[LNH/ARCA] Legion of Net.Heroes Vol.2 #23 [Acraphobe content warning: contains sexual and scatalogical references, and general mental imagery that you'll probably want to unthink later.] [Continuity note: This story occurs just before _Beige Countdown_ #12] ___ ___________________________ | |-| \ | |-|  / #23 | | |  egion of \ 'Slash Fiction' | | | __     / Intermezzo - Act 1 | | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ (A Beige Countdown tie-in) | | | \ ] [ __ ] / | |-|     \ written by and copyright 2007 | |-|___________________________/ Saxon Brenton | | | | | | The painted cover has a scene with a large flock of sea birds of | | the genus Sula nesting and feeding by a tropical shoreline. | | The covers blurb exclaims: "Hey kids! Look! Boobies!" | | | | | | |_| [Roll call for this issue:] o Senses Lass! o Catalyst Lass! o Master Blaster! o MegaChurch Man! o Multi-Tasking Man! o Psionic Lad! o Special Bonding Boy! o WikiBoy! These are just some of the super-powered do-gooders who belong to an organisation that thinks that running around with your underwear on the outside is acceptable as a fashion statement. They are: the Legion of Net.Heroes! @%%%%%%%%%%@ =( 'Irony Man decisively took off the helmet of his high-tech battle suit and looked the black-clad master of ninjitsu squarely in the eye. "Ultimate Ninja, I have something important to tell you, but I'm pretty sure you're not going to like it. Hell, I don't like it, but I have to face facts and get this out in the open rather than let it stew. I love you. I've always loved you. I think you're the most awesome leader that the Legion has ever had. I worship the ground you walk on, and I get hard just thinking about the perfection of your body." ' =( ' "Say nothing, Toony-san," said Ultimate Ninja, and with but a single deft movement removed his one-piece costume, revealing to all the world that he too was aroused. "The Zen perfection of this moment needs no words." ' =( 'They took each other in their arms, and their mouths met in a passionate kiss...' )= ACK!!! Cheesecake-Eater Lad almost dropped the plate of pot roast ripple cheesecake that he had been in the process of serving to Pizza Girl. A reflexive use of his own ninjitsu skills prevented a messy accident from occurring, but truthfully they probably wouldn't have noticed if it had. For a terrible second they stared at each other, their faces frozen in a rictus that read: 'Did I really just think that?'. The rest of the world came back. The sounds of people going "Eeeew!" or in some cases trying to suppress nervous laughter dragged Cheesecake-Eater Lad's attention back to the rest of the cafeteria, where other Legionnaires had suddenly lost interest in their meals as well. At the very least they were surprised. Some were outright horrified. Several kiwis had their green feathers fluffed up in agitation, and Master Blaster had made an enormous mess on his table by choking on his drink and having Mr Paprika snort out his nose (now that's a seriously startled LNHer's pop!). "What the Hell was that!?" Master Blaster demanded. At another table entirely Senses Lass was one of only a few net.heroes who were looking thoughtful. She stood up with an air of purpose and determination about her, and around the cafeteria eyes turned in her direction. She was a red-head with a voluptuous figure and breasts that were even bigger than Power Girl's. As the old joke went, she was literally physically incapable of falling flat on her face. That was not what drew their gaze. In fact she was cheating a bit, and was deliberately if lightly using her powers to alter perceptions to catch their attention. She said, "That was a psychic broadcast, possibly it was an attack. Don't let it rattle you. If it *was* an attack then becoming unbalanced is what our enemies want." Then she coughed nervously because she wasn't really used to public speaking yet. She turned off her powers and left. "Hey, Senses Lass, wait up!" came a voice from behind her. Senses Lass turned to see Catalyst Lass following her from the cafeteria. "Cat! Hello. How's the campaigning going?" "It's going just great," Cat replied brightly. "So, what do you think about what just happened?" She shrugged. "It was a psychic broadcast," she repeated. "I didn't recognise the mind it was coming from. I got a direction but not a range..." "Mutant Town?" Cat guessed impishly. Senses Lass nodded with a wry grin. "'Fraid so. I'd like to go scout around. See if there's anything I can find closer to the source, or if I can get a triangulation if it happens again." Catalyst Lass nodded. "Okey-dokey. But keep in touch, and don't hesitate to call for backup if you need it." @%%%%%%%%%%@ Multi-Tasking Man sighed, took another gulp of hyper-caffeinated coffee, and moved on to the next webpage. .oO( Infinite April, the STUFF.org disaster and then the President's Net.ahuman Responsibility Act have certainly taken the shine off of the reputation of all heroes, ) he thought. .oO( Even saving the city from Mynabird and his army of net.villains only improved our standing a