LNH: War Without Worlds #2

Jamas Enright thad at eyrie.org
Tue Nov 29 20:29:13 PST 2005

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     [The cover is an extreme close up of a grim-faced
      Master Blaster, who is saying "You realise, this
      means war." (There was at attempt to put a logo
      at the bottom reading "The LNH Strikes-" in a very
      familiar pattern, but this was hurried crossed out.)]


                        "Unto the Breach"
                by Jamas Enright and Saxon Brenton

"Hello gentle readers. Kid Recap here, and I'd like to recap the events
that have just taken place in the issue before this one, but first we
need to set the scene. One moment please."
      Just off the main continent of Af.rec.a lies the island of
Madagascar. Covered with nearly equal parts jungle and mountains, lying
near the equator, it is a lovely place to visit, and many people want to
live there, and indeed there are many towns and cities scattered over
its length.
      But all that is now in danger from the sky-scraper tall figure that
stood on one of the peaks of the island near its middle. Because it
wouldn't remain on the peak for long. With mechanical regularity, it
raised and lowered its feet, sending shockwaves rippling across the
entire island. Already there was severe devastation in many of the
cities, but the LNH was on the scene in the evening dusk to do what they
      "We have to stop it," Sister State-The-Obvious said, and not for
the first time.
      "If only we could get it into a nice flowing gown, we could at
least co-ordinate with it," New Look Lass said, looking resplendent in
an off-the-shoulder yellow crop top with red short-shorts, completing
the look with white ankle socks and sneakers.
      "All around the globe," Kid Recap continued, from his position
standing by the other two heroes, "these figures have appeared, one per
continent. LNH teams were dispatched to fight them, but these beings
aren't easy to fight."
      *KABLOOM* A blast from Irony Man shattered the rock surrounding the
figure, but only achieved the effect of softening up the surrounding
area, which helped the figure.
      Bizarre Boy's energy blasts were all scoring hits, but that wasn't
the problem. Their lack of effect was frustrating him, making him pore
more power on.
      Sing-Along Lass tried to distract it with the aid of her
flight.ring, but this figure proved harder to distract than others had
      "The seismic waves are gathering in strength," Irony Man reported,
landing near the controls of a craft that looked remarkably like a Star
Wars land skiff (but copyrightally different), on which the non-flying
heroes were standing to avoid the continually shaking ground. "At this
rate, that thing will destroy the island in a matter of hours, when the
underlying bedrock is shattered. Time's running out."
      "Can we knock it over?" Sister State-The-Obvious asked.
      "Or maybe we could all change into something more fashionable?" New
Look Lass suggested.
      "Yes," Ambiguous Lass added.
      Kid Recap nodded his agreement as well, then said, "Occultism Kid
discovered that these beings are some form of shell, powered by psychic
energy, but no psychic abilities have proven useful yet. Which means
neither Ambiguous Lass nor New Look Lass can help right now (as they
could neither make the figure not act so clearly nor want to get a new
      "I don't think knocking it over will help," Irony Man said. "It
might delay it for a moment, but it could easily use its hands instead."
      "It stomps on the ground," Sister State-The-Obvious said.
      "Yes, yes it does. Umm..."
      "Lift it off."
      "Or we could try to lift it off the ground," said Irony Man. 
Activating the jets in his own hardsuit, Irony Man flew to the other two
heroes. "Sing-Along Lass, Bizarre Boy, with me!"
      Quickly outlining a plan, Bizarre Boy and Sing-Along Lass flew
down, and when the figure next raised its foot, they flew in to hold it
up with Irony Man flew underneath it (although Sing-Along Lass was
straining the power of the flight.ring to do this). He didn't have long
as the figure was already inexorably lowering its foot, but he succeeded
quickly. They repeated this procedure for the other foot.
      Then, as they backed off, Irony Man activated the anti-gravity
discs he had just attached. Wobbling slightly, the figure lifted only a
few inches off the ground, the discs not having much power against its
weight, but nevertheless achieving the desired result.
      The figure kept moving its legs up and down, which twisted it one
way, then the next, and then its balance was upset enough that the
figure twisted all the way around until its top half crashed into the
ground beneath it. Then, as Irony Man had feared, it started smashing
into the ground with its fists.
                             Wobbling slightly, the figure lifted only a
few inches off the ground, the discs not having much power against its
weight, but nevertheless achieving the desired result.
                             Wobbling slightly, the figure lifted only a
few inches off the ground, the discs not having much power against its
weight, but nevertheless achieving the desired result.
                             Wobbling slightly, the figure lifted only a
few inches off the ground, the discs not having much power against its
weight, but nevertheless achieving the desired result.
      "Excuse me for a moment, folks," Kid Recap muttered. "It's just a
power of mine that I can only use if I'm part of a scene, namely
recapping events by having them act out again. In this case..."
                            Wobbling slightly, the figure lifted only a
few inches off the ground, the discs not having much power against its
weight, but nevertheless achieving the desired result.
      "Only problem is..."
      The figure kept moving its legs up and down, which twisted it one
way, then the next, and then its balance was upset enough that the
figure twisted all the way around until its top half crashed into the
ground beneath it. Then, as Irony Man had feared, it started smashing
into the ground with its fists.
      "...can't keep it up," Kid Recap gasped, falling down onto his
knees. Ambiguous Lass either got him a glass of water or helped him to a
      "Right, that does it. Bizarre Boy, any other powers in there?" 
Sing-Along Lass asked.
      Bizarre Boy shrugged. "Probably. What do you need?"
      "Can you amplify my singing!?" she asked.
      "Can but try." Bizarre Boy landed on the half-prone figure, which
ignored him, and braced himself for amplification...as best as he could
work out how to brace himself for that.
      "But that's not all," Kid Recap said through breaths. "A strange
planet entered our solar system, and destroyed Pluto. The Riki Tiki
Tavi, containing Parking Karma Kid, Kid
Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story and Bad-Timing Boy were sent to
investigate, and arrived to find the planet now destroying Neptune. They
did manage to rescue the Alt.Riders, who had infiltrated the planet in
order to get information, but the Net.Elementalist was left behind. I
should point out that this was in _The Alt.Riders #42_, not last issue."
      Sing-Along Lass Woman sucked in a deep breath, and then:
      "  |=====|    AAAA    HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH     |=====|"
         |     |   AA  AA   HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH     |     |
         |=====|  AA    AA  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH     |=====|
         |     |  AAAAAAAA  HHHHHH  HHHHHH  HHHHHH     |     |
       O |   O |  AA    AA  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH   O |   O |
      O O   O O   AA    AA  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  O O   O O
       O     O    AA    AA  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH  HH   O     O
      The power rocketed through Bizarre Boy and into the figure. Cracks
appeared on its surface, and Bizarre Boy gritted his teeth as he forced
more and more power into the shell beneath him. He could feel it
trembling, on the edge of breaking up...
      "The Alt.artica team found out one last piece of information,
although it cost them their ability to participate in the rest of this
story line," Kid Recap said. "When one of the figures is destroyed, it
sends out a psychic blast that knocks out everyone nearby, putting them
into a deep coma."
      Sister State-The-Obvious and New Look Lass heard this, exchanged
looks, and turned to Bizarre Boy. "Stop!" they shouted. Ambiguous Lass
helped Kid Recap up, or also shouted.
      But Bizarre Boy wasn't listening. This thing had to be stopped, and
nothing was going to stop him.
      And nothing did.
      The explosion could be hear clear across the island. But there was
no-one conscious to hear it...


