LNH/ACRA: Classic LNH Adventures #150: Beige Countdown Part Three
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun May 10 14:19:33 PDT 2020
You can sift through the racc list archive
or you can try google groups racc for the third part of Beige Countdown.
First we have a Beige Countdown Special by yours truly (Arthur Spitzer).
All the LNH'rs running for the LNH leader have agreed to debate. But did
they agree to MacLaughlin Man as the moderator? (Probably not).
And Saxon Brenton continues his Intermezzo Beige Countdown Tie-ins with
LNH vII #24: 'Attack of the Vampire Cows! The Steaks are High! Or are
they Well Done? Medium Rare?
Find out in...
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
Beige Countdown Part Three
From: Arthur Spitzer <arsp... at earthlink.net>
Subject: LNH: A Beige Countdown Special -- "Debate This!"
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2007 02:24:24 +0000 (UTC)
A Beige Countdown Special
"Welcome, everyone. As President of Dave Thomas Deluxe University I'd
like to thank all of the candidates running for the LNH Leader position
for being kind enough to show up to this debate. And audience members?
Please, if you have rotten vegetables with you -- Please, do not throw
them -- unless you feel it's absolutely necessary. And also before I
start the show, I'd like to thank Mr. Paprika for sponsoring this
debate." The President took out a can from one of his pockets and held
it up so everyone could see it. And then he popped the top, and took a
large gulp. "Man, now that's a debaters pop! Okay, then. I guess we
need to begin this. I'd like to introduce to you the..."
Suddenly, a man rushed up to the stage where the President was and
handed him a paper. "I'm sorry folks," the President said after reading
the paper. "It appears our scheduled moderator, Pointless Debate
Questions Man was retconned out of existence at the last minute. But
have no fear folks. We do have a replacement that I'm sure will in more
ways than one make up for this. Without further ado, I'd like to
introduce to you the One. The Only." The President gave a dramatic
pause as he raised both of his hands high up into the air. Suddenly, a
man on a motorcycle roared up onto the stage. A man wearing a star
spangled helmet over his head. As the mysterious motorcyclist raised
the helmet from his head fireworks burst off the stage. And the face
that was revealed with the helmet completely off was that of...
The crowd hooted and hollered. And MacLaughlin Man pumped his fists
into the air. All of the LNH'rs on the debate platform on the other
hand looked thoroughly appalled.
"No!" The Ultimate Ninja slammed his hand on his podium. "This is
*Unacceptable*. There is no way I would have agreed to this if I... No.
I refuse. I refuse to do this. I am not doing this."
"Yeah, I know 'Ultimate' Ninja. You're too scared to answer my
hard-hitting questions so naturally the only thing you can really do is
run with your tail between your legs. It's all right. You can go. No
one will think less of you. I mean, really, it's not like you can get
any lesser. Can you?"
The Ultimate Ninja gave MacLaughlin Man a deathly stare and then he
pointed his index finger at MacLaughlin Man. "One. One Wrong Question.
That's all you can Afford. One."
"Right. Death Threat duly noted. Hmm." MacLaughlin Man thumbed
through the index cards in his hand. "Okay. Let's get this retarded
thing over with. Let's -- begin -- with. You!" said MacLaughlin Man
pointing straight at Irony Man.
"Okay, Irony Man. Your employer, Toony Stark is well known for making
tons of money off of the misery and misfortune of others. The question
I ask you is, Do *You* ever feel guilty for taking a paycheck from such
a horrible amoral corporate monster?"
"I -- uh No. I mean Yes. Wait. Is this a trick question?"
"Next Question. To the LNH'r called," MacLaughlin Man chuckled to
himself, "Fearless Leader. Okay. There are these two trains. One of
the trains is headed for a helpless tied-up America bound on the track.
The other for a helpless tied-up God on the other track. So my
question is, Who do you save? God or America? And you can only save one!"
Fearless Leader pondered the question for a bit. "I'd guess I'd say,
"So, After all of the things God has done for you. Created the
Universe. Created You. This is how you pay him back? When he needs
your help the most, you just let him get run over by a train? Are you
listening to this people?"
"No, wait... I mean God's supposed to be omnipotent and I mean..."
"Oh, I think we all know what you mean, Mister "God Can Go Screw
Himself!" Next Question. Ah, Catalyst Lass! Okay. The question I
would like to ask you is, How can you assure the American people that
your tenure as LNH Leader won't be as disastrous as Katie Couric's
attempt to do the CBS Evening News?"
"Disastrous? I'm not sure what you mean. I thought everyone liked
Katie. I think what she's doing is great! She's one of my biggest role
"I rest my case. Next question. Master Blaster. Heh." MacLaughlin
Man fumbled through his index cards until he found a question he liked.
