LNH: 58.5 #42 Life, the Looniverse, and Everything

Lalo Martins lalo.martins at gmail.com
Sun May 25 00:39:46 PDT 2008

Yesterday, Cannon Fodder and the New Misfits stopped a Xinerama
Brother from imploding the Looniverse.  In the weeks before
that, they dismantled the Crime Empire, the largest criminal
organization their world has ever seen, and *that* was after
repelling an invasion from the Evilverse.

You'd imagine they'd be very busy now tapping each other in the
back, wouldn't you?

But the work of a net.hero never ends.  The Xinerama Brotherhood
is still out there somewhere, and they will inevitably attack
again.  The Ultimate Gnab, the terrible Evilverse weapon which
the Xinerama intended to use, was stolen by a cloaked figure
which we're assuming to be the Time Crapper, self-proclaimed
mortal enemy of the New Misfits.  (Yeah, go figure.  We don't
know why either.)  And, worst of all, Pantra decided it would be
fun to stick around.  OUCH, watch those claws!


Who Cares Studios and Blue Light Productions
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                   All Along The Watchtowel

               (a Towel Day 2008 special issue)

                       by Lalo Martins



As the New Misfits (Pantra in tow) were getting out of the
Mystic Bandwagon, in the LNHQ parking bay, they could see Cannon
Fodder walking into the bay, a red towel around his neck.

"Hey Fodder", waved Pantra.

"Hey kids", he waved.

"Going somewhere?", Bonnie asked.

"Yeah.  I'm taking a Net.Thingie.  Gonna be away for a few days,
trying to locate the universe the Xinerama Brotherhood uses as
their HQ.  I think I have a few clues I can follow."

"Why a Net.Thingie?", asked Sammy.  "Wouldn't the Secretary Box
be faster, cheaper, and easier?"

"The Secretary Box is powered mostly by drama, so it tends to
always open the exit tunnel where there are witnesses or
bystanders.  With the Net.Thingie I can be more discreet."

"I suppose", Bonnie said.  "But why the towel?"

"Are you kidding?  If you're dimension-hopping, road-tripping,
or anything remotely like that, you have to know where your
towel is!  Everybody knows that!"

"Say what?  That's--"  But she stopped herself as most of her
teammates produced a towel (black, in Blackbird's case) from
their trenchcoats.  "Oh.  Of course.  I guess I should carry one
as well then."

Pantra pouted.  "I never owned my own towel!  Maybe I should
steal one next time I'm in a hotel..."


And in the White House, President Hexadecimal Luthor was fuming
over the footage of destruction from the battle against the
Xinerama Brother.

"That is completely unacceptable", he roared to nobody in
particular, slamming his fist on the table.

"Apparently--", said the voice of Lieutenant Drake from the
speakers.  She walked to somewhere in front of the cameras, so
that the people in Washing.net.on[*] could see her on the
screens.  "-- only five of the combatants involved were
actually affiliated to the LNH.  Six if we count the kiwi,
Howie K.  Oh, and then there were a few robot duplicates, and

[* Or whatever is the right spelling.  You humans and your silly
city names, it drives me mad. -- Footnote Cybergirl]

"Careful, Lieutenant.  The existence of the duplicates is still
confidential.  This line is secure, but we don't want anybody
overhearing you."

"Of course, sir."  She fidgeted nervously with her uniform.
"Anyway."  She looked intently at the camera.  "My point was,
most of the combatants didn't have the necessary training.  And
apparently, those who did failed to take leadership.  In fact--"
and she moved conspiratorially towards the camera "-- I heard we
were only saved by the intervention of a net.villain."

"Unacceptable", repeated the President.  "When push comes to
shove, and I have it on good authority that it will very soon,
we can't entrust our survival to this kind of chance.  We need
to make sure those kids have training--"

Doctor Valkiria Jogging intervened.  "We could make PANIC
training mandatory for net.ahumans.  Or even LNH training, if we
could have some sort of oversight."

"That would be ideal", Hex nodded, "but the Congress would never
approve it.  I need an excuse."

"But in the meanwhile", said Jogging, "I don't suppose anyone,
even the liberal media, would cause trouble if we force-
recruited those New Misfits.  They've been in trouble way too
many times recently, and most of them don't even exist
officially... I'm sure we can--"

"Yes", he said.  "That works.  Lieutenant Blake, you're on the
case.  Bring me the New Misfits."