On board the Riki Tiki Tavi, the events weren't quite as exciting, but
we're building to a key piece of exposition, so they are necessary.
      "Did you find out who they were?" Kid
Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story asked Agent (leader of the
Alt.Riders). "The planet looks familiar, but I can't quite place it."
      Agent shook his head, which, despite the many bruises and knocks it
had received, wasn't bandaged. Indeed, Agent had been nearly pulled
apart, but he wasn't letting that slow him down. "They have immense
psychic abilities. The only thing stopping them from tearing our minds
apart was our mental shielding. Instead, they tried to tear our bodies
apart instead."
      Dva nodded, as he had been with Agent when that had happened, but
unlike Agent was quite happy to have his broken arm in a cast. "One
moment," he said, closing his eyes. However, he opened them again as
Agent grabbed his (not broken) arm. "No psychic problems," he said to
      "It's psychotic problems I'm worried about," Agent whispered back,
throwing a significant glance at Kid NAIARHS. Dva glanced, then nodded,
getting the point. [It's complicated. Don't ask - Footnote Girl.]
      "Ah, of course. Psychic abilities..." Kid NAIARHS mused to himself.
      "You have it?" Parking Karma Kid called from over his shoulder from
where he sat at the controls. "We should be making planet fall in an
hour or so."
      "This can't wait," Kid NAIARHS (who really needs a shorter acronym
to type) said. "Open a comm channel. These are the Inhilators."


