[LNH/APE] Limp-Asparagus Lad #56

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 29 15:34:54 PST 2006

[LNH/APE] Limp-Asparagus Lad #56

Limp-Asparagus Lad #56
A Legion of Net.Heroes title

'Decimation' part 1

Written by and copyright 2006 Saxon Brenton
Art by Fred H*mback

The cover is filled with the face of a wild-eyed man who's leaning
as close as possible to the reader and screaming, "One tenth of you
people will loose your mutant powers! The rest will be turned into
monkeys!"  At the top next to the 'Limp-Asparagus Lad' logo is the
'Apes Month!' promotional indica.

    It was mid-morning, and at a green grocer's store in the Mutant Town
district of Net.ropolis one of the robbers fired his gun point blank
into a young man's chest, causing his target to yell, "Hey! That stings!"
    This was pretence. The victim's name was Joshua Asimov, and in order
to protect his secret identity as Limp-Asparagus Lad - the world's most
boring mutant superhero - he deliberately used some exclamations before
lunging forward to disarm his assailant. The second robber started firing
at him as well, for all the good it did him. Had the miscreant been
thinking rather than reacting he might have tried to take a hostage from
someone who hadn't already proven resistant to gunfire, but by that time
the owner of the store had had enough time to react and had set his sock
onto them.
    There are few things so distracting as having a hyperactive sock
puppet like Mr Vegge scrabbling in your face and yelling, "You want a
piece of me punk? Huh? Do you?" Especially when it seems to be moving
under its own control. The robber let loose an incoherent yell of fright
as the thing started poking at his eyes and brought his arms up to shield
his face.
    Joshua faked a punch to the face of the first robber, then brought
down the side of his forearm across the man's hand, knocking his gun to
the floor. Then he grappled him into an arm lock. Joshua looked over to
the store owner, about to ask him to call the police... and paused.
    Vincent Nerrow was a mute mutant, and Mr Vegge did all the talking
for him. Unfortunately Mr Vegge was a bit too busy to talk on the phone
at the moment, what with jumping up and down on the cornered second
robber's head and occasionally leaning over to threaten to rake his eyes.
    It seemed that Vincent was ahead of Joshua, however. The middle-aged
grocer picking up a mobile phone and dialled it as he walked over to
where Joshua was. Simultaneously Mr Vegge glanced over to Joshua and
said, "Call the cops, would you?" before returning to business.
    Joshua did so. However, as he logged a call to the police the second
man got a lucky strike in and grabbed Mr Vegge. He shook the puppet
about, possibly in a futile attempt to give Mr Vegge whiplash or
something. Mr Vegge retaliated by biting his assailant's hand - albeit
to little effect. Vincent hurried over with the baseball bat that he had
on hand, but by the then thief had thrown Mr Vegge to the floor and run
for it.
    The police turned up soon afterwards, arrested the remaining thief
and took statements. Sgt Dnati - who was a human but knew her business
and got along well in the Mutant Town district - asked Joshua if he'd
have to go home to replace the bullet hole ridden shirt. He shook his
head. "No, I have a change of clothes at work."
    Dnati nodded. One of the little things that you soon learnt about
Mutant Town is how many people kept a change of clothes handy, just in
case they or somebody else caught a cold and sent slime flying everywhere
whenever they sneezed, or had trouble with their flame powers because
they were premenstrual. "Well, that's about everything," she said as she
put her note pad away. "We'll be in touch if there's anything else."
    "Sure," said Joshua.
    Joshua finished his purchases. Then, just as he was about to leave
Mr Vegge staggered over, holding an orange that was almost as large as
he was. "Here you go Josh. On the house."
    Joshua looked at Vincent, ignoring Mr Vegge altogether because he
knew whose psychokinesis animated the puppet, and said, "You don't have
to do that."
    Vincent waved a hand dismissively. Mr Vegge said, "Eh, a free orange
or two as thanks for helping isn't going to send him broke. Go on, take it."
    Joshua nodded and accepted the fruit with thanks. Now unburdened,
Mr Vegge scampered back to Vincent's shoulder and returned Joshua's wave
of farewell.
    There were only a few local gawkers left to pay any attention to
Joshua as he left the shop. He bit into the fruit and continued his
journey to the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ, intending to catch a cross-city
airship for the trip to downtown.
    Although he maintained a secret identity, Joshua didn't hide
the fact that he was a mutant. He lived in Mutant Town and found it
easy enough to hide the extent of his powers, pretending that his
elastic physical resiliency was a much less potent type of generic
invulnerability. It was his belief that if he was going to keep a public
profile as a net.hero who was incidentally involved in mutant rights,
then he should put his money where his mouth was rather than hiding in
the closet marked 'mutant'.
    As he walked towards the airship stop Joshua exchanged greetings
with his neighbours, like Flinstell the panther man and Grandma Connors
who was 93 years old but looked 29. And because the Looniverse was an
eclectic superhero class setting, there were also strangeling residents
who weren't mutants, like Mr Gorfinkle the golem, or the extraterrestrial
youngsters studying at the local universities.
    But patterns repeat. He arrived in the downtown area and started
walking to the LNH-HQ when suddenly a group of wild-eyed maniacs in
stylised Neolithic clothing started running amok in the street, shooting
people with Buck Rogers style ray guns and turning them into apes.
Panicked apes who ran around screaming and throwing bananas. One of the
troublemakers leapt out and capered in front of Joshua, screaming,
"Revert, heathen! Revert in the name of de-evolution!" and shot him too.

