[REPOST/LNH] Mutton Mania Parts 8-14
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Fri May 19 18:16:57 PDT 2006
Date: 14 Feb 2000 04:20:05 -0000
From: "Martin Phipps" <phippsmartin at hotmail.com>
Subject: [LNH] Mutton Mania Parts 8-14
Martin Phipps (phippsmartin at hotmail.com)
Tsar Chasm and the assembled Legionaires, Ultimate Ninja, Opinionated Lad,
Curly, Easily Discovered Man and Invisible Inaudible Intangible Lass gasped
in disbelief as face of the man responsible for all this appeared at least
on the monitor screen.
"Deja Dude?! But you're dead!" Ultimate Ninja said, inadvertantly spilling
some of his Paprika-Ade.
"Hey, watch it!" complained Opinionated Lad. "Geez, what a clutz!"
Deja Dude shook his head. "Yes and no: whereas my death did happen and is,
therefore, still perfectly canon and has not been retconned away, the fact
is that I'm still alive in the real world, for those of you who know what
I'm talking about. So the only way I can interact with you is indirectly,
through this monitor screen."
"Are you then telling us that you are the one responsible for all of this?"
Deja Dude sighed. "Again, yes and no. I'm not responsible for this cascade
story: that'd be like saying that Dr. Killfile created the LNH. No, no, no.
But those flames going on outside they were all part of my devious plan.
Yes, yes, yes.
"See, last time, I just took the flames. I thought 'Oh, gee, I
inadvertantly made Badger upset and now Tick and Ergh are flaming me!' but
as time past and I became a 'dead' lurker, I started feeling bitter and
hungered for... REVENGE! I've achieved that now: Tick is, well, ticked and
I'm very happy. But these sheep? Those poor teenaged girls? No, I never
intended things to go this far!"
"Treacherous villain! You will pay for what you've done!" swore Easily
"With what? More flames? A RACCie award for starting a flamewar? Welll...
I didn't start the flamewar but I thought Tick might start one. Hell, I
could have posted 'Happy Chinese New Year' and Tick might have flamed me.
But, no, I knew all along what sort of response Tick might have had in store
for me and I was ready for him! It all went according to plan.
Deja Dude coughed. "Excuse me. But, as I was saying, I'm not responsible
for what happened to those teenaged girls. Really! I like teenaged girls!
Wait! Scratch that! That didn't sound good! What I mean to say is that
I'm here to warn you!"
"About what?" Ultimate Ninja asked.
"About the Sheepshagger! He intends to do things to those girls/sheep that
I could only describe in an Acraphobe post! He must have been the one
responsible for turning them into sheep in the first place!
Bringing them to LNH HQ has bought them time but he's bound to find out
where they are and track them down! You have to hurry!"
"What do you suggest we do?" Ultimate Ninja asked.
"I recommend you contact Occultism Kid! I just checked the roster and it
says he's not reserved. If you can get him to change the sheep back into
teenaged girls before the Sheepshagger gets there then they'd be out of
"Right!" said Opinionated Lad, "Until Master Blaster finds out that the
lobby's been overrun with docile teenaged girls at which point we'd be back
to square one!"
Ultimate Ninja nodded. "Alright then." He tapped his com.link. "Occultism
Kid. Come to the lobby!"
<<Alright! It's been _so_ long!>>
"Right away! It's urgent!" Ultimate Ninja took another sip of his
Paprika-Ade. "Ahhh! No _that's_ a man's sport drink!" PART NINE
By Josh Hartung (j.o.s.hartung at att.net)
"All right," Deja Dude said. "Seeing as you have everything under
Suddenly, a blinding flash was all that could be seen on the monitor. The
assembled Legion shielded their eyes from the screen. Shortly, the glare
subsided. On the screen was a sheep. Dressed as Deja Dude. Standing
behind the sheep was a kilted gentleman holding a strange-looking gun.
"Ef there's one theng ah hate," Sheepshagger said. "Et's an upstaging super
"Baaaa!" Deja Dude replied.
"So ye don't like ticks, do ye?" Sheepshagger said to the frightened ovine.
"Well try THESE on fer size!" With another blast from Sheepshagger's SHAG
(SHeep Actualization Gun), the Deja Dude sheep was infested with hundreds of
the little bloodsucking creatures.