little bit. ) [Infinite April is what the public calls the Infinite Leadership Crisis. The events at STUFF.org and the subsequent passage of the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act were in the _58.5_ limited series. The Legion returned to fight Mynabird's net.villains at the end of the Infinite Leadership Crisis in _LNH Comics Presents_ #501 - Footnote Girl] Multi-Tasking Man knew that the problem was this: the Legion were public figures. Often controversial public figures. Commentary (both good and bad, fair and unfair) was to be expected. But not everybody could be expected to be witty and pointedly relevant in their opinions. Some of them fell back on simple acrimony, slander and rudeness. And then there was Internet Rule 34: if it exists, there will be porn about it. So when a sexually explicit depiction of the Legion was put in the public domain, was this an example of gutterminded slander, or of genuine erotic appreciation arriving from out of left field? The charcoal drawings of Catalyst Lass posing for a swimsuit edition were borderline. But then there was a text story where Easily- Discovered Man and Easily-Discovered Man Lite had a Batman and Robin style relationship out of Frederick Wertham's most lurid fantasies. The style of the... prose... made Multi-Tasking Man suspect that it was probably legally actionable. He had made a note of it - one of far too many in his opinion - to be sent for review by the Legion's lawyers. Which left the animation with the almost naked Squidman using his mask for tentacle sex. Was the concept of tentacle hentai widely enough understood to be used as slander? Multi-Tasking Man didn't know, and just having to think about it made him want to scrub his brain out with bleach. Multi-Tasking Man wasn't sure whether what had happened this morning was an instance of deliberate vilification or of clumsy erotic appeal. What he did know was that intrusive telepathic broadcasts like that, whether assault, pornography or political comment, would be getting the perpetrator in a whole lot of trouble. @%%%%%%%%%%@ Senses Lass left the LNH-HQ and flew off towards Mutant Town. Normally she would not have assumed that the mystery broadcaster was there, but once the fact had suggested itself it did not surprise her. Mutant Town offered the twin advantage and disadvantage of enabling an evil mastermind to hide in plain sight while at the same time being a bit too obvious a hiding place. Not that you could necessarily expect rational planning from a supervillain. She was making use of a personal flight.thingy, and so the wind rushed through her hair as she made her way across the city. She was also using her powers over perceptions to create a subtle 'don't notice me' effect. It was not particularly strong, but in the airspace over Mutant Town it did not have to be. One more flying woman was hardly a remarkable occurrence and it was easier to influence people into ignoring her as unimportant than it was to forcibly edit their perceptions to not see her at all. Especially since most of her attention was focused on feeling for any familiar telepathic traces. There were none that Senses Lass could detect. After an hour of searching she paused to reassess the situation. Her time had not been totally wasted because she had foiled two muggings and rescued a cat from a tree, but she was getting no closer to achieving her primary goal. Unfortunately she was limited to only doing passive scans that picked up whatever was being broadcast. Active telepathic probes were beyond her; it was simply the nature of her powers. She landed on a rooftop to think. She was now on the far side of Mutant Town, the area that some called a net.ahuman community and others a net.ahuman ghetto. Both descriptions were true, but both were also vast oversimplifications. Mutant Town understood difference, so, for example, it was little wonder that when extraterrestrial youngsters came to study on Earth, Net.ropolis was a favoured destination. Many aliens settled down in and around the Mutant Town area. This was because it's always a good thing to live in a community which automatically understood about alternate biologies and was prepared to cater to diets that used a different biochemical base. And speaking of aliens, an idea occurred to Senses Lass. Perhaps she should go and speak with John. @%%%%%%%%%%@ =( 'A sweaty Cheesecake-Eater Lad walked in to mens' change room after his training session. He peeled off his costume and turned on the hot water for a shower. Then, on the spur of them moment he paused before one of the full length mirrors and struck a Charles Atlas pose. He had to admit, he looked good. =( '"You have lost weight," observed Kid Kirby.' =( 'Slowly, almost lazily, Cheesecake-Eater Lad turned around. He had not heard the Kirbian enter, but it did not do for a man trained as a ninja to admit surprise to anything. "Ever since I cracked the secret of non-fattened cheesecake I've been putting work into getting rid of my love handles," he purred dangerously. "So, tell me Kid Kirby, what brings you down here? I would have thought you had no more need of going to the mens' room than you need to breathe when you're in space."' =( '"In truth there are some bodily functions that I have chosen *not* to transcend," declaimed Kid Kirby. He raised one clenched fist and pounded it against his chest. In response there was a burst of Kibry Krackle and his armour went away, relegated to some unthinkable dimensional until such time as he saw need to recall it to back him.' =( '"Ah," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad knowingly. He steeped forward and ran both hands across those magnificent pectorals and down those washboard abs. "You really do have a cosmic body."