[LNH] Limp-Asparagus Lad #54
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Wed Dec 22 17:55:30 PST 2004
Blue Light Productions present:
Limp-Asparagus Lad #54
A Legion of Net.Heroes title
Written by and copyright 2004 Saxon Brenton
Art by Richard Sc*rry
The cover is a beautiful painting that - like many covers these days -
is totally non-representative of the story inside. The scene has the
Legion flying through the sky, led by Ultimate Ninja (with drawn katana)
and Fearless Leader (carrying an unfurled flag with the LNH logo).
Behind them the regular cast and about twenty other Legionnaires fill
the sky. A blurb in the top right corner proclaims: `Contains Crunchy
Very Big Boy was doing some research. All the talk earlier in the
evening about tesseracted storage spaces and sub-sub-sub basements had
intrigued him, and he was reading up on the history of the Legion and
particularly of its headquarters.
He had found a quiet spot up on the roof of the LNHQ/LNHHQ to read,
and unlike the claustrophobic fog-bound atmosphere over in Shimbleshanks
the evening here was clear and serene. Just at the moment VBBoy was
taking time out to idly watch the sky - or rather the freight zeppelins
which were weaving their way across the neon skyline like large and
particularly cumbersome fireflies. The sky itself was illuminated from
below by the lights of the city and therefore had had pretty much all of
its features washed out by light pollution. He remembered one time when
he and Justin Heywood from supplies had gotten plastered, and Justin had
told him how he'd never been out of the city before he'd left the Bronx
to join the army, so that between the smog and the city lights Justin
had never really seen the stars before.
Someone opened the door to the roof and walked over. Very Big Boy
turned his head and recognised Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad, who was
carrying two beers. "Hey there," FATMLad said, handing over one of the
beers. "What you up to?"
"Just doing some reading on the LNHHQ. There seems to be a lot of
stuff here. Or at least, the history covers a long period of time."
Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad nodded. "Old and venerable institution.
Although we've swapped digs over the years. For instance, does it mention
that at the time that Marvel_Zombie Lad first called the Legion to arms
against Dr. Killfile that the Legion was hanging out in a clubhouse shaped
like a computer terminal that had been stuck in the ground upsidedown?"
"Yeah, I think there's a mention of that in here somewhere," VBBoy
"So what have you got then? General history?"
"Uh-huh. Here, the chapter summary isn't all that long," he said,
and began to read:
| The building known as the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters has
| had a long if intermittent history as the rallying point for costumed
| champions. Moreover, even prior to the LNH-HQ's construction at the
| start of the 20th century, the site on which it was built was reported
| to posses esoteric properties that made it a location of importance.
| The site is believed to be a `place of power' that complements and
| enhances the heroic (and theoretically, villainous) prowess of
| whatever individual or group possess the location. [_Stranger Tales_ #5
| - Footnote Girl] (However, rumours that the location is in fact an
| ancient Indian burial ground have never been substantiated, and these
| days are taken seriously only by the overly excitable.) Definite
| records of this phenomenon can be traced back to the 19th century when
| the city of Net.ropolis was still named Babbagetown, and anecdotal
| evidence stretches back even further.
| The earliest (recorded) version of the Legion of Net.Heroes - led
| by Boy Lad - was active through the late 1920s and 30s, [_Particle Man
| Annual_ #1 - Footnote Girl] and came to based in the three story
| Net.ropolis Hotel Grand [_Lagento 2016_ #4 - Footnote Girl] which had
| closed as a result of the 1929 stock market crash. This version of
| the Legion discontinued in the late 1930s, and the burden of heroic
| activities were shouldered by other teams. Although the P.U.L.P.
