LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #99: FLAME WARS IV Part Six
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 24 14:07:41 PDT 2019
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have the sixth section of FLAME WARS IV!
FLAME WARS IV #4 by Saxon Brenton and Jamie Rosen gives us some more
death from The One Man Abusive Reaction. Is anyone safe? Well, probably
Zowie!!!Boy -- I mean what kind of a cold hearted person would kill such
a lovable character like Zowie!!!Boy. Certainly not either Saxon or
Jamie. I think we can all assume that Zowie!!!Boy is going to get through
this issue perfectly fine. Yep.
And The Non-Continuing Misadventures of (Some of) Miss Translation's Villains
by Jamie Rosen takes place around this time. But does it have anything to do
with Zowie!!!Boy? Well, unless Zowie!!!Boy is a Miss Translation villain --
I guess not.
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
FLAME WARS IV Part Six
From: saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au (Saxon Brenton)
Subject: [LNH] Flame Wars 4 #4
Date: 4 Dec 2002 10:58:21 -0000
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///// ///// /// /// /// /// /// _| |__________\/_________
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by Jamie Rosen and Saxon Brenton
in consultation with Martin Phipps
"Hello Lenny," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"Hi," said the squirrel.
"Listen, I'm sorry to hear about Chinese Guy."
Lenny nodded. "Thank you. I appreciate that."
"You seem to be handling it well."
The squirrel gave him an ironic lopsided grin. "That's probably
because I'm not like you humans. I'll miss him greatly, but my type
of creature weren't made with the ability to mourn as deeply as you
"Squirrels don't feel grief?"
"Spirit beings of the Dreamtime in general don't feel grief," Lenny
corrected. "To feel passionate about something that is wrong, and to
strive to fix it - that is something that is within our natures. But to
fret over something beyond our abilities to affect, or to suffer regret
for the passing away of something - no, that sort of empathy is the
province of humans alone."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad was somewhat disturbed by this. "So now you'll
Lenny stared at him in amazement and just a touch of offence. "No.
*Humans* forget. Time and memory and eventually death will make *you*
forget, but I will remember always. I am a yabon, one of the friends of
man. I am young by such standards, barely twenty thousand of your
years. But I have been alive longer than your civilisation has been in
existence - and I remember all of the heroes whom I helped in their
quests. All of the youngster who went to their initiations, and all of
the old wise men and women who have helped preserve their communities
against the night spirits, and everybody in between."
"Oh," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "Well then, I suppose that's
something different. Sorry, it's just a little strange..."
Lenny nodded again. "I understand. You're human, and you feel more
involved by immediate circumstances and threats. I've seen it many times
before." Another smile quirked his face. "You'd be surprised how many
young couples have had their impossible loves commemorated in the stars."
"You make it sound like we all have some sort of disease," CEL
accused him, only half jokingly.
"It's not a disease," Lenny remonstrated him. "And you're not all
mental defectives either, or anything else like that. It's a different
way of looking at the world. And sometimes it may be a bit of a hindrance
when you humans get too wrapped up in things and it blinds you to
possibilities - but other times it's a benefit because it gives you drive
to do something that you care about. That makes you humans pretty
special: you go and do some of the most amazing things, and all because
you've gone and gotten all worked up and passionate about something. It's
just one of the things about humans that makes you all such a wonderful,
mad, vexing, exhilarating species."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad was thoughtful as he tried to absorb this.
"With love, all things are possible," he recited to himself under his
Lenny looked at him. "Yes. That's part of it. From what Special
Bonding Boy said about how he chased off OMAR after he attacked us here
earlier, it may be the best weapon we have against him."
The Dessert Defender nodded. "Yeah. Oh well, I'd better get back to
work. Take care."
Ultimate Ninja frowned. Of course, it was behind his mask, so it was
hard to tell, but take our word for it: he frowned.
He didn't like dealing with the military at the best of times, and
being under attack by a demented net.god hardly qualified as 'the best of
times.' Still, the Legion of Net.Heroes and the Loonited States military
had a mutual need for one another at the moment, because OMAR, the evil
net.god of trolling, had apparently taken up residence at the recently
abandoned military base Fort Baxter -- in fact, he was the reason the
base had been recently abandoned.
"I really appreciate you taking the time to meet with me, Ultimate
Ninja," Major Sean Reason said, taking a seat across from the LNH leader.
He nodded to Fearless Leader, who was also sitting in on the meeting.
