Oh for crying out loud! It's... [facepalms] It's another talking ape story! ___ ___________________________ | |-| \ | |-|  / #27 | | |  egion of \ 'Funky Monkeys' part 1 | | | __     / (Intermezzo - Act 4) | | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ (A Beige Countdown tie-in) | | | \ ] [ __ ] / | |-|     \ written by and copyright 2008 | |-|___________________________/ Saxon Brenton | | | | | | | | Cover shows Super-Grover (yes, *that* Super-Grover) reprising | | one of his classic roles by standing in front of the cover | | and exclaiming, "DO NOT OPEN THIS NET.COMIC! There is a | | monstrous pun at the end of this book!" | | |_| [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 Fuzzy! o Innovative-Offense Boy! And introducing: o Gift-Wrapping Granny! o Outfielder Boy! o The Hyphenated Eaters Corps! 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! @%%%%%%%%%%@ There were a bunch of teenagers hassling a 70 year old woman in the foyer of the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ. "You can't be here to join the Legion!" protested one of the teens loudly. "Net.heroing is for people who can actually fight villains." "Yeah, what are you going to do? Bake cookies for them?" asked another pointedly. "Really, young man?" said the elderly woman, who not only wasn't intimidated by this but was sizing them up with a (not-quite- metaphorical) laser death-ray stare. "And what makes you think the Legion will let you join rather than packing you off to juvenile detention?" Fuzzy arrived after getting a tip off from Fred the receptionist and yelled at them to shut up. "Okay, pipe down! This isn't a kindergarten." They quietened down. Fuzzy gave a nod to Fred (making it a large enough movement that he could see it despite her powers of ambiguity, while at the same time not making it so large that it looked like she was doing an impersonation of a flamingo) and walked over to the group. The senior citizen was black woman with glasses and a walking cane. Her frizzy grey hair was tied back in a bun, and she was dressed in a functional green dress with an elaborate bow made from pink ribbon on her chest. The five youngsters were a more motley crew. Three boys and two girls, all in their mid-teens and wearing an assortment of amateur costumes in lurid colours. Their eyes lit up at the sight of an honest- to-goodness member of the Legion. They looked... enthusiastic. .oO( Oh, Great Norton's Ghost, ) thought Fuzzy wearily. Legion fans. Arguably they were the biggest pains-in-the-butts to come out of the federal government's Net.ahuman Responsibility Act. After the disaster at Stan.org the NRAct had been passed so that anyone with superhuman powers had to register with the Legion in order to make sure that they were trained properly and would use their powers responsibly... [The narrative text will now pause for a moment so that the audience can laugh hysterically at the notion of the LNH being exemplars of using power responsibly. All done? Good, let's continue...] A lot of people with powers had registered, and a lot of people with powers had quite deliberately not registered. Some of them on the not unreasonable grounds (although don't try to convince any of the government bureaucrats of this) that they didn't have combat oriented powers and weren't planning on becoming superheroes anyway. Of course, not everyone who was a four-colour superhero or villain actually had powers. That was fine. The Net.ahuman Responsibility Act was phrased broadly enough to include non-powered costumed individuals as well. But *that* left a loophole for the fanboys. Fuzzy had warned Irony Man that this could happen. He hadn't paid her much heed, of course, but to be fair he was kind of busy dealing with the big picture stuff. However, despite the high minded sounding platitudes that he'd brushed her off with, the fact remained that she'd been the one who had turned out to be correct. Not that she was bitter or anything. In any case, there were a number of superhero fanboys who were taking the opportunity to dress up in a costume, name themselves with some ludicrous pseudonym and join the Legion as though it were some sort of holiday camp. Needless to say, most of them lacked actual powers, not to mention any fighting skills to make up for that lack. Or survival skills, for that matter. .oO( And only this morning this had looked like it'd be a nice day, ) Fuzzy thought sourly. .oO( Okay, let's keep it professional. ) "I take you