LNH20: Smash Comics! Featuring Corporation-Smasher #3
pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Oct 9 18:03:45 PDT 2017
Dark were the clouds in the sky, that day, swirling above the glass dome of the
Roberts Building, headquarters of Azrelion Limited Liability Company. Dark were
the events on the thirty-seventh floor, in the grand boardroom, where twelve
directors and one CEO were meeting.
Said CEO stood at the head of the polished walnut conference table. He was a
fairly normal-looking white man, with respectably-cut blond hair and a blue suit
with a red tie. Normal, that is, but for the unsettling intensity of his gaze -
and the misty gray web draped over his head and shoulders.
The web spread over the objects and surfaces of the room's elegant interior
design, tendrils of gray mist crawling over it, obscuring its edges. Perhaps it
also produced the whiff of mould and decay that permeated the room, and the
chill that penetrated the startlingly similar expensive suits of the
gray-haired, pale-skinned, entirely nervous and uncomfortable men seated around
"Gentlemen!" declared Virgil Vexilamus, for the CEO was he. "I promised you
great riches! I have delivered! I promised you great reputation! I have
delivered! Now..." He gestured, hand grasping the air like a claw, and thunder
boomed around them. "I promise you great power!"
A chill wind blew thru the room, and out of the web fluttered flapping, rolling
things. The directors flinched and ducked, but the things fluttered down in
front of them, unrolling to show themselves as pieces of light gray paper with
dark gray text on them, and at the bottom, big, black, bold signature lines.
"Gentlemen, sign on the line, and a great power will be open to you! Greater
than all the money you have accumulated, the things you have bought, the strings
you have pulled! *True* power, to take from humanity as you see fit!" Vexilamus
slapped his hand on the table, a deadened thunk. "*Take* it, gentlemen! This is
They looked down at the papers, up at him, the power of his words pulling at
them. One said, "Ah, Virgil, I'm sorry, but I can't *quite* read what this says."
"It's a *very* standard contract for the industry. Perfectly SOP, I assure you!"
"Ah. ...er, which industry, exactly, is that?"
"A *trade* industry." Vexilamus pounded his fist on the table, a slightly louder
thunk. "Gentlemen, you must act quickly! There are forces moving against us, and
if I-- if *we* miss our moment--"
SHKRAMMM! A sharp crash shattered the muted atmosphere of the room, and
splinters of glass cut across the web. Down from the hole in the glass dome
leapt a figure - a black woman in her forties, resplendent in a red bodysuit
with a gold belt and a gold hooded cloak. She had an image of a hammer on her
chest, and a great golden hammer in her hand, which she pointed at the CEO.
"Vexilamus!" she shouted. "Stop this, before anyone else gets hurt!"
"Corporation-Smasher!" Vexilamus clenched his fists, and an angry ripple ran
down the web. "Gentlemen, ignore her! I'll deal with this! Sign!"
"Damn it, Vexilamus!" Corporation-Smasher stalked around him, avoiding the web,
glancing around for a trap or an attack. "You're really trying to pull
*everyone* into the same demonic deal *you* stuck yourself with!"
There were gasps of surprise, despite the obviousness of the situation. One of
the directors said, "Virgil--"
"Don't listen to her! She's *anti-business*!" Virgil thrusts his arms out and
the web leapt up, wrapping and twining around Corporation-Smasher's limbs.
"Rrgh..." Corporation-Smasher tensed in the web, then relaxed. "Yes.
Specifically, I am against the type of business that's unsustainable,
self-destructive because it drains and uses up the resources it needs to
survive." Her hammer began to glow. "Resources like the light of human lives.
*Your* lives, gentlemen!" The glow flared into a shining golden light, and the
mist of the web burned away under its warmth. Corporation-Smasher thrust out her
arms and was free!
There was a buzz of anxious grumbles around the table. "Virgil," said a
director. "I... I'd have to have a discussion about these allegations before I
was willing to sign."
"NOOOO!" The pieces of the web leapt up to wrap around Vexilamus, tying him
tight in their grasp. "I was so CLOSE!" He struggled helplessly in place,
thrashing back and forth.
The shadows of the room slipped from their places, leaving unnatural brightness.
They gathered behind Vexilamus, swirling, bright flecks shimmering in the dark.
"Rrrgh... just needed... a little more time..." He hung his head. "But... I'm
out." He looked up at Corporation-Smasher, laughing spitefully. "You've won."
"Not yet I haven't!" Corporation-Smasher leapt forward, grabbing the web with
one hand and pulling on it with all her strength. "Vexilamus, let go! It's over,
but if you let go of your connection to the demon, you can escape!"
"Hah! Idealist! Naive fool!" The shadows behind him opened, a baleful gray light
leaking thru, as if the diffuse shine of clouds on an overcast day was magnified
and sharpened to a painful glare. "I have made far too many promises to escape now!"
"You've broken enough damn promises in your life!" Corporation-Smasher raised
her hammer high. "Let me save you!" She brought her hammer down-- and it passed
"Heh... fool... none can escape from this power... that's..." The web tightened
around Vexilamus. "hnnn... that's why I wanted it... could have been mine..."
"Vexilamus!" Corporation-Smasher dropped her hammer, denting the floor. She
grabbed the web, digging her heels in.
"could have been mine... could have been mine..." The web, the man, were drawn
into the shadowy mouth. It snapped shut, and Corporation-Smasher stumbled back,
holding a piece of web. With a quiet susurration, the shadows flew back to their
places. The web dissolved. Corporation-Smasher was left standing, staring at the
place they'd been.
A moment passed.
One of the directors stood, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Thank you, ma'am--"
Corporation-Smasher smacked it away. She turned, grasped her hammer, lifted it
up, and brought it down on the polished walnut table with a thunderous KRAKK!
The table split down the middle, collapsing in on itself in a cloud of sawdust,
and the directors shouted and scampered away. Corporation-Smasher stood, staring
into the dust, hands on the handle of her hammer.
When the dust cleared, she looked up. She pointed a single finger, sweeping it
across the cowering directors. "Each and every one of you is personally
responsible for this."
A grumble started, and she shouted, "THAT'S RIGHT!" They shut up.
"Vexilamus may have brought this demon, but you fed it, with your words and
deeds. Every time you disclaimed responsibility, assigned responsibility and
personhood to the corporation itself, that was worship. Every time you said your
hands were tied, that you had to please the shareholder, that destruction and
murder and poverty and helplessness were just business sense, that was a prayer
to a god who did not care about you, who was fattening you for the slaughter!"
Corporation-Smasher took a moment, breathing hard, body shaking with righteous
rage. She took a deep breath, let it out, ran her hand thru her hair. "I don't
know where Vexilamus is now, but I know that, if you do not change your ways,
you're headed there too. And you'll drag the rest of us down there with you."
She lifted her hammer, slung it over her shoulder. "I don't plan to let that
She stepped forward. The directors flinched back, pressing themselves against
the walls, but she walked past them. She stood in front of the door. "So.
Gentlemen." Corporation-Smasher turned around. "Remember this. Vexilamus could,
at any point, have stopped. Changed. Given up what he was doing and saved
himself." She sighed, closing her eyes. "Learn from him, gentlemen. Do *better*."
She turned away. "I'll see myself out." She opened the door and was gone.
The room was quiet.
There was distant thunder. Through the hole in the ceiling, it began to rain.
Drew "and that's the trilogy" Perron
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