LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes vol. 2 # 12
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 29 14:57:21 PDT 2006
| |-| \
| |-|  /
| | |  egion of \ volume 2
| | | __     / no. 12
| | | [___][ \et.__eroes \
| | | \ ] [ __ ] /
| |-|     \
| | Fourteen years ago today,
| | the LEGION OF NET.HEROES
| | was formed. It is the
| | oldest USENET-based shared
| | universe in existence, and
| | with FIFTY-FIVE stories
| | posted LAST MONTH ALONE,
|_| it is still going strong!
WRITTEN BY TOM RUSSELL
EDITED BY MARY RUSSELL
SPECIAL THANKS TO BRIAN PERLER & ARTHUR SPITZER
PART ONE: The Origin of Cheesecake-Eater Lad!
The street is quiet.
Well, actually, the street is quite noisy, a
bustling main street full of people, but the street is
called Quiet Street. "Aren't you going to say
something about the street name, Irony Man?"
Irony Man regards his fellow legionnaire, Adamant
Authority-on-Everything, with steady blue eyes. "We
appear to have materialized in some other city,
possibly even another dimension. I'm not sure how..."
"It was wombats," pronounces Adamant
"Wombats?" says Irony Man skeptically.
"Well... I dunno. Maybe. I... I'm not so sure
Pocket Man and Kid Recap are walking through a
blistering desert when they run into the Ultimate
Ninja. He's carrying a corpse.
"Is that... is that Cannon Fodder?" says Pok.
"Yes," says the Ninja. "I don't understand it. He
suffered a heart attack during our battle with the
alternate dimensional Eggplant. But now here we are,
in what is obviously a different story. He should be
alive by now." [*-- EGGPLANT THE EASTER MIRACLE KOMODO
DRAGON # 1.]
"Shortly after that battle," the Ninja continues,
"legionnaires started disappearing all around us. And
then we, too, disappeared. But you, Pocket Man,
you've been missing for some time."
"Yes," says Pok.
Pok and the Ninja stare at the ranger of
recapitulation expectantly. "Oh! Right," says Kid
Recap. "Um... well, it all started when... um... and
then, Ori... but... uh... that is..."
Pok leaps in. "Must be the extra-dimensional
travel causing some disorientation. I wouldn't worry
about it, Recap. Um. I was sucked into one of my own
pockets.* Then Kid Recap came to rescue me, and we
both found ourselves pulled into this dimension.**"
[*-- WEB OF MAINSTREAM MAN # 2.]
[**- WEB OF MAINSTREAM MAN # 5.]
"Any idea where we are?" asks the Ninja.
"I was just about to find out," says Pok. "Let me
just whip out my extra-dimensional
spatial-determination doo-hickey." He reaches into
one of his pockets. "Hmm." He reaches into another.
And another. He becomes panicked.
"My pockets! They're empty!"
Cheesecake-Eater Lad, Sister State-the-Obvious, and
Obscure Trivia Lad find themselves in a very familiar
"If Obscure Trivia Lad is not mistaken," says
Obscure Trivia Lad, "Sig.ago was pointlessly destroyed
years ago." [*-- THE TEAM # 25.]
Obscure Trivia Lad and Cheesecake-Eater Lad look to
Sister State-the-Obvious. She stares back, blankly.
"Obscure Trivia Lad thinks we are in an alternate
dimension," says (you guessed it) Obscure Trivia Lad
"Well," says Cheesecake-Eater Lad, "while we're
here, let's get some chow."
"Obscure Trivia Lad will have the chicken cordon
bleu. Sister State-the-Obvious will have the same,
and I'll have New York Style Cheesecake. With
"Very good, sir," says the waiter dryly. He eyes
the net.heroes and their costumes suspiciously, and
then grumps a bit (probably because I couldn't think
of any dialogue for him besides "very good sir")
before heading off to the kitchen.
Obscure Trivia Lad looks up from his now-empty
plate and sees that Cheesecake-Eater Lad looks sickly.
"What's wrong?" says Obscure Trivia Lad. "You've
hardly touched your cheesecake, and you look terribly
"Really?" says Sister State-the-Obvious. She looks
at the plate, than at Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "My
goodness, you're right!"
"But I never get sick from cheesecake," says
Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "I don't understand it! I have
the power to consume any variety of cheesecake. But
somehow, this cheesecake proves immune to my awesome
"Obviously," observes Obscure Trivia Lad, "we must
be losing our powers!"
"Really?" says Sister State-the-Obvious. "I hadn't
"We were all grabbed at different times from
different places," says Sister State-the-Obvious once
they leave the restaurant. "Which means this isn't
some random fluke."
"Obscure Trivia Lad would be hard-pressed to find a
reason why we three would be singled out."
"They've probably grabbed a bunch of us," says
Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "Let's try to find the others.
Maybe they'll know what to do."
Every one of the local yokels return their
questions with an uneasy glance and comments about
Halloween coming early this year.
"We must be in a world where they have no
net.heroes!" says Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"What makes you say that?" says Sister
"Well, isn't it ob... well, that is, we seem to be
provoking a sort of 'weirdo' reaction."
"Maybe they have heroes, but they only show up on
Halloween or other holidays," she says.
