LNHY: Death of Trophy Wife #10: "Corrupting the Corrupted"

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Sat May 30 21:13:45 PDT 2020

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              Issue Ten: "Corrupting the Corrupted" by Drew Perron

Content warning: Possession, lots of lying, spectral beings pinned to ths mortal


    A young lady's form pushed open the doors of the LNHQ. A form that was
athletic, short, and wearing dark glasses with an eye-searingly bright costume.
The form of Exclamation!Missy!. And within that form, the thoughts, the plans,
the squirming, serpentine soul of the First Wondersock.

    Earl Grey, the LNH's butler, followed obediently behind her. Ahhhh, it was
good to have lackeys again. But soon, the whole world would be hers, for the
first time since she was thrown out of the Garden of Party Time. Her plans
proceeded apace; she had killed Exclamation!Missy! and...

    ...yes, she'd killed her and taken her body, and her identity. A woman this
time - more comfortable than a man, but she usually went with men for power. But
she'd have all the power she could grip soon. She had seen the fall of God, and
taken the opportunity it presented. The LNHQ was the Hecatontagonal Table of
this era, and she had pushed Death in its direction, so as to expose the
weakness of its cut-rate King Arthur, Pister Y. Maprika III. Finally, she had
taken care of the only true claimant to the throne, Kid Kicked-Out, and...

    ...she had, hadn't she? She couldn't quite...

    Yes. Of course. She had definitely killed him. Him, and that meddling New LNH
Member Detector - cowering, whimpering, standing in the way of her Ascension!

    And now... ha *ha*, and *now*!

    She reached the Conference Room - and stopped at the doors a moment,
listening, readying for a properly dramatic entrance.

    "Woe!" came the sonorous, dramatic voice of Exclamation!Master! - this form's
erstwhile mentor. "Woe and grief, that they are gone!" In her mind's eye, The
First Wondersock could see him slump over the giant round Formica table with and
weep, great heaving sobs wracking his body.

    "Beep boop! Terrible! Boop beep! Awful!" said Princess Robot, waving her
stubby, rubbery arms. The army of Y-bots she'd liberated from Y-Plex Burp waved
their arms in synch with her. "The nice lady and the soda man have ceased

    "Yeah, yeah," said Bullet Hell, kicking up her adorably stockinged feet on
the formica table, around which the LNH gathered. "So when do we start
nominating a new leader?"

    The two of them looked at her, then burst back into wailing and perturbation.
She sighed and lit a cigar. "No professionalism at all."

    Lady Spurious sighed, the opaque glass visor through which she perceived the
world pointed off into space. "I wouldn't have thought that Maprika would be the
type to..."

    The Cognitive Dissident slammed his fist on the table. "This bastard world
chewed him up and spit him out like it does everybody! It's time to take revenge
- on *crime itself*!"

    "Aye, but how?! How shall this august collective function!?" Exclamation!
Master! pulled at his hair, throwing back his head in agony. "Without a head,
without a heart-- how could any force for justice possibly continue to achieve
it in this fallen world!?!"

    There we were. The First Wondersock - that is, of course, Exclamation!Missy!
- threw the doors open and strode in boldly. "You're right." She took Pister's
high-backed chair and pulled it out from the table. Earl Grey placed a
comfortable pillow upon its seat, and she sat down. "We're in trouble." She
leaned forward, tenting her hands, and the flourescent lights glinted off her
sunglasses as Earl Grey set a plate of hors d'oeuvres. "More trouble than you

    "What!?" said Lady Suprious, startled out of her reverie.

    "Engaging panic mode level 3!" Princess Robot started spinning around in
circles, the Y-bots spinning in sync, bumping gently off of each other.

    "WHAT?!" Exclamation!Master! rose from his grief, raising his fists in the
air. "How!? How could a great tragedy-- become even greater!?"

    "Trophy Wife didn't just die." Missy flicked her hair back, settling into the
huge, cushy, overdesigned chair Pister Y. Maprika III had always sat in,
boasting and bragging. She folded one leg over the other. "Shhhe was killed by a
cosmic force." Whoops, got excited and let her serpentine sibilants out.
"Something has gone wrong with the balance of life and death."

    "Damn," said Bullet Hell, "finally something interesting."

    "Life and death!?" Exclamation!Master extended a beseeching hand in her
direction. "Missy, please - reveal your cosmic secrets!"

    "Of course." Ahhhhh, it was all going according to plan. And the best part
was, she was building her lies atop a stack of tantalizing truths. "You see,
every being has its own Death. And just recently, there is a great cosmic entity
who has died - but their Death has not been allowed to claim them! And thus, the
smaller Deaths, the Deaths of mundane beings like you and I--" well, like you,
anyway-- "are rising up before their time to claim us!"

