Tales of the LNH #332: Guess Who's coming for Breakfast

             | |      Tales of the			
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             |____|   \__]    \__ |  |_|   \__/   |_|\_\
                                |_|  OF NET.HEROES

                     #332: Guess Who's coming for Breakfast

[ Tales of the LNH #330 marked the first appearance of Bishoujo Sailor
  Senshi Panta - and immediately in Tales #331, Manga Man attacked Panta
  while she was cooking liver and onions for 20,000. What will the poor
  leopard girl do now - now that she's got the OverCute Gem and 19,550
  helpings of liver and onions?]

		By Hubert Bartels and Jamas Enright

Even when Panta covered her cat ears with both pillows, she could hear the
thumping on the door. 


Panta snuggled deeper into her bed. It really wasn't fair. She'd worked hard
moving the leftovers into the statis chamber and only got into bed around
11ish. Late for the leopard girl. It was now, what? 7ish? and the LNH expected
her to be up early for the next assignment. 


Panta sighed, sat up and stretched in a pose that would excite fanboys
across the world. Well, there was no way to avoid getting up when Captain
Capitalize was pounding on the door of your room.

She scratched under a cat-ear  and reached for her shortened, midriff-revealing
T-shirt and a pair of cut-off jeans. 

Stretching again and yawning, she padded across the room toward the bathroom.
It wasn't really her room - it had been reassigned to another LNHer when Panta
had disappeared through the airlock in the LNH basement. (Tales of the LNH#321)
But when she had come back, she had reclaimed the room, tossing the piles of
unwashed laundry into a LNH dumpster and sweeping the other junk aside. A
few of her original items were still in the closet - including the cat-bell
she now buckled around her neck.

Panta left the bathroom door open as she stepped up to the sink. She grinned
at her image in the mirror and bent down to pick up a dropped towel.


The laser blast from the wall blew the shards of the mirror clear into the
next room; the hot gases of the shot singed Panta's hair. Had she remained
standing, she would have been vaporized.

Panta was bent over when the shockwave of the laserblast crashed in the tiny
bathroom. She was just beginning to straighten up in amazement when the wall
tumbled inwards to reveal a shiny black metal claw.


The claw punched half-away into the room. Panta threw herself sideways as the
second claw thrust itself through the showerwall, shattering the plumbing.

Again, the laser fired, a red beam of hot dust and gases. The water in the
ruined bathroom flashed into steam. Panta held her breath to avoid breathing
the superheated steam. As the claws loosened more stones from the wall, Panta
crawled out of the bathroom 

A third claw pushed aside the ruins of the sink; Panta could now make out a
menacing shape behind the clouds of steam. It was big. It had a single large
red lens of an eye and multiple legs tipped with deadly black claws.

And it was hanging from the outside wall of the LNH headquarters building,
many stories above the streets of Net.ropolis. A Mecha-spider. Manga Man's

"Shinu!" it broadcast as the grotesque mecha pulled itself into the bathroom.

Panta rolled over the bed and under a desk as the Mecha-spider rotated and
fired diagonally across the room, a blade of red flame that left charred and
burning strips peeling from the wall and ceiling.

It began to rain on Panta as the firesprinklers came on.

The Mecha-spider, its black side made glossy by the downpour from the sprinkers
overhead, rotated and searched. Panta could see the red lens appear and
disappear as it looked for her. Apparently, her body heat was being washed
out, both by the fires in the room and the cold water from the ceiling.

WHIR-CRASH! A claw shot out, smashing a nightstand to kindling. The Mecha-spider
was going to find her by feel.

Panta backed quietly against the wall. The door was too far away; she would
be seen and smashed even with her cat's agility. 

The Mecha-spider felt out another corner, turning a hatstand into metal bits.

Panta felt something poking her in the back; she pulled it out. It was some
kind of Kirby-type blaster. "I wonder who dropped it?" Panta said to herself
as she flicked her power switch. The blaster made a fine whine that rose in
frequency until she could not hear it anymore. WHEEEeeeeee.....

The Mecha-spider's red lens rotated until it faced Panta's desk - "I found 
you," it said in Japanese.

Panta pulled the trigger. WHOOO-ZZZAPPP! A intense blue beam shot from the
blaster. It shattered the red lens and punched out the back of the Mecha-spider.

Then the Mecha-spider exploded. KER-BUUUMMMMMMM!

Smoke poured from Panta's door as she closed it behind her. Her hearing was
a little deafened and her clothes were soaking wet - but she was alive. She
leaned against the door and caught her breath.

"Like wow, Panta. What are you doing up here?"  California Kid asked.

Panta blinked. "I just got up, why?"