Ultimate Ninja had called a meeting in the war room at the Legion of
Net.Heroes headquarters. There seemed to have been a lot of such
meetings recently, what with all the antics of those relatives of Dr
Killfile and all. [During the _Road To Killfile Wars_ miniseries -
Footnote Girl] In this instance there were five other people present.
      Vel was the first one to speak. "I agree with Kid
Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story's initial identification of the
rogue planet as the homeworld of the so-called Inhilators," the young
half human/half Dorf hybrid said to the group. He touched some controls
and brought up an image of it on screen. "Not that it's particularly
hard to identify once you know what to look for. Both the lurid colour
scheme and its method of attacking and destroying other worlds are
      "By snorting up other planets into its nose through a giant
straw..." said the Ninja. Just when he thought he'd grown inured to all
the weirdness, something like this came along.
      Deductive Logic Man asked, "How does a feature like a giant nose,
which is so geologically huge, resist collapsing under its own weight?" 
More than idle curiosity had prompted the question. It might be Just One
Of Those Things that the Writers had thrown in for the hell of it, but
on the other hand if it had a mechanic to it then that might suggest a
      "Partly because it is a short term phenomenon," said Eight of Nine,
who was the other extraterrestrial that Ultimate Ninja had asked in to
consult with. The woman was a cyborg and former member of the Cascader
Collective. In many ways the inverse of Liefeld's Porpoise, her
remaining cybernetics were sleek and unobtrusive rather than clunky and
ostentatious, but her personality was clinical and machinelike. She
therefore explained simply and with precision, "The surface of the
Inhilator world is constantly active. Those multicoloured patterns are
actually geological rather than atmospheric features, but they move with
time just as much as any cloud bands on any gas giant. The Inhilator
world can grow and then absorb back into itself those giant noses as it
deems necessary."
      "Then how does the entire planet reshape itself?" demanded Adamant-
Authority-On-Everything. "The two phenomena are clearly linked."
      "Logically, yes," she said. "I propose that it is psychokinetic in
nature. We have evidence that the Inhilators possess enormous psychic
      "The psychic nature of the probe constructs, and the reports made
by the Alt.Riders," said Theory Man.
      "Yes," Eight agreed. "Additionally, the one time that a cube from
the Cascader Collective encountered the Inhilators, it was at a time
when the latter's strength was maximal. They were able to drive away the
Collective's cube by placing a compulsion deep within the Collective's
mind to avoid the Inhilators at all costs - a compulsion that took the
Collective considerable effort over several decades to purge from
itself. Nevertheless, scanalysis done at the time indicates that the
method used was psionic."
      "So," mused Adamant-Authority-On-Everything. "Put it all together
and it's not unreasonable to expect that their psychokinesis is on a
planetary scale."
      "Correct," said Eight of Nine.
      "And the Inhilators have come out on top in a confrontation with
the Cascaders," said Ultimate Ninja, pursuing a different line of
thought. "Is there anyone who's bested them?"
      Vel frowned. "No one in the galactic community of our general
technology level who's prepared to talk," he said carefully. 
"Ultra-powerful civilisations like the Time Barons, or some of the
Elders of the Looniverse, or species that have evolved to become beings
of pure thought or what have you... well, they don't have problems with
the likes of the Inhilators."
      "That makes sense," said Theory Man. "Threats like the Inhilators
or Cascaders are most dangerous against people who are of lesser power
than themselves, or of equal power who they can wear down over time."
      Vel nodded. "That's right. In fact, I found one reference to an
incident where the Inhilators threatened a planet that was being
actively observed by the Etaoin Shrdlu, who simply flicked the
interloper away. The Cascaders have faced similar smackdowns," he added.
      "But entities that powerful tend not to meddle in the affairs of
'lesser beings'," observed Adamant-Authority-On-Everything, somewhat
sourly. "Our chances of getting assistance from them is pretty much
      Vel nodded again. "True. But the Legion is one of the rare
non-nigh-omnipotent groups that have faced that level of adversity and
won." Then he grinned, a grim smile of warrior's anticipation, "That
actually bodes well for us, in a way."
      "Noted," said Ultimate Ninja. It was indeed a reputation to be
proud of, but like the proverbial Best Gunslinger In The West, it was a
status that was only as good as the outcome of the next fight. "Very
well then, if they're on par with the Cascaders, then that gives us a
rough idea of what to expect."
      "Overall, yes," said Eight of Nine. "However, their exact power
levels vary considerably. The absorption of other planets seems to be a
refuelling exercise."
      "Which brings us to the next big question," said Deductive Logic
Man. "Can we starve them or depower them? If they've fed on both Pluto
and Neptune, does that mean they're near full strength? Or should we
prepare a preemptive strike before they grow stronger?"
      "Unknown," said Eight of Nine. "Their ability to inhale an entire
solar system's worth of planets is well documented, but it is not known
whether those resources are then stored or immediately converted into
power, nor even what sort of conversion methods are used. Logic suggests
that the longer that the Legion waits before acting, the more likely it
is that the Inhilators will have grown more powerful."
      "Unfortunately, that also means that we're at risk of basing our
actions on incomplete information," said Deductive Logic Man.


As the Ultimate Ninja left the briefing scene, he found himself on the
end of a very uncommon phenomena. Namely, he was lifted with a hand
around his throat and held against the wall. He heard the click of a gun
being cocked, but kept his eyes on his assailant, namely Master Blaster.
      "What happened to wReanna?" Master Blaster growled.
      "Take your hand off me," Ultimate Ninja replied, not immediately
disemboweling Master Blaster because he knew about the strength of
feeling Master Blaster felt for Sister State-The-Obvious although MB
didn't normally show it. Unlike now.
      Master Blaster responded by pressing the gun barrel harder into the
ninja's head. "What happened to wReanna?" he asked again, enunciating
each word carefully.
      "Her team is being picked up," the ninja responded calmly. "The
psychic blast put her and everyone on Madagascar into a coma. We hope
that once the Inhilators have been taken care of, she'll wake up."
      "But you aren't sure."
      "It's Organic Lass' best guess."
      Master Blaster stared at UN a moment longer, then backed off,
letting UN slide down to the floor. "Then show me where to aim and I'll
blow their nuts off."
      "Very colourful, but we haven't worked out a strategy yet. And we
still have the Inhilator probes to take care of. We can't destroy them,
and we haven't exactly got a planet-busting arsenal to call on."
      Master Blaster looked at the gun in his hand, then turned and
strode down the corridor. "Leave that to me," he called back.
      UN watched MB go, but didn't reply. The obvious need for discipline
could be addressed later.


