LNH/ACRA: Web of Mainstream Man # 4, Corrected Edition

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 6 15:13:19 PDT 2006

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    by Tom Russell


   En route to Mainstream Man's room, Kid Recap
explains to Organic Lass and special guest star,
Limp-Asparagus Lad, what become of Ori's beloved
husband Pok:
   "He was helping Mainstream Man investigate a couple
of mysteries surrounding his local comic book store. 
It was during that investigation that Pocket Man was
apparently sucked into one of his own pockets."
   "Is it possible that it's related to the
investigation?" probes Ori.
   "That I can't tell you," says the Recapitulator of
Righteousness.  "Mainstream Man's working on it as we
   "What was my husband investigating at the time of
his disappearance?"
   "A former net.villain had disappeared, name of the
Purple Muffin."
   "That reminds me of a story," says Limp-Asparagus
   Terror claims the terrain of Kid Recap's face. 
"Never say those words again."
   "I'm sorry," says Limp-Asparagus Lad.


   Mainstream Man is sitting in the center of his
room, his legs folded, surrounded by dozens of comic
books and trade-paper backs, many of them splayed
open.  "What's going on here?" asks Ori.
   Kid Recap speaks up in Mainstream Man's defense. 
"Everyone needs a break once in a while."
   "I'm not on break!" Mainstream Man takes umbrage
and stands up.  "I'm working!"
   "You're reading your comic books!" shouts Ori.
   "No!  I'm doing vital research that might help
crack this mystery!"
   "Yes, I'm reading every mystery story at my
   "All those Batman stories can't possibly be
mysteries!" Ori points to a large stack of comics
threatening to topple over.
   Mainstream Man picks one up and shoves it in her
face.  She bats it away.  "That's the complete run of
Detective Comics.  Detective Comics!  See?  Detective!
 Right on the cover!"
   "Guys," says Limp-Asparagus Lad as he subtly
expands his drama-dampening field, "let's just calm
   "Deep breaths," says Kid Recap.
   "You're right," says Ori.  "Nothing will be solved
with a shouting match."
   Mainstream Man nods, folding his arms against his
   "As of this moment," says Ori, "I am assuming
charge of the search for my husband."
   "If you want to help me, you can."
   "But, Ori...!"
   "If you're not going to help... if you're just
going to read your comics..."
   "... but..."
   "... then stay out of my way," Ori says firmly. 
"Is that understood?"
   "... yes ma'am."


   "This is a list of the Purple Muffin's known
associates, from our database," says Mainstream Man. 
"Former teammates."  He hands a sheet of paper to Ori.
   "Have you followed up on any of these?" she asks.
   "Not just yet.  That's a lot of footwork, you
   "And so you figured the best way to accomplish it
was to read your comics," says Ori.
   "I was doing research!" protests Mainstream Man. 
"But, uh, um, anyway... I was thinking of approaching
it 'Identity Crisis' style.  You know, send different
groups of heroes after different villains and ask them
what they know, like in that really cool page where
you have like four different scenes going on but the
dialogue continues, like, the first panel is..."
   And people call me boring!, thinks Limp-Asparagus
   "Sending teams after different villains," says Ori.
   "Yeah.  To split up the footwork and, uh, minimize
the time..."
   "Have you done that yet?"
   "Well, I sent an email to some of the sub-groups. 
I'm still waiting for them all to get back to me..."
   "Our best bet is to work with the pool of
legionnaires who are available right now.  None of
these net.villains seem particularly threatening, so
small squads of two or three should be able to handle
one of them."
   "I'd be happy to help," offers Limp-Asparagus Lad.
   "Duly noted."
   "Count me in, too," says Kid Recap.  "It's been
awhile since I've seen some real action."
   "Actually, I have another task in mind for you,"
says Ori.
   "What is it?"
   "I'll tell you off-screen," says Ori.
   "Ah!" says Mainstream Man.  "So as to better set up
the element of surprise when, later on, that task
becomes vital to the plot!"
   "Something like that."
   "Well," says the supposedly main character of this
story, "you're not leaving me out of it!  I care about
Pok just as much as you do!"
   Ori crosses her arms across her chest.
   "Um, okay, then.  Maybe not quite as much.  But I
do care, and I do want to help.  It's probably my
fault that he's missing..."
   "And definitely your fault he hasn't been found
yet.  The key to a successful operation is not
overlooking anything and acting with the necessary
expedience.  There are other angles to cover.
   "We'll send out teams to investigate these
net.villains.  Mainstream Man, you and I are going to
cover this from another angle; sometimes the most
obvious answer is the correct one.  I'm going to have
the Ninja, Kid Kirby, and Doctor Stomper cover this
from other angles as well."
   "You go talk to Doctor Stomper, Kid Kirby, and the
Ultimate Ninja," says Mainstream Man quickly.  "I'll
organize the teams and send them out investigating."
   "I don't know if I can trust you to do that," says
   "By the time you finish talking with Doctor
Stomper, Kid Kirby, and the Ultimate Ninja, they'll be
on their way.  And I'll wait for you in the lobby, so
that after you're done with Doctor Stomper, Kid--"
   "Et al," says Kid Recap helpfully.
   "Thank you," says Mainstream Man.
   "It helps to be concise in my line of work," adds
Kid Recap.
   "After you've talked with Dr. Stomper, et al, we
can get right to work."
   "Alright," says Ori.  "Work quickly, but don't just
slap some teams together, either."


