___ ___________________________ | |-| \ | |-|  / #26 | | |  egion of \ 'Where Monsters Come From' | | | __     / (Intermezzo - Act 3) | | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ (A Beige Countdown tie-in) | | | \ ] [ __ ] / | |-|     \ written by and copyright 2008 | |-|___________________________/ Saxon Brenton | | | | | | | | The cover shows a puppy, which has rolled over on his back and | | is having his tummy scratched. There's also a small picture of | | a dancing Continuity Porn Star in the top corner indicating that | | this issue contains continuity references. | | |_| [A Silver Age-style roster of characters in the form of a series of mug shots in little circles runs down the side of the title page:] Roll call for this issue: o Very Big Boy! And introducing: o The Nope Lads and Lasses! 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! @%%%%%%%%%%@ The following is an important Public Service Announcement. This is Jimmy. [A teenaged boy dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt waves at the audience] "Hey there." Lately, Jimmy's body has been changing. His voice has been getting deeper. He's become interested in crime. And he's discovered that he can emit particle beams in the form of concussive force blasts from his eye balls. [Jimmy sees some ram raiders drive into an ATM at a shopping mall, and promptly blasts the tires off of their SUV. The ram raiders are forced to run away without being able to steal the ATM or its contents.] Jimmy is going through puberty, which is the period in the life of every young person when they grow to become a man or a woman. This is an important time, since growing to become an adult means that taking on adult responsibilities. Jimmy: "What sort of responsibilities?" Well, such as such as helping your parents by doing more chores around the house, or taking a part-time job after school to pay for your music CDs and teen interest magazines. And most importantly of all, registering with the Legion of Net.Heroes if you've gained superhuman powers. Jimmy: "Wow, the Legion of Net.Heroes! But, what if I'm not good enough to join them?" The whole point of registering with the Legion of Net.Heroes is so that you learn to use your powers so that you *are* good enough to join them. And even if you aren't interested in a full-time job as a net.hero, learning to use your powers properly is part of the responsibility of growing up. Do you remember the first time you used your powers? Jimmy (ruefully): "Yeah. We were eating dinner and I accidentally blasted my dinner plate. The walls ended up covered in food and the table was split in half." Making sure that you can use your powers isn't just about learning how to fight crime. It's also about making sure that you aren't accidentally a danger to yourself or your family. That might not sound as exciting as battling an army of giant shape changing mecha bent on world conquest, but the first step in being a responsible adult is always about mundane day-to-day matters. That's why the government of President Hexadecimal Luthor has passed the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act, so that everybody with superpowers knows how to use them. It's like making sure you know how to use a car before you start driving regularly. Jimmy: "Hey, you're right. So how do I go about registering for training?" You can visit any LNH registration office, or just ring the number on the screen below: 1-800-LNH-RGSR. Remember: Superpowers. They aren't just for a summer crossover event, they're for life. We now return you to your irregularly scheduled program. @%%%%%%%%%%@ So, the reader may ask, what sort of things are involved in superhuman training? A wide variety of things, actually. It depends on what sort of powers someone has, their age group, whether they're interested in becoming a net.hero, and whether a particular class is based in practical or theoretical learning. As an example of one of the more unusual lessons, let's have look at this field trip about daikaiju: Very Big Boy approached the puppy warily. It was a very big puppy - as in, four stories tall big - and instead of spots was covered in irregular areas of circuit patterns. Fortunately he was all tuckered out after all the romping about he'd be doing that morning, and was currently curled up in the Soldier Field football stadium in Sig.ago. But don't be fooled by that innocent looking demeanour! He'd caused considerable consternation earlier in the day when he'd marked his territory on the Sears Tower. The Legionnaire picked up the puppy and scratched him on the back of the neck in the good spot. The puppy licked his hand. Very Big Boy applied a patch to the dog's head which caused the animal to temporarily shrink down to more manageable size, shrinking himself down as well and then carrying the puppy back to his waiting squad of trainees, who were mostly Nopes of some kind. The various Nope Lads and Lasses at least had registered for training under the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act rather than wilfully ignoring it. However in one way or another they all took the position that they may be required to train to learn to use their powers, and that this might even be useful and necessary in a lot of cases, but they weren't going to stick around afterwards to be superheroes. Instead, there was a half-serious mass movement to simply use the codename 'Nope- I'm-Not-Training-To-Be-A-Superhero' followed by Lad or Lass or Man or Person or whatever, and then a specific number. "Well, that was easier than I'd expected," Very Big Boy admitted to the class. "Normally I have to wrestle with them. Now then, Nope Lad 179, I noticed that you brought a Geiger counter with you. Would you mind telling the rest of the group why you did that?" "Uh, well, a lot of daikaiju have radioactive breath weapons. Not all of them, of course, but enough of them to make it worth checking for," said Nope Lad 179. Although he looked like a blond-haired corn fed middle-American, he was actually one of the extraterrestrials studying a tertiary degree on Earth. He was in LNH training program not because he had powers, but because under the light of a green sun his species developed powers. Now, this was the Looniverse, so of course there really were such things as green suns, but even in the Looniverse they were incredibly rare. Nevertheless Nope Lad 179 had taken advantage of this fact to get himself into the training program and have it counted as an elective for his university coursework. "Good thinking ahead," said Very Big Boy. He addressed the group, "So in a