LNH: LNH Comics Presents #58: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #23
robrogers72 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 07:58:10 PDT 2007
LNH Comics Presents #58:
INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG #23:
By Rob Rogers
9:30 a.m., Monday, April 23
"One more time, my dear Grace Notes,"
Doctor Glockenspiel said, glaring at the
women around him. "And this time, put
some FEELING into it."
Several of the women, who were dressed in
form-fitting lime green tights with the image
of a musical note displayed across the blouse,
looked at each other and shrugged.
"Is this really part of the reality show?"
one asked, scratching her head with the enormous
mallet she'd been asked to carry. "I don't see
the cameras anywhere. And all of those people
waiting to get on the bridge look really..."
"You don't SEE the cameras because they're
HIDDEN cameras," Doctor Glockenspiel snapped.
"Now listen, ladies, I realize this has been
difficult for some of you. But look around!
We have a beautiful morning, all of you look
lovely, and we're about to present AN
INGENIOUS DEVICE THAT WILL PLUNGE NET.ROPOLIS
INTO EVERLASTING DARKNESS! And nobody wants
to get voted off the show at this point, do
The women shook their heads. Each was
standing at the base of one of the support
cables holding up the McCoskey Bridge. The
cables, in turn, had each been fitted with a
fifteen-foot rectangular metal plate, tuned to
a specific frequency -- a modification that
had, in effect, transformed the entire
suspension bridge into a massive glockenspiel.
"All right, then," said Doctor Glockenspiel,
striking the first note on a much smaller
instrument that he wore around his neck. "One
and two and..."
"All I want is a glockenspiel
Lots of power for me to wield
Maybe a sweet force field
Oh wouuuuuldn't that be villainy?"
the women sang, each one striking one of the giant
glockenspiel plates at the end of every line.
The bridge shuddered with each stroke, as did the
walls of the Brenton Island power plant, located
on the other side of Net.ropolis Bay.
"L-N-H driven to their knees
My ex-wife and my enemies
Forced into slavery
Oh wouuuuuldn't that be villainy?
"Oh such villainy smashing power plants
With waves of sound
I won't stop 'til all mankind
Is groveling underground..."
"On behalf of the Legion of Net.Heroes,"
thundered a mighty voice, "I do not like the
tone you are taking with our city, Doctor
A tall, thin man wearing a chartreuse
mask, flowing cape and bright green costume
with a yellow happy face insignia stood near
the center of the bridge, shaking a bony
fist at the Doctor and his companions.
"Now," he continued, "cease this
contumacious caterwauling and surrender
yourselves to the sweet melodies of justice!"
"At last!" Doctor Glockenspiel cackled.
"But you're too late, Easily-Discovered Man! For
with just a few more strokes of my mighty
glockenspiel, Brenton Island will be shattered
beyond repair... and Net.ropolis will enter a
second stone age, bereft of all technology!"
"No technology?" a tall, curly-haired Grace
Note asked. "How is anyone going to watch us
"You insidious impresario!" Easily-
Discovered Man said, nearly beside himself with
rage. "To threaten the people of Net.ropolis is
one thing. To dupe yon fair exemplars of feminine
beauty into participating in your vile scheme
is another. But to corrupt the very institution
of reality television itself... THAT, SIR, IS
AN ENTIRELY OTHER THING ALTOGETHER!"
"Prof!" said a teenaged boy, dressed in a
T-shirt and jeans, running toward the center of
the bridge. "Hey, Prof, you should see
the traffic back there, with all those people
waiting to get across. They're really... hey,
is that a giant glockenspiel, or did those
M.I.T. students hack the bridge again?"
"You ignored me the first time I struck,
Legion of Net.Heroes," Doctor Glockenspiel said,
reading from a large blue card held by one of
the Grace Notes. "You laughed at my second
attack. But this time... THIS TIME, THE WORLD
WILL NOT ASK FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL! THEY
WILL TOLL FOR... well, for the world," he
muttered, his eyebrow furrowing. "Who wrote
"Sorry," the curly-haired Grace Note said.
"I was running late for my costume fitting."
"Very well," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"Since you will not cease your sinister
symphony, I myself shall have to conduct you
... to jail!"
"Prof, Prof," the boy said, tugging on
the taller man's arm. "You're the leader of
the LNH now."
"Indeed I am, my stalwart sidekick!"
Easily-Discovered Man said. Turning toward
Doctor Glockenspiel, he said, "Have you all met
my companion in the endless battle against
crime and injustice -- Easily-Discovered
"Ladies," Lite said, tipping his baseball cap.
"Charmed," said the curly-haired Grace Note.
"Why is the man with the happy face suit
glowing?" a blonde Grace Note asked. "Is he going
to be all right?"