"I thought I saw you on.... Oh, Panta, why is there smoke coming from your

"Smoke? Oh, that," Panta giggled. "I've got a bug problem. I need to talk
to Captain Cleanup about that..." Panta giggled again. "A big bug problem."

                 *                  *                   *

Panta wasn't supposed to slide down the bannisters - it broke all the rules
and several OSHA regulations - but she did it anyway. It was faster than
walking down.

On the fourth floor, still picking up speed, she passed Fan.Boy and another
person walking up. Something about Fan.Boy's companion caused her to clamp
down and slow up. Something familar. Panta hopped off the bannister and
began running up the stairs.

Fan.Boy stopped on the fourth floor and checked on his companion. "Just a
little down the hallway," he said.

She smiled at him and took his hand.

Someone else was running up the stairs at a full run as the two walked down
the hallway. Whoever it was, stopped at the top of the stairs and yelled,

Fan.Boy and Panta turned slowly to look. Then Fan.Boy jumped back in surprise,
stumbling against Panta's wet body.  At the top of the stairs stood an LNHer
he thought he knew very well: Panta.

The Panta at the top of the stairs approached him. The Panta standing beside
him glared at the newcomer.

While, given the chance, Fan.Boy could probably have thought of several people
would be glad to be stuck between two leopard girls, right now, he wouldn't
count himself one of them.

Taking control with a great opening line, Fan.Boy said "Ah - hi, Panta."

The two Pantas glared at each other. "Who's this?" they chorused in a low and
warning tone.

Unable to think of any other action, Fan.Boy resorted to introductions.
"Panta, this is Panta. Panta, this is Panta." Maybe it was expecting too
much for them to just shake hands.

The Panta that had been holding Fan.Boy's hand let go, and started circling
the other Panta. As the other Panta was wearing the same wet clothes, even
the same catbell, Fan.Boy soon lost track of which Panta was which Panta.

"Oh hello, Fan.Boy," someone else said. The voice was unfamilar.

Fan.Boy turned away from the catfight-in-the-making to stare down the hallway.
An unfamilar figure waved and walked up to him. 

Fan.Boy gaped. He was sure that he'd never met this man. "Er, do I know you?"

"No," replied the man, "But it just proved my deduction. Given the FB insignia
on your costume, the conclusion is elementary, of course."

It was now no amazing leap of brilliance that allowed Fan.Boy to work out
who he was talking to. "Oh wow. Deductive Logic Man. Good to meet you."
They shook hands.

Deductive Logic Man, turned to take in the situation. "Why are we now
blessed with two Pantas?" he asked.

"One's an imposter. Some sort of 'morph. I saw it change from Master Blaster
into Panta."

"Hmmm," Deductive Logic Man mused.

"But, of course, the other one could also be a 'morph. Hard to tell."

The two Pantas were still circling one another, mirroring each others moves.
Both their tails were flicking about, and their ears were twitching.

"Which is which?" Deductive Logic Man asked.

"Umm," Fan.Boy reddened. "I don't know - I lost track after they started to
circle each other."

"Perhaps we should take them up to Doc Stomper and Organic Lass and let them
work out who is who?" Deductive Logic Man finally said.

"She's the imposter!" both Pantas said, pointing out the other Panta. "Take her

Fan.Boy looked at the two Pantas flexing their claws. "How are we going to do
that? Seems a bit dangerous."

"Hmmm," Deductive Logic Man thought. He leaned over to Fan.Boy and whispered
in his ear.

Fan.Boy nodded.

"Hey, what are you whispering about?" one of the Pantas said.

"Yeah, what are you whispering about?" the other Panta chimed in.

"It seems that," Deductive Logic Man began, "logically, there being two Pantas,"

"...the medical files need to be updated," Fan.Boy ended. "The real Panta would
want her file up to date."

"I'll go," one Panta stated.

"I'll go," the other Panta echoed.

Fan.Boy took the hand of the Panta closest to him as Deductive Logic Man took
the hand of the other Panta. The hand felt just like the one Panta had given
earlier - but Fan.Boy wasn't sure anymore. 

Deductive Logic Man led the way to the Medical Section of the LNH, his Panta
turning every so often to stick out her tongue and make faces at the Panta
that Fan.Boy was leading. Fan.Boy's Panta responded in the same way. 

It was a long walk.

		[To be continued in Fan.Boy #8 and Tales #333]

---Thanks to Jamas Enright for Fan.Boy and most of the latter half of the story.

Optical Sciences Center                        hgb@catalina.opt-sci.arizona.edu
University of Arizona      "There is no situation so bad that it cannot be made
Tucson, AZ, USA 85721   worse by a creative bastard with a sick sense of humor."
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