LNH: Another LNH Title? Really? #4: "Maintenance Overtime!"

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Sat Mar 14 15:04:43 PDT 2015

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                              < LIBRARY LAD >
                               < NAMER BOY >

                        #4: "Maintenance Overtime!"
                             by Andrew Perron


    Namer Boy and You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad were walking
through the LNHQ's library with armloads of comics (their book club had
just gotten to the Claremont/Smith run of X-Men) when YNHMHELad almost
tripped over a length of rope that was lying on the floor. They followed
it to a door that was open just a crack, with a sign on it saying

    You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad looked at Namer Boy. Namer Boy
looked at YNHMHELad. As one, they pushed it open.

    On the other side, a neverending landscape, with a drop ceiling for a
sky and a savannah of beige carpet. Rows and rows of cubicles and
fluorescent lights went off as far as the eye could see. Many of them
had mannequins busily tapping at keys, but huge segments of the endless
room were unlit, spots of shadow stretching to the horizon.

    In the nearest cubicle, a figure stood, stretched, and walked out. It
was Library Lad, with the rope tied around his waist; his eyes lit up
when he saw them. "Oh, hey guys!"

MMMMF MMF! ...mmf?"

    Library Lad removed his hand from NB's mouth. "Hang on..." He looked
around at the mannequins, but they stayed at their posts, continuing
their work.  The net.heroes stepped outside, and LL closed the door and
took off the rope. "Okay. So, don't worry, the Office isn't attacking."

    "Oh, ha ha, the Office isn't attacking! That's good! I guess we don't
need to worry about you being corrupted by its power, then!" Namer Boy
leaned over and stage whispered to YNHMHELad, "You istract-day him, I'm
going to et-gay Earless-Fay Eader-Lay!"

    He took off running... and didn't go anywhere. Library Lad had him by
the collar - he was pretty strong for a thirteen-year-old. "Will you
just listen for a second? Fearless Leader already knows about this."

    Namer Boy glared at YNHMHELad, who shrugged. "He doesn't seem too
corrupt-y. Give him five minutes."

    "Okay, okay. But what's going on, if it's not an attack?"

    "I'm fixing up the Looniverse's Universal Office!"

    Namer Boy took off again, running in place for a few more seconds. He
whirled around, shook off LL's hand and shouted, "WHY?! The Office has
been nothing but trouble since the NTB first fought it [in the now-
classic Wrath of the Administrator - Footnote Girl]! Why would you want
to fix something that only exists to create and enforce stupid and
pointless rules!?"

    "Because..." Library Lad hesitated on the edge of a word. "Because
what it represents is important."

    "Bureaucracy?" said YNHMHELad quizzically.

    "Rules. Ones with a point." Library Lad started picking books up off
a cart and shelving them as he talked. "Without rules, without law, you
have anarchy, where what the strongest says goes, whether or not it's
fair or just. Rules, laws, policies and paperwork were created to check
power, balance it, make it accountable - match power to responsibility."

    "The temptation of the Office is to use the rules to unbalance power,
turning on the people they're meant to serve, vampiric red tape that
drains energy and resources. But as a Writer Character who represents
one specific aspect of a personality - and as a former god with a very
specific profile - I'm not tempted. I just want to make the system work

    "So you're saying you're too simplistic of a character to be
corrupted," said Namer Boy, skeptically.

    "I prefer 'pure', but whatever works."

    "But do you really think it can be used for that?" asked YNHMHELad.

    "I'd like to think so. But the system is only as good as whoever's in
charge of it - which is why it's still locked away."

    "Locked away? I thought you'd taken charge," said Namer Boy, finally
relaxing a bit.

    "Nah, I'm just on a basic user account." Library Lad wheeled the book
cart back behind the desk. "Sig.Lad drove the Sword of Sig, a powerful
Arthurian artifact, into it. Now, the higher functions of the system are
locked down tight, and only the one who is worthy to draw the sword from
the stone may become the Administrator."

    "I got it, I got it." NB scratched his head. "So in this metaphor,
you're... what, Merlin?"

    "I think the equivalent might be... the Lady of the Lake? Or perhaps
Griflet. I should actually read Mallory sometime." Library Lad shrugged.
"Anyway, I'm not the hero of this story. I'm the one who sets it up so
that others can be." He cracked his knuckles. "Speaking of which, did
you want to check those out?"

    "Oh, right..." They put the comics on the desk. "Thanks."

    "No problem! Just keeping things going."


Author's Note: Continuity-wise, this is a followup to Wrath of the
Administrator, as well as the later Bad Forms crossover in the LNH, but
thematically, it's a followup to "The Office", the ASH arc that explores
what the Multiversal Office is like when someone's *not* trying to use
it for villainous purposes. I was re-reading Bad Forms and got to
thinking about what kind of person would be compatible with its nature,
and this is what came out.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, also using Mighty Medley-style
indentation, but longer paragraph breaks.

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