    Gasps from all around the table, including a small, satisfying one from
behind Missy. Even Bullet Hell leaned forward, brow furrowed.

    "But why Trophy Wife?" said Princess Robot, lights flashing in confusion.
"Does not compute!"

    Missy opened her mouth... but then felt the tension of a dramatic declaration
left unspoken on her right hand. She looked over, caught Lady Spurious's...
gaze? ...and nodded.

    Lady Spurious hesitated for a moment, but some urgency within her pushed
forward and she spoke up. "When I copied Trophy Wife's powers, I could feel a
pull towards something..." She stumbled over her words, visored, helmeted face
looking down. "Something huge, cold and uneasy. When I asked her, she told me
that the thing I was being pulled toward was death itself - that she was linked
to its power... then she told me I should be more careful..."

    "Like a canary in a coal mine-- but for mortality itself!!" Exclamation!
Master!, um, exclaimed.

    Oh, *gorgeous*. A perfect setup, Missy couldn't have done better herself.
"Exactly. And that's not all." She leaned forward, the old, yellowing
incandescent lights shining off her sunglasses. "I doubt any of you know where
Arc.ham Asylum is. Safer for all of you, believe me. But it's had some *very*
powerful mystic artifacts stolen - by the System Corrupters!"

    "Heavens above!!" said you-know-who.

    "Oh, not them *again*," said Lady Spurious, hand to her helm.

    "And the government is scared. Scared enough to..." Okay, dramatic moment of
hesitation, big, deep breath like you're summoning up your courage... "To
reactivate..." Hold it for a moment, then let it out in a big reveal! "The

    "HEY, whoa, fuck," said Bullet Hell, pushing back from the table. "No *way*
they're doing that."

   "*Way*," said Missy. (She was fairly sure that was still the slang, tho it had
been a quarter-century since she'd checked.) She rose to her feet and put her
hand over her heart. "And we, the greatest organization of net.heroes in the
world..." She swept out her hand, fingers splayed outward. "Must be the ones to
fight them!"

    "YEAH!" shouted Cognitive Dissident, leaping to his feet and punching his
fist into his hand. "Let's do it!"

    "I do not like going against the duly elected representatives of the Loonited
States!! But they leave us no choice!!" filliblustered Exclamation!Master!.

    "Hey hey *hey*!" Bullet Hell slammed her hands into the table, the ruffles
and frills on her outfit bouncing wildly. "What gives *you* the cotton-pickin'
authority here, *Missy*?"

    Ahhhhh, another perfect opening. "Oh!" Missy puts a hand over her mouth in an
exaggerated expression of coquettish shock. "Of course, I didn't explain how I
knew these startling facts."

    "No, ya didn't," said Bullet Hell, staring holes into Missy until her
fanciful hat drooped over one eye.

    "Yes, well, you see, before her death, Trophy Wife was the owner of a number
of ancient, powerful tomes of magic. These she left to her husband. And dear,
sweet Pister left them to me. Along with his vast fortune - and his LNH

    Lady Spurious hesitated for a moment, and then said what they were all
thinking. "But... why you?"

    Missy gave her a grin, and Lady Spurious seemed to shudder. Delicious. "Don't
worry, dear, I can *understand* why you'd ask. You don't know my mysterious

    "Yeah, r--" Bullet Hell was interrupted by Exclamation! Master!.

    "Your mysterious origin!?!? Shock of shocks!! Please, Missy-- reveal all,
before it is too late!!!"

    "Of *course*." Missy grinned in glee at the ease of manipulating these fools.
She wiped it off her face in a half-second - but she could sense Lady Spurious
looking at her. She pressed on. "Before Exclamation!Master! found me, I was a
sorceressss in training! And good old Pister knew that, of all of the heroes he
knew, I would be the best suited to wield their power!"

    "You WERE!? Oh, Missy!" Exclamation!Master! leapt forward and wrapped her in
a tight hug!

    The First Wondersock squirmed, trying to let it happen for as long as
possible before pulling away. "Haha yeah thanks mentor dude." Ick. She had no
need for physical affection, especially not from *humans*. But she needed to
keep some semblance of Missy-ness to maintain this control. "In *any* case. I am
one of the few who truly understands what's going on - myself, and now, all of
you." Not by half, of course. "And if you allow me," so humble, *oh* so humble,
"I will guide you thru this dreadful darkness." And into my hands.

    "Um..." Lady Spurious wasn't looking up at her - she was looking down,
faceplate reflecting the orange Formica. "Sorry, but... I know you're E!M!'s
prodigy and all, and Pister trusted you, which is good of course, but... this
all just sounds really weird to me. Like, I get that when net.heroes die it's
often some kind of big cosmic thingy. But you're kind of dropping all these, um,
these facts on us all at once, and these things we need to do, and... um, no
offense, ummm, but..." She finally looked up, and Missy saw her gaze in the
polished faceplate, and barely managed not to recoil from it. "How do we know
this is all, you know, *right*?"