"This is Riki Tiki Tavi, touching down on the LNHHQ room. Bringing
patients down to the medical rooms for check ups, but have dealt with
immediate injuries."
      "Roger that, Riki Tiki Tavi. Kid
Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story, please report to nearest
strategy planning scene, along with any available Alt.Riders. Parking
Karma Kid, please report to parking bay to help with prepping squadron
of space.thingees."
      "Roger that."


"What we need, right, is a really large baseball bat," Theory Man said. 
"Get a really large bat, get a nice firm grip, and knock them out of the
solar system. Maybe even get a spin on it, seams all lined up, right out
of the park."
      "Okay, that'll be plan...Q, or something," Multi-Tasking Man
replied as he wrote up the summary notes from the first exposition
scene, showed Kid Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story and the
Alt.Riders to seats, checked the updated status reports of the five
teams still fighting Inhilator probes and prepared another five lattes.
      "We need to take the fight to them," Ultimate Ninja announced,
entering the room again. "Try to take them out before they can get
anywhere near us."
      "We haven't got the kind of power needed to take out a planet," Kid
NAIARHS pointed out. "Not that we could get anywhere near them in the
first place, either."
      "Agreed," Eight of Nine said. "We would need the energy
requirements of several Cascader Cubes, and we do not have those
resources at our disposal."
      "I don't have a better plan," UN said. "At the very least, we might
be able to slow them down. Distract them."
      "It's working for them," Deductive Logic Man suddenly said.
      "Those probes. They were sent here to absorb our resources. Make
sure we couldn't respond to them."
      "And it's working well," Multi-Tasking Man said, signing for pizza
orders and checking on the fuel levels in the space.thingee squadron. 
"We've already got two teams unconscious, and the others are tied up
trying to keep the probes from causing more damaged. We've only got the
one Angstvangelion, and there isn't much else that can even pause one of
those things by themselves, and even then Kid Pocky still needs help."
      "Tell me about what you found out about that planet," UN ordered
the Alt.Riders.
      For a moment there was silence as Agent appeared to gaze into the
distance, but then he jumped to his feet. "These Inhilators are a race
of people, the same as you and me...well, okay, not the same as either
you or me," he said upon reflection. "There seem to be two parts to
their society. One lot are the dregs, which spend there time blissed out
and living in tunnels, subsisting on rocks and the like. The other is a
ruling class, reminiscent of monarchy. They control the planet, and
they're the ones we need to defeat."
      "What? They're just normal people??" Vel growled.
      "People, yes, normal, no. The ruling class, at least, have immense
inherent psychic ability. The scanner showed the atmosphere itself was
saturated with psychic energy. The Net.Elementalist.." the pause was
barely noticeable, "..succumbed to it straight away. Most of you would
be immediately insensible if you took one step on that planet."
      "Then how did you survive?" MTM inquired.
      "We've had psychic training. We can operate in that atmosphere,
can't fall prey to the mental influences...although that doesn't stop
them from tossing us around like rag dolls with psychokinesis."
      "But if you could get back there, you could-"
      "Unwise," Eight of Nine interrupted. "When the Cascaders tried
teleporting to the planet, they merely drew the Inhilators attention to
them. Those parties are never heard from again. The Alt.Riders were
extremely lucky to have survived their first visit."
      "Yeah, but they lost one of their party," Bad Timing Boy pointed
out. "There was no sign of the Net.Elementalist that we could see in our
      "Those scans were wrong," Dva said, entering the room, deliberately
taking a seat far away from, and not looking at, Kid
Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story. "He has to still be there."
      "That as may be," Ultimate Ninja cut in, "but we can't let that
affect any plans we might make. If taking out that planet is our only
option, then I'm going for it."
      "What?" Dva said. "Even if that means...?"
      UN just nodded.
      "It doesn't matter." Everyone looked around to see that it was
Morph who spoke, and who just looked at the floor despondently. 
"Whatever we try, we can't win."
      "I will not allow-"
      Morph cut UN off. "I've seen it. I've seen the power source they're
using. I know how they keep coming out on top."
      "Tell us then, o wise one," UN said bitterly.
      "The planet is hollow. It's only really a shell to house the power
source inside. So it's not a planet we're fighting, it's the power
source the size of the planet."
      "This build up better be worth it," UN muttered.
      "They can do whatever they like because they have the plot on their
side. They've got a Plot Device Engine. A Deus Ex Machine. They can do
all this because they control the story."


[Note: The following scene doesn't actually take place until later, but
we need a nice break around about now...]