"Either way, it's obvious the others aren't in
"Sig.ago," says Sister State-the-Obvious.
"What?" says Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"We're in Sig.ago."
"That's what I said, wasn't it?"
"No. You said... shi-KOG-o...?"
"Chicago? What the hell is Chicago? Huh. That's
weird," says Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "I wonder what
made me say that."
"We won't get anything accomplished tonight," says
Sister State-the-Obvious. "Let's find a hotel."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Sister State-the-Obvious
each take one of the beds; Obscure Trivia Lad reclines
in an armchair.
When Obscure Trivia Lad awakes the next morning, he
finds that the others are gone. He sees their spandex
costumes wadded on the floor, and wonders for a moment
if they weren't engaged in a little extramarital
"Yeeargh!" he cries out in pain. "Obscure Trivia
Lad wishes he wasn't a visual thinker!" He dismisses
the notion, partially because they weren't the type
and partially because it made his retinas burn.
The door opens, and his two comrades enter.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad wears a slimming black suit and
Sister State-the-Obvious a cashmere sweater with khaki
"That's a nice ensemble, wReanna," says
"Thanks, uh... what was it again?"
"Um, Bob?" offers Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"Obscure Trivia Lad didn't know your name was Bob,
"Oh, you're up," says Sister State-the-Obvious.
"Bob and I awoke earlier this morning, and discovered
that we didn't have any luggage. Not a single change
of clothes-- just those silly costumes!"
"Those are uniforms," says Obscure Trivia Lad.
"The uniforms you wear as members of the LNH."
Sister State-the-Obvious smiles pleasantly. "It's
very odd, the three of us not packing anything for
this business trip."
"But we are not on a business trip. We were
teleported into this other dimension."
"Bob?" says Sister State-the-Obvious, turning to
Cheesecake-Eater Lad. He stares at her blankly.
"Oh, right, that's me," he says, a little
embarrassed. "Yes, yes. A business trip."
"We had better find you something appropriate to
wear," says Sister State-the-Obvious to Obscure Trivia
Lad. "Now, um... I seem to have forgotten your name.
Sorry about that. Brain fart. What was it...?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad."
"Obscure Trivia Lad's name is Obscure Trivia Lad."
"What's your real name?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad! And you're Sister
State-the-Obvious! And you, you're Cheesecake-Eater
"My name is Steve," says Cheesecake-Eater Lad
urgently. Sister State-the-Obvious glances at him.
"Er, Bob. One or the other."
Sister State-the-Obvious turns her attention back
to Obscure Trivia Lad. "You look like a Tyrone to me.
Is your name Tyrone?"
"Why does it have to be Tyrone?" says
Cheesecake-Eater Lad uneasily. "Why not something
like Bob, or Tom? Dave? Tyrone's so... so
"Well, he looks eccentric. Especially in that
ridiculous costume." She reaches for his arm. "Come
with us and we'll get you some proper clothing,
"Obscure Trivia Lad!" he screeches desperately,
recoiling. "Obscure Trivia Lad is Obscure Trivia Lad!
Obscure Trivia Lad is shoved into the dressing room
with three suits. "And you're not coming out," says
Sister State-the-Obvious, "until you're wearing
something more suitable than that ridiculous costume."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad looks at himself in the mirror
and then turns to Sister State-the-Obvious. "Do you
think I look more like a Ryan?"
"You keep changing your name, people are going to
think that you're weird."
"I'll just stick with Bob then!" says
Cheesecake-Eater Lad quickly. "Bob's fine." Then:
"He's taking an awful long time, isn't he?"
"Is he? I suppose so. Let's go check on him."
She stalks towards the dressing room.
"Um, wReanna? Men's room."
"Oh, right," she says. "This gender nonsense."
"I'd be happy to go in," he says eagerly.
She snaps her fingers. "Schnell, schnell. We'll
be late for our meeting."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad knocks on the door. "Peter,
are you in there?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad."
"I think Peter's much nicer than Tyrone, don't you?
Let's not make any waves, hmm?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad."
"Now, don't give me a hard time, Peter!"
"That's not very nice, Peter! My mother was a very
nice woman, and you know I nearly killed Onion Lad*
when he... when he... when..." [*--ONION LAD # 1,
STUDENT DRIVER LASS & SIMON VELCRO.]
"Fight it, Cheesecake-Eater Lad!" says Obscure
Trivia Lad, opening the door and clasping his friend
warmly by the hand. "You remember, don't you?
Remember who you are! Remember how angry you were
with Onion Lad! Remember your mother!"
"I... it's all coming back... I... I had wanted to
be a great chef, and live a swingin' bachelor life,
like my father, the Cheesecake-Eating Man. But my
mother hated my father for abandoning us, for never
marrying her. She did not want me to be like my
father. She wanted me to be a scientist, to be
married, stable. She arranged a marriage with the
Winchester girl, good family. Solid breeding stock.
She became Mrs. Boonspackle. Boon... my name was
"I became a scientist. I was working on a solvent
to power my super-saturated fat particle beam. And my
wife-- poor Amelia Winchester-Boonspackle-- she was
creating a cheesecake for her cousins, the Sig.ago
Winchesters. Somehow, the second half of each recipe
was swapped. And then... the cheesecake... it..."