"Okay. There are three trains. The first train is 56 miles away from
Net.ropolis accelerating at a speed of 2 miles a minute filled with 150
tons of explosives. The second train is 68 kilometers away from
Net.ropolis accelerating at twice the speed of the first train and
filled with (2/3) of the explosives of the third train. The third train
is half the combined first two trains miles away from Net.ropolis and is
accelerating at a speed that is a third of the first two trains and half
the explosives that the first train has. My question is, which train
should you stop first?"
"Jesus Christ!" Master Blaster's head looked like it was ready to
explode. "No one told me there was going to be Math! I mean, Jesus!
This is not happening." Master Blaster leaned over to where WikiBoy was
standing and whispered in his ear. "Psst. you gotta help me. you know
the answer! gimme it!"
"I'm sorry, but other debaters are not allowed to help the questioned
debater with the answer. And for helping Master Blaster, you lose your
"But I didn't..." WikiBoy protested. And then sighed to himself. Such
was his life.
"Next question. J. Random Kiwi. What is the maximum amount of Tijuana
hookers you can get for $3678 and a kilo of pot?"
"Oh, sure. Give him the easy question!" Master Blaster said rolling his
eyes in a disgusted manner.
"That's correct. Okay next, question. Who's next?"
The Weirdness Magnet raised his hand hopefully.
"Ah, yes. The Ultimate Ninja. Are you ready? Are you ready for my
question? Are you?"
"I'm ready for anything you dish out. Bring it on!"
"Fine." MacLaughlin Man dropped all of his index cards onto the floor.
And then he gazed back at the Ultimate Ninja. And the Ultimate Ninja
returned the gaze and then some right back.
The audience gasped into silence. Somewhere in the background the theme
music to 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' started to play. And both
men continued to stare into each other's eyes. Each looking for a sign
Their eyes and their hatred for each other became the entire Universe as
the rest of creation dissolved away into nothingness.
And then it happened. MacLaughlin Man asked his question. And nothing
was ever the same.
"Why do you get such pleasure from beating your wife?"
"Hah! I have no wife. I've *never* had a wife!" the Ultimate Ninja
"Oh, right. I guess what I really meant to ask is, Why do you get such
pleasure from beating up your blow-up sheep sex doll?"
"That's it. That's the last question. That's the last thing you're
ever going to utter!" The Ultimate Ninja flew up from his podium and
hurled himself at MacLaughlin Man. And before any of the rest of the
LNH'rs could act, both men started to beat the holy hell out of each
other. And everyone seemed to be surprised that not only was
MacLaughlin Man holding his own with the Ultimate Ninja, but he seemed
to be doing better.
The Ultimate Ninja was the most shocked of all not really expecting much
of a fight. MacLaughlin Man seemed to dodge each Ultimate Ninja blow
with incredible ease. And each blow that the Ultimate Ninja got from
MacLaughlin Man felt like a full speed freight train ramming into his
face. MacLaughlin Man grabbed both of the ninja's ankles and hurled the
ninja towards the podium platform.
"How? This is Impossible? How are you doing this?"
"It's my own special fight style. I call it 'MacLaughlininyourface'
type fighting. Ready to give up?"
"Never!" The Ultimate Ninja got right back up and charged at the
MacLaughlin Man. But all the fighting tricks the ninja knew didn't
matter. A minute later MacLaughlin Man raised the body of the Ultimate
Ninja and smacked it right into the cold hard floor. Then MacLaughlin
Man grabbed the ninja's arm and pulled it back tightly.
"Okay. Do you give? Or do I break your arm?"
"No! This is Impossible! I'm the Ultimate Ninja! No one can beat me!"
"You forget. I'm not no one. I'm some one. I'm MacLaughlin Man! Do
you give?!" MacLaughlin put more strength into bending the arm.
"Owww! God it hurts! Please! I give in! I give in!"
"Who is the Man!? Who is the *Man*!?"
"You are!" the Ultimate Ninja cried. "You're the Man! Please! I can't
take anymore!! You're the Man!! MacLaughlin Man!!!"
"Damn Straight." MacLaughlin Man released the ninja and turned his
attention towards the other heroes.
"I'm not believing this! Did MacLaughlin Man just totally kick the
Ultimate Ninja's ass?" Master Blaster said totally befuddled. "This is
so freakin' lame! I gotta put a stop to this." With that said Master
Blaster pulled out his BigGun (TM) and aimed it right at MacLaughlin Man
and clicked its setting to Extra-Crispy. "Hey, MacLaughlin Man! Debate
this!" Then Master Blaster pulled the trigger sending a large Flame
towards MacLaughlin Man.