"I hope you'll forgive me if I skip the formalities -- time is of the
Ultimate Ninja nodded.
"We need to take out OMAR, and we need to take him out ASAP," Major
Reason said. "One of the benefits of having lost a military base to him
is that it means he's surrounded by bombs, rockets, and a variety of
other weapons of mass destruction which I am not allowed to disclose to
you at the moment."
Fearless Leader blinked. "That's *good*?"
Major Reason nodded. "I understand your confusion, Fearless Leader.
Permit me to clarify -- the fact that he is surrounded by all of these
weapons will make it easier to kill him."
Ultimate Ninja interrupted. "Major Reason, the Legion is already
working on a device to help us deal with OMAR. Based on our preliminary
research, we believe that cutting him off from his power source -- that
is, the hate he elicits in others -- will help to weaken him to the point
where we can deal with him."
Major Reason's eyes narrowed, but Ultimate Ninja continued.
"To date, our best bet would seem to be a recent recruit to the
Legion, a man by the name of the Normalizer, who has proven to be capable
of returning OMAR's trolls to their natural state. Unfortunately, the
Normalizer is currently in the hospital, so until we are able to get him
back we will have to investigate other options, such as Special Bonding
"I see," Major Reason said. "Well, taking that factor into
consideration, I would suggest that our primary goal at present should
be to ensure that we know where OMAR is at all times until we are ready
to attack -- now that he knows that we know that he is based out of Fort
Baxter, he may be inclined to relocate."
Fearless Leader spoke up, "I have an idea for that."
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid fought his way back to consciousness, and
awoke with both a gasp and a snarl. The first two things that he became
aware of were that he was lying in a bed, and the pain in his hands.
His hands hurt because they were clenched and knotted with tension.
He unclenched them and absently tried to massage some life back into the
muscles as he glanced around.
He was in the LNHHQ medical bay, with Organic Lass standing beside
the bed looking at him with interest. She had a medical scann.thingie in
one hand. Around the med bay were quite a number of other beds with other
Legionnaires; most of the bedded net.heroes were unconscious, and the
remaining few were covered in sheets in the way that indicated that they
weren't going to be regaining consciousness, ever.
"What happened?" he asked, looking around the room.
"The Legion was attacked by some alien called OMAR. Kid Kirby
identified him as the net.god of trolling," Organic Lass replied. "He
used mind control to take over a large number of people, a number of
Legionnaires included, and turn them into his troll minions." Then she
indicated the rest of the room. "Things have been a bit crowded in here,
between treating the wounded from the fights on the one hand and keeping
the troll clones sedated so that they can be monitored on the other. But
enough of the general situation. How are you feeling now?" she asked
briskly as she waved the scann.thingie in his direction, taking readings.
"My hands are all cramped and my mouth tastes like an ash tray,"
ARAK answered absently. He was thinking. OMAR. The One Man Abusive
Reaction. Yes. ARAK remembered him. "Eeewww," he said, suddenly
shuddering in revulsion.
"I was just remembering how slimy he felt, inside my head. Yuck."
Organic Lass was impressed. Not only had Anal-Retentive Archive Kid
spontaneously changed back from a troll, but he seemed resilient enough
to remember being enthralled. She had been expecting him to have some
sort of amnesia from shock. "Well," she said, "From these readings I
think I can give you a provisional clean bill of health."
"Uh-huh. So the next thing to do is run some tests to find out why
you have such a clear record."
Organic Lass smiled reassuringly. "Wendle, dear. You can actually
remember being turned into a troll?"
"Yes, of course," he said, puzzled. "How could I *forget*? I bet
I'll be having nightmares about that for ages."
"Right then. Now listen..." However, she was interrupted by a
horrible gurgling cry from one of the other beds. One of the other
patients - one of the troll clones from the looks of his green skin - was
having some sort of seizure.
A brief seizure as it turned out. Organic Lass was there within
seconds, ready to give medical assistance, and ARAK followed even though
he was a bit woozy as he first crawled out of bed. But seconds was all
the trollified Legionnaire had; his thrashings cut off abruptly just as
Organic Lass arrived at his side.
Organic Lass sighed, set her shoulders with resignation, and pulled
a sheet over the body. Anal-Retentive Archive Kid had a brief glimpse of
a barely recognisable face - although the coke bottle glasses were a bit
of help in identifying the unfortunate. "Zowie!!!Boy," he murmured to
Organic Lass glanced at him and nodded. "As I was about to say,
*you* are the first and so far only person to make a spontaneous
remission. Most of the infected have been stabilised, but some of them
are still dying of brain tumours." She let out a breath, then continued.
