LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #44: The Crimes of the Brotherhood Part Seven
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 14 14:03:33 PST 2018
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have the seventh section of the whole EMPLOYEE-EMPOWERED, PARADIGM-SHIFTED,
INDIVIDUAL-OWNERSHIP, DOWNSIZED, STREAMLINED, REENVIGORATED CRIMES of
the BROTHERHOOD of NET.VILLAINS!!
Firstly, we have Jessica "Jaelle" Ihimaera-Smiler with the number 19 of her
Writer's Block Woman series continuing Mouse and Writer's Block Women's
struggle against the Brotherhood.
And after that, we have Scott "Zagyg" Johnson and his Unlikely Aliens #17
unlikely tangling with Plotchopper and Demented Designer in some 'Bad
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
The Crimes of the Brotherhood Part Seven
From: ihimaera_j at ix.wcc.govt.nz
Subject: LNH: Writers Block Woman (and Mouse) #19
Date: 2 Jun 1995 05:26:22 GMT
The Ties That Bind... :-)
___ ___ ______
\ \ / /__________________________ ___ | ___ \__ _____________ __
\ \/\/ /|___ \_____|_____| ___| __ \ / __| | | / /| | | __ | ___| |/ /
\ / | |/ / | | | | \ \ | |/ / \ \ | | \ \| | | | | | | | /
\ / | |\ \_| |_ | | / /__| |\ \__\ \ | |_/ /| |__| |_| | |__| \
\/\/ |_| \_\____| |_| \____|_| \_\___/ |____/ |____|_____|____|_|\_\
\ \ / /_________ ____________ __
\ \/\/ /| __ | \/ | __ | \ | |
\ / | | | | |\ /| | |_| | \| |
\ / | |_| | | \/ | | __ | |\ |
\/\/ |_____|_| |_|_| |_|_| \__| (and Mouse)
Issue #19: Surfing the Stockmarket.
Because McCoskey wouldn't call off the hitmen till it was finished!
An EMPLOYEE-EMPOWERED, PARADIGM SHIFTED, and alla those other big words
Writers Block Woman flew gracefully above the skyline, occasionally dodging
to avoid birds. She headed towards the stockmarket, which was situated in the
toxic waste zone.
Likewise Mouse headed for the stockmarket. But she was neither flying
gracefully or dodging birds. She was, however, swearing quite loudly.
"*&^(*%^$#@)*& GET OUT OF MY WAY )_(&*%*&^@#(**^(%&^!" Mouse drove through
the streets of downtown Net.ropolis, refering to a map on the seat next to
her. Furiously she stared down the street and tried to remember which side
of the road you were supposed to drive on in the Loonited States.
Mouse grabbed at the cellphone, "Hallo?"
A familiar voice spoke over the line, "Hallo Mouse, I hope you haven't
forgotten about me." Mouse groaned quietly.
"As if I _could_ forget you father." she replied, checking to see if any
traffic cops were around and speeding up slightly.
Jonathan Connery looked out the window of his office in Net.Zealand and
smiled, "I'm so glad to hear it. I..."
"Um, look father. This is a bit of a bad time. Mum and I are off to the
Net.ropolis stockmarket, we've found out there's a villain on the loose
there and we're going to check it out. I'll call you back sometime." Mouse
hung up quickly before her father had a chance to reply and pulled into a
parking space. Swiftly she locked the door and sprinted off to the building
at the end of the street.
Jonathan hung up the telephone and considered. Then he picked up the
phone again and dialed a number,
"Credence, it's Jonathan here, put the Net.ropolis stockmarket up on the
Mouse burst into the stockmarket. Noone noticed however, as they were all
too busy running around screaming incomprehensible comments. Mouse
covered her ears and started searching for:
a) Writers Block Woman
b) The net.villains
c) Both of the above
d) An asprin
e) There is no e)
(Sorry - too many terms tests lately. Argh! Study study study...)
Haitus, who was slightly miffed after having his name mis-spelled all
through the last issue (it wasn't my fault!) finished signing some papers
and smiled at the lawyer. The lawyer smiled back, revealing more teeth
than any three sharks you'd care to meet and left. Haitus shuddered,
"I'd hate to have _his_ dental bill." he said, turning, "Now Rumour
Monger... Rumour Monger? Hey? Where'd you go?"
"I'm right here." said Rumour Monger, stepping out of the crowd.