   "Hey, WikiBoy.  Can I ask you a question?"
   "Is it going to demean me or deny me my basic worth
as a human being?"
   "Probably," says the Caesar of Cool.  "But you
don't mind, do you?"
   "Not anymore," sighs WikiBoy.  He's about to dig
his hands deep into his pockets, pondering his fate as
the LNHer Anyone Can Edit, when he realizes he doesn't
have pockets.  It was times like these that he wished
he could ask people for specific edits.
   "WikiBoy, do you dream?"
   "Why, Master Blaster-- I'm very surprised, I'm
touched.  That's a very considerate question.  No
one's ever asked me that before.  Yes, I do dream.  In
my dreams, I can create.  I can reshape the world
instead of it always reshaping me.  In my dreams..."
   "Well, not anymore!" says Master Blaster, cackling.
   "It's-- it's all fading away!" exclaims WikiBoy. 
"Like it was never there at all... because it wasn't!"
   "Yeah, retcons are a bitch, aren't they?"
   "Here we are, then," says WikiBoy, ignoring him. 
"The last known residence of the Insect Shogun."
   "Before we go in... WikiBoy... you do dream, after
   "Thanks," says WikiBoy as it all starts to rush
back to him.  Beautiful flowers, sunsets...
   "In fact, you have the same dream over and over
   ... sparkling, dew-covered...
   "About your head exploding."
   ... head-exploding holocaust.
   "Man!  You're more fun than a tamagachi.  I used to
love those things.  It looked so cute when it wasn't
being properly fed and nurtured!"  He cocks his gun. 
"Well, let's get in there, huh, good buddy?"
   "I'm not your buddy," says WikiBoy softly.
   "Sure you are," says Master Blaster.  "I'm your
best friend.  In fact, you have a huge slobbering
man-crush on me.  Got to watch my back around you,
   WikiBoy stares at the bulge in his pants with
mounting disgust.  Mounting.  Tee-hee.  "My body's
betraying me."
   "Huh," says Master Blaster.  "And I thought only
women got lupus.  Learn something new every day."


   Limp-Asparagus Lad looks at the cowboy's vest,
which resembles Swiss cheese.  "Aren't you cold?"
   "Whaddaya mean?"
   "I just noted that there is a large percentage of
your torso exposed, because of those holes."
   "No, man, no.  I ain't cold."  He rubs his nose on
his bare arm.  "I, uh-- you don't find the way I dress
offensive, d'ya?"
   "You're referring to little pink speedos, or the
bleu cheese chaps...?"
   "Chaps?  What?  No, man, no.  Those are varicose
veins.  I'm talking about my vest."
   "Your vest."
   "You don't find it offensive, do you?"
   "Not particularly."
   "I didn't think so.  But sometimes, I gets
self-conscious, y'know? ... but you're right, it's not
offensive, is it?  You can only see two of my nipples
through the holes.  It's rather smart-looking, isn't
it?  You know, if you want, I can have my tailor whip
up something similar for you."
   "No, thank you," says Limp-Asparagus Lad, as
politely as his monotone can muster.  "I'm very
content with my costume as it stands."
   "But it's so, y'know, pedestrian, man.  Man.  Man. 
Man.  Man."
   "Well, I think it suits me."
   "Suits...?" Cheeez Cowboy burst out laughing,
slapping Limp-Asparagus Lad on the back before firing
his pistol into the air.  "That's funny, man!  That's
   "I'm sorry," says Limp-Asparagus Lad.  "But I don't
quite understand."
   "Suits, man, suits!... man!  Your suit, it suits
you!  It's a pun!"
   "Oh yes," says Limp-Asparagus Lad.  "I suppose it
   "Tell me another one, man!  Tell me another joke!"
   "I'm afraid I don't have that many in my
repertoire.  That last one was quite accidental."
   "Aw, come on, man!  Tell me!"  He cocks his Cheeez
pistol and places it against Limp-Asparagus Lad's
head.  "Tell me another one or I'll shoot you! 
   A lesser man would start to sweat.  But not
Limp-Asparagus Lad.  In the first place, he knows that
his powers will neutralize any damage from the
gunfire.  In the second place, he is not prone to
over-reacting in the first place.  Er, the second
place.  And in the third place, he knows that he is a
special guest-star, and that nothing of consequence
will happen to him in this story.
   "Come on, man!" screams Cheeez Cowboy, somehow
impervious to the drama-dampening field.  "Tell me a
   "Why do people carry shamrocks on Saint Patrick's
   "I dunno, man.  Why do people carry shamrocks on
Saint Patrick's Day?"
   "Real rocks would be too heavy."
   Cheeez Cowboy lowers his gun and begins to sob
uncontrollably.  Limp-Asparagus Lad detects the stink
of urine but decides it would be more prudent not to
mention it.
   "You're my best friend, man," says the colby-jack
kid.  "You're my best friend."