"Apparently the Normalizer was able to force people back to normal as
well, but he's gone missing. We need raw data to begin working on a cure
and an immunising agent, and hopefully even an active weapon that will
disrupt his powers. We need to know how OMAR infects and controls people,
and on how people have recovered. And until the Normalizer's friends can
find him and bring him back, Special Bonding Boy and yourself are the
only leads we have for a cure."
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid nodded at this. "Okay. So what do you
need? Blood samples? Mental scans?"
"Mental scans at the moment. We've already been taking blood samples
from all the troll clones we've had under sedation."
He nodded. "Well then. When do you want to get started?"
Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid was still muttering as
he, Blue Wave, and Miss Translation approached the hospital.
"I can't believe you actually let Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner talk you
into handing over the Normalizer," he said.
"SAFNAR Kid," Blue Wave said as he stepped onto the mat outside the
automatic doors, "didn't you hear what he said? The Normalizer may be
hold the key to returning the trolls to normoof."
'Normoof'? What's that? Why, that's the sound Blue Wave makes when
he walks into the automatic doors which failed to open.
"Ow." That's the sound Blue Wave makes when he rubs his nose
immediately after walking into said doors.
"Ah, great," said Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid.
"Stupid freakin' doors. Get outta my way." He shoved Blue Wave to the
side and started trying to pry the doors open with his hands, to no avail.
"Left part helped," Miss Translation said. With the two Net.Heroes
working together, the automatic doors whined but were eventually forced
open. The whole place was more than a little abandoned.
"What happened here?" Blue Wave asked. "Trolls?" The sound of a lot
of activity in the emergency room could be heard, even from the other
side of the building.
"I don't know," Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid said,
climbing over the admissions desk, "but it'll make finding the Normalizer
easier." He grabbed a clipboard and flipped through a few pages, then
climbed back over the desk. "Follow me."
Miss Translation and Blue Wave exchanged glances. "Could not it have
employ the door?" she asked quietly.
The three Net.Heroes traipsed down the hall, up some stairs, down
another hall, and then up some more stairs when they realized they were
on the wrong floor. Eventually, SAFNAR Kid stopped them outside one
"This is it," he said. "You sure you want to do this?"
Blue Wave nodded. "We have no choice. It's the right thing to do."
"Pfft. 'The right thing to do.'" Sullenly, SAFNAR Kid opened the
door and stepped inside, followed by his teammates.
The three of them stopped. "Oh no," Miss Translation said.
The Normalizer was nowhere to be seen.
When Major Sean Reason entered the LNHHQ cafeteria, it was empty
except for Cheesecake-Eater Lad, who had thrown himself into making a
"Hi," Major Reason said.
"Can I help you?" Cheesecake-Eater Lad asked, not looking up.
"No, thanks, I'm just looking around. They told me this was where I
could get something to eat."
Major Reason walked over to the caloric crusader. "This troll thing
is getting to you, eh?" he said.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad sighed and looked up glumly. "Yes, it's
'getting to me,'" he said, making little quotation-mark signs in the air
with his hands. "My wife's been turned into a troll, and I don't know if
I'm ever going to see her fair face again."
"Look, I know how hard this sort of thing can be on a man. I lost my
wife to cancer three years ago, and it just about crushed me -- she was
the only thing I had outside of the military." Major Reason put a hand on
Cheesecake-Eater Lad's shoulder. "Don't worry," he said. "I have every
confidence that we're going to be able to beat this OMAR character, and
when we do, everyone -- your wife, my men, all of those civilians -- will
be returned to normal."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad gave Major Reason a sidelong look. "I wish I
had your confidence," he said.
The demise of Zowie!!!Boy had not gone unnoticed by certain Evil
It was somewhat later that same day, and various plans had been set
in motion. Ultimate Ninja was walking through the halls of the LNHHQ,
intending to meet Major Reason at the teleportation-arrivals-and-
departures room. He was also mentally reviewing other issues that needed
to be taken care of, and so he almost didn't notice the noises and
mutterings coming from one of the rooms along the way.
" ...all my work, ruined. No, no, think positive: delayed. Yesss,
that's it my precious. Delayed. hehhehhehhehhehheh."
Ultimate Ninja paused, then changed direction as he focused on where
the sound was coming from. He did this semi-automatically, most of his
attention still on other matters. In any case, he found himself at one of
the personal rooms were one or other of the LNHers lived.
