REPOST: LNH: Saviors of the NET #3: Getting to Know You

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Fri Mar 31 16:04:29 PST 2006

Author:    Steven Howard
Email:     blore at
Date:      1998/10/07
Forums:    rec.arts.comics.creative

LNH:  Saviors of the Net, Part 3:  "Getting to Know You"

Ultimate Ninja entered his office and shut the door to the monitor room,
shutting out the sounds of bickering Legionnaires. [See SotN #2 -- Ed.]

Deductive Logic Man pushed his bowler back on his head and regarded the LNH
leader.  "Anything?" he asked, referring to the LNH remote monitoring of the
Saviors of the Net.

"Not yet," the ninja admitted.  "They almost certainly know we're watching
them. But it is possible that one of them will make a mistake and give us a
clue to what they're really up to."

The Legion's resident detective nodded as he thumbed a remote control,
switching off the video playback of the Saviors' appearance on the
McLaughlin Man show. [In SotN #1 -- Ed.]

"Thanks for coming in, by the way,"  Ultimate Ninja said.  "What did you

"Not much beyond the obvious."  The bowler slid forward on the detective's
forehead as he ticked off points on his fingers. "The whole thing was
staged, of course.  Jesse Cashew isn't the Ultimate Savior's real name.  At
least one, but probably more, of the other members have reason to fear their
faces being shown or their true names revealed.  Distributing those mugs and
T-shirts is a key part of their plan, although not to raise funds. They're
desperately, almost comically, afraid of the LNH -- and of you in
particular.  Oh, and McLaughlin Man dyes his hair."

Ultimate Ninja grunted softly.  "I suppose this is where I'm supposed to do
the Dr. Watson bit and ask you to explain your amazing deductions."

"If you don't, I will," Librarian Lady said, coming into the room with a
stack of books, which she plunked down on an end table. "There's no Cashew
family listed in any Grassroots Metropolitan Area phone book, newspaper,
birth certificate, marriage license, death certificate, or deed for the last
fifty years.  How did you know?"

* * * * * *

Meanwhile, in a downtown Net.ropolis alley, a pair of leather-jacketed teens
advanced menacingly toward a younger boy.  "Hey, punk give us your lunch
money," one of them sneered.  _Lunch money?_ Mainstream Man, perched on a
fire escape three stories above them, thought.  _Who is this guy, Eddie
Haskell?_  He vaulted over the railing with a sigh, kicking the switchblade
out of the first punk's hand on the way down.  As he spun rapidly to duck
the second thug's blow, a strange voice echoed forth from an even stranger
figure at the mouth of the alley.

"Violence is not the answer, Cousin Human," the voice said.  Mainstream Man
recognized the large hirsute figure in a trench coat as Gothic Gorilla, one
of the Saviors of the Net.  "If these two want lunch money, then lunch money
they shall have."  With that, the Simian Sorcerer rubbed a silver pin on his
lapel and chanted sonorously,
"Ipso facto,
Quid pro quo,
Pommes frites,
Dine In,
or To Go?"

Strange mists, smelly oddly of fried food, swirled forth from the ape's
outstretched palm, quickly engulfing the two hoods.  When the mists cleared
a second later, the pair were wearing the unmistakable paper hat,
mustard-yellow vest and clip-on bow tie uniform of a counter worker at Happy
Friendly Burger.  "Don't you boys have a milkshake machine to clean?" Gothic
Gorilla asked innocently, as the two fled in horror down the street.  He
ambled off, chuckling softly to himself, leaving Mainstream Man to stand in
the alley, lost in thought.  One of the pins on the mystical ape's trench
coat was oddly familiar:  an upside-down ankh with a smiley face in the
loop.  He couldn't for the life of him remember where he'd seen it before.

* * * * * *

Deductive Logic Man held up a finger and rewound the tape to the spot where
the Ultimate Savior revealed his name.  "Well to start off, I'd like to give
my real name to those out there that might not know me.  I'm Jesse Cashew
and I'm from the heartland of Loonited States, Grassroots Ame.RACC.a."
[That's in SotN #1, again -- Ed.]

"Listen to how he swallows the long 'u' sound in 'Cashew' and 'Grassroots.'
That's not a Midwestern accent.  Compare how quickly he delivered that whole
line with the rest of his performance."

