LNHY: Death of Trophy Wife #7: "Return of Angel"

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 15:13:17 PST 2019

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                  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 
the background.
    "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 
mean that...

    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 
the world...

    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 
of Death.


Author's Notes:

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

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