LNH: Dashing Tales #2

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 19:12:20 PDT 2015

On 8/30/2015 10:04 PM, Ben Rawluk wrote:
> DASHING TALES, episode the second,
> "Auditioning for an Off-Baudway Play,"


 > The swim goggles dig into his face and he doesn't know where to look; the
 > statues of Legionnaires make his anxiety spike, and there are so many of
 > them. They're tall and golden but the metal's been tarnished by weather and
 > Marco doesn't recognize half of them. Legionnaires who are long-dead or
 > disappeared or retconned out of existence. Legionnaires conjured out of
 > nothing. And then there's the Ultimate Ninja. He definitely recognizes the
 > Ultimate Ninja. "I don't think this was a good idea, Em."

Augh. Such good setting-setting.

> "So you don't think -- I mean, you don't think my super-power is too stupid?"

Cheesecake-Eater Lad--

>"Cheesecake-Eater Lad has made a very successful career out of being very
 > good at making cheesecake. And eating cheesecake."

Yeah, that! <3

>"And they won't think I'm a villain? It's not, like -- it's kind of a
 > destructive power."

I mean, Rogue became one of the X-Men back in the '80s, it's pretty common by now.

>"I'm not freaking out about Steve!" Oh god. He should never have said
 > anything. It seemed so, so theoretical, when the words came out of his mouth
 > back on the rooftop of the Netizen, looking out over the city. Maybe I should
 > join up, he'd said. It was supposed to be a joke, but somehow they live in a
 > world where joining the Legion of Net.Heroes is a reasonable back-up plan for
 > failing at poetry. But really, this is Emma's fault. They're only doing this
 > so that--

Haha, yeah, I've been in this thoughtloop @-@

>The cab leaves them at the front gates of the LNHQ, the golden statues of the
 > Avenue giving way to an extensive lawn and front garden that looks like it's
 > seen better days -- scarred and smashed by the latest cataclysmic battle, no
 > doubt

This is just such an interesting portrayal of the LNHQ overall. (I usually 
imagine it opening right onto the sidewalk.)

 > "Security measures," Emma says, loud enough that he's pretty sure she's
 > trying to quell any coming panic attacks. A swarm of machines emerges from
 > some hidden alcover in the gate posts and flies around them. Cameras shutter
 > open and shut. Weird pink lights envelope them.

Ooooo. Ahhhhh.

> Marco coughs. "You have a press pass?"
>Emma shrugs, then brushes past him to walk along the cobblestone walkway
 > toward the main building. "It's a coffee card for that place down the block
 > from the Netizen.


> You have to believe in the power of the media, Marco."
>"Bad-Poetry Boy," he says. "We're almost there. Don't they stick to
 > code-names?"
> "If you call me 'Girl Reporter,' I will murder you."


 > There was at least one well-received but perplexing feature in Architectural
 > Digest, although the writer's never been heard from since and there's an
 > internet forum that grew out of the aftermath.


 > He wasn't expecting a lobby that looks like something out of a seedy 1950s
 > hotel,

Now I'm imagining the interview segments of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

 > with framed portraits of past leaders (Mostly Boy Lad and Ultimate
 > Ninja, by various artists, though there is one wall by a sitting area with
 > courtesy telephones where close to 500 tiny portraits have been lined up, too
 > small to decipher from here).

Oh man. VERY nice. <3

 > He crosses the lobby with its orange shag carpeting and carefully positioned 
 > vintage furniture and steps up to the reception desk, where an older woman -- 
 > close to his Tia's age, maybe -- is watching him over top of thin reading
 > glasses. Her hair is piled high on her head, and there is a certain gaunt
 > quality to her cheekbones.

Oooo, I wonder which receptionist this is. Has Crystal ever been described?

>Emma holds up her hands -- without the coffee card, this time. "I'm media.
 > I'm, ah."  She clears her throat. "Net.ropolis Netizen."
> "Oh. Are we counting that as media, these days?"
> Marco is resolute about not laughing.

Heh heh heh.

 > She shuffles around in the drawers beneath her desk until eventually she
 > pulls up something that looks like a roulette wheel? Made from sleek plastic,
 > with a golden arrow-pointer and little spherical planetoids above each wedge.
 > All the colours of the rainbow. "This is the Membership Application Wheel,"
 > she says. Her voice has taken on an edge, like a narrator from a nature
 > documentary. "There are dozens of ways a person can become a member of the
 > Legion of Net.Heroes, and that doesn't count the ways that are less than
 > savoury, like body-swapping or mystical pregnancy." Now that the wheel has
 > been set up, Marco can see all the tiny options. "Maybe you'll have to fill
 > out forms in quadruplicate. Maybe you'll have to face Ultimate Ninja in
 > combat. Doc Stomper might assign you an audition mission. You might be asked
 > to face a hideous Kirbian monster at the centre of our underground labyrinth,
 > go on a date with Easily-Discovered Man Lite, or clean the Augean Stables.
 > Sing-Along Lass could require you to perform from Les Mis, or there may be a
 > vote by senior members of the Legion. Now, what's your name?"

Holy crap. The sheer density of reference and fun in this paragraph. <3

 > Failure to do so will result in being declared a Legion Traitor, followed by
 > banishment to the Antimatter Looniverse of Thhhppp. Do you understand?"


