[LNH] Limp-Asparagus Lad #54

Saxon Brenton 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
"Genre Conflict"
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 
Continuity Goodness!'
     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 
| Net.Hippies.
|      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 
of enthusiasm.
     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 
the Sledghammer.
     "Fabian Nicieza's Sledgehammer of Angst?" said Wendle. "Sure looks 
like it."
     "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 
grim satisfaction.
     "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 
     "Er, well..."
     "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, 
you know."
     "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.
Continuity Notes:
     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.
Character Credits:
     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 
other-dimensional counterparts.
     Harris the Kiwi created by Saxon Brenton, but is owned by Descri 
(Ian Porrel).
     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: 
Add Notes: 
    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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