Within, someone sighed. Through the door Ultimate Ninja saw Bjorn,
the Legion's Human Resources Manager. He was looking around the room in
disgruntlement and a sort of agitated despair, wringing his hands as he
"Problems, Bjorn?" asked the Ninja.
Bjorn jumped. "Wha...!? Oh. Ultimate Ninja. I... uh... Sorry. You
startled me. I, uhm, was just packing up Zowie!!!Boy's stuff to ship
back to his... family. Yes, his family."
Ultimate Ninja quickly made a mental review of what he could recall
about Zowie!!!Boy. The context of the events of this miniseries made
it depressingly easy. His name had been on the most recent list of
casualties forwarded from the medlabs. UN nodded. "Good thinking."
"Ah. Thank you," said Bjorn. The Human Resources Manager's eyes fell
to a recent copy of Dfandom magazine that Zowie!!!Boy had been working
with, and the fact that it had a large post-it note on the cover
speculating on various hypothetical weaknesses of the heroes featured
within (although why Zowie!!!Boy was bothering with plans to utterly
destroy Solar Max was beyond Bjorn). He snatched it up - trying to look
casual as he did so - even though the fan mag wasn't even in the ninja's
line of sight.
"Do you have enough boxes for packing?" asked Ultimate Ninja,
looking around and noting that there were none present.
Bjorn panicked. "The only box I'll need is *your* coffin!" he cried
and hastily hit a button on a remote control box. Instantly the room
and the hall outside became a barrage of mechanised offences spitting
automated death at the ninja. Machine gun fire and flamethrowers and
lazers and javelins of nigh-indestructible strongstuffium projected at
high speed and robotic arms tipped with chainsaws all combined in an
insane assault. Ultimate Ninja tried to dodge as he was momentarily taken
aback by the extent of the overkill.
Bjorn cackled insanely. "Bwahahahahahaha!!! You see Ninja?! You
*see*?! THIS is what requisition forms are good for! All of the Legion's
top secret super-sophisticated thingie.technology is *mine* to command!
You are HELPLESS before me! The other Evil Human Resource Managers were
afraid of me, you know. Baorn and Bdorn and all the others. They made
petty demands of how I should go around being Evil... Eeevvviiilll!...
and then used that as an excuse to throw me out of the Evil Human
Resource Managers Association. Well, I'll show them! When I bring them
YOUR HEAD, then they'll acknowledge my worth and elect me Grand High
Poobah for Life. Yes yes." [A somewhat loose interpretation of Bjorn's
dismissal from the EHRMA in _The Comic That Has No Purpose_ #s 1
and 2 - Footnote Girl]
As Ultimate Ninja dodged and backflipped and triple-somersaulted-
with-half-pike, Bjorn continued: "Do you understand ninja? *Nothing* can
withstand the might of Human Relations Managers! Even with the death of
my Evil minion... uh, employee... my plans to destroy the Legion continue
By which time Ultimate Ninja had made his way to within striking
distance - albeit obliquely so as not to attract attention to the fact
and break Bjorn out of his ranting reverie. Then he quite calmly slid his
ginsu katana into Bjorn's guts.
Bjorn stared at it in outright amazement. This could not be
happening! His foolproof plan could not possible have gone wrong!
" ... " he managed to say by way of protest.
"You are no Dogbert," the Ninja told him flatly, twisting the katana
once. Bjorn's eyes rolled back into his head, and he collapsed and died.
"But then," concluded the Ninja with grim satisfaction, "Dogbert
wouldn't be able to do much good against me, either."
Major Reason was waiting in the teleportation room with Multitasking
Man and Dr. Stomper and the latter's load of medical equipment when
Ultimate Ninja entered, looking somewhat disgruntled. "How is Fearless
Leader's team going?" he asked curtly.
"Last contact was about ten minutes ago," answered Reason. "They'd
distributed their kiwis and were about to make contact with the enemy. If
his projected timetable holds, they should be back any time now..."
At which point Fearless Leader's assault squad materialised. From
the positions of their hands that had obviously just activated their
emergency plot devices. Dr. Stomper stepped forward immediately. "Any
injuries?" he asked briskly.
Fearless Leader waved him away from himself, Vigilante Guy and
Doom-Monger and towards Captain Rat Creature instead. "OMAR was able to
get his hands on the Captain while he was flying interference for the
rest us. Check his rear left leg."
Captain Rat Creature had a very strange look on his face. As Dr.
