REPOST/LNH: Beige Countdown #7 -- 'The Last Dance'

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Wed May 30 20:58:42 PDT 2012

[Note for Readers: Issue 8 comes before this issue.  Assuming there ever 
is an issue 8.  It will be up to you whether or not you want to wait 
till 8 comes out to read this.]

[Cover: The Cover is ripped in half.  One half shows half of Ripping 
Dancer dancing with strings tied to her hands.  The other half shows 
page one of the comic with the ominous Beige Clock Tower in the background.]

                             [B  E  I  G  E]
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                [C  O  U  N  T   #  7    D  O  W  N  !]

By Arthur Spitzer


A green leaf of an oak tree snatched away by a breeze sails through the 
air.  It sails and sails through the streets of Net.ropolis gliding by 
muggings and cackling mad scientist and the heroes trying to stop them. 
  A slave of the wind it could keep going forever and ever.  But the 
wind grows tired of its little prisoner.  The green leaf crashes right 
into a massive beige wall.  The green becomes yellow and then brown. 
And then the leaf falls, bursting into dust.

And the tower grows a little more.




Ripping Dancer watched the leaves and other objects hit the tower.  Just 
one touch.

Why was she here?  It was like she was driving a Ferrari that was 
destined to go in one direction -- off a cliff.  And she was chained to 
it.   And it was going faster and faster.  She needed to stop it.  She 
needed to stop this whole craziness.  But was it too late?

What was she?  She was a liar.  A traitor.  A monster -- pretending to 
be a goddess.  Was that what she was?

She was working for some supervillain who had given her powers and 
incredible beauty.  And the price was that she was going to have to 
seduce an LNH'r by the name of Fearless Leader who might be the next 
leader of the LNH.  Make him her puppet so her master could control him. 
  That's all she had to do.

Fearless Leader.  Felix Landers.  That's what his name was.  Was she in 
love with him?  He was attractive.  She liked him.  It was great being 
around him.  And did he love her?  Maybe.  It was hard to say.  And did 
he love the person she was or did he love the lie?  How could he love 
the person she was?  He didn't even know her.  He just knew the lie. 
Love was for beautiful people.  Where had she heard that?

How would Felix react if she told him the truth?  He would probably hate 
her.  It would just end everything.  And the truth would come out 
eventually.  These things always came out.  Everything was going to 
crash and burn.  Go off the cliff.  It was only a matter of time.

She could run away.  Run away from all of this.  Just disappear.  Go 
back to her old life.  Or a new life somewhere else.  But she'd be ugly 
again.  Too ugly to be loved.  She couldn't bear that.  Not again.  She 
loved being beautiful.  She loved being envied by people.

She could die.  Die beautiful.  Like Marilyn Monroe.  She looked at the 
Beige Clock Tower.  Just one touch.

"Going to kill yourself too, huh?"

Ripping Dancer looked around to see who was speaking and noticed some 
guy, a young man probably in his early twenties, in a trenchcoat 
carrying a bottle of vodka.

"No -- I wouldn't -- I mean -- I'm here because of LNH business.  I'm a 
superhero."  Ripping Dancer almost laughed after saying that.  What a 
joke.  "You shouldn't be here.  This place is dangerous."

"Yeah, I know.  That's why I'm here."  The young man took a glug from 
the bottle he was holding.  "I guess I should have known.  Christ you're 
beautiful.  I guess you wouldn't have any reason to kill yourself.  Your 
life must be perfect."

"I wouldn't bet on it.  I have problems."


"Look.  Whatever your problems are -- it's not worth it.  You're too 
young to be even thinking about..."

"What the hell do you know about -- Christ.  I'm ugly.  I'm short.  I've 
got an acne problem.  A funny looking face!  I've never been on a date 
or had a girlfriend!  I couldn't get a date if my life depended on it! 
It's all hopeless."

"You're not ugly!  I'm sure there are tons of girls that..."

"Yeah right.  I can't even talk to girls.  They look at me like I'm some 
freak.  Some lesser being."

"You're talking to me."