kids are here for registration," she said. "Yes miss!" said one boy, his chest puffing out with pride. "Let's see what we've got here then." Fuzzy checked her data pad for the list of names of newbies that she was to expect for today. Most of them were listed together as a group. Oh great. A fan *club*. "Are you the 'Hyphenated Eater Lads Corps'?" she asked. "Yes!" went the boys. "What!?" went the girls. "There's a problem?" asked Fuzzy. "We agreed that it would be 'Hyphenated Eater Corps'," complained one of the girls. "But we can't do proper homage to Cheesecake-Eater Lad if we don't call ourselves 'Lads'!" countered the first boy with equal exasperation. "I am not belonging to a group with such an inherently sexist name!" said the other girl hotly. Fuzzy noted that her yellow, orange and brown costume had a stylised jalapeno on it. Was this an indication of her fiery temperament? The Legionnaire glanced a today's roll call of enlistees and decided that, no, it probably meant that she was the one code named Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass. "Well then, how come you want to join the Legion of Net.HEROES then, huh?" said another of the boys. "If you're going to get all worked up about the words, why don't you get them to change their name to Net.HEROINES?" "Now you're just being stupid..." "SHUT UP!" yelled Fuzzy. They shut up and stared at her. "You can sort it out between yourselves later, *in your own time*." She held up the roster. "In the meantime, let's have your code names." The boy who'd taken it upon himself to foist the word 'Lad' on the group drew himself up, puffed out his chest again, set his arms akimbo in a heroic stance and proclaimed, "I am Open-Face-Club-Sandwich-Eater Lad!" "Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass, reporting for duty," said SMFELass, not to be outdone in the enthusiasm department. "Donut-Eater Lad," said another of the boys. "Pasta-Eater Lad here, yo." "I'm Pop-Tart-Eater Lass." Fuzzy marked off their names. "Shouldn't there be a Healthy- Breakfast-Eater Lad with you?" "Uh, yeah, about that," said Donut-Eater Lad. "HeeBiE Lad had to get taken to the doctor by his mother, because his problems with fresh fruit were playing up again. We expect he'll turn up later today." Fuzzy just nodded and made a note to that effect. She examined the rest of the list. The only non-Eater Lad codename written down here was: Gift-Wrapping Gr. "Well, it looks like Gift-Wrapping Grrrl isn't here either," said Fuzzy. "No. That would be me," said the old woman, easing herself up and making her way across to Fuzzy. Although she was obviously reliant on her cane she was otherwise quite spry, and was quickly examining the list of names. "And the name isn't Girl. It's Granny," she added. "Tsk. Abbreviations." .oO( Ookaaay, ) thought Fuzzy. "And you're here, why?" "Damn fool red tape, that's why," said Gift-Wrapping Granny. "The Act says that people have to learn to use their superpowers responsibly. That's fine. But nobody seems to have thought through how it affects old people whose control of their powers is slipping just like their memory or their bladders. What, I'm supposed to waste the rest of my life stuck in remedial targeting practice classes because my eyesight's going?" .oO( 'Senility, superpowers, and you,' ) thought Fuzzy ungraciously. "So what do you do?" "I gift wrap things." "And this is definitely a power and not a skill?" "Oh yes. Time was if any of the kids in my English classes were playing up I would just sneak up behind them and give them a touch on the shoulder, and they'd end up gift wrapped. These days I've got a bad hip, so I have to use targeting sight instead, and that's where the problem comes in." She looked over to the Hyphenated Eaters, who were only half paying attention to her exposition, and specifically at Open- Face-Club-Sandwich Lad, who'd been one of the youngsters that had been giving her sass earlier. Her eyes glowed briefly, and then Open-Faced- Club-Sandwich Lad was wrapped up lilac coloured tissue paper with a ribbon and a simple bow. He struggled against his constraints and made a garbled "Mmff-hff-mn-ffnfff" noise, then overbalanced and fell to the floor. The other Hyphenated Eaters froze. This was obviously a superpower demonstration - even if it wasn't being carried out in the legendary Peril Room - so they didn't have to take cover and start manoeuvring for a counter attack like they would in a fight scene against a net.villain. But