LNH: LNH Comics Presents #41: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig Ep.6

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 6 22:30:35 PDT 2007

[So, after 24 hours this has turned up on alt.comics.lnh, but not on
rec.arts.comics.creative, which is realy funky considering I emailed it
as a crosspost.  Anyway, 2nd posting.]

LNH Comics Presents #41
Infinite Leadership Cry.sig: Episode 6

"Limp-Asparagus Lad"
by Saxon Brenton

6th April 2007

     Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad flexed his hand, limbering up all six
digits (four fingers and two thumbs), then reached into his hat and
pulled out a piece of paper. On it was written the name of the net.hero
who would be the leader of the Legion of Net.Heroes for today.
     The room was hushed. Normally being chosen to be the LNH leader was
considered a great honour and responsibility (or a vast and embarrassing
waste of time, depending) but just at the moment there was the small
added complication that whoever was leading the sprawling superhero team
would vanish without trace at midnight. If this kept up they would
eventually run out of members to advance to the leadership position.
     "Limp-Asparagus Lad," Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad announced.
     "Place holder candidate," said Sarcastic Lad matter-of-factly.
     "Yes," agreed Limp-Asparagus Lad simply. Everyone just looked at
him. After a few seconds Sarcastic Lad weakened demanded, "And just what
is that supposed mean?"
     "At this point all of the Legion's resources that could plausibly
be used to unravel this problem are being used for just that purpose,"
Limp-Asparagus Lad answered. "That includes Doctor Stomper's experiments,
Occultism Kid's divinations, All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny
Woman's mystic trances, and the ongoing research to find comparable
past incidents by Bibliography Boy, Librarian Lady, Research Lass,
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, Librarian Lad, wReamhack and Renegade
     "Yes, yes, yes! We know all that!" snapped Sarcastic Lad.
     "I am giving a plot summary," Limp-Asparagus Lad said to the
aggravated extraterrestrial LNHer calmly. "In any case, as far as we can
tell all that can be done is being done. Under the circumstances I think
the best thing that I can do is ensure that they are not interrupted in
their work. Having other active members assigned to field teams to handle
emergencies is part of that, but it occurs to me that I should also be
making sure that the electricity isn't cut off." He looked at them.
"With the previous team leaders all having gone missing, has anybody
been making sure that the bills are being paid?"
     The other Legionnaires all looked flummoxed.
     The Man of Dull nodded. "If anyone has any further ideas about how
to solve our current leadership crisis, please tell me and I will make
arrangements for whatever needs to be done to test it. In the meantime,
I will be talking with Ultimate Ninja's secretaries John and Sally about
what routine paperwork needs to be processed."


