LNH20: Menace #1 (the right one)

Lalo Martins lalo.martins at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 08:11:02 PST 2012

In the US, although communes are more frequently associated with the 70s 
and the hippie and back-to-the-land movements, in reality the country has 
a long history of such communities, and even the back-to-the-land 
movement proper has its roots in the 19th century. Some of these 
communities still thrive to this day, and new ones still get started 

Somewhere in the Northern end of California, not 100 miles from the 
border of Oregon (or 160ish kilometers for those who think in rational 
units), one such thriving commune is the residence of a couple hundred or 
so hippies, neo-pagans, punks, anarchists, neo-tribalists, and... well, 
to be honest, the majority of the members is some combination of two or 
more of those.

Being of the alternative persuasion, these guys don't watch too much TV 
(which is a nice way to say there isn't a single TV set in the commune). 
On the other hand, this being the 21st century, they do have broadband 
internet; there's a few rather capable machines in one of the common 
houses (all running GNU/Linux of course), and many of the members have 
their own laptops and/or smartphones, even a few tablets.

So in that late March morning, as a group was cleaning a field for 
planting, the topic of conversation drifted to recent events, as filtered 
to the community through YouTube and blogs.

"I don't know", said Marion, a feisty ginger Dianic Wicca priestess. 
"They could be dangerous. A group of teenagers with superpowers and no 
training, running around and doing whatever they want?"

"I thought we *stood* for people being allowed to do what they want", 
objected a man in his forties with a pink mohawk and way too many 

"An it harm none, though!"

"Um", began a brown-haired teenager in a trenchcoat, "shouldn't they be 
presumed innocent though? Until proven otherwise?"

"Of course, Daniel", said the priestess. "This isn't about innocence. 
It's more a matter of the danger they might pose, not to mention that 
they've been accused of something, with pretty reasonable evidence, and 
should therefore come before the justice system to make their case."

"I'm happy to see you're comfortable putting this much trust in the 
system", said, somewhat bitterly, a bald pagan-anarchist called Derek.

"The system isn't all bad", said, shyly, a boy known to the community as 
Harry; a bit too short, with nearly-useless stubby arms, people assumed 
he had some developmental disability. He still made himself frequently 
useful; in the effort in question, for example, he walked around kicking 
large rocks out of the field, and carrying water bottles back and forth. 
"I mean, there's certainly *some* good things about it."

This earned him the stink-eye from his friend, whom the commune knew as 
Joan. "No", she said. "Really, really no. The system can burn."

"Amen, sister", said Brent, the older punk, with a smile.

"Are some of them really from the future?", asked Derek, to nobody in 
particular. "How does that even work?"

"So I hear", said Daniel. "The leader girl and--"

"Maybe leader is too strong a word", objected Joan. When she noticed the 
awkward silence and puzzled looks, she hastily added, "Well, they seem 
kind of... chaotic and... self-organized. I mean, from looking at the 
videos. That's all."

"Then there's the guy who's always naked", said Jane, a neo-tribalist in 
her 60s. Then she remembered seeing Marion's coven perform a ritual, and 
clarified, "Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it's a 
little... admirable, I guess, how he does that in public and he doesn't 
seem to be ashamed of it."

"With that body--", started Brent.

"He claims to be an Etruscan god. That's one guy I'd like to have a chat 
with", said Derek.

"Fighting in the nude looks dangerous though", Jane pondered.

"Doesn't the LNH have a guy who fights skyclad too?", Marion asked. 
"Nudist Man or something?"

Of course, the really awkward part of this conversation, for the three 
teens who had only been in the commune for a few days, was that secretly 
they were the *topic* of that conversation. "Joan Wrington" was really 
the rebellious girl geneticist from the distant future who had assumed 
the name "Locke" in our period, informal leader of the group of teenagers 
in question. "Daniel Hilton" was really Daniel Hunt, also from the 
future, master of things technological. "Harry Sparrow" was wearing a 
device Daniel had brought from his era, called a "Holo-Corrector", which 
made him look human but could do little about his arms; in reality, he 
was a humanoid bird, resembling a kiwi but an intense shade of green, and 
went by the name Howie K. The other two teens in their group hadn't 
participated in the discussion, but had listened nervously. "Mandy Power" 
was really Amanda "Amy" Zing, the alter ego of the Amazing Amazon, and 
"Larry Greer" (the only one who had joined the commune's pagan worship 
group) was really Lauro Graziani, who occasionally loaned his body to the 
Etruscan god of war Laran (who seemed to have an aversion to clothes).

A little over a week prior, they had been involved in a major snafu, and 
are now being blamed for it by the law and the media. Fearing the worst, 
they decided not to turn themselves in, and have been on the run ever 
since... but now, the world's premier super-group, the Legion of 
Net.Heroes (LNH), has sent someone after them — one of their most 
dangerous members...

\!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/

Who Cares Studios presents

Menace! #01

"Cat Among the Pigeons" part 1

by Lalo Martins, May B.

Continuity note: this happens a few days before LNH20 Comics Presents #6. 
This issue was supposed to be Pantra's first appearance, but we couldn't 
get our act together to write it fast enough. Sorry :-)

\!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/

Through green fields dotted with trees, ran what looked like a Big Cat, 
of black-spotted gray coat; from a distance, it looked like an overgrown 
ocelot, which doesn't say much, since not many people know what an ocelot 
looks like anyway. Think a leopard, but smaller and more gray. But upon 
closer inspection, the proportion of the limbs was all wrong; the 
creature was, in fact, humanoid, with only the fur, tail, claws, slightly 
feline-style over-developed legs, and facial features to tell she wasn't 
a regular human.