"Cuz I'm drunk.  And I don't care.  God, this sucks.  Life sucks.  I 
hate everything.  Leave me alone.  Just leave me alone.  God.  I'm going 
to kill myself."

"No you're not.  I won't let you."

"How?  You gonna hit me?  Throw me in jail?"

"If I have to.  Look.  I've seen far uglier guys with girlfriends.  You 
just need confidence or -- I mean, if I didn't already have a boyfriend, 

"Yeah, right.  Confidence."

"Look.  I've got an idea.  We could go out to a dance club.  I don't 
think my boyfriend would mind.  Sorta of a practice date..."

"A pity date."

"Jesus Christ!"  Ripping Dancer threw her hands in the air.  "I'm asking 
you out on a date -- and you've just rejected me!"

"Well, I mean... it's not real.  You're just doing it to stop me from 
killing myself..."

"Does it matter?  Most dates don't end with two people marrying each 
other!  Look, it will be fun for you.  And for me.  It will show you 
that you're wrong about your own insecurities.  It will give you 
experience!  Women will see you dancing with me and want you!  It's 
human psychology!  Just give it a shot.  Please.  Do it as a favor for 
me.  Please."

"Well, I guess I could..."

"Great!"  Ripping Dancer fumbled around through one of her pockets and 
pulled out a card.  "Here's my phone number and place where I work. 
Well, it's the LNHHQ.  You know where that is?"

"Umm yeah... kinda..."

"Well, why don't you drive there at six Wednesday night and... Wait!  I 
don't even know your name...?"

"Lucas.  Lucas Dunn.  And yeah I'm not doing anything Wednesday..."

"Great!  Oh, I'm Tara by the way.  Tara Shreds.  So just go into the 
LNHHQ lobby and tell the receptionist your name and... hmm Do you have 
any nice clothes?  Oh it doesn't matter.  I know this LNH'r called New 
Look Lass.  She can put you into some of the snazziest threads you've 
ever worn.  We'll go by there first before we hit the town.  Sound fine?"

"Sure.  I guess."

"Good.  Look.  Are you going to be okay?  You're not going to do 
anything stupid tonight?"

"No.  I'm fine."

"Need a lift to wherever you live?"

"No, thanks.  I live close to here."

"Okay.  We'll see each other Wednesday.  Right?"

"Right.  Well, see you."

"Bye.  And look, it will be okay.  It will be okay.  I promise you.  And 
oh yeah -- please don't come back here.  This place is bad."  Ripping 
Dancer looked behind her at the Beige Clock Tower.  "Very bad."



                            "The Last Dance"


<<And how goes the election, Tara?>>

"Fearless Leader is tied with Irony Man for first place in the latest 
polls," Ripping Dancer said watching a mysterious shadowy figure on a TV 

<<But just tied?>> said the Shadowy Figure with a tinge of disappointment.

"Look.  Irony Man is running a very good campaign.  And with the 
Ultimate Savior endorsing him -- well, I'm not sure what you want me..."

<<I want you to make Fearless Leader the leader of the LNH.  And I want 
you to make him your puppet.>>

"I'm not sure I can do that.  Felix is strong minded.  How am I supposed 

<<Ah, Tara.  I have tools for you.  Do you see the red briefcase next to 
the black one that has your power potions?>>

Ripping Dancer nodded her head.

<<The red briefcase contains potions.  Mind Control potions.  Potions 
that can be mixed into food.  Perhaps you could put them in cookie dough 
and make some cookies for your boyfriend.  Perhaps.  The effect won't be 
immediate, but over time the more potions you give him -- the more he 
will become your slave.  Do you understand?>>

"I think so."  A sad look took over Ripping Dancer's face.

<<You don't sound enthused.  Is it time for another girl to take over 
your role?  And become the Ripping Dancer?>>

"No!  Please!  I can do this!"

<<It's not a matter of can you do this -- it's a matter of want.  Do you 
want to do this?  I want to hear you say it, Tara.>>

"Yes."  Ripping Dancer gritted her teeth.  "I want to do this."

