LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths! #12: "Cheesy Self-Care Advice"

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 23:23:14 PDT 2020

#12: "Cheesy Self-Care Advice"
A tale of Cheesecake-Eater Lad in quarantine, by Drew Nilium


As he had for the past month, Cheesecake-Eater Lad was working from home.

First, he mixed the enormous tubs of batter. Then, he separated them into the
bowls for different flavors and mixtures, adding and mixing, adding and mixing.
The crusts came out, and the batter went in, and everything went into the
enormous ovens lining the walls of the enormous kitchen.

He took out the batch that had been baking for the last hour, and checked that
the centers were done. Then he loaded them into the kitchen transmat center,
checked the schedule, set the coordinates, and off they went to the LNHQ, to be
distributed to LNHers and to families in need around the city.

The government people had dropped off another tank from the LSA Strategic Cream
Cheese supply this morning, but there weren't any more coming for a while, now
that Net.ropolis was sealed under a forcefield dome as part of the quarantine.
That was all right; he'd been accepting it in order to help use up the byproduct
from dairy subsidies, after he'd teamed up with House Representative Commie-in-
a-Metal-Suit to convince Congress to move that money into funding universal
broadband access instead. His cosmic wrist bands could generate nearly-unlimited
quantities of dairy, shunted straight from the domain of Bessie-18, god-queen
of the Galactose Quadrant, in reward for his services.

Tho he supposed that origin might change once the rest of Retcon Year came out.
That was all right too. His past had changed from under him before; what
mattered was keeping a clear head in the present, and keeping strong connections
to the rest of your personal universe.

Speaking of which, he had half an hour until he needed to start working on the
next batch. He spent a lot of the downtime part of his cycle with his family,
playing games, watching TV, conversing and/or snuggling; but he also spent a
fair amount of time staying connected to the LNH. Some contacts were more
professional; he kept up with Fearless Leader and Catalyst Lass on the status
of the LNH and the situation as a whole. Some were more social; he'd been
trying to reconnect to Parking Karma Kid, wReamhack and Cannon Fodder, not to
bring back the old days, but to find the core of the friends who'd made him so
happy before in who they were now.

But there was one LNHer who, because of her situation, couldn't *really* connect
to almost anyone, and that was, in part, his fault and his responsibility. So
he sat down and pulled down his laptop and connected to the Ultimate Ninja's

The masked face appeared on the monitor, eyes squinting as the mind behind them
analyzed the situation; and then she pulled off her mask and let out a long
sigh. "Hey, Cheesecake-Eater Lad."

"Hey, Nina! How are you doing?"

She shook her head. "Not wonderful. My life outside the LNH is at a standstill,
and my life inside isn't doing much better. There isn't much for the Ultimate
Ninja to do, other than occasional sabertooth duty..." She sighs. "I've taken
to organizing the... paper clip collection my uncle apparently had...?"

"Oof," said Chesecake-Eater Lad, wincing in sympathy. "That's really hard."

"Yeah. But..." She frowned, brows darkening; and Cheesecake-Eater Lad could see
some of the Ultimate Ninja's powerful presence in her. "There's something else,
too. Dr. Stomper says this virus was designed by someone. And my ninja senses
are telling me... it's not about us. Whoever designed this wasn't trying to
attack the LNH - it's too broad, too messy." She took a deep breath, and that
presence dropped from her face, replaced by deep weariness. "They're using us,
using everybody who's been infected by the virus, to fight, or get the attention
of, a third party." She slammed her fist on the desk. "We're locked up and
suffering and we're just *pawns*."

Cheesecake-Eater Lad nodded, slowly, listening with his eyes and his pose.
"Mmmm... those are some accurate instincts, I think. I've been feeling the same

"And you don't think there's anything we can do about it," she said, voice
leaden with frustration.

"Not now. But... well, are you in a place to hear some advice?"

She laughed, short and blunt. "Yeah. Thanks for asking."

"Very welcome." He smiled. "The thing is... this isn't the first time I've been
caught between big, opposing forces that didn't care particularly about me. Or
even the fifth."

Nina nodded, waiting to see where he was going with this.

"It's always hard, but the secret to getting thru it is just..." Here goes...
"Taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other."

Without her expression otherwise changing, Nina's eyelids lower. "...sorry
dude, but that sounds like some motivational poster bullshit."

Cheesecake-Eater Lad chuckles and nods. "No offense taken, I think. But really,
it's just that... someday soon, we'll be able to do something about this. We're
researching, and we're getting in position, and some of us are taking action,
and soon the rest of us will know what we need to do, and be able to just, do
it. But we can't just wait to be happy, or even just not miserable, until then.
So we have to figure out, as best we can, what'll make us happy *in this
situation*, and do it. You know?"

Nina hrmmmmed... her eyes slid to the side... she sighed, and smiled. "Yeah,
okay, that does make sense." She shook her head. "The waiting just... sucks. I
feel like I'll be useless until whenever it is we can fight back."

"Well," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad, "is there anything you can do right now for
somebody else?"

Nina looked off into the distance... and laughed. "Yeah, maybe." She picked up
her mask and pulled it back on. "Thanks, Cheesy. Talk to you later."

"Very welcome! See ya!" They shut off their cameras, and Cheesecake-Eater Lad
  stood up and stretched. Now, what flavor of cheesecake would be the best form
  of self-care today?


Author's Notes: House Representative Commie-in-a-Metal-Suit is a Looniversal
equivalent to the likes of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez - a progressive firebrand.
I'm hoping to get more into her backstory later.

Drew "the cheese is please" Nilium

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