...')= Psionic Lad leaned back in his chair and frowned. Well, that had been a bust. He had been waiting to see if another story fragment would be telepathically beamed at the Legion. It had been his intention to lock onto it and trace it back to its source, thereby discovering whether it was indeed a net.villain attack, or a prank, or a particularly ill-considered piece of advertising by one of the telepathic porn pay services. To Psionic Lad's consternation his plan had not panned out. His psi tracer had dissolved away into nothingness as soon as the broadcast message had ended, just like the way his first attempt to grab onto the earlier sending had failed. It wasn't just him being unprepared then. There was something 'slippery' about these particular transmissions. The whole situation was beginning to look more and more suspicious. "Psionic Lad?" Psionic Lad looked up. "Oh, hey there Special Bonding Boy." "You look a bit peeved." "I'm just having trouble trying to trace those telepathic broadcasts," said Psionic Lad. "Ah, well, that's just what I wanted to talk to you about. I may be able to add a tidbit of information." "Really?" "You know how most of the Legion is convinced that it... they... may be a deliberate supervillain attack? I'm not so sure about that. I may not be a full telepath, but my empathy is strong enough to have felt the emotions attached to the broadcast. I didn't feel any malice during the incident." "None at all?" said Psionic Lad, intrigued. He hadn't been paying attention to that aspect. "So was there any emotional content?" "Yes," said Special Bonding Boy. "Lust." @%%%%%%%%%%@ Senses Lass arrived at the Mutant Town Community Psychic College and went to visit one of the headmasters. "Mary-Anne. Good to see you again," said John Goodberries as he shook Senses Lass's hand. He was tall, thin and purple, and although he spoke fluent English his speech was lightly flavoured with the literally alien accent of the Inhilators. "Please come in. What brings you here?" "I just needed to ask you if you experienced a psychic broadcast earlier today." He smiled. "A few, actually. You'll need to be more specific." She outlined the circumstances of her investigation. John Goodberries listened carefully and then shook his head. "I can't say that I encountered that one. But we should ask John as well," he said, referring - as Senses Lass knew - to John Fishwoods, who was John Goodberries' partner in operating the psychic school. Goodberries checked a timetable and said, "He was teaching clairvoyance at about that time, and either he or his students might have experienced something." "Okay," said Senses Lass, and then she felt as slight rushing sensation as Goodberries contacted Fishwoods and included her in the psi link. After a perfunctory greeting she repeated her story and this time gave the two extraterrestrials her memory of the event. She could feel John Fishwoods giving the memory grave consideration, but from Goodberries there was also a flicker of surprise and amusement. =( I am sorry Senses Lass, )= replied Fishwoods. =( I did not feel that, and none of my students or any of the other sensitives I have talked to today have mentioned anything like that. )= .oO( Thank you anyway, ) she thought. Fishwoods gave a telepathic farewell and then Goodberries closed the connection. She gave Goodberries a wry look. "This might be intrusive, but did I feel amusement from you?" John Goodberries looked somewhat abashed. "Yes, I'm afraid so. Not at the discomfort that it caused to the Legion," he hastened to add. "It's just that I've always been amazed and surprised at the Earth human obsession with sex. To be honest, I've always thought it would be better if your people had a set mating season. It would make things so much simpler." "I think I can agree we that," she said, at the same time taking note of his use of the phrase 'your people'. She felt comfortable with it, and she realised that she liked the way it made her feel like she was included among humans rather than as a human-shaped construct built to infiltrate the Legion and destroy it with sexual wiles. And since they were on the subject of mating seasons she wondered if she should enquire about John's own problems. She decided against it. But still... John Goodberries was one of the extraterrestrials left behind after the failed attack on the Looniearth by the