[LNH] Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #29
saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 29 14:16:02 PDT 2009
[LNH] Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #29
Non-Acraphobe Content Warning: This story contains no actual instances of sex.
Desperately sprinting in for a last minute posting in June:
| |-| \ #29
| |-|  / 'One Last Fling'
| | |  egion of \ (Intermezzo - Act 5)
| | | __     / (A Beige Countdown tie-in)
| | | [___][ \et.__eroes \
| | | \ ] [ __ ] / written by and copyright 2009
| |-|     \ Saxon Brenton
| | Cover shows a wall with a poster covering most of it. The poster
| | has a number of noble, righteous and wholesome looking superheroes
| | standing in a semi-circle, facing towards the reader with their arms
| | folded. By contrast, standing in front of the poster is a dangerous
| | and insane looking man dressed in leather and armed with a weed wacker,
| | and wearing a paper bag over his head, upon which is drawn in purple
|_| crayon a frowning 'smiley' face poking its tongue out.
[There is no roster of Silver Age-style mug-shots in little circles running
down the side of the page.]
If Brad had been honest with himself he would have admitted that it was
his obsession with yiffy sex that had gotten him into this mess. However,
that sort of introspection was not in Brad's nature - and not just because
he was a teenaged boy with a bad case of hormonally driven t3h st00pid.
That morning as Brad crawled out of bed his first and only concern was
his hangover. He groped his way to the bathroom, screwing his eyes up
against the light. There was an indecent amount of sunshine about, even
for mid-morning. Brad knew there was a reason he hated Saturdays.
He gulped down some water from the wash basin, took some headache
tablets and washed them down with more water, then proceeded to splash
cold liquid over his face and tried to rub some of the grunge out of his
eyes. It was only then that he realised that his hands were still paws:
fur covered and clawed. He held up his hands and stared at the furry
mitts, blearily but with incredulity, and then moaned, "Awww, crap!" He
sagged down on the edge of the bathtub and felt hard done by. The dog
boy juice hadn't worn off yet.
Sh!t. He must've bought a bad batch of the stuff. Damn Steve. He
was supposed to be *reliable* with the stuff that he dealt.
Acute paranoia suddenly gripped Brad. Now as not a good time to be
wandering around furry. Friday evening in the city? No problem. There
were more than enough mutants and mutates and extraterrestrials and
werewolves and toons and God only knew what else living around the Mutant
Town area of Net.ropolis that no one batted an eyelid when you went
partying in fur, and it made underage drinking a whole lot easier as well.
But out in the suburbs? The hopelessly middle class, two point five
kids and a mortgage suburbs? Sh!t. His parents would ground him forever.
Or at least for a month, which was just as long when you were young and
had a full social calendar for the next half year.
Brad gingerly poked his head out the door and listened. While his
senses as a dog boy weren't superhuman by any means, they were better than
human. Normally. Just at the moment he was still a bit under the weather.
Okay, a lot of a bit under the weather.
Anyway, there was no one in sight, and he could hear his mother
moving around downstairs. He had no idea where his Dad would be. Didn't
he take his younger brother to little athletics or something on Saturdays?
Gah! How was Brad supposed to keep all this stuff straight?
He crept to his bedroom, grabbed his cell phone and punched the
autodial for Steve. The dealer had to have stuff to prematurely end a
transformation. Had to have, right?
"Come on, come on," muttered Brad as the number rang and rang again.
After fifteen rings Brad gave up. He had to go into town to Steve's place
in person. At the very least he could hang around in the city and not
look out of place while doing so. Out here in the suburbs that just wasn't
possible. The suburbs didn't understand individuality, and that was a
burden for a teenager. The suburbs just didn't understand what it was
like, being non-mutated, middle class and white.
How to get to the city though? Ask if he could take the car? Fsk!
Car was at little athletics. No, wait, maybe ring Marvin and borrow some
wheels. Yeah, that was the ticket.
A hasty phone call later and Brad had made the arrangement, then
dressed with a hooded sweatshirt to cover as much of his muzzled face as
he could manage. Then he made his way downstairs as quietly as he could,
making great efforts not to alert his remaining parent, and completely
failing to take account of mother's intuition.
"Brad, is that you?" she called from the kitchen.
Brad froze on the stairs. "Uh, yeah Mom."
A pause. "Are you all right? You sound a bit chesty."
Damn the impressively muscled dog boy chest and the deep and sexy
voice it produced, cursed Brad. "I've got a bit of a cold, so I'm just
going out to get something for it," he half lied.
"You shouldn't have gone out last night then," she said in a weary
tone. "Just make sure you rug up, and come back straight away."
"Okay," he said, and fled.
