LNH/Contest: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #45

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 30 18:38:09 PDT 2011

[LNH][Contest] Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #45
___  ___________________________
| |-|                           \  
| |-| []                        /                #45
| | | [] egion of               \  'When Nerds Do Mythology: A Farce'
| | | []__ [] []   []  []       / (Part of High Concept Challenge #23)
| | | [___][ \[]et.[]__[]eroes  \  
| | |      []\ ]   [ __ ]       /    written by and copyright 2011
| |-|      [] []   []  []       \           Saxon Brenton
| |-|___________________________/
| | 
| | 
| | 
| | Cover shows Retcon Lad holding the decapitated and petrified 
| | head of Medusa in both hands.  He is looking at it (without ill 
| | effect to himself), with an ambiguous expression on his face.
| | 
| | 
     In an isolated but comfortably appointed villa, back in the age of 
ancient-overlapping-with-mythological Greece, Medusa sat brooding.  She 
was rightly angry about being betrayed by the goddess Athena, but 
bitterness had cankered her soul.  She was now a monster, and not just 
because of her appearance.
     Medusa heard voices from outside her house...
     "Well, I have no idea where we are," went one, this voice being male.
     "Or *when*, either," said a second male voice.
     "Heck, I don't even know where this fits into our continuity," said 
a female voice.
     "We have continuity*?" said the first voice, pretending to be 
pleasantly surprised.  "Cool!"
     "Retcon Lad, that joke was old when they used it back in the 
Retcon Hour crossover," sighed the female voice, which belonged to Fourth 
Wall Lass.
     "Well, there you go then.  We do know where this story fits in 
continuity.  It's set sometime after Retcon Hour."
     "GAH-roan," groaned the second male.  "That's not helpful, and you 
know it."
     "Okay, okay.  Joking aside ARAK, you guys just wait here, and I'll 
go and ask at that house."
     Anal-retentive Archive Kid folded his arms.  "And what makes you 
think they'll even know what you’re talking about?"
     Retcon Lad threw his arms up in the air.  "Oh for...  Look, do we 
live in a parody universe or don't we?  I'll just yell, 'The year, man!  
What year is this!?', and then the rules of comedy will ensure that 
they'll be able to tell us exactly when and where we are, and probably 
even provide a whole mess of other useful pieces of information."
     ARAK raised an eyebrow.  "You just be careful.  They'll probably 
turn out to be a quest-giver, or something."
     "Yeah, yeah.  You and your Joseph Campbell-style big words," said 
Retcon Lad, as he wandered over and knocked at the door.
     Medusa opened the door.  Retcon Lad said, "Pardon me, miss, but 
could you please..."  And that was as far as he got before he turned 
to stone.
     Medusa glided past him, intend on finding the other two.  Kill!  
Kill!  KILL!!!  And that was her final mistake, because it never 
occurred to her to make sure that her victim would stay dead, and 
accordingly didn't take any steps to incapacitate him.
     Retcon Lad frowned.  Oh, freaking wonderful, he thought, as he 
recognised Medusa, at least from her description.  The nest-of-
serpents-for-hair was diagnostic, of course, but other indicators were 
the snake-like tongue and tusks, the scaly skin, the golden wings, and 
the claws of metal.  (Now were those claws brass or copper?  He 
couldn't remember.  He'd have to ask Anal-Retentive Archive Kid; no 
doubt he'd know off the top of his head.)
     Irritated now, Retcon Lad decided to invoke his powers and tweak 
what had happened.  It wasn't *just* that he auto-resurrected himself 
every time he got killed.  Now it was the case that he would gain 
immunity from this type of nonsense any time a mythopoeic creature 
tried this sort of crap on him.  Immunity, and the ability the bounce 
back any assault.  He stalked up behind Medusa as she glided forward 
for her next kills, and grabbed her roughly on the shoulders.  As he 
spun her around he growled, "You only get to do that ONCE!" and then 
stared her full in the face.  
     And Medusa - sister of Euryale and Stheno, youngest of the 
gorgons - turned to stone. 
     Retcon Lad glared at her remains.  Then he yelled, "Guys!  "I 
think you're gonna want to come over here."
     Fourth Wall Lass and Anal-Retentive Archive Kid walked over.  
Retcon Lad explained what had happened.  Fourth Wall Lass looked bemused 
by this.  Meanwhile ARAK's expression was...