    Nearby, David watched his wife Jessica as she tried out the leather
goods. No, not the hand bags nor the cat suits. They were in a farm
supplies store and Jessica Balent-Divad was inspecting the whips.
    Most men, of course, had a hard time pretending not to be bored
while watching their wives shop. David Divad couldn't honestly say he was
any different, but since Jessica was currently assessing the quality of
the whips for their joint net.hero activities, David was taking a
professional interest in her choices. For David and Jessica were in fact
Swordmaster and the Whip of the Load Island Renegades.
    "Okay, this make looks about right," said Jessica as she carefully
examined the item in her hand. She gave the whip an experimental flick
and nodded when it cracked. "Sounds good."
    "You can judge them by the sound?"
    "Partly," she admitted. "A good tool can be judged by the result it
produces. How it handles is an important factor as well." To demonstrate
Jessica span around and began a swirling dance, cracking the whip about
her in a 4/4 beat.
    She moved with consummate skill, and if there was any difficulty or
even effort to her display then it didn't show on her face. Around the
store customers and staff began to watch, obviously impressed by the
sight. Without pausing the beat Jessica swept up a second whip of the
same brand and began cracking it as well, counter pointing the first in
perfect rhythm. She continued this for more than half a minute, never
faltering, and like a whirling dervish her face was mask of sublime
contentment as she devoted herself to the movement and the beat.
    Finally she brought the display to a close. She looked satisfied.
"They handle well," she smiled.
    He smiled back. "So, how many spares do you want?"
    "Revert!" somebody yelled. There were screams - and then ooks - of
panic, and sounds of general mayhem. "Back to the trees, heathens!
Vooti!" yelled a wild-eyed man who was firing a ray gun. Wherever he
shot that gun, people were being transformed into ape-like primitives.
    "Oh for crying out loud..." went David. As the husband and wife
ducked away almost reflexively to don their costumes and masks, Jessica
said, "You know, I don't know what you're complaining about. You'd get
bored if you didn't have some bad guy to beat up on occasionally."
   "Yeah, well... Don't tell my Dad, but I've picked up some bad habits.
Anyway, it isn't so much the supervillains," Swordmaster said as he
summoned into existence a duelling sword composed of visible light.
"It's that they're always so *stupid*!"
    The Whip conceded that he had a point. If it wasn't some dairy
farmer going mad, dressing as a mouse and using a mind control device
to force everybody to eat more cheese, it was city bureaucrats keeping
kidnapped citizens in cocoons of red tape because *obviously* the
metropolis would work much more efficiently without all those
disorganised people wandering about. Then she reminded him, "Your turn
to run interference."
    Swordmaster nodded and leapt forward, doing an impressive vault and
somersault onto the display dais where the fruitloop was continuing to
rant while firing his ray gun. "Prepare thee the way of the primordial
slime, heathens! Revert! Revert! Ahahahahahaha! Vooti!"
    "Oi! Freak features!" called Swordmaster, then expertly dodged the
rather wild shots of the gunman after he'd attracted his attention.
    "Revert! Back to the trees! Rev... Argh!" he cried as the Whip
neatly relieved him of his weapon with the use of her namesake.
    "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with firearms?"
quipped Swordmaster as he used the flat of his sword against his
opponent's head.
    "Ook! Vooti!"
    "At least get some comprehensible dialogue, will you?" said Whip,
just before a second wild-eyed lunatic with a ray gun popped up and
shot her.
    "Eek! Ook!" went Whip as she was transformed into an ape woman.
    "Whip!" Swordmaster yelled, and threw himself at the second gunman,
who unfortunately was a better shot that the first and zapped Swordmaster
as well.
    Swordmaster's sword dissipated, but that was the extent of the
effect. "Huh?" he went, since that last minute change in the tide of
battle had left him expecting to need to put more effort into shaving.
Still, he kept his focus enough to make sure that the forward momentum
of his leap was transferred into a punch which connected his fist to the
guy's face.
    "Vooti!" complained the feral looking man as he reeled backwards.
    "Mister, I am going to give you such a hit," said Swordmaster, who
grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head into a large storage
    Swordmaster tried to create another weapon, first from electricity
and then from a list of increasingly exotic forms of energy, like gamma
rays and tachyons. Nothing happened. It seemed that his powers weren't