| Institute and the Classics Squad both made use of the building, neither
| group resided or was permanently based there. [_Particle Man Annual_ #1]
| In the late 1940s through 50s the predominant hero team was that
| of the mainly British based Society of Wireless Heroes, while the
| Net.tastic Nine of the 1960s were similarly headquartered elsewhere at
| the Mando Building. [_Dvandom Force_ #37-38, 42-43 - Footnote Girl]
| From after World War 2 through to the late 1960s the LNH-HQ building
| once again reopened as the Net.ropolis Hotel Grand [_Bride of C'thulhu_
| #7 - Footnote Girl], but closed again for a few years before once again
| being adopted by a net.hero team - in this case the Legion of
| After the era of the Net.Hippies, teams like the Legion of New-Wave
| Heroes [_LNH: `Tsk' Force_ #6-9 - Footnote Girl] were again based
| elsewhere. Even the initial reformation of the modern version of the
| Legion of Net.Heroes in 1985 saw them headquartered in a smaller club-
| house out in the suburbs. It was not until after the Maria Stork
| Foundation was established to financially support the LNH that the team
| refurbished and moved back to the site of the Hotel Grand. [_LNH: The
| Early Years_ #3 - Footnote Girl] Ironically, this came at the most
| fortunate time for the classic building, as it had been scheduled for
| demolition in 1989 and only saved from destruction after petitions for
| it to preserved as a heritage site. [_Lagneto 2016_ #4]
Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad nodded, took another sip from his beer
and casually shoed away an overly curious mimmoth. "That seems to cover
most of the history of the building. I suppose it goes into more detail
about individual instances of destruction and rebuilding?"
"Uh-huh. Was it really stolen by a notorious international thief to
be used as a attraction at a theme park?"
"Oh yes. But the LNHQ, she's a tough old bird. She's been blown up,
burnt down, shot into orbit, infiltrated by net.villains, attacked by
aliens, besieged by rioters, stolen, shrunk to microscopic size,
projected into other dimensions and turned into cheesecake... All of the
usual things that happen to superhero bases. But the LNHQ always returns.
Probably because of the comic book conventions about prestigious super
team headquarters being situated prominently in the middle of a major
city despite the dangers, come to think of it."
"I suppose it's not safest to place to put somewhere that attracts
fight sc... sorry, Fight Scenes like honey attracts flies," VBBoy said.
"It's not. Not really. But then, the Looniverse is a superhero
parody universe, so we don't have to worry about 'realism'; we only have
to worry about the superhero cliches. Realistically though, yes, sticking
a super team headquarters in the middle of a major urban area is pretty
silly." He paused in thought for a second. "Take Avengers Mansion, for
example. It exists over in the Marvel universe, which is one of the
places that occasionally likes to put on the pretence that it can deal
with superheroes realistically. In practice that usually means that they
simply make the villains more vicious - but that's another rant entirely.
Anyway, to give you an idea of how this sort of blind spot works, back in
the early 1990s there was a war in Iraq over in the Middle East, and the
local dictator puts up army installations in the middle of urban areas,
which made governments and the press worldwide scream about how Saddam
was using 'human shield tactics'. And they were right of course; it was
nothing but a cynical attempt to keep his enemies from attacking his
infrastructure because of the risk to civilians. But does this little
piece of realism carry over into world of comic book cliches?"
"I'm willing to bet it didn't," said Very Big Boy.
"Darn straight," said FATMLad. "The only time the Avengers left
their address on 5th Avenue was to set up shop on the Hydrobase, which
soon got sunk by Doctor Doom. Or John Byrne, I suppose. In any case,
after each catastrophe they'd end up rebuilding their Mansion in the
middle of New York - usually sooner rather than later - even though they
have enemies far more dangerous than a conventional army with missiles.
But the point is, it was only in the alt.realities that you got stuff
like antimatter bombs being used to wipe out Manhattan in order to take
out the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. In the 'mainstream' Marvel
timeline the property damage is usually much more limited, or easily
fixed by reconstruction firms like Damage Control and then forgotten.
And it's the same with the LNHQ."
Very Big Boy cradled the half-finished beer in his hands, then said,
"I'm still not really comfortable with all this talk about the Writers,
but when you look at it like that, they don't seem to have planned things
out very well, do they?"
"No, not really. An awful lot of the time it's just whatever idea
seemed neat at the time. Fanboy Logic, it's called." He glanced down and
frowned. "On the other hand, I think in this case Brenton is being
deliberately silly by including these little fellows. Go on, shoo!" he
said and waved his hand at the mimmoth which had snuck back. The mouse-
sized shaggy pachyderm trumped in defiance before scuttling away again.
There were three figures moving in the cold and darkness.