<<There.  That wasn't so hard.  Was it?  Well, I guess that will be it 
for today.  Keep up the good work, Tara.>>  The mysterious shadowy 
figure laughed and then the screen went blank.>>

Ripping Dancer looked over at the briefcases. No.  I'm not going to do 
this.  And I'm going to find you.  And I'm going to stop you.  I'm going 
to end this once and for all.


Before Fearless Leader could react, two hands covered over his eyes 
preventing him from seeing.

"Guess who?"

"Look, Tara.  I don't have time for this.  I've got tons of stuff to do 

"Liar."  Ripping Dancer smirking took her hands off Fearless Leader's 
face and put them on his chest.  "You've always got time for me, don't you?"

"Okay.  You've hit a weak spot."  Fearless Leader laughed turned around 
and put his arm around Ripping Dancer.  "So.  What's going on?"

"Oh nothing much -- just wanted to see how you were doing..."

"Oh, it's a mess here."  Fearless Leader sighed.  "At least the LNH'rs 
are back from space so there's that.  But with Ultimate Ninja back in 
jail -- and Mynabird and his Legion on the loose.  And the Beige Clock 
Tower.  And Bart.  And with this damn election coming up.  I don't know. 
  It's just one never-ending crisis after another.  But I'm glad you 
came by.  Really.  You're one of the few bright spots in my days, now days."

"That's sweet.  We really need to get out of this place.  Maybe go away 
for a weekend or something."

"I'd like to, but I can't really do that right now.  The LNH needs me. 
There's just too much stuff to do."

"Yeah, I know.  But, you know, just think about it.  Okay?  The LNH has 
two other leaders.  You don't have to do all of the work."

"Yeah, okay.  I'll see if I can find some time.  Well, guess I better 
get back to the business at hand."

"Oh one thing.  I just have to ask you this one favor.  I'm going with a 
-- umm -- a friend to some nightclubs tonight.  And this friend, well -- 
he's a guy and..."

"A guy?"

"Look.  It's not what you think.  It's a 'just friends' type thing. 
This guy, well, he's depressed.  And I thought this might cheer him up 
and -- there's nothing really more than that.  But, you know, if you 
don't want me to do it -- I won't."

"It's okay.  I trust you, Tara.  Take out your friend and have a good time."

Ripping Dancer tightened her embrace and gave Fearless Leader a kiss on 
the cheek.  "God.  You're wonderful.  You know that?  You're wonderful!"

Fearless Leader smiled.  "Well, if you say so."

"I mean it!"  Ripping Dancer closed her eyes.  "I love you."

Fearless Leader hesitated as if he wasn't quite sure what to say to 
that.  And then finally he answered.  "I love you too."  After he said 
that he noticed a tear drip from Ripping Dancer's eye.  "Are you all right?"

"Yes.  I'm just happy."  She nuzzled her face into Fearless Leader's 
shirt.  "Very Happy."

And they both embraced each other for a couple of more minutes.


"Hi, umm Kyoko, is it?"

Kyoko Ishikawa swiveled her chair around to see who was talking to her. 
  "Oh, hi Ripping Dancer.  Can I do something for you?"

"Oh, it's just the guy I was supposed to meet.  Lucas Dunn.  Young man 
in his early twenties, I think.  Has he stopped by?  He was supposed to 
come at like six."

"Not as far as I know.  Net.ropolis traffic is pretty bad and this would 
be rush hour.  Depending on when he left it might take another hour or 
so to get here."

"Yeah, that's probably it.  Bad traffic."

"Want me to buzz you when he shows up?"

"No.  That's fine.  I can wait here."


Ripping Dancer shook her head and walked over to one of the chairs in 
the waiting area.

After an hour of waiting she drifted off to sleep.


A ringing woke Ripping Dancer up.

The ringing noise came from her cell-phone.

"Umm.  Hello?  Police?  What?  I see.  Yeah, I'll come."

Ripping Dancer clicked the phone off and yawned.