"Ah, didn't notice you." said Haitus.
"Good. I've been doing a little... speculating... How are things on this
"Oh not too bad," said Haitus, "The new folio I put out seems to be
attracting some attention. Then again after we hid the folios for all the
other companies around there wasn't a lot of choice. Hehehehehehe..."
Rumour Monger nodded sourly, he still hadn't quite forgiven Haitus for
not telling him that the corporation they were trying to make money out
of sold shaving cream.
"Well at least _some_thing's going right." he said curtly, "Move on to
phase two." Rumour Monger faded into the crowd.
Writers Block Woman hovered in the air above the stockmarket. It was
pretty thick with smoke though so she was wearing her new goggles with
the miniature windscreen wipers on them (bought from a department store
along with two more toasters, an eggtimer, 17 different coloured
stockings, a shaved/crushed icemaker, an X-Men silk tie, Revlon's new
spring line of makeup and a self-inking invisible ink printing machine -
all of which were carried back to LNHHQ by Mouse, grumbling and
complaining all the way I might add). Writers Block Woman searched the
crowd of people below looking for the net.villains, who were usually
easily spottable because of their costumes. Unfortunately, in this case
Haitus was wearing a suit to fit in with everyone else and Rumour Monger
was naturally undetectable so she couldn't. Rats. Doncha just hate it
when that happens?
"Hmmm, now where can these villains be?" asked WBW aloud. "I know they're
here, I can sense the evil, the tyranny, the very essence of their evil.
They are here. I, Writers Block Woman, know it!"
By chance (yeah, right), Writers Block Woman was hovering just below an
airconditioner as she said these words, which meant that they were blown
down to the floor and were overheard by that nefarious net.villain,
Rumour Monger! (dum dum dum duuuuuum - Beethoven's 5th, or was it 4th?)
"Who the hell's narrating?" he muttered under his breath. Looking up, he
beheld our costumed heroine. "Hmmmm..." Rumour Monger slunk off.
Further along, Mouse tripped and went flying. "Oof!"
What's with you?
"Sorry, I tripped over this shoe-string of a plot." Mouse said snarkily.
"I mean, air conditioners? Can we say plot device?"
Yes we can. *evil grin*
At that very moment, Mouse spotted Haitus a bare three feet and a fourth
socked foot away from her current position. She scrambled to her feet
and launched herself at him.
With a sudden BLiP, Mouse disappeared.
Plot device. Gotcha!
To find out where Mouse went, see her chronologically ill-fitting guest
appearance in Fan.Boy #6.
Writers Block Woman had descended from her position above the stockmarket
and was currently walking amongst the people (or vague approximations
thereof), searching for Mouse and the net.villains.
Rumour Monger followed her for a while, dropping a few rumours hither and
thither as to the excellent investments available in Satellite 5 (the
company that Haitus had stocks in) until he felt that he was close enough.
Writers Block Woman felt a tap on her shoulder, "I've heard that you can
fly, but that you're not invulnerable." said Rumour Monger as she turned.
Then he punched her as hard as he could. Writers Block Woman, in true
comic book fashion, flew backwards and hit a wall from the force of the
"Hehehehehehehehehehe..." said Rumour Monger.
The cost of the stock at Satellite 5 rose another notch.
Watching the stockmarket on the screen, Jonathan Connery considered
buying some Satellite 5 stock. His hand hovered over the phone but then
he reconsidered, and awaited new developments.
Haitus grinned as the cost of the stock went up again. It had risen from
$2.30 per share to $25 in the space of two hours. Soon he would be able
to sell the stock he had and make enough money to survive. (Actually, he
would make more than enough money to live on, but that's different from
survive. Live on is what you have, survive is what you have to give to Mr
Homage to ensure your continuing existence, then you can worry about what
you have to live on.)
Jonathan frowned as the value of Satellite 5 rose again. He lifted up the
phone and dialed a Loonited States number.
"Hi Harry, have you been watching the stockmarket yet? You have? Tell
me please, just because I'm curious, what exactly does Satellite 5 sell?
Haitus noticed the man beside him looking a little worried as he talked
into the phone. He moved to listen in,
"Yes Jonathan, I know, but... oh alright. I'll find out."
