LNH: Burst Beetle Tweseveny #8: "2007: X Marks the Spot and O Calls the Shot!"

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 21:14:46 PDT 2020

  | *               Glenda Gwynnych was one of the ridiculous                * |
  | *          and beautiful fools who write the tales of the Legion         * |
  | *   of Net.Heroes! But her wonderful nonsense was lost in the grinding   * |
  | *  drudgery of the corporate world!  One day, in her deepest despair, a  * |
  | *   voice of digital dreaming  *  *  *  gave her hope! Now she bounces   * |
  | *    back and forth throughout  \ | /  27 years of LNH history as....    * |
  | *   *__  *  * *__   __* *___*  *--*--*  *__  *___ *___ *___* *    *___   * |
  | *   |__) |  | |__) (__    |     / | \   |__) |__  |__    |   |    |__    * |
  | *   |__) |__| |  \ *__)   |    *  *  *  |__) |___ |___   |   |___ |___   * |
  | *             *___* *  * *___  __* *___ *  * *___ *  * *   *             * |
  | *               |   |  | |__  (__  |__  \  / |__  |\ |  \*/              * |
  | *               |   |/\| |___ *__) |___  \/  |___ | \|   |               * |
  #8              [20:07]: X Marks the Spot and O Calls the Shot!             #8

"...I see. Well." The Time Crapper smooths out his robe, stands up, and nods,
solemnly, to Tweseveny. "Thank you, anyway, for listening to me. But net.
villains do betray each other, and..." He spreads his hands. The plants on
either side of the couch begin to wilt, and the lights seem to dim around them.
"I think this is the part where I kill you and take what I want."

Tweseveny holds her fists up in a defensive pose, slides her foot back... spins
around and RUNS!

She's got to find Time-Waster Lad, she's got to protect the Rung of Revamp,
she's got to do *something* to make up for her failure! She probably can't stop
the Time Crapper on her own, or even Mother Time, but if she can just hold on
long enough for the LNH to come back--

OOF! She collides with a figure - Time-Waster Lad - she stumbles, grabs his arm
- can see Mother Time running down the corridor behind him, screaming - pulls
him along as she runs!!

It takes a moment for him to follow along, stumbling, but-- "This way!" He pulls
her down a forking corridor, the voices of the net.villains just a touch softer
- is the LNHQ helping them escape? - there, the Plot Device Room!

She yanks the door open, slams it shut - a padlock hanging by the door, slams it
into place and pulls out the key, pulls Time-Waster Lad away from the door and
into the racks of strange devices.

"Okay," says Tweseveny, panting, "we're safe for the moment. I think." The cold
of failure and disappointment mixes with the jittery heat of adrenaline.

"Y-yeah." Time-Waster Lad grips the metal racks, taking a heaving breath and
licking his lips. "Um... hah. They were looking for the Rung of Revamp, it's...
somewhere over here I think..."

Tweseveny's eyes flick between the racks. M-N, N-P, P-R, R-S. Radiant
Rollerblades, Reversion Ray Projector, Ring of Simplification, Robot Invasion

There it is - a rung pulled from a ladder, made of rough-hewn red-brown wood
from some unknown rainforest tree. Tweseveny reaches for it-- thinks better--
what if it revamps her? Does she want to know what it would decide she truly is?

THUMP! THUMP! Tweseveny turns - the locked door shakes, but stays closed. For

She turns back - and Time-Waster Lad has grabbed the Rung!

"Ah-- careful with that!" says Tweseveny, hands clenching, too late.

Time-Waster Lad shakes his head. "Why? Worst it can do is revamp me." He
squeezes it tight in his grip. "Might be better, right? Might be useful."

Tweseveny hears the unsteadiness of his breath - he's full of stress and fear,
completely ready to make a huge decision on the spur of the moment. She doesn't
know what to do. "Time-Waster Lad, you..." She takes a deep breath. She tries,
tries *hard*, to let out the failure and worry in her brain. "Let's sit down for
a minute. Catch our breath."

"...good idea. Sorry." Time-Waster Lad gets down on the concrete floor,
unsteadily, leaning against the hospital-green wall and pulling his knees up
against his chest, the arm holding the Rung wrapped around them.

Tweseveny tries to block out the thumping and rattling of the door - it must be
technologically or mystically protected, or they would have made short work of
it - and sits down next to Time-Waster Lad. She puts her hand on the floor next
to him, but doesn't touch him, doesn't try to take the Rung.

Okay. Okay. What should she say? She licks her lips. "...tell me about it."

"...I have a lot of friends in the LNH." He stares off, somewhere between the
remains of the Universal Anchor and the Umbra Penultimate. "They've made it easy
to be here. Safe." He shakes his head. "And they've been disappearing. Every
day. Unstoppably."