Hexadecimal Luthor gazed at the 60 inch screen on his wall.  Framing the 
screen was wood from an extinct tree called the Paradise Oak, the last 
one having been chopped down six years ago by some employees of his.  On 
the screen was a man with loud green hair, which drooped over one eye 
mysteriously, wearing a black body suit.

"Hello, Manga Man.  I believe it's time to sacrifice your girl."

<<Really?  Is it that time already?  And I was just starting to get used 
to her.>>  In Manga Man's hands were some origami creation he was 
folding.  Something that looked a bit like a swan.

"Irony Man and Fearless Leader are tied right now for leader.  The truth 
about Ripping Dancer should kill Fearless Leader's chances in becoming 
leader and Irony Man should win the election easily."

<<Are you sure about that?  And what if you're wrong?  What if Fearless 
Leader wins the election regardless?  How will you deal with that?>>

"It's unlikely, but if it does happen," Hex Luthor smiled slightly to 
himself, "If it does happen -- I have ways of rectifying that.  It's not 
going to happen.  When the truth about Ripping Dancer is revealed -- it 
will destroy Fearless Leader's chances.  It would have too."

<<If you say so.>>  Manga Man gave a sigh.  <<Some part of me almost 
feels sad for her.  Do you ever feel guilt, Hex?>>

"Guilt?" Hex snorted at that.  "Guilt is for the weak."

<<Maybe.  I don't know.  I guess I had bigger plans for her.  I wanted 
her to rise -- to transcend her flaws and weaknesses.  I wanted her to 
stop us -- to bring us all down.  I wanted her to be great.  To be the 
greatest!  But she was too flawed.  What a pity.>>  Manga Man took the 
paper swan that was in his hand and crushed it with his fist.  And then 
he ripped it in half.  <<Oh well.  I can always create another.  A 
better one.>>

"You're a strange one, Manga Man."

<<Am I?  No.  Just a dreamer.  A hopeless dreamer.  We're going to lose, 
Hex.  We always lose.>>

"No.  Not this time.  This time we win."

Manga Man laughed, <<Well, good luck with that.  I'll send the tapes to 
the press.>>  Manga Man signed off.

Hex Luthor gazed at the blank screen still hearing Manga Man's laughter 
in his mind.  "I will win.  I will!"


"And here's the body.  Just clothes.  And dust.  Fortunately he was 
carrying his wallet.  So we know his name was Lucas Dunn.  And we also 
found your card in his wallet -- Ms. Ripping Dancer is it?"

Ripping Dancer looked in horror at the pile of dust on empty clothes. 
"Yes.  I'm a member of the LNH."

"We were aware of that.  So, do you know this person?"

"Umm -- yes.  We were friends.  Look, I'm sorry -- I'm -- looking at 
this is hard -- it's hard for me.  Could we do this some other time -- I 
feel -- I feel ill.  I need to -- I need to..." And then Ripping Dancer 
ran out of the room.


"You idiot!  You goddamn idiot!"  Ripping Dancer was lying on her bed. 
Her eyes were puffed up and red.  Was she talking to Lucas?  Was she 
talking to herself?  Perhaps to both?  Everything was starting to fall 
apart.  Was it her fault that Lucas was dead -- had killed himself.  She 
should have called the police or -- it didn't matter.  Maybe no matter 
how she would have handled it, he would have killed himself.

She got up from her bed and pulled some tissues and blew her nose.  She 
needed to take her mind off of this.  Do something worthwhile.  She had 
to stop this.  Stop him.  Stop the evil bastard who had bought soul. 
Yes.   That's what she needed to do.  If she could do that.

But how?  She didn't know where he was or who he was.  And who would 
know?  Wait.  Of course! Her mysterious benefactor had various people 
that would send over the briefcases and guard the door.  But how could 
she get info from them?

And then her eyes glimpsed the red briefcase.  Full of mind-control potions.


The Japanese guy with the cowboy hat and American Flag T-shirt glanced 
at the platter of cookies before him.  "Well, I don't know if I should..."

"Oh, come on, Rob!"  Ripping Dancer grabbed a cookie off the platter and 
popped in her mouth.  After she was through with the cookies she licked 
her lips.  "Mmm.  They're like heaven!  You have to try them."