Professor Guttmann, the Defence Against the Dark Arts lecturer at
Dave Thomas Deluxe, had come to this sideways version of the suburb of
Shimbleshanks to rescue people from the terror pantomime of the Phantom
Raspberry Blower of Olde Net.ropolis Towne. He had already found Elizabeth
and Wendle, and they were now travelling with him in protective company
as he searched for the remaining victims.
This sort of rescue was needed every now and then. Usually once
every few years when the stars were right, but during some frenetic
periods it might be as many as half a dozen times a year.
However, this time there was something different about the situation.
It seemed as though the Raspberry Blower had been careless enough to
spirit away a group of net.ahumans, including a reality manipulator who
might be powerful enough to weaken - or perhaps even wrest away - control
of this parasite dimension from its shadow lord.
At least, that was the supposition that Wendle Johnston had put to
Guttmann, and under the circumstances he saw no reason to doubt the basics
of the youth's theory. And it would be a pleasure if that were indeed the
case. One of the things that the Professor found annoying was that through
the years he had never been able to find a way to rid the city's old
quarter of the threat of the Raspberry Blower. For all that the Raspberry
Blower was only one little fear feeder, it was a particularly tenacious
and well insinuated predator, and there had always been other projects
that had kept Guttmann from investing the time to properly root him out.
It was even more infuriating when one recognised the habit of the
comic book genre of designating 'recurring villains' who would return
time and time again, no matter what steps you took to be rid of them.
Wendle's other five companions were currently standing before a huge
cathedral-like building, eyeing it suspiciously. By rights the well-lit
edifice should have been a welcome relief to the dark and fog covered
industrial wasteland about it, but the fun house arrangement of its
windows gave the place an impression of sinister gaudiness.
"Well, so much for that question," Joe said rhetorically. "This is
just so obviously a set-piece trap that it's not funny," he added sourly
as he began to stride up the stairs towards the front door.
"Then why are we walking into it?" asked Bruce.
"Because net.heroes always make a point of *setting off* traps,"
said Joe. "It makes for more property damage in the fight scenes; and
besides, it always feels good to tear the crap out of something."
"For those of us who can still set off a trap by simply tearing
things to pieces," put in Terri. Joe stopped dead, as if that statement
had struck a chord with him. She scowled at him and said, "Don't you dare
say anything about whining..."
"I'm *not*!" snapped Joe. "We're all under stress, but we already
know that that's deliberate! Focus! What makes your powers so special?
Bruce isn't being blocked."
"Neither are you," said the squirrel-shaped Lenny from atop Bruce's
"Actually, something's been trying to," disagreed Joe. "I think it's
just because I'm a lot more powerful than the rest of you. Never mind
that. We're missing something important here." A few frustrated seconds
passed before he exclaimed, "Arrgh! I wish I could think straight. I know
I'm missing something." He glanced up at the doors looming above him.
"Come on, let's just go and kick the crap out of the bad guy."
"Kiwi," agreed Harris. A little applied mayhem was beginning to
sound like just what the doctor ordered. Lenny shrugged his acceptance.
Terri darted ahead of them to the door and put up one hand. "Okay,
before your testosterone completely gets the better of you, let's carefully
sneak in, find the villain, and *then* beat the crap out of him. He
probably already knows we're here, but just in case we can get past some
more of those guardian monsters: open the door slowly, and once we're
inside, spread out." The boys conceded to this plan with varying degrees
They entered the building. To their surprise the first chamber was
dark, and judging by the echoes was quite large. They slipped to one side
so as not to be outlined at the door by any of the weak light refracting
down through the fog from those leadlight windows higher up.
As they waited a few seconds for their night vision to adjust, tiny
lights appeared; seemingly thousands of them. A multitude of candles, all
of them impossibly coming alive at once, slowly illuminating a huge
circular chamber that was ribbed with buttresses and alcoves. It was a
wonder that the lights from the outside windows didn't impinge into this
enormous area as well, since there couldn't have been much space left over
for any other rooms unless they were self-contained closets or the like.
"A lot of places to hide in," observed Terri, looking about.
"Mmmm. And lots of H.R. Giger style organic decoration," said Joe,
unconsciously echoing the observation that Wendle had earlier made to
Elizabeth. They began to spread out slightly, but not so far apart as to
be unable to regroup and support each other in a fight.