MacLaughlin Man didn't move. Instead he stood there calmly and scooped
the flame into both of his hands like some Zen Buddha Master and
transformed the flame into a ball of fire. "There is no flame,
grasshopper," he said gazing straight through Master Blaster, "There is
only butterflies." And the ball of flame transformed into a thousand
Master Blaster's jaw dropped. "I'll be damned. Butterflies. I can't
fight against a man who can turn balls of flame into butterflies. I
give." Master Blaster dropped his gun and kneeled to the ground.
"Anyone else want a piece of me!" MacLaughlin Man shouted.
The rest of the LNH'rs shook their heads. "You've got us beat,
MacLaughlin Man," Irony Man said. "You're too much for us."
"In fact I was thinking while you were kicking the Ultimate Ninja's ass
that maybe you should be the LNH's new leader. You've got the brains.
And you've got the guts. And it looks like you've also got the moves.
What do you say, MacLaughlin Man? Will you be our new leader?"
"The Leader of the LNH?" MacLaughlin Man stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"No. That would go against all my principles. But. On the other
hand. If the LNH changed its name to something like, I don't know,
maybe called itself the -- MacLaughlin Man's League of
All-Worshipping-Super-Fans -- I could see myself leading such a team.
Leading such a team to greatness."
"Then, I guess we need to change the LNH's name," Fearless Leader said.
"All in favor of changing the name of the LNH to MacLaughlin Man's
League of All-Worshipping-Super-Fans -- raise your hands!" All of the
LNH'rs in the room raised their hands with the exception of the Ultimate
Ninja who was being hauled away be the cops. "Then it is decided. That
will be our new name!"
MacLaughlin Man looked over to where Catalyst Lass was and noticed a
tear falling from her eye. "What's wrong, Catalyst Lass?"
"It's just..." Catalyst Lass sniffed and wiped her eye with some tissue,
"It's just that I've been hiding this secret all these years. And I
can't hide it any longer. I'm in love. I'm in love with you,
MacLaughlin Man. I've been in love with you ever since I started
watching your show." Catalyst Lass turned her head away and looked down
to the ground. "I just wish I had said something sooner and not lived
in a lie all these years. God. I feel so ashamed of myself."
MacLaughlin Man put his hand on her shoulder. "It's all right. You're
not alone. You should know that all women are secretly in love with me.
It is one of my biggest burdens. The burden of being MacLaughlin Man.
To be loved by so many women and only be able to choose one. Well. I
suppose if I had some kind of a harem that would make life simpler for
me. I'll have to think about that. Here's my card. I'll get back to
you." MacLaughlin Man gave her a pat on the back and turned his
attention to his new team.
"Well, I guess we need to go back to the headquarters and tell everyone
the good news!"
"Kiwi!" agreed J. Random Kiwi.
10 Years Later...
MacLaughlin Man plucked a golden can of Mr. Paprika off of a tree. He
popped the top open. He breathed in the carbonated bubbles that floated
towards the sky like sparkling angels. And then he put the can up to
his mouth and took a deep sip. And then a gulp. And then another gulp.
Until finally, he had downed the entire can. MacLaughlin Man's eyes
rolled in ecstasy like he had just had the perfect orgasm. His fist
crushed the solid gold can. "Damn," he said, "Now, that was a pop. A
man's pop. A man drinking the perfect pop in a perfect world."
MacLaughlin Man gazed at the perfect garden that surrounded him. Plants
covered with Caviar, Champagne, Lobsters, Cuban Cigars, Rubies,
Diamonds, and iPhones tempted him with every turn. For a brief second
he was hypnotized by this orgy of delights. It was a coughing sound
from behind him that brought him back to reality.
"*Ahem*, Emperor MacLaughlin Man!" said the voice.
MacLaughlin turned around. "Please. No need for that. Just call me
your Greatness. What do you want, Dr. Stomper?"
"I'm pleased to announce to you that you've swept the entire Nobel
prizes again this year! That's five times in a row!"
MacLaughlin Man yawned. "That's nice. Anything else?"
"It's just amazing what you've done in the past ten years. Cured
Cancer. Invented a Perpetual Energy Source. Brought Peace to the
Entire World. I just wish that we had listened to your ideas 20 years
ago. Think of all the people we could have saved."
"Well. Don't be hard on yourself Doctor. We can't all be the smartest
person in the Looniverse. Anything else?"
"It's just the people. They want to see you. They want to bathe in
your Incredible Awesomeness. Will you let them, your Greatness? Will you?"
"Well. I guess I'd be kind of a big old jerk if I didn't give them an
opportunity to bathe in my Incredible Awesomeness. So sure. Why not?
Lead on, Doctor. Lead me to the people."