"Well, they do look good."  Rob looked to see if anyone was watching and 
then grabbed a couple.  "Damn.  These are good!"  As he started to grab 
for a few more, Ripping Dancer pulled the tray away.

"Well, we should probably save some for the rest of the crew, Don't you 

Rob frowned to himself and then gave a shrug.  "Yeah, I guess."


There was Rob, the Guard.  Lalo, the Computer Repairman.  Martin, the 
Electrician.  Saxon, the Briefcase Man.  And Ripping Dancer.  All in a 
circle.  In the middle, a platter of mind control cookies and a bottle 
of Sake.

"Briefcases!  Damn them!" Saxon the Briefcase Man said taking another 
swig of sake.  "Of course the money is good.  So I guess I shouldn't 
damn them, but still..."

"I just think this is good.  What we're doing.  I mean we're all like 
co-workers.  We all work for the same person.  Speaking of whom, what do 
you suppose our boss is doing right now?"

"Probably living it high and up in some fancy palace in rec.arts.manga 
-- while the rest of us have to work for a living!" said a disgruntled 
Martin the electrician shaking his fist.  His fist full of cookies.

"Rec.arts.manga?  Why does he live there?"

"Oh, that's where the DVDs and briefcases come from.  We don't know if 
he's there," replied Lalo the Computer Repairman.

"I see.  I guess what I wonder is who is he?  What does he want with all 
of this?  Do any of you know?"

Rob the Guard grabbed another cookie.  "I don't know," he said between 
bites, "We just take orders from someone called the Beige Bishop. 
That's all I can tell you."

The rest of the crew nodded as they grabbed the last remaining cookies.

"The Beige Bishop.  I see.  Well," Ripping Dancer said looking at her 
watch, "It's getting late.  I gotta go back to the LNH.  Bye guys!  See 
you in a week!"

With that Ripping Dancer jumped up and ran for the door.

And the crew finished off the bottle of sake.


"Hey, Kyoko!  I was wondering if I could have access to some of the 
computer files in the Villains Roster?"

Kyoko looked up with a bit of surprise.  "Ripping Dancer?  Umm -- I take 
it you haven't been watching the news?"

"The news?  Why?  Is something happening?"

Kyoko grabbed a TV remote off her desk and used it to turn on the 
lobby's big screen TV to one of the news channels.  And then she turned 
up the volume.

On the screen were pictures of Fearless Leader and Ripping Dancer. 
<<Fearless Leader in sex scandal with LNH traitor-ess!  Is this the end 
of his bid to become leader of the LNH?  Our panel of guest experts will 
answer that question, but first -- The shocking tapes!>>

"No."  Ripping Dancer's face became pale.  "No, that -- this isn't 
happening.  This is a mistake, it has to be..."

Kyoko turned the sound down.  "I think you need to talk to the Triumvirate."

"I can't.  I -- umm.  This is all happening too soon.  I can't..."  But 
before Ripping Dancer could finish with that thought she heard a 
familiar voice.

"I knew it!  I warned them all, but would they listen?  No!  But I was 
right!  Now temptress, your days of evil are through!  Arrest her!"  The 
Self-Righteous Preacher pulled out a big cross from one of his pockets. 
  And the two LNH security guards pulled out some taser guns.

"I can't... I can't..."  Ripping Dancer froze for a brief second as the 
guards slowly moved towards her.  And then she closed her eyes and put 
her hands into the air.  And with a kick to the ground she twirled and 
whirled like she had never twirled and whirled before.  And then she 
opened her eyes and saw a bunch of angry and embarrassed naked people in 
the lobby.  And that's when she twirled towards the exit doors like a 
tornado.  She could hear shouts of 'Stop!' as the Exit Doors ripped apart.

Where was she going to run?  They were all going to be after her.  But 
she had no choice.  So she ran and ran, until she tripped over 
Bad-Timing Boy who for some reason was taking a nap on the LNHHQ lawn.

"Hey, what the..." Bad-Timing Boy said waking up.  "Oh, hi, Ripping 
Dancer -- what's..."

