"Coming to you live from just outside the Beyond Continuity Auditorium! I'm Patricia Wolfensdorfer, professional media parody, and this is the night of the RACCies!" Blazing spotlights shone into the sky! Cameras flashed, and the red carpet was rolled out! "The stars are out tonight! An entire galaxy of the brave men, women, hermaphrodites, energy beings and intelligent animals of a hundred imprints!" "Speak of the devil! Look, it's Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch, RACC's most eligible bachelor! When asked how the canine dating scene was, he admitted he was having a *ruff* time! Ha, ha! And over here, there seems to be some kind of... duck? Excuse me, I-- hey! Let go of-- oof!" There was a scuffle, and the camera panned downwards, to where a cartoonish demonic cyborg duck was holding the mike. "That's better. Psychovant the Duck comin' atcha, schlubs and schlubettes! Yeah, don't even try to say you didn't want that to &^@%in' happen." "So look at these dorks, right? Over here, we got Lattay and Speed Metal arm-in-arm. Think she's been keepin' him up all night? Anal-&^@% Archive Kid and Twitter seem to be cozyin' up too. Sure hope they use protection - so he doesn't get too mother&^@%in' chafed!" "Then there's the attention-grubbing &^@%ers who've come begging, tryin' to use this as a desperate bid to stay in the spotlight. Yo, Tyrannus Auron! Enjoyin' your fifteen minutes? Hey, Kensington Hesh! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" "Hey, hey! Walkin' down the aisle, it's the belle of the &^@%in' ball, Spellbinder! Her head's so swollen they can see it from Mount Olympus! And bringin' up the rear is Victor Montague. Screw that guy, &^@%in' narc busted up some perfectly good parties!" "But seriously, folks. This shindig's got everything. Too much food, too much glitter, too much pompous hot air, and some kind of mother&^@%in' whistling noise--" SQUISH! The camera tilted crazily sideways as a huge, four-armed, green-skinned, goatee-sporting monstrosity clad in a lemon yellow and powder blue tuxedo three sizes too small landed on Psychovant, leaving a duck-shaped crater. "And now..." The being known as Pointless Awards Man II grinned at the cracked lens. "Time for my revenge." With a leap, he was gone. .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... Backstage at the show, in the main set of dressing rooms! With a crack of power unleashed, the fire door exploded off its hinges. "I HAVE COME!" "Oh, Pointless Awards Man II! Thank Kirby you're here!" Pointless Awards Man IV took off his suit jacket. "Listen, can you do the awards this year?" He went into a complicated manga-style transformation sequence, violet armor appearing on his body. "Just Imagine JUST KEEPS GOING, and I'm afraid I don't have the time." Pointless Awards Man II froze for a moment, flabbergasted. "W-- I-- wbwuh?" Manga Man Violet hung his purple tuxedo in the dressing room closet. "Thanks, Jamie, you're a true friend! See you at the afterparty!" The door clicked, and he was gone. All was silent. "...but... my revenge..." .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... The curtains opened, and standing midstage was a perfectly professional Pointless Awards Man II, not showing any sign of, say, disappointment or thundering mindless rage. With a gleaming smile, he projected to the back rows. "Welcome to..." o o o o o o o o o o The 2010 o o o o o o o o (17th Annual) o o o o o o o o RACCie AWARDS o o o o o o o o o o "...the best amateur comic-book-based fiction awards show on the Internet, now that we've gotten rid of The Metamutant Academy's Platinum Professorships. For those sad unfortunates who've never seen a display of four-armed finesse, I'm Pointless Awards Man II, handily taking the reins this year." He bowed, and the audience applauded - hey, why not? PAM II turned and pointed to the wings. "For our first set of awards, straight from Olympus, he's the Lord of Contests and a real stand-up guy, Hermes the Thrice-Great!" More applause, along with some booing from the ASH and New Starfall tables. Hermes swaggered onto stage and grabbed the microphone. "Hey, folks. The other day, I was endowing a blessing of speed on some poor schlub trying to catch a bus, and I heard someone yell out to him, 'Run, Forrest! Run!' And I was like, what? That wasn't clever in 1994, what makes you think seventeen years has improved it any? Am I right?" "Not that kind of stand-up." "And for that matter, is there anything sadder than someone making fun of Alanis Morissette in the year 2011? Yeah, yeah, that may not be what irony means, but I'll tell you what's the very *definition* of irony--" "You-- you can stop now. Really." "Fine, fine, you mortals, so impatient..." Hermes cleared his throat. "This year's Discretionary Awards are..." "The GOLDEN LASSO, awarded to Ted Brock and Andrew Perron for roping in more writers to RACC!" The Fates stepped out on stage, bowing as one. Clotho brought out the Golden Fleece, Lachesis spun it into a rope, and Atropos tossed it out into the audience, pulling it back in with Maddy Seuss and The Arch Mage in tow. "The 'SUPERHEROES ARE A GENRE, NOT A MEDIUM' FORMATTING UPGRADE, awarded to Jamas Enright for creating non-text stories in the xtranormal audio-visual format!" A forklift drove onto the stage, dumping reams of paper with the word "broccoli" printed on them over and over. In a flash of green-yellow, they transformed into a computer-animated mound of brassica. "And finally, the ANTI-MATTER VERSION OF THE JOHNNY SOKKO LOVING CUP, awarded to Ted Brock for coming back!" With a 1960s-network-TV-style special effect, a trophy appeared, floating in the air with its colors inverted. The New Starfall and Old Starfall tables argued about who should have to go get it until an inverted-color Twaeila Brock marched up and grabbed it. Hermes dusted off his hands. "Now, the *reason* they don't make the whole plane out of the black box is that it would be too heavy to take off--" A striped vaudeville hook stretched onto stage and yoinked the god away. Pointless Awards Man II came out, whistling