Lenny cocked his head and said, "Listen."
"What?" asked Bruce. Then he caught it too. "Ah, the whispering again."
"Pardon?" went Terri.
"The whispering I heard before," said Bruce, and then summarised
his earlier experience with the local version of the Music of the Spheres.
Lenny was darting his head about, looking as though he was trying to
triangulate. "But it's not sub-audible this time," he pointed out.
"Kiwi," agreed Harris, who was lightly scratching one talon against
the stone floor over and over again. The humans couldn't tell whether the
bird was sharpening his claw, or whether it was some sort of nervous tick.
"Yeah, but is it *significant*?" pointed out Joe. He quietly stepped
over and checked behind a couple of columns. "I mean, it could be just
more creepy atmospherics."
The Phantom Raspberry Blower stepped out into the room, spread wide
his cape in a overly theatrical movement and went "Ppphhhhtttt!!!!" at them.
Joe staggered back. He had been prepared for another assault like
this, but still he had winced and shifted backwards when the Raspberry
Blower had made his attack. Peripherally he noted that the same had
happened to the others. It had to be some sort of net.ahuman power; it
had to be.
Grimly Terri hefted her wooden shovel handle and walked towards the
Raspberry Blower. Harris began stalking around to the right in a flanking
move. Lenny jumped to the floor and he and Bruce likewise flanked on the
left, while Joe came in on an angle from the far side of the room where
he had exploring. The Raspberry Blower simply stood there.
With forced casualness Terri said, "Do you notice that even now that
we have him cornered in a well-lit area, his face is still hidden by that
improbable shadow between his top hat and high collar?"
"Mmm-hmm," agreed Bruce. "Melodramatic. Cliched. Fits in real well
for the Looniverse, though you have to feel sorry for characters from
supposedly serious universes that think it adds to their mystique."
The Raspberry Blower stepped forward a pace with one hand outstretched.
"Oh no, I don't think I'll let you have it, thank you very much,"
said Terri, gripping the shovel handle. "Except maybe in the face," she
added as she feinted to one side, then whirled the wooden shaft to strike
him. It only barely failed to connect as the Raspberry Blower ducked aside.
.oO( Time for a co-ordinated attack, ) she thought, then paused as
her opponent put out his hand again. To the others there seemed to be a
slight increase in the whispering. Terri suddenly seemed baffled. "What?
Uhm, no... I..." she glanced at Joe, a look of bemusement on her face.
"What's wrong?" Joe asked with intensity.
"I'm not sure this is going to be any good against him," she said,
uncertainly. Then she frowned in puzzlement. Her friends tensed, preparing
to launch themselves in attack if the Rasbperrry Blower tired to take
advantage of her sudden confusion, but Terri's puzzlement was already
being replaced by a look of annoyance.
"It sounds like he's trying to put ideas in your head," suggested Bruce.
"Yeah," said Terri, and swung again while her companions rushed in
to give the Phantom less room to manoeuvre. .oO( Bad move, buster, ) she
thought. .oO( I may read narrative captions to get a strategic overview
of the situation, but I'm not helpless without them. And trying to confuse
me with false impressions just ticks me off! )
A few seconds of melee were all the youngsters (and Lenny) got,
before the Raspberry Blower let off another massive "Pppphhhhtttt!!!!"
that sent them all tumbling across the chamber to impact into walls and
columns. This was going to be harder than they had anticipated.
Professor Guttmann and his charges arrived at the cathedral just in
time to see the Phantom Raspberry Blower attack Harris.
Bruce, Joe and Terri had been struggling to free themselves from the
grip of parts of the floor that had animated themselves as clutching hands
of tar, while Lenny had decided to scrabble up across one of the flying
buttresses in order to get at the Raspberry Blower from above without
being grabbed by the tar. And the Raspberry Blower had been advancing on
Harris was watching the Raspberry Blower like a hawk. Or a seriously
ticked off bird with hairy green feathers and a penchant for min-maxing
his characters when role playing - whichever you think is more dangerous.
There was a susurrating sound, like the rustle of dry leaves. It was
like... a voice? Harris couldn't quite be sure. There weren't quite words
involved, but there was some sort of meaning there.