     But alas! Such was not to be. The Legion was an emergency services
organisation, and unexpected new crises were forever arising to disturb
the carefully cultivated harmony that was desired.
     Case in point:
     "Ho! Plebian! Summon your master Ultimate Ninja, for I, Doctor
Glockenspiel, demand to do battle with him!"
     Fred the receptionist looked up from his copy of _Dfandom Magazine_
and the article he'd been reading about the return of Tony Pi to the
writing chores of _Conclave of Super Villains_. There was a gaudily
dressed bad guy standing there in the LNH-HQ's foyer, posing in an arms
akimbo stance.
     "Uhm, okay," said Fred, and reached for the internal phone to call
Ultimate Ninja's office. Then he paused and said, "Hold up a minute,"
and picked up a clipboard which contained a printout of today's circulars
and procedural updates.
     "What are you doing!? If you are trying some sort of trick, I will
punish you!"
     "No, no. Nothing like that," said Fred. "We've been having a rapid
turnover of leaders during the past week, and I'm just checking who's in
charge for today. Okay, here we go. It's Limp-Asparagus Lad."
     Fred looked up at the musically themed miscreant. "Er... Limp-
Asparagus Lad."
     "Never heard of him."
     "The Man of Dull? The World's Most Boring Mutant Hero?"
     Doctor Glockenspiel stepped forward menacingly. "I think you're
making this up!"
     "No, please. I'm telling the truth," Fred said hastily. He put
aside the suggestion that he was going to make, that perhaps Doctor
Glockenspiel might want to browse through L-ALad's public biography on
the Legion's website, and instead tried a different tack. "Tell you
what, instead of me calling him on the internal phone, how about you
use the building's public address system to challenge him to a fight
scene. That way you can be sure that he'll hear it and there aren't any
tricks involved."
     "Very well," snarled Doctor Glockenspiel and snatched the micro-
phone from Fred's hands as he handed it over. "Attention! This... is
Doctor Glockenspiel!" he announced over the PA in the most bombastic
manner that he could manage. "I challenge the leader of the Legion of
Net.Heroes to one-on-one combat. You will meet me in the foyer within
the next sixty seconds or I will execute this pathetic wretch of a
     " eeep! " went Fred.
     Limp-Asparagus Lad made it to the foyer in thirty-seven. As soon
as he'd heard Glockenspiel's threat he'd put down the forms he'd been
working on (and not without some relief) and used his flight.thingee
to arrive at full speed. He landed in the foyer a few paces from the
reception desk. "I am Limp-Asparagus Lad, pro tem leader of the Legion
of Net.Heroes. What do you want?"
     "I am Doctor Glockenspiel!" proclaimed Doctor Glockenspiel, assuming
his dramatic pose anew. "I am here to CRUSH Ultimate Ninja, and thereby
cast the rest of the Legion's membership into DESPAIR!"
     "Ultimate Ninja isn't here at the moment."
     "Then when will he be back?"
     "I do not know. He is on vacation and did not leave a contact
address. I'm afraid you will have to deal with me instead."
     Doctor Glockenspiel looked at Limp-Asparagus Lad with distaste.
The net.hero didn't look like an appropriate leader for the much lauded
Legion. For goodness sake, he wasn't even in an appropriate stance of
readiness, prepared to sidestep Doctor Glockenspiel's well-nigh
inevitable attack! He was just *standing there*!
     "Bah!" yelled Doctor Glockenspiel and pushed past Limp-Asparagus
Lad and further into the foyer and began staking around the fountain.
"Come out, Ultimate Ninja!" the villain yelled. "I know you're around
here, coward! Don't send out your lackeys to try and trick me!"
     "Excuse me," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "I do not appreciate the
implication that I am lying," he said sternly. "Ultimate Ninja is not
here. Nor is Fearless Leader, or any of the other interim leaders that
we have had and who have since vanished. If you insist on fighting the
leader of the Legion of Net.Heroes, then I am the person you are looking
     Doctor Glockenspiel gave him a contemptuous look and continued to
call out for the real Legion leader to make an appearance.
     Meanwhile other members of the Legion had arrived, having heard
Glockenspiel's challenge and threat against Fred over the PA system. They
watched with curiosity as the apparent bad guy stalked around the foyer
yelling out to someone who they knew wasn't in the building. "Who is
this?" asked Sister-State-The-Obvious.
     "This is Doctor Glockenspiel," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "He wants
to fight the LNH leader."
     "Have you $#*%in' well explained that you *are* the @#*$in' LNH
leader?" asked Innovative-Offense Boy, his tone implying that L-ALad may
have been careless enough not the have made this point clear.
     "Yes, I have."
     "Then he's obviously a fool," said Sister-State-The-Obvious. She
turned and departed to go back to her business in another part of the
building. Innovative-Offense Boy and the other Legionnaires sat down to
watch how Limp-Asparagus Lad would handle Doctor Glockenspiel, handing
around popcorn once they had taken their seats.
     "Why do you call yourself Doctor Glockenspiel, anyway?" asked Limp-
Asparagus Lad during a brief lapse in the villain's yelling. "Were you
bitten by a radioactive glockenspiel? Did a glockenspiel fly through your
window one night while you were brooding over the brutal murder of your
     "No!" snapped Doctor Glockenspiel. "Nor was I rocketed away from
an exploding glockenspiel as a baby!" He struck yet another dramatic
pose - this one with his head turned to one side in profile and with one
clenched fist brought up against his chest above his heart - and said,
"One day I realised that all the truly great villains have names that
inspire awe and dread, and that eventually all of those names would be
used up. On that day, I vowed to take up the name of Doctor Glockenspiel.
DOC-tor GLOCK-enspiel," he repeated, as if savouring the almost
theatrical diction that he could put into the near rhyme.
     "Then which supervillain were you before you decided to upgrade
your codename?"
     Doctor Glockenspiel looked at him incredulously. "I was not a super-
villain at all," he explained, as if to a child.
     "So you adopted a supervillainous identity purely because you liked
the name," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. He didn't dignify the notion with
the description 'because the name was impressive'.
     "Bah! I would not expect you do-gooders to understand! And if
Ultimate Ninja is too COWARDLY to show himself," he called over his
shoulder back into the interior of the LNH-HQ, "then I'll just have to
destroy the whole building with him in it!" He stormed out of the foyer
and out onto Rackham Avenue.
     "You know," said Convoluted Origin Man as he frowned into the now
empty popcorn box, "as someone who's suffered a lot from stupid origins,
I'd say that's one of the worst I've ever heard."
     "Frickin' lame," agreed Master Blaster.