Splash page: Pantra (towel tucked in pants) leaps off the
rooftop towards the reader.  The catgirl's face is set in a
snarl of furious concentration.  Her hands are spread wide in
preparation for her attack.  And her thoughts scream:
.oO( No claws!  For frakssake, no fsking claws! )

Her target: a flock of pigeons.  The next panel runs along the
top of the second page and shows Pantra leaping, bounding,
vaulting and somersaulting through the Net.ropolis cityscape in
a blur of speed lines and afterimages.  Normally this sort of
acrobatic stunt would not be difficult for her.

.oO( One... Two... Three... Four... ) counted Pantra.

The fact that she was doing it one handed as she grabbed pigeons
out of the sky raised the level of difficulty somewhat.

.oO( Five... Six... Seven... )

"Go girl, go!," called Ripping Dancer from the street below.

.oO( Eight... Nine... )

The catgirl did an aerial dance from streetlight to flagpole to
window sill, pausing for only a fraction of a second at each in
order to briefly reorient herself and prepare for her next leap.
Then she was in the air again, and for the next second or so she
would have one hand free to reach out and swat a pigeon -
briefly stunning the bird - and stuff it under her other arm
with the rest of her haul.

She reached out with her free hand to bag another bird.
.oO( Ten... ) she thought to herself, just as a not quite fully
stunned pigeon wriggled in panic and then set the others to
trying to flap as well.

"Shit!" yelled Pantra as the whole squirming flock broke loose
and flew away.  In frustration she swiped at one of the flying
vermin with a clawed hand, killing it and splattering blood.
And that was a big mistake.

Blood splattered across Pantra's hand and forearm, and she
screamed in pain as the acidic body fluid burnt into her
fur-covered skin.  She was distracted for a fatal half second,
became unbalanced and missed her intended landing.  She began to
fall towards the traffic below.

"Hol-lee cow!" exclaimed the taxi driver as he registered that
someone was about to hit the street in front of him, and stamped
hard on his brakes and skidded to a halt.

But Pantra was not one of the premier gymnasts in the Looniearth
for nothing.  At the last second she tucked and rolled,
positioning herself to land and bounce from the hood of the
taxi.  The pent up energy of her fall uncoiled from the muscles
of her feline legs, and she quickly leapt from taxi to car to
car to bus to sidewalk, where Ripping Dancer was already
breaking out some alkaline medi-foam.

"Trying to beat your personal best number of captures may not
have been such a good idea, after all," Ripping Dancer
commiserated as she applied the foam and then washed the scar
with water.

"Maybe," agreed Pantra, wincing.  "A lot of fun, but I suppose
there has to be a point of diminishing returns somewhere."  As
soon as Ripping Dancer had finished washing her forearm free of
the acidic pigeon blood she inspected her wound.  "#$^% nasty."

"I'm not finished yet," said Ripping Dancer, and from the
medical kit brought forth something that looked like a hand
mirror, albeit one decorated with Kirbytech.

"What's that?"

"Something for the burn.  I want to keep it from getting
infected before you get back to the LNHHQ and see Dr
Bad-Bedside-Manner," Ripping Dancer answered.  "Fortunately
we've got this portable Urple Ray[*] healing unit on hand."  She
clicked a switch and the device began to glow with a
particularly lurid violet light, which was then used to briefly
bathe the wound.

[* A random browse of fandom terms unearthed the fact that
'urple' is "a vile mix of pink and purple [...] often used to
mock the overall color combination of a Mary Sue".  It can also
replace the 'purple' in 'purple prose' to indicate writing that
is even more overwrought than normal.  It stands to reason that
the Legion's Urple Ray healing technology is just like the
Purple Ray used by the Amazons in the Wonder Woman comics,
except that it's an even more eye watering shade of purple. --
Footnote Cybergirl]

"Sweet," said Pantra as she examined the wound for a second
time.  The scarring was much reduced, and there was even some
fur beginning to grow again.  She licked the area, and seemed
pleased with whatever she found.

Ripping Dancer grinned.  "Yeah.  It's amazingly cool some of the
stuff we get to play with."

"You got that right," smiled Pantra warmly.  Very warmly.  She
slinked closer.  "I appreciate the help."