MacLaughlin Man followed Dr. Stomper from the garden a few feet away
from the balcony on top of the MacLaughlin Man's League of
All-Worshipping-Super-Fans Headquarters. He looked down on the cheering
crowd waving 'Make Mine MacLaughlin Man!' and 'Only MacLaughlin Man is
Right!' signs. MacLaughlin Man waved to the crowd and cleared his
throat. "You're welcome. But I have to admit that some of the credit
for this great world we live goes to you the people. Because you people
listened to me and you did what I said. And now. And now you are
living in the Greatest World in All of the Looniverse! Yes!!"
The crowd started chanting, "We're Number One!! We're Number One!!"
MacLaughlin Man smiled to himself. But the smile didn't last long.
A kid in the crowd shouted, "Hey! The emperor's not wearing any
clothes! He's naked!"
"Hey, the kid's right. He is naked! He's just some fat old bald naked
loud mouth! Why are we cheering him?"
More people looked up and started to agree with the little kid who had
pointed out the fact that MacLaughlin Man was completely naked. They
started to boo and hiss and throw rotten vegetables at him.
"Wait!" MacLaughlin Man said while dodging the veggies. "You're wrong!
I'm not naked! I'm not! I'm..." And then he looked down and
realized that in fact he was naked. The kid was right! "No! This
can't be! Something's wrong! This isn't right!"
"Hmm," Dr. Stomper said looking at his device.thingee. "According to my
calculations, I believe that this entire episode has been a dream
sequence. You're dreaming, MacLaughlin Man."
"No! It can't be a dream! I was... I was...!!!" And then MacLaughlin
Man looked into a shadowy corner and realized who was responsible for
all of this. "You! Damn You! You... You..."
And the DreamwReamer laughed and MacLaughlin Man woke up.
MacLaughlin Man crawled out of bed and rubbed the five o'clock shadow
that covered his face. He picked up a bottle of Mr. Martini off the
floor and took a swig. His face made a grimace. "Life sucks. Goddamn
LNH. Goddamn world."
MacLaughlin Man grabbed a tie off of his chair and stared at it for a
second. "Another Day. Another Show." And then he looked at a picture
hanging from his wall. It showed him with wReamicus Maximus. wReamicus
Maximus put bunny ears behind MacLaughlin Man's head. Both faces from
the past were smiling. MacLaughlin Man sighed to himself. "Ultimate
Ninja. You'll get yours. Oh, you'll get yours in the end. I'll see to
MacLaughlin Man turned his head away. And slowly made his way to the
MacLaughlin Man and Ultimate Ninja are wReam's
Irony Man is Doug Moran's
Fearless Leader is Dave Van Domelen's
Catalyst Lass is Elisabeth Reba's
Master Blaster is Martin Phipps's and Robert Ramirez's
WikiBoy is Tom Russell's
J. Random Kiwi is Jaelle's
Weirdness Magnet is Lalo Martins's
Dr. Stomper is T.M. Neeck's
DreamwReamer is Ken Schmidt's
Oh, yeah, I should mention that this is kind of a sequel to Ken
Schmidt's amusing Ultimate Ninja: Early Summer Special..
Arthur "If only the real ones were just a dream" Spitzer
From: Saxon Brenton <saxonb... at hotmail.com>
Subject: LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #24
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2008 02:06:52 +0000 (UTC)
[LNH] Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #24
Continuity note: The first story happens before _Beige Countdown_ #7.
The second story has its own unique gripes with continuity and happens
whenever it darn well wants to, but should not be trusted with sharp
| |-| \
| |-|  / #24
| | |  egion of \ 'Attack Of The Vampire Cows'
| | | __     / (Intermezzo - Act 2)
| | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ (A Beige Countdown tie-in)
| | | \ ] [ __ ] /
| |-|     \ written by and copyright 2008
| |-|___________________________/ Saxon Brenton
| | The cover shows the trio of Fearless Leader, Ripping Dancer,
| | and You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad standing back-to-back
| | with defiant expressions on their faces as they are surrounded
| | by the menacing silhouettes of cows with evil looking glowing
| | red eyes.
[A Silver Age-style roster of characters in the form of a series of mug
shots in little circles runs down the side of the title page:]
Roll call for this issue:
o Fearless Leader!
o Ripping Dancer!
o You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad!
These are just some of the super-powered do-gooders who belong to an
organisation that thinks that running around with your underwear on
the outside is acceptable as a fashion statement. They are: the
Legion of Net.Heroes!
The sun set. As normal the city of Net.ropolis lit up with its
regular act of defiance against the fall of night. A hundred million and
more lights turned on: some by human hand, others by automated light
sensors or timers, and some because the buildings they were installed
in were both self-aware and afraid of the dark. Incandescent bulbs and
fluorescent tubes alike turned the city skyline into a rainbow coloured
silhouette of light.