working, and now that he came to think of it he couldn't taste things
at a distance anymore, either.
    He glanced around to try and see where the Whip had gotten off to,
and realised that there was more screaming coming from outside on the
street. He quickly snatched up the ray gun and examined it, but was
disappointed to find no obvious reverse settings on it. "Blast," he
swore, then he picked up a length of wood to use as an interim club and
ran outside to see what was going on, dodging screaming apes to do so.
    The streets of downtown Net.ropolis were in chaos. Apparently the
victims of the transformation had devolved both physically and mentally,
since the gibbering ape men and women were running around and throwing
bananas - although Swordmaster had no idea where they were getting them
from. He easily swatted away several bananas that they threw at him,
since although he may have lost his powers to automatically be the best
swordsman in the vicinity he was still an Olympic level athlete. This
seemed to intimidate the apes somewhat, and gave Swordmaster the opening
to spy among the tumult the hulking form of Limp-Asparagus Lad and
someone else in a costume and top hat that he didn't recognise, who were
both similarly being pelted with soft fruit.
    "Hey! Limpy!" yelled Swordmaster as he pushed his way through the
throng, trying hard not to slip on all the banana mush that coated
the street. Limp-Asparagus Lad heard and after identifying his fellow
net.hero began forcing his way toward him. Swordmaster noticed that
L-ALad was bleeding from two shallow wounds, which under the
circumstances didn't surprise as much as it normally would have.
"Powers not working?" he asked.
    "I am afraid not."
    "You still look like Strong Guy, though," said Swordmaster as he
scared away some of the apes with his banana batting prowess. "I guess
those ray guns don't work on physical mutations, huh?"
    "Uh, no," said the other young man. "Whatever they do, it definitely
affected my physical mutation," he added, holding up one hand, open palm
    "This is Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad, who was also in the area,"
said Limp-Asparagus Lad by way of introduction, then had to duck as a
new barrage of bananas came in. "This is getting silly. I still have my
personal flight.thingee, so let me fly us all up out of the way of this
mayhem so that we can plan how to tackle the source of the problem rather
than continually fight these transformed innocents."
    Neither of the other two net.heroes objected, and Limp-Asparagus Lad
quickly hefted his two compatriots up several stories to a deserted
balcony. "Okay," said Swordmaster to Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad, "You
were saying?"
    "I don't know whether it's significant or not," said the younger
man, "But when they zapped me with their ray guns, I lost both my powers
and my extra thumbs." Again he held up his hand.
    "Extra thumbs?"
    "I had two extra thumbs, opposite the usual two. Total of six digits
to each hand," he explained, wiggling his pinkies. "It wasn't much, but
it did increase my dexterity when I was pulling paper out of hats."
    Swordmaster frowned. "Then why...?"
    "I have a theory about that," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "It only
seems to affect at-birth mutations," he added, obliquely referring to the
fact that his Liefeldian physique was the result of having been hit on
the head by one of RobGoblin's tennis balls [way back in _Limp-Asparagus
Lad_ #17 - Footnote Girl]. "Combine that with the fact that the
perpetrators seem to be obsessed with some type of reverse of evolution,
and I think we might be dealing with some sort of X-Men-style conceit
that super powered mutants are the next stage of human evolution. That
would mean the normal humans are being devolved into some sort of
australopithecine, while we mutants are being devolved into powerless
humans." He paused and then mused, "I wonder what aliens like Kid Not
Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story, Sarcastic Lad, or Vel would devolve
into? Especially Vel, considering that he's a human/dorf hybrid."
    "Let's not get too sidetracked," said Swordmaster as he fiddled
with the ray gun that he had confiscated. He glanced up and threw an
enquiring look at L-ALad. "So, you're thinking... what? That there's
some sort of quantifiable difference between mutant powers that you get
born with and the mutate powers that you get later if you're bitten by
the proverbial radioactive origin?"
    "Not necessarily on a genetic level, but certainly on comics cliche
level," countered Limp-Asparagus Lad. "It would almost have to be an
environmental effect, since normal people have always been agitated by
mutant heroes like the X-Men but are blase about non-mutants like the