Deja Dude materialised underwater, having teleported to the
now-submerged remains of Lagneto's Asteroid L in the In.dir.an Ocean. 
Fortunately his powers to recreate effects had been done before meant
that he had no more problem surviving in the depths than would any of
the the aquatic denizens of the various Atlantises who had appeared in
comics over the decades.
      He glanced around, not seeing much because the power was off and
there was very little light. There was the faintest of pale blue glows,
but he recognised this as the type of cinematic illumination that always
turns up to just barely light the way in what would otherwise be stygian
darkness. It was a plot contrivance so that the audience wouldn't have
to be bored with the story's protagonist flollopping around in the dark,
and so he didn't give it a second thought. He orientated his direction
according to what little intel that the Legion had been able collect
about Asteroid L's layout over the years, and set out.
      As he swam along his mood was sombre. Lagneto had deorbitted this
place a few years ago, and had carefully chosen its touchdown site to be
in the ocean so as not to land on any inhabited areas. He had even
slowed its descent so as to minimise any impact damage. Unfortunately,
as a hydrologist Lagneto had made a great geneticist, and he had
overlooked the fact that despite the comparatively soft landing that the
displacement of water from something as large as Asteriod L would still
send flooding to wash over surrounding coastal areas. The death toll had
been enormous - just not quite as enormous as would normally have been
the case for a planet-cracker sized asteroid arriving on earth. [_The
Lagneto Saga_ #8 - Footnote Girl]
      After a while Deja Dude began to notice that the place seemed to
have been ransacked. He wondered whether it had been done by the
Brotherhood of Net.Villains as they had prepared to depart, or whether
it had happened later when S.C.O.R.E. [the Supreme Command of Retrogade
Eavesdroppers - Footnote Girl] had mounted their search-and-secure
mission shortly after Asteroid L's touchdown. Mentally he shrugged; it
may even have been a combination of both.
      The scan.thingee made bleeping noises. He seemed to be getting
close to the location he was searching for. Deja Dude peered more
closely at the device and tried to calibrate it for more exact readings.
And so, just at the moment that he was distracted, a hideous scaly
monster grabbed him from behind.


Master Blaster entered the main conference room to find two people
arguing. The rest of the room was full of people just watching them,
strangely quiet.
      "Yes, it is powerful, but it can be mastered, and if we can do
that, then we can take control of this," Retcon Lad said.
      "Ah, but I'm saying we can't. They already have control of it, and
so will always have control. I do know how these things work, after
all," Adamant Authority-On-Everything asserted.
      "Maybe so, but I have had direct experience of what plot devices
can do," Retcon Lad pointed out. "My powers can be expressed in terms of
creating plot devices that counteract previously established plot
points. All we need to do is disrupt their control, and establish our
      "Can't be done," AAOE said. "Other races have tried that and
      Retcon Lad looked around the room. "Eight of Nine? Vel? Any
      "Never heard about anything like that," Vel said.
      "Neither have I," Eight of Nine confirmed.
      "It'll fail, I so declare it!" AAOE declared.
      "Are we talking about fragging these Inhilators yet?" Master
Blaster asked, not quite sure what was happening.
      "Do you have something that can take out a planet?" UN asked.
      Master Blaster grinned. "Oh yeah. I've managed to get my hands on a
modified Thollian Web."
      "Thollian Web? Isn't that an extremely inefficiently designed
weapon that relies on the target to conveniently remain motionless while
an energy web is constructed around it, taking several days?" Eight of
Nine inquired.
      "I did say it was modified. How many space.thingees do we have?"
      UN looked at Retcon Lad, who had been helping out in the parking
bay before being summoned to the meeting. "About half-a-dozen, but we
could retrofit normal flight.thingees for space travel if we can swap
out the engines and...well...sacrifice such items as life support and
reentry capability..."
      "Do it," UN ordered. "The crews for those will either be able to
survive space, or can wear space suits."
      "Well, I hardly think that will be entirely sufficient..." Retcon
Lad stopped speaking as UN just stared at him. "Yes sir."
      "What does your modification do?"
      "I've explained the idea to the Renegade Programmer, and as soon as
he turns up, we'll begin," Master Blaster explained, looking towards the
door, as if RP would turn up at that second.
      Time slowly ticked by, but the portly programmer failed to show. 
"I'll...just go see where he's up to..." Master Blaster said, heading
for the door, but stopping just as RP entered. "Took a while to set up,
I expect," Master Blaster said, covering for RP.
      "No, no, only a few seconds," RP wheezed as he hefted his hefty
frame over the main monitor screen. "But this room is some distance away
from the main computer banks." The audience looked among themselves...it
was only a few meters away, but no-one said anything.
      "Anyway, this is what we're going to do," Master Blaster said,
rubbing his hands. "RP, if you will..."
      The main screen lit up with an image of the Inhilator planet,
swirling harmlessly in space, like it didn't do in real life. "We
approach in as many ships as possible, and take up positions around it." 
Around the planet, small space.thingee representations took up spots
around the planet.
      "Then, when we activate the Web," lines of force connected each
space.thingee to nearby space.thingees, to enclose the planet in a wire
cage, "we surround it, and then...!" The lines became sheets, hiding the
planet, then the whole thing exploded in a vast array of pretty
      "Um...where are the space.thingees?" Dva asked.
      "Good point. We should keep those," Master Blaster said. "Don't
worry, I'm sure that plan will work too..."
      "Fine, we'll go with that," UN said. "Get on it, everyone, every
moment we take brings the Inhilators closer to Looniearth."
      "What about the Plot Device Engine?" Morph asked.
      "We can't just give up because the other side has an unfair
advantage," UN replied. "We'll go with this plan, and deal with it." 
Morph didn't respond as UN gazed at him, but eventually nodded.
      As they filed out, UN was surprised to find his arm restrained by
the leader of the Alt.Riders. Waiting until they were the only ones
left, Agent said, "We both know that's not going to work. I have a
better idea..."