Except for down here. Here, at the edge of the old stock yards
an elder darkness still held sway. Scattered around the place where
some lonely streetlights, and those that still worked stood defiantly
on guard. A group of five figures approached this shadowed area. They
turned on their flashlights and worked their way through a gap in the
chain link fence into the darkness beyond.
"So, what is this place again?" one of them asked.
"The old slaughterhouse," was the reply.
Fourth Wall Lass managed to find Parking Karma Kid hanging out with
some of the other Legionnaires in the cafeteria. They were discussing
politics: like how the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act was affecting the
Legion's resources to actually fight crime as opposed to acting as a
training centre for net.ahumans, about what Hexadecimal Luthor's chances
of winning a third presidential term were like, or about how Barak Obama
was playing the 'Evil Twin From Another Universe' card against Hillary
"Hey, PPK," she said. "I need your help with a Christmas story."
Parking Karma Kid and the others all stared at her. "Er, you
do realise that Christmas was over a month ago, don't you?" said
Convoluted Origin Man.
"Oh sure," said Fourth Wall Lass, unconcerned. "But you know how
erratic Brenton's grasp of time is."
They briefly considered this, then nodded. Yes, they did know.
"So what's up?" asked Parking Karma Kid as he stood up from the table.
"I need to arrange for a ride for this guy back to visit his family
in Sig.ago..." she explained as they walked out of the cafeteria.
"The slaughterhouse?" said Cassandra sceptically.
"Yep. The slaughterhouse," repeated Mickey. "The old stockyards."
The young man gestured expansively with the hand that was holding the
bottle of cheap wine, which, strictly speaking, he wasn't quite old
enough to be drinking legally.
"What, the stock exchange used to be open air?" said Lee.
"Nah, not the stock exchange," countered Mickey. "This used to
be where the city killed livestock and dressed the carcases for food
more than a century ago." He looked around with a sort of proprietorial
satisfaction. "These days not many people remember that it was here.
Heck, not many people even know the city used to kill cattle this close
to the central business district, let alone the exact address."
Mary snorted cynically. "These days not many people would know
what a proper slaughterhouse is. Not now that food grows in the
supermarket and a lot of people don't know what a plough is," she added
sarcastically. "Say the word to them and the first thing they'd think
of was the slasher flick rather than food."
"Point," agreed Mickey. "Here we are," he added, as they stepped
out onto the waterfront side of an abandoned complex. As the other
college students glanced around Mickey manhandled a rusty old 44 gallon
drum out into the open and started building a fire in it.
Cassandra stared at the shining (and gaudily lit) towers of the
central business district and the outline of the Emperor Norton Bridge,
both only a few scant miles down the shoreline, then took a swig from
the bottle of rutgut that she'd brought with her. She turned to hand
the bottle to the person next to her, realised that it was Lee, and
passed it to Mary instead. Lee, being a mannequin-American, was
physically incapable of eating or drinking.
Mickey now had a fire going. Cassandra asked, "So why hasn't this
place been built up with condominiums or something?"
Mickey shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe there's some legal problem
tying up the sale of the land. Maybe the city wanted it retained for
parks but hasn't got enough money to develop it yet..."
"Or maybe," said Ben, holding up the flashlight under his chin to
cast weird shadows over his face, "it's =haunted=." They all laughed.
"Then how come the Abandoned Warehouse District hasn't been
developed yet either?" sniggered Mary. "Damn big haunted house."
"To damn big haunted houses!" said Ben, raising a plastic tumbler,
and the teenagers all drank a toast. Well, all of them except Lee, of
"So Mickey," said Lee. "How goes the resistance to the Net.ahuman
"Ah, very good question," grinned Mickey. "We decided that the
best way to protest was to register."
"No, really. See, it's a cunning plan! If *everybody* registered
for the NRA, and uses similar or even identical names, then the whole
process will get bogged down in its own paperwork. Then the people who
want to control the net.heroes or even run them out of town under the
excuse that everyone's supposed to be a competent superhero won't be
able to tell who's who."
"Uh-huh," said Cassandra in a sceptical voice. "But are you sure
it's all a plot to take control of the net.ahumans?"
"Yes, we are," said Mary. "It's not the first time that someone's
tried to railroad the net.heroes. Clinton tried it when he was
president, with the LNH Registration Act." [the main points of which are
addressed in: _Ultimate Ninja_ #10, _LNH_ #79-80, _Giant Sized LNH #6_,
_Continuity Champ & The Drizzt's Defenders_ #12 and _LNH_ #83 - Footnote
"I thought it was supposed to be his wife, Hillary, behind that,"
"I thought it was supposed to be the Hellary, the Evil Twin of his
wife from another dimension," said Lee. [_LNH_ #83 - Footnote Girl]
Mickey crossed his arms. "Well I heard that both versions of
Hillary were supposed to be alien transvestites," he said sarcastically.