if they moved to help Open-Face-Club-Sandwich Lad, would they be the next one to be gift wrapped? Cranky old ladies could be vindictive, you know. "Well, that's lucky," mused Gift-Wrapping Granny. "It looks like I actually aimed straight this time." "You mentioned you were having trouble with that," said Fuzzy, making another note on the data pad. "Last week I was wrapping a birthday present for my grandson, and I ended up hitting the cat next door instead," she said. "I think taking you straight to see Organic Lass for the medical might be the best place to start," said Fuzzy. She looked over to the Hyphenated Eaters. "Will you get him unwrapped from that?" she said testily. "I'm not going to have you people goofing off, all wrapped up in coloured paper. You're in the Legion of Net.Heroes now!" @%%%%%%%%%%@ Somewhere that was not the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ, villainous activities were being set in motion. Super-gorilla Krodd knuckled into the room where a group of multicoloured minions were busy. "How are the preparations going?" he asked. "Everything is going to schedule," answered Cherry Red Chimpanzee, who was the tech expert of the group. "We should be ready to proceed tomorrow, as planned." "Good," said Krodd, savouring his impending triumph. "Then, once we have the Legion of Net.Heroes under my control, we shall use them to bring the entire country, and then the entire planet, to heel! And the best bit is, no matter how many new members the Legion recruits, it will only help bring about my victory all the faster." "Oook!" replied his minions in agreement. "Oook!Oook!Oook!Oook!Oook!" @%%%%%%%%%%@ "According to the latest update of the registration paperwork from the close of business hours yesterday, the Legion of Net.Heroes currently has... fifteen thousand, three hundred and twenty seven members," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, reading the information from his laptop. "And from the looks of things they're all in here," said Bandwagon Chick as she looked around the crowded cafeteria. It was a joke, of the cutting-close-to-home type. The Legion of Net.Heroes HQ and the rooms therein may have morphed and expanded (while no one was looking, naturally), but it had not expanded enough to keep the various net.heroes who were having lunch from being packed at the tables very tightly. "Dude, how are all these new members even being paid for?" asked California Kid. "Limbaugh Man and Coulter Woman keep ranting on about the payments that the Federal government is giving to the Legion for each member," observed Shake-N-Bake Lass "They keep going on about 'waste of taxpayers' money." "Limbaugh Man and Coulter Woman *@;#](& would," said Innovative- Offense Boy Lad dismissively. "No. If you look at the #$>?#@ amounts involved, Hex Luthor's %;!@#$* payments into the Maria Stork Foundation that manages the Legion's funding are a *&^%$ token amount." Outfielder Boy, who was one of the newbies LNH members, spoke up, "Doesn't most of the Stork Foundation's money come from licensing? Media tie-ins and patents and stuff?" Anal-Retentive Archive Kid nodded. "Licensing and patents for commercial processes brings in even more that merchandising, investments or donations actually, but overall, yeah you're right." "There's a lot of &?*!@#&* cutting edge stuff that the techie types have come up with over the years that for whatever *&)@#^ reason doesn't rely on thingy.thingy technology," said IOBoy. "Which means it doesn't ^*&+#@ warp reality or need small-but-%$#@*- dangerous amounts of drama to work. And that means it can be used by anyone rather than only by *&^%$ net.ahumans." [_Dvandom Force_ #42 for the significance of thingy.thingy technology - Footnote Girl] Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad smirked. "And the weird thing is, it's usually only the net.heroes who think of making legitimate commercial profit that way. By comparison, even if a net.villain *does* invent some type of superscience weapon that doesn't rely on .thingy tech, villains are more likely to use it to go and rob a bank rather than sell it for big bucks to the military or industry." "So we can actually afford to have all these new members," summarised Fourth Wall Lass, soberly. "Unless someone does something particularly silly and blows the budget," quipped Frat Boy. There was a pause as everyone at the table mentally added the inevitable 'but then, we *are* the Legion of Net.Heroes' to the