    Damn. Damn damn damn. No. This was okay. She was ancient and terrible and had
tricked demigods and heroes and she would have no trouble sidestepping the
sniveling nitpicks of some... *girl*. You've paused for a moment but that's
okay, the human Missy would of course be taken aback. Take a deep breath... let
it out. "Of course, Emilia," use her real name, intimacy and threat in one, "of
course I don't expect you all to believe me without proof. I... wasn't sure I
wanted to show you all this," it's always good to have more aces in the hole,
"but of course you deserve it."

    Missy reached into one of her costume's belt pouches - handy, those - and
pulled out a fist-sized chunk of unfinished sapphire. She closed her eyes, and
held the gem in the air.

    For one long, stretching, uncertain moment, nothing. Then a low noise, rising
into a howl, recognized by the spine and the leg muscles, priming one to be
ready, to run for one's life. The gem began to glow, eerie, unnatural blues
radiating from its unpolished facets. The fluorescent bulbs dimmed, or perhaps
stayed bright, but took on the same disturbingly blue shade.

    The dust in the room shone in the shafts of light; and gradually, the shining
particles seemed to stop above the gem, forming a slowly-solidifying figure. A
young woman, about the same age as Missy had been. She wore a hoodie and
sweatpants, her hair a vague bunch, but it was hard to make out details beyond
that. She must have been the opposite of Missy in some way, but The First
Wondersock did not care how. The important thing is that she was beating her
fists against invisible walls, screaming, trying to escape from a metaphysical

    "My own Death," said Missy, simply, irrefutably. "While I was researching
these disturbing facts, looking into the Anti-Party-Time realms, she must have
noticed me, and came for me. There was a great magickal battle - and by the skin
of my teeth, I won."

    From the assembled net.heroes, several moments of silence; of shock at the
strange and unearthly becoming solid fact.

    "I..." Lady Spurious nodded, slowly, finally accepting. "I see. I'm sorry."

    Cognitive Dissident shook his head. "Wow... I've never seen anything like

    Princess Robot waved her stubby limbs! "Bravery off the charts!" The Y-bots
unrolled a big chart with axes labeled "TIME" and "BRAVERY", with a line
trending exponentially upward until it disappeared.

    Bullet Hell stroked her carbon-rifled 37-caliber semi-automatic bullet rifle
silently, pondering, something within her settling into place...

    And Exclamation!Master! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasped, drawing in breath until he
fell under the table, then leapt back up! "Missy!! You're right!! We can only
but FIGHT!!!!"

    The vision dissolved, and the strange blue light faded back into yellow. Earl
Grey held out his hand, and Exclamation!Missy! placed the sapphire into it.

    "Don't worry, my darlingsss," she purred. "We have the money to stand against
the government. We have the power to face the universe. And we have the will, to
fix this broken world." She uncrossed her legs, leaning over the table, putting
her hands on it, and looking each and every one of them in the eye. "And all you
have to do is elect me as leader."

    In their faces, she saw... Exclamation!Master! was hanging off her every
word; he had bound himself in chains of guilt and given her the key. Cognitive
Dissident was a cannon, eager to be launched at the target she'd picked.
Princess Robot had been waiting for a direction, and she'd just given her one.
None of them would be a problem. Bullet Hell was eager to snark, needle, and
poke holes; but she had fairly clear motivations, and that fear of the Seraphim
and all they represented. Missy wouldn't have a hard time distracting her with
just the kind of battles she craved.

     Only Lady Spurious was truly suspicious. Oh, her worries had been allayed,
to be sure, the voice and face of Missy had succeeded there, but something...
something in her voice, certainly not in that expressionless face, told The
First Wondersock that she had ambitions of being *that* kind of hero, the kind
who wouldn't just Fight Evil like she was told.

    Once she turned her pawn into a queen, Lady Spurious would have to be taken
off the board...


Author's Notes: So after Arthur posted #9, talking about how it may be the last
LNHY story, that got me thinking. We always talk about how so few superhero
stories get proper endings; so why not give the entire LNHY setting a big,
climactic, wrap-things-up epic of an ending? So that's what I'm steering Death
of Trophy Wife towards. I have plans for a whole bunch of future issues, and one
more coming next week - but feel free to hop in if the mood strikes you! :D

I still haven't written the story that introduces Bullet Hell yet. Or the ones
for several of the characters in this story that belong to other people. Again,
very sorry.

"Hecatontagonal" means "hundred-sided". When the King Arthur of Camelot-Y was
asked why he hadn't just made it round, he had this to say: "Aww, *hell*."

Drew "he's allowed to do real swears because it's funnier" Nilium

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