"It gave you power," says Obscure Trivia Lad,
"power to consume any kind of cheesecake known to man!
It was on that day that you became Cheesecake-Eater
Lad! And adopted your father's last name, Spender!"
[*-- The name C. E. L. Spender was first used in LNH
COMICS PRESENTS SPECIAL # 6.]
"I ate the entire cheesecake. And Amelia, having
no offering for her visiting cousins, took her own
life as was the custom of her people. I knew my
mother would be quite upset, and rather than face her,
I left for... for... it's... it's all fading away..."
"That's because it never happened!" Sister
State-the-Obvious is standing behind them. "There
never was an Amelia Winchester-Boonspackle!"
"Yes, there was!" counters Obscure Trivia Lad.
"She was retconned away, Cheesecake-Eater Lad! That's
why the memory is fading! Retconned away... by your
creator, Sister State-the-Obvious... wReam!" [*-- as a
result of CRY.SIG ON INFINITE NET.EARTHS.]
"I've heard enough of this nonsense," she says.
"The both of you are bat-shit insane. There's no such
thing as a superpower, and even if there were, what
kind of superpower is eating cheesecake?... or quoting
obscure bits of trivia for that matter?"
"Or stating the obvious," says Obscure Trivia Lad.
"Those aren't real powers. They're personality
quirks, if that."
"But without them, what do we have left?" pleads
Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "In this world where our powers
don't work, we're losing who we are! That's why our
powers are important! More important, in fact, than
'real' powers like flight or fire-breath! Our powers
are what makes us unique! What makes us... what makes
Sister State-the-Obvious regards him coolly. "I'm
very disappointed in you, Bob. And I'm very sorry it
had to come to this." She steps aside to reveal
several police officers.
"You're coming with us!"
Cheesecake-Eater Lad turns to his newly-remembered
comrade. "What are we going to do?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad has an idea. Maneuver five!"
"Awesome!" exclaims Cheesecake-Eater Lad. He
stands in front of a crouching Obscure Trivia Lad and
places his foot in the interlocked hands of his fellow
LNHer. "Fastball special!"
Obscure Trivia Lad launches Cheesecake-Eater Lad
into the air. The portly practitioner of the pastry
arts advances about four inches before he falls on his
face. Obscure Trivia Lad groans in pain. "Obscure
Trivia Lad thinks he pulled something!"
"But you're a cyborg!" says Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"You really need to lose some weight," says Obscure
Trivia Lad. "Obscure Trivia Lad... might have...
Our heroes look up to see that the police have
drawn their pistols and are pointing at them.
Reluctantly, Obscure Trivia Lad and Cheesecake-Eater
Lad raise their hands above their head.
"Looks like you're through," snarls Sister
"You're going with them," says the officer. "On
orders of the Secretary of Reality!"
II. Riot at Happy Joe's!
The prison is dirty, infested with roaches, bearing
the sludge of humanity for large chunks of their
miserable, ruined lives. Well, actually, no. The
prison is kept fairly clean. It was deroached last
year, and since the introduction of pink-painted
walls, the inmates have been rather cheerful,
resulting in better behaviour, earlier releases, and
fewer incidents of inmate violence; self-soaping
soapless showerheads and an exclusive deal with a
local "bunny" farm for conjugal visits have lessened
sexual assaults exponentially.
Decent job placement, coupled with the best social
skills training and inmate education program in the
state, have made certain that once someone leaves
Happy Joe's Finishing School for Maladjusted Humans,
they do not become a repeat offender (despite the fact
that it does possess an actual revolving door). On
the other hand, career criminals actually commit their
most heinous crimes in this state, in order to
increase their chances of being interred at Happy
Joe's. But the warden could deal with that. After
all, his prison was the best in the state!
Was being the operative word. In two days time,
the whole thing had gone to pot. "Warden! Warden!"
He turns as one of his men enters his office.
"What is it?"
"The bunny farm has reneged on our contract."
"Two of the new inmates, St. Lawrence and Ramirez.
They didn't even get to first base, and things had
already gotten too freaky for the girls."
"Damn these new inmates!" growls the warden. "And
damn the President and the Secretary of Reality for
dumping them on me!"
"Oh, and speaking of, I nearly forgot."
"The Secretary of Reality will be visiting tonight.
He wants to speak to the man in the black pajamas."
"Okay," says the warden, throwing up his hands.
"This can't possibly get any worse."
His staff member's beeper goes off. He looks up at
the warden and cracks a forced smile. "Uh, sir?"
"We got another batch of inmates coming in."
The guards lead our trio of focus characters to
"Excuse me?" says Sister State-the-Obvious. "But
this is the men's ward. Why are you leading me here?"
"There's a riot going on," says one of the guards,
curtly. "One of the new inmates is demanding that
they repaint the walls. She says that pink is outré."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad smiles warmly, reassured:
"That'll be Bandwagon Chick, then." [*-- Bandwagon
Chick's trendy personality is not based on her powers,
for she has none! So this aspect of her personality
is unaffected by their non-loss!]
"Look!" says Obscure Trivia Lad. "Over there! Is
that Super Apathy Lad?"
