LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths! #45: "The Ant, The Grasshopper, the Spider and the Beetle"

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Tue Oct 12 19:10:47 PDT 2021

#45: "The Ant, The Grasshopper, the Spider and the Beetle"
A tale of the benefits of crime, and their consequences as well


Lucky Chain Letter Lucy pulled herself up into the rafters and placed the
legendary CRIME Hat on her head. In the 1940s, it had been worn by the spirit-
being known as Mr. Crime, only taken from him after his knock-down drag-out epic
battle with Golden Lord in 1954. She had wondered if she'd feel any different,
wearing it.

She certainly felt different from getting it - because it was the first time
she'd openly defied the Crime Empress; not only the dictatorial leader of the
West Coast Brotherhood of Net.Villains, but the woman who'd picked Lucy out of
the team and claimed her, as her... favorite.

Also the woman who was currently an enormous, anthropomorphic, quite deadly
sabertooth tiger, who would only be stunned into silence by Lucy's betrayal for
a moment - so it was a moment Lucy would use to leap from one rafter to another
and off across the roof of the room.

Behind her she heard the Crime Empress's outraged roar and the smash as she
crashed thru a plywood wall. "TRAITOR!"

"Yep," said Lucy. Being chosen, being the Queen's favorite, had inspired
frissions of shivery pleasure up her spine - but turning on her, openly
rebelling, had an electric charge that was, if anything, even more delicious.
Maybe she was just a brat. She threw out a chain out and hooked onto a water
pipe, swinging-- oops, almost out of rafters, so she dropped down into a complex
tangle of gym equipment.

"How could you!?" The Crime Empress picked up a pommel horse and threw it into
the tangle, but Lucy was already back on the move. "You were my prize!"

"Yes. Your prize." Lucy took a deep breath and planned out her moves, dodging
and darting, dancing across the room. "Speaking of games, have you ever played
Hive, Empress?" And here we go...


The Crime Empress held still for a moment, sensitive feline ears flicking,
tracking Lucy's movements.

"Hive is pretty simple." Not that her former favorite was making much of an
attempt to stay quiet. "You and your opponent each have a number of six-sided
tiles that you lay down, one by one." But that was clearly the idea - use this
loud talking to distract from the subtle noises indicating where she would be a
moment later. So the Empress had to listen for the subtle clues, had to think a
few seconds into the future, hold back her rage... "Each of them has an insect
on it--"

A clink of metal on concrete, so she'd be going-- left! The Crime Empress kicked
a bag of cloth targets into the space where Lucy would be and leapt--

Lucy wasn't there. "--but one of the first four you put down has to be the Queen

The Empress crashed into a bunch of cardboard cut-outs. She rolled to her feet,
executing a perfect 'I meant to do that' cat maneuver, and ran along the
perimeter of the room, trying to triangulate Lucy's voice.

"The different insects can move in different ways, but the goal is to completely
surround your opponent's Queen before they can do the same to you." She was back
up in the rafters, always two moves ahead. "Doesn't matter if it's your pieces
or theirs, once she's surrounded, it's game over."

"God! Always such a quiet girl!" The Crime Empress stuck out her hand as she
ran, ripping a piece of exposed pipe right off the wall, and slung it right
where Lucy's path was about to take her. "To think you had so much insipid
prattling within you!"

Somehow, in the moment between the pipe leaving the Empress's hand and it making
contact, Lucy knew to change her path. "You've inspired me!" The *cheek* on this
little shit!

But now she was heading toward the Crime Empress-- slowly, the Empress was
boxing her in. The Empress found a spot, stood her ground, ripped a crumbling
piece of brick from the wall, throwing it and forcing Lucy to alter her path
further. The girl would come to her again, and *then*...