     It was much later. Approaching midnight in fact. Retcon Lad poked
his head around the door of the office were Limp-Asparagus Lad was
working on some files. "Hey there," Retcon Lad said.
     Limp-Asparagus Lad looked up to see his cousin, and a few other
Legionnaires. "Hello. What brings you here?" He glanced at the clock.
"Ah. Hmm. A pity. I seem to be making no headway with this paperwork."
     "Why are you setting so much store in even trying to finish off
this stuff?" asked Retcon Lad, exasperated.
     "I have already explained my reasons. The LNH-HQ needs to be kept
running so that the people trying to find the answer to the mystery of
the disappearing leaders aren't distracted. And since I have no way of
knowing whether any of my successors will have the personality types to
ensure the normal running of the organisation, it's for the best that I
try do as much as I can now." He stacked some files and then put one of
the Ninja's katannas on top to weight it down. "Not that I was able to
do more than triage the worst of it. Bluntly, I think Ultimate Ninja
manages to run the Legion more with the inhuman stamina and willpower
that he can summon from his ninja training than from any sensible
administrative model, plus the fact that most people are too scared of
him to send him bills. He also seems to be too autocratic to delegate
properly." He looked around the half completed paperwork. "But enough of
that. How is the investigation going?"
     "Not too #^@*+#in' good," admitted Innovative-Offense Boy. "Still
no breakthrough."
     Limp-Asparagus Lad nodded. "I had been afraid of that."
     "*You're* afraid?" said Ripping Dancer incredulously.
     "Of course I am afraid," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Fear is a
perfectly sensible response to a unknown and potentially life threatening
situation. It can also be used as a tool, sharpening the perception and
helping to stave off complacency. It's only if the response to that fear
is cowardice that it is unaccep..."
     And then it was midnight, and he was gone.

Character credits:
   Convoluted Origin Man created by Badger (Matt Rossi) and not reserved.
   Doctor Glockenspiel and Retcon Lad created by Saxon Brenton.
   Innovative-Offense Boy created by uplink (John Scheibeler) and not
   John and Sally created by Descrii (Ian Porell) and Public Domain.
   Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic Mongoose
(Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham (chaos and entropy incarnate)).
   Master Blaster created by Martin Phips and not reserved.
   Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad and Ripping Dancer created by Arthur Spitzer.
   Sarcastic Lad created by Gary St. Lawrence and not reserved.
   Sister-State-The-Obvious created by wReam (Ray Bingham) and not reserved.

Saxon Brenton     University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.bren... at uts.edu.au     saxonbren... 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_

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