innocently. "And now, from Olympus to Olympics. To present RACC's Named Awards, we bring you eleven-time gold medal winner, hero of the Warsaw Pact, and frustrater of both press and handlers the world over, Fraulein Heidi Schenck!" Fraulein Schenck flipped onto stage in '70s spandex bodysuit (and matching body). "Greetings, greetings, one and all. It would certainly be good if I told you it was enjoyable for me to be here, on stage, speaking to you all, wouldn't it? That would make everyone happy." As confused muttering rose from the audience, she continued. "The first award I'm here to present to you is known as THE "SPIDER SPINS!" LITTLE LULU WEB PAGE AWARD, for our favorite RACC-related web page. The finalists are..." "Wil's Ego!" (Easily-Discovered Bran Mite fills out his pull list, only to be squished by an incoming box of promotional Corps of Discovery 50-ton laptops) "Eagle's Eyrie!" (The clanking steam-powered mass of machinery known as the Moderation Queue) "And the LNH Wiki!" (Tiny construction workers lifting up and installing the powers and costumes of the Alt.Ter.Net.Tives) "The gold goes to... Wil's Ego!" A mechanical moan rose up, and a figure of rotted parchment and gleaming metal shambled forward. The Mummy Machine from Planet M accepted the award with a flowery yet monotone speech. "It'd be bad for my image if I said anything negative about someone of such stature. Speaking of which, our next award is THE IMAGE TESTIMONIAL TIMEPIECE (BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED), for that author whose works are most consistently late! The nominees are..." "Arthur Spitzer..." (The Beige Midnight clock, stopped at a quarter to three) "And Ted 'Phantasm' Brock!" (Fenuku the kobold does the same action 20 times in a row) "The winner, by a single vote, is... Arthur!" Members of the LNH-Readers-Who-Are-Sick-To-Death-With-These-Damn- Neverending-Events Liberation Front storm the stage, only for Saxon- Brenton-Will-Write-the-Brother-of-So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't- Use-Him-In-A-Story-Lad-When-Hell-Freezes-Over Lad to charge through them like tenpins and grab the award. Fraulein Schenck nodded approvingly. "I would judge it an 8.7. Next up is the cismatter... well, according to this, that's a word, but I'll say the normal-matter version of THE JOHNNY SOKKO "COME BACK, GIANT ROBOT, COME BACK" LOVING CUP, for the RACC Writer that is most sorely missed! The finalists are..." "Matt 'Badger' Rossi!" (Bazrael hacking and slashing a '1,567,243rd Customer Gets a Free Car' ad) "Jessica 'Jaelle' Ihimaera-Smiler!" (Serendipity Jones narrowly dodging a Rolls-Royce) "And Everyone Who Didn't Post In 2010!" (A montage of classic scenes, from Scavenger to Tony Pi to Chris Gumprich to Jennifer Whitson to Chad Imbrogino to Jamie Rosen to Lady of Shadows to Greg Fishbone to Carolyn Vaughan to Ben Rawluk - and many, many more!) "The ones invited back are... Everyone Who Didn't Post In 2010!" A vworp-vworp-vworp echoed through the theater, and a Victorian steampunk time machine appeared. The winner for Best New Writer 2015 stepped out to accept, bowing and throwing up the victory sign. "Is blatant snark really what you want to symbolize?" Frau Schenck shrugged. "Not very helpful. Now we have THE RABBIT-BREEDER'S CUP, awarded to the most prolific writer in this or any amateur fiction forum. I wouldn't be lying if I said the nominees included..." "Saxon Brenton!" (Mishibizhiw terrorizes the Mary Celeste, but Susano-o-Mikoto takes him down in a pyrotechnic godbattle) "Dave Van Domelen!" (Bacteriomage whips up a dust bowl special, but prairie zombies teach him sensible soil management by force) "Scott Eiler!" (Dunevoy Industries harvest chocolate, but The Trillions do not share their secret cocoa recipe) "And Andrew Perron!" (Sophronios of Sparta battles to conquer Crete, but Matthaios Hekatontarch brings the vaguely Greek-themed justice) "The worst collectivist is... Scott!" A television set is wheeled on-stage. Members of The Trillions come on-screen to explain their gratitude and invite all to join them in recreating the works of the Bard through randomized manual typewriter manipuation. "Do what you love, that's what they say. But who would say to avoid what you love? Here, then, is a new award; one for those who love facts in fiction. It is THE DOCTOR STOMPER BRONZE BOOT FOR EXCELLENCE IN EXPOSITION, for the best informational piece, in-character or out. The finalists are..." "The rec.arts.comics.creative Frequently Asked Questions!" (Eagle's Claw holds up a pair of carved stone tablets in a thunderstorm) "Mars and the Dark Age of Superheroes!" (Grim 'n gritty goons with guns fight in an endless loop as Ares cackles madly) "And the StarFall Setting Info!" (An 11-dimensional reality quake brings the cast of the Snorks to the real world) "The winner is... Mars and the Dark Age!" Ares comes out, the Imperial March playing in the background. He grabs the trophy and gives a shout of triumph, and turns to leave... only to slip on a copy of Silver Age #1. Hermes contrives to look innocent. "Gentlemen, ladies," said Fraulein Schenck. "I hope to have illuminated these winners for your sake and my own. Have a good yesterday, today, and tomorrow." She bowed and left gracefully. Pointless Awards Man II applauded the departing presenter with his lower arms while holding up the microphone and waving with the uppers. "Remember, folks, donations to the Heidi Schenck Memorial Fund for Classy Answers to Stupid Questions can be made in the lobby. Our next presenter is a devilish doppleganger with a dippy demeanor. Please welcome LNHY's own prince of peril, Kid Enthusiastic-Y!" A ten-year-old boy bounced onto stage. He yoinked the mike away from PAM II and lead the audience in a rousing cheer! "Thank you! It's incredibly splendiferously terrifically awesome to be here tonight! Let's destroy the world with our supremacy! Metaphorically!" As slightly confused laughter arose from the crowd and Kid Kicked-Out put his face in his hands, Kid E-Y pulled a pack of envelopes out of the breast pocket of his