Inhilators. [In the _War Without Worlds_ miniseries - Footnote Girl]. The Inhilators had come in their garishly coloured mobile planet to telekinetically tear apart the Looniearth and snort it up to get a psychic high. The Legion had stopped them. However, when the rogue planet had been teleported away sans its world-sized plot device engine, it had left behind a few tens of thousands of aliens from the Inhilator underclass for no reason that anyone had been able to adequately explain. After a while they had recovered enough from a lifetime of living in the stultifying psionosphere of their home planet to stop drooling, and had thereafter integrated as well as any other net.ahuman minority. However, the Inhilator ruling class hadn't *just* kept their proles in a barely conscious, blissed-out state in order to tap their collective psychic power for the rulers' own use. They had controlled pretty much every part of the proles' lives, including breeding. Normally the proles were, one and all, literally sexless being - lacking both genitals and sex drive. It was only when the rulers decided that the prole numbers had dropped below optimal level that they would activate the psychic trigger in a segment of the underclass population to prompt them to procreate. The proles left behind on the Looniearth had made considerable advances in establishing themselves as a self-aware and self-motivated population. Some of them, like Goodberries and Fishwoods, had even worked to develop their mental abilities for themselves rather than as psychic batteries for others. But even they had not yet discovered the psychic trigger that controlled their breeding cycle. Unless they could find it, then the current generation of Inhilators on Earth would be the only generation of Inhilators on Earth. Senses Lass pushed these musings away. "How is the school going?" she asked. "Not too good," he said frankly. "Enrolments are dropping off, and a number of students are withdrawing. We may have to close within the year." That was astonishing news. "But why?" she asked, genuinely confused. "I mean, even if the number of people interested in the advanced classes goes down, there should still be a demand from new psis who need to learn basic psychic skills." "There are," he agreed. "After all, the humans of this planet are a latent psychic species, and I expect that there will always people who are breaking out with at least some telepathic powers. That isn't the issue." "Then what's the problem?" "The Net.ahuman Responsibility Act has people scared," was John's simple reply. She frowned. "They don't think training is a good idea?" "The problem isn't the issue of training," said John. "Well, not for most people who are worried about the Act. The compulsory aspect is causing some concern, because for every person who compares it to having to pass a driving test and registering to own a car, there seems to be someone else who cites the fact that you don't have to register to own a gun. The National Rifle Association is telling anyone who'll listen that this is nothing more than the first move in an elaborate plan to sneak in gun control laws." Senses Lass thought this was unlikely. "Considering that President Luthor has had control of all three levels of government ever since the anti-torture legislation was enacted [In the 'American Nightmare' arc, _Haiku Gorilla #297-327 - Footnote Girl], I think that if he wanted to pass gun control laws he wouldn't need to 'sneak'." "True, and to be fair that's only what a minority are saying. The main complaint as far as I can tell is that the Responsibility Act might be a backdoor for superhuman conscription. After what happened at STUFF.org people seem to be happy enough with the idea that powerful superhumans who dress up as net.heroes and go looking to solve problems with fight scenes be put on a leash. They're less keen on the idea that someone who wakes up one day with minor powers and just wants to learn enough that they don't risk accidentally burning their house down has to register in order to learn control and by doing that making themselves vulnerable to being drafted. A lot of people have dropped out of classes here since the passage of the Act, and the number of people who enrol for basic training in the first place is down." "So what are the new psis doing for training?" she asked. "I know for a fact that the sales of self-help psychic training books are up. I have anecdotal evidence about unregistered teachers who operate in the black economy, running classes of varying sizes." He shrugged. "I suspect that most of the paper trails are being hidden as 'home schooling' or as 'faith based learning'. There are some cults that teach mental disciplines and the government is less likely to interfere in religious organisations without solid evidence of misdoings in case there's a political backlash." "And the Psychic College has always been a high visibility but low profit organisation," mused Senses Lass. "Yes, I can see why this would be causing problems." John shrugged again. "Low turnover or not, we're