LNHY: Death of Trophy Wife #7: "Return of Angel"
pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 15:13:17 PST 2019
/// _____, __ \\\
/// () | /| | / () \\\
|| | |--| >- ||
|| (/ | |)\___/ ||
|| |\ ||
|| |#V/ ,; ||
|| |###/\ \#/ ||
|| |#\\#V; .|#| /| /|||||||=\/ \| ||
|| |#| |##= /#V, ;V| ,;;=#>;;.|#/ |#/ ||
|| |#| |#>, =#\. /##| |#| |#| |#| ||
|| |#| /##\ :>#V\\\; /###| |#| |#| |#| ||
|| |#| :|#>: /##V====| :|####| |#| |########\ ||
|| |#| |##= \|#= ;V#\/##| |#| |#/##>#/ ||
|| |#| /\#V; \#|: /###\V##| |#| |#| |#| ||
|| |#|/V#/ \VV; /##/,,/##| |#| |#| |#| ||
|| |#>##/ \#; :>#>: =##| |#| \#| \#| ||
|| |##\/ || ;##\. =##| \| // // ||
|| |#| ##, =#, ||
|| |/ ||
|| __ _____ ||
|| /\_\/() |_ ||
|| | | /| ||
|| \__/ (/ ||
|| ______ _ _ ||
|| / / ' ) / /) ||
|| --/__ __ _ /_ __ , / / /o // _ ||
|| (_// (_(_)/_)_/ /_/ (_/_ (_(_/<_//_</_ ||
|| / / /> ||
^ || ' ' </ || ^
Issue Seven: "Return of Angel" by Drew Perron
Content warnings: Screwed-up ways of thinking, totalitarianism, and a really
gross metaphor involving poo.
"Damn it." Michael K. Hotstuff, Director of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, slammed his fists into the conference table. "Arc.ham Asylum was
the ultimate secure facility, containing the most dangerous objects on the face
of Planet T-Bone, and *someone*, we don't even understand *who*, ripped through
it like single-ply toilet paper."
The table was long, and made of ebony wood. Along it were seated high
government officials of the Loonited States of Ame.rec.a; the Secretary of the
Interior, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of the NSA -
all of the people who were cleared to know the secrets stored beneath Arc.ham,
or at least, as many as they could get in one room on short notice.
At the head of the table sat the President of the Loonited States. These
days, she was referred to as President Ideal Rosenbaum, but she was once known
as the Enemy of Compromise, the Mauler of Mediocrity, and the Defender of
Absolute Truth, net.hero Ayn Rand Lass. She steepled her fingers and adjusted
her glasses. "It is my theory that this savage attack was perpetrated by the
strangest domestic terrorist our nation has ever seen."
Her VP, Buckminster Psydekik, gasped. "You mean--"
"Yes. The criminal known as Kid Enthusiastic, and his team of net.villains,
the System Corrupters."
Director Hotstuff stood. "Ladies and gentlemen..." Music started playing in
"What do we know about Kid Enthusiastic?
Nice supervillain, colorful suit!"
Aloysius Netro, senator from Net.ropolis, harmonized nicely.
"No killing, no looting,
Anarchy and cookies!"
President Rosenbaum smirked.
"One thing I'll say for him--
Kid E is cute!"
They picked up the standard-issue maracas lying on the conference table and
shook them. "He is ridiiiiiiiiiiiculous~"
Then they-- ...oh, hang on a minute, I've got a phone call... oh, hi,
Kindle! Nice to-- um. Ah. You've been reading, I see.
Well, no, I hadn't considered it particularly sacreligious to...
Well, I mean, it's a musical, and the pre-existing Biblical aspects of LNHY
Well, I guess it *could* be considered a bit egotistical to equate a
character of my own devising to one of the most significant cultural icons in
Uh-huh... uh-huh... yeah, okay. Sorry about that.
Anyway. After everyone stopped parodying Andrew Lloyd Webber, President
Rosenbaum stood up, walking to the window and peering out at some iconic
Washington.gov monument. "So far, we have been content to allow the individuals
who claim superior skill and call themselves net.heroes to chase this band of
anarchists. But this has not been effective, and now the security of this nation
is in real jeopardy." She turned to the room. "My fellow Ame.rec.ans, colleagues
against corruption and evil... we have another option. *If* we have the courage
to use it."
"...wait," said Director Hotstuff. "You're not talking about--"
"Yes." She looked over the rims of her glasses at them.