[And now, the stunning conclusion to that earlier scene that didn't take
place then, and still hasn't quite taken place yet...]

Deja Dude simply tore himself free of the claws. Super strength was,
after all, one of the most common of all powers; right up there with
flight. The creature was persistent, however, and made another grappling
attempt with its scaly hands.
      Now that his attention had been brought to bear on it, the LNHer
could see that the creature was a combination of reptilian and humanoid
features, with large eyes and a mouth full of something that he hoped
were tentacles. Then one of those rubbery limbs made a jab at him, as if
to scratch him in the abdomen.
      "Hey! Didn't your mother ever teach you to keep your hands to
yourself?" he admonished and threw a small flare at the creature. Those
staring eyes had given him an idea, and now he backed away while also
partially shielding his vision with an upraised arm. The time delay on
the flare expired, exposing its contents of sodium to the ocean water
and creating a blinding light as the sodium began to burn ferociously. 
The creature fled. Its eyes were adapted to low light levels, and now it
had been scalded and temporarily blinded.
      As he listened to it go, Deja Dude wondered where it had come from. 
It could be a simple sea monster, but he couldn't dismiss the
possibility that it was in some way the connected to Lagneto. The Master
of Lag had, after all, detonated a mutagenic device at the Millenium
Summit with the intent of transmogrifying the world leaders who had been
present into mutants. [_The Lagento Saga_ #7-8 - Footnote Girl]. And
since his original PhD had been on the mutagenic effects of radiation,
it seemed unlikely that Lagneto would have purchased such a device from
some other super scientist. In all probability he had built it himself.
      So. Was that creature one of his original test subjects? Unlikely,
given its aquatic nature. But if Lagento's prototype mutagenic engines
had somehow become active during either the descent to Looniearth or
during S.C.O.R.E.'s investigations, then it was possible that sea life
that had tried to take up residence here had been affected.
      Deja Dude shuddered. Lagento had claimed that he had only wanted to
create beneficial mutations in humans, and the Legionnaire saw no reason
to doubt this. But there was a world of difference between a carefully
calibrated final version mutagenic device and an uncontrolled prototype. 
The latter could be capable of anything!
      Still, he didn't really have time to investigate. The Legion's
resources were stretched thin enough as it is, and they were all racing
against a deadline. Deja Dude looked down at the scan.thingee, then swam
off in the indicated direction. It seemed to be outside the base. Hmm,
it looked like Deductive Logic Man had been right: the base interior
would interfere with the device he had to place.
      But as he went he made a mental note to tell Ultimate Ninja about
his concerns for this place, so that afterwards - assuming the
Looniearth survived - the Legion could investigate what might very well
be a monster breeding colony.