"'Performance.'  Earlier you mentioned that the whole event was staged.  How
did you know that?" Librarian Lady asked.

"Look at this."  He fast forwarded to the appearance of the Spham King and
his minions.  After the Spham King announced his presence, the camera swung
rapidly around to find him.  "This, you'd expect.  The cameraman supposedly
didn't know this was going to happen, so it would take a second for him to
find the villains and focus on their leader.  But look at this scene from
the fight."  He spun the tape further on, to the point where Mood Arrow
fired a flurry of arrows at the seven intruders.  The camera panned from
right to left, clearly showing each villain take a guilt arrow to the
stomach.  "The timing is perfect.  We can accept that the cameraman
correctly surmised that the archer would fire at them all in a row, since
that's the most natural way to shoot a group of targets.  But notice that he
fired at the Human Warehouse first and Triple X Girl last.  The Human
Warehouse was on Mood Arrow's right, which is an unnatural place to start
for a right-handed shooter.  We can see here . . . " he wound the tape back
a few frames and paused it.  "that Mood Arrow is in fact left-handed.  But
supposedly no one has seen the Saviors of the Net before today.  Also, here
. . . " he spun the tape forward again, to right before the spot where
Captain Killfile "removed" their helpless foes.  "Notice that the camera
actually cut to Captain Killfile BEFORE the Ultimate Savior addressed her."

* * * * * *

California Kid glided silently through the night, three feet above the
ground on his rocket surfboard.  This whole Saviors of the Net trip was
harshing his mellow big time.  He needed to feel the wind in his face; it
helped him get centered.  He wasn't on patrol, per se, but as he often said,
"The superhero gig is 24/7."  So when he heard the woman scream, he made a
banking U-turn and boarded back toward C|Net.ral Park.

"There's the freaked-out honey," he muttered, "and what made her freak,
too."  He was momentarily distracted by the girl's beauty ("She's a hottie
too," he whispered under his breath) but was more concerned with the strange
frog-like men (or were they giant manlike frogs?) hopping out of an open

"Then, while I'm trying to scope these froggy dudes out, figure what their
basic damage is," he later told his fellow Legionnaires, "this extra-trippy
dude all made out of glass and full of crazy-looking fish pops up.  Now, I
figure this is the Human Aquarium, one of those bogus Savior dudes, so I
decide to chill and see what the score is.

"So next the Fishy One pulls out this basketball, made of the same stuff as
the rest of him, and tosses it at the froggy types like Shaq about to miss
another free throw.  But then the basketball starts to grow, like into a
medicine ball, and then into that super-big ball from elementary school,
where half the class would get on each side and you'd try to run each other
over with it or something.  Just before the giant ball lands on the extra
slimies, Fish tank guy says, 'Back to Innsmouth with you lot!" and then --
schloop! -- it swallows them up and disappears".

"Yo, Aquarium Dude!" he called out.  "Nice save!"

"Thank you, friend," the stranger replied politely.  "Would you like to buy
a T-shirt?"

* * * * * *

"Not bad," the Ultimate Ninja admitted, which was great praise indeed from
the normally taciturn martial artist.  "What about the rest of it?  How
they're afraid of me and don't want their faces shown?"

"Their leader patterned his name on yours and spoke nostalgically of the
time when Rebel Yell led the Legion.  Yet he flinches visibly when anyone
says the word 'Ultimate.'  Even McLaughlin Man picked up on that and started
calling him 'US' as his team mates do.  That they don't want their faces
shown is evidenced by the fact that only the Ultimate Savior, Captain
Killfile and Dr. Net.ropolis appeared in good focus and for more than a
brief glimpse after they all unmasked.  Again, we already know that the
event was staged, so the selection of which 'heroes' to feature with
close-ups must have been deliberate as well.  Also, the Sphammers
conveniently attacked before anyone else was asked his or her real name.

"As for the merchandising," he said, turning off the VCR again, "it's
obvious that they're not selling those mugs and T-shirts to raise money.
They'd have to sell . . . sixteen mugs and sixteen T-shirts for every man,
woman and child in the country to make what Vivian Net.ropolis makes from
patent royalties in a single week."