"What's he doing on a stretcher?"
The guard provides the answer. "He's going to the
medical ward to be restrained. Ever since he got
here, he's been trying to kill himself. Says he
doesn't care anymore."
"He never did," Cheesecake-Eater Lad whispers to
Obscure Trivia Lad. "Do you think he's retained his
"No," says Obscure Trivia Lad. "Our Super Apathy
Lad was too lazy to kill himself and too apathetic to
The conversation continues in the cell.
"But take away the apathy and the laziness, what do
you have left?"
"His underlying personality," says Obscure Trivia
Lad. "The thing that causes his super apathy powers
in the first place."
"And what is at the root of him not caring?"
"Having nothing to care about," says Sister
State-the-Obvious. "This is the same thing that's
happened to us. My power to state the obvious is a
natural outgrowth of my down-to-earth personality;
take away that power, though, and I'm still someone
who keeps her head under pressure."
"You remember!" says Cheesecake-Eater Lad, clapping
his hands in glee. "When did you...?"
"About two minutes after I called the cops on you
two," she says.
"Why didn't we escape, then?" inquires Obscure
"I got us to the others, didn't I?" she says,
"Wait a second. Obscure Trivia Lad doesn't
understand. Why did you pretend not to remember after
you got your memories back?"
"Isn't it obvious? To heighten suspense."
"Obscure Trivia Lad doesn't understand why he never
lost his memories in the first place."
"Sister State-the-Obvious thinks it's because
Obscure Trivia Lad could never, ever forget his name."
She smiles, sweetly, endearingly; not making fun of
him, but gently razzing him.
"And thank goodness for it," says Cheesecake-Eater
Lad. "Without you, we might never have come out of
"We'll be counting on you to rouse the other men,
OTL, for just that reason."
"What about the women?" says Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
"I'll take care of that. Women are more grounded
in reality than men are, so it should be a piece of
cake to snap them back to it."
"And as for me?"
"Find the Ninja. If there's anyone else who never
lost their memories, it'd be him."
"Been stressful the past couple days," the warden
wheezes. "In fact, I'm ever so glad you've come,
because I want to talk to you about these new..."
The Secretary of Reality grabs the warden by the
collar. "Take me to the one who calls himself
I could tell you here about Sister
State-the-Obvious's fantastic plan which resulted in
the cell door flinging open. I can't, for two
reasons: first, though I've been at it for a good
couple days, I still can't think of any plausible way
for our powerless legionnaires to extradite themselves
from the cell; secondly, the guards forgot to lock
"Go, go, go!" says wReanna.
Don't you hate it when someone stops a story
dead-cold to tell you about some random henchperson or
guard? I guess it's an attempt to flesh out the
inconsequential characters, but it strikes me as a bit
counter-intuitive: they're inconsequential. If I was
to spend a few paragraphs telling you about this guy,
Gideon Virk, who worked as a guard at Happy Joe's,
would you really care about him? Probably not.
I mean, I could heap on a bunch of sad sack
details: his wife left him, he's a single father now,
and his little girl wants to be a ballerina. But, uh,
let's see: ooh, she was in a car accident and lost one
of her legs. They can't even afford a prosthetic for
her. So Gideon's working two jobs. No, three.
Hardly ever sleeps. But that's okay, because he's
living for his little girl. And maybe... just
maybe... one day she will be a ballerina, the first
who dances with a prosthetic leg, and she'll have her
own TV movie, and maybe they'll get Gary Busey to play
Gideon. He'd rather have Nick Nolte, but he'd settle
And, uh, oh! the reason she lost her leg in the
accident is because he was driving drunk! ... and
also, that's why his wife left him.
Yeah, some shit like that. Is that a character?
No, not really. He's just some idiot I created to be
threatened by Cheesecake-Eater Lad. And so,
Cheesecake-Eater Lad threatens him, and he cowers,
blah, blah, blah, what do you want? please don't hurt
me!, et cetera.
"Tell me where the Ninja is!"
And so Gideon tells him. Man. I could have just
Cheesecake-Eater Lad threatens a guard.
"Tell me where the Ninja is!"
The guard tells him.
But I guess that wouldn't be properly dramatic. I
mean, let's face it, three sentences, that's not even
a joke, let alone a scene. Now this, this is a proper
Oh, and the little girl has cancer in her good
foot. Ovarian cancer at that. But in her foot.
Don't ask me how.
Obscure Trivia Lad has his work cut out for him.
While it was relatively simple to convert such
luminaries as Bladder Infection Lad, the more popular
legionnaires were proving more difficult.
"Your name is Master Blaster!" he pleads with the
caesar of cool, but to no avail. He turns to
Sarcastic Lad, Master Blaster's friend and accomplice
in the greatest LNH series in history, PIGS IN TIME.
"And you! You're Sarcastic Lad!"
"Bugger off," snarls the caustic crusader. "Leave
me alone. Jerk."
Deprived of his demonic powers to be sarcastic and
witty, Sarc has no saving graces left. Obscure Trivia
Lad wonders if he should waste any additional time
trying to jog their memories, when someone makes up
his mind for him.
"You there!" hollers a guard. "You're the one who
escaped! Get away from their cell!"