"Is he going to explode?" another Grace Note
"It's entirely possible," Lite said. Turning
to Easily-Discovered Man, he added, "As I was
saying, Prof. You're the leader of the LNH. You
should be making decisions, planning out who's going
to fight who, rather than trying to do everything
"It is _whom_, Lite. Who is going to fight
whom. Grammar is the sword with which ignorance
shall be subdued."
"I'll keep that in mind, Prof. But while
I'm working that out, how about stepping back
and letting someone else tune Doc Glock's
"Hey! That was almost an off-color remark!
And in front of my Grace Notes!" Doctor
Glockenspiel said. "Besides, I want to fight the
leader of the LNH. I've gone to a lot of trouble."
"Verifiably," Easily-Discovered Man agreed.
"And surely, were Ultimate Ninja -- our leader
emeritus -- present, he would be at the forefront
of any attack."
"Everyone has his own managerial style,"
Lite said. "But a true leader knows when to
"Very well," Easily-Discovered Man sighed,
turning to the small group of super-heroes who
had assembled on the bridge behind him.
"Procrastination Boy! Girlwatcher! Attack!"
"I'll be there in a minute," Procrastination
"Hello," said Girlwatcher, staring at the
curly-haired Grace Note. "Could I talk you into
lifting your mallet a little? Just... like...
aaaaaahhhhh. That's perfect. Just perfect."
"I do not think this delegation is going well,"
Easily-Discovered Man said, as a glazed expression
fell over Girlwatcher's face. The Grace Note
"I disagree!" Doctor Glockenspiel said. "For
I have nearly arrived at the conclusion of my
composition. And since every good musical bridge
leads to a chorus, prepare to face the awesome
power of... TUBULAR BELLS!"
"This can't be good," Lite said, as the Doctor
began striking the small instrument he wore around
his neck. As he played, strips of metal flew
from the little glockenspiel and rolled across the
bridge toward the heroes.
"Arrrrgh!" Mouse screamed, as one of the metal
strips wrapped itself around her, binding her arms
and legs together. "I hate wrap music!"
"Girlwatcher! Help her!" Easily-Discovered Man
"...And then after I got my degree in dental
hygeine, I decided I wanted to do something artistic,"
the curly-haired Grace Note was explaining.
"That's the most fascinating story I've ever
heard," Girlwatcher said, transfixed.
"It's no good," Lite yelled, as another Tubular
Bell caught him before he could reach his spatula.
"Ripping Dancer, can you...?"
"Are you kidding? I can't dance to this!" the
voluptuous woman said, as another bell wound its
way around her curves.
"HA HA HA HA HA," Doctor Glockenspiel crowed.
"If music be the food of vengeance, then..."
A powerful wind swept the cue card from his
"Something's happening," the Doctor said, as
a red-and-white blur shot past. "Quickly! Play
the song! Play the song!"
"Excuse me," the curly-haired Grace Note said
to Girlwatcher. "I have to... hey, what happened
to my mallet?"
"No! No!" Doctor Glockenspiel wailed. "I
brought the funk! I brought the noise! Who
dares disturb my universe?"
"Looking for these?" said a boy, standing
with his arms folded above a heap of mallets.
He was dressed in red, with bright white boots
and gloves, and he was smiling.
"You give those back!" Doctor Glockenspiel
said. "I spent my daughter's college tuition
to build this thing!"
"I don't normally take requests," the boy said.
"But I have a feeling this one is going to be a
"You're off your game today," Mouse said to
Lite, as the boy threw one mallet after another
at Doctor Glockenspiel, pummeling him at
terrific speed. "Everyone else is making the
"Bite me," Lite sad, as Doctor Glockenspiel
toppled over. With another burst of speed, the
boy freed the captured Legionnaires, then re-used
the Tubular Bells to corral a surprised group of
"Call me!" Girlwatcher said, making a
telephone-shaped gesture with his hand as the
boy whisked the curly-haired woman away.
"Marvelous! Magnificent!" Easily-Discovered
Man beamed, as the red-and-white boy skidded
to a stop in front of him. "My fortuitously-
fleet-footed friend, the Legion of Net.Heroes
is forever in your debt. I am the team's
leader, Easily-Discovered Man."
The boy studied the glowing hero with
curiosity. "An Oriental super-hero? And a
Mexican?" he added, taking in Easily-
Discovered Man Lite. "And your names and
powers aren't based on your ethnicities?
I must be in the 21st century."
"You're a time traveler?" Ripping Dancer
"I surf time. I fix time," the boy said,
zipping over and taking Ripping Dancer's hand.
"And for you, baby, I'd even make time."
"Charlie Hustle," the boy continued, kissing
Ripping Dancer's knuckles. "Member in good
standing of the Legion of Net.Hippies.
We're thinking about changing the name,"
"How does somebody fix time?" Mouse asked.