Tweseveny nods. Doesn't try to push, doesn't have the strength to push anyway,
just lets go and listens. "For hundreds of days."

"Right." He shakes his head. "Usually I can just stay in the background, chill,
have fun, and it it doesn't really matter that I don't do anything because
there's always plenty of LNHers who are strong, or smart, or have useful powers,
or whatever. But now..." He pushes his thumb up behind the 'LEADER' button on
his shirt, looks down at it. "Every other leader has left their mark. Made some
kind of improvements. Even the terrible ones did *something*."

"..." Tweseveny wants to say, you did something, you helped me. But maybe that
wasn't so good either...

Time-Waster Lad holds up the Rung, stares at it. "Maybe there's no room for
Time-Waster Lad on this team." The flourescent lights overhead shine on its
surface. "Maybe..."

"Time-Waster Lad..." Suddenly... something shifts. Maybe it's the weight of
sadness pressing down, knocking over all her disorganized thoughts into a new
configuration, but suddenly, Tweseveny realizes a new truth-- and what that
truth asks of her!

She sits up straight. "Time-Waster Lad! I have something I have to confess to

He looks up all at once, surprised. "Uh... can't say we've had a good track
record with big revelations today, but... I don't think things can get any
worse, so go ahead, I guess!"

"I am not simply a time traveler!" Tweseveny reaches down and pushes the red gem
on her buckle, and her armor dissolves. She puts her hand on her chest, and
gazes deep into Time-Waster Lad's eyes. "I am from the world beyond yours - a

"...well, shit." Time-Waster Lad blinks, dumbfounded.

"I wrote for the LNH, Time-Waster Lad! And..." Tweseveny clenches a fist, the
burning shame rising up within her. "And I gave it up - because I thought, was
told, again and again, that it was a waste of time! That it would never give me
money and success, and I should focus on the serious things that would! But--"
The shame burns away, and underneath is a new, strange, wobbly but powerful
pride! "But I found my way back! Because I realized - time isn't made to be
exchanged for pennies so someone else can spend it on dollars! Time is *yours*
to be spent! And if spending it in your own pursuits makes you happy - that's
*never* a waste!"

"I... but..." Time-Waster Lad swallows, shakes his head. "But if I'm not doing
anything with it..."

"You *are*!" She reaches out and places her hand on his shoulder, and squeezes,
radiant with determination. "When I came here, you helped me, talked to me, we
had fun, and I felt the most relaxed I have in a long time! That's what you
*do*, Time-Waster Lad! You give Legionnaires a break from having to be On all
the time! You play games with them, watch TV with them, get into long, rambly
conversations about their interests!"

"I... I guess..." Time-Waster Lad runs his hand thru his hair. She can see the
lines of his face softening, his brow gently furrowing as he tries to process
this. "That's... well, I mean, that's nice, but is it really *important*?"

"It's one of the most important things there is." Tweseveny pushes herself to
her feet, looks at the door as it shakes violently. "Cosmically important. The
Time Crapper didn't understand how this universe could still exist, with all
it's been thru - all the Writers have plugged into it, and all the flame wars
they've fought over it." She looks down, and holds out her hand. "But you're
how, Time-Waster Lad. You and people like you."

He looks up at her, takes her hand-- lets her pull him up. "How?"

"In my world... 'Real' comics, capitalist comics, are all big stuff all the
time. They don't get to relax. They don't get a break. They think it's wasting
time. But that's how people survive." A smile breaks onto Tweseveny's face. "By
taking a break from the enormous and terrible things happening in the world
around them, and spending their time on being happy. That's what comics are for,
what the LNH is for, what *you're* for - to make people happy."

"Tweseveny... I..." Slowly, he smiles, and--

WRUNK! WRENCH! Their heads snap around to see the metal of the door deform,
and-- KRAMMMM! Fall off its hinges!

Burst Beetle M-Plot steps over the twisted, useless metal, the Time Crapper and
Mother Time standing behind her, weapons and powers at the ready. "*Really*,
Tweseveny?" she says, stalking forward. "Are you serious? You thought you could
fix their relationship in an hour?"

She gets up in Tweseveny's face, and Tweseveny doesn't flinch - altho she
*does*, for a moment, really regret de-transforming. M-Plot growls, "Do you
think this is some kind of *game*?"

"I sure do!"

A burst of ruby light knocks Tweseveny and M-Plot back, one into Time-Waster
Lad's arms, the other to the hands of the net.villains! Both look up, stunned,
as the light coheres into a humanoid figure!

The figure lands lightly on her feet, wearing insectoid armor in shining black
and white! She snaps her fingers, pointing at Tweseveny, then whips her head
around and points the finger at M-Plot!

"And I think it needs a referee! Someone like... Burst Beetle XOX!"


Drew "oh I've been waiting to get to her" Nilium

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