Derelict Press presents

=========================================================================

                        DERELICT Press Presents

                        The twentieth issue of

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                       " Bringing Down the House"

                        A psuedo-Acraphobe title

._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._.'COVER`._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._.

        Cover shows the sprawling city of Net.ropolis seen from on high.
On the left, we see the right half of Censor Girl, coated with silver
metal, her body strangely glowing with power.

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        The sun hung still in the Net.ropolis sky. Chaos reigned.

        At the outer edges of the city people stood frozen, staring
dumbstruck towards the massive mushroom cloud that took up nearly a third
of the sky, that rivaled the sun itself in brightness. They had heard
the noise, a second before they'd heard the explosion, a second before
they'd _felt_ it rock the earth itself. It had begun as a quiet, tiny
little sound. Enough to make an old man look up, then turn to check his
hearing aid.  Enough to make the children playing jump rope in a cul-de-sac
pause, and stand quietly. As if someone far away had dropped a hollow
wooden ball, and it had cracked. Then, before they could blink it had
roared. Howled and flashed in the center of the city, and sent a cloud of
smoke and heat bursting upwards. The children had seen the top of the
Amberhagen Corporation skyscraper, one of the tallest buildings in the
city, shear off and fall out of sight, silent in all the noise. One of
the little boys began to cry.

        Within the city people were not frozen. Within the city people
screamed. They too had heard the noise, a second too late. But they had
done more than seen the light, the smoke rising upwards to stain the blue
spring sky. The heat had washed over them, wave after wave after wave,
burning and choking those closer to the plant. The light, a flash
brighter than the sun could ever be, had blinded hundreds. Windows
shattered, glass dominoes rushing away from the point of the explosion,
showering those on the street with knife-like shards. Buildings creaked
and groaned, structures gave way and fell, crushing those beneath them.
Those who had gone to work at the top of the Amberhagen skyscraper that
morning screamed no more, lying silent underneath tons of steal and
concrete at the base of the building. Cars lay overturned in the street,
lightpoles were twisted pretzels of metal strewn everywhere.

        The plant itself was nothing more than a crater of white-hot
rock, glowing eerily in the false night provided to it by the mushroom
cloud looming overhead, filling the sky, tree-like and dark. Only here
was it silent.

                      -==-             -==-

        They had been on their way to fight the Junior Brotherhood of 
Net.Villains when it happened. A flash seemed to flare outward from the 
power plant, with a roar that knocked Kismet out of the sky, blind in the 
eye she hadn't managed to get closed fast enough. She had been slammed 
into the side of a concrete building with all the force of a freight 
engine, and fallen to the ground where she lay now.  Her wings had taken
most of the damage, protecting the rest of her body from the force of her
fall into the skyscraper's facade. She was alright but for a few bruises,
and Paytan had gotten her sitting up a few minutes ago. Everyone else was
fine. In the distance, sirens wailed.

        Someone near one of the buildings began to cry, and a young child
screamed from beneath an overturned car. Brittany shut the hoverbike down
with a heavy thump to its dashboard, then ran towards the sound of the
screams. Savannah was a few feet behind her, shuffling slowly through
the wreckage. Censor Girl would have to wait.

                      -==-             -==-

biz.zeos
biz.zeos.annouce
biz.zeos.announce
biz.zeos.general
clari
clari.news
clari.news.cast
clari.news.economy
clari.news.election

                      -==-             -==-

        The bus lay there like an elephant that had been shot. Nothing
stirred for a moment or three, then one of the windows had the remaining
glass knocked out of it. Amazingly, there wasn't any noise.

        With a lot of a struggle, an Af.rec.an-Ame.rec.an woman pushed her
way out through the gap created. It was obvious that she had been caught
inside when the bus had crashed, due to the number of cuts and the large
piece of glass still stuck in her back. What wasn't obvious was why she
was still moving.

        Resting for a moment of the side of the bus, which was now the
top, she reached down and hauled a tall, average looking man out. He sat
beside her, getting his breath back. Both refused to look back in the bus.

        The woman, slipping slightly on the metal, moved over and jumped
off the bus. The man followed suit. As he landed behind her, he spotted
the glass shard, and yanked it out without warning. A look of pain crossed
over the woman's face, but it only lasted a moment, then she turned and
saw what the trouble had been. She smiled her thanks.