The Raspberry Blower moved forward at Harris, his hands fluttering
like a snake charmer. Closer they moved. Closer. Close enough to grasp the
kiwi. Closing. Delicately. Around his neck...
Harris leapt forward and mauled the Raspberry Blower's hand, pecking
and savagely scratching. The villain jumped back, his hands a bloody mess,
and reflexively blew a massive raspberry at the bird. Harris was launched
across the chamber at high speed and crashed into the far wall, again.
Guttmann let loose a bolt of purply-orangey-green energy from his
staff; no time for an intricate enchantment, just a good old fashioned
blast spell. Then Lenny dropped onto the Raspberry Blower's shoulders and
started giving him a damn good nibbling.
Joe had finally managed to free himself and the others, but he was
becoming worried. It had taken longer than he expected to weaken the
clutching hands with his retcons. In fact, the notion that by persevering
the heroes would eventually overcome their obstacles just didn't seem to
be holding. He saw that Wendle had brought reinforcements and risked
spending a few precious seconds ignoring the fight with the Phantom
Raspberry Blower, hoping that the others would take up the slack.
Now that he took time to `feel' things carefully, Joe was rather
concerned to note the way that most of his retcons were eroding... drying
up and flaking to bits and then blowing away on the wind... That was bad.
They were fighting an uphill battle in a horror genre setting, and if the
superhero dynamic of 'right makes might' (aka, 'the good guys always win')
did not hold, then they were done for.
There was one exception that he could find, and in some ways that
was even more disturbing. He recognised the sensation of his retcons being
subverted by an opponent - being bent, folded, spindled and mutilated for
someone else's use - from the time that he had fought Retcon RACCoon
[_Saviours of the Net_ #7 - Footnote Girl]. With a sinking feeling he
realised that only the bit about everybody meeting at the villain's lair
still stood. The other parts about superheroic principles being in force
were gone. Then came a stab of anger. He'd been tricked into creating a
more efficient trap for the Raspberry Blower's use.
.oO( Okay. Fine, ) he seethed. .oO( Let's see if he can undo my
retcons while he's... *really* distracted. )
And this was the Phantom Raspberry Blower's big mistake. In a horror
genre setting normal people would feel helpless and cower and hide in fear.
Net.ahumans simply got angry, and angry net.ahumans caused property damage.
Intellectually Joe knew that the plan that had just blossomed in his
mind was dangerous, and at best he'd probably end up in bed for a week
feeling wretched. It was just that at this point he didn't really care.
He knelt down on one knee and reached out one hand, as if to grasp
something. As he mimed this action, he recited something that he'd never
tried before. It was something that Barry and himself had come up with one
evening when everybody had been goofing about in a really silly mood, and
he wasn't even sure it would work. Nevertheless, if the Raspberry Blower
was that powerful... fight fire with fire. "Whosoever holds this hammer,
if he be insanely smegging desperate, shall possess the power of... ANGST!"
There was a booming detonation of lightning and thunder that grabbed
the attention of everyone in the room. When their light abused eyes
recovered, Joe (now wearing a faux mediaeval tunic) was holding a sledge-
hammer in one hand. Yes, *that* Sledgehammer. "Have at thee, varlet!" Joe
yelled, whirling the Sledgehammer about by the thong on its handle with
such speed that the very air about it turned incandescent. Then he released
the Sledgehammer, which careened and smote the Phantom Raspberry Blower
with such force the concussive shockwaves nearly bowled over everybody
else as well. The impact knocked the creature off his feet and carried him
through a sturdy stone wall as though it were made of paper. Joe ran to
follow, collecting the Sledgehammer along the way as it flew back to the
hand of its current master. The Raspberry Blower drew himself up from the
rubble, just in time for Joe to send him reeling with another mighty blow
delivered to the face.
Bruce goggled. "Is that what I think it is?" he asked, indicating
"Fabian Nicieza's Sledgehammer of Angst?" said Wendle. "Sure looks
"Oh man, he is going to be ratshit in the morning," Bruce said.
"Providing we all *survive* until tomorrow morning," snapped Terri.
"He is loosening the Raspberry Blower's hold on this world," said
Professor Guttmann, who had his eyes closed with his staff held before him
in both hands. He opened his eyes and looked at them. "I believe that I
can use that. Help him keep the creature distracted," he said.