a business catering to a demand, and if there's no demand..." He spread his hands in a gesture of stoic acceptance. "We shall have to see how things play out," he said calmly. In truth the situation worried him greatly. He had come from a culture where the rulers controlled people ruthlessly to the rulers' benefit, and there was no way that he would be part of that again. He was carefully monitoring how the administration of the Act was progressing. And if things went too far... Well, John Goodberries wasn't sure whether there would be a tragic fire that gutted the school in the middle of the night and destroyed all the school's records, or whether the records would be confiscated by what looked for all the world like a government conspiracy no matter how much the government denied it, but he was certain that the paperwork in his files would be lost forever. @%%%%%%%%%%@ WikiBoy reflexively stiffened in dread as someone sat down next to him. Don't acknowledge and don't turn to look to see who it is, he told himself. That would only attract attention. He only relaxed when MegaChurch Man said, "Hey there, WikiBoy. How are you doing?" "Oh, hi, MegaChurch Man. I'm cool." "I'm glad to hear it." Suddenly: =( 'WikiBoy snuggled up against the equally naked Master Blaster. They were alone at last, with just the well-stoked fireplace and a bottle of Dom Perignon. He buried his face in the luxurious chest hair of his Daddy Bear and made a sound of contentment...' )= and MegaChurch Man could tell that WikiBoy was not longer cool. "I'M GONNA KILL HIM!!!" It was Master Blaster's voice. WikiBoy turned pale. He could see the future fast approaching, and it had worlds of hurt in it. MegaChruch Man looked at the Legionnaire That Anyone Can Edit and said, "You know, I think you were planning on going on vacation starting a few days ago, and as I recall you were going to keep the location a secret so no-one could contact you and spoil your rest. You'd better skedaddle." The last thing the MegaChurch Man saw as WikiBoy vanished was a grateful smile hanging, Cheshire Cat-like, in mid-air. Then Master Blaster barged in. "Where is he!?" "Where's who?" "WikiBoy!" "I don't know where he is," MegaChruch Man answered truthfully. "Why do you ask? Maybe I can help instead." "I'm not going to put up with this crap with someone spreading pornography about the Legion." Then he paused for half a second before adding, "Not that type of pornography anyway." "Er, Master Blaster, I don't think WikiBoy was the one who was projecting those sex scenes," said MegaChurch Man. He hoped. Considering the nature of WikiBoy's powers, it was always possible that someone else had instructed WikiBoy to telepath them into everyone else's head. "But he's the one who I can get my hands on, RIGHT NOW!" snarled Master Blaster. It was enough to make MegaChurch Man want to put his face in his hands and do a double facepalm. Instead he indicated the chair beside him in an invitation to sit down and said, "Rob, let's talk about... anger management." @%%%%%%%%%%@ On the way back to the LNH-HQ Senses Lass got to fight supervillains. She was flying the long way around the perimeter of Mutant Town when a bank robbery in downtown Net.ropolis caught her attention. An SUV chunkily mounted with armour plating and a giant tuning fork on the front was using sonic vibrations to shake apart the doors of bank. Five costumed goons (it actually said 'Goon' on the fronts and backs of their green and purple coveralls) armed with small tuning fork guns and apparently protected by their headgear were swarming into the bank. Citizens were either fleeing or had already collapsed under the onslaught of the ultra-sonic vibrations. A few security guards who had tried to intervene were also lying on the ground unconscious. Senses Lass briefly pondered how to deal with this situation. True, she could manipulate her own sense of hearing so that she didn't perceive their sound attacks, or even arrange it so that she did but didn't experience any pain. That, however, was merely the *perception* of the ultra-sonic attacks, not the ultra-sonics themselves. It wouldn't change the fact that the sounds powerful enough to tear apart a steel shop front would still be beating against her body and threatening to damage her eardrums. There was a fairly obvious solution. She rendered herself unnoticeable and then dropped down from the sky, landing a fair distance away and off to one side of the SUV, getting a good look inside with telescopic vision. As she suspected there was a sixth goon there, and with relative ease she befuddled him with a sense of doubt and confusion as to how well the tuning fork was working. He adjusted the controls to make the sonic weapon work properly, but in fact was deactivating it. In the seconds before his compatriots realised that their main defensive cover had been shut down she sprinted up to the driver, wrenched him out of the driver's seat and shut down his sense of self, then left him lying on the road in a temporary fugue state. The other goons returned. After all the