LNH: Looniverse Chronicles #4: "Mega Ring of Fire"

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu May 1 17:13:42 PDT 2014


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                        LOONIVERSE O CHRONICLES
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                    Written by  \--4--/  Andrew Perron

                          "Mega Ring of Fire"


The cover is an homage to the original Gojira poster. In the center, a 
giant reptilian monster with blue-black skin and a head shaped like a 
spork shoots lightning at buildings. The Looniverse Chronicles logo runs 
down the left side, and near the bottom are five people from the 
shoulders up in determined poses.


                        ----------< >----------

The nano-cybernetic beasts known as Hackemon walk the earth! And out in 
the midst of the Paci.fanfic Ocean, there is an island where they send 
the greatest and most terrible beasts of all - Mons.dir Island, home of 
the Daikaiju Hackemon!

The underground base of operations that watches over the Daikaiju 
Hackemon is known as the Blast Helix, and it is here that our story 

The great hangar was a constant buzz of activity. Great, custom-fit 
gears and pipes had been developed at Eidolon Systems and flown in 
emergency express. Engineers worked around the clock, calculating 
stress, making little tweaks, testing and retesting before hammering and 
soldering the pieces into place. Everyone knew how little time was left, 
as the great analog clock in the center of the hangar counted down to 

A person stood on a high platform overlooking the furious activity. 
"We're not going to have time to test it."

Another shrugged, crossing their arms. "It sucks. But we all knew what 
the risks were when we took the job. Better those risks fall on us than 
a million innocents, you know?"

The first person sighed. "Indeed..."

Soon, the clock struck zero. Soon, the great bell tolled. Soon, everyone 
stopped their work and looked up to the great podium on the platform 

A woman stepped out. She was tall, of Polynesian descent, with an 
eyepatch and long hair that was all the colors of a bird of paradise. 
Her name was Dex Morningstar.

She gripped the podium and looked over the assembly. They were the 
finest of humanity. She would swear on it.

"Ladies, gentlemen, and honored non-binary fellows, Project Timepiece is 
complete. Now it's time to put it into action."

She activated the big screen, showing the containment grid around the 
island. "As you all know, we've built Mons.dir Island as an environment 
that keeps the world safe from Daikaiju Hackemon, and keeps the Hackemon 
safe from the world. Our main tool is the Peace Wall, an energy barrier 
developed based on the technology of the Christicantthinkofagoodname 
Empire. Unfortunately, the Wall is about to be breached."

She brought up another image - of an enormous beast, somewhat reptilian 
in overall form, whose head tapered into a giant spork. "This is code 
name Runcible. At first, we thought it was another Daikaiju. But the 
truth is far more grim." She paused to shake her hair dramatically, 
emphasizing the point. "The Century Pact technology that created the 
Hackemon* was also used to develop an assortment of other destructive 
projects. We believe this creature was created using the DNA of the 
monster Spoonsday."

[ * See the Century Pact issues of _Dvandom Force_ for details! - Space 
Footnote Girl ]

A collective gasp rose from the crowd. Spoonsday was one of the very few 
creatures that had managed to permanently kill a member of the Legion of 

[ ** Specifically, Lost Cause Boy, in _Lost Cause Boy Special_ #1-2. - 
Death Footnote Girl ]

She held up a hand for order and continued. "Runcible has attacked three 
times, each with an increasingly powerful electromagnetic pulse weapon. 
Based on its previous upgrades, the fourth attack will bring down the 
Peace Wall, and based on previous attacks, the next one is going to 
happen at any moment."

The murmur of the crowd rose sharply. She leaned in. "But we. Are. 

Lights came on around the hanger, illuminating the thing they'd worked 
so hard on. An enormous metal form, shining like lacquer, shaped like a 
suit of samurai armor with a fearsome red mask.

"This is Yojimbo Vermillion. A unified mobile armor constructed entirely 
with analog clockwork and steam-powered parts. People, we've entered the 
nineteenth century - and it has teeth." She grinned fiercely.

"Of course, a machine like this comes with its own problems. 
Specifically, it is so complex that it needs not one, not two, but five 
pilots, working in perfect synchronization." She swept her hand out. "I 
present to you: Brass Team Alpha."

A spotlight illuminated five people standing next to her on the 
platform, in dark green suits of space-age polymer. The young lady 
furthest to the left stepped out first. She was short, compact, peaches-
and-cream complexion with bright red hair and freckles. "Exie Gudrun, 
close quarters combat specialist!"

A woman strode forward, rounded and bronze and confident. "Floy Vonholt, 
tactical genius!"

A tall man walked up to the front, the lights shining off East Asian 
skin. He idly fingered his suit with artificial fingers, as Ms. 
Morningstar announced, "Alpha Brown, clockpunk technical systems 

Another dude sauntered forward. Tossing his mane of blond hair, he waved 
a tanned, calloused hand. "Ransom Speculoos, nanocybernetic biology 

Finally, a wide, muscular woman with perfect teeth, even skin like a 
walnut tree, and piercing eyes stepped out. She crossed her arms and 
gave her audience a smoldering look. "And Vester Lockrem, project 

"Using the Tactile Wired Information Tactical Channeling Heuristic 
System, these five will act as one. We will stop Runcible. And we will 
SIGTERM the apocalypse!"