The young net.ahumans glanced at each other. Most of them recognised
the Defence Against Dark Arts lecturer, and perhaps it was possible that
he knew more than just theory. Still, it didn't sit well with them to
just try and *distract* the Raspberry Blower...
It was Terri who cut to the chase. "Look! If having the Nicieza's
Sledgehammer in his hand is anything like tapping it's power from a
distance, then Joe's going to be in a lot of hurt from using that blasted
thing, and it's only going to get worse the longer he's got it in his
hand. Let's just get this over with right now." Thus galvanised to
action, they all rushed off in pursuit.
Except that Elizabeth grabbed Wendle's arm before he could follow.
"What was all that about?" she demanded.
"What was what?" said Wendle.
"All that talking just before you all got your act together. Why did
you three stop and just babble on like that?"
"Babbling? That wasn't babbling," protested Wendle.
"Sounds like babbling to me," said Elizabeth.
"That was witty banter that signifies to the Readers that the malign
effect of the Raspberry Blower's powers over us is on the wane."
"I have no idea what you're talking about, so I'll just assume that
you're trying to confuse me with gobbledegook," she said. "But it still
looked to me like the babbling of people who were using displacement
activity to hide from their fear."
"Down!" yelled Bruce as he crash tackled the pair of them, pushing
them out of the way of a large chunk of masonry that the Raspberry
Blower had thrown. Having saved them from being squished, Bruce bounded
back into the fray.
"Damn," said Wendle. "We were both wrong. It was the silliness of
the superhero parody genre treacherously distracting us with what looked
like witty banter so that the villain could attack us in a vicious and
yet contextually humorous manner." He pouted. "One of these days we're
going to have to work out a way to get around that."
"You people are *insane*!" yelled Elizabeth.
For the most part Joe was handling the Raspberry Blower pretty well
all by himself. Or perhaps 'was effectively keeping the Raspberry Blower
off balance and on the defensive' would have been a better description,
Joe himself did not sound good.
"Base... miscreant!" he snarled, his words being spat out to the beat
of the Sledgehammer as he pounded on his opponent. "You haven't... <pound>
got any... <pound> smegging idea... <pound> about how much <pound> *crap*
<pound> we have to... <pound> put up with... <pound> from @ssholes...
<pound> like you! <pound> Bastard! <pound> I'm getting sick... <pound>
of creatures... <pound> like you... <pound> feeding on the... <pound>
*pain*... <pound> of others... <pound> and leaving... <pound> us heroes...
<pound> to clean up... <pound> the smegging *mess*! <pound>."
There was a raw edge to Joe's voice which his friends really didn't
like the sound of. "That Sledgehammer definitely isn't any good for him,"
Bruce commented, half to the others and half to the world in general.
"Kiwi," Harris agreed.
"...like the time... <pound> Dr Oblivion... <pound> tried to frame...
<pound> Decibel Dude... <pound> or when Dinnerplate... <pound> went and
tortured... <pound> Mormon missionaries..."
[`Falling to Prices' _Decibel Dude and Vigilante Guy_ #s 31-40;
_Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #42 - Footnote Girl]
"Then let us finish this," said Professor Guttmann. "I have a binding
prepared. Mr Forsythe, stand aside!" he called.
"...and the time... <pound> Barry's pal Dreck... <pound> sacrificed
himself... <pound> to stop... <pound> Dark Fan.Boy..." Joe continued.
[_Fan.Boy_ #16 - Footnote Girl] It seemed that he was intent on listing
every injustice that even peripherally related to him via people he knew
and laying punishment on the Raspberry Blower for it.
Which wasn't such a bad idea in theory, but it looked to Terri as
though Joe were falling into an angst fugue or something. "Hey," she
shouted. "Are you listening? Loosen up and let the Professor finish him off."
Joe rounded on her. She took a step backwards at the sight of him.
