LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths #49: "The Big Bandshell Battle"

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 20:11:37 PST 2021

There were three men came out of the West
Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow:
John Barleycorn must die


"The Big Bandshell Battle"
A long-awaited climax (hee hee hee) by Jeanne Morningstar

Because of the quarantine, the Net.ropolis Bandshell was emptier than it 
had been since the day it was created to host the RACCelestial Madonna 
Beauty Pageant in a crossover long ago. [in Retcon Hour--Footnote Girl]

Well, it was empty except for all the net.heroes, cosmic beings who were 
sitting on top of it, crowds of kiwis who'd come to gawk and a 
Mini-Balrog (an elemental of typo) which the Writer had hastily removed 
from the first draft, who had all been gathered here to face the story's 
long-overdue climax, as Token Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon faced each 
other down.

They were all waiting, in absolute silence, for the end.

The silence was broken by Thematically Important Emotional Music Lass, 
who put on some Ennio Morricone.

"Ah man," whispered Cannon Fodder. "This whole setup, with this like, 
weird fusion being, possessed by a cosmic force... is anyone else 
reminded of DeFacto V?"

"Who's that?" whispered Merissa.

WikiBoy, whose mind was linked to the LNH Wiki, tried to explain X Post 
Facto but couldn't, as he was still a mastodon.

"Uh, I'll explain later, but the point is," said Cannon Fodder, "that 
was when Sig.Lad died. You've seen his statue, right? That 
funeral--everyone who was around those days still remembers that. I 
wonder how many funerals we're gonna have when this is over."

"Zero," said Merissa. "Because I'll--"

Kid Occultism Kid shook their head. "This is not the time. The balance 
of the narrative is delicate. If you try and intervene now--"

"I'll win! Because I'm the most important and awesome person ever!"

Cannon Fodder put his hand on her shoulder and held her back. "Kid, I've 
been around a while, and I know--sometimes being awesome isn't enough."

"I mean," said Horrible Name Lad, "I'm sure it's not gonna be like that 
this time--"

They looked at Poignant Death Lass, who was staring off into the 
distance, and saying nothing.


"I'll do it," said Token Girl.

"Wait, you?" said Halls Jordan. "But--you don't even have any powers--"

"Doesn't matter. You have powers, and you get your ass kicked all the 
time. Sorry, it's true."

"No, it does make sense," said Occultism Kid. "Out of everyone in the 
LNH you are one of the ones who possesses the strongest levels of Heroic 
Determination. In spite of your lack of powers, you are one of the ones 
most able to defeat him. But..."


"There's a very good chance you're going to die. This is the kind of 
battle that ends in a heroic death."

"Yeah, well," said Token Girl.

Merissa thrust forward from the crowd. "No!" she shouted. "It has to be 
me! Obviously I'm the only one awesome enough to defeat him!" She 
pointed her gun into the air for effect.

"Nah, see, you've still got your life ahead of me. I'm still pretty 
young, I guess, because most of the time net.heroes don't age after a 
certain point, but I've lived a life. It wasn't all good... some things 
I wish I hadn't done, some things I wish I had... but it was good enough."

"No. Not you too." Merissa started crying and Token Girl hugged her and 
stroked her hair.

"Excuse me?" said DeltaKiwi Megantereon. "Don't we have a battle to fight?"

"Shhhh," said Enthusiasm, "have to leave room for drama," and then 
vooped out of existence.

"Bye, Merissa. Bye, Halls. Bye, Cliche. Bye, Cat." Token Girl walked up 
to Catalyst Lass and hugged her tight. "In case I don't make it back... 
I just wanted to say... It's been real. I am glad for every moment I 
spent with you. Also... you can have all the Rumiko Takahashi stuff, 
Merissa gets all the Dragon Ball, Fairy Princess Lad can have the 
Ghibli, Victoria and Alice can have the Dirty Pair and Utena, Halls gets 
the oldschool mecha anime stuff and the terrible hentai, and Sarcastic 
Lad gets the godawful Manga Entertainment dubs. And... Ultimate Ninja 
gets Tenchi. You know why. All the other anime and manga, you get to 
pick who keeps it. And... you can have Totoro. I trust you to take good 
care of them. OK?"

"I don't think it'll come to that," said Cat. "I mean, I was hoping to 
watch Maison Ikkoku, but i want to do it with you." She punched her on 
the shoulder gently. "Knock 'em dead, tiger."

"Hey, I'm not one of the tigers," said Tara.