Hustle whisked to the heroine's side.
"I'd be happy to show you, sweetcheeks,"
he said. "In fact, I'd be happy to show all
of you. What say we meet back at your place,
and leave the city to clean up this mess?"
"Sweetcheeks?" Lite said, causing Mouse to
elbow him in the stomach.
"Let's call it a date and don't be late,"
Charlie Hustle said, zooming away in the
direction of Legion headquarters.
"And here I was worried that my day as
leader of the Legion would be suffused with
paperwork," Easily-Discovered Man said,
swinging his leg over the seat of a bicycle.
"Mount up, fellow Legionnaires! We ride...
"I never thought I'd say this," Ripping
Dancer said, as she climbed aboard her own
bicycle. "I mean, I really never thought
I'd say this. But... why couldn't we have
taken the Easily-Discovered Van here?"
"In this energy crisis, it behooves all
of us to comport ourselves so as to use as
few of our non-renewable resources as
possible," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"I get that," Mouse said. "But you
wouldn't expect police officers to have to
bike to the scene of the crime. Except on
'Pacific Blue.' "
"Mmm," Girlwatcher said. "Paula
Trickey in stretchy pants."
"But we are not law enforcement, my
antipodean adventuress," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "As heroes, our role is ever to
set an example for others -- not to do for
them, but to show what it is possible for
them to do."
"It would be so much easier if everyone
had super-strength," grumbled Mouse. "Then we
could inspire them to get windup clockwork
power generators with Strongstuffium springs
just like the Legion has in the subbasement."
"Why do you put up with him?" Ripping
Dancer asked a few moments later, as she
and Lite pedaled through the crowds at the
edge of the bridge.
"The Prof?" Lite asked. "Nine-twenty-
five an hour."
"I'm serious," Ripping Dancer said.
Lite looked over at the young woman.
"I grew up in Net.ropolis," he said. "First
thing you learn living here is that if you
can't throw a bus, or fly, or run like the
"Or look like a supermodel," Ripping
"... then you might as well prepare
yourself for a life of flipping burgers or
pumping gas," Lite said. "Every teacher I
ever had -- hell, every adult I ever met
told me I was trying too hard, that I needed
to lower my expectations.
"Then I met the Prof," Lite continued.
And he told me that not only was I just as
good as all the superpeople who were flying
around the city, but that I could even stand
up to some of them, if it came to that."
"But you know he's completely insane,"
Ripping Dancer said. "I mean, you have to
"The longer I stay on this job, the more
I'm convinced that everybody's crazy," he
said. "The best anyone can do is decide what
kind of crazy he can live with.
"Besides," Lite added, "if you've
hooked up with this outfit, you must be a
little bit crazy yourself."
"Something like that," Ripping Dancer
said, keeping her eyes on the road.
"Mind if I join the pity party?" Mouse asked,
falling into place beside Lite.
"What are you talking about?" Lite asked.
"I didn't grow up in Net.ropolis, so maybe
things were different," the Net.Zealander said.
"But I never felt like I was any better than
anybody else just because I had super-powers.
In fact, I don't remember the last time any of
the writers even acknowledged that I _have_
super-powers. And I sure as hell never looked
like a supermodel."
"That all depends on who's doing the
looking," Girlwatcher called from behind her.
"I'm sorry," Mouse said, after they had
gone a little further. "That came out a lot
less... I mean a lot more..."
"We're going to find Writers Block Woman,"
Lite said. "And she's going to be fine."
Mouse nodded. "I know. I know," she said.
"You know, I'm actually really pleased they chose
Easily-Discovered Man as leader. If he disappears
at midnight, like all the others... well, I mean,
how hard could it be to find someone who calls
himself Easily-Discovered Man?"
Lite said nothing.
"Sorry," Mouse said.
"That's all right," Lite said. "It's
"Never mind." he said.
The two sidekicks and the other heroes
continued cycling toward downtown Net.ropolis,
with the exception of Procrastination Boy,
who had remained standing on the bridge.
"Okay," he said, raising his fists at
last. "I'm ready to take on Doctor
* * *
"Glad you guys could finally make it,"
Charlie Hustle said, leaning back in his
chair at the head of the Central Command
Center's conference table, his white boots
resting on the mahogany.
"This guy is great," Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy said. "He's from a time when men were
men, women were babes, and every one of 'em
smoked rich, smooth Virginia tobacco, and
didn't give a damn where they did it."
"Although we can't seem to find any record
of his membership in the Legion," Anal-Retentive
Archive Kid said. "And Procrastination Boy
doesn't remember him being a part of the Legion
of Net.Hippies... not that he remembers much of
anything from those days..."
"We stored most of our paperwork on 8-Track,"
Hustle said. "Figured that stuff would be
around forever. But hey, that's all history now,
right? I mean, I love the 2000s. Love the iPod.