Stomper approached and began to ask if it felt like any bones were
broken, the giant radioactive space hamster went "HwwaaAAACK Ptui!" and
spat out OMAR's hand. "I want to wash my mouth out with soap," Captain
Rat Creature announced, making an icky-bleacky face.
Everyone stared at the drool-covered limb lying on the floor. Then
Ultimate Ninja said, "Stomper, take care of him and make sure he has as
much industrial strength mouth wash as he needs. Scoop up that hand and
put it in a stasis box for later study. It might come in useful. Now
then," turning back to the others, "Report."
Fearless Leader replied. "We arrived at Fort Baxter. As planned,
the team split into two. The six kiwi infiltrators went into the air
conditioning ducts using the maps that Major Reason provided. They'll
keep an eye on OMAR's activities and report back anything of significance.
Then the rest of us made our attack on OMAR. Captain Rat Creature ran
aerial interference while Vigilante Guy, Doom-Monger and myself fired on
him with the energy rifles that Irony Man built. As we expected, OMAR
didn't seem to be perceptive enough to tell that we were only pretending
to try and harm him.
"He was *laughing* at us," added Vigilante Guy, more than a bit
sullenly. He was temperamentally unsuited to making feint attacks. Only
the fact that he and Doom-Monger were among the Legion's best currently
available marksmen had convinced Fearless Leader to take him on this
Fearless Leader continued. "We managed to get more than a dozen hits
on OMAR. That should have irradiated him enough that we can track him
pretty much anywhere should he leave Fort Baxter. In any case, just as we
were preparing to retreat in pretended panic, OMAR grabbed Captain Rat
Creature by the rear leg."
"It must've hurt,' added Doom-Monger. "He squealed like a hamster."
Fearless Leader shrugged. "Then Captain Rat Creature spun around and
bit OMAR. I hadn't realised that he'd bitten his hand off, but there you
go. Then we returned."
"Good work," the ninja told them. "Okay then: Dismissed." As
Vigilante Guy and Doom-Monger departed he turned to Major Reason. "That's
the setup, right on schedule."
Major Reason nodded. "Good. Now all we need is a breakthrough on
that anti-OMAR weapon your people are working on. Then we can end this."
"You *WHAT*?!!?!" Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner wailed.
"We, uh... lost the Normalizer," Blue Wave said sheepishly.
"How could you *lose* a teammate? Nobody *loses* a teammate!" Dr.
Bad-Bedside-Manner failed to notice Lenny walking past them in the
hallway, accompanied by Irony Man. "Where did you have him last?"
"At the hospital," said Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid.
"Look, Doc. We brought him there so *you* wouldn't start poking and
prodding him, and now he's gone. Maybe if *you* weren't such a -- "
Blue Wave stepped between them, hoping to stop the argument before
it escalated any further and threatened to result in even more trolls
"Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner," he said, calmly, "we're very sorry. If we
had known that the Normalizer was going to be important, we would have
brought him straight to you in the first place." Over his shoulder, he
shot SAFNAR Kid a preemptive "Keep quiet" glance.
Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner shrugged. "Well," he said resignedly. "I
suppose we could always cut up a couple of the dead trolls and..."
Organic Lass cleared her throat. "Excuse me," she said, "but since
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid managed to spontaneously revert to his normal
form, couldn't we --"
"Cut him up instead! Brilliant!"
Ori shook her head. "Actually, I was going to suggest that we work
from what we've already learned from him, and from Special-Bonding Boy.
We should still be able to weaken OMAR sufficiently to be able to defeat
him, which is all we really need to do. Once he's gone, the trolls should
revert on their own."
Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner stroked his chin. "That *might* work..."
"Certainly, Captain Rat Creature was able to inflict a fair amount
of harm on him," Organic Lass continued, "and that's presumably because
of his cuteness." Before Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner could suggest cutting up
Captain Rat Creature too, Organic Lass finished: "I'll go get working on
the weapon right now!"
Ultimate Ninja's voice came over the comm.thingee's general band
while Cheesecake-Eater Lad was working on a pralines'n'calamari
cheesecake to take his mind off things.
"You're attention, please," UN said. "We're looking for volunteers
for a mission to attack OMAR. It could be very dangerous, so it's
important that you only volunteer if you actually want to go -- we can't
afford any resentment or anger on this mission."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad stopped partway through crushing a Graham
cracker. If they could take out OMAR, then Allie would probably return to
normal. How could he not volunteer?