Fantastic Four or the Avengers."
    Swordmaster shrugged. "I've never gotten into thinking that way
like some of the more comics based net.heroes do, so I can't really say.
Getting back to the main game, I've been having another look at this
devolutionary gun, and I still can't find any way to reverse it's
    "That might be a security feature for instances like this," pointed
out Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad.
    Swordmaster nodded. "Mind you, that suggests more forethought and
care than I'd be prepared to credit those devolutionary fanatics with,
but we might have only encountered the grunt troops. Anyway, if we can't
reverse the effects ourselves, we'd better forward all this information
on to Doctor Stomper at the Legion headquarters. You may as well include
the idea that it takes away mutant but not mutate powers, even if it's
just a working hypothesis... What in the world!?" he exclaimed as
gigantic footfalls shook the building they were standing on. "Don't
tell me that they brought giant battle mecha."
    "Uh... actually it's a giant green ape man," said Pulls-Paper-Out-
Of-Hats Lad, pointing at the huge figure stomping through the city.
    "Green?" wondered Swordmaster. Then, "Crud. Very Big Boy's hair
turns green when he uses his powers, doesn't it?"
    "Yes," confirmed Limp-Asparagus Lad. "And he gained his powers from
an atomic blast, rather than being born with them."
    "Okay, okay, one point for you," conceded Swordmaster. "But that's
one more team player lost from our side."
    "I'll contact Doctor Stomper and give him the information that we've
unearthed," said Limp-Asparagus Lad, getting out his comm.thingee.
    "And ask him if he needs a sample devolutionary ray gun for the
reverse engineering," added Swordmaster.
    Meanwhile, Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad had been thinking. Now he
said, "Swordmaster, try shooting me with the ray gun a second time."
    "I don't think it will have much effect, because we haven't seen any
of the affected people be changed back with any of those wild shots the
devo fanatics kept firing off. But maybe a second dose of the same ray
reverses the change? We should test it to make sure."
    "It's a demented enough idea that they may have built their weapons
that way," admitted Swordmaster. "But what if now that you're human it
changes you into an australopithecine? You'll loose your mind as well."
    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad looked determined. "I'll take that
risk. At worst, it's another piece of information to forward on to
Doctor Stomper."
    Swordmaster nodded grimly, aimed and fired. Nothing seemed to
happen. Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad wiggled the pinkies on his hands
again, which were still hideously disfigured by normalcy. "No. Sorry.
Still only one set of thumbs."
    "Right then, back to the idea of reverse engineering these things,
I guess," said Swordmaster pragmatically.
    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad nodded. Still, he'd felt a sudden
constriction in his chest in disappointment at their continued loss. On
an intellectual level he knew that this was silly - but still, it felt
like he'd had an unwanted amputation... He deliberately pushed the
feeling away; he had more important things to worry about right now.
    "wReamhack says that Doctor Stomper already has some of the
devolutionary guns," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Apparently Irony Man
dropped some off before heading off for crowd control again. His armour
seems to be protecting him from the rays."
    "Well, that's good news at least," mused Swordmaster. He stepped
over to the balcony rail and gazed out at the mayhem below.  .oO( Hold
on, Jessica. We'll get you back soon, ) he silently promised.
    From here Swordmaster could see abandoned police cars where the
authorities had tried to put a stop to all this and found themselves on
the zappy end of the ray gun. Suddenly he smiled at the thought that it
wouldn't all be bad news: there was a significant number of police
officers who were mutants, and not just working in Mutant Town either.
"Now that Stomper's working on a solution, we should get to work on
keeping the damage under control," he said. "Putting a stop to those
devo fanatics seems the likely place to start to me."
    Limp-Asparagus Lad nodded. "It hardly makes sense to deal with the
rioting while they're going around creating more rioters."
    "That should be easy enough," said Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad.
"They don't have full body power armour like Irony Man, so unless
they've got some other sort of protection, they should be vulnerable to
their own ray guns."
    A beatific smile appeared on Swordmaster's face. "Hats Lad, I like
the way you think."