"Baaaaaa!!!" Deja Dude exclaimed. Sheepshagger laughed loudly and heartily
as Deja Dude ran about, attempting to nibble off the ticks through his
fluffy wool coat.
"Och, et's GUID to be evil!" Sheepshagger exclaimed.
"I'd really have to say that this is an improvement upon Deja Dude," Tsar
With that, two figures walked into the lobby. One had longish, greasy black
hair. He wore a "Metallica Speed Of Sound Tour" T-Shirt and Liefield (TM)
brand jeans. The other wore a Mets baseball cap, a white T-shirt and vest
with Southwest American Indian patterns and a pair of regular blue jeans.
He also carried a 16mm camera. The one with the camera seemed decidedly
more upbeat than the one with the Metallica T-shirt.
The gentleman with the camera took note of the situation and said perkily:
"Okay, you guys called for some specialists?"
"Gaffer, I presume?" Fred said.
"That's me." The one in the Metallica T-Shirt croaked. "The #@$&!% who
never gets hangovers there is The Indie."
"Please Mr. Gaffer," Fred said. "This is an LNH cascade. Watch your
"What'd I tell you," Gaffer whispered to The Indie. "Their secretary's a
"I believe the rest of the Legion is waiting for you by the monitor," Fred
said. With that, The Indie and Gaffer waded through the bewildered sheep
and increasingly angry kiwis to the monitor screen.
"All righ', Legion," Sheepshagger said over the monitor screen. "Delivair
th' sheep to me or suffer the consequences!"
"What do you want with the sheep?" Opinionated Lad asked.
"None of yuir BUSINESS!" Sheepshagger barked, flushing red with anger.
"Probably the only way he can get a date." The Indie cracked.
"Yew watch yuir tongue laddie!" Sheepshagger said.
"Ah stuff it, ya haggis eating, kilt-wearing, blue body-painting
"Och! Yew'll get et now!" Sheepshagger said, and began rubbing frantically
on the barrel of his SHAG.
"Ewwww," Gaffer commented.
"Excuse me," Ultimate Ninja said. "But I believe we called you for HELP."
"How you doing, Lenny!" The Indie said.
"Ix-nay on the Enny-lay," Ultimate Ninja whispered to The Indie. "Now,
unless you have something constructive to contribute..."
"I _am_ contributing," The Indie insisted.
"Hey, don't I recognize you from somewhere?" Easily Discovered Man asked.
"No you _don't._ " The Indie replied. "You really _don't._"
[Actually, The Indie is regularly beaten up by Easily Discovered Man, who is
constantly mistaking him for a villain's henchman. The Indie does not want
Easily-Discovered Man to realize he's been beating up a hero, as EDM would
feel obligated to have a team-up with The Indie--an event The Indie would
rather avoid. All this was revealed in "THE INDIE #5, LNH Poetry Slamm Part
Uno"--The Secret Society of the Shameless Plug]
"Look Ninj," The Indie said. "I'm trying to goad Sheepshagger into coming
over here and challenging me to a fight, at which point I can use my
mystical camera to manipulate Sheepshagger into turning the sheep back into
"So wait," Opinionted Lad said. "You're entertainment-related heroes _with_
a mystical talisman?"
"So basically, the services of Occultism Kid are totally unnecessary."
Ultimate Ninja said.
"I should say so," The Indie said.
"So here we've undone everything Martin tried to do in his chapter. Boy,
he's gonna be ticked." Fred said. "Oh wait--he is already. HA!"
"HEY!" Lite said, entering the lobby with his camcorder. "Did someone
besides me just say a pun?!"
"My apologies, Lite." Fred said.
"Thass got et!" Sheepshagger suddenly exclaimed. The Legion could see that
the barrel of Sheepshagger SHAG had become longer and wider, due to
Sheepshagger's frantic rubbing. "Now I've activated th' REMOTE FUNCTION!!!"
And with that, Sheepshagger fired.
Suddenly, all the sheep's wool began growing.
One minute later, the lobby was filled--floor to ceiling--with wool.
"And I'm just gettin' STARTED!" Sheepshagger cackled. "Brreng me th'
SHEEP! Ye have one hour!"
Sheepshagger logged off. The Legion, meanwhile, found themselves
"Okay then," Lite said. "Am I the only one who _really_ itches right now?"