He wiped his hands on his apron, then hung it on a hook behind the
door so he'd remember where it was when he came back. He refrigerated all
of the ingredients for the cheesecake so he could pick up where he left
off, and turned off the light to the kitchen. As he stepped out of the
cafeteria, someone tapped him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, Cheesecake-Eater Lad?" Major Reason said. "There's
something I'd like to talk to you about. In private."
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Captain Rat Creature created by
Blue Wave, Major Reason and Miss Translation created by Jamie Rosen.
Bjorn the Evil Human Resources Manager and Zowie!!!Boy created
by Mike Freidman. Killed with permission.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Dr. Stomper are Public Domain.
Doom-Monger created by Patrick Gearman. Used without permission.
Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner and Vigilante Guy created by Tick (Peter
Milan). Used without permission.
Fearless Leader is Public Domain. Created by Dvandom (Dave Van
Irony Man created by Doug Moran, used only to make a point.
The Kiwis created by Descri (Ian Porell). Used without permission.
Lenny is Public Domain. Kinda sorted created by Dvandom and Saxon
Organic Lass created by Rebecca Drayer. Used without permission.
Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid created by Tom
Russell... we think. Reserved and used by Jamie Rosen.
Ultimate Ninja created by wReam (Ray Bingham).
Many thanks to Carl Tashian's multibabel website Lost in Translation
<http://www.tashian.com/multibabel/> for helping with the unique
character of Miss Translation's speech. Mind you, where necessary some
liberties have been taken to keep all of her words in the English language.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
From: dq831 at freenet.carleton.ca (Jamie Rosen)
Subject: [LNH] The Non-Continuing Misadventures of (Some of) Miss Translation's Villains
Date: 17 Feb 2003 03:37:28 -0000
Low Budget Productions proudly presents
The Non-Continuing Misadventures of
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/ / / / / // \/ / \\ / / / / / / / // // \/ /
/ / / /\ \ / _ // /\ /__ \\ / /__ / _ / / / / // // /\ /
/_/ /_/ \_\/_//_//_/ \_//____//____//_//_/ /_/ /_//____//_/ \_/
It was just after lunch when the brown Edsel pulled over to the side of a
dirt road. All morning the sky had been experimenting with decreasingly
interesting ways of redefining the word 'drab', and the landscape had been
doing its best to keep up, to the point where tumbleweed had been reluctant
to venture near for fear of making the place seem 'too busy.' As the car
rolled to a stop, the driver twirled his mustache and looked pensive. The
man in the passenger seat, however, had a decidedly different take on things.
"I can't believe it," Negative Manny said, fidgeting with the bandages that
completely covered his head. "We're lost."
"Vee are not lost!" Norman French said, persisting his mustache-twirling.
"We are *so* lost. And with a vial full of an alien being's blood, too!"
Manny banged his bandaged head on the window morosely. "Why couldn't we have
just teleported to headquarters?" he asked.
"Yu know pehrfectly vell vhy not. Zee companee duz not pehrmit eet!"
Without warning, Manny leapt from his seat, grabbing his mustachio'd
partner by the lapels. "Look, Norman," he said through gritted teeth. "We're
all alone. Drop the stupid accent."
"I veel du no such ting! Eet ees een mah bluhd."
Manny shook him, very vigorously, three times. "Perhaps I did not make
myself clear," he said. "We are all alone -- which means there won't be any
witnesses to what I do to you if you *don't* drop the accent. And the only
thing that will be in your blood is my *hands*."
Norman swallowed. "Ah see. Uh, er... I see."
Manny let him drop back into the driver's seat, then opened the door and
jumped out of the car. The air outside was hot and sticky, but so was the air
inside, as the Edsel didn't have any air conditioning.
"Lost," he muttered to himself. "Lost!" He ran, kicked a stone into the
middle of the road, then stopped. "I can't believe we're &@#$ing lost!" He
turned around and ran back to the car, where he could see Norman trying to
unfold a road map and having very little luck.
Manny remembered the old cop shows on tv, where the heroes would jump on
the hood of their car and slide across it. Of course, he wasn't a police
officer, and it wasn't his car, but he did it anyway.
"How could you get us lost?" he exclaimed as he dropped to his feet next
to the driver's side door, startling Norman, who dropped the map and had to
start trying to unfold it all over again.
"Well, it's not like driving across the country is something I do all that
often," Norman protested.
In the distance, a bird cawed. "We just *did* it -- that's how we got to
"But that was going the other way," Norman insisted. His fingers stumbled
over each other, and he dropped the map once again.