jumpsuit. "Okay! The first award I'm presenting tonight is RACC19, FAVORITE NEW TITLE! These are the finalists!" "Team Xero!" (Team Xero face the awesome menace of Holodeck Moriarity!) "Spellbinder!" (The Queen of Loud Sorrows declares a cosplay contest! The Lord of the Hunt wins dressed as Kraven the Hunter!) "Corps of Discovery!" (The ex-Gauntlet sells robot insurance to millions!) "My Father's Son!" (Pantomimes of Peril! It's the Crime Mime vs. the Corruption Dell'arte!) "And One Day at a Time!" (Steve Henkelbert casts Zombify and Full-Life!) "The winner is... Spellbinder! Yaaaaaaaay!" The Mystic Defender of the Earth Dimension herself stepped out, to applause from every table in the room. "Thanks, everyone! I can't believe we won something on our first time out! Here's to RACC!" She tossed a vibrating ball of energy into the air, which exploded into the words "THANK YOU" in firework sparkles. "What a nice lady!" beamed Kid Enthusiastic-Y. "I hope I have to fight *her* someday! Our next award is RACC18, FAVORITE NEW WRITER! These are the nominees!" "Robin Strickland!" (Zeus, locked in a literally Titanic battle, presses X to not die!) "And James Mason!" (The mysterious voice gets a job opposite Casey Kasem as the voice of smooth jazz!) "The winner is... Robin! Woooooooo!" Spellbinder, having gotten halfway back to her table, turned around and hurried back to the stage. "Wow! This is amazing! Two awards! Thanks, everybody! ...uh, I don't have another sparkleball ready." She scratched the back of her head, putting on a dopey grin, and the audience laughed. Kid E-Y cracked up, falling on his rear with laughter! "You're great!" He bounced back up. "You should join up with the System Corrupters - we'd be unstoppable!" "Er... no offense, but I didn't give up being a patsy for uncaring deities just so I could start making mass destruction on my own time." "Aw, c'mon! Give in to the dark side, it's awesome! Search your feelings, you know it to be true!" "...yeah, I'll get right on that." She left, stage right. He waved and turned back to the audience. "Next up, we've got RACC17, MOST IMPROVED AUTHOR! We've got three nominees for this one!" "Ted Brock!" (Hiawatha Station drives off the hordes of the Myriad Mussolini!) "Jamas Enright!" (U.N.I.C.O.R.N. brings in an audit on the backroom deals of M.A.N.T.I.C.O.R.E.!) "And Tim Munn!" (The dark dreams of Doctor Peru are filled with a hallucinatory Easter Bunny!) "The winner is... Tim! Yippeeeeeeee!" Boring Man wanders onstage, seeking to take the trophy, but gung-ho zombies trample him, grabbing it and making haste. "But wait, that's not all!" Kid Enthusiastic-Y pointed at the skylight. "The academy has named a special Discretionary Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Tom Russell for being the Most Improved Author of the last decade!" The skylight opened up, and a marble statue was carefully lowered down, depicting Saga, Norse goddess of storytelling, holding up a giant crystal snowglobe. Within were the carefully-detailed figures of Manga Girl, Teenfactor, Pearly White, Lunchbox Lass, Tyler Bridge, Gregory Dingham, both Doctor Metronomes, both Green Knights, Wikiboy, Haiku Gorilla, Jason Righteous, Tuck, Gem, Peter Ascot, and Dr. Fay Tarif, ascending an endless, Escherian staircase. Kid E-Y applauded wildly as Sarah, George, and a very angry man trundled it away. "Though I'd say he was already good by the time ten years ago rolled around! Anyway, the last diabolical torment I'll be inflicting on you fine people is RACC16, FAVORITE RUNNING GAG! These are those!" "Mr. Paprika/'That's a Man's Pop!'" (Somewhere in Omaha, thunder rolls!) "Serving minors in the RACCCafe!" (A steam-powered machine stamps fake moustaches out of felt!) "And 'What would Gamer Boy think!?'" (Swiss Miss tending a herd of thought bubbles!) "The winner is... serving minors in the RACCCafe! Hallelujaaaaaaaah!" Out from the audience bounced... Kid Enthusiastic! He was followed shortly thereafter by Tippy O' Tipp, the writer's-block-battling RACCCafe bartender. Kid Enthusiastic-Y waved wildly! "Hi there, James!" "Hi there, James!" The Kids Enthusiastic gabbled excitedly about everything and nothing, while Tippy dragged a meatgrinder, a chopping block, and a great wood-fired stove onto stage. He pulled out a bloodstained apron and tied it on, then began sharpening a giant hatchet. Eventually, the Kids took notice. "What'cha doin'!?" they asked in chipper chorus. "Well," said Tippy, testing the blade with a fingertip, "I figure if ye're gunna serve minors, ye should really *serve* minors. ...say, have ye evur seen Sweeney Todd?" The Kids shireked and ran off, limbs flailing, as Tippy chased after, hatchet in the air. The curtains closed. Pointless Awards Man II stepped out with a 'Technical Difficulties - Please Stand By' sign and stood it on stage. "And don't forget, you can pick up a ticket for a free froppuchino in the lobby." "And now, it's time to take a moment out of our night to reflect on those who have passed away in 2010. In remembrance of those gone..." A backdrop patterned after Uncanny X-Men #141 was lowered into place, and clips played on the big screen: .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... All of the sudden the world went white. I was knocked to the ground. I could hear an explosion. There was nothing else I could do except watch the plane explode. My jaw sat open as I tried to sit up. "Suzie," I whispered. "Suzie," I repeated louder. Then I just yelled, "SUZIE!!!!" "Nerrine's inside," says Petara. "She arrived just a few minutes ago." Petara casts her eyes to the ground; Ress notes the puddle of blood at their feet, and the dripping trail leading to it from the east. "Garaka?" says Jarissy. Now it's Petara's turn to shake her head. "Nerrine. Just Nerrine." As the man's head came into view, Jade took careful aim, as her finger gently squeezed the trigger. On the street below, the man's head suddenly exploded, with brain and skull fragments splattering the officers and police cruiser. By the time Fish goes to trial, Martin Rock is no longer the Green Knight. The