Hell, I love i-anything; just stick an 'i' in
front of it and I want to take it home and build a
little shrine to it."
"Yes! Shrine! Build the shrine!" the Magic
Fruitcake giggled, laughing hysterically until
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy doused it with his coffee.
"I love that you dance in your arcades and
play computer game music at your discos," Charlie
Hustle continued. "That's crazy, man. I love that
the Soviets are our buddies now, and uppity women are
now feminists and little green birdies get to be
"Kiwi," said one of the kiwis seated at the
table, making a slight bow.
"You said you were going to tell us what you
meant by 'fixing time,' " Mouse said.
"So I did, little lady, so I did," Charlie
Hustle said, sitting up. "Well, you know. I
do love your times. But as the bishop said to
the priest when they caught him back of the church
with three altar boys, you can love everybody,
but not at the same time, you dig?"
"I am not certain that I know what you are
talking about," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"It's like this," Hustle said, standing and
planting his palms on the table. "Not everything
about 2007 is peaches and cream. This country
is fighting an undeclared war. Congress has signed
away the right to have your phones tapped, your
homes broken into and the guy who sells you your
porn interrogated. There's a gulag down in Cuba
that makes the ones in Siberia look like the
Howard Johnson's Motel."
"Are you saying the Ame.rec.an government is
anything but the defender of the world's
freedoms and an inspiration for generations to
come?" Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy asked.
"I'm saying that I've been to the future,"
Charlie Hustle said. "And the things I'm telling
you about -- the things you already know about,
if you read the papers -- they're just the tip
of the iceberg. People are going to look back
on this president and this period in Ame.rec.an
history in the way your people look at the Shah
of Iran or Argentina's dirty war."
"I've got no idea what you're talking about,
but I don't like the sound of it," Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy grumbled.
"I'm not sure I do either," Anal-Retentive
Archive Kid said. "Are you suggesting we take
action against the Ame.rec.an government?"
"Seems like a waste of time," said No-
"I can't believe things could be that bad
within my own country," Steak and Potatoes Man
said. "If they were, though, the Legion
could well be the only force on earth capable
of doing anything about it."
"Really?" Doctor Bad-Bedside Manner said.
"I thought the Alt.Riders were in charge of
assassinations and things like that."
"Maybe we could just freeze time and give
the President a stern talking-to, the way
they did in that X-Men movie," Girlwatcher
suggested. "The one with Halle Berry... and
Anna Paquin... and Famke Janssen..."
"If you even consider setting one boot
inside the White House..." Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
"And Rebecca Romijn..." Girlwatcher said.
"Kiwi!" a kiwi screamed.
Easily-Discovered Man banged his gavel.
"My friends," he said, when the room had
attained a semblance of order. "Truly all of
us assembled here owe a debt of thanks to our
wandering warrior from another time. And few
persons appreciate debates over issues of
substantive merit more than myself."
"The hell you do!" barked Starts-Arguments-
"However," Easily-Discovered Man continued,
"what Charlie is suggesting lies far outside the
parameters of activity within which our august
body has always seen fit to inhabit. The Legion
of Net.Heroes has ever been, and shall ever be,
a beacon illuminating those lofty heights of
achievement and conduct to which others may
aspire. It is not a castle from which to
impose our will upon the world."
"And yet we've interfered in the affairs of
alien worlds before," Doctor Bad-Bedside Manner
interjected. "We've even crossed into other
dimensions without considering the political
"Because they needed our example!" Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy roared.
"Just yesterday, we fended off an invasion
by another planet, essentially acting as
representatives of the entire human race..."
Steak-and-Potatoes Man began.
"... as well as the other races of earth,"
the Caesar of Comfort Foods continued.
"Look," Charlie Hustle said. "It's not like
I haven't been in this situation before. I
helped Teddy Roosevelt boot the Spaniards out of
Cuba. I got Thomas Jefferson out of Richmond
right before the British burned the city. And
I was there in 2086 when the Linux Network Heroes
overthrew the Windoverlord.
"And I'll tell you something," he said,
leaning his elbows against the table. "Those guys
look at the LNH as being just what that big guy
says it is -- the only force on earth that had the
power to do something about the situation in
Ame.rec.a. Only none of you had the stones to
do it. That's what the history books say."
Easily-Discovered Man Lite had just opened
his mouth to speak when he felt the slight
buzzing at his knee that told him he had a
text message. He opened his cell phone,
saw the number, swore silently and rose to
"I'll be right back," he said.
"Indeed, Lite," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"It is considered proper to take care of such
things before coming to a discussion on the
fate of the world."
"I'll keep that in mind," Lite said,
ignoring the laughter of the others as he
walked through the double doors at the end of
(Part II of LNH Comics Presents #58 follows)
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