Picking up a folio, the man leafed through it, Haitus smiled as he
recognised the glossy folio that he and Rumour Monger had put together
last night. But his smile faded as the man suddenly shrieked at the top
of his lungs,
"SHAVING CREAM?!!! SATELLITE 5 SELLS SHAVING CREAM?!!"
There was a brief pause before the storm.
Mouse returned, fuming. "The NERVE of him calling me babe! Just wait'll
Iaaaaaargh!" her angry words were cut off as she was run over by a horde
of screaming stockpeople.
Crawling under a desk, Mouse watched in horror at the chaos below. Stocks
were going wild and so were people as they were all shouting at once. It
was like the end of the world.
"Yeesh, talk about running around like a chicken with it's legs chopped
off." said Mouse, who was still a bit woozy from being run over. "It's a
madhouse in here."
"AAAArgh!" came a scream from further along. Mouse craned her head and
spotted Haitus, who had just shinnied up a pole to avoid being crushed.
Mouse moved slightly and was surprised when the desk moved with her, it
was then that she noticed that it was on wheels.
"Rumour Monger! HEEEELP!" yelled Haitus.
"No one can help you now villain! Your evil ways will be your undoing! I,
Mouse, of the LNH so swear."
Haitus looked over at the kid yelling at him. He rolled his eyes. "You've
gotta be kidding me."
Mouse felt slightly silly, but that sort of proclamation was required
before launching into battle and Writers Block Woman wasn't around to
make it. She took a deep breath and pushed the desk to a fast speed
before jumping on and poling herself along with a mop.
Haitus gulped as the kid on the desk sped up and grabbed a desk of his
own. He shoved it quickly and then jumped on as it began to roll.
Stockmarketeers jumped out of his way as the race was on.
Rumour Monger cursed as he saw what was happening. Vaulting up on some
desks he jumped from one to the other before landing with a thump on the
one Haitus was driving. "Can't you get this thing to go any faster?" he
Writers Block Woman slowly returned to conciousness and shook her head.
Levering herself up on her elbows she gaped as the two net.villains
zoomed past her on their desk, followed in fast pursuit by Mouse. Getting
to her feet, she took off into the air and landed on the desk Mouse was
driving. "Let's get em!" she yelled, grabbing a pole and poling for all
she was worth.
"They're gaining on us!" shouted Haitus.
"Quick, head for the door!" yelled RM.
With a huge shuddering crash the door slammed open as the desk sailed out
onto the street.
"Hang on!" yelled Mouse as they followed him.
On the open street, the wind had picked up, and the desk on which the two
lighter heroines were on began to really pick up speed.
"We're catching up!" screamed Mouse. "Make ready the grappling hooks!"
"Prepare to be boarded!" shrieked WBW at the two net.villains.
"SHIT! Here they come!" Rumour Monger picked up a desk tidy, "FIRE!" Both
net.villains threw pencils at the same time. Mouse swung a grappling hook
made of paperclips and rubber bands and hooked a paper weight. Dragging
the two desks together fierce hand-to-hand combat broke out. Haitus and
Writers Block Woman were duelling with paper knives whilst Mouse, who was
now wearing an Admirals hat made of a newspaper, was fighting on the
rungs of the drawers with Rumour Monger, each trying to dislodge the
other to fall and be dragged under as the desks sped along.
"Aha! You cannot defeat me! For my heart is as pure as my sword and I
shall fight you to the death!" proclaimed WBW.
"Hack! Slash! Parry! Cut! Turn! Twist!" replied Haitus, suiting words to
"Gfffl nfffl vrfffl fla!" said Rumour Monger.
"What? I can't understand a word you're saying with that pen in your
mouth!" said Mouse.
Rumour Monger aimed a kick at Mouse's side and she slipped, her feet now
dragging along the ground. "Alright! That does it! It's time for the
ultimate weapon!" screamed Mouse. She drew a pen from her pocket and,
holding it up to Rumour Monger, began to click it on and off. Clik. Clak.
Clik. Clak. Clik. Clak. Clik. Clak. Clik. Clak. Clik. Clak. Clik. Clak.
"AAaaaah! No more! God I can't STAND it when people do that!" Rumour
Monger dashed the pen from her hands. "And now I'll..." he looked where
she was looking. "Uh oh."
Both Mouse and RM hauled themselves back onto their desks and disengaged.
WBW landed back onto the desk and Haitus only just stopped himself from
"What's going on? Oh no!"