justice system is always deliberate, even if it is not always right. What can be said of that trial? What can be said of his life? Only the slow, sad truth: that the trial was long, and the evidence overwhelming; that the sentence was life, and he found himself in prison; that he died, at age thirty-three, seemingly of natural causes. "I wonder what's waiting for me," Louie said aloud as he engaged the probability capacitor ejectors at full power. Of *course* they could work properly without the PCs. And with nothing in the chambers, and the safety dampers switched off, the magnetic mass drivers would turn roughly seventy percent of Louie's torso into a sort of claymore mine, spraying his body in a cone away from Janie and into the falling wall, turning it to red brick dust. And Louie's body into metallic gray dust. Suzaku no Senshi's armor was intact, but of the man within there was no trace. Steamingman was left unharmed but naked on the snow, and the pieces of his suit were later found in a perfect circle around him - a hundred miles in every direction. Sakura no Itako disappeared, and in her place formed a cherry tree - one which was completely impervious to cold temperatures, and which, as far as I know, still stands. Three of the Chinese defenders died in various gruesome ways, two went irretrievably insane, and one spontaneously reappeared thirty years later. The original Caballero coughed bloodily. "I am afraid my gift is not that strong. Perhaps you...can carry on...for me...." And with that, he died. Execute. Not murder. Because murder is what happens to people who are innocent. At only thirteen years old, Isabel simply never woke up one morning, mere days after the youngest children had been weaned. And... Then it was all white. White was originally the national auto racing color of Japan until international racing colors were abandoned due to sponsorship, thought Obscure Trivia Lad. And then... .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... "Actually, Obscure Trivia Lad is back," piped up a voice from the LNH table (the one reserved for characters who had appeared in the Cosmic Plot Device Caper). "And believes that story was posted in 2009." "Yeah, but I really liked that one!" Everyone shuffled around to look at Kid Review. He shrank down in his chair. "...well, I did..." Pointless Awards Man II coughed. "Yes, well. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting our next set of awards is a stunning, statuesque lady, secretly immortal, obviously impressive! Put your hands together for Galatea!" An elegant lady with a Grecian profile and a hauntingly pale complexion stepped out on stage, to the applause of all. She waved to all and sundry, giving a mysterious, bewitching half-smirk. "It's been millennia since my creation; in that time, I have seen wonders and miracles beyond imagining. Nothing should impress me, and yet..." The smile stuck to her lips. "The first piece I have in my gallery is RACC15, BEST DISCUSSION. This year, the finalists were..." "'Comic Book Tropes You Loathe'..." (An evil government conspiracy clones Building Suspense Lad, kills the clone, then reveals it was all an illusion, causing everyone to angst in decompressed form) "'Irony Man's Fate!'..." (Four replacement Irony Men come up to claim the role, including the confusing and redundant Steel Irony Man) "And 'Raccowrimo'!" (The Burnout Killer cackles at the foolish writers who dare his challenge, only to be overcome by the combined might of Catman, Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, and Summer Morgan.) "This year, the winner is... Comic Book Tropes You Loathe!" "Hah!" Dan Tracey jumped out from the wings. "I was really a bad guy this whole time! Now I'll activate a plan to destroy everyone with the Magene, despite totally having it myself!" "You know, Dave's not going to like this blatant out-of-characterness," noted Grammer Lad. "I mean, 'totally'?" "Crap, you're right! What do I do?" There was a ba-froosh! and a cloud of sulfuric smoke rose up, out of which stepped Satan T. Lucifer Jones. "I'll fix everything if you fork over your previously-unmentioned crush on Jason Teller!" "Done and done!" There was a fwash! of light and the stage was clear. Galatea sighed and brushed the clinging smoke out of her hair. "Shall we move on from that, then? The next award to be given is RACC14, FAVORITE PERSON WHO HANGS OUT ON RACC. The finalists, this time, are..." "Saxon Brenton..." (Retcon Lad eats ice cream and watches screwball comedies with Fourth Wall Lass) "Andrew Perron..." (Firewire reads comics over Library Lad's shoulder) "And Rob Rogers!" (Easily-Discovered Man Lite, Frat Boy and Screen Saver play on the Wii) "The winner, this time, is... Saxon!" Artemis, Redemption and So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't-Use-Him-In- A-Story Lad jumped out from backstage, dressed in camo fatigues. "We are the Saxon Brenton Is Not That Great Of A Guy Liberation Front! We demand--" They were cut off when the curtains swung dramatically open and Senses Lass drove up in a forklift, grabbing them up ("Hey!" "What!" "Whoa!"), snatching the award, and incidentally getting rid of the Sweeney Todd set. "Is that any way to treat a work of art?" Galatea shook her head. "Ah, well. Time enough for karma in this world. And speaking of worlds, our next accolade is RACC13, FAVORITE STORY UNIVERSE. The finalists, once more, are..." "ASH..." (Robotic flowering trees shoot zombies and aliens) "Eightfold..." (The path to Nirvana is walked by organizing subatomic baryons and mesons into octets) "And the Legion of Net.Heroes!" (Handball and hockey leagues work on large, dimensionless numbers) "And the winner, once more, is... The Legion of Net.Heroes!" Irony Man flew in and triumphantly grabbed the award... only to take off his helmet and reveal himself as Fearless Leader! Galatea applauded langorously. "Undoing the illusion; a twist worthy of Ovid. Finally, in the tradition of the great satirists, we unzip RACC12, FAVORITE REVIEW TITLE. The nominees, in the end, are..." "End of Month