The space.thingees flew through space at...well, not at an appreciable
fraction of light, but nevertheless at a damn fast pace that will enable
them to engage the Inhilator planet before it could start in on Saturn.
      "I'm amazed we got everything done in time," Very Big Boy said, as
he helped Retcon Lad pilot one of the space.thingees.
      "It helped when I and the other retconners could make it so that we
happened to have grafted the Web devices onto the space.thingees before
we had even heard of Master Blaster's plan," Retcon Lad exposited.
      Very Big Boy gazed out through the front shield at the wide expanse
of space. "I never thought I'd get the chance to actually get into
space...it's just so amazing out here."
      "It is," Retcon Lad agreed. Then he briefly looked thoughtful. "And
you're a big science fiction fan, aren't you? I guess that between
jumping forward into the future..."
      "A future," corrected Very Big Boy, sounding amused.
      "Okay, okay. Someone else's future. ...but between that and the
whole superscience atmosphere of a big hero team base, there must be a
lot of cool stuff like that."
      "Lots of it, but there's also stuff that's silly and frustrating."
      "Like the way Net.ropolis moves about. When I first heard that you
had a city that went from place to place, I thought, 'Wow. I must be
just like the spindizzies in the James Blish stories.' And I mean, I'm a
military engineer, I'd give my right arm for a proper look at a
spindizzy. Hell, even just the plans for one. But it doesn't work like
that. It doesn't even roll around on wheels. It just... kind of happens
off panel, and there aren't any mechanics given, let alone observable
ones. One minute you're in a city in upstate New York, and the next
you're in Virginia. It's kind of frustrating."
      "Yeah, I guess that makes sense. The Writer's seem to like making
comic book jokes like that, but they don't really think things through."
      Very Big Boy looked bemused. "I would have thought you'd be able to
ignore it. Just tune it out. The normal people do."
      "Sometimes you can't. Sometimes it isn't just the Writers being
sloppy and us having to deal with the consequences. Sometimes it's the
Writers being deliberately obnoxious. They think it's funny. Like, uhm,
let's see, what would be a good example? Okay. One of the mainstays of
the Legion used to be a cat girl called Panta. Lovely woman. Had a great
series written by Hubert over in _Tales Of The LNH_. Well, in her final
story arc her personal history was kind of smeared across multiple
universes and continuities. 'Tenchi-fied' was the word used to describe
it. Anyway, a strange side effect of that was that sometimes people have
trouble remembering her. It's as if her presence has been spread so thin
that her history as part of the LNH has become tenuous or something."
      "But obviously you remember her."
      "Well, yeah. But that's because my retconning powers. I remember
stuff that's been deleted. Anyway, you know the Net.Elementalist?"
      "The Alt.Riders member who got left on the Inhilator planet?
      "Right, well, that's his second costumed identity. Before that he
was called Fan.Boy, and among other things he had the power to read all
the posts to a newsgroup - he just had to concentrate and the
information was there, inside his head. Anyway, Panta was tenchi-fied a
few weeks before Fan.Boy's powers destabilised and had to be removed,
and the thing was that Fan.Boy forgot all about Panta. Right up until
the moment he stumbled across an episode of _Tales Of The LNH_ and
rediscover the entire series. And THEN he'd come around and start raving
to me about this great new series that he'd found."
      Very Big Boy was beginning to get an idea of where this was going.
"And how any times did this happen?"
      "Five times in all," said Retcon Lad. "And so I'd be sitting there,
trying not to loose my cool and yell 'Yes Barry, I KNOW!'." He looked a
bit embarrassed. "It's not a nice thing to have to admit, but in the end
I was kind of relived when he lost his powers."
      The radio crackled into life. "Okay peoples, arms at the ready,
we're going in hot!" Master Blaster's voice rang out over the speakers.
      "A simple 'Are you ready?' would suffice," replied Librarian Lady. 
"I think you'll find we are all quite aware of the plan ahead."
      "Hey, Lady, we just aren't going to be aware, we're gonna kick
their @##!" Master Blaster shouted back. "This is for wReanna!"
      "I just hope no-one jinxes us by being negative," Retcon Lad
      "I just hope this isn't one of those deals where we have explained
to us just what is supposed to happen so everyone will realise when
everything in fact goes really wrong," Bad-Timing Boy's voice echoed
across the channel.
      "What? Give that back," Parking Karma Kid's voice said. There was a
brief howl over the speakers reminiscent of a battle over a microphone,
then the radio went silent.
      "We're going to die, aren't we?" Very Big Boy asked.
      "Oh yeah. And how..." Retcon Lad said reassuringly.

A view from a vantage point in space would afford a breathtakingly (in
fact, literally so!) beautiful vista of the ballet that the
space.thingees played out.
      The swarm of space.thingees flew towards the Inhilator planet, like
a stream of bullets fired from a gun...but then the stream peeled open
like the petals of a flower, the space.thingees flowing outwards in a
pleasingly regular formation.
      One by one, they tumbled through space to take up their relative
positions around the Inhilator planet, adjusting for the relative
velocity of the planet as well as their own inertia, and indeed taking
into account the effects of space debris and the solar wind itself.
      The view afforded one of the exact placement of each ship, and
would allow anyone intelligent enough to make a shrewd guess that if
something was going to happen when all the ships were in position just
how long it would take for the ships to reach their ultimate positions.
      As it happened, this view was one of the views on the main screens
of the Inhilator control rooms, and those inside were very shrewd, even
if they couldn't pick up exactly the plans from the minds of those
outside. Which they could.
      "5265616479 746865 456E67696E652E"


[By the way, for those of you keeping score, this is where the Deja Dude
scene actually takes place, but since we've got this space scene going
on, we thought you'd appreciate us not taking up the time now to have
that scene, but put those scenes in earlier during the talky bits to
break them up, and so not interrupt this exciting bit now.
      Aren't we nice?
      Back to the action!]