"So obviously you can't trust everything you hear. [_Untold Tales of
the Looniverse_ #5 - Footnote Girl] "Anyway, that's the plan. Good
old Gandhi style passive resistance." He took another drink of his
beer and smiled. "At least, that's what things'll look like publicly."
"Dude," said Mickey as he waved his hand in an expansive gesture.
"Of course there's more... OW!"
"Damn! I banged my knuckles against the wall, and there was a nail
there. I think I've cut myself."
"Better put a tissue on it to staunch the blood."
"Yeah." Mickey rummaged for a disposable tissue (because he was
under thirtyfive years of age and as a result the idea of having a
handkerchief in his pocket, which would get used and then taken home to
be washed, but in the meantime be carried around covered in snot and
germs... well, that was just way too disgusting to contemplate). As he
did so the blood continued to slowly seep from the graze. A single
drop formed and dripped from his hand.
Watch the drop of blood.
It falls in cinematic slow motion. Sounds become distorted as
time slows to watch in horrified fascination. It glistens in the
firelight as it falls. Down down down.
And then the blood hits the ground in a classic splash pattern.
"Say," said Mary as she huddled deeper inside her overcoat.
"Is it getting breezy out here? It feels cold all of a sudden."
"Well, it is on the waterfront," said Ben. "Sea breezes and all
The shadows seemed to darken and the air grew more chill. And
then a laugh of "MOOOOOOhahahaha!" filled the night.
Ripping Dancer was idly surfing the TV channels at random:
"...Speaking in Phila.deletefile.ia today, Al Gore made further
warnings about the increasing rate of use of fossil fuels, and renewed
his call for more research into greenhouse friendly technology. He noted
that since the completion of both the America funded Brazilian space
elevator and the Sino-Indian financed elevator in Kenya in the early
21st century, mining in the asteroid belt has brought in a 6.3% increase
in raw resources. This has had a considerable impact in the growth of
the booming Asian economies, as well as easing America's dependence on
Middle-Eastern oil reserves. However, Mr Gore warned that there was
a corresponding downside to the availability of space based resources,
and that consumers ran the risk of falling into the bad habit of using
petroleum products simply because they are now more plentiful and cheap
than at any time since the OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s. He said
that the increasing release of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants
made it more important, rather than less, to develop environmentally
friendly transport options..."
Ripping Dancer turned off the television with a sigh. More grim
news. Sometimes it seemed that all there ever was was grim news. It
didn't make sense for that to be the literal truth of the matter: news
services could hardly keep their ratings up if they couldn't keep their
audiences' attention. But ever since Ripping Dancer had started working
as a net.hero, she had gotten into the habit of keeping a weather eye
out for trouble, and sometimes it wore you down.
She stood up and wandered out of the room and into one of the
computer labs. There she found You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad,
who seemed to be busy with some project on the computer. "Hi," she said.
"What are you up to?"
"Hey there. I'm just doing beta testing of some software for
wReamhack," he explained. "After the LNHHQ got trashed by Mynabird's
net.villain army, wReamhack decided to install a 5.0 version of the
wReamscape web browser. [Version 1 was in use as far back as
_Birds Fly_ #3 � Footnote Girl]
She grinned. "Only the best tech for the Legion, huh?"
"Well, for a little while at least," said YNHMHELad. "After the
bugs are ironed out wReamhack plans to release this version to the
public as well. He says the revenue from the previous versions of
wReamscape have always been good, and he doesn't want Microsoft
Fearless Leader looked in. "Face front, soldiers! We've got a
report of net.ahuman assault occurring down by the waterfront. Dancer,
Hard Enough, you're with me for the emergency response!"
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad quickly saved his work and
ran after the other two to the flight.thingy bay, where their transport
had already been prepped.
As Fearless Leader navigated the comparatively short distance to
the waterfront, he outlined the situation. "A call forwarded to us
from emergency services says that a bunch of kids are being attacked
by cows with glowing red eyes."
"So," mused YNHMHELad, and began to count off possibilities on his
fingers. "Robot cows with lasers built into their eyes... Demon cows..."
"Genetically engineered monster cows with glowing eyes because
their creator though it would look cool," added Ripping Dancer.
"And of course the ever popular 'they only caught a brief glimpse
of the attackers in all the confusion and are merely reporting cows',"
"We'll soon find out, because we're here," said Fearless Leader.