        They gave the bus one last glance, then hobbled off. The others
hadn't been so lucky. It was only due to the woman's body that they hadn't
both died, and even then it was luck that had placed the woman in between
the ground and the man.

        They looked sadly at the devastation around them, but knew that
any help would have to be given by those trained for such procedures.
There was nothing they could do.

        Slipping an arm around each other for support, they slowly walked
into the city.

                      -==-             -==-

comp.windows.x.i386unix
comp.windows.x.intrinsics
comp.windows.x.motif
control
decus
decus.comsig
eunet
eunet.micro
eunet.micro.acorn

                      -==-             -==-

        At the outskirts of Net.ropolis, within a run-down building at
the edge of a weed-covered parking lot, the Junior Brotherhood of
Net.Villains stood stunned, again. A slow smile grew across the cold
metal expanse of Censor Girl's face.

        She was still standing outside the building, her hand stretched
out toward the rest of the city, as it had been when the blast from the
power plant rocketed through, a wave of sound and force that had done
nothing more than flutter the pitiful remains of clothing clinging around
a body that no longer needed them. Just beyond her fingers, stretching to
the horizon, smoke streamed upwards from Net.ropolis, and a massive cloud
expanded through the once blue sky.

        "Anything you want," she repeated, "is yours. Anything."

        For a moment even the man in the black trenchcoat seemed to lack
a response. Then he collected himself and took a step towards her.

        "Good. Now, let us adjourn to a more peaceful and secure place, 
perhaps?" he asked, adjusting his black hat carefully, one hand motioning 
to the JBoNV to emerge from the shadows that were not hiding them as well 
as they wished. They came one by one, as he spoke.

        "It is obvious," he began," that there has been some form of 
superpowered activity in this area. The Legion of Net.Heroes have 
innumerable machines and gadgets for monitoring things such as this 
stashed around their headquarters, due to the almost constant presence 
of Kid Kirby. And there's a massive hole in our western wall. Within 
minutes heroes will be flooding the city, attempting to keep down the 
amount of damage cause by the explosion. We'll be swimming in them. Which 
is not a position we will wish to be in."

        Dust nodded sourly. Kid Camouflage and Explosion Boy met each
other's eyes for a moment across the room. They had been heroes once,
almost. Sidekicks. Not any more. Rebecca Drayer, neo-sorceress still
lacking in code-name, was watching Censor Girl closely, arms wrapped
around her stomach as if she could smother the sense of catastrophe she
held within. Mr.Exposition turned back, looking into the shadows, his had
outstretched to the group's youngest member. Hooded Ho-od Win Jr. stepped
carefully out into the light, watching Censor Girl with fear evident on
her face.

        "We'll have to go somewhere where the heroes aren't," said Dust.

        "No," interrupted Kid Camouflage, twining a strand of hair
around one of her fingers and grinning, "We'll have to go where the
heroes _are_."

        "Oh that's grand," snapped Dust, "Here we are, blast us now!"

        "No, listen to me. Explosion Boy and I still have our Sidekicks
R' Us membership cards. No one keeps track of all sidekicks in this city
- that's what caused the whole Zomkick problem in the first place.  We'll
just show 'em to anybody who asks what we're doing. As the JBoNV we
haven't fought enough people to be really high-profile villains yet, so
if we lie low, but act like we're minor LNHers just trying to help out,
no one will give us a second glance."

        Mr.Fossavellus smiled.

        "Good. Very good, KC. And while we're out, I'm sure there are a 
great many banks, or other honored establishments whose security systems 
are down even as we speak. Perhaps they too deserve some attention from a 
group of a minor LNHers 'just trying to help out'. Will that be 
satisfactory, Miss?" asked Fossavellus, turning to Censor Girl.  The
cyborg continued to smile, and inclined her head towards him approvingly.

        "That will entirely satisfactory, Fossavellus."

                      -==-             -==-

misc.jobs.offered
misc.jobs.offered.entry
misc.jobs.resumes
misc.kids
misc.kids.computer
misc.kids.health
misc.kids.info
misc.kids.pregnancy
misc.legal
misc.misc
misc.news.bosnia
misc.news.southasia

                      -==-             -==-

        Paytan stood, her face coated in sweat and dust, arms thrust out
in front of her, fingers spread wide. There was no breeze. Ten feet in
front of her a section of brick wall hovered a few feet above the ground,
outlined in a neon green glow. Brittany emerged from beneath it a few
moments later, equally coated in dust and dirt, dragging behind the body
of an unconscious man with a crushed leg.