Manny rolled his eyes. "Let me help." He reached into the car and picked
the map up off the floor, then, with the flick of his wrist, unfolded it
neatly. Lying it across the hood of the car, he gestured for Norman to get
"Look, see?" he began as Norman stepped out of the car and stood next to
him. "Net.ropolis is *here* --" He jabbed a gloved finger down at the map.
" -- and Net.santo headquarters is *here*." He jabbed again, this time
slightly down and to the left.
"But I thought Net.ropolis was here." Norman pointed to a completely
different part of the map.
"It used to be."
"I said it used to be. The city has a tendency to move around depending
on the circumstances. Some people attribute it to the presence of so many
Net.Heroes and Net.Villains." Manny turned from the map. "Didn't you pay
attention during any of those training sessions?"
Norman looked at him in surprise. "We had training sessions?"
Manny simply looked up at the sky and shook his head.
The featureless serenity of the American back road was broken by the sound
of a car pulling to a stop behind them.
"You folk lost?" a woman's voice asked.
Manny turned around to see a middle-aged woman in a red pick-up truck. He
opened his mouth to speak, but Norman cut him off.
"Yes vee are," he said, slipping back into his badly transcribed French
accent. "I vonder eef yu could 'elp us, pehr'aps?"
"Sure," the woman said. "You wanna lift?"
Norman moved to accept the lift, but Manny grabbed him by the arm.
"You forgetting about what we've got in the car?" he whispered hoarsely.
Then, to the woman, he said, "Actually, my friend and I would just like some
"Sure thing. You been in an accident?" she asked, obviously referring to
Manny laughed. "A long time ago."
"Where you headed?"
"Se.alt.tle," Manny said.
The woman furrowed her brows. "You're going the wrong way, then, unless
you were planning on taking the scenic route. Se.alt.tle's that way." She
pointed in the opposite direction from that in which Manny and Norman had
"Zank yu vehry much," Norman said, bowing and twirling his mustache.
"No problem. You two guys take care, now." She waved and drove off.
* * *
The car stopped at a rest stop. They tend to do that.
"Make it quick, Norman!" Negative Manny called to the retreating figure
of Norman French, who was running -- a little awkwardly -- into the store.
Manny sighed and closed his eyes. This really wasn't the way he'd
imagined his life turning out: running semi-legal and illegal errands for
Net.Santo; kidnapping aliens; spending his days wrapped in bandages to
control the negative energy that was always building up in his psyche and
spilling over to affect the real world. No, he'd figured he'd put in a
few decades behind a desk somewhere, then retire with a gold watch and
just barely enough money to get buy on. And that had seemed to be the
way his life was going, until that fateful day when he went to start the
Wait a second. Start the car?
"Start the car! Start the car!"
Manny's eyes snapped open, and he saw Norman running towards him, so
terrified he was forgetting to put on his accent. Behind the faux
Frenchman were a couple of short, green looking folks that were liable to
get their creators in trouble with Joe Dante if they weren't careful.
"Start the caaaaar!!!!" Norman cried as he dove through the passenger
side window with surprising agility. Unfortunately, the window wasn't
rolled down, but that didn't deter him.
Negative Manny got the car started just as the ugly little green guys
were about to get within arm's reach, and they were left coughing dust and
spitting swearwords at the retreating tail lights.
"This is *so* not what I signed up for!" Negative Manny said, slamming
his palm on the horn, which tooted ignominously as they sped away from
the rest stop.
"Do yoo zink I em 'appee eezer?" Norman French said, struggling to get
his accent back under control. "I em not--" His pocket beeped.
*Beep* went his pocket. *Beep beep*
"You gonna get that?" Manny asked.
Norman French ignored his partner and pulled a cellphone from his
pocket. "'Allo?" he said. He listened for a second, then handed the phone
to Negative Manny. "Eet eez for yoo."
Manny scowled at Norman, then took the phone from him, risking a ticket
for reckless driving. (They're villains, remember.)
"Yeah?" he said.
"We have acquired the final ingredient," replied the voice on the other
end. "*Neeeeigh* We also have the alien. You may dispose of the sample as
you see fit. It is no longer needed."
"What? If you were going to grab him, why did we have to risk our necks
just to steal some of his blood?"
"It was a safety precaution. *Neeeigh* A fail safe. Return to Net.Santo
"That's what we're *trying* to do," Manny said, but by that point the
line had gone silent.