The problem was this. All this time the desks had been speeding down a
street. The street was now about to come to an end. This was demonstrated
by a very large brick wall.
"We're going to hit it!" yelled WBW.
"Can you fly us out of here?" asked Mouse.
"Ungh, I'm still kind of woozy. I don't think so."
During all of this, the desk containing the two heroines had edged ahead
by about 43 seconds. The two villains were further back.
"Only one chance," said Mouse, "Grab me round the waist."
As the desk sped towards the wall and a fiery destruction, Mouse leaned
out off the desk and grabbed onto a streetlight. Using all their strength
the two heroines pulled hard and tacked around the pole, hurling
themselves and their vessel back up the street and gaining another 36
seconds in the process. Looking back, they saw that the two villains had
managed to do the same thing and were also heading up the street.
"This is round the wrong way!" said Mouse, "_We're_ supposed to be in
pursuit of _them_."
Mouse looked, "Oh."
Since they were headed back the way they had come, the duo were about to
hit the steps of the stockmarket building.
"YEOW!" screamed Mouse as the desk hit and she became airborne.
With a stunning crash she landed on a group of accountants. Writers Block
Woman did a spectacular midair brake and came to a halt, then she floated
down to her daughter.
"Mouse, are you alright?"
"No." Mouse slowly sat up, "I hurt everywhere. I need a drink of something."
"Here," said a voice from underneath her, "You've earned it." An old mug
was proffered to her, Mouse drank from it. "Thanks. What happened to the
"Here they come now."
The desk carrying the two net.villains crashed into the stone steps of
the building and exploded in a huge fireball. A lone wheel squeaked out
of the smoke and wreckage and fell over. The two villains lay in the
middle of the street. Haitus lay on his back and stared at the pretty
stars whilst Rumour Monger counted the stripes on the median barrier.
They were well and truly trashed.
Jonathan Connery hung up the phone and smiled, during the fiasco he had
managed to snag stocks in a variety of businesses and taken over another
two. The Conspiracy Corporation was the only other business to come out
of that little mess well. The other company had been Queen Bee
Enterprises. Jonathan leant back in his chair, this left only one other
matter to attend to.
Later that day Mouse and Writers Block Woman left the local police
station after filling in the usual amount of forms.
"Well, another job well done." said Writers Block Woman, "The good guys
won and the bad guys went to jail."
"Coming through." growled a voice as a large man pushed past the two women.
"Well, _he_ doesn't look happy." said WBW, "How rude!"
"And yet he seems sorta familiar." mused Mouse. "Can't remember where
from though." she shrugged and walked off with her mother.
Mr Homage walked into the police station. Writers Block Woman had been
right. He was NOT happy.
Next Issue: It's #20 and that generally means some sort of special story
right? Right. You know I wouldn't disappoint you. :-) Tune in for an
extra-special longer length Writers Block Woman and Mouse issue in which
most of the LNH appears (well sorta), and Jonathan takes care of that other
little matter. Be here for: An LNH Fairytale.
Rumour Monger and Haitus are members of the Brotherhood of Net.Villains,
I don't know who they belong to.
Writers Block Woman and Mouse are mine.
Pick of the Week:
The Kiwi Kommandos!
From: zagyg at io.com (Scott Johnson)
Subject: LNH: Unlikely Aliens #17 (A BN.V Crossover!): "Bad American Dubbing"
Date: 25 Jul 1995 05:08:18 GMT
After far, far too many delays, WerePenguin Press is proud to present...
Unlikely Aliens #17
"Bad American Dubbing"
The Ink and Paint Conspiracy, Part 1 of 2
A fully-owned subsidiary of the Employee-Empowered, Paradigm-Shifted,
Individual-Ownership, Downsized, Streamlined, Reinvigorated Crimes of the
Brotherhood of Net.Villains
[The cover is done in the style of the Ranma 1/2 Collectors' Editions: a
nicely-painted view of Wyrd and Hybrid leaning against each other, arms
crossed, wearing slightly ornate martial arts outfits, with slight smiles
on their faces. The background is a simple, tasteful texture, marred
only by the garish 'Mangle Streamlining' logo at the lower left.]
[Continuity note: If you haven't read Unlikely Aliens Annual #1, you're
probably not alone. Nevertheless, you ought to be advised that the
continuity flows something like this: #16 -> Annual #1 -> #17. Finding
the Annual at your local back-issue FTP site (I recommend
apollo0.stanford.edu, for low prices and convenient service) and reading
it if you haven't already might help. Or it might not. Your choice,
pal. Your decision.]