Master Blaster watched with a wide grin on his face as the
space.thingees slowly took up their final positions above the planet. 
This was going to be too easy, but what the hell? Nothing so much fun as
blowing up a stationary target.
      Unless it was a moving target, that is.
      But enough of that. These things had been responsible for wReanna's
coma, and if taking them out would mean that she woke up, then out they
      "Load and lock, people! Firing in one minute!" he announced into
the radio system.
      "Don't you mean 'lock and load'?" Pizza Girl asked, who had drawn
the short straw to fly with Master Blaster. But she had to admit Master
Blaster had been quite well behaved on this trip, obviously consumed
with worry over Sister State-The-Obvious (and she wasn't exactly unmoved
by what had happened either, as Bizarre Boy had been in that team as
well), and had only made two passes at her.
      "Can't load a locked gun," Master Blaster pointed out, watching the
screen as the last two space.thingees took up their positions. "John
Wayne, although he's the Duke, got it wrong in _Sands of Iwo Jima_. But
who's going to tell him that, eh?"
      Master Blaster traced the final ship with his finger, and his grin
kicked up a notch as it stopped (relatively speaking) in the right
      "Now!" he yelled, slamming his fist down onto the activation panel,
making it snap, but also setting the Web off.

Bright lights of force snapped into existence between the ships. Simple
mathematics would have made it possible to give the number of lines
there, based on the number of space.thingees, but mathematics wouldn't
have been able do true justice to the sheer amount of energy, the
rawness of the power of revenge, that built up over moments.
      When the wire shape became solid, mathematics could have described
the shape (something with a lot of syllables, most likely ending in
"-edron"), but again mathematics took a back seat to the explosive force
that the shape represented as it sent sheer destruction into the
enclosed space.
      A moment later, the power was gone, leaving only a few iotas of
power floating through space that quickly faded out.
      And nothing else. Except the space.thingees. The planet...was gone.

"Yes!" screamed Master Blaster, punching the air. "Got you, you
      "Master Blaster!" Kid Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story's
voice came over the radio. "Something went wrong!"
      "Not from where I'm looking," Master Blaster returned.
      "We should have destroyed the planet, yes, but there should be
remnants left. There's nothing there."
      "Exactly! We blew it up!"
      "No we didn't," Kid NAIARHS's reply cut through Master Blaster. "I
don't know what happened but we didn't do anything at all to it..."


It didn't comfort anyone on the Looniearth to know that the only reason
they weren't immediately destroyed was because the Plot Device Engine
nullified the gravitational effects of the Inhilator planet, which was
more to protect the Inhilators than because they cared about anyone
      All that anyone cared about was that the sun above the Looniearth
was suddenly obliterated from the sky as the arrival of Inhilators
brought on an unexpected eclipse. The rogue planet loomed in the sky,
its self-generated glow of pink, purple, green and yellow outlining it
faintly against the darkness of the newly fallen night. It was a vision 
of something psycadelic painted on black velvet, but nobody who looked
up said "Oh, look at the pretty colours!"
      For all they did see was the end of the world...

NEXT ISSUE: Oh man, it's munchie time, and the Looniearth is next on the
agenda! Tune in next time to see which bit of the world the authors hate
the most and obliterate first! (Note: It ain't gonna be Alt.stralia or
      But first, get yerselves over the _The Alt.Riders #43_ and find out
just what Agent's new plan is...

<the font becomes extremely tiny to fit all the names in>
The Inhilators were created by Jamas Enright and Saxon Brenton, who
asked for far too much money to use them, which explains why the
space.thingees in this issue look suspiciously like matchboxes. It was
all we could afford, folks!
Kid Recap created by Josh Geurink, not reserved.
Sing-Along Lass created by Drizzt, not reserved.
Bizarre Boy created by rjd118 at psuvm.pse.edu, not reserved.
Multi-Tasking Man created by Jeff Coleburn, not reserved.
Ambiguous Lass created by...not sure, public domain.
Irony Man created by Doug Moran, public domain.
New Look Lass created by Charles Fitzgerald, not reserved.
Vel created by Jesse Willey, used with permission. (Continuity note:
Vel's presence fits between the _Road To Killfile Wars_ and _Killfile
Wars_ miniseries.)
Sister State-The-Obvious, Ultimate Ninja, Theory Man, Deductive Logic
Man, Adamant Authority-on-Everything, Parking Karma Kid created by
wReam, not reserved.
Agent, Morph and Dva currently owned by Jamas Enright, used with 
Kid Not-Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour-Story, Retcon Lad, Very Big Boy, 
Librarian Lady owned by Saxon Brenton, used with permission.
Bad-Timing Boy created by Vernon Harmon, public domain.
Eight of Nine, Master Blaster, Pizza Girl created by Martin Phipps, not 
Deja Dude created by Martin Phipps, used with permission.

NOTES: For those of you who weren't aware of a major plot arc in recent
DC comic history, this storyline is *loosely* based on the "Our Worlds
At War" storyline (which is why Saxon keeps getting the name of the
comic wrong).
      The name "Inhilators" came about because Jamas wanted something
that sounded like "Annihilators" but wouldn't be a name that anyone
would ever call a race and so keep clear of any copyright issues. And
with that name came a lot of ideas about just what they were...

Jamas Enright
"Answers answered and questions questioned."
Homepage: http://www.eyrie.org/~thad/
Blue Light Productions homepage: http://www.blue-light-productions.com/

"If a great state has decided by law that twice two is five, it would be
foolish to allow mathematicians to testify." - Comment during the Scopes
Monkey Trial.

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