[REPOST/LNH] Saviours of the NET #7: 'A Fight Scene! A Fight Scene!'

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 20 23:02:50 PDT 2006

Posting this now because I probably won't have any time to post it tomorrow.

                              T H E
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Author:    Saxon Brenton
Email:     Saxon.Brenton at uts.edu.au
Date:      1998/11/05
Forums:    alt.comics.lnh, rec.arts.comics.creative

Blue Light Productions presents:

LNH: Saviours of the NET #7

'A Fight Scene! A Fight Scene!'

Written by Saxon Brenton
Art by Sc*tt McCl**d

Cover shows Retcon Lad and Retcon RACCoon squaring off against each other.
They are approximately ten paces apart, and are both are gesturing,
grimacing, and standing in ways that suggest that they are being buffeted by
strong winds. A wavy-looking distortion effect is radiating out in spirals
from both of them, which washes out the background into streaks of colour.
Just barely discernible in that insanely distorted background can be seen
the horrified faces of Manga Girl, Fuzzboy, and Fourth Wall Lass, who are
just as stretched out and distorted as the background itself. The cover
blurb proclaims: 'Retcon War!'

Continuity Note: Backtracking up a little bit, this episode starts just
after Self-Righteous Preacher's death becomes public knowledge, and
carries through to more or less concurrent with the end of _Saviours of
the NET_ #6.

     .oO( Self-Righteous Preacher is *dead*!? ) boggled Retcon Lad in
amazement and horror. ( What in...? )
     "Hey, Retcon Lad. Have you seen this?"
     Retcon Lad looked away from what he had been reading and turned to
Fourth Wall Lass, who was holding a printout of some type. "Self-Righteous
Preacher's been assassinated," she said.
     "Yeah, I know," he replied, and pointed at the continuity notice
which was still hanging in midair in the hallway of the Legion of
Net.Heroe's headquarters. She glanced at it, scanning its contents quickly.
"Boy," she said, "It doesn't take bad news long to get around, does it?"
     "It's the Legion's rumour mill/grapevine," RLad said, subdued. "Do
we now anything else about this?" he asked.
     "Uh-huh. Ultimate Ninja thinks that somebody was trying to frame
Fuzzboy with a retcon. Take a look at this printout from the TV reports."
     He did so. It was a picture of a short person with an afro aiming
a gun. Then he blinked, and squinted at the picture. Then he announced,
"Yes, this has been retconned. I can see two people in this image. I see
the guy with the afro. But there's another person who was firing
something, originally. Power gauntlets, I think. I'm having trouble
making it out... No, wait, there's three people. Ah, man that hurts my
eyes," he said.
     "And the guy before the guy who looks like Pope; it looks like
Dr. Killfile, right?"
     He stared at her " *Dr* Killfile!?! Uh, no." He looked at the
picture again, suddenly urgent but still a little bit unfocused. "I think
one of them's Captain Killfile, from the Saviours. But not Dr Killfile as
far as I can make out. He might be the third person; I'm still having
trouble with that one."
     Fourth Wall Lass suddenly had a cold feeling in her guts. This was
getting increasingly complicated. Was it a frame-up within a frame-up?
Or just plain sloppy continuity? "We should check," she suggested.
     Retcon Lad nodded. It made sense. His own power enabled him to
remember past histories that had been retconned away, those from his own
retcons better than those of other people's, but still...  And if there
had been changes made between different posts of the story, then Fourth
Wall Lass would be able to cross to the other side of the fourth wall and
compare any differences.
     ...Of course, if Barry still had his Fan.Boy powers he could have
simply looked up any and every post ever made to the newsgroup, and made
the comparison without ever having to cross the Threshold of the fourth
wall; but Barry had different powers and the identity of the
Net.Elementalist these days...
     Fourth Wall Lass concentrated, and a portal opened. The two
net.heroes moved briskly through. Then the portal closed, and the hallway
was empty.