Obscure Trivia Lad takes off running. He ducks in
the cafeteria, losing the guard. As he catches his
breath, he scans the cafeteria for more LNHers. The
cafeteria is empty save for one man.
He is dressed in a sharp blue dress suit with
matching pants, a silk tie, and a striped dress shirt
with starched collar. His hair is short and
well-groomed; his face is clean-shaven, devoid of
stubble. If Obscure Trivia Lad was a betting man, he
would say that this stranger was in his mid-thirties.
He'd also say that this man is not a stranger.
Though he can't quite place the face or remember the
name, there is something... familiar about him.
Obscure Trivia Lad stares at the man, watching him eat
his soup, and slowly walks towards him.
"Obscure Trivia Lad has a question for you, sir."
The man returns Obscure Trivia Lad's gaze with sad
"Obscure Trivia Lad was wondering if you know who
you are. Obscure Trivia Lad could be mistaken, but he
thinks you're an LNHer."
"I... I've never remembered who I was. Even before
we ended up in this universe. And now it's more
clouded than ever. I only know one thing: I'm the
best there is at what I do." He pauses, a sour
expression on his face. "I just... can't seem to
remember what that is."
Acting on a mixture of impulse and inspiration,
Obscure Trivia Lad grabs the cooling cup of soup.
"If you're who Obscure Trivia Lad thinks you are,
then Obscure Trivia Lad wants to apologize on behalf
of the Legion of Net.Heroes. You must have lost your
memory after you left. We never should have rejected
Footsteps! The guard has found Obscure Trivia Lad,
and he's come with reinforcements. "Stop right where
"And now," says Obscure Trivia Lad, "more than
ever, we need you to do that thing you're best at."
"But what is it? Who--AM--I?!"
Obscure Trivia Lad pours some of the soup down the
man's shirt. Suddenly, it all comes flooding back,
and with a primal scream, the man tears open his suave
blue dinner jacket. Leaping over the table, he hisses
at the guards, who then run away like little girls.
Obscure Trivia Lad hands the Styrofoam soup cup to
its owner. He drinks it, eyes sharp with memory, and
it dribbles down his chin. He does not wipe it away.
"I'm the best there is at what I do."
"Welcome back, Sloberine."
"So, you're the man who cannot be broken."
"Better men than you have tried," says the Ultimate
"I will crush you," the Secretary assures him. "It
will hurt less if you don't fight it. If you let
yourself forget. Consider your comrades, your fellow
extradimensional refugees. They have forgotten
already. Our earth has dimmed their powers, both
fantastic and mundane. The same forces are plying
their radioactive trade on their memories.
"And here, at Happy Joe's, we have the last step of
the process. They will learn social skills, they will
be medicated, their eccentricities will be discouraged
and eventually smoothed out before we send them out
into our world. You will be assimilated, all of you,
and your threat to our reality will be rendered moot."
"If even one remembers," says the Ninja, "then
there will always be an LNH."
"They will forget," says the Secretary. "All of
them. And you, too, will forget."
"I will not forget! I will fight! I will rip out
your heart!" The Ninja clutches at the Secretary's
chest, attempting to do just that. But he finds
himself unable to do so. The Secretary of Reality
easily bats the Ninja's hand aside and snaps his
The Secretary's men leap towards the Ninja. And
though the leader of the LNH fights valiantly, the
odds he fights against are desperate. Sheer numbers
would overwhelm any ordinary man. And, memories or no
memories, bereft of his power to do anything that
could possibly be construed as being oriental in
nature, the Ninja is an ordinary man and thus
"Face it," says the Secretary redundantly: "You're
just an ordinary man without your powers. You're
easily overwhelmed by sheer numbers! How can you
possibly win by yourself?"
"He does not fight alone!"
The Secretary whirls around.
"Ch... Cheesecake-Eater... Lad," the Ninja says.
"Escape while you can!"
"I came here to get you. I'm not leaving without
The Secretary snarls. "Then you shall both leave
in caskets! Get the fat one, my men! Teach him the
price of his weirdness!"
The men attack Cheesecake-Eater Lad. No one
expects him to win this fight. Not his attackers.
Not the Secretary of Reality. Not even the Ultimate
Ninja. No one, that is, save Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
He makes short work of the mooks, utilizing a
variety of fighting styles, and advances towards the
Secretary. The Secretary of Reality clicks on a
walkie-talkie and demands that the prison guards come
to protect his person. There is no answer from the
"S-Stay back! You're not human!" he demands of
Cheesecake-Eater Lad. He turns back to the
walkie-talkie. "Someone! Save me! Urk!"
Cheesecake-Eater Lad has a vice-grip on the
Secretary's neck with his right hand. "With my left
hand," he warns, "I can pull your heart out of your
"I don't believe you."
"You'll lose," says the Secretary desperately.
"There will always be an LNH," says
Cheesecake-Eater Lad cryptically. "Always."
Sister State-the-Obvious had managed to revive all
the female LNHers. "You see?" she says. "I told you
girls were smarter."
"Just guard the Secretary," says the Ninja. "Don't
let him out of your sight."
The Ninja limps out of the interrogation room with
Cheesecake-Eater Lad's assistance.