end of that. "So, we're doomed then, huh?" said Ordinary Lady archly, which prompted rueful laughter. However, Fourth Wall Lass brooded. She had a really good idea of what the Writers were up to these days, not to mention both Irony Man and Hex Luthor as well. And she knew that a lot of the new Legionnaires were nothing more than expendable bodies in the upcoming war against the Bryttle Brothers when Beige Midnight struck. The knowledge did not sit well with her. Meanwhile the conversation had moved on. "Actually," said Ordinary Lady, "there'd probably be even more new members if Innovative-Offense Boy," and here she nodded in the direction of her husband, "and Limp- Asparagus Lad hadn't convinced Irony Man to waive the training period for non-combatant superhumans and nonhumans." "Like, how many more?" asked California Kid, curious. Anal-Retentive Archive Kid shrugged. "Maybe double the current intake." "But those people wouldn't be staying with the Legion after the training period," pointed out Bandwagon Chick. "So it would only be a short-term boost to Legion numbers. Hell, we can't even be sure that the people we're training *now* will all stay with the Legion. There are a lot of Nopes, you know," she said, referring to the various trainees who had taken some variation on the code name Nope-I'm-Not- Training-To-Be-A-Superhero as an indication of their long term intentions. [as seen in _LNHv2_ #26 - Footnote Girl] "There may be even more after they've had the opportunity to see what things are like from the inside," said Outfielder Boy. Everybody looked at him, and he flushed in embarrassment at suddenly being the focus of so much attention. "Well, you know, some of the people who are signing up are only attracted by the glamour of being a net.hero..." "Glory hogs," said ARAK. "Good point." Outfielder Boy nodded, warming up enough courage to bring up his next point, "And then there are some of us who just don't know. I mean, I'm a big fan of the Legion. I've got tons of fan stuff at home. And I'd love to stick around, but I've got to be honest, I have no idea whether I'll be good enough. After I'm sure my telepathy's under proper control, I'll really have to see how things are running." This elicited murmurs of approval. "At least you're being responsible about it," said Shake-N-Bake Lass. Outfielder Boy blushed again. Actually, he was being responsible and generally on his best behaviour so that no one discovered that he had been the person who'd been accidentally telepathically beaming amateur slash fiction at the LNH-HQ. [_LNHv2_ #23 - Footnote Girl] "Responsible... unlike the Hyphenated Eaters Corps?" "Don't talk to me about the Hyphenated Eaters Corps," growled ARAK. "The rumour mill says you had a run-in with some of them," said Ordinary Lady. "Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass got on my case about being support staff," said ARAK. "I told her I was HIV positive and that if she didn't behave herself I'd bleed on her." "I can see why Fuzzy dumped them onto Cheesecake-Eater Lad to nursemaid," grinned California Kid. Bandwagon Chick said, "Getting back to the registration though, one of the things that worries me is that just because the Legion is waiving the training for obviously non-combat oriented powers, the government isn't. It's still insisting on registering every superhuman it can." "Well that's about *&^!@# power and control," explained Innovative- Offense Boy. "Making sure that superhumans know how to use their @#>?%$ powers is a good idea, just like making sure everyone with a ;&$#@ driving licence knows how to drive properly. But that doesn't &^%* mean that the process can't be organised badly, and it doesn't stop the %$^?#@ government trying to use it as a backdoor for increasing its own $#)#< power." "Especially when that government's headed up by Hex Luthor," said Ordinary Lady pointedly. A rumble of general agreement briefly swept the table. It was a contentious point with many of the Legionnaires. The warnings of Bicycle-Repair Lad that the current President had, in at least one prior version of continuity, been a supervillain may not have been acted upon the Legion's leadership - but it hadn't gone unnoticed by the rank and file. Even vocal supporters of Irony Man and the need for the Legion to train people under the NRAct - which included the likes of Innovative-Offense Boy, Limp-Asparagus Lad and even Anal-Retentive Archive Kid - were mindful of whose administration the