>The whole thing feels doubly embarrassing, with the stupid costume (Goggles?
 > Really?)

Hey, goggles are rad!

 > She's the kind of reporter than should be jumping out of planes and narrowly
 > escaping mummies. It feels strange to have her directing all of that energy
 > at him.

Awwwwww. <3

 > He doesn't really feel like Bad-Poetry Boy. But maybe that comes later. Maybe
 > he's allowed to feel like pathetic Marco Ramirez right now, before he spins
 > the wheel, before he gets his shot at the Legion of Net.Heroes. He got dumped
 > two days ago and the closest thing he has to a job is an unpaid internship.

Awwwwww! HUGS FOR ALL.

>(And he wonders what would happen if he recited something? If he leaned in
 > and recited that haiku he wrote last summer, about the smell of ocean in
 > Hovel Homes? Would the roulette wheel stop? Would it explode? Seventeen
 > syllables, barely long enough to give anybody brain damage?)

Man, you totally shoulda done it, Marco

 > "Oh," says the receptionist. Marco's eyes are closed. When did he close his
 > eyes? "That one's a classic! You're very lucky, I don't think he does that
 > one as often anymore. Special Bonding Boy had some concerns about how the
 > associated trauma would affect new members."
> Aw, crap.

Bwa-ha-ha. A classic!

 > She presses a few stray keys and pushes a Bluetooth earpiece into her right
 > ear. "Sally? This is Irma, down on the desk.

Ahhhhh, a new one! <3

>"What?"  Emma rockets forward, almost pushing Marco out of the way. "Deal
 > with me? Excuse me? I have every right to be here--"
>"This is private property, and media are required to follow certain rules
 > when on the premises."

Aha! How oddly sensible.

>"Fine." Marco shrugs, and slinks past her. He doesn't look back, because he
 > doesn't know what will happen if he looks back.

I think she gets sucked into the underworld and gets to interview Hades.

>He doesn't want to meet Ultimate Ninja. He doesn't want to fight him. If he
 > walks into the Peril Room and tries to use his super-power, what if it
 > damages the Peril Room? What if the safety protocols go off line and he ends
 > up with a Ginsu Katana through his throat?

We can probably fix it. <3

>PERIL ROOM, reads the display overhead. A pair of gigantic mechanized doors.
 > The computer panel next to the door chirps when he steps closer and an
 > electronic voice buzzes: "Marco Ramirez, also known as Bad Poetry Boy." How
 > did it know his full real name? He hadn't -- "Subject has access for ten
 > minutes. Status: training mode. Current occupants: Ultimate Ninja." The voice
 > halts after that, and the doors hum and grind as they open to reveal a vast
 > white space. It's almost suffocating to look at.


>"There's a reason there haven't been many exposes on the Legion." It is then
 > that the Ultimate Ninja appears: tall and impossibly thin, dressed in jet
 > black from head to toe, except for the red-white-and-blue belt. Marco's mouth
 > goes dry. "We're very particular about who gets to walk around in the LNHQ
 > without clearance. You learn after the first, oh, dozen or so secret traitors
 > and saboteurs."

You are making him really cool here - an excellent balance of "gruff" and 
"weary" and "straightforward".

 > The Ultimate Ninja sighs, and it is long and strange and tired in a way that
 > Marco never expected from someone purported to the deadliest Legionnaire ever
 > imagined. "There have been several of me already."


>"Half of us have no powers, you know that? Half of us are very gifted
 > amateurs, or protected purely by Editorial Fiat." The Ultimate Ninja. "Half
 > of us will never know real pain."


> "God, are you the Angel of Death too?"
>"Ending of the Finishless," says the Ultimate Ninja. He catches the look.
 > "Ask Retcon Lad, some time.

Too many good appropriate references *falls over frothing*

 > They both watch the other version of Marco convulse for a moment before he --
 > before Marco -- has to turn away. He can't pinpoint the moment when he
 > stopped being the Marco on the floor and started being the Marco watching the
 > Marco on the floor.

That is such an incredibly best way to put it.

>He pauses, and looks back at Marco, who must look shell-shocked, because the
 > next thing out of his mouth is: "Sorry, the Ultimate Ninja doesn't do
 > orientation."

Augh. Holy crap this was so good. You've communicated stuff with deceptive ease 
that I still haven't figured out how to get across.

 > There are a lot of different ways a net.hero can join the Legion. In some
 > versions of Dashing Tales, I pretty much skipped over the audition process,
 > but they always seem to be inevitable. The Membership Application Roulette
 > Wheel is definitely open to anyone who wants to use it, and while I feel a
 > little uncreative having it turn out to be a fight against UN (which sort of
 > felt inevitable, based on Marco's anxiety), I'd never written a fight with
 > the Ninja before and it is a classic trope, after all.

Yeah! It worked REALLY well. <3

>I'm keeping these short so I can churn out a couple in sporadic heaps. Next
 > time will focus pretty heavily on Emma with the possibility of an interlude
 > or two, to break the "big long scene" vignette structure.

(This is "keeping it short"? Wow.)

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, holy crap, this is basically going to be my 
new go-to "what the LNH is" thing, I think

More information about the racc mailing list