Martin Phipps (phippsmartin at hotmail.com)
Deja Sheep wondered freely around Sheepshagger's warehouse
headquarters. After all, Deja Sheep was no threat to him. Or was he?
.o(Now, let's see... we're the X-Men ever changed to sheep? The Avengers?
Hmm... Thor was changed into a frog once... but he
_remained_ a frog for three issues! That won't do! I've got classes to
teach tomorrow! My only hope to add to this story, advance the plot enough
that it leads to a resolution! Then I should change back. I hope!)
Occultism Kid arrived at the top of the stairs above the lobby to find Fred,
Tsar Chasm, two strangers and five of his teammates (Ultimate Ninja,
Opinionated Lad, Curly, Easily Discovered Man and Easily
Discovered Man Lite) suffocating in a mass of sheep's wool.
"What the--? Well, 'Ninj said this was an emergency! No time to ask
questions!" He began to chant. "Oh hairy hoards of haggis! Have you any
wool? No, Sir! No, Sir! Three... bags... FULL!!!" With that the sheep's
wool seemed to disappear only to reappear in three large bags at the top of
the staircase behind Occultism Kid.
"Baaa!!!" all the sheep said in unison, realising they were all bald and
"What took you so long?" Ultimate Ninja asked.
"You're welcome!" Occultism Kid said, sarcastically. "So what's going on?"
"Deja Dude's turned evil!" Easily Discovered Man said.
"Deja Dude? But he's dead!"
"I guess he got better," Easily Discovered Man Lite quipped.
"He's responsible for all these sheep being in the lobby?!"
"Actually, no, that's the Sheepshagger's doing," Ultimate Ninja told him.
"They're actually teenaged girls who were attending the Boppapalooza concert
who the Sheepshagger transformed into sheep."
"Yeah, he wants to screw them," Opinionated Lad said, bluntly.
"Okaaay... so who are these guys?" Occultism Kid asked, refering to Indie
"I'm Indie. He's Gaffer. Who are you?"
"Occultism Kid," he said proudly. "Master of all things occult and owner of
several items of power!"
"I want to know what these guys are smoking," Gaffer told Indie.
"Look," Indie said, getting annoyed, "your secretary said we were to get
paid $100 an hour PLUS expenses. Do we have a deal or are we just wasting
our time here?"
"Wow! So you guys are mercenaries?!" Lite asked.
"We're artists," Gaffer said, correcting him.
"How then do you plan to stop the Sheepshagger?" Occultism Kid asked.
"With this!" Gaffer said, holding up his 16mm camera.
"A mystical camera! We'll use it to get Sheepshagger to turn the sheep back
"Uh huh. And where is the Sheepshagger?"
"Good point!" Ultimate Ninja said. "He told us to 'bring the sheep' but he
didn't say where!"
"I'm afraid your villains aren't as smart as they used to be," Tsar Chasm
said, "although you never did have that high a standard to begin with."
"Hey," Opinionated Lad opined, "Deep Throat! Put a sock in it!"
"That means we'll have to track him down," Occultism Kid mused. "Which
means you're still going to need me!" he said, excitedly. "I can go onto
the astral plane and hunt him down! Assuming, of course, his powers are
mystical in nature."
"Any suitably advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Easily
Discovered Man Lite said. "Somebody said that."
"True," agreed Occultism Kid, "but it's worth a try. If it doesn't work,
you can go get Doctor Stomper. Or Kid Kirby."
"It didn't look like Sheepshagger was using Kirby tech," Ultimate Ninja
"Fine. So let me concentrate!"
Meanwhile, back in his headquarters, Sheepshagger started to eye Deja Sheep
"Stay back!" Deja Sheep warned. "Remember: I'm Tick infested!"
"So y'are!" Sheepshagger said, not the least bit fazed by the fact that Deja
Sheep could still talk. "Well, maybe I'd better give you a bath then. Or
should I say, give _ewe_ a bath! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
"That doesn't make sense!" Deja Sheep complained. "I'm a guy. Or I was.
That means I'm a _male_ sheep!"
"Do y'think I care? You're a sheep! You're warm'n'soft'n'purtie!"
Deja Sheep cringed and shiverred. "Don't you like girls?"
"What do y'mean b'that? Y'think I'm some kind of purvert, do ya? Of course
I like girls! But what did they ever do for me, eh? Talk behind my back
saying 'Oh! He's a cheap bastard, he is!' Well, bugger that I say! Now,
sheep, they don't expect y'to feed and clothe them! No! They just stay
there eating grass and growing their own wool!