     Well, do you remember those old Warner Brothers cartoons where the 
school kid Ralph Phillips was always letting his imagination run away 
with him, and just as a new flight of fancy overtook him the corners of 
his mouth would curl upwards in a really goofy smile?  That was the sort 
of expression that Anal-Retentive Archive Kid had on his face.
     Retcon Lad saw this, and said, "No, we are not using a time machine 
to visit the cities of Sodom and Gomorra, twice."
     "Well, darn," said ARAK, apparently not particularly upset by this.  
"I obviously need to work on my poker face."  He ahemed, and looked at 
the others.  "Bit of a problem though.  Killing Medusa was Perseus' job."
     "So?  It's all mythology!" exclaimed an exasperated Retcon Lad.  
"The story tellers will just make up the correct version, never mind 
the facts."
     "Versions, plural, actually," said ARAK.  "So you're right about 
that.  But I mean, what if Perseus turns up?  Right now?  FaWL?" he asked.
     Fourth Wall Lass was ahead of him, already scanning the narrative 
captions. "He's incoming," she informed the two men.  "Flying in from 
that direction," she said, pointing off to the north-west, "Seventy miles 
and closing."
     "Almost certainly on the winged sandals Hermes gave him," ARAK 
added absently as he quickly formulated a plan.  "Okay, here's what 
we're going to do.  Retcon Lad, I'm going to need you to use your powers 
to tweak what will be happening.  Now try this on for size.  Perseus 
isn't going to be looking a Medusa directly because he'll think she's 
still alive and still has the ability to turn people to stone.  He'll 
be using a polished bronze shield as a mirror to look at her indirectly, 
and that won't be anywhere near as good as the silvered glass mirrors 
that we're used to.  If we take the Medusa statue inside, where it's 
darker, and maybe put some pink makeup on her, he probably won't even 
notice that she's not flesh and blood.  The fact that he'll be hyped 
for his big fight scene with her will make him even less likely to 
notice the obvious."  
     "Green makeup," said Fourth Wall Lass.  "Scaly skin, and all."
     "Actually her scales where human flesh pink rather than green," 
said Retcon Lad, "But Perseus wouldn't know any different and will 
probably think in cliches anyway."
     "Fair point," said ARAK.  "In any case, Perseus comes into the 
house, and sees Medusa standing there.  Meanwhile we'll be hiding on the 
other side of the fourth wall to make sure that nothing goes wrong.  
Perseus chops her head off with that adamant sword of his, and flies off 
home to meet Polydectes and along the way rescues Andromeda."  He paused 
and stroked his chin.  "What else needs to be taken care of?"
     "Well obviously the fact that Medusa no longer has the power to 
turn people to stone," pointed out Fourth Wall Lass.
     Retcon Lad shrugged.  "I didn't want her petrifying you two," he 
     Fourth Wall Lass kissed him on the cheek.  "I know.  And it's a 
good sign that on the spur of the moment you thought to neutralise her 
danger like that.
     "She has a point though," said ARAK.  "Perseus is supposed to turn 
Phineus and his army to stone.  Atlas too, as I recall."
     "Well obviously it's Perseus who does it," Fourth Wall Lass said.
     "Well, yeah, he's the one who'll be carrying around the Medusa 
     "No no no.  It'll be Perseus who gets the power to turn people to 
stone," she said.  "Don't you see, we arrange for him to be BITTEN BY A 
     The other two Legionnaires stared at her.  "Cooool!"
     "Okay, okay, that works great as a metaphor," said ARAK excitedly.  
"Obviously a stone statue can't actually bite..."  he paused and looked 
at Retcon Lad.  "You didn't imbue her with any abilities to move, 
did you?"
     "No, she's fully inanimate."
     "Right.  Just checking.  Anyway, Perseus fumbles the head of 
Medusa, and gets a scratch from one of the sharp edges on those 
tusk-like teeth.  By the power of handwavey mumbojumbo he gains the 
power to turn people to stone - but only when he's making a conscious 
effort and only when he's using the head of Medusa."
     "The head will be his Obvious Accessible Foci," said Retcon Lad, 
lapsing into role-playing game jargon.
     "Right.  Anything else?  No?  Then let's get to work."
     The three of them manhandled the statue back inside the house.  
Then Fourth Wall Lass took a battery from her communicator.thingee, 
carefully bashed it open with a rock, then dabbed the contents of the 
battery onto the teeth of Medusa and her snake hair.
     "Uh, lithium isn't radioactive, you know," protested ARAK.