"Stop her!  Bad-Timing Boy!  Don't let her get away!"

Ripping Dancer got back up and a started to run again, but before she 
could do that she felt an arm grab her.

"It's over, Ripping Dancer."  It was Nudist Man.  "Your powers won't 
work on me -- since I don't wear clothes!"

Ripping Dancer looked around and saw more LNH'rs rushing out onto the 
lawn.  There were too many of them.  It looked like it was all over for 
her.  And then something happened.  A stream of chains and letters hit 
both Nudist Man and Bad-Timing Boy wrapping them into cocoons.

Ripping Dancer looked to see where they had come from and saw two 
costumed females running towards her.  "Quick!  Get into the Van!"

A large Van shaped like a waffle screeched to a stop.  The three women 
quickly jumped into the Van.

"But, the LNH?  They're all going to be after us!"  Ripping Dancer said 
glancing out of one of the Van's windows.

"Don't worry.  Vector Prime will take care of them," the pale-faced 
black and red costumed female who looked a bit like a goth replied with 
a smirk.  "Oh, btw, I'm Revamp Lass.  And that's Lucky Chain Letter 
Lucy.  And driving the Van is the Waffle Queen, (although I'm sure you 
know her better as Hollywood actress Uma Thurman).  Welcome to the 
Legion of Net.Villains, Ripping Dancer."


Bad-Timing Boy managed to worm his way out of the chain-letter cocoon 
and looked to see what was happening.  He saw a couple of red headed 
twins with guns -- no triplets -- no ten -- fifty -- a hundred?  It was 
an army of ever increasing pissed off redheaded women with guns and it 
was marching towards the LNH.  This wasn't good.

Bad-Timing Boy crawled back into his cocoon.


"*Hick* Damn Pedestrians!" Uma Thurman said as she madly swerved through 
the streets of Net.ropolis and took another swig out of some metal flask 
that smelled of syrup.

"Is she drunk?" Ripping Dancer asked Revamp Lass.

"Relax, girl.  Hollywood Celebrities drive better when they're drunk. 
Now let's talk about you.  You've got some choices to make.  You know 
you're going to go to jail if the LNH catches you, don't you?"

"Yeah, I guess.  Oh god."  Ripping Dancer covered her face with her 
hands.  "It's over.  My life's over!"

"It's okay, Tara.  We're here for you," Revamp Lass said patting Ripping 
Dancer on the shoulder.  "We've all been here before.  We've all made 
these horrible choices that seem to cast a shadow over all of our lives. 
  What's important right now, is that you make the right choice.  The 
smart choice.  You don't want to go to jail, Tara.  It's a horrible 
place.  Trust me.  I know.  We can protect you from that, Tara."

"I don't know.  I don't want to be villain."

"You've already crossed that line, Tara.  You can't take it back.  But 
it's not a bad thing to be a villain.  The world can be yours for the 
taking.  The world can be your own private piggy bank.  You have only 
two choices, Tara.  And if you don't choose us, well, life's going to be 
very hard.  Look, Tara.  I can change you.  You'll become a new person 
and the LNH will be none the wiser."  Ripping Dancer noticed as Revamp 
Lass talked something peculiar about her.  It was her teeth.  Two of 
them looked like fangs.

"And if I do that -- what will you want in return?"

"Well, all the info that you have on the LNH -- that would be good -- 
and of course your abilities would be a wonderful asset to our cause."

"I'll -- I'll have to think about it.  Could we stop here?"

"Uma, stop the Van."  The Van screeched to a halt.  "Are you sure you 
want to do this, Tara?  We've got a place where you can stay.  It's not 
going to be safe out there."

"I -- um Thanks, but I need to have some time alone to think this all 
over.  Thanks for everything.  I mean it."

"Well, here's our card.  Try not to take too long in making your 
decision.  You don't have much time."

Ripping Dancer took the card from Revamp Lass and then made her way out 
of the Van.  She said thanks one more time and waved to the 
supervillains as the Van screeched back onto the road.