     Fuzzboy knelt down and examined the roof. From what could be seen
from the television pictures, the assassin should have been standing
around about... here. He looked around. There didn't seem to be much in
the way of clues. "See anything?" he asked Manga Girl.
     His partner and fellow cartoon from the Anime World put down the
pair of binoculars that she had been using to search the area. "Nothing
that I can find from an overview," she replied. She looked at him with
her overly large eyes and said. "Maybe we should search the ground next?"
     "That's probably a good idea," he agreed, and then waited while
Manga Girl summoned up her personal anime cloud for transporting them
off the roof.
     They reached ground level. Fuzzboy looked around, calculating where
Self-Righteous Preacher had been when he had been hit.
     "I still can't figure out why anyone would want to frame you for
killing the Preacher," said MG.
     "What, apart from all the times he kept yelling 'Back, anime-eyed
spawn of Net.Hell!'?" FBoy replied, distractedly.
     She pouted. "Yeah, but he says that type of thing to everyone."
     "I suppose so. I..."
     "Hey!" came a shout from nearby. "It's him!"
     The two net.heroes looked up from their search to see a bunch of
people pointing at them. Quite a number of them looked belligerent.
     "It's that guy with the afro who killed the Preacher!" another
     "Get him!"
     "Eeep," went Fuzzboy.
     Manga Girl struck a pose. "Don't worry, Fuzzboy. I'll use my speed
lines to stop them."
     "I think there are too many of them to use speed lines against,"
Fuzzboy said.
     Manga Girl paused. "Hmm, you might be right about that," she
conceded, as more and more and more hostile people came racing towards
     "So what do we do now?" Fuzzboy asked.
     "RUN!" screamed Manga Girl. Which they then did as only anime
characters can: racing along, propelled by speed lines, their arms waving up
and down in a blur of motion, huge anime eyes staring wide open in panic,
sweat droplets flying off them, and mouths open so wide that you could see
their waggling tonsils as they yelled "AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" at the top of their


     At the sound of its name, the Legion's Wildly Improbable LISP Based
Urbane Robot turned, to find Retcon Lad and Fourth Wall Lass approaching.
"Yes? How may I help you," the robot enquired.
     "Do you know if Fuzzboy and Manga Girl have left yet?" RLad asked.
     "I do. They departed approximately two hours ago."
     "Ah, right," said FaWL, looking thoughtful. "Okay then. We've
unearthed some evidence about the case that they were working on. Would
you inform Ultimate Ninja that after comparing the postings for issues 3
and 3.142857... of this crossover that we believe that the assassin of
Self-Righteous Preacher was originally Captain Killfile, *not* Dr.
Killfile as was originally thought. Then there was another retcon to turn
the assailant into Pope - or someone who looks like Pope at any rate.  The
Dr Killfile identity was just an intermediate step, probably to confuse
things more than they already are." Which was probably something to be
thankful for, she thought. Dr Killfile was heap big bad juju.
     "Very well, I shall inform him," agreed W.I.L.B.U.R. "What should I
tell him about your plans?"
     "I think we'd better head down to the hanger and beg, borrow, or
steal a flight.thingee off Bicycle Repair Lad," she said. "Then we can
go and find the other two." She looked at RLad to see if that was
plausible to him.
     "It would be a lot simpler if which just used our comm.thingees to
call them and tell them what's happening, you know."
     "Yeah, but a lot less dramatic."
     "Limp-Asparagus Lad wouldn't do it that way."
     "We're not Limp-Asparagus Lad," she reminded him, then poked her
tongue out. She grabbed him by the hand and started dragging him towards
the hanger. "Come on. See you around, W.I.L.B.U.R."


     "AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" yelled Manga Girl and Fuzzboy, still racing away
from their pursuers.
     Then: "Ooofff!" went Fuzzboy as he crashed into Manga Girl, who had
come to a dead stop. "Hey! What did you stop for?"
     "They've got us surrounded!" cried MG. Fuzzboy took a look around
her, and saw that there were indeed crowds of irate people surrounding
them on all sides.
     "Quick! Use your cloud!" he said. "We can fly over them!"
     "Hey, yeah! Oops! The cloud got left back there when we ran away."
     "Well, call it back to us."
     "It'll never reach here in time!"
     "Maybe we can use you speed lines to break through the crowd. If
you're careful, you shouldn't hurt them. Much."
     She threw a look at him. "I don't think Ultimate Ninja would approve of
us hurting civilians."
     He returned the look. "What Ultimate Ninja would think never stopped
you from swiping Self-Righteous Preacher's credit card or Special Bonding
Boy's Anthony Robbins tapes."
     "Hey, so I'm a klepto. So sue me!"
     "Just think of a way to get us out of here."
     "I'm thinking! I'm thinking!" she exclaimed as the irate crowds
drew nearer.
     A portal opened. Fourth Wall Lass stuck her head out. "Hey, guys.
Come on."
     "It's a plot device! We're saved!" cried Manga Girl, who grabbed
Fuzzboy by the arm and dragged him through, although truth be known he
could have gotten though perfectly well on his own.
     The portal closed.
     "Hey, wow. Thanks for the save," said Manga Girl, once they were
safe on the other side of the fourth wall and away from the rampaging mob.
     "You're welcome," said FaWL. "Listen, we've been looking all over
for you two. Retcon Lad and myself have found out some stuff about the
frame-up of Fuzzboy. Come on, we can cross back over the Threshold and
join him at the flight.thingee we flew over in, and then we can fill you
in on what's happening."