Reviews..." (Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings and transitions, looks back to the Dark Age and forward to the next Modern Age) "And The Tribulations of Kid Review!" (The stars and the moon, a slender thread of thought stretching two-way from this world to the Looniverse) "The winner, in the end, is... a tie!" Gasps rose from around the auditorium. Morningstar fainted. Master Destiny fell to his knees and shouted, "THIS... CANNOT... BE!" He exploded in a polychromatic kablooey. Slowpoke rolled his eyes. "Yes, sarcasm, very good." Feedbacky the Review Bunny hopped on his head, and they hopped up on stage, taking the award and bowing as one. "..." "...hello?" Slowpoke and Feedbacky looked around, but the presenter seemed to have mysteriously vanished, leaving only a single white rose. Pointless Awards Man II ushered them out, tossed the rose into the audience (where the thorns got caught in Warendja's costume) and took up the mike. "Remember, everyone, I didn't book the guests this time. Ahem. Next up, a new face on the block! It's the knight of the night, the nonpareil narcoleptic, the hug-happy hero of hurrying, Sir Greg!" A shining streak shot onto stage, and there was a knight in shining armor, who removed her helm to reveal golden locks. "Hi there everybody! I came to host, because I thought it would be hella fun! Also because they're paying me a bunch. So let's go!" As Pointless Awards Man II facepalmed backstage, Sir Greg said, "Right! RACC11, FAVORITE ACRAPHOBE/ADULT OFFERING! We've got..." "Godling!" (Godling's clash with the chimaerical Devourer!) "ASH!" (Meteor versus the Ice Queen!) "Thunderclap!" (Mordecai tests wits against the machinations of Shaka Zoom!) "Journey Into...!" (The Gray Gelding trounces the tamers of Auge von Shaitam!) "And Superhuman World!" (Sylvester Morrow looks through the archive files on Death Dog!) "The winner is... another tie! ASH and Journey Into get it!" The White Hat rides onto stage, tipping his hat to the swooning ladies. Mike Gulliver, spitting and sparking and smoking, floats down through the skylight. They exchange a round of blanks, then the White Hat tosses the trophy into Gulliver and they ride off into the sunset. Sir Greg applauds with a metallic clang. "So why didn't they kiss at the end? Anyway, hard on the flanks of that comes RACC10, FAVORITE PARODY/COMEDY! These ones include..." "Lady Lawful and Doctor Developer!" (Lady Lawful faces down the Webspinner, the Gordian Knot, and the Veiled Reference) "A Return to the RACCCafe!" (An eBay page selling discounted Chooters merchandise) "And Legion of Net.Heroes volume 2!" (The Titanium Swordsman licenses the Saturday morning rights) "The winner is... Return to the RACCCafe!" Sig.Lad, Arvie the Wonderdog, Liefeld's Porpoise, the Bert and Ernie Fresheners, Stacy Boomer and two Omega Cliche Police run up and slam-dunk Tom Russell through the podium. They cheer, then their heads explode. Sir Greg blinkblinks... then scoots behind the curtains. "Um, I don't wanna be rude, but if that's gonna happen to me I'm getting the fuck outta here." Pointless Awards Man II pops his head out. "Nah, don't worry, it's a RACCCafe thing." "Oh! Whew." She uses the drapes to clean the bits of brain off her armor, then steps back out. "So... that happened! Next up is RACC9, FAVORITE NEW CHARACTER! This time, there's..." "Spellbinder!" (Spellbinder cosplays as Doctor Strange, Zatanna, Mandrake the Magician, and Tim Hunter) "Fleet!" (Fleet comes upon a Rubik's Cube with 8x10^53 stickers on it at the heart of the plural zone) "And Nell the Waitress!" (With a resounding clang! Nell whacks a humanoid turtle upside the head with a frying pan) "And the winner is... Spellbinder!" The hero of the night made her way to the podium, both befuddled and blushing. "Three awards? This-- wow, are you sure?" She looked offstage, and PAM II nodded. "Well, okay! This is ridiculous, but thank you so much!" Sir Greg cheers. "Yay, more kickass ladies! Well, I've got one more envelope here, so let's do RACC8, FAVORITE SUPPORTING CHARACTER! Woo! The top ones are..." "Dr. Fay Tarif!" (Dr. Fay cackles amidst bubbling beakers of colorful fluid and Jacob's Ladders) "Alexander Bernadetteson!" (Alex delivers a punch IN YO' FACE!) "And the Doom Koala of Speed!" (The Doom Koala eats, shoots and leaves) "And the winner is... Alexander! ...hey, wait, that's me!" She grabs the trophy, leaps in the air with a shout of joy... then falls into a pile, asleep. "...blslubbubblesub..." Mike Kittyman and the Arch Mage cart her off while the Mysterious Voice shouts at her. As Squeaky Clean zips through on a street-sweeper, Pointless Awards Man II examines the damage. "Have to admit, I missed this chaos. Sigh." He shakes his head, then turns to the audience with a gleaming smile. "Well, we're well on our way through our playlist of hits! Next up on the disk is Brian MacBarnacle, the bugling cardinal!" A bird puppet made of felt wearing a red-and-white coat and pointy hat and carrying a bugle walked on stage. "Hello, every-- say, what's that whistling noise?" SMOOSH! A green-and-black blur landed atop Brian MacBarnacle, squishing him flat as a pancake. "Hah! Take *that*, Santa Claus!" said the figure stooped on his prone form. She straightened, revealing herself as Goddamn-You-Xmas-Goddamn- You-Straight-to-Hell Lass! "Now to destroy the RACCies, as revenge for snubbing me in the nominations for Best New Character!" "Hold!" said Pointless Awards Man II, summoning all his presenterly might (which isn't much, but hey). "The one who lies before you is not the true Santa - but join with me and present the awards, and I shall give you access to the Secret Out-of-Continuity Character Files on the Claus, including his one true weakness!" GYXGYStH Lass narrowed her eyes. "And what do I have to ensure you'll keep your side of the bargain?" PAM II tossed an aluminum can to her, which she caught in one hand. "The finest anti-wassail." She grinned. "My favorite." She tucked it into her cloak. "All right, then, let's play. ...er. ...what am I doing here, then?" He gave her a set of envelopes and