    It turned out to be both that easy and that difficult.
    The net.heroes turned their attention to launching their counter-
attack against the devolutionaries, who seemed to be roving in small
packs. The three mutants followed the noise of one group into a subway
    Huddled at the far end of the platform were a bunch of citizens.
They were holding each other with an intensity that you normally didn't
see among big city residents who had been strangers only five minutes
ago. There were also five devolutionaries approaching from the other end
at a leisurely pace, going, "Ack! Vooti!" and obviously relishing the
fear they were causing.
    Limp-Asparagus Lad flew in from the rear and let go of Swordmaster,
who crashed feet first into the backs of two devos. They went sprawling,
while Swordmaster rolled and sprang to his feet and started firing at
them. Quite suddenly there were four devolutionaries, and then three. The
others started shooting at Swordmaster - which of course had no effect.
    "By the way Limpy, I've been wondering," said Swordmaster as Limp-
Asparagus Lad and Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad waded in with their fists,
intent on keeping the devolutionaries from firing at the cornered group
of people out of spite. "Is your lack of emotion related to your powers?
I mean, if your drama dampening is on the fritz, are you going to loose
your ability to be dull?"
    "I don't think so," replied Limp-Asparagus Lad. He punched a
devolutionary fanatic, then had to duck as another one decided that if
his ray gun wasn't working on these opponents then physical violence
would be an acceptable substitute. L-ALad used the momentum of the devo's
lunge to throw him over his shoulder and straight into the waiting fist
of Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad. "As far as I've ever been able to tell,
my drama dampening powers only enhance my phlegmatic personality. They
aren't the cause of it. Why do you ask?"
    "Just curious," said Swordmaster as he transformed one of the three
remaining devos, leaving two unchanged for interrogation purposes.
    It had taken less than a minute for that particular pack of
maurauders to be been neutralised. Now Swordmaster took the opportunity
to try to interrogate the final devolutionaries that they had left in
human shape, only to discover that retaining a modern form didn't equate
to having a modern mind.
    "Ack! Heathens! Beware the revenge of the Great Apes! Their wrath
at you for stopping their servants will be fearsome! Smite! Smite!
Vooti!" was the most that he could get out of either of them.
    The net.heroes confiscated the extra ray guns, reassured the
citizens and made their way up to the surface to continue the long, slow
work of rooting out all the devolutionaries. "Where do all these mad
cults come from?" complained Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad. "And where do
they get all their members, anyway? The jobs market can't be that bad!"
    "Dunno," said Swordmaster. "Personally I've always wondered why so
many inventors of super science go out and try to rob banks with their
creations. I mean, even if they succeed, it's hardly as though they'll
recoup their costs. People just do crazy things sometimes. Come on,
let's get back to hunting devos. We've got a target rich environment at
the moment."
    It was about then that they discovered that there were others intent
on taking advantage of the confusion.