        "All clear," cried Savannah from where she crouched, eyes
scanning the area once covered by the wall. She closed her eyes the
second before Paytan dropped her arms, sending the wall crashing to the
ground, fragmenting into a thousand shards of brick and mortar.

        Paytan caught herself against the twisted remains of a lightpole
as dizziness swept through her. She could feel the power pulsing weakly
through her, raw and painful. She had never used this much magic before,
not once. Each wall lifted, or car moved, sent pins ramming through her
arms and wrists and along the back of her neck.

        They had been doing stuff like this for the past hour and a half.

        "Dirmarw," hissed Paytan quietly, "I could do with some help
here."

        No reply.

        "Stupid sword," she growled, kicking at a rock. She could still 
feel him inside her mind, the heavy black shadow that consisted of his 
spirit ensconced just beneath her conscious mind, shoving unnecessary bits 
of her unconscious to the side, and standing in the way of almost every 
memory she had of hell. But he hadn't spoken to her in days. She could 
feel him faintly, doing _something_. But she didn't know what. It was 
only through his teaching that she could work magic, that she could use 
what little power came to her naturally.  Without that knowledge, without 
him protecting her memories, she would be mad. They were supposed to have
a deal. He protected her when she was summoned and she learned enough
magic to free his home dimension from the clutches of hell.  It worked
out a lot closer to: He protected her when she was summoned, and she did
whatever the hell he wanted her to.

        "Paytan," repeated Brittany anxiously, "are you okay?" Paytan
started, and took a step back. Brittany was standing before her with one
arm half-raised, head cocked to one side. Behind her Savannah stood with
her back to the sun, eyes crawling slowly along the buildings around
them. Paytan scowled.

        "What do you want?" she asked. Brittany motioned towards her
hoverbike.

        "Kismet took off when we weren't looking. If we don't figure out 
where she went, we won't be able to find her for days. Especially with 
the city like it is now," Brittany said, "And if she gets lost, she might
freak out again..."

        Paytan considered that for a moment, then nodded. "You're right.
Did you see which direction she went?"

        Brittany grinned. "You can still see the sun against her wings.
She's off that way. If we get on the bike NOW, we'll be able to follow
her." Paytan followed Brittany, trying to ignore the power wafting up
around her from the bodies of the dying.

                      -==-             -==-

rec.arts.books.childrens
rec.arts.books.hist-fiction
rec.arts.books.reviews
rec.arts.books.tolkien
rec.arts.comics
rec.arts.comics.alternative
rec.arts.comics.creative
rec.arts.comics.dc.lsh
rec.arts.comics.dc.universe
rec.arts.comics.dc.vertigo

                      -==-             -==-

        Just behind the rest of the Junior Brotherhood of Net.Villains,
Dust strode stiff-legged and angry along the sidewalk, her normally shiny
black hair dull and tangled. She had enjoyed being a villain so far - it
beat being the second youngest in a family with seven children. She could
do nearly whatever she wanted, and no one said anything about having to
take a bath every night, or not staying up too late. But now things felt
wrong.

        That freaky cyborg woman was still with them, moving smoothly
behind Fossavellus and Kid Camouflage, red lens of an eye clicking
coldly away.  None of this felt right to Dust, and she could tell that
most of the JBoNV was thinking the same thing. Janey and Mr.Expostion
were sticking to the shadows, out of sight of both Fossavellus and Censor
Girl. Rebecca looked nervous too, even though she was trying not to show
it. Kid Camouflage and Explosion Boy both looked as if they had other
things on their minds. As always, Fossavellus was a cipher.

        Dust frowned, and looked away. She didn't think that protecting
Censor Girl was a good idea at all. The glowing man who had come through
the wall, the one who had sparked the cyborg's transformation, had given
her a sense of foreignness she had never felt before. As if he wasn't even
from this dimension, let alone this world. And now Censor Girl had it
too. She acted as if everyone around her wasn't even alive...

        Dust shuddered, and stuffed her hands into the pockets of her
overalls, thinking wishfully of their base at the outskirts of the city,
and of home. Which is why she didn't see Kismet before it was too late,
and the winged girl had slammed into Censor Girl at maximum diving speed.

