or 
Person or whatever, and then a specific number.
     "Well, that was easier than I'd expected," Very Big Boy admitted 
to the class.  "Normally I have to wrestle with them.  Now then, Nope 
Lad 179, I noticed that you brought a Geiger counter with you.  Would 
you mind telling the rest of the group why you did that?"
     "Uh, well, a lot of daikaiju have radioactive breath weapons.  Not 
all of them, of course, but enough of them to make it worth checking
for," said Nope Lad 179.  Although he looked like a blond-haired corn fed 
middle-American, he was actually one of the extraterrestrials studying a 
tertiary degree on Earth.  He was in LNH training program not because he 
had powers, but because under the light of a green sun his species
developed powers.
     Now, this was the Looniverse, so of course there really were such 
things as green suns, but even in the Looniverse they were incredibly 
rare.  Nevertheless Nope Lad 179 had taken advantage of this fact to get 
himself into the training program and have it counted as an elective for 
his university coursework.
     "Good thinking ahead," said Very Big Boy.  He addressed the group, 
"So in a case like that make sure you have good protection, or have 
someone on hand who's resistant to radiation."  He paused, then said 
with a smile, "Fortunately I am, and so is Nope Girl 1123 over there.  
Radioactivity might also be something to take into account in the
cleanup afterwards.  Speaking of which, check my hands where he licked 
me."  Nope Lad 179 did so.  There was the barest increase in clicking 
from the counter, indicating ever-so-slightly-more-than-normal 
background radiation.  "So," said Very Big Boy, "Extremely mildly 
radioactive slobber.  Still, I'd better wash my hands."
     He placed the puppy in a carry cage and then washed his hands 
thoroughly.  Once he'd decontaminated himself he came back to the trainees.
     "Okay squad," said Very Big Boy.  "Just a question-and-answer 
session to round off the exercise, then we'll take this little fellow... 
this *currently* little fellow... off and release him on Mons.dir
Island.  Who can you tell me something about daikaiju?"
     To no-one's surprise, the youngster called Sp33d Fr3ak put up her 
hand.  While she tended to be hyperactive - something that she was 
learning to control thanks to the specialist training with the Legion - 
she also tended to absorb a lot of information when she studied at high 
speed.  Of course, she was also one of those speedsters whose metabolism 
would cause her to bleed at high speed if she was ever badly injured, so 
front line combat duty would probably never suit her.  She was making 
the most of her time with the LNH, but made no secret about her 
intention to leave the superheroing organisation when she had learnt all 
she could and then go back to making preparations for college.  At least 
she took the exercise seriously enough that she had gone to the trouble 
of choosing a unique codename.
    She said, "Daikaiju comes from the Japanese words roughly 
translating as 'giant monster'.  There have always been some giant 
monsters about; Fin Fanfic Foom is supposed to have been around for 
millennia.  But there's been an increase in the number a daikaiju 
appearing in the Ame.rec.an midwest over the past decade as some of the 
hakemon destabilise and grow to giant size."
     Very Big Boy nodded.  "Which brings us the hakemon, doesn't it?  
Anyone else want to bring us up to date on them?"
     A man in his late thirties, dressed in slacks and pullover, raised 
his hand.  Very Big Boy knew him to be a computer technician with minor 
telekinesis from North Caroli.net with the codename of Nope Guy 2453.  
     "Hakemon are the 'hackable monsters'.  They're the cybernetic 
animals with superpowers that started showing up in the mid-west in the 
late 1990s.  Kids like to adopt them and train them to fight each 
other."  He frowned briefly as a cynical part of his mind noted the 
possible similarities to the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act, then 
dismissed the thought.  The NRAct may be onerous, but the fact that the 
Legion had an opt-out at the end meant that they were hardly being 
groomed for the type of bear-baiting and cock-fighting that the hakemon 
trainers had recreated.  Nope Guy continued on, pretending that his 
pause had been because he was searching his memory, "The hakemon were 
supposed to have been early experiments on animals in creating super-
powers by the Century Pact, who later moved on to creating superhuman 
agents.  And then later the Pact turned out to have been a front for a 
scheme by Acton Lord all along."  [_Dvandom Force_ #97-100 and #83-84 
respectively.  Well, the public *thinks* it was a scheme by Acton Lord, 
anyway - Footnote Girl]
     "And that's the crux of the matter," summarised Very Big Boy.  "The 
hakemon were early attempts at the nanotech creation of cybernetic 
superpowers.  Usually as they grow more powerful they develop along set 
patterns: the mouse-like picochu typically transforms into a vichu, for 
example.  But their net.amorphosis isn't always stable, and sometimes 
they can grow into almost anything.  Including, of course, giant 
monsters," he said, gesturing at the cage with the puppy.  "This fellow 
probably started out as a grow.lisp.
     "Now, I'll check with the National Guard to make sure they have 
everything under control here, and then we'll call wReamhack and have 
him transport us across to Mons.dir Island, and you can have a look at 
what the release program is like."
Character Credits:
  Hakemon created by Dave Van Domelen.
  Very Big Boy created by Saxon Brenton.  Not reserved, but please 
ask before making any drastic or permanent changes.
  The Nope Lads and Lasses concept, and all such characters depicted 
here, are given over to public domain.
  The grow.lisp (hakemon variant of a growlithe) thanks to Jamas Enright.
Author's Notes:
     This post was originally a single scene in a story called 'Funky 
Monkeys' which has super-gorilla Krodd as the villain.  However, even 
allowing for the fact that 'Funky Monkeys' was conceived as a two 
parter, the story has grown too long, so I've reworked the daikaiju 
field trip into a stand alone episode.
     The opening lines of the advertisement were lifted from a similar 
spoof advertisement for superhero recruitment in the _City Of Heroes_ 
online game setting.
     And now another character roster entry.  Note that the concept of 
'doesn't matter' (as distinct from normal matter, anti-matter, or even 
strange matter) is one inspired from the _GURPS Illuminated University_ 
sourcebook, and which I've tweaked as one possible semi-plausible-under-
real-physics handwave for why size changers might not be subject to the 
limitations of the cube-square law.  Of course, theoretically the dark 
matter that astronomers are currently so interested in could be a flavour 
of doesn't matter which is affected by gravity but is transparent to 
electromagnetism, so that it is invisible because photons don't interact 
with it.
NAME: Very Big Boy
  REAL NAME: Donald (Don) Scowie
  TYPE: Not reserved.
  CREATED BY: Saxon Brenton
  POWERS: Can grow to giant size.
  FIRST APPEARANCE: (As Don Scowie) _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #46 ; 
    (AS Very Big Boy) _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #50
  ADD NOTES: Gained powers in a nuclear explosion.  His hair turns 
    'radioactive green' when at giant size.  When he changes size he 
    draws extra mass from an extradimensional source (as per the first 
    law of Marvel physics: When in doubt, invoke another dimension).  
    Typically the extra mass is a form of doesn't matter which is 
    transparent to gravity but not to the other fundamental forces of 
    electromagnetism, the nuclear weak or nuclear strong force, meaning 
    that he may gain several tons of extra mass but still keep only 
    his normal weight.
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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