"Are we sure it's the real Dr. Net.ropolis?" Librarian Lady asked, fetching
a copy of WHO'S WHO IN PSEUDOSCIENCE from the stack of books she'd brought
in earlier.

"Good point," Deductive Logic Man said.  "I assume, from the amount of care
they've taken with this entire project, that they wouldn't risk
impersonating a relatively well-known scientist, but that is just an

"Anything else?"  Ultimate Ninja asked.  "Any other observations, or
thoughts on what they'll do next?"

"If, as I think likely, their aim is to goad the LNH into an all-out
assault, they'll probably try a three-pronged approach. First, they'll
continue the media campaign, probably with 'surprise' attacks from
supervillains on a regular basis.  Second, they'll try to recruit former or
even current Legionnaires who'll agree to unmask on TV and renounce the
Legion.  Third, they'll try to upstage us in fighting crime: swoop in at the
last minute, grab all the glory, really rub the LNH's nose in the fact that
they're taking over our turf."

"What would you suggest we do about it?"

"Again, three things.  First, you issue a standing order that nobody in the
LNH is to respond in any way to insults, innuendoes or anything short of an
unprovoked physical attack from any of the Saviors.  Second, we start our
own media campaign to point up that the Saviors are not what they seem.
Although this may not be very successful if they've actually brainwashed or
hypnotized large numbers of citizens.  They did seem to have that effect on
McLaughlin Man's audience, but we can draw no conclusions from that.  The
audience may have been in on the gag.  Even if they weren't, it seems that
the typical audience member for his show is somewhat gullible."

"That's not important right now.  We can try the media angle and see what
happens.  What's the third thing?"

"We give them one of the things they want.  An LNH member quits and joins up
with them."

"As a double agent, you mean?" Librarian Lady asked.

"Exactly.  This will be very tricky, as they'll be on their guard against
such a trick.  We'll need somebody who can convincingly quit the Legion and
stand up to whatever tests the Saviors can muster."

"And I know just the person for the --" Ultimate Ninja began, before he was
interrupted by Bad-Timing Boy bursting in from the monitor room.

"Oh jeez, sir, I'm real sorry to interrupt you and everything but you gotta
see this!"

"What is it?"  The LNH leader was already on his way out the door.

"It's Self-Righteous Preacher, sir.  He's . . . well, look!" Bad-Timing Boy
pointed to the monitor where he and Contraption Man had been watching the
Ultimate Savior.

On the screen, Self-Righteous Preacher led a small but fanatical-looking
band of protesters toward the bulwark of the Saviors' alt.comics.lnh

"Blasphemy!" he screamed, his face red and choking with rage.  "This
charlatan calls himself the Ultimate Savior!  There is no need for a
so-called Ultimate Savior!  There is only one Savior and his name is Jesus

Several of his followers shouted "Amen!" and "Tell it, brother!" at this

Self-Righteous Preacher continued, "We will not stand for this mockery of
our Lord and our true Savior for one more minute!  I demand that this Jesse
Cashew show himself and explain his hateful actions!"

In the monitor room, Contraption Man pointed at the image of the
fundamentalist LNHer's forehead.  "Oh, man.  Is that red dot what I think it

"It's a laser sight," Ultimate Ninja agreed.  "But where's it coming from?"

"It's Captain Killfile," said Renegade Programmer, who'd been monitoring
her.  "And she's got both gauntlets aimed straight at Self-Righteous

[To be continued in Saviors of the Net #4.]
[Written by somebody else.]
[I hope.]

* * * * * *

Copyright 1998 by Steven Howard

The Saviors of the Net, Ultimate Savior, Gothic Gorilla, Captain
Killfile, Dr. Net.ropolis, the Human Aquarium, Mood Arrow, the
Spham King, the Seven Deadly Sphammers, Triple X Girl, and the
Human Warehouse, along with the crossover concept, created by
Arthur Spitzer.

Ultimate Ninja, Deductive Logic Man, Self-Righteous Preacher,
Renegade Programmer and McLaughlin Man created by Ray Bingham.

Librarian Lady created by Saxon Brenton.

Bad-Timing Boy, California Kid, Contraption Man and Mainstream
Man created by person or persons unknown.

The Deep Ones and Innsmouth created by H.P. Lovecraft.

NEXT TIME:  Saviors of the NET # Pi by Tom Russell

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