"They were banned!" shouted Senator Netro, waving his hands. "Banned and
locked away where they would never again see the light of day!"
"Indeed. Because they were being used against everyday citizens. If they
were deployed against true enemies of the people, all objection would be
silenced under a wave of gratitude." She walked back to the table, leaning on
her chair. Her pose was relaxed, but her eyes were hard. "Besides... do we truly
have a choice? You know the things that were locked away in Arc.ham. The very
existence of the OId Ones... the Ame.rec.an way of life would be shredded."
One by one, the powerful, important people around the table looked at each
other, and saw no answers; one by one, they looked down, nodding in submission.
She nodded as well. "Then we are in agreement. Reactivate the Seraphim."
President Ideal Rosenbaum returned late to her rooms. She poured herself a
fifth of whiskey, settled back, and remembered.
As Ayn Rand Lass, Ideal had been who she truly was, what everyone should be.
Simple. Straightforward. Good.
She had worn a faceless mask that was perfectly white on one side and
perfectly black on the other, and a trenchcoat covered in mirrors, reflecting
the light of reason, so that criminals could not fail to see what they'd become.
She missed it, nowadays, even though, seen in the sober light of day, she had to
admit it was gaudy as fuck.
She had helped those who needed it, and delivered ruthless justice onto
those who preyed on society. She had been righteous, and and a *hero*, and...
Damn. She'd promised herself she'd never go into the Gray. And now here she
was, down among the muck and mire.
But America had needed her. After the Sexagesimal Luthor administration had
ended, his former VP, Rich Notanalien, had won nearly unopposed. But Luthor's
calculating mind and sheer force of personality were what had held things
together despite rampant corruption in his administration, and without that, the
economy went into a devastating tailspin.
Things had been bad. They could have had revolution on their hands, and who
knows what socialist nightmare would have taken root? So when Notanalien
declined the chance for a second term, Ideal stepped up. She didn't know
politics, but she knew the hearts of men. She had enough levers on enough people
to get the nomination, and enough courage to propose cutting away the patronage
that had lead to the nation's resources bleeding into the pockets of the corrupt.
Of course, this had not been popular among those whose pockets were now
slightly lighter. The power-greedy fools had fought change, but they hadn't been
able to stand against her for even one year. Soon they were eager to bend the
knee. They were weak and corrupt... corrupt enough to reactivate the Seraphim.
The Seraphim... relics of the bad old days. When Project Lighthouse had been
in full swing and the unbeliever re-education camps were still thought of as a
clever way to win the culture wars instead of as an obscenity, the final step
was planned to be mass conversion. To that end, the senators and military men
who were part of the Project manipulated budgets and personnel to create the
tools they would need to force compliance. Giant robots, modeled after angels.
Stupid and wasteful, especially after things started to fall apart. In the end,
they were deployed only once - against the Iconoclast, as she took apart the
camps and freed the unbelievers.
Heh. Unbeliever. That was precisely the right word to describe Ideal. She
did not actively fight against the idea of a god, but she had no reason to
believe in a god created by men. The only powerful being she needed to justify
her actions was herself.
And what of those who were so very pious that they got elected on it? Did
they follow the strictures of their religion, tending the sick, feeding the
hungry? Or did they vomit animal feces from their lips as their hands worked
behind their back, weaving a skein of gray wool into a web of lies, catching all
worthy and kind people in bondage?
This had to stop. Good had to prevail against evil. The mediocrity that
infested this place had to be swept clean, replaced with real, hardworking
people who actually deserved the responsibility of running a nation. And once
she had the Seraphim, she could be the broom.
Ideal finished her drink. If they wanted angels... she would be their Angel
For those of you completely befuddled by the sudden musical number, it's a
reference to Jesus Christ Superstar, and specifically the number "This Jesus
Must Die". I apologize profusely.
Michael Hotstuff was named after Michael Casper, Clark Gregg's FBI agent
character on The West Wing, by way of a Harvey Comics reference.
Sexagesimal Luthor was a compromise between Saxon's use of Hexadecimal Luthor in
The Daily Super Short-Short Story #51, and Arthur's noting that we really don't
want to use characters we don't have permission for in LNHY. (Arthur came up
with "Sexadecimal Luthor" as a name, and I tweaked it, because "sexagesimal" is
a really cool word that people should use more often.)
The Seraphim are references to the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion by way of the
Drew "it was on Monday after all! And future Mondays, hopefully!" Perron
More information about the racc