legislation had been created by. Fourth Wall Lass shifted in her seat, but said nothing. @%%%%%%%%%%@ Outfielder Boy was standing just outside the LNH-HQ when the villains attacked. The teenager was practising his telepathy. The idea was to block out the thoughts of the crowd around him and focus instead on the mind of a single person. The complication was that Outfielder Boy's powers seemed to work best 'at range' - a fact that was obliquely hinted at by his code name and yet at the same time deliberately obfuscated by his vaguely baseball themed costume. He wasn't bothered by the thoughts of the people thronging around him on the Net.ropolis sidewalk. He was, however, being distracted by the thoughts of the people in neighbouring states. Then something knocked him to the ground. Puzzled and irritated, he looked up to see a gorilla standing over him and the crowd of normal citizens sensibly running away. The gorilla struck a significant Kirby pose and exposited: "Now, little human, you will fear the awesome wrath... of Krodd!" The newbie Legionnaire skittered backwards, but even as he did his fanboyish mind worked feverishly. Krodd. Krodd. Now where had he heard that name before? Maybe from reading one of the LNH's files? Or perhaps from the endless speculation on one of the internet discussion boards? Whatever the case, wasn't Krodd that the psionic gorilla that You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad and Limp-Asparagus Lad had once fought? Yes, that was it. [_Limp-Asparagus Lad Special_ #3 - Footnote Girl] He'd only had telekinesis prior that confrontation, but had stolen the Amulet of Gnaartu the Unspeakable God-Spider in order to give himself powers of telepathy, and almost fried his brain in the process. Well, it looked like he'd recovered. Krodd continued to rant, which Outfielder Boy quickly used as his opportunity to call for help with his probationary LNH comm.thingy. He felt a small flush of excitement at having done so. This was his first confrontation against a net.villain after all, and he was dreading mucking it up. Then he felt his stomach sink as it occurred to him that if he wanted to retain any heroing cred he'd have to engage the super ape in witty banter until the other LNHers arrived. Gah! He sucked at witty banter. Uhm, okay, thought Outfielder Boy. Standing upright? Yes. Arms akimbo? Yes. Now, I have to remember to project my voice so that I don't suffer the embarrassment of having my villain go "What!? Speak up!" or ruining any sound bites that the TV news might be trying to make. And hope that my voice didn't go all squeaky. Darn puberty. "Give it up Krodd," Outfielder Boy declaimed. "You're trying to pick a fight scene right on the doorstep of the Legion of Net.Heroes. Don't you realise how badly outnumbered you are?" "One Legionnaire or a thousand. I don't care," bellowed Krodd. "I will *crush* you all!" "Then all of us will have to *&$@# crush you," said Innovative- Offense Boy, who had just arrived with a group of LNHers, consisting of... oh, let's pick some characters at random... Dog Boy, Writer's Block Woman, Ordinary Lady, Kid Quickclick, Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad and Vigilante Guy. "I gonna bag me a gorilla skin rug," said Vigilante Guy with relish as he pointed his gun in Krodd's direction. "That's bear skin rug, dear," said Writer's Block Woman. "I'll grab one of those too, when I get the opportunity," said Vigilante Guy, just before his gun was snatched out of his hands by an unseen force. "Not if my Furry Fruit Flavours defeat you first!" exclaimed Krodd as his minions made themselves known. They were: Apricoty Orange Orangutan! With her powers of F.I.S.S. [Flight, invulnerability, strength, and speed - Footnote Girl] Bananaey Yellow Bonobo! The speedster who can move lickety banana split, and who was currently grinning as he stood holding the gun that he had just snatched from Vigilante Guy's hands. Berry Blue Baboon! With his cryonic powers. Cherry Red Chimpanzee! The weird science tech expert. Grapety Purple Gorilla! Who's big and strong. and Limey Green Lemur! Who was wearing a pith helmet and drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea, marking him as an immigrant. "Woo-woo. Frink. P'tang," he said in a plummy voice, marking himself as an immigrant from even further away than you originally thought. "Pick your targets people!" yelled Innovative-Offense Boy. Kid Quickclick and Bananaey Yellow Bonobo immediately began a high