"And they don't put up might of a struggle, either!" Sheepshagger mused.
Deja Sheep started to panic. .o(Come on, guys! Hurry! I promise I'll be
nice from now on! Just get me out of this!)
uplink <uplink989 at hotmail.com>
Back at LNHHQ, Opinionated Lad had had enough.
First there was the wisecracking Tsar Chasm, who kept stealing his lines.
Then there was Ultimate Ninja, obviously too hung over to do anything
effective. THEN you had this Indy character (someone should have told him
Lucas already had the idea) and his buddy Gaffer who kept stealing the show.
And to top it all off, there was this overinflated moron called
Easily-Discovered Man who thought Opinionated Lad was going to be his new
sidekick. Enough was enough. Up until now, he'd kept his Opinions to
It was time to take a hand in this.
Stepping up to Ultimate Ninja and Occultism Kid, he cleared his throat
noisily. When all that earned him was a nasty look from the black-clad
ninja, which he ignored, he said, "You guys are going about this all wrong,
"Shh!" Occultism Kid hushed. "Quit talking and let me concentrate!"
"We're trying to track this pervo down, right?" Opinionated Lad didn't
think much of Occultism Kid's abilities. But then, he didn't think much
about anyone's abilities except his own. "You guys ever consider that,
since he's the stereotypical butt of all Scottish jokes, he might have been
too cheap to consider a well-planned escape route?"
"Quiet! We have a professional here," barked Ultimate Ninja.
THAT did it. Opinionated Lad had had ENOUGH of this. "You!" He looked at
Tsar Chasm. "Your humor sucks, and you keep stealing my lines. I'm the
sarcasm master here. Go away." Suddenly Tsar Chasm disappeared. "You!" He
turned his gaze to Ultimate Ninja. "Leadership of the LNH has turned your
brains to mush. You may as well be one of these sheep here." And Ultimate
Ninja-sheep looked up at Opinionated Lad with big brown eyes under his black
wool coat and bleated pitifully, as if to agree. "And you!" He swiveled to
face Occultism Kid. "I actually do feel that this sort of villain _would_
in fact leave obvious clues with which we can find him!" The force of his
Opinions were unmistakeable.
"Hey!" Easily-Discovered Man Lite called. "I found something!" He held up
a half-penny stretched into fine copper wire, which led off out of the LNH
"Obviously it took a PROFESSIONAL to deduce that." Opinionated Lad folded
his arms across his chest and sat down on the desk where Tsar Chasm had once
"That was incredible," said The Indie. "How'd you do all that?"
The Opinionated One thought for a moment. No, it wasn't up to him to inform
this kid the nature of the Fourth Wall. Instead, he replied, "It's not only
people like Kid Kirby and Continuity Champ who wield cosmic powers." He
shrugged, and took a pop-tart out from his coat. "Oh well, until I find a
good waffle, this will have to do."
"So we're down to the wire," said Easily-Discovered Man Lite, indicating
the copper wire he held up for everyone to see. "Do we follow it or not?"
"Might as well," remarked The Indie. "It's not like we're getting paid for
this or anything."
"Actually," said Gaffer, "We are getting paid for it."
"Um... Ultimate Sheep said a hundred bucks an hour."
"Then again," The Indie stated, "it might be a good thing to let Occultism
Kid try his spell. How long will that take, Occultism Kid?"
"If you guys will let me concentrate, it shouldn't take more than a few
minutes." Occultism Kid was perturbed by Opinionated Lad throwing cosmic
Opinions around, though he was trying not to let it show.
"Sounds great," said The Indie. "We'll just watch from over here."
Opinionated Lad watched all this, brushing crumbs off his coat from the
pop-tart he'd just eaten. "Um, guys, I hate to remind you, but we _have_ a
way to track the bad guy to his hideout, he's got Deja Dude, and Deja Dude's
a sheep right now." He reached into his coat and brought out another
pop-tart, meanwhile forming the Opinion that the Sheepshagger's gun would
never work on him, just as a defensive measure. Never hurt to make sure you
were invulnerable to the opponent's power. "And I'll also remind you that
this guy calls himself the Sheepshagger for a reason." He muched the
pop-tart, cherry filling, excellent. "I think we should follow the wire,"
he stated his Opinion for good measure.