A great triumphant shout went up from the assembly! ...only to be 
drowned out by a blaring klaxon. The Peace Wall was under attack!

The spectacular fivesome ran to the launching stage. The docking 
platform connected to Yojimbo Vermillion, and they were transported into 
the Pentagonal Control Station. Five shielded control helmets were 
carefully attached to head electrodes, and five sets of eyes peered out 
of retro-reflective viewing tubes.

The launching stage rolled forward, the great doors of the Blast Helix 
opening to let it through. The stabilizing clamps fell away, and Yojimbo 
Vermillion took its first step forward...

And then it took its first step back.

Forward. Back. Forward. Back. Left. Right. It turned around and raised 
its left arm, then dropped it and started wiggling the fingers of its 
right hand.

In the Pentagonal Control Station, it was anarchy. "Damn it!" shouted 
Floy. "We were performing at over 90% synch in simulations!"

"Simulations my arse!" yelled Ransom. "Did I or did I not propose 
testing frames that would have--"

"They weren't in the budget, Ransom," said Alpha testily. "Perhaps you 
would prefer it if we were going out missing a pelvis!"

"ENOUGH!" said Vester. "Rest position, now!"

All five of them took up a pose of military parade rest. Yojimbo 
Vermillion did the same. Outside, one of the smaller Daikaiju Hackemon, 
a marshmallow puppy, started nibbling thoughtfully on its ankle.

"Close your eyes," said Vester. "Open your senses. Listen."

Five people held their breath and listened. There it was. A hard, steady 
pounding, electromagnetically charged fists against standing photonic 
waves. Runcible.

"Open your eyes," said Vester. "We are five, and we are one. We all know 
our roles. We are nervous, but we are strong, and well-trained, and 
ready. Apart, we are specialists; together, we are a single unit with 
every skill needed to succeed. We are five, and we are one."

Four people let their breath out as one.

"Good speech!" shouted Exie, waving Yojimbo Vermillion's hand.

"...thank you, Exie. Now, let's do something foolishly brave!"

A cheer went up from the crew. Yojimbo Vermillion strode forward, 
slowly, then with increasing confidence, until it reached the Peace 
Wall. The energy barrier blazed sapphire each time it was hit, 
Runcible's knobbly, cutlery-covered fists bashing unceasingly into the 

Alpha pressed a button, carefully clearing his mind so that the motor 
impulse didn't get sent to Yojimbo Vermillion's systems. The section of 
the Peace Wall parted, and in the half-second before Runcible could 
react, Exie took control, leaping Yojimbo Vermillion across the gap to 
grapple with the monster.

Runcible clawed at the clockwork armor, transient electromagnetic 
disturbances blasting from its cells, but the ceramic armor held, and 
the pulses dispersed harmlessly through the analog systems.

Ransom reached up and switched from the standard viewing tubes to 
special micro-telescopic analyzers. His eyes narrowed. "We were right. 
It isn't like a Hackemon - the nanotech isn't as deeply integrated into 
the cellular structure. A direct code patch will be impossible."

"Good news, it isn't the same people who created the Hackemon turning up 
again," said Alpha. "Bad news, someone else has, or had, the 

"Even worse news!" gasped Exie. "They're pretty good at making strong 
monsters... nnngh..."

"We should take this battle away from the island," grunted Vester, 
propping up Exie's willpower with her own.

"No!" said Floy, flipping Runcible out of close combat range. "It's been 
showing up out of the sea with each attack, and retreating there with 
each defeat. It's got an advantage there, or even here, in these shallow 
waters. We need to get it up on land!"

"On the island!?" Ransom shouted. "But the crossfire, the base, the 
Hackemon would all be vulnerable!"

"Well," pondered Alpha, "not if the Peace Wall was separating us from 
the rest of the island..."

"You can do that?" said Exie, dodging left and right.

"It should be simple-- in theory."

"Right," said Vester. "Let's rope ourselves a dope."

Alpha's fingers flickered, dropping their electromagnetic shielding for 
milliseconds to send complex signals to the Blast Helix. The Peace Wall 
reformed, then bulged, its smooth surface bending to create an open area 
on the island's shore.

Yojimbo Vermillion feinted, taking one step back, then another. 
Runcible's tail swished as it moved, lashing out with lighting speed, 
blows dodged by mere feet.

"It's trying to strike at our joints," said Floy. "It's learning, 
realizing that we've protected ourselves against direct attack..."

"It seemed like just an animal before," said Alpha. "Is it intelligent, 
or is it being controlled from afar?"

"Wait!" Ransom switched back to the micro-telescopic lenses, 
scrutinizing layers past the surface. "There - the electric pulses are 
avoiding one spot. That bulge on the back of its neck."

"Some kind of signal receiver? Or a combat computer?" guessed Exie.

"Whatever it is, it's necessary," said Alpha. "You don't put something 
that can be overloaded by electrical pulses on a creature that 
constantly emits them if you can help it."