        There was a squark as some of the cyborg's systems went offline,
and a scream of surprise from Janey. Mr.Fossavellus cursed. Kismet and
Censor Girl slammed into the side of the wreckage of a building, and
dropped to the ground, Kismet's fists hitting her opponent's silver
exoskeleton with clanging thuds. Rebecca took a step backwards and began
to chant, while Mr.Exposition began to fumble for his hook.

        An angry kick sent Kismet flying, and the red lens of Censor
Girl's left eye began to glow brighter. Janey disappeared into the
shadows, as did Kid Camouflage, though for different reasons. Explosion
Boy looked around for something small he could blow up, as a few feet
away Kismet coughed and began to lever herself to her feet again.

        Mr.Exposition's plot hook clanged into her left wing, catching
just along its top. She reached up and grabbed at it, but Mr.Exposition
was just a little bit faster, bracing himself and yanking on the line
with all his might. Kismet fell again, heavily and unbalanced this time,
cracking her shoulder on a shattered slab of concrete on the way down.

        Rebecca smiled to herself as her chanting began to rise to a
climax. The winged girl was wide open. She raised her hands, and began to
mutter the last few words just as a bolt of neon green sent her tumbling
across the pavement.

        Weirdness Girl's hovercycle careened into view, with Out-of-It
Lass and Perdition hanging on for dear life. Lines of neon green light
ran up and down Perdition's arms, and she began another spell, a look of
intense concentration on her face.

        Kid Camouflage watched from the shadows, her hands curled around
a length of metal piping that had been torn loose from a building during
the explosion of the power plant. She wouldn't let these net.heroes beat
her again, not by a long shot.

        Just as the hovercycle began to slow down enough for everyone to
dismount, KC surged forwards from her hiding place and took a swing at
Brit. It was too late to get out of the way, and Brittany felt the pipe
slam into her shoulder like a bullet. The cycle skewed out of control as
she lost her grip on the handlebars, surging forwards over the broken
concrete directly towards Rebecca and Mr.Fossavellus.

        KC took one last swing as the cycle shot by her, but it was going
too fast to get a second hit in. Fossavellus grabbed Rebecca and dragged
her to the ground with him, in a desperate attempt to get out of the
cycle's way. Brittany looked up at the last minute and saw them, then
grabbed the handlebars with her good hand and twisted them violently to
the side.

        The hovercycle's engine screamed, and the entire vehicle tore off
to the left, throwing Paytan and Savannah to the ground almost directly
on top of the two crouching net.villains. Brittany hung on for dear life
as her cycle skewed down the street, thankful that she had strapped Binky
very securely inside the vehicle's main compartment before they left.
Behind her, Paytan unslung Dirmarw from her back and began to concentrate
again, an angry neon green glow taking shape around her head. Kismet took
advantage of Mr.Exposition's inattentiveness and yanked the line from his
hands, then screamed and threw herself at him, claws outstretched.

        Behind them all, in the shadow of one of the wrecked buildings,
Censor Girl took another step backward, and smiled. She re-established
the systems that had gone offline when the net.hero slammed into her, and
quietly continued with her assignment.  This was exactly the sort of
thing the JBoNV had been hired for. Now they would earn their pay, and
she... she could get back to work.

                      -==-             -==-

rec.video.satellite.dbs
rec.video.satellite.europe
rec.video.satellite.misc
rec.video.satellite.tvro
rec.woodworking
sci.aeronautics.airliners
sci.agriculture.beekeeping
sci.answers
sci.anthropology

                      -==-             -==-

        Things were going badly for the LNHers. Mr.Exposition and Kid
Camouflage were keeping Kismet busy, and Janey still hadn't shown herself
after her initial flight into the shadows. Off to the side, Brittany had
regained control of the hovercycle and swung around, heading toward Dust
and Explosion Boy.

        Just then KC got in a lucky punch, and Kismet dropped to her
knees, hands curled protectively over her stomach. She swept her wings
forward over her head, slamming one into Mr.Expostion's side and forcing
KC to retreat backward a few feet.

        Savannah was staring at a small black pebble. It looked to be a
granite composite of some type, probably formed through extreme heat and
pressure a few geologic ages ago. It was ovoid, like a flattened egg, and
one side of it was covered with tiny pieces of cement. Probably part of a
building support column at some point thought Savannah, when she felt a
tentative touch on her shoulder.