"Yes! We shall track the evil-doer to his lair!" Apparently
Easily-Discovered Man was tired of sitting around as well. "There shall we
do battle upon the foul miscreant, free our good friend and companion Deja
Dude from durance vile, and venge ourselves upon the personage of our foe!
Come,. good sidekick, we shall away on the instant!"
"What do we do about Ultimate Sheep here?" Gaffer looked pained. "After
all, he's the guy who signs the checks."
"You're right," said Opinionated Lad. He glanced at Ultimate Ninja, now
looking bewilderedly about him. "Ninjas don't wear wool anyways."
Ultimate Ninja could barely think straight. Indeed, he could barely stand.
His mind wondered back to his youth, to the days of his Ninja training in
"You have finished your training, Lenny."
"Does that mean that I'm a ninja, Sensei."
"Yes. But to be the _Ultimate_ Ninja you must follow my advice intil the
day you die."
"OK. What advice is that?"
"First, you must drink no more tea. Too much caffeine. Bad for the
"Second, you must deny yourself the pleasures of the flesh."
"Well... OK. Is that it?"
"Third, you must never drink any alcohol."
"No even saki. I mean, all your other students get to drink saki."
"Well... I don't know..."
Ultimate Ninja's sensei shook his head. "I foresee a great future for you,
Lenny. You will be known as the Ultimate Ninja! You will lead a great
army! A legion of heroes! But you must follow my advice for, if you do
not, you will lose your powers as the Ultimate Ninja and just be yet another
hapless ninja, the kind that wouldn't last three seconds against a real hero
"Say that again? A legion of heroes?"
"You will be honoured! Respected! Looked up to!"
"Hey, 'Ninj! Are you coming or are we going to have to leave you behind?"
Ultimate Ninja stood up staight and looked Opinionated Lad directly in the
eye. "Indeed! I've decided! We're going to follow the copper wire to
"Hear that guys?" Opinionated Lad asked. "_He_'s decided. Wow, 'Ninj, what
would we ever do without you?"
Ultimate Ninja cringed. He must not let them know about his weakness. He
recalled the words of Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general,
specifically the passage that (when translated) read "Even when surrounded
by the enemy and facing almost certain defeat, you must tell your officers
that victory is at hand, for only then will you actually be able to achieve
By the same token, then, he wouldn't tell his teammates that the copper
trail is almost certainly a trap. Of course, Sheepshagger wanted them to
find the copper! That's the only reason he would have deliberately left a
cotton trail. But did the Sheepshagger really expect them to hand over the
Ultimate Ninja's mind just wasn't able to properly focus on the problem at
hand. Nevertheless, he had to remain confident in order to insprire his
troops. It was the only way.
Martin (actually did take that from Sun Tzu) Phipps
by Josh Hartung (j.o.s.hartung at att.net)
Working with the League of Net.Heroes had been one the most disorienting
experiences of The Indie's life. (Well, aside from that cognac bender
during his junior year in college where he referred to himself in the royal
"we" for five months.) In fact, ever since Occultism Kid took care of the
overgrown wool, his sense of identity had become.... murky. Ill-defined.
Oddly enough, Gaffer felt the same way.
"Dude," Gaffer said to The Indie. "What am I doing with your camera? And
why the hell did I call myself an artist? I'm not an artist, I'm an
"Just think '$100 an hour' and go with the flow," The Indie replied, taking
his camera back.
The Indie and Gaffer followed the rest of the team out of the headquarters
and towards downtown Net.ropolis, where the copper wire led.
"Okay, maybe I'm out of line here," Lite said. "But doesn't this all look a
hell of a lot like a trap?"
"Of course it does, my faithful sidekick!" Easily-Discovered Man said. "But
in order to bring down this vile perverter of all things ovine, we must
throw ourselves, boldly and foolishly, into the brobdignagian machinations
of our Saxon foe!"
"I'd hardly call the desire to molest sheep a 'brobdignagian machination,'"
Opinionated Lad commented.
"Well, actually..." The Indie said, attempting to interject.
"Nonetheless!" Easily-Discovered Man interrupted. "Such is our task!"
"You know, I think..." The Indie said, trying to interject again.
"Well, how much sense does that make?" Opinionated Lad interrupted. "If we
_know_ we're walking into a trap, then why are we doing it?"