His eyes were red from tears, wide and staring, and he looked as though
he were on the verge of having a hysterical fit. There was something wet
and red on the Sledgehammer. Her nose wrinkled in distaste as she
recognised it. oO( Eww. Raspberry jam. )
The Phantom Raspberry Blower lashed out in this moment of respite,
but Guttmann was ready for him. The Rasberry Blower's cloaked form
exploded with a riot of tentacles that struck out at anything nearby,
knocking aside Joe and forcing Terri to duck. Other tentacles ripped apart
a nearby door, shredding it and hurling the shrapnel around the chamber,
while some of the remaining rope-like limbs bashed aside one of the
supporting stone columns in a vain attempt to collapse the ceiling and
allow the fear lord to escape.
Across the room Elizabeth shoved Wendle aside, taking a piece of the
wooden shrapnel to her chest in the process.
Before the Raspberry Blower was able to move (or slither, or
whatever) more than about two paces Guttmann's spell caught it. "I bind
you under the Weight of the Words of the World!" he declared and released
a blinding actinic light in it's direction. The slathering, squamous
thing collapsed to its backwards-jointed knee analogues under the impact
of every single word of every single non-Elsewhirl LNH story. And that's
a whole lot of text.
The youngsters has seen this done before, of course. They'd even
pulled it off themselves, once [_Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #40 - Footnote Girl].
But their efforts had been that of gifted amateurs, and they had had to
take a lot of time to tell stories at their foe to get the Weight of Words
to function properly. By comparison, Professor Guttmann was a professional
occultist, and initiated the binding with what seemed like singular ease
and speed. The by-now only vaguely humanoid shape (and that mainly because
it still had its cloak and top hat on) lay on the floor, weakly struggling
against the forces bearing down on it.
"Well, that looks like he's taken care of," commented Terri with
"Yeah, now all you've got to do is wean Joe off the Sledgehammer,"
said Bruce as he gazed around the chamber. He spotted Wendle fussing
over Elizabeth, and wandered over to see what was up.
"Uhm, are you alright?" asked Wendle, who was mildly surprised to
see that Elizabeth was still hale.
"It's just a scratch from some little splinters," she replied
somewhat irritably as she plucked a bit of wood from her good blouse.
"Honestly, even if I was actually capable of bleeding it'd only be a
minor cut." She looked at him. "Did you think I'd turn to dust or
"I'm not some weak little vamp like on `Buffy' who'd vanish in a
puff of smoke if someone gave me a prod in the chest with a 2B pencil,
"So you're more a `Salem's Lot' type of girl, then?" he said, thinking
of the way those undead had needed to be thwacked with heavy blows for
several minutes before they were properly staked. Elizabeth glared at him.
At which point Bruce turned up and, deciding to shitstir, said, "You
know Wendle, that really isn't the way to chat up girls."
Elizabeth glared at him too. Bruce clicked his tongue and said, "You
always seem to pick the frisky women." And now Wendle was glaring at
Bruce as well, but he just rolled his eyes and left with a grin.
"Don't mind him," said Wendle. "He's from Alt.stralia."
As the two of them walked back, Lenny asked, "What was that about?"
"She'll be too busy being angry at me to be angry at Wendle," Bruce
said casually. "But it looks like we've got another problem that'll be
harder to fix," he said more seriously, indicating with a nod of his head
to where, as expected, Terri was having a hard time of trying to get Joe
to give up his Sledgehammer.
"Put down the Sledgehammer," she coaxed him.
"But it'll hurt," he whimpered, clutching the Sledgehammer to his
chest like a security blanket. She suppressed a sigh. With the villain
defeated and the hysterical strength that came from righteous indignation
waning, the flip side of the Sledgehammer of Angst was coming to the fore
as incapacitating morbidity and gloom took over.
"It'll only get worse the longer you keep hold of it," she said in
a reasonable tone.
Joe looked panic stricken and made a little high pitched keening
sound, then he dropped the Sledgehammer, which vanished in a burst of
strangely muted looking sparkles before it had even hit the ground. Then
he immediately went " ack! " as his face turned pallid and green. It was
a good thing that his friends were there to catch him, because he was
unconscious before he would have hit the floor.
"Quick, check his pulse," said Bruce as he struggled to support the
boneless weight of Joe. Terri did so, then frowned with a mixture of
relief and concern. "Weak, but still there."
"Then let us get him to medical attention," said the Professor, who
was using the tip of his staff to draw, in lines of violet fire, a
doorway in the air. He knocked on the space within the frame, and the
door resolved itself into a gateway to the university clinic. "Come."