speed chase of move and counter move as each tried to out manoeuvre the other. Grapety Purple Gorilla lumbered forward, and with his fists balled up brought down in a crushing blow that would have pulped Vigilante Guy if he had not leapt to one side at the last instant. Dog Boy transformed into his canine form and harried Grapety Purple Gorilla, while Vigilante Guy circled the villain and wondered how he could get in close enough to kick Grapety Purple Gorilla in the groin. Writer's Block Woman flew over and stood before Limey Green Lemur. "Surrender now, implausibly twin themed villain. For I am Writer's Block Woman, a lady and a hero, and I will not... Uh... Is that a cup of Earl Grey tea?" Limey Green Lemur nodded. "Frink," he confirmed. Writer's Block Woman licked her lips. "I... uh. I thought that lemurs drank grape juice." Limey green Lemur contrived a look on his face that suggested he was *appalled* that Writer's Block Woman could even *think* such a thing. He lifted the cup to his lips, and then frowned. The tea was cold. Before Writer's Block Woman's horrified eyes the lemur tipped the cup and poured the tea on the ground. Writer's Block Woman sank to her knees with a groan of disappointment at the loss of the tea, at which point Limey Green Lemur clubbed her with his pith helmet. Cherry Red Chimpanzee had taken to the air on a jetpack and along with Berry Blue Baboon was harassing Ordinary Lady. Their plan was to corner Ordinary Lady where one or the other Furry Fruit Flavour could blast her, either with the stunulator gun or ice blasts, but the LNHer was too fast for them. Instead she led them on a merry chase until she had manipulated them into the position where Outfielder Boy was able to knock Berry Blue Baboon unconscious. @%%%%%%%%%%@ While all of this was happening, the citizens of Net.ropolis were either fleeing or gawking, depending on how paranoid they felt about being on the general vicinity of a fight scene. Hey, different people have varying comfort levels for this sort of thing. Now, take a look at that Hispanic seeming teenager over there. No, not that one. The kid in the Metallica t-shirt. Yes, him. Okay. His name is Xil. He is an alien. A green skinned shapeshifting alien! Because, like, all comic book universes need green skinned shapeshifting aliens to sneak around and infiltrate Earth and try to take it over. In this case it's not the Skrulls, or the Martians, or even the Enelsians. Xil was one of the vaguely insectiod Qwarsts. For those of you who are old enough and nerdy enough to remember the halcyon days of the comic book tie-ins to toy ranges in the 1980s, the Qwarsts look like green skinned versions of the Insectors: basically human, but with facetted, insectile eyes and antennae growing up from the bridge of their noses. Got that? Good. So now you may be wondering what the Qwarsts are doing on the Looniearth. Oh noes! you may think to yourself. Those evil Qwarsts have infiltrated the government and cooked up the controversial Net.ahuman Responsibility Act and are using it to turn the heroes against each other in an attempt to weaken the Looniearth's defences! To which the answer is: they are doing no such thing. (If nothing else, Arthur Spitzer would have my guts for garters if I tried to introduce a plot point like that at this late stage of proceedings.) They're just doing general lurking and infiltrating type stuff. So why mention them at all? Ah, well. The people posting to the scans_daily website noticed a pattern, see. About how the Super-Skrull was chasing after Hulkling, and Xavin was pursuing Lucy In The Sky, and even Crusader was spying on Freedom Ring. The obvious conclusion was that the green skinned shapeshifting aliens were after Earth's blond haired gay teenagers! So, there's Xil. And he sees Outfielder Boy engaged in a fight scene with other Legionnaires against the Furry Fruit Flavours. And Xil thinks, .oO( Hey, he's kind of cute. ) You should be able to see where this is going. WATCH OUT, Outfielder Boy! Watch out for green shapeshifting alien COOTIES! @%%%%%%%%%%@ With each moment that the ruckus at the Legion's front entrance continued, even more Legionnaires turned up. But still Super-gorilla Krodd didn't seem worried by the increasing number of opponents that he and his group were having to face off against. It just didn't @"$%*& fit, thought Innovative-Offense Boy. Krodd either had his brain still fried from his run-in with the *%?