This was just great. They went to all this trouble for no reason! At
least it couldn't get any worse.
* * *
It's a long way to Sin.ci.net.ty -- it's a long way, I know.
Unfortunately for our heroes (who would, ordinarily, be our villains, and
will be again shortly), it's an even longer way to Se.alt.tle. A way fraught
with danger and peril. To wit:
"You got us lost *again*?!"
Negative Manny's voice echoed through the wilderness like the howls of the
coyotes that were only a few metres away, lurking in the darkness, waiting
to feast upon the blood of the dam -- er, darned. Wait, that makes it sound
like the coyotes are going to eat socks. Let's make it the dratted, then.
The coyotes were waiting to feast upont he blood of the dratted.
Inside the Edsel, Norman French was busy feeling very lucky that Manny
had remembered that he was the only one who could drive, and had thus, so
far, refrained from throttling him. "I didn't get us lost," he said, trying
to get the overhead light to come on. "I just decided to take an unplanned,
"A detour to where?"
Manny leaned his head on one hand, idly fiddling with a bandage. "And where
is here, praytell?"
Norman squinted at the sign that was just barely illumined by the narrow
sliver of moon. "It says... 'retnE toN oD.' Must be Dutch."
"What?" Manny shifted in his seat. "Let me see -- you idiot! We're looking
at it from the other side. It says 'Do Not Enter.'"
"Oh. Well, I guess the town is named regnaD, then?"
Manny frowned. "Regnad?" Then he smacked Norman upside the head. "That's
'Danger'. I don't think this is a town."
"goD daM," Norman muttered.
"You can't swear in this title, it isn't proper."
"I wasn't swearing. I was just trying to read the other sign."
Before Negative Manny could resort to more emotional or physical violence,
something jumped on the hood of the car. Something large and slobbering and
four-legged, with more teeth than a house full of unstable dentists. And it
"Abbedyabbedyabbedyabbedy..." babbled Norman and Manny as they leapt into
each other's arms. Then, as quickly as the dog had appeared, it vanished,
leaping over the roof of the car and into the inky blackness of the night.
Almost as quickly, our intrepid agents let go of each other, rubbing their
hands on their pantlegs to get rid of the cooties.
"What the heck was that?" Norman asked.
"If I had to guess, I'd say it was the reason for all of those signs." The
sound of coyotes in the distance turned into a crunch, a whimper, and then
"I think you were right."
Finally, the overhead light decided it would be a good time to start
working, and our villains were able to figure out where they had gone wrong
-- in traveling to the corporate headquarters of Net.Santo, if not
necessarily in their lives.
Shrugging, Manny simply put the map between the driver's and passenger's
seats while the car took off down the road once more.
* * *
Somewhere, in the darkness of space, a hero awaits...
Okay, so it's actually the trunk of Manny and Norman's Edsel. And he's not
really so much a hero as a sidekick -- but he's a loyal and plucky sidekick!
He's even got his own fan club and everything! Really! And it's not just his
mom that's in it! There's Betty from down the street, and his cousin Bob,
and when he wrote to Ultimate Ninja once about it he got a letter back saying
that UN would love to be a member! Actually, he got two letters back, but the
signatures on them were different, so one of them must have been from an evil
impostor, or maybe from Ultimate Mercenary or something.
Somewhere, in the darkness of the trunk, a sidekick awaits...
I would like to thank a fellow named Leon for providing me with the
sentence that, slightly altered, became the second sentence for this issue.
Thanks a bunch!
As I write this Author's Note, it's early June and I'm waiting for my
'net connection to start working so I can e-mail Saxon about _Flame Wars 4_.
The story you just read was written a couple of months earlier (with some
revision since, and possibly more to come after I write this.) It's basic
purpose is two-fold -- to give me something to do, and to give me the option
of posting something while my primary characters are tied up in FW4.
And now it's February, and Flame Wars IV is over, and I never got around
to posting this at all. (Did I?) The scene with the trolls was just written
on February 16th to flesh this out enough to be something of a standalone
release; I couldn't find a way to incorporate it smoothly into the next
issue of _Miss Translation..._ proper. It also helped me account for a
lapse in continuity in an arc I was planning. That's what happens when you
don't keep notes, kids!
The events of this comic take place during the Flame Wars IV mini-series,
as the appearance of those trolls should indicate.
Everyone belongs to me.
Copyright 2003, baby!
I need scissors! 61!
Next Week: FLAME WARS IV -- Part Seven!!!!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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