It was odd, considering the relative direness of the news, that
relatively few people in positions able to affect it heard about it.
At least a good half-dozen members of the LNH, had they heard the
news, would have been so morally outraged that they could have mobilized
a sizable group of heroes to go put a stop to it. However, for one
reason or another, most of those who would have been interested were away
on leave, or fighting one menace to society or another, or just plain too
busy to notice. The LNHers who did, in fact, notice, either didn't
realize just what it meant, or didn't really care.
A large number of fans heard about it, via Usenet, the newspaper,
trade magazines, and so on, but they were relatively impotent against
this new threat. Outraged letters, threats of boycotts, and mail bombs
received only the politely-worded equivalent of "Bite me, pink boy," from
Luka Garrets didn't know about it, and she most likely wouldn't have
cared if she did. Currently, she was busily compiling a scrapbook about
the Unlikely Aliens, using all the information about them she'd found so
far. It wasn't much - the place of pride was given to the articles she'd
found about their capture of the Sideshow, with lesser highlights
belonging to articles on the hurricane, the Opera House incident, the few
known escapades of theirs since the Sideshow (stopping a few bank
robberies and the like, mostly individually), and printouts of net.rumors
she'd found on alt.fan.net.heroes. Why she's being mentioned here is
unclear, but probably has something to do with the fact that she hasn't
been mentioned since issue #12, and the series really ought to keep tabs
on its minor characters that will someday blossom into huge plots.
In point of fact, there were only two instances of people who were
both interested and in a position to do something finding out about it.
One of them, we can find by looking in on a familiar small white house,
one bright spring morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing,
picturesque white clouds were drifting across the sky, and Hybrid was
screaming his lungs out.
Wyrd, upon entering the room, found him huddled quivering in his
chair, staring wide-eyed at his computer screen, whimpering, "Make it
stop, Joel, make it stop..."
"What's up, Hy?" Wyrd asked, glancing at the screen. "You look like
you've seen a... a..." Her eyes widened as she saw what was on the
screen. "Hybrid, this isn't funny. I mean, it's a joke, right?" Hybrid
could only mutely shake his head as she went pale. "Oh, shock..."
The next to enter was Zagyg, with Skyrunner on his shoulder. The
raven looked rather annoyed. "Yeesh, you're loud enough to wake the dead
in here. What's up?" Wyrd could only gesture vaguely at the screen
while backing up against the wall almost hard enough to push her through
it, her eyes still transfixed by the monitor.
Zagyg peered at the screen in interest. "Not sure I quite get it.
What's all this about?"
Subject: Mangle Streamlining (AP Article - not at all good...)
Just got this off the AP - it looks bad, folks. Really bad. (On the
bright side, though, I guess we won't have to worry about how Dic will
mangle Sailor Moon. :P)
>NET.ROPOLIS (AP) - In a surprise move today, new corporation Mangle
>Streamlining has announced that it has obtained the rights to over a
>dozen series of Japanese animation, and plans to remake them into a
>single cartoon to be released into syndication later this month.
> In an unprecedented display of enteprenurial skill, Mangle
>Streamlining has purchased from various Japanese studios and their
>American translators such cartoons as 'Ranma 1/2,' 'Bubblegum Crisis,'
>'Project A-ko,' 'Akira,' 'Oh, My Goddess!' and 'Sailor Moon,' which
>had been previously scheduled for a fall release to US television.
> Mr. P. L. Otchopper, CEO of Mangle Streamlining, stated in a press
>release that "we believe that Japanese animation is a highly underrated
>artform in the US, and that the best way to honor it and bring it to
>America's attention is by shredding it to the point of unrecognizability
>and repackaging it in a form suitable for six-year-olds." He went on to
>express his "burden of gratitude" to the trailblazers in the field, Carl
>Macek and Haim Saban, for 'Robotech' and 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,'
>his sources of inspiration.
> Trix LeDoush, acting as a spokeswoman for Viz Video,the former holders
>of the rights to the translation of 'Ranma 1/2,' stated, "We wish Mangle
>Streamlining the best of luck in their work. We truly believe that they
>can do the best work possible with 'Ranma,' and would have probably sold
>it to them even if they weren't holding our families hostage at gunpoint.