@;* Amulet of Gnaartu, or he was up to something. And while a highly charismatic leader, so charged with his own insanity that they knew nothing of fear or common sense, could indeed lead a group into either epic triumph or defeat, this just didn't &}%;*@ feel right. So Innovative-Offense Boy dodged across the battle- field, around where Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad had joined Dog Boy and Vigilante Guy in taking down Grapety Purple Gorilla and where You're-Not- Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad and Captain Capitalize were wearing down Apricoty Orange Orangutan, and thence moved to confront Krodd himself. Krodd was using his telekinesis to bowl around a bunch of Legionnaires, laughing uproariously as he did so. In fact, he and Cherry Red Chimpanzee were among the two most effective combatants, after Cherry Red Chimp had unleashed a probability distorting catastrophe grenade that had caused many of the Legionnaires the trip over each other and foul one another with their own attacks. Arguably it was only the Chimp's intervention who had kept the Furry Fruit Flavours in the running for this long against such overwhelming odds. "Okay Krodd, what the $#!(* are you up to?" demanded IOBoy. "Ah, Innovative-Offense Boy," grinned Krodd in a feral manner. "I'm wiping the floor with your Legion of Net.Heroes." "Looks to me more like you're only just %!@/:*& holding your ground." His eyes narrowed. "So I repeat the %@* question: what are you really up to?" "I should have guessed the strategist would have recognised my feint," sneered Krodd. "But I am disappointed that you didn't deduce what the feint covers." "Fine," said IOBoy sarcastically. "I freely admit that my $!<*&~ tactical genius has been outwitted by your *&@#* criminal genius. Happy?" Krodd leaned forward as though to share a conspiratorial whisper, and hissed, "I want your minds!" Then he looked up and shouted, "Cherry Red, *now*!" At which point Cherry Red Chimpanzee activated the specially designed psychic boosters that she had installed on the roofs around the LNH-HQ just before the fight scene had commenced. The last time that Super-gorilla Krodd had tried to take over the minds of net.heroes with his tel.ape.athy, he had discovered that some of them were resistant to it. [specifically, You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard- Enough Lad - Footnote Girl] This time he was prepared for that. After all, no super power or even natural phenomenon was binary. There was no such thing as either on or off. There was certainly no such thing as a totally invulnerable mind. It was simply a matter of gathering enough power to overwhelm the defences, which no matter how great had to be finite. Krodd reached out and took control of the minds that had no particular defences. And thanks to Cherry Red's psychic boosters, those minds did not cause a drain on his tel.ape.athic powers, but instead fed the mental energies of his victims back to him so that he had more power with which to take control of more victims. Which gave him more power to take over even more victims. Within moments he had made several such mental upscalings, gathering more and more power until he was easily able to overwhelm the natural mental resistance of the likes of You're- Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad and a few others. (Gosh, the Legion is so lucky that Krodd was putting all that extra energy into power rather than range, otherwise he'd have gathered so much energy as to overwhelm the resistance of the few people with *really* high powered mental defences, and then there'd be no-one left to fight his plan next issue.) The super-gorilla laughed. "And that, little Legionnaires, is why I wanted you all outside where I could get at you. And now, TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES! Abase yourselves before me like the naked animals that you are!" As the Legionnaires (and some of the Net.ropolis citizens who'd stuck around to rubberneck) began to take off their clothing, Krodd went to check on the Furry Fruit Flavours. There was a mixture of injuries and unconsciousness, but for the most part the apes were hale. Then Krodd realises that the LNHers had stopped taking their clothing off. He glared at the Legionnaires. "I said remove *ALL* your clothing!" "We... can't... #%@*&... do... that..." said the enthralled Innovative-Offense Boy, who like all the LNHers had stripped down to his tighty whities. "This isn't... an Acraphobe... story." "All