LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 3 #3: "Sequels are Always Worse" [5/6]

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 10:20:59 PST 2020

"Whoa!" said Sarcastic Lad, drinking Sister Sexy, Evil and Mad as Hell's 
bondage-y costume with his eyes, but before he could say a single word 
the flames around her gripped hold of him, tied him up and gagged him, 
and slammed him into a wall.

"You know, valid," said Token Girl, "but I'm still going to have to stop 
you." She shot a volley of bus tokens at Sister Sexy, Evil and Mad as 
Hell, but SSEMH deflected them with her flames as quickly as she could 

"wReanna?" said Token Girl. "Can we--talk about this?"

"No!" She shot another flame at Token Girl, who only just ducked out of 
the way. "I spent my whole life stating the obvious and no one would 
listen to me. No more talk."

Doctor Stomper carefully observed the flames around Sister Sexy, Evil 
and Mad as Hell, in spite of still only being sort of awake. Right after 
waking up, he needed coffee, and any coffee in the Abandoned Amusement 
Park was probably best not drunk.

Still, even in his groggy state he could recognize the Flames of Silver 
Age Female Character Rage. A powerful emotional energy born from the 
often limited narrative roles and dubious storylines such characters 
faced, it could be catalyzed by the Power Byrne--a corrupted, warped 
shadow of the Power Kirby--to turn them Sexy And Evil. And that, based 
on an unscientific estimation, appeared to be exactly what was happening.

What he needed was a counter-catalytic energy that could bring wReanna 
back to herself. Obviously Catalyst Lass would help with that. But, 
manacled to the slab behind him, she seemed strangely... listless. He 
winced at the inadvertent pun. (Her civilian name was Catherine Anne 
List, naturally.)

"Catalyst Lass?" said Doctor Stomper. "Could you try and help wReanna?"

She shook her head.

"What's wrong?"

"I--ok." She laughed. "I built this... shipping computer program to 
figure out who best to ship my friends with and then Romantic Innuendo 
stole it and used it to find the worst match for all of them."

"Oh. Oh dear," said Doctor Stomper.

"I certainly did!" said Romantic Innuendo, who'd mostly been silently 
gloating this whole time.

"Hey, no one asked you!" said Mashup Laq.

"Hold on," said Doctor Stomper, "why didn't you ask anyone else's input 
on this? Your sister Hell Catalyst, for example?"

"I... I don't know. I wanted to surprise you. I guess." Catalyst Lass 
laughed hollowly.

Doctor Stomper looked over to Mashup Laq. They would be crucial to 
winning the whole battle. They still held all the patterns from the 
LNHers trapped in the device in their database, at least for a while. 
Doctor Stomper had considered the idea of creating a Biodata Dial that 
could store powers for them to use long-term; studying the 
techno-daemonic VR chamber might help him figure out how to construct 
that... and it was much easier for Doctor Stomper to think about that 
kind of thing than what to do about wReanna or Cat.

"All right," they said. "Cat, I can help you. Here." They touched her on 
the shoulder. "With the combined powers of Hell Catalyst and Catalyst 
Lass, I am... Double Catalyst!" That was clever, but Doctor Stomper knew 
that as a mashup of people with the same powers it wouldn't last long.

"Look, Cat," they said. "I... I know you seriously messed up here. 
People do that. But you're still someone who matters a lot to me. You're 
one of my big sources of inspiration. I still think you're pretty 
great." They took a deep breath. "And... okay, I did kind of have a huge 
crush on you for a while that influenced my big gender feelings." They 
laughed. "Now that I think about it, I know a lot of transfeminine 
people who realized they were that way because of you. The whole 
catalyzation thing."

Catalyst Lass smiled wanly. She was clearly struggling, after coming to 
terms with the effects of her actions, with the idea she could also 
effect people positively.

"Okay." She turned her face to Doctor Stomper. "I need you to talk to 
wReanna. I need you to tell her your feelings."

"My... feelings?" Doctor Stomper blinked.

"You know, the feelings. You and Sister State-the-Obvious were going to 
be together. That was the one thing I knew without even having to look 
at the program."

"Oh. Oh dear," said Doctor Stomper. He thought carefully about this. 
"You know, you're right."

"Talk to her," said Cat. She was clearly straining her remaining 
catalytic powers to the utmost. She'd have to work them through Doctor 
Stomper--not something she did normally, as it was less powerful and 
effective than channeling them through herself, but right now it was all 
she had.

"Hey," said Token Girl, "I know you're all working through emotions but 
I could use a little help over here!" The flames came close to singing 
her face.

"All right." Slowly, Doctor Stomper walked over to Sister Sexy, Evil and 
Mad as Hell.

The Flames of Silver Age Female Character Rage formed into a hand that 
gripped Dr. Stomper by the neck. "What the hell does 'Doctor Stomper' 
mean, anyway?" she said.

"Ah, that's quite simple, you see. It comes from, er..." He was 
horrified to find something he couldn't properly exposit about. He 
desperately changed the subject. "Look, wReanna, I just wanted to talk--"

"There's nothing I want to hear from any of you." The flames jumped up.

Doctor Stomper considered making a speech about how the LNH had problems 
but how, unlike corporate superhero comics, it was capable of growing 
and changing, but that rang hollow to him. He needed to say something 
more personal. "I'm sorry, wReanna. I... know sometimes I have 
obsessively engaged in my work to the exclusion of important 
relationships. This is a common trope of science heroes, and I've done 
my best not to fall into it, but I haven't always succeeded. I will be 
more conscious of that from here on out. You are someone I care about 
very much."

"What?" said wReanna.

"I will admit..." He was somewhat hoping the flames would kill him 
before he had to say this. "I have had feelings for you for some time. 
But primarily, I want to find a way for you to be happy."

"...oh," said wReanna. She seemed to look off into the distance. Perhaps 
she was thinking about the first time she and Doctor Stomper had met. 
Then she stood straight with resolution. "This is an ugly costume," she 
said. She grabbed ahold of the amulet, screaming as the fires coursed 
through her, ripped it off and flung it aside. "John Byrne has some 
issues with women!" she cried defiantly.

"wReanna! You're back!" said Token Girl. She caught ahold of Sister 
State-the-Obvious just as she was falling to the ground, her costume 

"Well, it would seem that I failed this time," said Romantic Innuendo. 
"I'll be gone. But you'll have a lot of explaining to do to your team, 
my dear Cat." One of DNSDaemon's cyber-portals appeared behind her and, 
she stepped through, blowing a kiss to Catalyst Lass before she left.

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