a stack of printouts. "They're in numbered order, you just call 'em out and make comments as appropriate, clips play on the big screen back there, then open the envelopes and announce the winner." "Seems a bit disorganized." "Well, yeah, it's the RACCies! Good luck!" Goddamn-You-Xmas-Goddamn-You-Straight-to-Hell Lass cleared her throat. "Ahem. Ah, let's see, the first award is rack-- sorry, RACC7, FAVORITE VILLAIN/ANTAGONIST. The finalists for this one are, let's see..." "Bart the Dark Receptionist..." (Bart fills out his character sheet, rolling 18s on his LNH Dice for every stat) "The Multiversal Office..." (A capsule in a pneumatic tube zips through Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu before being deposited in an inbox) "The LSDemon..." (Sitting around with the Legion of Net.Hippies and mellowing out) "Aaaaand the Professor Longitudes. Professors Longitude? Oh, whatever." (A family portrait, with the diabolical Professor Longitude putting rabbit ears over the Silver Age Professor Longitude's head as Doctor Longitude crosses his eyes and sticks his tongue out and the counterpart Professor Longitude raises a mallet) "The winner is..." She fiddled with the edge of the envelope before just ripping it open. "...is... the Multiversal Office!" A previously-unnoticed door just to the right of stage opened, and out stepped an intensely bland person. He walked with a normal pace to the stage and took the trophy. "I am the Human Resource," he said. "On behalf of the Multiversal Office, thank you." He stepped to the side. "Right," said GYXGYStH Lass. "That was easy enough. Next, we've got... um... are you still here?" He nodded. "I'm instructed to stay in place, in case assistance is needed." "Well, okay... just... step backstage or something." "Certainly." He did so. "...right. Okay, next, we've got RACC6, FAVORITE HERO/PROTAGONIST. This one has as its finalists..." "Spellbinder..." (In the land of Faerie on a pogo stick) "Kid Recap..." (Pointing to a chalkboard explaining how the NTB, LNH and ASH appearances of the Multiversal Office relate) "Mike Kittyman..." (Rolling around in a field of catnip) "And Anal-Retentive Archive Kid." (Defeating Far.net.heit 451 with the power of thorough research) "The winner... is... tie! I mean, *a* tie. Between Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Spellbinder!" The two surmounted the stage, ARAK confident, Spellbinder hesitant. She picked up the trophy and said, "...um. Thanks, but are you really sure about this? I mean, jeez, talk about the Oscar Curse, it's only my second issue..." ARAK shook his head. "Look, kid, don't sweat it. It's a good thing people like you, right?" "Yeah?" She perked up. "Okay! Well, um, again, thank you!" They trotted off, and Goddamn-You-Xmas-Goddamn-You-Straight-to-Hell Lass rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes, good. Now, let's see, next one is... RACC5, FAVORITE SINGLE ISSUE. The finalists are..." "Men's Courses Will Foreshadow..." (Tyrannus Auron bursting out of a painting of Hex Luthor, Doctor Killfile, wReamicus Maximus, and DeFacto V, with the caption, 'The All-New All-Different World Tyrant!') "Just Imagine Saxon Brenton Vs Andrew Perron In The Return of the RACCies #9, 'All You Need To Understand Is...'" (The Golden Age Manga Man sipping tea and watching the cherry petals fall) "And Spellbinder #1, 'Take This Job and Shove It'." (Chelsea beating down Miles the leprechaun, now that she has the time) "And the winner is... of course. Spellbinder #1." Spellbinder froze, halfway back to her table after the last award. She looked up at GYXGYStH Lass, who tapped her foot impatiently. She cringed inwardly and made her way back to the podium, taking the trophy along the way. "Er..." She sighed. "Okay, this is getting ludicrous. I know this is good, but there's such a thing as too much of a good thing! I'm going to die, alone, face-down in a puddle of my own vomit because I wasn't able to measure up to people's expectations! ...but thank you!" "Enough outta you!" GYXGYStH Lass pushed her offstage, Spellbinder barely missing the orchestra pit. "Hey!" "Some people don't know when they've got it good... not like me, don't even consider me for an award, lousy..." She rubbed the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger. "Hokay, one more. It's RACC4, FAVORITE ARC, and the nominees, since I have to list off every single one this time, mutter, are..." "The Tribulations of Kid Review #3 and #4: 'Cardoid Attacks!'" (The robot of rock drops phat beats) "Godling #15 to #19, 'Godling vs. Master Destiny'!" (The Spear of Destiny is used to prop up a table) "ASH #107 to #109, 'The Office'!" (Due to a paperwork mixup, Essay falls into a five-graph trap) "ASH #101 to #106, 'Rival Schools'!" (The Understudies of Crime are put on double secret probation) "Basically all of SW10, 'Twilight of the Superhuman World'!" (The Vampire Pirates of Tuvalu sparkle) "And Digital JUMP! #4 to probably #10, 'Warriors of Light'!" (Tragedy of the Commons tears apart a copy of Atlas Shrugged in a fit of rage, but leaves a donation to the public library it was in) "The winner is... yet another tie! Cardoid Attacks and Twilight of the Superhuman World!" Kid Review and Kristi the Animal Woman are carried up on stage on Cardoid's shoulders, waving and cheering. "Thank you!" called out Kristi. "Man, I didn't expect this!" "Me either," chuckled Kid Review. "I mean, I was thinking it's an honor just to be nominated--" "THAT'S it!" GYXGYStH Lass jumped in and knocked Cardoid into the orchestra pit with a maypole. The trio shouted and flailed, percussionists leaping out of the way as a great brass crash resounded. She grabbed the award. "I think this is fair restitution for the insult of being overlooked." "Just a moment there!" Pointless Awards Man II did a forward flip (on obvious wires) onto stage. "You can't do this! We had a deal!" "I have altered the deal! Pray I do not alter it any further!" "Goddamn-You-Xmas-Goddamn-You-Straight-to-Hell Lass, you have gone too far! By the nobility of Herbie, by the purity of Cindy Lou Who, by the