        "Hey lady," said a timid voice, "you wanna fight?"

        Savannah dragged her vision slowly upwards until her eyes rested
on the face of a nine year old girl. Her face was smudged with dirt, and
overshadowed by the large hood of the shapeless garment she wore as part
of her villain costume. A wisp of dirty hair brushed across her face at
just about nose level, and her two front teeth were a little crooked. As
Savannah's gaze bore into Janey's face, the young girl returned stare for
stare, watching the net.heroine's face curiously. Savannah smiled
tentatively.

        "Not really. Who are you?"

        "Hooded Ho'od Win Jr. Who're you?"

        "I'm Out-of-It Lass. Do _you_ really want to fight me?" asked 
Savannah. Janey looked down at the ground.

        "Not really."

        The real battle, however, was centered around Rebecca and Paytan.
Crouching in front of torn up lightpole, the JBoNV sorceress was
muttering to herself frantically, gathering carmine energy around herself
like a blanket. The next attack would be her last if she wasn't careful.
There was already a large bruise forming on her left ribs, and her vision
was still blurred from Paytan's last spell. The LNHer used a type of
magic she was unfamiliar with, no chanting, just concentration and
motions of the hands to guide and shape the power.

        Paytan herself was also on weak ground. She was exhausted, trying
to keep up several protection spells and hold her concentration long
enough to send off an occasional offensive. We must look like fools, she
thought, like boys given swords twice their weight and told to go into
battle. I'd be embarrassed if I wasn't worried about losing an arm or
something. She drew in another breath, and let the power drain sluggishly
through her veins, building up around her palm and fingers. She squinted,
trying to gauge how far the other girl was in her spell.

        Just a little longer... the energy began to glow, shifting like
neon green silt through her fingers. Rebecca's chanting rose to a peak,
and a line of red light lashed out, wrapping around Paytan's shields,
tightening until they were torn to shreds. Paytan grunted and thrust her
power outwards, forcing the strands away from her body. But the other
spell was stronger than her own, and the red light began to slowly cut
through the green.

        If that cord touched her, it would slice right through her skin
and into the muscles and bone beneath. It could kill her.  Paytan braced
herself and closed her eyes, bringing the power into a solid sphere
around her body. If she could keep her spell thick enough...

        In the wreckage of a building off to her left she felt a cloud of
power burst upwards as someone died, and without thinking she began to
reach out toward it. The cord was still moving inward, cutting patiently
through shield after flimsy shield. Offering up a silent apology to the
boy whose heart had just stopped, Paytan netted the energy of his life
and drank it in.

        It soared into her body, younger and fresher than last time.
Bruises healed and her cuts disappeared in a wave of pure delirium. Paytan
laughed, unable to help herself, and blew the sorceress's red strand to
pieces. She hadn't felt like this in years. This was better than last
time, much better. It was as if she could move mountains, like she could
reach out and brush heaven with her fingers. She laughed again, louder
this time, and rimmed her body in a glow of neon green bright enough to
blind. She felt like a god.

        Rebecca flinched backwards and dove out of the way just before a
killing blast of power roared by her and slammed into a wrecked car. She
could smell the stench of stolen life in the weave of the magic, black
snakelike loops and coils hanging heavy on the air. So that's what the
LNHer was. A blood sorceress. A black magician.

        Paytan smiled and skipped forward a few steps, light as air. She
had missed the girl, partially because she hadn't really concentrated
enough to aim well. This time she wouldn't miss. Show her who was the
_real_ sorceress here. The power peaked inside her again and let it
course into her hands, taking a deep breath to steady herself.

        Something twisted inside the magic and slammed into her mind,
shattering her concentration and sending her to the ground. A boy of
fourteen or so stumbled into her thoughts, coughing up blood and trailing
it behind him as he ran. She felt him reach out for something to hold on
and find only emptiness, fall forwards in the darkness and cry out
hopelessly. He was coughing up blood and trying to speak, but all that
came out was a pitiful mewing. He reached out, fingers grabbing at the
emptiness. Without thinking Paytan reached out to him, and their fingers
touched for an instant until the picture dissolved into a thousand pieces
and disappeared.

        Then she was back, the high gone. The power was still there 
though, rushing through her and pouring into her center. Paytan shook her 
head to clear it, trying to figure out what had happened.