It was only seven blocks to Marvin's place. Brad ran over there and
was only mildly winded when he arrived. And the hangover was receding
somewhat too. Hah, the furry juice might not give a superhuman level of
fitness like some of the full-on supersoldier serums, but he hardly
needed something as expensive as One Hour Wonder to make a cross-suburb
dash in only a few minutes.
Marvin was waiting for him in a backyard littered with mechanical
parts. Marvin's obsessive hobby was tinkering with cars and bikes and
engines in general, including some of the more esoteric aspects that
weren't usually dealt with in high school auto shop classes. He waved
Brad over. "Man, sucks about the juice," he said.
"You don't know the half of it dude."
"Anyway, here's some wheels to get you into town," Marvin said,
gesturing to a motorbike that was conspicuous by its lack of wheels.
"A flier, huh?" said Brad, flipping back the hood of his sweatshirt.
"Cool man. I owe you one."
"Hold, lawbreaker!" declared a stranger's voice. "I demand that you
show your Net.ahuman Registration papers, or face the wrath of... the
WEED WACKER VIGILANTE!"
"Oh ho. I don't see any paperwork," sneered the leather clad
newcomer armed with a whipper snipper. "Trying to hide out in the
suburbs won't do you any good. Not while the WEED WACKER VIGILANTE
stands ever ready."
Brad really didn't have time for this. "Get the Hell out of here or
I'll rip your arms off," he growled, and took threatening step forward.
Technically sub-super or not, Brad would still be hot enough to send this
posturing dipstick packing. And besides, how much trouble could a guy
with a paper bag over his head be?
"Ha ha," laughed the Weed Wacker Vigilante with a malicious,
child-like delight. Zip zip, went the garden trimming tool as the
costumed loon used what were clearly superhuman skills to trim off small
but precise tufts of Brad's fur in a deliberately intimidating manner.
Brad jumped back with a frightened yip, suddenly realising that being
sub-super also meant being merely top level human. He dodged to one side,
rolled, hopped on the bike and flew off. The Weed Wacker Vigilante pushed
the gaping Marvin aside, grabbed another motorbike from among the truly
amazing amount and variety of stuff that Marvin had about his backyard,
and was immediately in pursuit.
Brad piloted straight towards the distant skyscrapers of the central
business district. "Give up miscreant!" a voice called. The dog boy
threw a startled look over his shoulder and saw the Weed Wacker Vigilante
behind him. The self appointed inspector of the NRAct was flying in a way
that was extravagant to say the least. He was standing on the seat of the
bike, waving his weed wacker about in a swashbuckling fashion, all the
while steering not with his hands or even his knees, but with his feet.
"You cannot escape to righteous oversight of... the WEED WACKER VIGILANTE!"
Brad gunned the throttle and pulled ahead.
They crossed the harbour about halfway between the Emperor Norton
and McCoskey Bridges. Brad briefly considered veering towards one or
the other and trying to loose his pursuer by dodging in and around
bridge pylons, but thought the better of it when he noticed that he had
under a quarter tank of gas. Not really enough to risk playing dodgems
out over open water, and possibly not even among the buildings once he
reached dry land.
He glanced over his shoulder again. The Weed Wacker Vigilante was
catching up with him. It seemed that he'd momentarily given up riding
as though he were standing upright on the back of a trick trained horse,
and had decide to reduce his wind resistance by actually sitting down
and *not* waving his gardening tool about. Brad felt another stab of
panic and gunned the motor even more.
Once Brad reached the city side of the harbour he started ducking
and weaving around the streets and alleys, sufficient fuel or not. This
did little good since the Weed Wacker Vigilante easily kept up.
Time and petrol began to run out. Brad kept glancing at the fuel
gauge, watching as it dropped relentlessly towards empty. Unfortunately
he couldn't gain enough lead to do anything practical about the situation.
In the end the gas ran out and he had to ditch the bike. As he flew
down one alley he jumped off, dropping and aiming for one of those
ubiquitous washing lines stung between buildings to slow his fall, then
made a similar series of punctuated drops to the ground. Good old dog
boy juice. He couldn't have done *that* if he was still wearing the
shape of a pimply faced seventeen year old homo sapien. The bike crashed
into the ground further along the alley and was a right-off.
The Weed Wacker Vigilante was briefly surprised as he overshot the
bailing dog boy, and then jumped off his own flying bike. His machine
must still have had quite a bit of gasoline in it, since it continued on
at the same level of flight to the T-junction at the end of the street,
collided with a building and exploding in a flower of flame and smoke.