"Where are your other selves?" Cheesecake-Eater Lad
"They're gone," says the Ninja. "I seem to have
lost two bodies and gained a hand." [*-- The prime
Ultimate Ninja's hand was lopped off in VEL # 0; he
was triplicated in ONION LAD # 3.]
"How did this happen?"
"Eh, inter-dimensional teleportation effect, maybe.
I dunno. I probably just wanted to piss off Jesse
Willey," says the Ninja. "As soon as we get back
home, I'll probably be tripled or quadrupled or
whatever again, and I won't be able to jerk off as
effectively. ...Now, I have a question for you."
"How did you do that in there?"
"I'm a eighth-degree black belt, UN. You should
know. You trained me yourself."
"But I lost my powers."
"So did I. But my training in seven different
deadly martial arts is a skill, not a power."
"I train for hours every day," says the Ninja, "but
in the end, I'm just training in the use of my powers.
I didn't bother learning much of anything else. Take
the powers away, and what do I have?... nothing!"
"You have your skills," counters Cheesecake-Eater
Lad. "And I don't think that I have to tell you that
the LNH will never have a leader as great as the
Ultimate Ninja. And that, my friend, is a skill."
The Ninja nods. "Did I really teach you how to do
"No. But you taught me how to intimidate."
A quick glance at the gathering crowd of amnesiacs
reveals that just about the entire roster of the LNH
is present and accounted for.
"Obscure Trivia Lad managed to revive the memories
of Time Waster Lad, Bladder Infection Lad, Sloberine,
and myself," says List Lad. Ooh! You thought Obscure
Trivia Lad was talking, didn't you? See? The story's
not over yet! Surprises abound around each and every
"It was Sloberine," says Cheesecake-Eater Lad, "who
defeated all the prison guards while he was in a
berserker rage. Somehow, he managed to regain his
Sloberine nods gruffly to the Ninja. "A plot hole,
most likely. I'm not sure. All I know is, I'm the
best there is at..."
"At what you do," says the Ninja. "Yes, yes, we
know. We've all heard it before. Many, many times.
Why don't you disappear for another fourteen years?"
"Obscure Trivia Lad is sorry he couldn't do more,"
says Obscure Trivia Lad.
"Don't sweat it," says the Ninja. "From what I
understand, you were the only LNHer who never doubted,
never forgot, not even for a moment. Without you, we
would all of us-- all of us-- be lost."
"But what about the other legionnaires? Obscure
Trivia Lad tried as best he could, but they won't snap
out of it!"
"Though my powers don't work in this universe,"
says the Ninja, slowly, "I can still remember some
Ancient Ninja Wisdom. There is a saying, one can
catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And
this is very true."
"But you can catch more if you fumigate." The
Ultimate Ninja moves away from Cheesecake-Eater Lad,
standing up on his own two feet. He turns to the
amnesiac, powerless legionnaires gathered before him
and begins to speak.
"Each of you, and all of us together, make up the
Legion of Net.Heroes. The greatest team in any
universe. An insidious and unseen foe has shunted us
all into a world not our own, stripped us of our
powers, and tried to remake our very memories.
"And yet, here we are. We are still the LNH. And
we always will be. Even if we were to never return
home, we would still be the LNH, and we would
"Remember who you are. Remember the epic battles,
remember your fallen comrades, remember the running
gags, the minutiae both ridiculous and sublime.
"Remember who you are. Remember what a long
strange trip it's been, where we've been, and look
forward-- ever forward!-- to where we're going.
Because the trip isn't over yet. Not by a long-shot.
"Remember who you are. Remember the things that
make you special. The hobbies, the obsessions, the
weaknesses, the strengths, the powers, the
friendships, the rivalries. The things that make you
unique. Remember your names, because they are yours
and yours alone, and no name on our roster is
unworthy." He hesitates. "Well, except for
Sloberine. Go away, Sloberine. Nobody loves you.
"But as for the rest of you? You are loved. You
are loved by each other-- the biggest, strangest
family that ever was-- and you are loved by an adoring
public, both in our world and in another. Remember
your names. Have the courage to be yourselves again.
Have the courage to be yourselves.
"Remember who you are. Because if you don't-- I'M
GOING TO GUT EACH AND EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU! I WILL
REND YOU LIMB FROM LIMB, CLONE CHILDREN FROM YOUR
INNARDS, AND BEHEAD THEM AT BIRTH!!! ... SO IF YOU
KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU, YOU ARE GOING TO REMEMBER
WHO THE %$@#! YOU ARE!!!"
And, to make a long story short... they remember.
III. Night of the Last-Minute Third Act Plot
"It's obvious we've beaten you," says the Ultimate
Ninja. "Beaten you and your world. We have our
memories back, and we will not be assimilated. So,
the way I see it, you have two options: option one, is
open a portal so we can head back home.
"Option two, I cut your frickin' head off." He
punctuates his point by putting his ginsu blade at the
Secretary's throat. "Well?"
"If you cut my head off," says the Secretary
coolly, "then you won't have anyone to threaten.
There will also be no one to open the portal for you."