>Really. Now, could you please let me down?'
> The show, tentatively titled 'Action Power,' will follow in the trend
>of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, featuring teenagers who battle evil
>monsters each episode. Footage from each of the shows has been spliced
>together 'nearly seamlessly' in order to fit the new plotlines. An Action
>Power line of toys is set to debut simultaneously with the show, including
>the 'Miss Moon Magic Power Stick,' the 'Bug-Smasher Rubber Mallet,' and the
>'Cuddly Panda' dolls.
There was more, but Zagyg decided he'd seen enough. He glanced back
at the other two. "Okay, so admittedly it doesn't sound all that great,
but I'm not sure what all the fuss is about."
The two looked at him with shocked, horrified eyes. Hybrid fumbled
for words. "It's - well, it's Japanese animation! I mean, what they're
"Wait a sec," Wyrd cut in. "Zag, you know about anime, right? I
mean, you ought to at least have some idea of why this is as bad as it is."
Zagyg shrugged. "Sorry, but I haven't really got a clue. I've
heard of it occasionally when I've been in twentieth-century Earth
universes, but I've never had the time or inclination to check it out."
"Oh, come on now. You've sung a few anime songs. I've even
listened to one of your BGC audiotapes - that one marked 'Priss and the
Replicants?' It was in your bike the day I ran off to join the circus,
"Well, yes," Zagyg admitted, confused. "I admit I don't like buying
bootlegs, but it was really the only way - I was leaving the universe
soon, and they hadn't released any albums yet. And some of those songs
were too good to pass up - 'Konya wa Hurricane,' for instance. That did
come in handy a while back, didn't it?"
The two just blinked at him for a few long moments. "Um, you mean
that you've actually been to the Bubblegum Crisis universe? MegaTokyo,
"2033, actually, but that's basically correct. They've got some
good music there - there was another band, the Revengers, I think, that I
rather liked. But how'd you know about it?"
Wyrd and Hybrid exchanged glances. "It's a bit complicated, I
guess," Hybrid offered, "but basically, Bubblegum Crisis is, um, an
animated fictionalization of the lives of some heroes of that time."
Wyrd shook her head. "Y'know, you'd think I'd be used to this sort
of weirdness by now." She looked over at Zagyg. "But basically, they're
taking a high-quality, mature adult series - basically taking the lives
of some of the people in that world - then mangling it with a bunch of
other fairly good series, and turning out a... a _kiddie show_." Her
face was contorted with disgust. "I mean, it's... it's just..." Wyrd
struggled to find appropriately appalled words to describe the situation.
"It's worse than that," Hybrid reported from the computer, where he
had returned to scanning the newsgroup - the discussion about this
development had taken up a lot of bandwidth, but he was skimming through
it remarkably quickly. "If some of Professor 6's papers on
transfictional interface and metareality are true, changes to the source
material could potentially have disastrous effects on the home universe.
And some of these changes look really bad." He gestured to the screen,
where he was pasting together a summary of changes from postings by
various fans and professionals in the know. "Utter and complete name
changes for everyone. Ranma Saotome is now twins, male and female.
Akane Tendou now changes into 'Miss Mercury' by simply putting on the
outfit." He shook his head. "I mean, I suppose I can see that Akane and
Ami look a little alike, but not that much. And it's even worse when
you're comparing Skuld and Sailor Mars. Anyway, the Knight Sabers are
now servants of the main villain, Akira, while Largo's a good guy!
And... and... and C-ko's going to be 'Miss Moon.'" He and Wyrd shuddered
at the mere thought.
"We've got to stop it," Wyrd stated.
"Agreed. If nothing else, I'd never be able to face Toko again if
this goes through."
Wyrd glanced over at Hybrid. "Toko?"
"Kohotoko Suiseino. A friend of mine from Illuminati University.
She's Sailor Comet Kohoutek."
"I don't think I want to know."
Zagyg tapped a few keys, bringing up the first article again. "To
tell the truth, I agree that it's probably a good idea to look into
this. Take a look at this bit," he suggested, gesturing to the
'interview' with Trix LeDoush. "Now call me crazy-"
"Okay, you're crazy," Skyrunner enthusiastically agreed.
"-but doesn't it sound just a little bit like there's some sort of
coercion going on? I mean, it occurs to me that holding families at
gunpoint could very easily be considered a hostile act."