"Ah," said Dancer, a bit bemused and very tongue tied by the
blatant sexuality of the intrusion into her person space.

"You know, I could show you some of that appreciation,"
suggested Pantra with a coy look (and definitely not a leer).

Ripping Dancer felt herself blushing, and an uncharitable and
highly idiosyncratic thought rose in her mind, .oO( Dammit, I
thought I'd be over being the one at the receiving end of this
sort of crap when I agreed to take these powers and join the
Legion. )  Out loud she said, "No.  No thank you.  I'm kind of
dating Fearless Leader, I mean when he comes back, and I don't
want to...  I just won't, okay."

Pantra looked amused.  Well, she would, Dancer realised with a
touch of irritation; she was a cat, and that meant she toyed
with things.  Pantra said, "Yeah, I kind of have my eye on
someone too.  But there's no harm in a bit of fun on the side,
is there?"

"I'm going to keep my loyalty to my man," Ripping Dancer said.

Hypocrite! went the uncharitable thought.  Your loyalty to
Fearless Leader was so that you can get close enough to betray

Oblivious to the Dancer's recriminations, Pantra shrugged.
"Okay then."  And with a fickle swish of her tail it was
forgotten.  She looked up to the sky, then over to the bird
cages where some fifty or so captured pigeons were cooing to
themselves.  "It's getting late.  I suppose we may as well get
these off to the ASPCA."

"Mmmm," Ripping Dancer nodded.  As the two women began to pack
up the cages, she said, "It's not like the Legion hasn't been
rounding up pigeons for the city for a while now."

"Yeah.  And'll still be rounding up the little bastards for a
while yet," smirked Pantra.  Then she said, "You know, the one
thing I can't understand is what Dr. F thought he was doing when
he bred a subspecies of pigeon that has caustic blood[*].  I
mean, okay, they have acidic droppings that are slowly eroding
away the stone and concrete of the city's buildings.  But that
doesn't sound like big, shit awesome flash-and-bang supervillain
scheme to me."

[* Acid pigeons were a monster created by Johnathan Richards for
the Dungeons and Dragons RPG (published in the 1998 _Dragon
Annual_).  The ones in the Looniverse are not the same as their
originals, since they were created by a mad scientist
supervillain rather than a wizard.  Nevertheless the similarity
of their effects on civic architecture is striking. -- Footnote

"Ah, I think I can help there," said Ripping Dancer.  "I read
Kid Recap's report on what happened.  Apparently the idea was to
breed a type of kamikaze pigeon that would splat itself against
targets, which is a lot more destructive because the blood and
gore is a lot more acidic than the droppings."

"So what happened?"

"Dr. F didn't stop to think if the mind control implants would
be dissolved by the caustic body fluids."

The catgirl threw back her head and laughed.  "Oh, you've got to
be shitting me!"

"Nope," Ripping Dancer chuckled.  Then she grew sober.  "So his
plan failed and the pigeons got loose and started breeding with
the regular flocks of birds.  And now it's gotten to the stage
where the city has to ask the Legion to round up all these
fearsomely dangerous genetically engineered pigeons before they
dissolve away the features of every single statue in the city."
They finished packing away the last of the crates of birds onto
the flight.thingy.  Ripping Dancer sighed and shook her head.
"Never a dull moment."

[ This scene brought to you by Saxon Brenton ]


And elsewhere, Meredith Samuels turned off his communication
device and addressed his teammates.

"Mole is in place and not drawing any attention.  Commencing
search for the Time Crapper, under the assumption that he has
the Ultimate Gnab and intends to use it."

"Very good", said the team's co-leader.  She licked her lips.
"When their guard is down, we strike.  Revenge will be ours...
and if we play it well, so will the Ultimate Gnab!"


 Maisie Colbert        Pantra                 May B.'s
 Godd Fodder           Cannon Fodder          wReam's (special
                                              thanks to Dvandom)
 Bonnie Chique         Bandwagon Chick        Sue Clark's
 Meredith Samuels      Analytic               mine
 Hexadecimal Luthor    the POTUS              Chris Hare's
 Lieutenant Francesca  Dramatic Pause Lass    mine
   "Fran" Blake
 Doctor Valkiria Jogging      --              mine/public domain
 Tara Shreds           Ripping Dancer         Arthur Spitzer's

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