LNH/LNHY: Just Another Multi-Writer Cascade That Will Probably Never Have an Ending #8
Adrian J. McClure
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 8 05:47:26 PST 2014
Token Girl was patiently listening to Catalyst Lass gossip on about the new LNHers and their friendships and possible romantic entanglements, as she waited for Obscure Trivia Lad to finish his watch so they could start their D&D session. (Thankfully, Munchkin Man was nowhere around.)
Usually, with Cat's formidable catalytic powers, she could get even Lethal Lawyer to listen to this kind of talk with at least some interest, but Token Girl had been inured to them by their long association, and she was always more stubborn than average. Token Girl didn't care much about that kind of thing. Well, not much. Anymore. But this was one of those times when Cat was getting into one of her obsessive shipper moods because she wanted to take her mind off other things--like the fact they were going headlong into a cosmic crisis, again--so she let her ramble on.
"...on the other hand, maybe she's being tsundere," said Catalyst Lass.
Token Girl rolled her eyes. "Tsundere isn't a thing in real life, Cat."
"Well this isn't real life, Tara, we're superheroes!"
"Well, tsundere aren't a thing in superhero comics either."
Catalyst Lass grinned. "What about Batman?"
"Yes! Ever since the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when DCU started differentiating its core characters more and introducing more conflict between them to fit the Marvel template, Batman has followed the classic tsundere behavior pattern." Her face lit up and she started making animated hand gestures. "With his friends and teammates, like Superman, his default interactions are cold, aloof and hostile, but gradually he reveals his vulnerabiliity and caring."
"No, no, Batman can't be a tsundere. Tsundere are supposed to be cute anime girls and Batman is a hot dad."
"Au contraire! The Wikipedia article states that tsundere don't have to be female. The character of England in Axis Powers Hetalia, for example, is considered a tsundere. I don't see why that can't apply to Batman."
"But that's part of the whole moe thing. You know, creepy guys in fedoras drooling over underaged anime girls. Batman isn't moe."
"Well, that depends on how you define moe, I guess. Moe involves the feeling of protectiveness toward a character. Traditionally, moe in anime fandom has been a part of the heterosexual male gaze. But all kinds of readers feel "moe" feelings toward characters outside of that. The highest degree of moe is for someone who seems on the surface to be powerful, unapproachable, untouchable but has a deeply vulnerable core, and they're lonely and isolated and you want to reach out and hug them a lot. Batman is moe!"
"Wow, OK," said Token Girl. "That's certainly one way of looking at it."
"Actually," said Adamant-Authority-On-Everything, "recent evidence has suggested that the collapse on Easter Island was due to disease brought by the Europeans and not--"
"What the hell?" said Token Girl.
"Oh," said Adamant-Authority-On-Everything. "I thought you were talking about moai."
"Wait, how did you get in here?"
"Well, they're not totally unrelated," said Catalyst Lass. "Matt Smith is pretty moe."
Token Girl sighed. "Boy," she said, "you sure do have some weird conversations when you're in space."
The ship that was bearing the LNH to face LAN.os sailed silently on through space. It was not a spaceship, rather, it was an actual wooden ship with a massive solar sail. The figurehead was in the shape of Alice Ashdown, AKA Lydia Forward (long story--cf. the classic Ultimate Mercenary series), AKA Net.Access as the ship was in point of fact, her. She had barged in on the meeting just as it was winding down and volunteered to bring the LNH to their destination. They'd gone along with the idea of a strange woman showing up out of nowhere without batting an eyelash, since after all this was a crossover. But in it hadn't quite gone according to plan. She'd used her Crossover Summon powers to summon up the Argo, a ship that could bear heroes across time and space, but had somehow transformed into the ship herself. Her actual body was currently the figurehead attached to the front.
She wasn't entirely sure why things had turned out this way. Maybe she'd merged with it because she'd been a vehicle for such a long time, or she'd unknowingly tapped into one of her forms from another mythos or genre. Her powers were both wide-ranging and very specific, and she had trouble figuring out what to make of them. Technically, she could draw on any weapon or artifact from any continuity she wasn't currently in, but in an LNH context she had to respect copyright. The sheer options of what she could draw on were a little daunting, though she had a fondness for classical mythology.
But the point was, now she was sailing on through space. After all those years of reading books and dreaming about going to space and wondering what it was like, she finally knew. The answer was... well, it was a lot like going to college--it was really exciting at first, but there was a lot more of it than she expected. Still, she'd finally met up with her heroes. She'd talked with Cheesecake-Eater Lad! Cheesecake-Eater Lad was literally inside her! She didn't know how to feel about that.
They'd left the Earth behind a long time ago were was now in the desolate intergalactic stretch between their home and the planet on the opposite side of the Dorf homeworld's sun, where LAN.os had made camp. The others were all having their conversations and playing games and sparring inside. (Among other things--she wasn't watching everything, as she did have *some* sense of modesty. Unlike Manga Girl.) But there wasn't much for her to do out here but be awed by the pure immensity of it all. For a long time, that was all she could think about--she was in space! She was part of the LNH! But after several hours of sailing through empty space, she started thinking about all the awkward things in her life.
.oO(What am I going to do when I get back?) she thought. (Back in the day I was a college student. How much debt to I have now? I was out of the universe for years, so my credit rating can't be good. But it doesn't matter! I'm a net.hero now! And they usually make money... somehow... I guess the LNH will give me a stipend. As soon as I actually join them. Which should be any minute now. I mean, Victoria and the others joined already, and...)