secondhand secular sacrifice of Frosty, I abjure thee!" He turned to the audience. "But I'll need your help!" GYXGYStH Lass cocked her head. "What are you..." He pulled out a conductor's baton. "And a one and a two!" He pointed. "LNH Table!" Catalyst Lass: "I saw Fuzzy kicking Santa Claus!" Egg Man: "All around the battlefield last night!" Occultism Kid: "They knocked the walls out from the plaster!" Seyfert: "Only one left standing after!" Fred: "Fuzzy had kicked Santa Claus last night!" She staggered back. "What? No! Stop that!" "ASH Table!" Z-Man: "From Khadam flee, from Khadam flee!" Louie: "It's all that we don't want to be!" Conflicto: "Decades of evil come to roost!" Brightsword: "Experimental devils loosed!" Brightsword II: "From Khadam flee, from Khadam flee!" Ahmed: "I will bend its will to me!" "Eightfold Table!" Green Knight: "Kick-ass, kick-ass time is here..." Skullblazer Legacy: "Time for doom and time for fear!" Jimeno: "Holding out, but I can't last!" Blue Boxer: "Hurry, backup, hurry fast!" Darkhorse III: "Dodge and roll, leap and swoop..." Kellin: "Me and you should go regroup!" Dorcas Wilkins: "Hope that I can stand the wait..." Fish: "Please, justice, don't be late..." The sudden flare of bittersweet emotion knocked GYXGYStH Lass on her rear. "#%$&!" "New Starfall Table!" Silver Arrow: "I'm dreaming~ of a new universe~" Stardancer: "With every reality I rewrite~" Theosonovus: "May your dreams be second in sight~" Gateway: "And may each of your worlds have its knight~" "Superhuman World Table!" Imperilus: "I'm Mister White August, I'm Mister Snow!" Adu Asantemantse: "I'm Eco~logical~" Lili Speed: "Collapse of all you know!" Avernacht: "People call me the Ragnarok!" Random member of the Trillions: "Whatever I touch..." Other-Wyatt: "...can't survive in your clutch!" Ellipsis: "I'm too much!" She rose unsteadily. "You know, this doesn't even make much sense--" "Godling Table!" Safari: "Slay bells ring, spear is glistening!" Officer Janson: "In the lane, evil's christening!" Tony Gold: "A demonic sight!" Detective King: "There's danger, alright." Future Godling Chorus: "Stalking in a future plunderland!" "Pinnacle City Table!" Steelhide: "Deck the bad guys in the face!" Athena & Clusterbomb: "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" Solstice Powers: "Make them gone without a trace!" Athena & Clusterbomb: "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" American Ranger: "Blow them into tiny pieces!" Athena & Clusterbomb: "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" Liberator: "Feed them to the cats and meeces!" Athena & Clusterbomb: "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" "One Day at a Time Table!" Mysterious Voice: "SHOULD RANDOM POWERS BE FORGOT?" Announcer: "Left in a candy mind?" Random Bomberguy: "Should random powers be forgot?" Robertson: "And if not, how about mine!?" Edmund Crumpleston: "But surely you'll wear your costume~" Doctor Eric Sullivan: "And surely I'll wear mine!" Crabot Tank: "Activating self-repair program." Mike Kittyman: "...so, what means 'auld lang syne'?" She hissed and fell back. "This... cannot... be!" "Everybody, now!" Cthulhu: "Dashing through aether! In a twelve-dimensioned race!" Patrick Harrison: "Over the worlds we go! Crash thru time and space!" John Munlop: "Chimes of doom will ring! Marking my revenge!" Dis Aster: "Ritual demon! Summoned to the henge!" Doctor Peru: "Evolve cells?" Doctor Pillbox: "Evolve cells!" The Cockroach: "Develop toxic spray!" Jaden: "Oh what fun it is to apply..." Floyd Beckersley: "...chaos to the everyday!" "Noooooooo!" Goddamn-You-Xmas-Goddamn-You-Straight-to-Hell Lass turned into a shadowy form, her image wavering, early-90s-anime-style. "I'll be back... a... gain... some... daaaaaay..." She vanished. "Hah! Can't believe that worked." Pointless Awards Man II danced a little jig before he got ahold of himself and turned the smarm back on. "All right, the next presenter is... is..." He peered into the orchestra pit, where Kid Review and Kristi were KOed, pinned under a robot who would need significant repairs in the morning. "...ah. Crap. Where am I gonna find a replacement *now*?" A neutral figure stepped out from backstage. "I'm from the Multiversal Office, and I'm here to help." PAM II blinkblinked. "...this is a bad idea." The Human Resource nodded. "But I've already filled out an SX37-J, Authorization For Bad Idea." He scanned the document. "Hm, looks like everything's in order. Here you go!" He handed over the nominees and envelopes. The Human Resource made a short bow to the audience and gave a perfectly normal smile. "The first award is RACC3, FAVORITE MINI-SERIES. The finalists are:" "The Pyramid Trap." (Doctor Developer goes Super Magene Level 7) "Men's Courses Will Foreshadow..." (The Last Archangel's mood ring turns to "huh, how about that") "Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use of Overkill." (Police Chief Trouser scratches his head at the sudden cessation of gang activity in Net.ropolis) "The winner is: Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use of Overkill." ARAK came up once more, surmounting the steps to take up the podium. "Ah, thank you very much. You guys know that was almost a decade ago in continuity, though, right? New gangs are sure to have moved in eventually; it's not like I have the time or, really, the inclination to keep rooting them out, especially when I'm not being protected by..." Elizabeth Greenvale irritably stomped up on stage. "My god! You're the biggest, wettest blanket ever dumped on this party, you know that? C'mere..." She grabbed him by the ear and pulled. "Augh! Ow! You know, I have martial arts training, it doesn't make sense that you can-- ow ow owie..." The Human Resource nodded. "ISO standard courtship ritual. Good. The next award is RACC2, FAVORITE ONGOING SERIES. The finalists are:" "Legion of Net.Heroes volume 2." (Limited-edition red chocolate versions of standard grocery-aisle candy) "Journey Into." (The original Darkhorse takes lunch with The Fastingest Man Alive) "Spellbinder." (Spellbinder accepts five