Ripping Dancer looked at the card and then placed it in one of her pockets.

Where to now?


Ripping Dancer got out of the taxi and paid the driver.  As the taxi 
drove away she looked at her watch.  Almost time to become ugly again. 
She could feel herself start to change.

She was glad that there were no mirrors around.  She couldn't bear 
looking.  But she could feel it.  Being fat and ugly again.

Choices.  She took the Legion of Net.Villains card out of the large 
trenchcoat she was wearing.  She couldn't be a villain.  Not in this 
state.  Not without her potions.  She was useless to them.

And jail?  No, she couldn't do that either.

No.  There was only one choice left.

And she looked up at the Beige Clock Tower that hovered over all of 


It was cold.

God, it was cold.

She wondered how it would feel.

How long it would take.

She should be drunk.  Maybe it would be easier that way.

All she had to do was touch it.

Just touch it.  And it would all end.  All of her mistakes.

She closed her eyes and took a step.

And then she took another step with her hand reaching out for that Beige 
Wall.  And it was as if she could hear it over the noise of the city 
calling to her.  Come to me.  Come to me.  Tara.  Become one with me.

And she took another step.

Come to me.

I am the end of guilt.

And she took another step.

Come to me.

I am the end of pain.

It was so close now.

Just a few more steps.

And she took another step.  And she felt a hand grab her hand pulling 
her away from the wall.  "Don't!"

She opened her eyes.

"Don't do this, Tara.  Don't."

"I'm not Tara.  Leave me alone!"

"I know it's you, Tara.  Please..."

"How could you...?" Tara closed her eyes again.  She couldn't look at 
him.  "No.  Don't answer that.  I won't believe the answer anyways.  It 
will be some lie to tell me I'm not really ugly.  Or I'm not evil.  That 
I'm worth saving.  I'm not.  I'm not worth saving."

"You're worth saving.  You're not evil or ugly.  You just made a 
mistake.  This is stupid, Tara.  You're better than this!"

"I'm sorry, Felix.  I can't..."

"We need to get out of here, Tara.  Please."

"It's over.  My life is over!  Over!  Let me just touch it.  I can't -- 
I can't..."

"No.  It will be okay, Tara."

"No, it won't.  It's never going to be -- God!"  Tears started streaming 
from Tara Shreds eyes.  "I've destroyed everything.  You're not going to 
be leader."

"I don't want to be leader.  It doesn't matter.  It's meaningless."

"I betrayed them all!  You!  Everyone!  I'm a monster.  Ugly.  Horrible. 
  God.  Let me go.  let me go."

"No.  You're not.  You're not.  It will be okay, Tara.  It will be okay."

"I can't.  I can't."

"We'll figure something out.  It will be okay."  Fearless Leader gave 
Tara a big hug.

"It will be okay."

Fearless Leader gently caressed Tara's sobbing head and looked at the 
Beige Clock Tower that hovered over them.  Growing and growing. 
Decaying everything it touched.  Never stopping.  Never pausing.

"It will be okay."



NEXT WEEK:  Beige Countdown #6 -- 'And the Next Leader of the LNH is...'


Beige Clock idea from Lalo Martins...

Credit format stolen from Rob Rogers LNHCP #501...


     Bad-Timing Boy.... Vernon H. Harmon

     Self-Righteous Preacher.... wReam

     Fearless Leader.... Dave Van Domelen

     Nudist Man.... Tom Russell

     Ripping Dancer.... Arthur Spitzer


     Hexidecimal Luthor.... Chris Hare and Saxon Brenton

     Lucky Chain Letter Lucy.... Arthur Spitzer

     Manga Man.... Craig Thomas Judd

     Revamp Lass II.... Jeff McCoskey

     Uma Thurman (Waffle Queen).... Rob Rogers and
     Uma Thurman

     Vector Prime.... Rob Rogers


     Kyoko Ishikawa.... Ken Schmidt

Writer's Notes:

I do have things to say about this issue, but I feel rushed with other 
stuff so maybe I'll add some notes later.  Probably not.

Arthur "Too much stuff to do..." Spitzer

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