Elizabeth restrained herself from rushing through to safety. For all
of their gung-ho attitude these people *had* made a point of trying to
deal with a menace and protect bystanders as much as their skewed world-
views could manage, and she didn't want to appear ungrateful. Even the
Viking wannabe had been behaving himself once you took into consideration
the stress that everyone had been under.
Terri and Bruce hauled Joe through, and Wendle gestured with an
`after you' motion to Elizabeth. Then Wendle glanced at the figure still
pressed down onto the floor by the terrible intangible weight of the
story archives and asked, "What about the Raspberry Blower?"
Harris and Lenny paused at the threshold for Guttmann's answer. "I
will come back to deal with him later," the Professor said as he guided
the last of them through the door. The Defence Against the Dark Arts
lecturer suppressed a smile at the thought of metaphysically vivisecting
the incapacitated Phantom Raspberry Blower piece by piece until his
threat was gone.
Still running waaay behind in continuity I'm afraid.
Next issue is a September 11 story, entitled: "What Do You
Mean `Editorial Policy Won't Let Me Do That'?"
After that I'll probably have caught up to the _Flame Wars 4_
miniseries. I hope.
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid (Wendle), Elizabeth, Fourth Wall Lass
(Terri), Professor Guttmann, Retcon Lad (Joe), Very Big Boy, and the
Phantom Raspberry Blower of Olde Net.ropolis Towne all created by Saxon
Chinese Guy (Bruce) and Lenny (Ljundji) are both Public Domain and
kind of sort of created by Dvandom (Dave Van Domelen) and Saxon Brenton.
Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad is Public Domain. Created by Elmo (Greg
Morrow). Please note that Elmo is still kind of using the FATMLad non de
plume, so I'd better emphasise that this is the Looniverse's version of
FATMLad and that he does not necessarily bear any resemblance to his
Harris the Kiwi created by Saxon Brenton, but is owned by Descri
Mimmoths belong to Phil and Kaja Folglio and have infesticated
themselves across from the _Girl Genius_ comic series. I tried to stop
them, but mimmoths *are* vermin, and they get everywhere! No, really,
would I lie to you?
All characters copyright 2004 to their creators or owners as applicable.
Back issues of the Legion of Net.Heroes may be found at Russ Alberry's
Eyrie Archives at: ftp://ftp.eyrie.org/pub/racc/lnh
The LNH stories of Blue Light Productions may also be found at:
The history of the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters was written
in response to requests for information made by Martin Phipps in
clarification to a similar history that he had written in _LNH: The Early
Years_ #3 back in 2003. The topic has obviously been preying on the
minds of a number of people, because apart from a few other of Martin's
stories it's also been mentioned in Adrian McClure's _Ultimate Mercenary_
#4. However, in order to create the *pretence* of coherent history, facts
and dates have needed to be chosen between, massaged, left deliberately
vague, or in some cases created from whole cloth - so remember that
this is only canonical until the next retcon. Thanks to everybody on
rec.arts.comics.creative who gave feedback on this somewhat convoluted
The bit about the city of Net.ropolis originally having been called
Babbagetown was culled from _Acton Lord_ #0 (which was a draft of an
alternate version of what became the LNH2 imprint) and is a reference to
Kurt Busiek's _Astro City_ - and how can I possibly resist an Astro City
homage?. Also, Dvandom avows that the name of the Net.tastic Nine's head-
quarters was probably intended to be the Mando Building, since it, like
Baxter, is a type of paper used for comics.
I left out the Challengers of the Abominable from the list of mid
20th century hero groups because they were, after all, a secret
organisation; and similarly did not mention the hints from _System
Corruptors_ #24b about the LNH-HQ possibly being an other-dimensional
entity that feeds of heroic emotions, because even if it is true, the
characters aren't supposed to ever know about it.
Oh yes. And in Ben Pierce's 1992 post on rec.arts.comics to call
the Legion to arms against Dr. Killfile, the LNH clubhouse really was
described as looking like an upsidedown computer terminal.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
The Librarian "liked people who loved and respected books. And the best
way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the
shelves where Nature intended them to be." Terry Pratchett, _Men At Arms_
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