awards in a row) "The Tribulations of Kid Review." (Lady Review fries up some tofu) "Lady Lawful and Doctor Developer." (Jennifer and Deedee watch Beast Wars in first-run syndication) "The winner is: Spellbinder." A shrill scream came from the New Starfall table, and a flowing white blur beat feet towards the big red EXIT sign. Unfortunately, some big burly characters who haven't shown up in a while (feel free to insert your favorites!) were guarding the door, and Chelsea was soon dragged bodily up on stage. "Eheheheh..." She coughed. "Well, then. Thank you deeply, graciously, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, for the many plaudits you have bestowed upon myself, my author, and my series. Thank you for making a newbie feel welcome. ...I'm going to pass out now." She did so, a Form 2011-PO authorizing a sudden faint fluttering to the ground beside her. The Human Resource gave her exactly ten point five seconds of applause, then faced front. "The last award is RACC1, FAVORITE WRITER. The finalists are:" "Tom Russell." (A great statue by the shore of a nameless sea releases a shining gorilla into the sky) "Dave van Domelen." (Death gives up his mantle to tell stories by the shore of a swamp) "Saxon Brenton." (The fulcrum at the center of the universe balances the flow of the all-powerful Limp-Asparagus Force) "The winner is: Saxon Brenton." A man of medium height, slightly overweight, with short dark brown curly hair and eyes of a washed-out green colour (description blatantly stolen from Limp-Asparagus Lad #6) stepped on stage. "Hello there! As per Paragraph 23, Section 15 of the Ge.net.va Convention on Conventions, I... wait a minute." The tables were all in straight rows, and gleamed from being scrubbed down every 6 to 7 minutes. No one was watching, as each member of the audience was hunched over an Application For Permit To View Ceremonial Speech. The waitstaff was refilling glasses with pens and #2 pencils. "You!" Saxon dramatically pointed to the Human Resource. "You're bureaucratising the RACCies!" "Yes," he replied pleasantly. "I very much am." "It's a good thing I kept *this*!" Saxon tossed off his clothing, revealing a black spandex suit with the words 'Pointless Awards Man III' written across the chest and a scabbard holding a katana. PAM II screamed like a little girl and fled the stage. The Human Resource nodded and drew up a form requisitioning a regulation-length iajutsu blade; it appeared in his hands with a checkout-line beep! The two took up positions at opposite ends of the stage. A soft breeze blew gently through the auditorium. Hands hovered just above grips. Eyes were locked in place. A tumbleweed blew by, picking up Easily- Discovered Bran Mite and carrying him out of the theater shouting and cussing. As if guided by an invisible signal, the combatants sprang forward as one. There was a flash of light on metal, and they landed, backs to each other. There was a beat, and Saxon rose. The Human Resource crumpled to the ground. Saxon flicked the toner from his blade and sheathed it. PAM II peeked out from behind the curtains. "You-- you beat him!" Saxon nodded. "Of course. Once the homage was in motion, he had to follow the expected course of the duel to the letter. Stand by the tropes, fall by the tropes." PAM II nodded. Then he smooshed a cream pie into Saxon's face. As Saxon licked off the residue, Pointless Awards Man II turned to the cameras. "That's it for this year. Brought to you by Emperor Hogan's Kangaroo Wax! Keeps your kangaroo shiny, and why would you want to do that?" .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... 17th Annual RACCie Winners: RACC1, Favorite Writer: Saxon Brenton RACC2, Favorite Ongoing Series: Spellbinder RACC3, Favorite Mini-Series: Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use of Overkill RACC4, Favorite Arc: "Cardoid Attacks!" (The Tribulations of Kid Review #3-4) and "Twilight of the Superhuman World" (SW10 as a whole) (tie) RACC5, Favorite Single Issue: Spellbinder #1, "Take This Job and Shove It" RACC6, Favorite Hero/Protagonist: Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Spellbinder (tie) RACC7, Favorite Villain/Antagonist: The Multiversal Office RACC8, Favorite Supporting Character: Alexander Bernadetteson RACC9, Favorite New Character: Spellbinder RACC10, Favorite Parody/Comedy: A Return to the RACCCafe RACC11, Favorite Acrophobe/Adult Offering: ASH and Journey Into (tie) RACC12, Favorite Review Title: End of Month Reviews and The Tribulations of Kid Review (tie) RACC13, Favorite Story Universe: Legion of Net.Heroes RACC14, Favorite Person Who Hangs Out On RACC: Saxon Brenton RACC15, Best Discussion: "Comic Book Tropes You Loathe" RACC16, Favorite Running Gag: Serving minors in the RACCCafe RACC17, Most Improved Author: Tim Munn RACC18, Favorite New Writer: Robin Strickland RACC19, Favorite New Title: Spellbinder The Doctor Stomper Bronze Boot for Excellence in Exposition: Mars and the Dark Age of Superheroes The Rabbit-Breeder's Cup: Scott Eiler The Johnny Sokko "Come Back, Giant Robot, Come Back" Loving Cup: Everyone who didn't post something in 2010 The Image Testimonial Timepiece (Batteries Not Included): Arthur Spitzer The "Spider Spins!" Little Lulu Web Page Award: Wil's Ego Lifetime Achievement Award for Most Improved Author: Tom Russell The Golden Lasso: Ted Brock and Andrew Perron The "Superheroes Are a Genre, Not a Medium" Formatting Upgrade: Jamas Enright The Anti-Matter Version of the Johnny Sokko Loving Cup: Ted Brock .....oooooOOOOO(*)OOOOOooooo..... Whew. This year, I did preparation beforehand, but ran smack-dab into feeling like last year's ceremony didn't have quite enough flashiness and ceremony-ish-ness to it. I trust this year made up for that? The Spellbinder running gag certainly wasn't meant to make Robin feel bad, nor make anyone feel bad for voting for him. It just seemed an appropriate joke to take to ridiculous extremes. Hopefully, we'll see *many* more issues of Spellbinder. I'm afraid I made a bit of a diversion into Real Person Fanfic at the end. It... just seemed appropriate? Eheh.