fruitless searching of the past few hours Senses Lass felt a moment of grim satisfaction at being able to take out her frustrations on this lot. She shouldn't have, of course. If nothing else she worried that she might become addicted to violent emotions and backslide into supervillainy. They opened fire on her, but she caused their aim to go wild (actually, low; she didn't want them hitting any bystanders). Then she set about beating the snot out of them. She could have simply rendered them unconscious with any number of mental feats, but the pictures of a net.heroine taking down criminals on the evening news would help with the Legion's reputation after Infinite April, and the media liked action shots. She emptied her mind of emotion, focusing her attention on the position and movements of her opponents. Then she sped up her sense of the passage of time, a trick that she had deliberately copied from the Matrix movies. - Swing around, kick goon one in the guts. - Goon two realises that the guns aren't working and rushes forward for a physical attack. Use his momentum against him, launching him to impact hard on the road, setting up to give goon three an elbow jab that winds him. - Goons four and five are holding back, uncertain with what to do since both ranged attacks and close combat have proven ineffective. Senses Lass can feel their confusion and fear, and guesses that they're going to try and make an escape. She launches herself into a series of somersaults and closes the gap on goon four, knocking him out with a kick to the chin. - Leaving goon five, who panics and fires wildly, hitting Senses Lass by pure luck rather than good aim. In that instant the momentum of her assault fell apart. The sonic attack was the infamous Brown Note, and Senses Lass staggered and lost control of her bowls and her grip on bullet time. Aww yuck! Feeling grungy, she simply punched goon five in the face - once, twice. He fell unconscious to the ground in short order. She sighed. Now she would have to wait and make a statement to the police before she could return to base and change her underwear. Oh well, at least she could dampen the sense of smell of everyone involved so that she didn't cause herself too much embarrassment. @%%%%%%%%%%@ Later, back at the Legion headquarters and after a shower and change of clothes: "Psionic Lad, have you seen WikiBoy?" "Uh, no, actually I haven't Senses Lass. Word is that he went on vacation a few days ago." "Really? That's a bit disappointing." "What do you need him for?" "I've just spent the last few hours scouting Mutant Town, looking for traces of the telepath who was beaming that sexually suggestive story at us this morning. I didn't get very far, and was hoping to get WikiBoy's help for an unorthodox approach at tracking him down." Psionic Lad chuckled. "Join the club. Actually though, it was stories. We got two more afterwards." "Really?" "Uh-huh. Which makes it really frustrating, because I was ready for another psi contact and I *still* couldn't get a bead on him." Senses Lass crossed her arms and stared at the ceiling. "Sounds like John was right." "Huh?" "I went to the Psychic College in Mutant Town to see if they had psensed anything. They hadn't. But as I was leaving John Goodberries mentioned that with all the mutants and aliens and magical beings and whatnot living in the area, that it wasn't unreasonable that it might be an atypical type of telepathic transmission. He even gave the example of maybe being some sort of ranged narrowcast rather than a broadcast, so that it could only be detected at its target area rather than along the path. I certainly didn't feel anything after the first time, so that wrecked my attempts to triangulate the source." She looked back to Psionic Lad. "Was it the same mind doing the broadcast each time?" she asked. "Sure was," he confirmed, and shared the memory of all three incidents with her. "Okay then, let's think laterally about this. What other superpower, or combination of superpowers, do we have on tap that we could use to track a telepath?" "Fearless Leader has already asked the computer guys to do a search for anybody known to have that M.O.," said Psionic Lad, ticking off his fingers. "They came up blank." "And with WikiBoy gone we can't simply Edit him into knowing the answer," said Senses Lass. "That might be why he's not available," Psionic Lad said. "Too much of a deus ex machina." "How about Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad? If those stories have been written or printed on anything, he'll be able to find them." "Possible, but it's a bit of a long shot. The paper may not have the perpetrator's name on it. Wait a moment, I know!" said Psionic Lad, growing excited. "Earlier today Special Bonding Boy told me that he felt lust associated with those stories. Regardless of whether it's a supervillain sending them or not, it's not just something that she's doing with clinical detachment." "Er, so?" "So, if whoever's doing this is so emotionally involved in them, then maybe they're affecting her dreams." Senses Lass's