___ ___________________________ | |-| \ | |-|  / #48 | | |  egion of \ 'The Temp part 1' | | | __     / (Part of High Concept Challenge #29) | | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ | | | \ ] [ __ ] / written by and copyright 2012 | |-|     \ Saxon Brenton | |-|___________________________/ | | | | Cover shows Nitpick Lad looking up from a clipboard and saying, | | "This post contains the first half of this story. Despite promises | | made to the HCC29 adjudicator that he would complete his entry if | | he could only beg, borrow or illicitly clone a 48 hour extension, | | *someone* got too wrapped up in writing the villains' dialogue and | | ended up making the story longer. | | "Also, the Surgeon General warns that this story contains |_| dangerously high levels of gratuitous continuity references." It was later in the same day that Anal-Retentive Archive Kid had gone and picked a fight scene with the Apathy Beast and chased it off [_End of Month Reviews_ #98 - Footnote Girl]. After that things had gotten a bit hazy, and there had been reports of a duck packing heat... Fortunately the LNH imprint is in continuity with pretty much everything, so, yeah, in a fit of spite Psychovant had sent the Apathy Beast chasing after his own Writer over in the Superhuman World imprint. Some characters just cannot get on with their creators. Anyway... Retcon Lad dragged an orc into the medical bay. He stopped at the bed where ARAK was recovering after the battle, pointed at the orc, and demanded, "What?" "Heya, Retcon Lad," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid cheerfully. "I see you've met my replacement, Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II." Retcon Lad stared at Anal-Retentive Archive Kid. Anal-Retentive Archive Kid gazed calmly back at Retcon Lad. Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II glanced around, since he'd never been in the medical bay of a superhero headquarters before, and was mentally checking off all the neat super-tech equipment that he'd heard about, such as an honest- to-goodness machine-that-goes-ping. "Is this your idea of a joke?" asked Retcon Lad. "Nope," said ARAK. "Because if it is, I'm not laughing," Retcon Lad continued, as if he hadn't been interrupted. "It was Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy's idea," said ARAK II helpfully, still looking about at the medical equipment. Another confused frown moved onto Retcon Lad's face, elbowing aside the one that had already been there. "Wait, you arranged this with Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy? But he hates us... You in particular." Retcon Lad gave ARAK a hard look. "Did you trick him again and not invite the rest of us to watch?" "I arranged nothing with Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy," said ARAK I tartly. "Either directly or indirectly. It was all his own idea." Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II looked up from where he'd been examining a sonic lance and said, "We talked about it, and we think it may be the influence caused by Irony Man's presence." Then the orc looked at his predecessor and added, "But you didn't mention that you'd tricked him to make him hate you." "Modesty forbids," said ARAK I with a brief bow of his head - but he had an amused look on his face, and it was obvious he was pleased. "It was back during _Beige Midnight_, and the Bicycle Liberation Front needed a plausible excuse to be put on detached duty so we could hunt for a genie's lamp in the Middle East, so we tricked Irony Man and OAB into sending us off into exile." [_Beige Midnight_ #1 - Footnote Girl] Then his expression sobered and he added, "But, honestly, Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy hates pretty much everyone who doesn't agree with him on every last jot and tittle, or shape up to what his idea of an Ame.rec.an patriot is. Like I said before..." "Yes, yes. He's setting me up to fail," agreed ARAK II, drumming his fingers thoughtfully on the bench top. Retcon Lad watched this exchange with a look of bemusement. "What?" he repeated. Anal-Retentive Archive Kid looked at him with puzzlement. "Haven't you seen this month's High Concept Challenge yet?" Retcon Lad suddenly looked abashed. "Er, no." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I've kind of lost track of them. What, there's a story challenge that ties in to all of this?" "Yes. Here," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II as he fished about for a piece of paper in the pocket of his blue jeans. He wasn't wearing a costume, but rather casual clothes that included a sweatshirt with the Legion of Net.Heroes logo on it. ARAK I tended to wear the same sort of clothing, of course, saving his official costume of figure-hugging metastable weave for those occasions when he'd need something bullet proof. He'd been wearing his costume when he'd fought the Apathy Beast for example. ARAK II handed over a printout, which Retcon Lad took and read. It contained the text of the announcement of the 29th Challenge. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me!" He looked pointedly at Anal-Retentive Archive Kid. " 'Recast in the name of good?' " "Not very subtle, is he, our Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy?" asked ARAK I with a smirk. "So what are you going to do about it?" demanded Retcon Lad. "What do you mean, 'What am I going to do about it?'