HCC/LNH20: "Coming to Grief" 24 Minute Challenge

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at eyrie.org
Fri Dec 30 10:34:05 PST 2011

                              "Coming To Grief"
               A High Concept Challenge 24-Minute Story in the
            LNH20 (Legion of Net.Heroes 20th Anniversary) universe
                     copyright 2011 by Dave Van Domelen


     I knew things were going wrong when my headset pinged me to say I had 24
minutes of air left before I'd have to start breathing the crap floating
around Netropolis.  And even though I was still just a naive kid, I knew that
24 minutes meant time spent just hanging out, not time spent fighting the
blotchy-skinned technozombies roaming the streets.
     Some mad science guy had ripped off the idea from some 80s cartoon,
setting up gas generators around the city that turned everyone into mindless
drones obedient to his commands.  Seemed like the perfect sort of case for
Quester, right?  Lots of disposable minions to fight through...although I was
using beanbag rounds and a shock baton back then...and the promise of a boss
fight at the end.
     Problem was, I wasn't getting much in the way of drops off the zombified
citizens.  Ammo packs, some health bars, but nothing that could beat a boss.
Oh, and no air tanks either.
     Back then, the only thing my power was good for was getting scenario-
appropriate drops off defeated foes, y'see.  If I was careful, I usually
found what I needed before facing the main boss, but I teamed up with a bunch
of other teenaged heroes as backup, just in case I was left short.  Buncha
losers, y'ask me.  But I was a loser then too.  I hear some whiny punk in
Canada is running around with the same powerset these days, but he only uses
it ironically.  Whatever the frag THAT means.
     Anyway, the zombies went down too easy, and I wasn't finding anything
tough enough to give me a good drop.  Turns out I was in the wrong part of
town, the Saviors of the Net were getting all the good expees off the mad
scientist and his main lieutenants.
     Way too soon, the air ran out, and I went all zomb myself.  I came to a
while later, and my teammates told me the Saviors had blown up the generators
and saved the day.  And I'd somehow lost my pants while wandering around with
a chemically induced blackout.  Since I wasn't of legal drinking age yet,
this was a new experience for me, and a mortifying one.
     Quester died that day, metaphorically.  I realized the real problem was
that I was letting the badguys get all their stuff set up, summon their
minions, all that.  I was going in when they were ready for me, so of course
I ended up blacked out and pantsless!  I needed to figure out where they'd be
setting up and take them down before they were ready.
     So I ditched the loser brigade, stopped using wussy non-lethal weaponry,
and became the Spawn Camper, taking out villainy before it finished zoning
in.  It worked pretty well for me, too, I had a pretty bad rep by the time it
all came crashing down.
     (Interesting tale.  And when it came crashing down?)
     The fscking Killfile, yeah.  I stopped getting any good drops, just
coins.  I had to flee to South Korea to hide from the few enemies I'd left
alive, since a lot of them were regular unpowered crimelords who weren't
exactly slowed down by the Killfile.  Beating up street punks for coins paid
the rent, but being the Gold Farmer wasn't exactly what I wanted to do with
my life.
     (But the Killfile has been down for a while now.  Why didn't you go back
to your old life as the Spawn Camper?)
     Eh.  Been gone too long, and frankly what do I care about stopping the
bad guys?  The daily grind may be boring, but I don't end up zombified and
pantsless.  Let the n00bs do the hard work now.
     (So, you don't want to be anything more than a bottom-feeder now?  How
     Hey, I didn't say that.  But I burned too many bridges as the Spawn
Camper, some of my old former friends now run this new Legion of Net.Heroes
thing, smug bastards.  Why would I want to join that, even assuming they'd
have me?  And I might be a lot stronger now than when I was Questor, but
starting my own group again is too much like grinding.  And it doesn't pay as
     (I didn't say you had to be a net.hero.  Why not play the other side of
the fence?  I could arrange it so that you need not fear long term captivity,
and all you'll have to do in exchange is devote some of your efforts to
causing a particular net.hero some problems.  I don't even ask you kill her,
just make life unpleasant, teach her the lessons you learned, that being a
shiny happy hero is a chump's game.)
     Griefing, eh?  Yyyyeah, I think I can do that.  Tell me more about this


Author's Notes:

     Actual story written in 18 minutes, but I spent a few minutes in the
shower roughing out ideas, plus a minute or so on this note.  Still, I figure
it gets in under the wire in spirit.
     The 80s cartoon being ripped off is Spiral Zone, one of my favorite 80s
kidvid programs.  Spawn Camping is a practice in online games where you wait
someplace where a particular enemy (or other player) will appear ("spawn") so
you can kill them right away.  It often involves letting other players do the
work required to make the enemy spawn, then stealing their reward.  Spawn
Campers are not highly thought of, plus cross that over with McFarlane's
Spawn for a dark vigilante who steals kills from other heroes.  ;)  The whiny
Canadian is a reference to Scott Pilgrim.
     The speaker in parentheses shouldn't be too hard to figure out, yes?

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