"Hive is a game of misdirection, of making your opponent believe their plan is
going off smoothly while you get your pieces in position." But Lucy was giving
her a fight, dodging this way and that, pieces of her body, her costume, moving
in seemingly impossible ways. It was clear, now, she was trying to get to the
doorway behind the Empress - escape into the rest of the base. "And once you're
ready, you can show them that their pieces were all a part of your victory."

The Empress snorted. "YOUR victory!? You've never had the ambition for--" She
sensed a presence behind her, and leapt out of the way - but no, it was an ally!
"Plotchopper, there you are! Stay here - cut off her route of escape!"

He raised his PlotSword and gave her a nod, blocking the doorway and keeping his
eyes on Lucy.

And now! The Empress ran for the opposite corner. She would get around behind
Lucy, fully box her in, and--

Some kind of noise buzzed right past her ear and she reflexively dodge-rolled
away. A bullet? She didn't think Lucy even knew how to *use* a gun.

No, it was some kind of irritating insect, buzzing around her head. All right,
ignore it and--


Hadn't one of the Midwest Net.Villains been the Living Bee?

And there, to her left - one of the windows was open, and through it was flying
a pale-skinned man in mismatched clothes - the Phantom Weirdo! Damn, she'd taken
too long, and the other Midwesterners had joined the battle. Well, she'd already
taken out their strongest members, and she had Plotchopper--

But when she looked behind her, he was gone, and thru the doorway was floating a
disembodied eye - the Super Eyeball! And Lucy dropped down right next to it,
grinning. "You were playing cat and mouse. Guess what we were playing?"

What hubris. As if she couldn't defeat all four of them, even without
Plotchopper! She raised her claws and...

A whisper from behind her. A voice she recognized. "Looks like you made a

And she spun just in time to see Plotchopper's form swirl and reform into a
blue-skinned woman-- Mistake, of the East Coast Brotherhood, how--

Before she could react, something pressed against her back and--

She had just enough time to feel a tiny spark of pride, for how thoroughly Lucy
had gotten her, before the world rushed away and consciousness faded...


Lucy watched as the Crime Empress's virus-based form was sucked up into the tiny
USB drive she held. "She wanted me under her thumb," she said. "Maybe, the next
time she's awake, she'll appreciate the irony."

She handed the drive to Mistake, who tucked it away. "We've won." She shook her
head. "After all this time, manipulating, moving pieces into position-- we *did*
it!" She grabbed Lucy in a fierce hug and jumped up and down.

Lucy giggled and nuzzled against her. "We did. But it was mostly you."

"Hey, I just came up with the plan. You were the one who had to stay here for
months without letting on that your *real* girlfriend was Erik the Plaid all

"Well, you were the one who had to join the East Coast Brotherhood and hang out
with those losers." She shook her head. "I can't believe Anti-Christ Lad didn't
suspect the shapeshifter of being the traitor."

"I let him think it was his idea to bring me in," said Mistake, running her
hands thru her hair. "Guys like that second-guess everybody but themselves."
She felt a buzz, and pulled her phone out. "Ah, and guess what, he's been taken
care of!"

"All *right*! Good job, guys!" Lucy high-fived Phantom Weirdo and let Super
Eyeball plap gently against her hand. The Living Bee landed on her ear and
nuzzled into her hair. "The Midwest Brotherhood is officially in charge. Should
we call the troops and let 'em know?"

"Nah," said Mistake, fluffling Lucy's hair. "Let 'em wear themselves out on each
other, in case any of them is gonna be all 'No! You traitor!'" She leaned
against the shorter woman, and sighed. "Speaking of... how are you doing? Now
that you've thrown out the old boss, you still sure about trusting me?"

Lucy smiled up at her. "Trusting you is a Mistake. And that's good enough for

"Throwing my pun right back at me, eh? Cheeky girl~" Mistake leaned in, and they
lost themselves in a victory kiss, while the Phantom Weirdo wandered off to help
the Compuwarlock with repairs.


Drew "gonna have an epilog on this plot thread later" Nilium

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