     "So that's it?" said Fuzzboy. "The whole thing was a retcon within
a retcon?"
    The four of them were on board an LNH flight.thingee, flying over
Net.ropolis, although they had paused for long enough for Manga Girl's
cloud to catch up.
     Fourth Wall Lass nodded. "Uh-huh. It was Captain Killfile lining up
to shoot him in _Saviours_ #3, but it became Dr Killfile and then an
imitation Fuzzboy in #3.142857...."
     "And the Saviours have a retconner of their own," said Manga Girl.
     Retcon Lad nodded from where he was sitting in the pilot's chair.
"Retcon RACCoon. I definitely think we should have a talk to him. In
theory it shouldn't be too hard to find him. All this specialist equipment
that Dr Stomper and Contraption Man have had built in to these things over
the years should be able to trace him by his retcon signature..."
     "I think I can hear a 'but' in there," MG said.
     RLad shook his head in a combination of bemusement, frustration and
apology. "I can't seem to get a clear reading. There is all sorts of
weird retconning going on out their right now."
     The others peered out the windows of the flight.thingee. Something
strange was indeed happening to Net.ropolis. The sky had changed colour,
becoming streaked with rainbow-like effects that sparkled like fireworks.
And the buildings were beginning to shift appearances and places; more so
than they normally did when Writers simply forgot where they were supposed
to be or what they were supposed to looked like.
     "Whoa!" said FaWL, leaning back in her seat and covering her eyes.
"Serious vertigo there, and I don't mean a guest appearance by any of the
Net.Trenchcoat Brigade or any of their other-dimensional counterparts."
     "I know what you mean," said Fuzzboy, massaging his eyes. "Can you
navigate through all that?" he asked RLad.
     Retcon Lad nodded. He was squinting through the windshield, but he
seemed to be managing better than the others. "I've got a bit of an
advantage from my powers. But I don't know how long I can keep this up,
especially if we're in a search pattern." He glanced down at the ground.
"The people don't seem to be taking things well. Look at the rioting
that's starting down there."
     "You think they're being affected by the retcons?" MG asked.
     "I don't see what else it could be," he answered.
     [In fact, they are rioting after being released from their moral
inhibitions by Ole Scratch, better known as Anti-Christ Lad, as shown in
_Saviours_ #6 - Footnote Girl]
     "Oh heck, things have gotten worse," said Fourth Wall Lass, glancing at
the footnote. The others followed her gaze.
     "Holy Carrie Fisher!" breathed Fuzzboy. "Satanic influences!"
     Retcon Lad, however, had been only able to briefly take in the
footnote, before having to turn his attention back to flying. Atmospheric
turbulence was beginning to build. "I'm going to have to land us," he said.
He checked the instrumentation. "There seems to be a clear area of only
minimal retcon disturbance around the Net.ropolis Bandshell. I'll try and
make a landing there."
     Fourth Wall Lass nodded. "That makes sense I suppose. The Bandshell
was created in the middle of Retcon Hour for the RACCelestial Madonna
Pageant. If anywhere is going to be even slightly resistant to retconning,
it'll be that place." She looked worried however. "But once we get there,
what then? Do we go after Retcon RACCoon, or Ole Scratch?"
     Retcon Lad made an exclamation of surprise as he sat up in his chair.
"I think that questions just been answered for us. Look, it's the RACCoon."
     The others looked. Sure enough, just outside the Net.ropolis
Bandshell was the derby-hatted figure of Retcon RACCoon. He seemed to be
floating in midair, staring at the Bandshell.
     "Okay, on your toes people," said RLad, preparing to land the
flight.thingee. "We're going to have a little talk with the rodent."