She gasped, or tried do, but didn't make any noise because she was currently a giant wooden ship that was floating in space. .oO(Where is she? I guess she's back on Earth... I hope she's okay. What's going on back there? She has to be okay, she's survived so much already, she can make it. I just--I want to be with her more than anything. No, I want to be a hero more than anything. I AM a hero. I've made it! But why did I have to kiss her? She's basically the only friend I have right now, why did I have to make things weird? Why do I have to keep going too far? I feel like I've had all this potential that I couldn't get to because the world was holding me back, and now it's all spilling out at once and I don't know what to do with it...)
She was so taken up by her anxieties that at first she didn't notice the flying saucers in the shape of fedoras that were racing toward her. "Man the cannons!" shouted Ultimate Ninja. The LNHers stopped whatever they were doing and massed on the deck, but it was too late. The UFOs enfolded the ship in a bright red stasis field.
Net.Access tried to wriggle out of its grip but couldnt manage it. And she couldn't risk transforming, not with the rest of the team actually inside her. Net.Access couldnt' help but be a little disappointed they weren't having a space battle. Hopefully that'd come later. At least it looked like they'd get to their destination a lot sooner than she'd thought.
Manga Girl was racing off to the LNHQ at top speed, with Victoria following, struggling to catch her breath, when they heard the sounds of battle coming from a nearby buidling.
"Wait!" said Victoria. "Maybe we should go to the LNHQ and--" but it was to late. Manga Girl had already gone into the building and gotten into an altercation with the enormous crowd of goths inside. They seemed to be acting at the direction of the figure in the eye-gougingly awful costume who stood in the center. One of them crashed through the door. Victoria winced, but told herself they were probably mind-controlled minions so any damage wouldn't be permanent. That was how those things usually worked.
Manga Girl had trouble getting through the lumbering horde of goths. Victoria figured it'd be best to ghost past them and face their master herself.
As soon as she entered the building, she was almost knocked over by the stampeding goths. She didn't want to fight them off. Or at least she knew she shouldn't, although in fact she wanted to individually beat them all within an inch of their lives. She'd been having a bad day. But she was going to concentrate her anger on the one who deserved it. She ghosted her way through the crowd and came face to face with their leader, knocking her over with the flat of her blade.
"Hey! Who are you?" said the woman. "You--You don't look like a prep at all." She gasped. "You actually look cool!" She smiled a crooked smile. "I'll bet you'd make a great goth. We could paint our nails and then conquer the world!"
"Um, no. That's not really my idea of fun." But she felt a sudden desire to start listening to industrial music and wearing black. Well, more black than she was already wearing. Part of her just wanted to give into the thoughts that were flooding her mind. Getting rid of them, and her, would be so easy, of course. Draw the sword and send her to Limbo, and that would be that. But then she'd be letting Arcanis take control, and that would just make it easier for him to slip in the next time without her thinking. Arcanis and Merissa were both pulling at her soul. She was caught between a rock and a hard place.
More than anything else, she wanted to run. She wanted to be free. There was, of course, a way to escape them--shift into Limbo. But once she did, could she be sure she was going to get out? Still, she couldn't see a better way.
She blocked out everything that was going on around her, as best she could, and felt herself sink into limbo. Merissa and Arcanis both howled in frustration. She wished she could be doing something to help her friends... or her teammates... but throwing Merissa off course would at least make it easier for Manga Girl and whoever else was around to defeat them.
She wanted to shift back out of Limbo but held herself down a little bit deeper and longer, hoping to wait out Merissa's attack. The longer she stood, the vaguer and fuzzier her thoughts got and the less she wanted to leave. At least it was peaceful here. But she didn't want her story to here, she reminded herself. She didn't want to let all the forces that were trying to force her to fit their mold win.
She pulled herself out of Limbo and fell down on her knees, coughing. It was the streets of Net.ropolis at midnight and no one else seemed to be around. Everything was a bit dingier and darker. Then again, she had very little idea what Net.ropolis was supposed to be like.
Nearby was a building that was obviously the LNHQ. She felt a wave of relief wash over her. Something was odd, though. There was a titanic billboard, larger than the LNH logo, that said: "No-Duh: It's a Soda!" What did that mean? It sounded like one of those terrible Mr. Pakrika knock-offs they sold in grocery chains. Probably the LNHQ had just been blown up again. Nothing to be too concerned about.
She opened the door and walked in.
YOU HAVE BEEN READING
JUST ANOTHER MULTI-WRITER CASCADE THAT WILL NEVER HAVE AN ENDING #8
AKA LOONIVERSE Y #15 PART 2
by Adrian J. McClure
A sleek spacecraft in the shape of a carrot burst into existence inside the Looniverse. A lone figure sat inside. He'd traveled a long way from his home universe to carry out his mission, to stop the terrible being who had wreaked so much devastation on his own world and whose existence imperilled the entire Usnetverse.
He felt a stab of pain and quickly swallowed his pill. The same atomic carrots that had given him his powers were now killing him. For a long time he'd been imprisoned in the Hiatus Zone until they could come up with a cure. He'd been pulled out prematurely to carry out this mission. The anti-radiation pills helped, but he couldn't be sure he would make it out of this mission alive.
But he had to try. Because he was Atomic Rabbit, one of the greatest heroes of the Tooniverse, and he would get that terrible duck if it was the last thing he did.
Notes: Atomic Rabbit was a funny animal hero who appeared in 50s Charlton Comics, who is in the public domain. (http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Atomic_Rabbit) He is Free For Use in the LNH, as is his home universe.
More information about the racc