"Good point," says the Ninja. "I guess I'll just
have to cut off your nuts." He began to lower the
"I'll call my boys in Washington," says the
The Legion gathers outside Happy Joe's as the
Department of Reality uses their high-tech machines to
open a rift in the fabric of reality itself. The
portal starts as a barely-visible glowing pinprick.
Slowly, it begins to expand.
"Once it's big enough," says the Secretary, "I
suggest that you get through it as fast as possible.
Once the rip has attained a certain size, it will pose
a serious threat to reality and the reality radiation
will cause it to shrink rapidly."
"Sounds like a plot point," remarks Sister
And, sure enough, just as the portal has gotten big
enough for a person to squeeze through, our stalwart
army of powerless legionnaires bear witness to a
frightening fit of maniacal laughter. They turn to
find that the Secretary is the source of the laughter.
"Man," says California Kid, "I knew this guy was
going to screw us on this deal!"
"All right," says the Ninja, tiredly, "hurry up.
What's the last minute double-cross?"
"No double-cross," says the Secretary. "This
portal will take you home, and once in your home
universe, you will have full access to your amazing
"Do you think it a coincidence that you found your
way here to our world? When you were snatched from
your universe, you and your men could have been
"And women," interrupts Catalyst Lass.
"You could have all ended up in different
universes. It was I who brought you here, to my
world. Do you want to know why?"
"We don't have all day," says the Ninja shortly,
his eyes still fixated on the portal.
"I am a superhuman myself," says the Secretary.
"The only one immune to the reality radiation that
permeates my earth! Do you want to know what my power
The Legion sighs as one.
"I have the power to copy the powers of any
superhumans I come in contact with!"
"Then why was I able to beat you so easily?" asks
"Don't encourage him," says the Ninja. "We have to
get through the portal."
"Prolonged exposure," explains the Secretary.
"It's only from prolonged exposure to superhumans that
I am able to mimic their powers. That is another
reason why I had you all brought to this one prison!
So that I could copy the powers from many at once!
"I don't mean to keep you," says the Secretary. "I
just want to thank you. Now, I will finally be able
to commit rampant genocide, setting myself up as ruler
of the world!"
"He's mad as a hatter!" observes Bladder Infection
"He must be channeling Elvis Man by way of
Russell," says the Ninja. "The fiend. The absolute
"We don't care, okay?" says Master Blaster.
"You're lame, man. Frickin' lame. Come on, guys.
Let's get out of here. The portal's going to collapse
or whatever if we don't get through it, now."
"No, Rob," says the Ninja.
"We cannot in good conscience allow this maniac to
slaughter innocents. We have to take him down!"
"How?" says Master Blaster. "We don't have any
powers! But he does! He has all the powers of the
"We have to try," says the Ninja.
"You can try," laughs the Secretary. "But you will
surely fail! BWAHAHAHA!" He takes to the air and
begins to throw balls of fire down at our heroes.
"Hold on a second!" says List Lad, nimbly dodging a
fireball. "Am I right in thinking that you have all
our powers, simultaneously?"
"That's right," says the villain.
"What about Invisible-Inaudible-Intangible Lass?"
BLIP! The Secretary disappears.
The other legionnaires stare at List Lad. "Who?"
"Oh, I just made her up."
"Then why did it work?"
"Kid Unique's power to have any power that no one's
ever thought of before. Once I put the idea into his
head, Kid Unique's power kicked in and rendered him
invisible, inaudible, and intangible, and therefore
unable to harm anyone."
[*-- what List Lad (and his fellow legionnaires)
doesn't know is that there *is* an
Invisible-Inaudible-Intangible Lass! She first
appeared in DEATH OF CHEESECAKE-EATER LAD and was the
star of her own series, entitled
LNHHQ--THE LOONIVERSE--APRIL 29, 2006
"So," says the Ninja, "are we all present and
List Lad has just finished his headcount. "With
three exceptions, every single member of the Legion of
Net.Heroes is safe and sound, including all three
"Who're we missing, then?" asks the Ninja, staring
at his stump dourly.
"WikiBoy, Mainstream Man, and Cannon..."
At that moment, Cannon Fodder walks into the room,
good as new, having just awoke in the Peril Room.
"God damn Komodo Dragon. What'd I miss?"
"Make that just WikiBoy and Mainstream Man."
"WikiBoy's probably still in police custody," says
Master Blaster. "The sick bastard." [*-- see MASTER
BLASTER: INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE (not to be confused with
the equally-excellent MASTER BLASTER IN INSUFFICIENT
"Well," says Sister State-the-Obvious, "since
Cannon Fodder has come back from the dead, it's
obvious we've all gotten our powers back."
"I haven't tested mine yet," says the Ninja. "Only
one way to find out." He reaches into Cannon Fodder's
chest and pulls out the dying dreadnought's
"Good as new," muses the Ninja as he stands over
Cannon Fodder's corpse. "Good as new, and ready for
FOURTEEN MORE YEARS!"
"Wait a second," says Sloberine, consulting a
print-out in his hand. "According to the first issue
of this very series, your mastery of the Ninja arts
comes not from any special powers, but from years and
years of training! That's why the Ultimate Ninja
clones of Dr. Ag-Queen are just-- URK!"
"Like I was saying," says the Ninja, as he hands
Sloberine's own heart back to him, "good as new, and
ready for FOURTEEN MORE YEARS!"