"Actually, I..." The Indie began.
"Because we are heroes, o biased battler of the baneful!" Easily-Discovered
Man interrupted. "Whilst we are well aware of our impending peril--nay,
e'en our doom--we must still sally forth to save the life of Deja Dude!"
"You say that as if it's a good reason," Opinionated Lad cracked.
"Oh hell with it," The Indie said to himself. He clicked open the shutter
to his camera, aimed it at the assembled Legionnaires and called "ACTION!"
With that, the Legionnaries began to flickered, blurred, flattened and
shrink into the camera.
"I don't mean to tell you how to do your job," Gaffer said. "But is that a
good way to get on with your teammates?"
"By all indications, the people sucked into the camera never know it
happened," The Indie replied, checking his pockets. Unfortunately, since he
had rushed over to LNH Headquarters that morning he'd forgotten his
"You got a piece of paper?" The Indie asked Gaffer.
"You see, you need to get yourself a pair of Liefield's (TM)" Gaffer said.
"They've got pockets all over them. And it's AMAZING how much each pocket
Gaffer pulled a tiny notebook out of the fifth left thigh pocket and handed
it to The Indie. The Indie took the notebook and wrote,
"Opinionated Lad, Easily-Discovered Man, Easily-Discovered Man Lite,
Ultimate Ninja and Occultism Kid all listened with rapt attention to The
Indie for a couple minutes." He then tore the page out of the notebook and
slipped it into the camera's Kirbyslot. With that, the camera whirred to
life and the assembled heroes reappeared, looking at The Indie with rapt
"You had something to say, Indie?" Opinionated Lad asked.
"Okay, first off it's 'THE Indie.' 'Indie' is a character from a Spielberg
film. 'The Indie' is short for 'The Independent Filmmaker.' Thus the
camera. Are we clear?"
The Legionnaires nodded affirmatively.
"Next, Sheepshagger doesn't just want to have his _way_ with sheep. He
wants to amass an unholy army of sheep with which to take over the world and
rule it with an iron fist."
"How do you know that?" Occultism Kid asked.
"I read his press release." The Indie explained.
The Legionnaires looked at him blankly.
"You know--in the trade papers? _Valor?_ _Cape & Tights Weekly?_ _Costumed
The Legionnaires still looked at him blankly.
"Oh come on people, you work in the industry!" The Indie exclaimed. "At
least get a subscription for the office!"
The assembled Legionnaires looked down at their feet and mumbled excuses.
"At any rate," Ultimate Ninja said. "You were saying about Sheepshagger?"
"Oh, right. When Sheepshagger turned to evil, his publicist made a press
release, hoping to put a positive spin on it. Of course there's only so
much a publicist can do when your name's Sheepshagger. Additionally,
Sheepshagger's gun is called a SHAG. It can turn people with little sense
of individuality into sheep. Thus the teeny-boppers."
"That was in the press release?" Ultimate Ninja asked.
"No, there was an ad for the SHAG in last month's _KABOOMS, Entertainment
Easily-Discovered Man Lite snickered.
"Hey! I just get it for the articles!" The Indie insisted.
"Yeah, and I only watch _VIP_ for the fight scenes," Opinionated Lad
whispered to Lite.
"I heard that!" The Indie barked.
"Aw, relax Indie--" Opinionated Lad started.
"Whatever. Nice to know you're not completely useless." Opinionated Lad
said. He then turned and pointed to Gaffer, who was sitting on the curb and
fiddling with a length of the copper wire. "But what does he do?"
"All my powers are tied into being a Gaffer--a Chief Lighting Technician,"
Gaffer said. "I can excrete Gaffer's Tape from my hands, I can coil cable
at superhuman speed, I can sense free coffee in a five-block radius, I can
make non-working replicas of anything...." With that, Gaffer held up an
incredible facsmilie of a SHAG, made out of copper wire, cigarette butts and
"That's my good-enough-for-government-work power," he added. "Oh yeah, and
I can pirate cable, overload fuseboxes, tie Gordian Knots...."
"I think they get the idea, Gaffer." The Indie interrupted. "What Gaffer
_didn't_ mention is that none of his powers work for ten minutes out of
every hour. It's a clause with his union."
"Well it's good we got that out of the way," Ultimate Ninja said. "Now the
other writers should have less trouble portraying you two."