case like that make sure you have good protection, or have someone on hand who's resistant to radiation." He paused, then said with a smile, "Fortunately I am, and so is Nope Girl 1123 over there. Radioactivity might also be something to take into account in the cleanup afterwards. Speaking of which, check my hands where he licked me." Nope Lad 179 did so. There was the barest increase in clicking from the counter, indicating ever-so-slightly-more-than-normal background radiation. "So," said Very Big Boy, "Extremely mildly radioactive slobber. Still, I'd better wash my hands." He placed the puppy in a carry cage and then washed his hands thoroughly. Once he'd decontaminated himself he came back to the trainees. "Okay squad," said Very Big Boy. "Just a question-and-answer session to round off the exercise, then we'll take this little fellow... this *currently* little fellow... off and release him on Mons.dir Island. Who can you tell me something about daikaiju?" To no-one's surprise, the youngster called Sp33d Fr3ak put up her hand. While she tended to be hyperactive - something that she was learning to control thanks to the specialist training with the Legion - she also tended to absorb a lot of information when she studied at high speed. Of course, she was also one of those speedsters whose metabolism would cause her to bleed at high speed if she was ever badly injured, so front line combat duty would probably never suit her. She was making the most of her time with the LNH, but made no secret about her intention to leave the superheroing organisation when she had learnt all she could and then go back to making preparations for college. At least she took the exercise seriously enough that she had gone to the trouble of choosing a unique codename. She said, "Daikaiju comes from the Japanese words roughly translating as 'giant monster'. There have always been some giant monsters about; Fin Fanfic Foom is supposed to have been around for millennia. But there's been an increase in the number a daikaiju appearing in the Ame.rec.an midwest over the past decade as some of the hakemon destabilise and grow to giant size." Very Big Boy nodded. "Which brings us the hakemon, doesn't it? Anyone else want to bring us up to date on them?" A man in his late thirties, dressed in slacks and pullover, raised his hand. Very Big Boy knew him to be a computer technician with minor telekinesis from North Caroli.net with the codename of Nope Guy 2453. "Hakemon are the 'hackable monsters'. They're the cybernetic animals with superpowers that started showing up in the mid-west in the late 1990s. Kids like to adopt them and train them to fight each other." He frowned briefly as a cynical part of his mind noted the possible similarities to the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act, then dismissed the thought. The NRAct may be onerous, but the fact that the Legion had an opt-out at the end meant that they were hardly being groomed for the type of bear-baiting and cock-fighting that the hakemon trainers had recreated. Nope Guy continued on, pretending that his pause had been because he was searching his memory, "The hakemon were supposed to have been early experiments on animals in creating super- powers by the Century Pact, who later moved on to creating superhuman agents. And then later the Pact turned out to have been a front for a scheme by Acton Lord all along." [_Dvandom Force_ #97-100 and #83-84 respectively. Well, the public *thinks* it was a scheme by Acton Lord, anyway - Footnote Girl] "And that's the crux of the matter," summarised Very Big Boy. "The hakemon were early attempts at the nanotech creation of cybernetic superpowers. Usually as they grow more powerful they develop along set patterns: the mouse-like picochu typically transforms into a vichu, for example. But their net.amorphosis isn't always stable, and sometimes they can grow into almost anything. Including, of course, giant monsters," he said, gesturing at the cage with the puppy. "This fellow probably started out as a grow.lisp. "Now, I'll check with the National Guard to make sure they have everything under control here, and then we'll call wReamhack and have him transport us across to Mons.dir Island, and you can have a look at what the release program is like." --------- Character Credits: Hakemon created by Dave Van Domelen. Very Big Boy created by Saxon Brenton. Not reserved, but please ask before making any drastic or permanent changes. The Nope Lads and Lasses concept, and all such characters depicted here, are given over to public domain. The grow.lisp (hakemon variant of a growlithe) thanks to Jamas Enright. Author's Notes: This post was originally a single scene in a story called 'Funky Monkeys' which has super-gorilla Krodd as the villain. However, even allowing for the fact that 'Funky Monkeys' was conceived as a two parter, the story has grown too long, so I've reworked the daikaiju field trip into a stand alone episode. The opening lines of the advertisement were lifted from a similar spoof advertisement for superhero recruitment in the _City Of Heroes_ online game setting. And now another character roster entry. Note that the concept of 'doesn't matter' (as distinct from normal matter, anti-matter, or even strange matter) is one inspired from the _GURPS Illuminated University_ sourcebook, and which I've tweaked as one possible semi-plausible-under- real-physics handwave for why size changers might not be subject to the limitations of the cube-square law. Of course, theoretically the dark matter that astronomers are currently so interested in could be a flavour of doesn't matter which is affected by gravity but is transparent to electromagnetism, so that it is invisible because photons don't interact with it. NAME: Very Big Boy REAL NAME: Donald (Don) Scowie TYPE: Not reserved. CREATED BY: Saxon Brenton POWERS: Can grow to giant size. FIRST APPEARANCE: (As Don Scowie) _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #46 ; (AS Very Big Boy) _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #50 ADD NOTES: Gained powers in a nuclear explosion. His hair turns 'radioactive green' when at giant size. When he changes size he draws extra mass from an extradimensional source (as per the first law of Marvel physics: When in doubt, invoke another dimension). Typically the extra mass is a form of doesn't matter which is transparent to gravity but not to the other fundamental forces of electromagnetism, the nuclear weak or nuclear strong force, meaning that he may gain several tons of extra mass but still keep only his normal weight.Back to the Index.