face lit up. "Rotanna, the Dvandom Force member! That's right, she's a Dreamqueen... Hold up, 'her dreams'?" "Working hypothesis. All three of the stories were slash fiction pairing up male characters. Supposedly most gay slash is written by women. If they're private fantasies rather than something being sent to embarrass the Legion, then there's a better than even chance that our telepath is female." Senses Lass tried to wrap her mind around this. "Okay. Well, let's contact Dvandom Force." @%%%%%%%%%%@ Senses Lass stepped into the room and looked around in astonishment. .oO( Goodness, ) she thought. =( What is it? )= asked Psionic Lad, who was outside. Once Rotanna had identified the dreamer as an adolescent boy... ["Most gay slash fiction is written by women, huh?" Senses Lass had smirked. "Oh, shut up," Psionic Lad had said.] ...the Legionnaires had decided to have one person investigate with another acting as backup. Their target had turned out to be way out beyond Mutant Town; right direction but a totally different county. .oO( He's a fan, ) thought Senses Lass in reply to Psionic Lad. .oO( Take a look. ) And through Senses Lass' perceptions Psionic Law saw the bedroom of Nicholas Boltner. It was cluttered. That, at least, was to be expected. What it was cluttered with was the surprise. Most of it was Legion of Net.Heroes memorabilia. Posters and fan art and licensed video games and piles of comic book adaptations. .oO( Dolls, ) thought Senses Lass as she looked at a shelf of sculpted figurines. .oO( He must have every singe LNH doll in the series. He even has the Limp-Asparagus Lad doll! Do you know how low the sales of that one are? ) =( Guys prefer to call them 'action figures'. )= .oO( They're solid plastic with no joints for posing them. There's nothing 'action' about them. They're dolls, ) she thought dryly. Nick was sitting at his desk working on a computer. He was in his mid teens, and would probably be quite a handsome young man once the acne cleared up. The desk was placed so that the door was to one side of where he was sitting: if Senses Lass hadn't been using superpowers to make herself unnoticeable her entry could not have gone unobserved. She walked over and glanced at what he was doing: school work from the looks of it. Then she glanced around again, looking for anything out of place. =( I can feel confusion from you. What's wrong? )= .oO( This is the right house, and his mind definitely matches those telepathic sendings. But his... I don't know, *hero worship* of the Legion makes me doubt that he'd do something as malicious as send those stories. ) She could feel Psionic Lad's amusement. =( I don't think it was malice. I think it was an accident. I've done a light mind scan of Mr Boltner. He definitely wrote those stories all right. Take a look in the folder with the blue cover wedged into the bottom shelf. )= Sense Lass followed his directions and flipped though the folder, quickly scanning what was printed and then stored in its plastic insert sleeves. .oO( There must be months' worth of stories here, ) she thought. =( There are years' worth of fan fiction in his other folders. Most of it featuring the Legion, but there are stories featuring other heroes. Even fictional heroes. And more than half of them are male/male romance. That folder just has the newest stuff. Now take a look at the most recent entries. )= She did so, and recognised a few key paragraphs. =( I think we've found our 'supervillain'. You'd better have a word with him, )= suggested Psionic Lad. Nick was right in the middle of writing up how impulsive teenaged angst had been the downfall of Romeo and Juliet when Senses Lass said, "Excuse me, Nicholas? Can I talk with you?" Nick looked up and saw a costumed woman with a huge bust standing next to him. Pattern recognition immediately kicked in. "Whoa! Senses Lass! How'd you get in here? Hey!" he exclaimed, snatching away the folder from her hand. "That's private!" "Actually I'm not so sure about that anymore..." she began gently. Nick glared at her. His anger and distrust that she was threatening to expose his private fantasies to public scrutiny and ridicule were palpable. She tried again. "Several parts of your stories were broadcast telepathically into the Legion headquarters earlier today. That's what brought me here. I think you might be a projecting telepath of some sort." He actually listened to that, which mildly impressed Senses Lass. His anger didn't cause him to block out what someone else was saying or twist the meaning into something else, and Senses Lass hadn't had to nudge his curiosity to get him to listen to her. He flushed red in embarrassment as the implications of what she was saying sunk in. "Aw crap," he said, and banged his head on his desk. "What, the *whole* Legion?" "Anyone who was in the Legion headquarters at the time." She gave him a second or two to grapple with this notion, then added. "Listen, this is probably a bit embarrassing..." "A *BIT*" he exclaimed melodramatically. "I've just made a spectacle of myself in front of the whole Legion