"Overloaded, eh?" Vester cracked her knuckles, and Yojimbo Vermillion 
followed suit. "Team, we've found Achilles' heel - let's see if we can 
make him put an arrow into it for us."

"Just give me five minutes to unpack your metaphor..."

Yojimbo Vermillion stepped backwards onto solid ground. Runcible stepped 
forward, claws sinking into the sand.

"Ready..." whispered Exie. She stepped forward, and one hand stretched 
out to the monster. Yojimbo Vermillion's fingers flicked forward. Come 
and get it, if you're not scared.

Runcible roared its defiance, charging at the robot, spork-studded arms 

"And..." Yojimbo Vermillion spun. In one graceful motion, it stepped out 
of Runcible's way, grabbed the ridge of its back, and slammed it into 
the Peace Wall.

Runcible howled. Electromagnetic pulses blasted from its body, mixing 
and interfering with the coruscating energies of the Wall.

"Again!" Five sets of arms pulled the monster back and slammed it into 
the Wall, once, twice, three times. Runcible's howl turned into a 
ululating scream, and it sent out pulse after pulse, bursting arcs of 
lightning crackling over monster and robot.

"Speaking of overloading, guess what's happening to us!" shouted Alpha. 
"Charge levels on the gears are climbing! It'll be high enough soon to 
short out the control system!"

"Just a little longer..." muttered Floy.

The great metal arms gripped the monster, and the great crackling arcs 
grew higher, stronger, flinging out in random directions...

Only to stop all at once. Runcible sagged in Yojimbo Vermillion's arms.

"Is it dead?" whispered Exie.

"...no," said Ransom, analyzing. "Life signs low, but present. But 
electrical signals down to five percent. Doesn't look like it'll be 
pulling that trick again."

Vester nodded. "Leave it here, then. Our part of the job is done - it's 
up to the brass to decide what to do with it now." Disengaging from the 
control harness, she turned and addressed the four. "Good job, team. 
Let's get back and have some victory pizza."

"VICTORY PIZZA!" they shouted, and Yojimbo Vermillion trooped back to 

                        ----------< >----------

In her office, Dex Morningstar nodded at the fivesome's tale. "Good job, 
folks. There's victory pizza in the cafeteria. Dismissed."

Exie, Floy, Alpha, Ransom, and Vester saluted and left, closing the door 
behind them. Dex sighed and flopped into her chair.

Behind her, another door opened, and someone else stepped into the room. 
"Congratulations. You've won."

Dex snorted. "Yeah. Won time to think about the next problem."

"The... *next* problem?" The other person raised an eyebrow.

"Indeed." She pulled out a candied fig and stuck it between her teeth. 
"Was this monster just an old experiment, activated after its time? Or 
was someone pulling its strings? And if so... what kind of plan requires 
not just one, but *dozens* of giant monsters?"

                        ----------< >----------


Author's Notes:

You may have noticed that, unlike other Looniverse Chronicles issues, 
this one takes place on modern-day Earth. Looking at the various LNH 
titles, I realized that the thing I created this book for didn't quite 
match up with its current mission statement. Thus: From now on, 
Looniverse Chronicles is a book about stories in the Classic LNH 
universe (and associated universes, like in last issue) that don't 
actually involve the LNH itself. WOO. (And this sharpens up the mission 
of LNH v3, starting soon or so I'm told.)

As for the story itself, it was inspired by Saxon's Cover Gallery #16i. 
I've been pondering the possibilities of the Hackemon since Dvandom 
Force ended, but I think this is the first time I've actually used them 
in a story.

Meanwhile, the other inspiration was Twitch Plays Pokemon, an experiment 
where an emulated game of Pokemon Red was hooked up to a chatserver. 
Imagine 40,000 people trying to play the same game at the same time. Yet 
they beat it, and have since gone through Gold and Emerald and are, I 
believe, currently on FireRed. Amazing.

And, of course, the other other inspiration was Pacific Rim - especially 
the one scene where they insist that Gipsy Danger, patron saint of "make 
sure to think about the implications of your characters' names", is 
analog and not digital, despite being just as much of a computer-
controlled giant robot as the rest of the Jaegers. That started me 
thinking on what an *actually* analog giant robot would be like, and 
steampunk did the rest!

The Peace Wall is a combination of the Life Wall from Pacific Rim and 
the War Walls from City of Heroes (which often separated zones with 
giant wandering monsters from city zones).

Runcible's design was inspired by Gurion from Gamera vs. Gurion, whose 
head is a giant knife.

"Yojimbo Vermillion" is a parody of Marvel's Godzilla-fighting robot Red 
Ronin, with a name based on the naming patterns of the Jaeger in Pacific 

Hackemon created by Dave Van Domelen.
Daikaiju Hackemon and Mons.dir Island created by Saxon Brenton.

Finally, a list of names I considered but didn't use: Baz, Len, Karma, 
Ethelyn, Hedwig, Provident,  Zelma, Boyce, Gust, Alois, Isom, Norville, 
and Electa.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, all rights reserved, all lefts 

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