She walked up and stood before DeltaKiwi Megantereon, setting her jaw 
like an old-fashioned gunslinger while Ennio Morricone whistled in the 

DeltaKiwi Megantereon began to slowly charge his flaming swords. The 
flame grew to white heat. Everyone collectively began to realize that 
they could easily take out the entire crowd of heroes and the city they 
were standing in, and that would be that. "Mm," said Sister 
State-the-Obvious. "This looks bad..."

Through it all, Hooded Hood'win was watching, floating off in the 
sidelines as usual. She remembered the last time Token Girl was here in 
the Bandshell, in the days of the RACCelestial Madonna Pageant [Retcon 
Hour again], and her legendary drinking contest with the Chuggernaut.

She had an idea.

"She Who Must Know Hoo'd Win summons the contention... between Token 
Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon... in a drinking contest!"

"Hmm," said DeltaKiwi Megantereon, feeling the new narrative 
construction take ahold of him. "Not what I was expecting, but I'll take 
it! I can outdrink a bear!"

"Yeah well," said Token Girl, "I can outdrink *three* bears."

Everyone watching--the net.heroes, the kiwis, the various cosmic 
spectators, even the Mini-Balrog--were desperate to know how this would 
end. Even Simplicity stopped in his tracks. For better or worse, the 
moment had come.

"And now, suitable alcohol must be procured!"

"I'll bring the wine," said a quiet but resonant voice from the 
audience. He was a very old deadfaced man--"old" was not adequate to 
describe him; he was like the human equivalent of food that had been 
left in the fridge for too long--in a black trenchcoat. He looked like 
someone who had seen better days, and had also seen worse days, who had 
really seen a lot of days, more than anyone should have ever seen. But 
he still had the power to still the crowd with a word--or to stir it up 
to destruction. He was a god.

"You're... Bacchus. Of the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade," said Token Girl.

"Of the NTB, the Olympian Gods, and a lot of other misbegotten 
enterprises," said Bacchus.

DeltaKiwi Megantereon snarled. "You! This story has nothing to do with 
the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade or the Olympian Gods or any of that nonsense! 
You have no reason to be here!"

"Oh yes I do. This isn't just a drinking contest, you see. It's a 
*cosmically important* drinking contest. And while I'm the kind of god 
who makes fun of the idea of the idea of cosmic importance, I'm still a 
god. So I'll bring the wine."

He stepped onto the stage and took a bottle out of his capacious pockets 
(a phrase the Writer keeps putting in their stories due to reading way 
too many Doctor Who books at a formative age) full of deep purple wine 
which glowed just a little. "A good old vintage. Chateau Olympus 1184 
BCE, brewed back when Achilles was sulking in Troy. If you believe that 
story." He took two frosted wine glasses out of his pockets and slowly 
and carefully poured the wine into each. "As for me, I'll just have some 
whiskey while I watch this."

"Keeping it simple. I approve," said DeltaKiwi Megantereon.

Token Girl and DeltaKiwi Megantereon both looked uneasily at the wine 
bottles. For one thing, Token Girl, at least, was usually a beer 
drinker. (DeltaKiwi Megantereon hadn't been in existence long enough to 
think about this yet.) For another, glowing was, in general, not 
something wine was supposed to do.

They took the glasses and raised them to their lips. Quite how DeltaKiwi 
Megantereon did this without a face wasn't clear, but he did. They kept 
sipping and sipping from the wine glasses, which did not seem to diminish.

By now, most people, and even most cosmic beings, would have been dead.

Maybe it was the fact that the bizarre gestalt that was the avatar of a 
hostile cosmic being didn't respect the LNH's strange combination of 
comedy and drama to make it work for him. Maybe it was the fact that 
Token Girl had once won a drinking battle at this specific location. 
Maybe it was the old battle-manga cliche that DeltaKiwi Megantereon was 
only fighting for himself but Token Girl was fighting for her friends 
and people she loved. Maybe it was the specific fact that, while Token 
Girl was generally a beer drinker, Catalyst Lass was a wine drinker and 
Token Girl knew better how to drink wine from all the time spent with 
her. Or maybe Token Girl really was was just able to hold her alcoh ol 

Whatever it was, the titanic cosmically powered tiger-centaur toppled 
like the Tower of Babel, threw up on his shoes and passed out. Token 
Girl stood above him. "Woooo!" she shouted drunkenly, waving her fist in 
the air. "Delta Force Megatron, suck it dowwwwn!"

"The contention is over," said Hooded Hoo'odwin. "Token Girl has won."

"Awesome!" said Token Girl. She stared out blankly past the crowd. 
"Wait... why is everything so...purple? I... I can see forever..."

And then she collapsed and fell to the stage, dead.


They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow:
John Barleycorn was dead


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