     Retcon RACCoon frowned. This building was hard. Unlike the rest of
the soft, malleable world around it, it was hard and unyielding, just
like the place that Retcon RACCoon had come from before Dr Net.ropolis
had brought him to this place.
     After having helped the small human with his problem with ice
cream, he had travelled on, and his attention had been caught by this
hard place almost by accident. Now he floated before it, examining it and
occasionally throwing a random retcon at it. It didn't seem to be totally
impervious to being changed, but it was highly resistant. Retcon RACCoon was
undecided about whether to ignore it as being just one, little hard location
among a whole world of softness, or to try and keep pushing at it until he
got the better of it and could make it go away forever. So engrossed by this
choice was he that he barely paid any attention when a flying machine landed
nearby and four people got out and walked towards him.
     "Excuse me. Are you Retcon RACCoon?" asked one of them, a female
with disproportionately large eyes.
     Retcon RACCoon dragged part of his attention away from the hard
building to answer, "Yes."
     "We're trying to find out about the death of Self-Righteous Preacher Do
you know anything about it?"
     "Yes, of course," replied the RACCoon politely. It was only one
building, although it did seem to be a particularly big one.
     "Can you tell us what you know?" asked another human. A male this
time. A short male with big hair.
     "Certainly," Retcon RACCoon replied. "When I heard about the
Preacher's death, I was very sad for him. So I made him better." On the
other hand, the building might not just be resistant to change.
     "Oh. So you weren't involved in killing him in the first place? Or
changing the identity of anybody who did?" asked the other male.
     "Certainly not!" replied the RACCoon with total honesty and more
than a bit horrified that anyone could think that he could be part of an
assault on someone as wonderful as the Preacher. There was a small chance
that the building might have the metaphysical property of allowing other
places to become resistant to change as well. It would probably be safest to
destroy it.
     The three humans who had spoken looked at the fourth human, who
hadn't been looking at Retcon RACCoon during the conversation, but
instead had been staring off into space, as if she had been reading
something at a distance. "Well, Fourth Wall Lass?" one of the three asked.
     FaWL turned her attention back from reading the text of this issue
and said, "He's telling the truth. He likes Self-Righteous Preacher and
retconned him back from the dead. He didn't have anything to do with
changing the identity of the original assassin."
     "Well, that's one lead up the creek," said the male with the big hair.
     FaWL looked at Retcon RACCoon, who had turned most of his attention
back to the building before them. "But he *is* planning on destroying
the Bandshell."
     Retcon RACCoon marshalled his will and let loose with a preliminary
retcon, mainly to try and size up any weaknesses in the building's
integrity. However, the retcon was immediately nullified and one of the
humans, the male without the big hair, snapped, "Stop that!"
     Bemused, Retcon RACCoon turned his full attention from the building
to the humans. "Did you do that?" he asked.
     "Yes. I did," answered the male without the big hair. "You can't
just go around destroying public property."
     "It is too hard, and has to be softened," RACCoon replied simply,
then turned away since that would obviously explain everything. He tried
again. Again, his retcon was cancelled.
     "I said, don't do that."
     Only now just becoming annoyed, Retcon RACCoon let loose a retcon
at the humans to send them away. The male without the big hair flinched,
then struck back. The other humans were bowled off their feet. Retcon
RACCoon brought his full willpower to bear on the situation, to try and
overwhelm this annoying human without big hair. Retcon Lad reciprocated.
Things got messy.


     The rampant retconning that the Saviours had noted and worried about
last issue became as nothing compared to the data.storm which now sloshed
and careened and twisted and distorted its way out from the site of the
Net.ropolis Bandshell. Fuzzboy, Manga Girl and Fourth Wall Lass - being
closest to the upheaval - took the worst of it. They stretched and
splattered and deformed in alternating pastiches of spaghetti noodles,
Clay-o-rama figures, and Salva.dir Dali paintings. The artwork for this
panel of the comic resembles something like what Thanos got up to when he
was experimenting with the full set of the Infinity Gems. Nasty stuff.
Mercifully, the three net.heroes quickly lost consciousness.
     Meanwhile, reality twisted like putty and the Looniverse's common
sense - to whatever pitiful extent that the Looniverse had ever had
common sense - went out the window. Fluorescent green storm clouds
gathered and lightning flickered across the cityscape. Fish flew and
birds swam. Dogs and cats lived together. There was a short, sharp, shower
of shrimps. Bizarre alt.timelines and pasts and futures sprang up and
flashed out of existence as history reconfigured itself and bled in every
which direction - most of them fortunately being transient metastable
phenomena with half lives measured in microseconds. Some, however, lasted
some little bit longer...