Brad saw none of this. He was far too focused on reaching the ground
without going splat. As he dropped he put in extra effort to focus past
the lingering tightness behind his eyes and reached out to grab the next
washing line. Which snapped under his weight and sent him swinging through
Inside was a congregation being led by the Sisters of Perpetual
Indulgence, who were practising the new and controversial practice of
vicarious baptism of the dead. After biographical research of deceased
bigots from ultra-conservative Jewish, Christian and Muslim denominations,
they were baptising them so that they could be gay in the afterlife.
Because, well, you know: ultra-conservative Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Sister Abby Normal was just about to immerse a participant in the
baptismal font when a dog-headed man crashed through the window and tumbled
across the room. Sister Abby, the proxy baptee and the font were all
knocked to the floor, while the interloper ended up sprawled against the
far wall. Barely had the nun had time to crawl to his knees and start to
demand, "What...!?" before the dog boy was up and running out the door, and
another figure - this one dressed in leathers and with paper bag over
his head - jumped through the window. "Don't worry citizen!" declaimed
the second figure as it waved his whipper snipper about in an overly
dramatic manner, "The WEED WACKER VIGILANTE shall capture that
malefactor!" before sprinting out.
Mind white with adrenalin and fear, Brad sprinted down the street,
leapt a fence and continued on across a park. He had to get away. How to
get away? Keep moving! Don't stop! Stopping was death! Speed was king!
And then the dog boy juice finally wore off and his out-of-condition
human body wasn't able to keep up the pace. He tripped and fell face first
into the mud left after the recent rain, and rose spluttering.
"Don't worry citizen! The WEED WACKER VIGILANTE shall capture that
malefactor!" repeated a familiar stentorian voice as he raced past - actually,
over - the prone and mud-covered teenager. Brad was knocked down into the
slush again by the vigilante's passage. He raised his head and blinked
owlishly through the mud at the retreating figure. Then he prised himself
out of the puddle and swayed across to a bench, giddy with relief and
Sh!t! That did it. No more dog boy juice. No more furry metamorphics
of any kind. No more drugs, no more getting enhanced abilities, no more
getting even vaguely close to the superhuman scene. Done. Over. Finished
with. It was too damn dangerous, and more trouble than it was worth, and
even the date with Kathy next week wasn't going to enough to...
Hot date with Kathy.
Mmm. Kathy who liked to go furry as a cat girl. Who could flounce
her tail in the most delicious way, and whose fur had that wonderful
violent tint over her naked torso...
Well, maybe one more go of the dog boy juice. One last fling.
This story is Rob Roger's fault. No, really. IIRC in an email I once
tried to sum up the eclectic nature of the Looniverse with all the types of
weirdos living in Net.ropolis, by giving an example that you couldn't tell
whether that hairy dog guy over there was a werewolf, a canid alien, a
mutant, or someone who'd taken a drug to turn into a dog boy as part of
the furry scene. Rob advised me that I really didn't want to go there (and
to explain obligingly supplied a link to a description of how sad furrys
were). Which means I just *had* to write this story. QED.
The Weed Wacker Vigilante is, of course, based on the Chainsaw
Vigilante from the _Tick_ comics. I've never read one of his appearances,
so the WWV's speech patterns are probably nowhere near similar. The notion
of homosexuals retroactively baptising religious bigots to be gay in the
afterlife was lifted from PZ Meyer's Pharyngula science blog.
As the pun in the story title hints, I think this is likely to be the
last of my Beige Countdown tie-ins for LNHv2. That said, simply browsing
through the various online discussions on how Marvel's _Civil War_ event
could have been done 'properly' has produced many more ideas than could be
used or even mentioned in passing in this arc of stories. I may touch on
some more of them when (if) _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ catches up to Beige
Countdown in continuity. That should be around the year 2023, I guess...
A few observations on comic book intra-company crossovers. I recall
when Kurt Busiek was finishing off his run on _Avengers_ and set up the
sprawling story arc of the 'Kang Dynasty', clearly with the intention of
setting up a situation which other writers could also use. However the
'Kang Dynasty' was not made part of some mandatory company wide event, and
everybody else ignored it. Even though it depicted a world-wide war that
included Kang wiping out the population of Washington DC with a neutron
bomb and winning the surrender of the planet. Admittedly, this was back
in 2001-2002, and it was probably overshadowed by the events of
September 11. But even when use of a crossover event is mandatory many
comics simply deal with the imposition of the event plot in a perfunctory
manner before returning to their own concerns.
One notable exception is Peter David, who took the mandated events
of the so-called Decimation in the X-Books and actually explored the
implications in his _X-Factor_ comic. It was this example that I was
thinking of when I started writing the Intermezzo stories. Some of it
worked, some of it didn't, and some of it could have been benefitted from
further stories to explore the ideas properly, but most of it was a lot
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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