characters... must have... a bare minimum... of clothing," agreed Writers Block Woman. The super gorilla gnashed his teeth in frustration. Curses! How could it be that the blasted human nudity taboo was too strong for his mind control to overcome? Krodd, of course, didn't know that the Looniverse was a fictional reality and therefore didn't realise that the need to cover nakedness was at least partly a genre convention parody. It would take a lot more than mind control to overcome something engrained into the laws of reality. "It doesn't matter!" snarled Krodd. "Now that I have them under my control, I'll have them strip off as much clothing as they can before moving on to conquer the entire country. And then it will be... "...ONE NATION, UNDIES VISIBLE, UNDER KRODD!" The Furry Fruit Flavours punched their fists into the air in triumph, chanting, "Oook!Oook!Oook!Oook!Oook!" @%%%%%%%%%%@ Super Grover stands with his arms folded across his chest looking very stern at the reader. "You see? What did I tell you about the monstrous pun at the end of this book?" --------- Character Credits: This issue of LNHv2 starred: Fuzzy created by Connie Hirsh. Hyphenated Eaters Corps created by Mike Friedman. Innovative-Offense Boy created by uplink (John Scheibeler). Krodd and the Furry Fruit Flavours, Gift-Wrapping Granny, and Outfielder Boy created by Saxon Brenton. And also featured: Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Fourth Wall Lass created by Saxon Brenton. Bandwagon Chick created by Sue Clark. California Kid created by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes. Captain Capitalize created by wReam (Ray Bingham). Dog Boy created by Rene Villareal. Frat Boy created by uplink (John Scheibeler). Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad created by Greg Morrow. Kid Quickclick created by Ben Rawluk. Ordinary Lady created by Martin Phipps. Vigilante Guy created by Peter Milan. Shake-N-Bake Lass created by Arsenal (Ted Brock). Writers Block Woman created by Jaelle (Jessica Ihimaera-Smiler). You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad created by Arthur Spitzer. aaannnd Super-Grover, who has been cameoed without permission from the estate of Jim Henson. Author's Notes: I misspelt 'hackemon' as 'hakemon' last issue. This despite the fact that I had the mnemonic 'hackable monsters' sitting right in front of me in the text. And in case you're wondering: yes, I did write _Limp-Asparagus Lad Special_ #3 (with Krodd's first appearance) not only as a constrained vocabulary challenge story, and as an ape story, but also as a set up for this story. The Hyphenated Eater Corps were among the alternate future members of the LNH listed in _Spite Grrrl_ #11 (which means that ultimately they're Mike Friedman's fault :-) That said, while this is the Secret Origin of the group, I suspect that the membership may not necessarily be the same. I've quite deliberately introduced a few 'new' members and used Pop Tart-Eater Lass rather than the Pop Tart-Eater Lad in expectation that their code names get handed down as old members loose interest in LNH fandom and leave and have their places filled with new Hyphenated Eater Corps members. I've also taken the liberty of making at least a few of them pains in the backside in the expectation that eventually Cheesecake-Eater Lad will knock the rough edges off of them. And does anyone else find it slightly weird that after the complaint that Arsenal made back in 2001 about the Legion having too many one-joke members (leading to things like the _Flame Wars IV_, where Jamie Rosen and myself tried to give an excuse for most of them to be killed off) that we now have a meta-story that encourages even more one-joke characters to join? And now, another roster entry: GROUP NAME: Hyphenated Eater Corps TYPE: Public Domain. CREATED BY: Mike Friedman MEMBERS: (present day) Donut-Eater Lad Healthy-Breakfast-Eater Lad Open-Face-Club-Sandwich-Eater Lad Pasta-Eater Lad Pop-Tart-Eater Lass Spicy-Mexican-Food-Eater Lass ADD NOTES: This group was first mentioned in the alt.future story in _Spite Grrrl_ #11, when its active membership was listed as: Pop-Tart-Eater Lad, Donut-Eater Lad, Cheesecake-Eater Lad, Spam-Eater Lad and Open-Face-Club-Sandwich-Eater Lad. Its present day origin was in _Legion of Net.Heroes vol.2_ #27, when a group of Cheesecake-Eater Lad fans used a loophole in the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act to join the Legion.Back to the Index.