        Brittany was also having a bit of trouble, as a cloud of
kinetically controlled dust flew straight for her eyes. She wished for a
moment that she had remembered to bring her swim goggles along, then
resorted to simply firing the massive set of cableguns that were mounted
on the front of the hovercycle.

        Both guns functioned smoothly, doing what all cableguns were
designed to do: create massive amounts of property damage without
actually seeming to hurt anyone. Two large craters appeared in the ground
near Dust, and she lost her concentration as she was showered with tiny
pieces of concrete. Explosion Boy, on the other hand, was a little bit
more prepared.

        He took a medium-sized rock in his hand and charged it up, then
threw it towards the hovercycle with as much force as he could muster.
The explosion jolted the bike off course, sending Brit skidding off to his
left, almost out of control.

        Kismet stumbled to her feet just as KC came in for another hit,
and Brit managed to get control of the bike again. Paytan and Rebecca
completed their spells in almost the same instant, the attacks meeting
halfway and detonating with enough force to send the two minor
sorceresses to the ground. Paytan wheezed and tried to get to her feet
again. She didn't have enough power left for another a try, and she
didn't relish taking on another magic user with only a sword, especially
in her weakened condition.

        Brittany took stock of the situation and came to a rather
depressing conclusion: if they waited any longer they were gonna get
their butts severely kicked by these net.villians. She scanned the
controls on the hoverbike, 80% of which she still didn't know how to use.
The 20% she did understand controlled the cableguns, the bikes main hover
system, and the radio, none of which were of any use.  It was time to
start pressing buttons.

        The first indication the JBoNV had that anything had changed was
large boom, echoing up and down the street, as the hovercycle's lower
storage compartments opened, dumping a large manual, a _very_ old
pastrami sandwich, and a pair of light orange swim trunks out on the
ground. The second was the large warhead that began to deploy from
beneath the craft's hover engines.

        "Ha! Good button!" yelled Brittany, and gunned the engines, 
hurtling towards Paytan. "C'mon, Paytan, hop on!"

        Paytan gave Brittany a look of utter disbelief, which didn't seem
to deter her any. So she flashed a quick smile at Rebecca, then ran a few
steps to the left and grabbed Savannah before the other sorceress could
do anything. The bike hurtled towards them, and Paytan braced herself
against the side of a concrete slab, one hand reaching out towards Brit,
the other wrapped securely around Savannah's waist.

        Savannah smiled one last time at Hooded Ho'od Win Jr., and waved
weakly. She closed her eyes a second before she was yanked into the air,
hearing Paytan's grunt of stress only peripherally. Brittany dragged the
two of them on board, or at least partly on board, before swinging around
and charging at KC and Kismet.

        "Kismet, get outta here!" yelled Paytan, hoping the girl wasn't
too pissed off to pay attention to her. Kismet swung around, got a good
look at the bike-and-warhead combination heading towards her, and burst
into the flight, wings pumping frantically to get some airspace between
her and the JBoNV. "Fire the missile, Brit! Fire the missile!" Paytan
yelled.

        Brittany pushed the bike even more, until the engines were giving
off a high pitched whine, surging past KC and Mr.Exposition before they
had a chance to react, and heading down the street away from them as fast
as possible. "I would if I knew how!" she yelled back.

        "If you WHAT!?"

        "If I knew how! Luckily they were intimidated by the possibility 
that I might actually know what I was doing! You want a jellybean?"

                      -==-             -==-

soc.support.fat-acceptance
soc.support.transgendered
soc.support.youth.gay-lesbian-bi
soc.women
talk
talk.abortion
talk.bizarre
talk.environment
talk.euthanasia

                      -==-             -==-

        "Gee, yet another brilliant success," yelled Paytan over the
wind.

        "Come on, Paytan," called Brittany back. "You know you enjoyed
it."

        "Oh yeah. Getting my butt handed to me is high on the list of fun
things to do on a sunny afternoon."

        "Aww. You just unhappy because Binky didn't..." Brittany
continued to say her line, but it took a few moments for her to realize
that nothing was coming out. She then realized that she couldn't hear the
engine of the bike either.

        Then, suddenly, she could. "What was that?"

        "It was centered on those two people back there," Brittany heard
Savannah say. "The male was wearing spandex underneath his clothes. I
could see parts of it sticking out."

        Brittany swung the hover bike around.

        "What are you doing?" Paytan screamed.