"Hanh?" Gaffer and The Indie said.
"Never mind," Opinionated Lad sighed. "Let's go downtown."
"Wait, we're still gonna waltz right into a trap?" The Indie asked.
"It's something to do," Lite said.
"Gaffer," The Indie said. "Next time the LNH calls for work, hang up on
"Way ahead of you," Gaffer said.
"So you're a film guy?" Lite asked The Indie. "You know, I have a friend
who works on those Taco Bell commercials, I could get you a job..."
The Indie growled at Gaffer and moved off towards the rest of the Legion.
"What'd I say?" Lite asked.
Rob Rogers <rogersr at shore.net>
Silence. Miles upon miles in every direction of empty, soundless,
grey. The absence of any sensory stimulus whatsoever made it impossible for
the young man in blue jeans, a T-shirt and a backwards baseball cap even to
tell whether he was falling, flying, or simply hurtling through an endless
void. No sound passed through his vocal chords; he opened and closed his
eyes, and felt it hardly made a difference in either case. He might have
believed himself dead, had it not been for the pounding headache in his
temples and the memory -- fading faster with every moment -- that he was
here, wherever here was, because someone had wished him away.
Minutes passed, or perhaps hours, or perhaps days. There was no way to
tell. He pinched himself several times, rubbed his arms up and down in
order to feel something, and in doing so dislodged a small package in his
right pocket. He grabbed at it, his eyes hungry for anything new or
different, and flipped it open. Inside a dull plastic case a flat, shining
crystal screen blinked glowing green letters back at him.
"DO NOT BE ALARMED," the screen read. "THE MEMORY LOSS AND SENSE OF
DISORIENTATION YOU FEEL ARE CONDITIONS NATURAL TO YOUR
LOCATION. YOU ARE IN LIMBO, A WORLD BETWEEN WORLDS FOR
UNUSED LOONIVERSAL CHARACTERS. YOU HAVE ENTERED THIS WORLD BY
CHOICE AND WITH A PURPOSE, THOUGH YOU DO NOT REMEMBER MAKING
THIS CHOICE. YOU HAVE COME HERE IN MY PLACE. YOUR NAME IS
* * *
"Is it finished?" Captain Cleanup asked. "And do you really need so many
tools and so much...clutter...for such a simple project?"
"Never question the way I work," Gaffer replied. "And yeah, it's finished,
but I don't think we're going to get anything out of it."
"Hey, guys," Onion Lad said. "What's taking everybody so long? Everybody
else is ready to take on the Sheepshagger. Lite's even worked out a
merchandising deal with Mr. Paprika."
"I thought it might be useful to know what we're getting into," Captain
Cleanup said. "Gaffer here has built a device that uses the long strip of
copper wire coming from Sheepshagger's headquarters as an information
conduit. He's trying to detect what, if anything, is going on at the other
"And I'm not finding much," Gaffer admitted, wiping beads of greasy sweat
from his brow and rising up from his makeshift
workbench. "The exposed wire is picking up too much interference. I'm not
sure what more you expect to find, anyway: we already know what's on the
other end. A big, fat guy who's out for sheep and world domination. In
"There may be more to it than that," said Occultism Kid, his face lined with
concern as he approached the three heroes.
"I thought I'd try transmuting a few of the sheep back to normal before we
took on the Sheepshagger, to see how difficult it
would be in case he turned his SHAG weapon on us."
"Really?" Onion Lad said. "You mean, there's now naked, teenage girls
running around Legion headquarters? Do you know what this means?"
"That rec.arts.comics.creative has now become like
every other site on the Internet?" Captain Cleanup said.
Ignoring Gaffer's puzzled expression, he continued, "So
"Absolutely nothing," Occultism Kid said. "I thought at first I'd botched
the spell, so I ran a few tests. Turns
out these sheep were never teenaged girls in the first place."
"Please don't tell me that," Onion Lad said. "I'd been building up a fairly
meaningful relationship with one of
them. Well, all right, it was a fairly shallow relationship,
but it had potential. Well, to be honest about it..."
"I don't think Sheepshagger's SHAG weapon does anything
except increase the growth rate of sheep's wool," Occultism Kid said. "I
think someone wanted him -- and us -- to
think it was much more effective than it really was."
"But the ad," Gaffer said. "And...Deja Sheep?"