   WikiBoy and Master Blaster find themselves inside
an empty warehouse-- empty save for a few rotting
pieces of wood furniture.  "Hello?" calls out Master
   A tinny, wheezing voice is heard.  "I'm here, I'm
   "Where are you?" inquires the LNHer Anyone Can
   "If you can't see me," says the voice, "it's
because I'm a flea.  Insect Shogun, at your service."
   "A flea?" says Master Blaster.  "You must be
practically microscopic."
   "I wish.  If I was truly microscopic, I could
inhabit a microverse full of strange atomic wonders. 
Instead, I am merely shogun of all insects."
   "All insects?" inquires WikiBoy.
   "All the insects in this room, anyway," says the
Insect Shogun.
   "How many are there?"
   "Um... me.  So.  Um.  I don't supposed you've come
to be my friend?"
   "Not quite.  It's about a former teammate of
yours," explains Master Blaster.  "The Purple Muffin. 
He disappeared earlier today and we're trying to
figure out what happened to him."
   " I haven't talked to him in years.  Sorry."
   "Then we came out all this way for nothing," snarls
Master Blaster.  "And I do mean, nothing!  Not even
good enough to be a microscopic something."
   "You have no idea what it's like, do you?"
screeches the shogun.  "To be looked down upon all
your life, spit on, called names?  To not be able to
measure up?"
   "Actually, I have a fairly good idea of what it's
like," says WikiBoy, a little defensively.
   "Then why don't you try living at my size for a
while, eh?"
   "WikiBoy...?" Master Blaster looks around the room.
 "WikiBoy, where did you...?"
   Another tinny voice: "God damn it."


   "Just got a call from Squad C," says Mainstream Man
as he puts away his communication card.  "By the time
they got there, their target had disappeared."
   "Who was in Squad C?"
   "Uh, Super-Apathy Lad, Time Waster Lad, and
Procrastination Boy."
   "Right." Ori exhales sharply.  "Well, this is it,
then.  The last known hideout of my husband's
arch-enemy-- and the usual perpetrator when something
happens to Pok-- the Clueless Master!"
   "Look!" says Mainstream Man.  He rushes over to an
open book.  "There's a passage!  It's highlighted!  It
must be a clue, Organic Lass!"
   "Let me see that," she says.  She looks it over,
reading carefully.  "Yep.  That's a clue, then.  Let's
get going."
   "But-- but the clue--!"
   "Which means the Clueless Master is innocent."


   "I've noticed you've kept very calm in all this,
   "My husband needs me," says the Mistress of
Molecules.  "Crying and whining about things never
gets anything accomplished."
   "Yeah, but we haven't made any progress, have we?"
asks Mainstream Man.
   "We will.  I will find him, Mainstream Man.  If I
do only one more thing in my life, it will be to bring
him safely back home."
   "That's pretty devoted."
   "He'd do the same for me.  That's what love is."
   Mainstream Man shrugs.  He doesn't go in for all
this mushy stuff.
   At that moment, Sarcastic Lad and Elvis Man (SQUAD
D) enter alongside WikiBoy and Master Blaster.
   "We got a lead on the Purple Crayon," says
Sarcastic Lad.  "Unfortunately, it doesn't look like
it has anything to do with Pok's disappearance."
   "Don't worry about that," says Mainstream Man.  "I
think I just solved the case."



Mainstream Man created by Marc A. Nicol and currently
reserved by myself.

Organic Lass is the creation of Rebecca A. Drayer and
reserved.  I was unable to find contact information
for Ms. Drayer, and a general shout-out post on RACC
was fruitless.  This put me in a bit of a spot:
logically and dramatically, a story in which Pok
disappears would have to include Ori.  Because of my
recent unauthorized use of Mike Escutia's Kid Citrus
(a dreadful mistake, but an honest one: I was under
the erroneous impression that the character was not
reserved), I wanted to be doubly sure I did things the
right way this time around, and, unable to contact
Rebecca, I asked the group-- in that same thread-- for
advice.  The general opinion espoused in that thread,
was that Ori could be used in a story as long as
nothing major/permanent happened.  And so, I've bitten
the bullet and written the story.

Limp-Asparagus Lad is owned by Saxon Brenton,
reserved, and used with his kind permission.  Thanks
to Saxon for making the LA-Lad/Cheeez Cowboy scene a
hundred percent better.

Master Blaster is the creation of Martin Phipps and
not reserved.

Kid Recap is the creation of Josh Geurink and not

The Insect Shogun and the Patchwork Punisher were
created with Lee's (Useless) Superhero Generator,
http://home.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/comics/herogen/, and
are given to the public domain, if anyone wants them.

WikiBoy is my creation and reserved.

Cheeez Cowboy is my creation and, yes, he has appeared
before.  Five brownie points for the first person to
tell us where-- and no google searches, that's
cheating!  We don't need an issue number, just the
name of the series.  And, yes, he was created with the
consent of the Cheeezy One himself, Kyle Lucke.

Sarcastic Lad, Pocket Man, and Elvis Man are the
creation of Gary St. Lawrence and not reserved.


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