     ...In his office as leader of the Legion of Net.Heroes, Zagyg Ygraine
paused in his discussion with Deductive Logic Man and thought .oO( This
is wrong )...
     ...Mouse sat despondently on the steps. She would never have though
Writers Block Woman would go through with it. But she had. They'd tied
the knot, and now Mouse's new step-father was a goofy-looking yellow
robot with a fetish for shooting things and who thought he was a Mystery
Science Theatre 3000 character...
     ...Contraption Man staggered toward the corpse of the Time Crapper.
The Sultan of Scatology had overplayed his hand, and had been destroyed
by his own minions, the Dark Load Island Renegades. But his plan lived on
and time was unravelling and unless something was done quickly the Legion
would be destroyed by wReamicus Maximus. The Tinkerer From The Future took
the Crapper's robes. There was only one thing to do. If the Legion was to be
saved, then he, Contraption Man, would have to take on the mantle of the new
Time Crapper...


    Insanity and madness washed out over the city. Dr Net.ropolis paused.
She had just completed a meeting with Dr Stomper, where he had unwisely
chosen to oppose her plans. Reality began to unravel around her, but she
quickly activated a gadget to isolate herself from the disruption. In a very
real way, this sort of nonsense was precisely what she had anticipated might
happen, and gave her all the more determination to carry through with her
plan. The Looniverse had to be preserved from the capricious whims of those
who presumed to write this dimension's stories.


     Back at the Bandshell, Retcon Lad was weakening. It wasn't that
Retcon RACCoon was more powerful than he; quite the opposite. The
RACCoon's powers were quite limited in area of affect and duration,
whereas RLad's powers were effectively permanent until undone and had
once moved an entire universe from one newsgroup to a safer one.
    Rather, it was a problem of versatility, for which RLad was severely
outgunned. He could only make changes which could be plausibly explained,
although admittedly that gave him a lot of latitude in the Looniverse since
in this place almost any explanation could be considered plausible, given
the right conditions.
     But Retcon RACCoon had no such limitation, and could make any change
that his imagination could conceive of. Almost from the start, this had
meant Retcon Lad was on the defensive, able to cancel out any retcons that
the RACCoon had thrown up, but unable to create a proportionally similar
number of offensive retcons.
     Slowly the tide had swung against him. Then, a brief distraction by a
South Park/Pink Flamingos crossover had set off a rapid downwards slide.
Grossed out by things too terrible to mention in even an Acraphobe story,
let alone one like this, Retcon Lad had found himself rapidly overwhelmed.
     And then it was over.
    Retcon RACCoon looked around. All four humans were unconscious.
The other three could be left. But the male without big hair was too
dangerous. The RACCoon retconned him into something for which death would be
a mercy and for which that mercy would soon come. Which was perhaps a big
mistake in the long term.
     Oblivious to the fact that once dead Retcon Lad would eventually get
better, the RACCoon departed. So rattled was he, that he had completely
discarded any plans to unmake the Net.ropolis Bandshell.


     "What was *that*!?" demanded Lava Lamp in a shaky voice. The world
seemed to have stopped spinning, which was hopefully a good thing.
     "Chronic retconning at its worst," said Captain Killfile.
     "Retcon RACCoon?" asked Nudist Man.
     "Almost certainly," Captain Killfile confirmed grimly. "Come on.
We've got to get the rest of the Saviours together and *get that raccoon*."

Next: More mind-boggling twists and turns, probably written by someone
other than me.

Character Credits:
     Captain Killfile, Dr Net.ropolis, Lava Lamp, and Retcon RACCoon
created by Arthur Spitzer. Not reserved.
     Fuzzboy, Manga Girl, and Nudist Man created by Tom Russell.
     Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon Lad created by Saxon Brenton.
     W.I.L.B.U.R. is Public Domain (I think...)
     The sundry assorted people in the chronological anomaly cameos
belong to their owners.

Add Notes:
     This chapter rests on plot points brought up at the end of issue 3
and during issue Pi. I presume that the inclusion of Dr Killfile was
actually a typo. But if I was going to have some characters go back and
meticulously check the text of the original posts, then I had to be anal
about having them react to exactly what was posted in those issues, yes?
     Anyway, this chapter comes at a time when there's a bit of talk about
who should post which bit of the next _Saviours_ chapter. I jumped in first
because: a) despite its size this is another pretty modular chapter that
only touches on one plot point without actually advancing the main
storyline, and b) it's happening in the middle of some pretty thick and fast
retconning, so if anyone has problems with it they can just retcon away the
bits that they don't need. Hopefully they won't need to, but the option is
always there.
     And now I promise to wait until at least issue 12 before posting
again, so that everybody else has a chance to get their bits in :-)
Saxon Brenton     City library of the Uni of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Saxon.Brenton at uts.edu.au

NEXT TIME: Saviors of the Net #8: Things Fall Apart. It's Scientific.
           by Steven Howard

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