"You know better than to believe an ad in the trades," Occultism Kid said.
"And you apparently aren't familiar with Deja Dude's powers. If he believed
Sheepshagger could turn
him into a sheep...or, more precisely, if he believed someone
in a comic book he'd once read had the power to turn a super-
hero like himself into an animal...his own powers might be
influenced enough by the power of suggestion to effect the
"Then why the sheep?" Captain Cleanup asked.
"I'm not sure," Occultism Kid said. "I do know that if someone far removed
from ourselves -- in another time,
another dimension, or another plane of existence --
wanted, for whatever reason, to kidnap a large number of
adolescent girls, it would have been impossible for him
to simply make them disappear without causing a
significant disruption in the fabric of reality. Nature
-- even supernature -- abhors a vaccum. However, if
someone were to simultaneously snatch the girls and
replace them with a herd of sheep -- like Indiana Jones
putting the bag of sand in the idol's place..."
"And it's probably no accident this entity
chose sheep," Captain Cleanup said. "He must have
known of the Sheepshagger's plan to conquer the
world with sheep, and knew that throwing a flock
this size into our headquarters would cause enough confusion
to cover his tracks...not to mention ruin my freshly-
"So the question is," Occultism Kid said, "who would want an enormous crowd
of dazed adolescent girls?"
"Who wouldn't?" Onion Lad and Gaffer replied in
unison, just as Steak & Potatoes Man arrived with
Easily-Discovered Man, Curly, Fred and Ultimate Sheep
"Behold, my stalwart companions, the hot breath of
time's taxed stallion does dampen our collars with haste!"
Easily-Discovered Man said. "We must proceed forthwith to
the lair of yon unnatural Scot, else our world be
"Change of plans," Gaffer said. "We've had a
retcon while you guys were in the can."
"Where's The Indie and Easily-Discovered Man Lite?"
Captain Cleanup asked.
"Opinionated Lad sent them to get some weapons out of
the hangar bay," Steak & Potatoes Man replied. "It was his Opinion we might
need them in the battle ahead. You know,
I thought I heard some weird noises coming from that
direction a few minutes ago -- almost like a bunch of angry
birds -- but everything's quieted down, now."
* * *
"I SHOULD HAVE SUSPECTED SOMETHING FROM THE START, BUT
YEARS WORKING SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH THE LEGION OF NET.HEROES,
RATHER THAN AGAINST THEM, DULLED MY SENSES SOMEWHAT," Substitute Lad read.
"THE APPEARANCE OF THE SHEEP, TOGETHER WITH THE FLAME WAR RAGING THROUGH THE
STREETS OF NET.ROPOLIS WAS ENOUGH TO
DRAW ME TO THEIR HEADQUARTERS, BUT NOTHING CAME TOGETHER UNTIL
I WITNESSED THE CHANGE IN DEJA DUDE. I KNEW THEN THAT
THE MOST POWERFUL BEINGS IN OUR UNIVERSE WERE COMING UNDER THE
CONTROL OF SOME UNKNOWN FORCE.
"I SUSPECTED THE ENTITY WOULD STRIKE EITHER ULTIMATE
NINJA OR OPINIONATED LAD NEXT, AND THEN ELIMINATE ME AS A
POTENTIAL THREAT," the blinking screen continued. "IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT I
REMAINED BOTH ACTIVE AND UNDETECTED BY
BOTH MY ENEMY AND MY ALLIES. WHILE THE HEROES LISTENED
TO THE SHEEPSHAGGER'S TAUNTS, I CONTACTED YOU. YOUR
ABILITIES TO TEMPORARILY DUPLICATE THE POWERS OF ANY OTHER
BEING ALLOWED YOU TO CONVINCE OPINIONATED LAD YOU WERE ME,
LEAVING ME FREE TO CONTINUE MY INVESTIGATION. THEY WILL
ALSO ALLOW YOU TO LEAVE LIMBO -- ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED
ONE FINAL ERRAND FOR ME."
Substitute Lad finished reading, then closed the
plastic screen and folded the device into his pocket.
Closing his eyes, he let his consciousness fade and his
subconscious call into being the powers he himself barely
understood. If what Tsar Chasm believed were true, he'd need
everything in his arsenal to face the danger that lay ahead.
NEXT TIME: Mutton Mania #15-21
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