        "Fellow LNHers in trouble..." Brittany's voice faded again, as
did all the sound, and she shut the bike off immediately. Which was a
shame because that meant that inertia caused them to play sardines.

        By the time Brittany got her breath back, there was a woman
standing beside them. She stuck out her hand.

        "... " she said, then turned to her companion, and waved him to
go back further. The man did, with a sheepish look. "Sorry about that.
Are you with the LNH?" she asked.

        "Hi, I'm Weirdness Girl," said Brittany, shaking the hand. "This
is Out-Of-It Lass, and the girl with the scowl is Perdition. Would you
like a jelly bean? Well, actually, I left them back in my room, and only 
have those blue ones left, but you're perfectly welcome to come and get 
some."

        "Yeah, well, they've obviously been keeping up their usual 
standards. My name's Marsha Burgenstock. I.. used to be with the LNH, 
"Marsha's smiled slipped somewhat, "but I left for personal reasons."

        "Can't blame you for that," said Paytan. "Got a few problems
with them myself. Well, one of them anyway."

        Brittany grinned. "Aw, you and Allen make a lovely couple."

        "Anyway," said Marsha forcefully, "that man over there is 
Inacoustic Kid." She pointed dramatically, and they all looked, but no 
one seemed particularly impressed.

        "He's been missing for over a year?" Marsha prompted. The others 
looked at each other, then shrugged. "After your time, obviously. Well, 
he was kidnapped by Queen Enterprises, and had his silencing field
extended by 20 meters permanently."

        "Don't they make video games?" asked Brittany brightly. "I'm sure 
I've seen a few of their games down the arcade. I took Binky there once,
but he couldn't play very well, due to currently being a fish."

        Marsha stared at her for a moment, before looking askance at the
others.

        "Queen Enterprises. I think Fan.Boy's been messing around with 
them," said Paytan, a frown on her face. "There's some pretty heavy stuff
going on there. We even got a morph from them that was killed in our own 
Medlab."

        Marsha raised an eyebrow. "Right. Well, could you point us in the
right direction?"

        "Well, I could take you on my bike, but there's hardly enough 
room for all of us."

        "I'll take them," said Paytan hurriedly, jumping off. "You just
go ahead and ride back the LNHQ. I'll be fine."

        "You sure? Perhaps we could stick a board or something to the 
side..."

        "No, no," both Marsha and Paytan were quick to assure her. "You 
just go ahead."

        "Okay," said Brittany. "See you back at the LNHQ. Binky bless!"

        With that, Brittany roared off, leaving two relieved women to walk
behind.

                      -==-             -==-

vuw.general
wcc.citynet
wcc.test
wgtn.chat
wgtn.test
wgtn.wan-ideas

        And then it was over.

                      -==-             -==-






                      -==-             -==-

        The only voices in the city that night were sirens, wailing
around the blast sight like moths round a flame. Roads were dark for
the first time in decades, only shattered glass and metal lying where the
streetlamps had been. The air was thick with dust and the smell of
shattered concrete. Far above, even the stars seemed to have dimmed.

        Brittany's bike roared into the LNHQ parking lot just as the moon 
rose over the city, dyed an eerie grey by the air. A small white shape 
fluttered down from the third floor to meet her as she walked in, coming 
to roost neatly on her shoulder. Paytan, Marsha, and Inacoustic Kid had 
arrived later, moving a little more slowly. After that, all was still.

        Far above them all, warping space around him so he couldn't be
seen, Barry looked down on the city of Net.ropolis. His life was
fulfilled. the Net was his.

________________________________________________________________________
Binky, Dirmarw, Kismet, Out-of-It Lass, Perdition, Weirdness Girl,
Dust, Rebecca, Hooded Ho'od Win Jr., Mr.Exposition, and Mr.Fossavellus
copyright Jennifer Whitson, 1995. Kid Camouflage and Explosion Boy are
also mine, once Mike Escutia's. Marsha Burgenstock and Inacoustic Kid
are Enright's. And Censor Girl is Public domain.

Next Issue:

       Back to Fan.Boy! Back to Fan.Boy! (#17) Shoo, shoo! Then, and only 
           then can you come back to Misfits #21. =)

       The net.weirdness continues, the plot thickens, and More fun, fun,
           fun, with Censor Girl and her new set of lackeys, the JBoNV!

========================================================================
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