"Luckily," says Sloberine, the blood spilling all
over his nice new dress shirt, "I appear to have
developed a healing factor! ... Look! A new heart is
"God damn it, Sloberine. You're ruining the end of
the story. I mean, that's a perfect end-line: Good
as new, and ready for FOURTEEN MORE YEARS! And you
"I'm sorry," says Sloberine. "Why don't you say it
again? I won't interrupt this time..."
The Ninja sighs. "Just go away, Sloberine. Nobody
loves you. Just go away."
WHY DID OUR HEROES END UP IN THIS STRANGE UNIVERSE IN
THE FIRST PLACE?
WHAT HAS BECOME OF MAINSTREAM MAN?
THE ANSWERS, DEAR READER, AWAIT YOU IN...
WEB OF MAINSTREAM MAN # 6!
Invisible-Inaudible-Intangible Lass is the creation of
Jamie Rosen, while Kid Unique was brought forth upon
this continent by Steven Howard: both characters are
reserved by their owners. I got Jamie's permission to
use IIIL; Steven Howard seems to have dropped off the
net, and Kid Unique didn't actually appear here,
anyway-- the end victory was misattributed to his
To the best of my knowledge, these characters are not
Obscure Trivia Lad was created by Brian Perler.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad was created by Matthew Jotham
Sister State-the-Obvious, Ultimate Ninja, Cannon
Fodder, and Adamant Authority-on-Everything are wReam
Pocket Man, Elvis Man, and Sarcastic Lad were created
by Gary St. Lawrence.
Master Blaster was created by Martin Phipps.
Irony Man was created by Doug Moran.
Kid Recap was created by Josh Geurink.
Bladder Infection Lad was created by Tom Russell.
Bandwagon Chick created by Sue Clark.
Super Apathy Lad created by Jacob Lesgold.
List Lad created by Scavenger.
Time Waster Lad created by Ray Rich.
Sloberine created by Mike McKellar.
California Kid created by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes.
Catalyst Lass created by Elisabeth Riba.
| |-| \
| |-|  /
| | |  egion of \ LNH VOL. 2 ASCII
| | | __     / LOGO CREATED BY
| | | [___][ \et.__eroes \ JAMIE ROSEN
| | | \ ] [ __ ] /
| |-|     \
| | ***SPECIAL BONUS STORY!***
| | MASTER BLASTER & WIKIBOY in
| | " TAILS OF THE LNH "
| | Master Blaster runs into WikiBoy
| | as the latter is on his way to the
|_| chapel. "Self-Righteous Preacher
edited me," explains the LNHer Anyone Can Edit, "so
that I'm especially pious. He thinks it will help me
"Not really," says WikiBoy dourly. "Unless you
count Self-Righteous Preacher."
"You know what the LNH is missing, WikiBoy? A cat
"A cat girl?"
"Yeah. You know, part girl, part cat.
Scantily-clad _and_ furry. Sexy, yet innocent. A cat
girl. It's been a long time since we've had one."
"Has the LNH ever had a cat girl?"
"I think so," says Master Blaster. "But for the
life of me, I can't remember who it was. Which only
means one thing."
"That the LNH has never had a cat girl?"
"No. It means that it's been so long since we had
a cat girl, that we're long overdue for one."
"I guess. Well, this is my stop, Master Blaster."
WikiBoy opens the doors to the chapel, the sound of
the blaring organ flooding the hallways.
"WikiBoy-- you're a scantily-clad, sexy cat girl!"
WikiCatGirl looks at his/her huge breasts, lithe
body, and one-piece swimsuit with a sense of mounting
terror. That terror is justified the moment that
Self-Righteous Preacher lays eyes on him/her.
"Furry whore of Babylon!" the moral major
screeches. He leaps from the pulpit and runs down the
aisle way, a bo staff in hand. "Out, demonness!
WikiBoy runs for his life. "Thanks a lot, Master
"Okay, okay-- I take back the cat girl thing!"
WikiBoy stops to catch his breath. Self-Righteous
Preacher runs past him, oblivious.
A moment later, Softcentre comes down the hall.
Master Blaster: "Hey, WikiBoy!"
Master Blaster: Martin Phipps. Not reserved.
Self-Righteous Preacher: wReam. Not reserved.
WikiBoy: Tom Russell. Reserved.
Softcentre: Jamas Enright. Reserved and used with
(C) COPYRIGHT 2006 TOM RUSSELL.
Director of MILOS, LIFE AND TIMES OF A DREAMER
Limited autographed dvds now on sale, directly from the filmmaker
"In the beginning, Milos seems to have no clue how to relate to anyone. He is quizzical, leaving the viewer questioning and wondering..." -- Ryan M. Niemiec, co-author of MOVIES AND MENTAL ILLNESS
"If a comic book, book, movie or novel is not somebody's fantasy
then who wrote it and to whom does it appeal to? In order for a
shared universe to have a widespread appeal, it has to appeal on
a primal level. If somebody says superhero comics are just 'wish
fulfillment' then he needs to explain what is entertainment that
doesn't satisfy our wishes and what satisfaction at all you can get
from it." -- Dr. Martin Phipps
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