    Meanwhile Doctor Stomper was in his laboratory at Legion head-
quarters, frowning at a dismantled ray gun on the work bench. It sat
beside a second ray gun, whose deconstruction had been similarly fruitless.
    As far as he could tell, there was no working mechanism within the
guns that could generate a devolutionary effect. Doctor Stomper was
beginning to worry that perhaps these contraptions had been made by a
superhuman, and functioned only because they were animated by this
hypothetical individual's powers.
    Now, there were brute force ways of dealing with that if it turned
out to be the case. However, both guns had an internal composition that
looked like it was thrown together at random. So before he set about
developing his own form of transformation device, Doctor Stomper decided
to compare what elements they held in common. That might yield a clue,
but it would probably be a lengthy task, so he set to work straight away.

    Benny and Lou were busy manhandling a rather expensive wide screen
TV out of a broken store window when they heard an "Ahem" from behind
them. They looked up, Lou drawing an ordinary handgun as he did so,
only to discover a trio of rather obvious superheroes giving them an
admonishing look. And if the guy in the costume of red and black spandex
and leather pointing a recently scrounged fencing foil at them plus the
man in green who was floating in midair with his arms crossed weren't
enough, the one with the top hat was pointing some sort of ray gun at
them. Benny and Lou suddenly decided that the cutting edge of capitalism
didn't interest them, and made a run for it. Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad
turned them into ape men, on the general principal that, like the devos,
they'd get up to less mischief as australopithecines.
    "Well, that was fun," said Swordmaster, "But we'd better get back
to work..."
    "Heathens!" came a cry of indignation.
    "Speak the name of Rangda, and she'll appear," said Pulls-Paper-Out-
Of-Hats Lad, just before a lightning bolt blasted perilously close to
him, sending all three net.heroes ducking for cover.
    "Godless heathens!" yelled a man in robes who came striding in like
some Old Testament prophet, flanked by small number of similarly robed
followers. "Foul purveyors of science mythology! How dare you force your
lies of evil-lution onto God's children! Sinners! Hell spawn!" he ranted
before blasting off some more lightning bolts from his staff.
    "Time for some irony, I think," said Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad
from behind the car where they were laying low, and took a shot with his
ray gun. Nothing happened.
    The robed man laughed uproariously. "Fools! I am protected from
your so-called science by the hand of God himself. Your evil-lution
cannot touch me!"
    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad looked nonplussed. Swordmaster raised an
eyebrow and asked, "Maybe he's mutant too?" Limp-Asparagus Lad shrugged
and said, "If so, it wouldn't be the first time that the devout have
confused superpowers for divine intervention. Or infernal, for that matter."
    The robed man ordered his followers to spread out. "Secure the area.
Round up those of weak faith who have succumbed to the evil-lution. They
shall be sent to be re-educated to the Truth once we have secured our
    "Right, that does it," said Swordmaster. "Hats Lad, you go right.
I'll take the left. Limpy, you've got better manoeuvrability with that
flight.thingee than the rest of us, so you draw old man Moses' fire."
    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad leapt out and crash tackled one of the
followers, and quickly rendered him unconscious with a nerve pinch from
the pentjak silat that his grandfather had insisted on teaching him.
Swordmaster kept another out of action with the foil that he'd got from
a sports goods store - he'd have preferred a broadsword, but just at the
moment things were too hectic for him to be fussy.
    This left Limp-Asparagus Lad free for an assault against their
leader. He danced in midair, pirouetting to the best of his ability
around the lightning that the ranting creationist launched at him. If
L-ALad had still had his powers to sense drama he might have been temped
to draw the fight out longer, to see if the lightning thrower would
weaken in a prolonged fight. That, however, was not an option he felt he
could afford with his powers suppressed, and when he saw an opening the
Man Of Dull took the opportunity to snatch the staff from his opponent's
    "Filthy evil-lutionist!" he bellowed up at Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Give
that back... hulp!" he gasped as Swordmaster grabbed him by the robes and
hefted him off the ground by his throat.
    Swordmaster leaned in close and growled, "I'm getting tired of being
stuck between two groups of nutbars, trying to keep the peace while they
rampage about as if their own agenda is the only one that matters. You'll
tell us who you are and what in Net.Hell you think you're up to. Now."
    "Impious heathen!" his captive managed to strangle out from
Swordmaster's choking grip. "You will be struck down for laying your
unclean hands on a servant of Christ!"
    Swordmaster's eyes narrowed in recollection of some of the
instructions that he'd heard from this one, and tightened his grip.
"You're the one planning to set up re-education camps, so I've got a
pretty good idea about who's the better Christian out of the two of us.
Now answer the question."
    Another lightning bolt exploded nearby, and the captive took the
instant's worth of surprise this caused to wrench free from Swordmaster's
grasp. "Patriarch Sweeney! Out of the way!" called one of several
newcomers who had arrived to reinforce the creationist team and launched
a second lightning bolt. Others rushed in to confront Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-
Hats Lad and Limp-Asparagus Lad. Patriarch Sweeney drew himself up and
crowed in triumph. "You cannot hope to beat us, for we have God on our
side. We *will* be victorious!"