"Well, yeah, but that's beside the point," Wyrd dismissed. "The
point is that this whole thing's a dark day for quality entertainment.
I've seen enough of that sort of battle lost to want to have it happen
all over again here." She nodded as if coming to a decision. "Zag, go
tell UG and Pack to get ready. Hy, you track down some info on these
'Mangle' guys." She grinned. "For justice and quality entertainment,
the Unlikely Aliens are on the case. In the name of good anime, we'll
Across town, the other important player in our little mini-drama is
also finding out about current events. He hadn't intended to. Mostly
what he wanted to do was to rest up from a spate of recent guest
appearances and perhaps plot out his next few. He casually flipped
through the day's copy of the Tokyo Shinbun as his tea brewed.
"NANIIII?!?" He slammed the paper to the table, standing as he
glared down at it as if trying to change the kanji by sheer willpower.
It didn't seem to be working. He scanned the rest of the article,
irritably brushing his brightly-colored forelock out of his eyes, but
found the classically understated Japanese article to be woefully lacking
on details. Sighing, he picked up his copy of the Daily Pla.net. A
minute or so of searching brought him to a certain AP article, and from
there almost to the point of thundering apoplexy.
He stood there, the article half-finished, trying to calm himself
down before he did something the city block would surely regret. <It's
only anime. It's none of my concern. Certainly it will be painful to
watch, but there are more important concerns. Besides, doubtless some of
those insufferable Net.Heroes will be determined to stop it - those baka
Net.Villains barely even bothered to create convincing aliases for
themselves. One way or another, this will resolve itself. After all,
it's not as if...>
He glanced down at the article again. A paragraph caught his eye.
"...turns out to be a financial success, Marketing Director D. D. Signer
has announced that Mangle Streamlining will release a line of comics
based on the anime, created by assembling panels from the original
Japanese comics of the various series and filling in the story gaps with
art done by whichever of the Image studios bids lowest. Mr. Signer..."
The paper shredded easily under an excessively outraged grip. He
was demonstrating what anime fans tend to call the fiery blue chi aura of
anger (or, more succinctly, just plain 'dangerous'), and not even
bothering to try to keep his temper.
"Ma- masaka... Those baka gaijin have gone too far this time. I
cannot allow this. It's worse than skipping chapters... It's worse than
doing horrendously recolored versions... It's even worse than the
'Kyoko-baby' fiasco. Even Viz is but a small evil now. Demented
Designer... Plotchopper... You shall pay for this, do you hear? YOU
He laughed maniacally as lightning crashed and thunder rolled
dramatically behind him, doing severe damage to the curtains.
Plotchopper glanced up from the video splicer. "Did you hear
"Nah," Demented Designer dismissed, setting down his load of
prototype toys. "Probably just leakage from another scene. You know how
"You can say that again," Plotchopper agreed as he went back to his
editing. "But don't. How's the market research going?"
"We just got the reports in today. Things are looking good."
"A brief summary?"
"The under-tens love us. Adults find the show nauseatingly cute and
poor-quality. Anime fans want to string us up by our own intestines."
"In other words, complete success."
"You got it."
"Great." Plotchopper switched tapes in the machine in a blur, never
even pausing to actually look at the contents, but simply hacking and
slashing the tape by instinct alone. He reveled in it, really - it was
what he was best at. "Y'know, I'm still not quite satisfied with the
"I know what you mean. It's okay, but maybe a bit bland. Got any
better ideas, though?"
"Hmm... How about 'Help! Godzilla is Attacking the City!'?"
"Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Plus we'd have to intimidate
whoever holds Godzilla's licensing rights, too. What about 'Sailor Ranma'?"
"Taken. Besides, we changed all the names, remember? No Sailors or
"Oh, yeah." Demented Designer idly scratched his chin with a rather
withered-looking toy. "Well, let's leave it for now. Maybe we'll come
up with something. Heck, maybe the readers will come up with something."
"You actually think anyone will be reading this?" Plotchopper shook
his head in bemusement. He gestured to the toy Demented Designer was
holding. "Incidentally, why's that one bending like that?"
Demented Designer glanced down at the plastic Moon Stick in his
hand. "It's been out of the box more than five minutes."
"Oh. So it's supposed to do that?"
"In a sense. Imagine: 'Mommy! Buy me that! Thank you! Waah! It
broke! Buy me another one!'"