As they zoomed in Ripping Dancer spotted something in the searchlights
of the flight.thingy. "There! Those kids down there are being menaced
by... Are those cows wearing opera capes?"
"Hard Enough, you're on point," ordered Fearless Leader.
"Okay," said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad, and then banged
his head hard against a wall of the flight.thingy several times to absorb
some kinetic energy. "Ha!" he cried. "Where do we go!? What do we do!?
How do we WIN!?"
"Down there," pointed Ripping Dancer, who knew what YNHMHELad was
like once he was primed for a fight.
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad looked out the window.
"Right. I knew that," he said, before bounding back to the exit hatch
of the flight.thingy, throwing it open, and launched himself towards the
crime scene taking place several stories below.
Cassandra and Ben had been backed up against a wall and were being
menaced by two daemonic (for those of you with Anglophilic pretensions)
cows with big pointy fangs. The cows' eyes glowed maelifically (also
for those of you with Anglophilic pretensions), and they wore little
opera capes that fluttered disturbingly in the night wind. One of the
cows stepped forward...
Only to be pounded down into the wooden planks of the wharf when
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad landed feet first on its head.
"Heeere I come to save the daaaWHULP!" went YNHMHELad as the cow used
its preternatural strength to whip its head back and fling the Legionnaire
away. The cow rose to its feet, grew horns, whipped around, caught
YNHMHELad in the stomach and hurled him further down the wharf. The
two horrid entities were moderately surprised when You're-Not-Hitting-
Me-Hard-Enough Lad immediately stood up and berated them.
"Foolish monsters, you do not impress me with your glowing eyes
and flappy cape things..."
"MOOoooo!" snarled one of the cows menacingly with its fangs bared.
"...OR your badly scripted dialogue!" continued YNHMHELad. He
launched himself at one of them, using some of his own strength and speed
to catch the creature by surprise. He grabbed it by the shoulders, and
in defiance of all principles of mechanics and leverage hefted one cow
into the air and threw it at the other. There was a satisfying crash as
the two creatures impacted.
Ripping Dancer found another of the teenagers. "Are you okay,
miss?" she asked.
Mary startled, then looked around anxiously. "I'm fine, but I
can't find Lee. I think he lost his head."
"He panicked and ran off?"
"No! I mean he lost his head!"
There was a nasty moooing and then something was catapulted to land
at their feet. It was a body. Ripping Dancer couldn't help but notice
its decapitated state.
"Ahhh! They've still got it!" cried Mary.
"Got what?" demanded Ripping Dancer as the body began to move and
grope about as if searching for something.
Ripping Dancer blinked. "He's a mannequin!" she gasped in realisation.
"Yes! He's a mannequin-American! Jeez, I would have thought a
superhero would be more familiar with non-human biology," exclaimed Mary
with a touch of hysteria. "What, are you a protein chauvinist or
The mooing came closer. Ripping Dancer looked up to see the
Okay, here at least was something she could handle among all the
confusion and weirdness. Ripping Dancer gyrated her body and with only
the smallest of efforts rent asunder the planks beneath the monster's
hooves, causing it to crash through the wharf and into the water below.
There was a splash, and then nothing. Ripping Dancer braced herself,
half expecting the creature to come bursting back up through the
timbers, but all was quiet.
Well, not quite all. Ripping Dancer could still hear the distant
sounds of Fearless Leader's BIGGUN blasting away at somewhere off to her
left. "I think we should evacuate you back to the flight.thingy," she
"We've got to find Lee's head first!"
Ripping Dancer gave her a stern glare. "I don't think we have time
Whatever Mary was about to say was cut off by the sound of Fearless
Leader yelling, "Move! Move! Move!" and herding some of the other
college students around the corner. Fearless Leader paused at the edge
of the building and shot a few rounds of suppressive fire. Then he
spotted Ripping Dancer and said, "Dancer, we've got four confirmed
hostiles, who are all cows, plus they've got control of Hard Enough."
"What, mind control *again*?"
Fearless Leader nodded grimly. "Better get these kids to the
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad rounded the corner and made
a wild swing at Fearless Leader. Fearless Leader had more than enough
sense not to let him connect if at all possible. Menacing bovine figures
ambled in behind, with maliciously amused looks on their faces - to the
extent that the features of cows can reproduce human expressions as
subtle as malicious amusement.
Fearless Leader didn't bother trying to shoot YNHMHELad square on.
The enthralled Legionnaire had already absorbed so much kinetic energy
that his strength and resilience were at superhuman levels. Instead
Fearless Leader backed away, in the direction away from the flight.thingy
which was hovering at the edge of the wharf, shooting at YNHMHELad's
feet in an attempt to lure him away. Possibly he could even trip Hard
Enough up with some damage to the planks.