To be concluded.

Character Credits:
    Doctor Stomper created by created by T.M. Neeck. Public Domain.
    Irony Man created by Doug Moran. Public Domain.
    Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic Mongoose
(Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham (chaos and entropy incarnate)).
    Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad created by Arthur Spitzer and not reserved.
    Swordmaster and the Whip created by Badger (Matt Rossi). Used without
    Very Big Boy created by Saxon Brenton.

All characters copyright 2006 to their creators or owners as applicable.

Back issues of the Legion of Net.Heroes may be found at Russ Alberry's
Eyrie Archives at:     ftp://ftp.eyrie.org/pub/racc/lnh

The LNH stories of Blue Light Productions may also be found at:

Add Notes:
    This story was originally meant to be a one parter, but (like the
Shimbleshanks story arc) it kind of grew out of control. The decision
to split it into two issues actually made it easier for me to meet the
Deadline Doom of getting it posted within Apes Month.
    Mr Vegge derives from an RPG character 'sidekick' called Mr Fribble
who in turn was based on Mr Flibble from the _Red Dwarf_ episode
'Quarantine'. During said RPG game my character Dr Void used his
ectoplasmic projection powers to animate Mr Fribble, and it amused the
gamesmaster to make the sock puppet even more popular than the player
character superheroes, to the point where he had a fan club and a number
of websites devoted to him.

Saxon Brenton     University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au     saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
The Librarian "liked people who loved and respected books. And the best
way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the
shelves where Nature intended them to be." Terry Pratchett, _Men At Arms_

Buy now @ Tradingpost.com.au 

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