Her name was Pantra, and everybody who knew her thought she was a rather 
dangerous person to be around.

She was merrily chasing some chipmunks, when her LNH Comm.Thingy rang. 
She kept running for another half minute or so until she figured out what 
the noise was.

"Oh, %*#$(%#@ A, which stands for Allright Already." She stopped 
gracefully, and picked up the device from her belt. She wore only a few 
strategic strips of fabric, meant to make people less uncomfortable about 
her breasts (with limited success), so there wasn't really much space for 
pockets. She flipped it open, Jim Kirk-style.

"Ohai, LNHQ. Pantra here."

"Good morning, May. This is January Frost."

"Top of the morning to ye, dearest leader!"

"I'm not your leader, I'm--"

"You're the leader of our group, of course."

"What group?"

"The Calendar Girls."

"There's no such group."

"There should be. Your name is January, my name is May, we're both hot... 
isn't Explain-The-Joke-Lass' real name April?"

January Frost massaged the bridge of her nose.

"Any chance you could report on your mission?"

"Mission? I'm in a mission, yes, of course I am!"


"Yes, the mission. Of course. Tracking. Yes. I'm on their track. I'm 
in..." she looked around. "Somewhere. Ah yes, there was a town a while 
ago. I'm in Podunk County, California."

"Pantra, now be nice."

"No, srsly, the name of the place is Podunk County. Check the maps. Not 
160 klicks from Oregon. In fact, probably about 160 klicks from pretty 
much anywhere useful, I'd say."

"There's a city called Eureka on the coast..."

"Oooh. Is Wil Wheaton there?"

"Who? What?"

"Never mind, Hot Stuff Lass. I think they're close, if they don't move 
again, I'm sure I'll find them today or tomorrow."

"I'm not Hot Stuff Lass, I'm Chari-- January will do."

"Ok, baby, I'll call you whatever you like."

January Frost suppressed an urge to scream.

"All right", she said, after taking a deep breath. "So today or tomorrow. 
Promise you'll call for reinforcements when you do."

"But of course."

"Although, as you know, there's an alien invasion going on, so I'm not 
sure how many people we'd be able to spare."

"There's an alien invasion?"

"Haven't you been watching the news? Lycopersicons--"

"The LNH is on the news? Now that's a nice change."

"I'm not so sure about that. We'll see."

"Who did you say again? Lycanpersians? You know I got my superpowers from 
some radiation that leaked out of a crashed Lycanpersian flying saucer?"

"Of course you did. No, Lycopersicons."

"Which ones are those again? The ones with horns?"

"The tomatoes."

"Oh. Boring. I hate fighting plants. Although I like eating the leaves."

"Don't underestimate them. They're giving us a fair amount of trouble."

Pantra was looking at the sky.

"Say, January."


"Aren't Lycopersicons the ones with that annoying technology they use to 
immobilize defending forces, the laser/force-field thing, 
whatchamacallit, the Trojan Web?"

January Frost did a double-take. Pantra was known for her short attention 
span and poor memory. In fact, her attention span was so poor, nobody was 
even sure she *had* poor memory, or just didn't care enough to try and 
remember stuff.

"That is... correct, Pantra. I'm impressed you'd remember that. Why do 
you ask?"

"Well, a giant, red, laser/force-field wall has appeared between me and 
my chipmunks while we were talking. This kind of thing has a way of 
jogging a girl's memory, you know."

With a stream of swearing that made Pantra proud, Frost ran to the 
sensors and checked them. "Yes, damn it. They have just deployed a Trojan 
Web over the Earth. Sorry May, I have to go report this to Fearless 

"Sure, no probs. I'll just..." she kicked some dirt. "carry on, I guess. 
With stuff."

"Find the largest concentration of people in your cell of the Trojan Web. 
They won't be able to leave either, even to go to town for supplies. So 
it would probably be nice to have a net.hero around in case of, I don't 
know, alien tomato."

"Good thinking, Hot Stuff Lass! I'll get right on that!"

"I'm not... ah, never mind. LNHQ out."

Pantra looked at the disconnected Comm.Thingy for a few seconds.

"Largest concentration of people. Easier said than done... just look at 
this place! Well, at least I have the grass." Pantra rolled around on the 
grass and sighed, happily. The best thing about having the attention span 
of a drugged ferret was that it wasn't hard to get over things that 
bothered her. On the other hand, one of the worst things about it is, uh, 
what was I saying again?

A butterfly flew over her head and the back scratching was forgotten as 
if it had never happened. She jumped, and chased the butterfly over a 
hill, a valley, some woods, then up another hill, and as she got to the 
top of the hill, she noticed a cluster of buildings surrounded by 
farmland, pastures, what looked like an orchard, and, well, some more 
stuff she couldn't be bothered trying to figure out.

"Not a farm. Too much housing for a farm. Ah #&%$, seems I found the 
largest concentration of people. DO NOT WANT!" She looked longingly at 
the butterfly, now already too far to catch, then made her best heroic 
pose. "All right! Let's go protect these people from alien tomatoes!"

\!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/   \!/

Pantra created by Lalo Martins and May B., free to use
January Frost created by Adrian J. McClure and Tom Russell, free to use
Lycopersicons created by Adrian J. McLure, free to use
Every other character in this issue created by Lalo Martins, ask before 

Authors' note:
sorry for the relatively short, plot-flat issue. This is about 1/4 of 
what we had planned. But then we realised we'd never motivate ourselves 
to write something that long, especially the way we're busy these days. 
(Glances of envy for his dedication thrown at Arthur's general 
direction.) So in good Scrum style, I decided to shorten the feedback 
loop and post in smaller parts, which doesn't leave much space for 
conflict and plot development, but is better than not posting at all.

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