"Dancer, get those kids out of here!" he repeated.
Ripping Dancer hesitated, then waved the civilians in the direction
of the rope ladder that dangled from the flight.thingy. "Move!" she
ordered them. Then she turned back to Fearless Leader. She had an
idea. A real Horatio Nelson last ditch plan: if she pulled it off then
victory was within grasp, but if it failed then 'you're gonna get yelled
at' was far too mild a description for the way she'd get her hash raked
over the coals.
"Let me try something," she called to Fearless Leader. "Just hold
him for ten seconds." And once again she began to dance.
When she'd first joined the Legion Ripping Dancer had boasted that
she could rip through anything. It occurred to her that 'mind control'
should be included in that. Now, how to affect a non-physical? She
hadn't tried that before. Maybe a twist of the hip, like so?
You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad stopped playing his deadly
game of hide and seek with Fearless Leader. He went, "Huh?" and had
time enough to look befuddled before an enraged cow in a cape attacked
him from behind and flung him into the air on its retractable horns.
"Whaaa!" went YNHMHELad. He landed with a thud, then rose up and
said, "You are *so* going to regret that."
Fearless Leader had already changed targets, and YNHMHELad
cheerfully threw himself back into the task of grabbing one cow and
hurling it into the others. This time they were prepared for the
attack, and transformed themselves into vapour.
"They can turn into mist as well?" said Ripping Dancer. "What, are
they supposed to be vampires or something?"
"Well, duh," said Mary, who along with Mickey was leading the still
headless Lee towards the flight.thingy. "They tried to bite Lee, then
got all agro when all they got was a taste of his plaster." She pointed
to the fang marks that scoured Lee's neck.
And suddenly it all fit. The eyes. The fangs. The capes. Hell,
even the one that she'd dropped into the sea and didn't come back again:
tidal flow must technically count as running water. "God, I've been
dense," Dancer berated herself. Then, to the kids she said, "Keep
moving. I've got another idea." Then she raised her voice and yelled.
"Fearless, they're vampires. Keep them busy. I've got something else
I want to try."
The vampire cows now turned their attention on her, despite the
redoubled efforts of Fearless Leader and You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-
Enough Lad to run interference. Ripping Dancer grimly accepted the
compliment. Her success at freeing You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough
Lad from their thrall had obviously been noted, and she was getting
an upgrade as to the level of threat that she represented. Well, they
had to catch her first.
Two of them turned to mist and bypassed YNHMHELad, leaving him to
rush after them and yell, "No, you villains! Attack ME!!!" The cows
resolidified and tried to trample Ripping Dancer. She dodged one of
them and leapt over the shoulders of the other with an agility that was
literally superhumanly graceful. Each move she made led the cows further
away from the direction of the teenagers, so she played out the game a
little longer than was strictly necessary. In the end she was in range
of some of the run down buildings, leapt on top of one of the lower
rooves, and made her bid at endgame.
What she had in mind was also a trick she hadn't tried before, but
which should theoretically be within her wherewithal. The problem here
was scale. Now, which would be easier? Time or space, space or time?
She had no idea; she hadn't really practised with either of them. She
made a snap decision and went for space.
So, on the roof of an abandoned building, by the garish glow of
the city lights, Ripping Dancer danced. From the very start she could
feel that she was working in the right direction, but the effect she
wanted was huge and resistance to what she was trying to accomplish was
The vampire cows flew up to attack her. Some of them turned into
mist. One of them transformed itself into a swarm of bloodsucking
tsetse flies. One of them made like a bonocon (a monster much like a
bull, but with a deadly flatus attack) and used jet propulsion to launch
its aerial assault at the Legionnaire.
Too late, all too late.
With one final burst of effort Ripping Dancer completed her task,
and the heavens about Net.ropolis tore wide open. Sunlight washed
through. Desert sunlight from the Saha.rec. Glaring and hard and heavy
in ultraviolet light.
The vampire cows screamed and burned. Within seconds of the arrival
of the unnatural dawn they had been reduced to dust and less than dust.
Fearless Leader walked over and called up to her. "Hey, good job."
Ripping Dancer was panting. She looked wasted from the effort, but
she also had a huge grin of exhilaration. "Thanks."
"You all right?"
"Gimme a moment to catch my breath. Then I'll close the hole."
Fearless Leader glanced up at the jagged tear in the sky. It was
probably causing havoc across the city. Nevertheless, he couldn't help
but think that maybe there were other blood suckers elsewhere in the
city who were being terminally inconvenienced by the unexpected arrival
of daylight. He grinned at her. "Take your time," he said.
Next Week: The Countdown Part Four!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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