? I'm going to let my replacement handle it, and then when it *doesn't* blow up in his face like Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy expects, I'm going to radiate vast amounts of smug." Retcon Lad looked at ARAK II. "Do you want help?" "Advice and answering questions would be appreciated." "No. I mean..." and then Retcon Lad waggled his fingers in a 'mysterious occult power' type of way. "No! I can handle things myself," protested ARAK II. "Actually, it won't make a difference whether Retcon Lad retcons things so that events work out to your advantage in the end," ARAK I said. "Everyone knows we hang out together, so they'll assume he's done a retcon anyway - no matter whether or not he has, and regardless of how much we tell them otherwise." To which ARAK II replied, "And I thought we'd already established that neither of us care what Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy thinks. The point is: I'll know." Retcon Lad shook his head. "Knowing that all the elements will be there to solve a puzzle if, and only if, you're smart enough to put them together is totally different from knowing you'll solve it by fate accompli." He snapped his fingers. "There. That should fix it." ARAK II said nothing, merely giving Retcon Lad a droll look and a raised eyebrow. @%%%%%%%%%%@ I suppose we'd better get some villains into this story. Downtown Net.tropolis, in a street that, by curious coincidence, doesn't have saturation monitoring by closed circuit TV cameras. Three Space Dvandoms appeared. Three little alien men with large staring eyes, dressed in purple and with neatly trimmed van dyke style beards. The first one capered on the spot. "Ha ha! What mischief shall we three do again, In thunder, lightning or in rain?" The second Space Dvandom gave him a dope slap. "It's not raining, idiot." "Ow! Prithee, nunckle. I am but trying to be suitably portentous." "Well, you're failing. And for fscks sake stand up straight. You'll only attract attention to us if you carry on like that." The third Space Dvandom, who had been standing stock still as he scanned the area, turned his head in a mechanical manner to look at the other two and announced, "We must make our way to destroy the Legion of Net.Heroes, as commanded by our creator and master, wReamicus Maximus." [_Birth Of A Villain_ #27 indicated that wReamicus Maximus controlled the Space Dvandoms. The information that they think he is their creator is new to this story - Footnote Girl] "Ha ha! Yes, yes!" cackled the first Space Dvandom, who rubbed his hands together in a melodramatically villainous manner and declaimed, "We shall sow chaos and confusion in the name of the Church of Dvandom, and its leader, the great wReamicus Maximus... Ow!" "Don't keep expositing information that we already know." The third Space Dvandom simply ignored their shenanigans and declared, "We will leave now." He marched out into the street to where a pair of bright faced young evangelicals where passing by. "Hello there, sir," one of them said. "Have you heard the good news that the literary works mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare have been proven to have been really written by Sir Francis Bacon?" The Space Dvandom did not reply, instead duplicating the form of the young man. As he did so his victim vanished, being cast into Comic Book Limbo. The second evangelical went wide-eyed. "Wha?" But then another Space Dvandom invaded his personal space by popping up beside him, staring him in the face and exclaiming, "Hello there!" before duplicating his shape as well. The third Space Dvandom adjusted the cuffs on his suit as the final member of their trio approached, having approppriated the form of a vicious little old lady. "These forms are adequate for our purposes," he announced. "We shall now proceed to the Legion of Net.Heroes headquarters and infiltrate it." @%%%%%%%%%%@ Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II and Retcon Lad had left the medical bay. ARAK II was looking thoughtful again and said, "Can I ask you a question?" "I thought that was the reason I was here." "I mean a personal question." Retcon Lad shrugged, "If it's not too personal." "I mean about him," ARAK II flicked a thumb gesture over his shoulder and back towards the medical bay. "Is he always like that? So friendly, I mean. When I first got this job, I went to find him and see about the procedures for data acquisition, management, analysis and everything - and I found out he hadn't even been aware that the position had been open. It'd been advertised almost a week ago, so obviously him being laid up after the fight with the Apathy Beast earlier today couldn't have played a part in it..." "Well... Not unless Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy had been given a heads up by All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman," said Retcon Lad. "But, yeah, that still doesn't change the fact that OAB was going behind his back by not telling him." "Right, right," said ARAK II. He frowned briefly, since that fitted with his theory about why he'd received the job without an interview. What better candidate to sabotage the reputation of Anal- Retentive Archive Kid than by the actions of a new holder of the codename who happened to be a big, dumb, blundering orc, right? "Anyway, ARAK seemed a bit irritated at what was going on, but he didn't actually get mad at me." Retcon Lad gave him a surprised look. "Were you expecting him to?" "Uhhm. I know he always used to like talking with people, and he had a good reputation for partying because he brought his own home brewed alcohol [for example, in _Master Blaster: Insufficient Postage_ (Special #3.1)_ - Footnote Girl]." " 'Had' ?" said Retcon Lad, zeroing in on the past tense. "Word is that after the hate plague [one of the ways that the public refers to the attack by OMAR in the _Flame Wars 4_ miniseries - Footnote Girl] he wasn't feeling up to being quite so social. And, you know, all that, combined with the talk about the yelling matches he's gotten into with Self-Righteous Preacher [a pretty good summary of what happened in _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #55 - Footnote Girl] or Occultism Kid [a vast exaggeration of what happened in _LNH Comics Presents_ #506 - Footnote Girl], not to mention the rumours that he was stalking that vampire chick Elizabeth Greenvale [an out-and-out misinterpretation of what happened in the _Anal-Retentive Archive Kid: A Judicious Use Of Overkill_ miniseries - Footnote Girl] and... Well, I was half expecting him to jump out of his sick bed and punch me, broken bones or no broken bones." "Ah, okay. Well, he did kind of go through a rough patch because of what happened in the _Flame Wars 4_, so not feeling quite as social is to be expected, I guess. And honestly, who wouldn't be ticked off with the way some of the Christian groups on campus were saying it was God's punishment for him being in a pagan faith [such as in _Anal- Retentive Archive Kid_ #1 - Footnote Girl]. Those type of people remind me of my dad, and frankly they make me embarrassed to be in the same religion. But Wendle only really gets angry with people who have proven to be long term problems. Usually he picks his enemies with more care." Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II nodded again. He more-or-less knew all that. It was all public knowledge. Perhaps it was the case that Retcon Lad didn't feel comfortable sharing too much of ARAK's personal information to an unknown newcomer. Perhaps ARAK had kept a lot of his personal information to himself. Perhaps perhaps perhaps... But there was at least one other possibility that Anal-Retentive Archive Kid II could think of that might bear investigation. He'd have to talk with Cheesecake-Eater Lad about that. "I guess so," he said, non-committally. "Anyway, I'd better get to work. The archiving won't take care of itself." "True. Just make sure you don't start working too late, trying to clear any backlogs." "Oh, no fear of that," said ARAK II. "I got this only today," he said, taking out a DVD copy of Season five of _Blackadder_ and spinning it around on one finger tip, "And I was planning on showing an episode after work." "Hey, cool. I vote for the wedding episode." @%%%%%%%%%%@ So, _Blackadder_, season five. You all know that in the Looniverse they have all sorts of neat pop culture stuff that we can only dream of here in Real Life, right? [Yes, of course they do. They remember the six foot tall Totoro plushies in _Legion of Occult Heroes_ #2 - Footnote Girl] Set in the 1930s, Blackadder 5 followed the schemes of British peer Edmund Blackadder to regain his family fortune - carefully built up during the Roaring Twenties and then lost again in the 1929 stock market crash. Although only barely getting by in genteel poverty, he was still a member of the aristocracy, enabling him to move in the political and social circles where he could meet (and secretly mock) everyone from Winston Churchill to Oswald Mosley. (On the screen Blackadder was agitatedly stalking around the room. "What does that fool Edward think he's doing!?" he demanded rhetorically of Baldrick. The current constitutional crisis with Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson had him upset. "Why is he even *thinking* of abdicating the throne!? It's a rock solid asset, and he's giving up for an easily replaced frippery! For God's sake, doesn't the man understand that you can *buy* love with enough money, but you can't earn an income with love!" (Baldrick looked at Blackadder and said, "I have a cunning plan." Blackadder looked at him in contempt, but Baldrick continued: "If the King is fighting the government about whether the people will accept Wallis as the Queen, then you should convince him that the public will accept her and get him to stand his ground. After the wedding they'll be in the King's bad books and you'll be in a position to take advantage of his gratitude." ("Oh don't be ridiculous..." Blackadder began to say reflexively, then paused as he savoured the notion and finally said, "You know, that's a very good idea...") "Oh, this is not going to end well..." chuckled You're-Not-Hitting- Me-Hard-Enough Lad. "Hey, where are the chips?" "Here," said Frat Boy, and threw them at him. "So, whos' up for... huh?" went Ubiquitous Boy as an alarm went off. "Back to the grindstone," lamented YNHMHELad as he started to get up off the sofa, when a vicious little old lady appeared at the door to the rec.room and asked, "Have you boys heard the good news that wReamicus Maximus brings you chaos and confusion?" ===== Character credits: Everyone appearing here created by me, except for cameos by: Frat Boy created by Uplink. Ubiquitous Boy created by Rob Rogers. You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad created by Arthur Spitzer. Author's notes: Written for the 29th High Concept Challenge: 'Recast In The Name Of Good, Ye Not Guilty' where a major protagonist is replaced with a new version. Since this story has been split in half (oh please, let it only be big enough to be split in half...) I'll make the compare and contrast explicit: Both versions of Anal-Retentive Archive Kid are intellectuals. Faced with any situation they'll automatically try to analyse it. However, because of ARAK I's cultural context (violent American movies and TV shows, plus membership a warrior oriented Norse neo-pagan religion) he sometimes worries that he needs to be a bit more proactive/ assertive/aggressive in dealing with problems - which can lead to the calculated overreaction that was depicted in the _Anal-Retentive Archive Kid_ miniseries. By contrast ARAK II comes from an even more violent orc culture, but he's lost interest in violence as a social tool. At least at the moment he's far more enamoured of outthinking his opponents. This is because he's a fan of _Doctor Who_, and is an advocate of the interpretation that the series is rare among action-adventure programmes in that it has a protagonist who should belong to the Hero archetype, but instead belongs to the Trickster archetype. The premise and plot sample for _Blackadder_ season 5 were brainstormed years ago during a more-than-usually off-the-wall session of my Future Guys From The Past gaming group. Unfortunately after all this time I can't recall who contributed what.Back to the Index.