"Oh, I like that. That's evil."
"Thank you." The pair shared a moment of villainous laughter. "So,
have you gotten through to the TV stations yet?"
"Not quite, but I sent out a few more goon squads today. We ought
to have enough channels for syndication lined up within a week. And when
they start actually showing the programs, the cash starts rolling in,
along with the revenue from the advertising spots which they're going to
so generously agree to 'donate' to us. And when your toys start selling,
along with the Halloween costumes you've made, and the tapes of the
series, and the like, we, my friend, are going to be rolling in dough."
"Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?" Demented
Designer strolled to the picture window on the north wall of the office,
overlooking the factory floor beneath, where the labor imported from the
Brotherhood's Goon Department was working various bits of machinery to
put together toys designed to his own specifications and videos designed
to Plotchopper's. "It's kind of unnerving, though. I mean, we're
villains. Every time things seem to be going well for the villains, it
means the author's going to pull the rug right out from under us, right?
It's a cliche."
"Oh, come on. We've kept our operation a secret this long. We're
almost to the payoff point. And we've got contingency plans up to here.
What could go wrong?"
"You just had to ask, didn't you?"
<Baka. Such a simple task to locate their hiding place. Villains
listing their addresses in their press releases? Omoshiroi desu ne.>
The mysterious watcher flipped his damp hair out of his eyes
irritably. It had been sunny barely an hour ago, back home, but down
here in the abandoned warehouse district, there seemed to be an almost
perpetual storm. Being perched on a rooftop across from the Mangle
Streamlining offices - really just a converted warehouse. At the moment,
he was considering his plan of attack, and watching the pair walking down
the street towards the warehouse.
They were probably net.heroes - the four arms gave the larger one
away quite easily. They were wearing raincoats and fedoras over what
looked to be costumes of some sort - though the larger one's coat was
probably custom-made for obvious reasons. He showed signs of an
animalistic countenance beneath the shadow of his fedora. Acceptable -
there was a long tradition of animalistic protectors the observer could
respect. The girl...
He froze as the girl tilted her fedora backwards and brushed her
dripping bangs away from her forehead, giving the observer a clear view
of her face.
Shock slowly gave way to contemplation, then to interest, and
finally to glee. <Totemo omoshiroi desu. And she's a net.hero, as
well! Not one of the Legion - I would have noticed her long before this
- but a net.hero nonetheless. And yet, despite this, she might - oh,
this is just too priceless. Ja, I most assuredly will have to meet with
these two. If only I can make out what they might be talking about...>
He concentrated, trying to focus on the pair and ignore the sounds of the
"...sure this is the right place, Hy?"
"Well, I got the address off of their press release. Geography's
never been my strong point, but unless we made a wrong turn somewhere, I
think this is the place."
Wyrd peered at one of the street signs. "Nope. We're here. Bit of
a dump, though." She adjusted her fedora again - she had to admit, it
kept the rain off, but it was blasted uncomfortable. "So, do we barge
right in and ask to see the manager, or just blow the place up from outside?"
"I think we probably ought to talk with them first. I mean, you
never know. They might actually be reasonable people."
"Yeah, right. As if anyone who'd do that sort of thing to Ranma
could be counted as 'reasonable people.'"
"Anyway, Zagyg suggested that we at least scope out the situation
before calling the others in. Why not see if we can at least talk to them?"
"I just don't - watch it!"
Wyrd drew back defensively as she caught sight of the figure high
above, suspended at the apex of his leap with a dramatic *tzing!* The
cinematic moment complete, he continued in an arc down to land cat-like
directly in front of the pair.
Wyrd glared at him. "Lemme guess. You're Mangle's front line, come
to take us down, right?"
The newcomer chuckled, shaking his head amusedly. "Iie. On the
contrary, I suspect we are here for similar purposes. But I get ahead of
myself." He bowed ostentatiously to Wyrd. "Hajimemashite. Watashi wa
Manga Man desu. Douzo yoroshiku." He grinned. "Now, I believe that
there may be something to be gained from working together on this matter..."
Next Week: The EMPLOYEE-EMPOWERED, PARADIGM-SHIFTED,
INDIVIDUAL-OWNERSHIP, DOWNSIZED, STREAMLINED, REENVIGORATED CRIMES of
the BROTHERHOOD of NET.VILLAINS!! Part Eight!!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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