of Net.Heroes!" "Yes, but you'll need to take steps to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again," she said evenly. "Arrgh. Providing I don't get killed first. I'll never be allowed to live this down." He was starting to perspire. "Jeez, Ultimate Ninja will skin me alive." =( He's got a point, you know, ) telepathed Psionic Lad, still radiating amusement. =( Master Blaster was spitting chips. But I've got an idea on how we can deal with the problem. )= he added, and quickly outlined his plan. "Now listen to me," Senses Lass said to Nick. "Snap yourself out of your funk and try to act responsibly. It took us a lot of effort to track you down, and not everyone knows the identity of the 'telepathic supervillain who narrates slash fiction into people's heads'." Nick flushed with embarrassment at that. "If you behave yourself I think I can arrange for some private tutoring with Psionic Lad and keep your name unconnected with all of this." "That... that would be great," he said appreciatively. "Okay then. Let's..." Then she sighed wearily, because he was doing what a large number of men tended to do. "Yes, I have very large breasts. Please stop staring at them or your girlfriend will get jealous." Nick looked askance at her. "Hey, I'm gay. Staring at your boobies doesn't even make my top hundred list," he said dryly. "But I do know enough about anatomy to know that breasts don't work that way. So, uh, how do you keep them...?" and here he brought his hands up to his chest to pantomime the support of imaginary breasts that were, if anything, even larger than the ones that Senses Lass actually had. "I have a strongstuffium reinforced spine," she answered simply. "Oh. Okay." He'd wondered about that. Actually there was a lot of argument about it on the internet discussion boards, even though it was the type of question that didn't always get into the Frequently Asked Questions lists. "Let's go and talk with your parents... say, do you have any Limp-Asparagus Lad stories in here?" -------------------- Character Credits: Catalyst Lass created by Elisabeth Reba. Cheesecake-Eater Lad created by Matthew Jotham Millheiser. Inhilators created by Jamas Enright. Master Blaster created by Martin Phipps, as the Writer Character of Rob Ramirez. MegaChurch Man and WikiBoy created by Tom Russell. Multi-Tasking Man created by Jeff Coleburn. Pizza Girl created by Martin Phipps, as the Writer Character of Ali. Psionic Lad created by Carolyn Vaughan. Used without permission. Senses Lass reserved by Saxon Brenton. Originally created (as The Red Head) by Martin Phipps. Special Bonding Boy created by wReam (Ray Bingham). Author's Notes: By rights a story that stars Senses Lass should be taking place in the _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ net.comic. But... It's not *just* that the _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ series runs so far behind in continuity. No no no. If that were the only problem then I would simply publish the story in another _Limp-Asparagus Lad Special_. After all, the reason that I created that series was to publish one-off stories that were more or less contemporaneous with what's happening in the Legion's 'present'. Rather, this is the first in a short arc of stories that are meant to be running roughly in parallel to the _Beige Countdown_ limited series. That is, it falls between the period of the 'Infinite Leadership Crisis' Event depicted in _LNH Comics Presents_ #35-501 and the _58.5_ limited series on the one hand, and the 'Beige Midnight' Event due in 2008 on the other. This, incidentally, is why I borrowed from Dvandom's Transformers stories the description 'Intermezzo' ("a short movement separating the major sections of a symphonic work"). Most of these stories will not have directly connecting plots, but instead are thematically related in that somewhere in the story they will touch upon the various political and social topics (both internal to the Legion and national in scope) that are swirling around the LNH in this period. The next story ('Attack Of The Vampire Cows') is almost ready to go. The pseudo-arc will probably contain a few other stories, and climax with the struggle against Hex Luthor's plans to gain a third term as Usenetted States President. That's the setup then. Now, let's have a character writeup. SENSES LASS (Mary-Ann Happenstance) TYPE: NWC CREATED BY (as The Red Head): Martin Phipps CREATED/RESERVED BY: (as Senses Lass): Saxon Brenton FIRST APPEARANCE/ORIGIN (as The Red Head): _System Corruptors_ #5 FIRST APPEARANCE/ORIGIN (as Senses Lass): _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #44 POWERS: Various sensory powers of her own, and able to block or alter the perceptions of others FORMER ALIASES: The Red Head, Senseless Lass ADD NOTES: Created by Professor Perhap as part of a scheme to destroy the LNH, she was placed in stasis and left on the bottom of the ocean until awoken by Dr. F for his Union of the Useless. She was captured after a fight between the Union, the LNH, an the Brotherhood of Net.VillainsBack to the Index.