     "Details details," she said dismissively.  "A moment ago you were 
happy to have a scratch work as a metaphor, but now you're complaining 
that I'm not using the exact materials.  Make yourself useful and go 
and find some green paint."
     Perseus arrived at the island off at the end of forever, and from 
the air quickly spotted the houses of the gorgon sisters.  He used the 
helm of invisibility to render himself unseen, and then scouted which 
was the home of the mortal sister, Medusa.  Then he entered her house 
and began using the reflected image in his shield to guide his way.
     He did not have to search far for her.  In the shadows of the main 
room the hero saw a figure, standing and facing towards the door.  Why 
was she standing still?  Did she know that he was coming?  Did she know 
where he was, despite his invisibility?
     Fourth Wall Lass read these concerns in Perseus' thought balloons 
and quickly extemporised.  She opened a small hole in the fourth wall 
and said, "So, you are Perseus, come at the behest of the bitch goddess 
Athena.  I have been warned of your arrival, and now I will destroy 
you...  Uh.  Oh darn, my dress is caught.  Hold on a second..."
     Recognising an opportunity, Perseus sprung forward and chopped off 
Medusa's head.  There was literally a snicker-snack sound effect, and 
the head fell to the floor.
     "Aahh!  You have killed me!" continued Fourth Wall Lass.  "Aahh!  
I am turning to stone!"
      Perseus used the image reflected in his shield to search for the 
head, then scooped it up to dump it into the bag he had with him.  As 
he grasped the head, one of the lithium laced tusks scratched his skin. 
Perseus ignored this and stuffed the head into the bag.
     Meanwhile, ARAK was muttering to himself.  "'snicker-snack?'  
'Snicker-snack!'  What, is that sword of his a vorpal blade or something?"
     Retcon Lad shrugged.  "Don't look at me.  I didn't retcon in 
anything like that."
     Perseus heard these whispers and sprung on guard again.  "Who's 
there?" he demanded, holding his sword at the ready.
     Anal-Retentive Archive Kid acted quickly.  In his best bad horse-
like breigh he said, "It is I, Pegasus, the winged horse, conceived of 
the union of Medusa and Poseidon.  Now that you have cleaved Medusa's 
head from her shoulders, and am birthed.  And now I must away, lest you 
try to use me as a beast of burden as you humans treat all horses."  
Then ARAK quickly gestured for Fourth Wall Lass and made rending 
motions.  "Destroy the roof," he whispered.
     Fourth Wall Lass used her powers to create gaps in the fourth wall 
to rip away some of the support beams in the roof of Medusa's house, 
thereby simulating the departure of a winged horse making a rapid 
departure upwards.  With the remaining ceiling beginning to fall in, 
Perseus made his own hasty exit from the building.  Once outside he 
paused only for long enough to check that he had all of the things he 
needed as part of his quest, and then flew away as well.
     A gap opened in the fourth wall, and the three LNHers stepped 
through and watched him go. 
     "Well, that's that taken care of," said Retcon Lad.  "But we still 
need to get directions."
     "But I'm guessing that it isn't a good idea to hang around here," 
said Forth Wall Lass.  She looked at ARAK and said, "As I recall, 
Medusa's sisters weren't very happy with Perseus over this."
     "You're right," ARAK agreed.  "Come on, let's get out of here."
     They stepped back across the fourth wall, and were gone.
Character credits:
     Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon Lad all 
created by Saxon Brenton.
Author's notes:
     Written for the 23rd high Concept Challenge: Mythrepresentation.
     Dvandom was probably wise in specifying a 'well known' myth, 
since my first reaction was to have the character of Lenny the Squirrel 
(who has the backstory of actually being an angel-like Dreamtime 
creature called a yabon) recite some side event at the corroborree 
during Looniverse's version of 'Why The Skyfather Baiame Turned The Dingo 
Tribe Into Dogs' (I read a lot of Patricia Wrightson novels as a kid, 
and her use of Aboriginal mythology in turn led me to read a lot of that 
as well).  I also briefly considered rehashing the modern Australian war 
myth about 'Simpson, The Man With The Donkey'.
     I was also going to use the LNHY character of Google.mesh to tell 
of why he turned down the amorous advances of the goddess Innana (he knew 
that if he pleased her in bed then he would die when her literal 'fires 
of lust' immolated him, but that if he didn't please her she would grow 
a vagina dentata and bite his guy parts off; a loosing situation for 
him either way) but after re-reading Martin's old _Google.mesh_ series 
I realised that Martin had covered that ground already.
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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