LNH20: LNH20 Comics Presents Special #3: "Liberte, Egalite, Bon Marche"
pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 20:17:30 PDT 2013
.p° LNH20 Comix Presents °q.
"Liberte, Egalite, Bon Marche"
By Andrew Perron
The cover shows several people in elaborate cosplay - a Gundam, a
fancytier Homestuck troll, a fully-geared World of Warcraft character -
putting hands on hips and frowning at a man in a T-shirt and jeans.
He's giving a shrug and an 'Uh-oh!' expression.
Caption box in the lower right: [ Costume Designers hate him! One weird
trick for improving economic justice! ]
One October evening, Kid Enthusiastic was on his way to pick up a new
pair of shark-petting gloves when he heard an argument going on in the
foyer of the LNHQ. He stepped in to see the receptionist arguing with a
man in a black T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.
"Hey!" said Kid E. "What's all the hubbub?"
"This man," said Evelyn, the newly-created receptionist character
who... hm... let's see... ah yes, was a woman from the early 1800s who
had been caught up in romantic, Austen-esque adventures until she was
accidentally sealed in temporal stasis by a Verne-esque steampunky
machine and only released recently by the LNH. And she uses her deep
and occasionally forbidden knowledge of the secretarial arts in the
modern day. Yes, that's a good character concept. "He wants to sign up
as a member of the LNH."
"As Cheap Costume Man."
Kid Enthusiastic tilted his hand. "...I still don't see the problem!"
Evelyn gave the merest of sighs, yet that was all necessary to
illuminate the depths of her disdain. "Then I would request, sir, that
you talk to him."
"Soitinly!" He grabbed a clipboard with a Potential Legionnaire Signup
Form on it and stepped up to the man. "Greetings and welcome et
cetera!" He stuck out a hand patiently.
The man looked at it warily. He was short and a bit chubby, with tanned
skin, curly brown hair, and a classic Roman nose. He took the hand and
shook it a couple times. "You're... Kid Enthusiastic, right?"
"Mmm-hm! Founding member of the Legion, so don't worry, this is all one
hundred percent kosher! Now, lessee: Intended Codename?"
"Cheap Costume Man."
"Okidoke, spelled like it sounds... Purpose for joining the Legion?"
He folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. "Promotion of economic
"Oooooh, neato! What kind?"
"Well, kid, you may not understand the effect you have on the culture,"
said Cheap Costume Man, ignoring the self of books behind him featuring
_I Contain Multitudes: LNH and the Culture_ by James Hatachi
Preponderation. "But people - especially children - look up to you. And
I want there to be some consideration of the material realties here,
Kid E nodded vigorously. "Like cheap costumes!"
"Right. Halloween's coming up, y'know? And not everybody can afford the
larger-than-life licensed Tori costume."
"Suresure! Gotcha! So you'd be joining up so this--" He waved his hands
around in circles at the shirt and jeans. "These clothes would work as
a recognizable, LNH-based costume?"
"Well, not just that!" Cheap Costume Man stood arms akimbo. "I'd say
you guys need a good dose of awareness all-around!"
"Oh man!" said Kid Enthusiastic. "Fearless Leader is gonna *like* you!"
CCM looked askance at him. "...was that sarcasm?"
"I'm honestly not sure!" Kid E grabbed CCM's hand and dragged him into
the hallways. "But there's no time like the present to find out! Let's
get your Peril Room session started right away!"
"Well, I--" Cheap Costume Man was tossed through the doors and they
slammed shut behind him. In the viewing platform high above, Kid E
popped up and said, "Activate Scenario Forty-Seven Omicron J!"
The walls glowed in swirling colors. An industrial warehouse/factory
formed around them, all catwalks and conveyor belts and randomly
hanging chains for no reason.
"Over to your left is a laptop! It's going to transfer a hundred
billion dollars out of social welfare programs to climate denial
lobbyists and Americans For Lowering the Minimum Wage to Three Cents an
Hour, unless you push the enter key."
"However, over to your right is a completely anonymous person tied up
in blackout curtains and dangling by a rope over a vat of chemicals
that are known to have harmful side-effects but are in the FDA's
'Generally Recognized as Safe' category! If you push the button,
"...this is a pre-programmed scenario?" Cheap Costume Man's eyes
flicked from the computer to the black-swaddled struggling figure.
"Oh yeah. Actually, it's from a real case - the Metaphor Master sprung
it on us last month! Oh, and both of the bad things will automatically
happen in one hundred and seventy-six seconds, starting... now!" A
giant digital '176' appeared on one wall, and started counting down.
"Oh crap." Cheap Costume Man looked at the laptop, the person, the
laptop, the person...
He took a deep breath and took off running for a ladder on the wall. He
grabbed on and climbed it as fast as possible. "Ow. Fuck. Ow. Jeez."
The counter hit 133 as, muscles straining, he pulled himself up onto
the catwalk. He pushed himself up and spotted the hook from which the
person was hanging. Running over in a chorus of metallic footsteps, he
leaned out and tugged at the rope.
It came apart all at once, and he pitched forward, stomach going WHAM!
into the railing. Pain shuddered through his arms, but he held tight,
and digging his heels in, took one step back, then another, then
another, hauling the person up until he could walk himself forward
along the rope and haul them to safety.
He looked up-- SHIT 20 seconds! He looked at the laptop far, far below.
Only one chance. He pulled a pen out of his pocket, closed one eye,
lined up his shot carefully, and tossed it towards the enter key far,
It hit the side of the desk and clattered to the floor.
A "BWOONK" siren went off, and the scenario vanished. Cheap Costume Man
The doors swooshed open. "Great job!" said Kid Enthusiastic, bounding
"'Great Job'?" asked CCM sardonically. "That's what I'd call a pretty
"Eh, don't worry about it." Kid E waved his hand dismissively. "It's a
Kobayashi Maru! Took four of us on the actual mission, though you
didn't have to fight the Budget Deficit. I was looking more at your
"...?" CCM tilted his head.
"The life of one person before anything else." Kid E scribbled down on
his clipboard. "I'm-a recommend you for membership. Here, fill out this
personal info, I'll pass it up to Fearless Leader, and we'll give you a
call in the next day or two, thumbs up or thumbs down. Hopefully, we
can get you out on missions in time for a least a few trick-or-treaters
"...okay," said CCM, taking the clipboard and filling in his phone
number and mailing address. "So... that's it?"
Kid E shrugged. "You get a feel for the kinda people you want to work
with!" He grinned. "Don't forget, kid, I've been doin' this longer than
you've been around, if that date-of-birth is accurate."
"...er, huh. Yeah. And I see you've learned a lot about letting
yourself be underestimated."
Kid E grinned. "Brother, if there's a better trick in the book, I can't
say what it'd be!"
Author's Note: The origin of this story was, essentially, me trying to
figure out a quick-and-easy Halloween costume and pondering exactly
this idea before realizing it could be developed further. (I ended up
not dressing up at all.)
Cheap Costume Man is, in fact, a half-white half-Hispanic transman. I
figured that'd go well with the tone of the story. Yay diversity!
Happy Halloween, everybody!
Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, another day done!
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