LNH: LNH Comics Presents #58.5: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #23.5
robrogers72 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 08:01:03 PDT 2007
"Heard you guys took down Doctor
Glockenspiel pretty hard," Londonbroil said,
as he pushed open the dirty, windowless door
that served as the only entrance to Where Your
Eyes Don't Go, a charmless bar in one of
Net.ropolis' less reputable neighborhoods.
"He had it coming," Lite said, raising the
collar of his coat and doing his best to look
inconspicuous. "Have you ever had to sit
through a rendition of 'Hot Popcorn?' on the
"I'm not arguing with you," the supervillain
said, steering Lite to a table beneath a long-
unused dart board. "Fact is, I cleaned up this
morning. I bet on you gentlemen to end the
good doctor's practice within twenty minutes.
And you did it within nineteen."
"You bet on battles between heroes and
villains?" Lite asked. "I suppose it makes for
a better spectator sport than, say cockfighting.
Or cricket, for that matter."
"Everything makes for a better spectator sport
than cricket," Londonbroil agreed. "But to come
to the point: yes, we bet on battles. We bet on
the use of particular plot devices. We bet on
interactions between people. Did you know, for
example, that there is a considerable wager as
to whether Ripping Dancer and your Fearless Leader
"I thought you were coming to the point."
"Yes. Well. Here it is, then," the villain
continued in his mangled British accent. "Doctor
Glockenspiel was defeated by a super-fast hero
from the distant past, an outcome which none of us
in the community could have predicted. Or so we
"Are you saying that someone did? Someone
bet on exactly that thing happening?"
"And made millions, too," Londonbroil said.
"As one might expect from winning such a long
A large, bald, overmuscled man -- Lite
thought he recognized him as one of Color Error
Lad's former henchmen -- walked past their table,
scowling. The sidekick swallowed.
"You must have some idea who it is?" Lite
"That's the particularly interesting thing,"
Londonbroil said. "It was as though one moment,
there were no bets on the table, and the next,
someone had put wagers on ridiculous schemes
that could not possibly come to pass."
"Whoever placed those bets," Londonbroil
said, "has the notion that Legion of Net.Heroes
Headquarters, along with most of downtown
Net.ropolis, will be utterly destroyed at the
end of April."
"April is the cruelest month," Lite said.
"I suppose," Londonbroil said, accepting a
black and tan from an underaged waitress.
"He also staked quite a lot of money on the
peculiar idea that your Legion was going to
assassinate the President of the Usenetted States
of Ame.rec.a this afternoon. Cheers."
* * *
When Lite returned to Legion headquarters,
he found Easily-Discovered Man in the middle of
a heated debate with PR Kid.
"I'm telling you, baby, dollface, sweetheart
-- these suckers are going to move, move, move!"
PR Kid insisted. "They're going to launch
themselves off the shelves and right into the
waiting arms of our target demographic."
"I simply do not think that marketing a
'Tickle Me Ultimate Ninja' doll is wise under any
circumstances," Easily-Discovered Man said. "And
those LNH dice also strike me as... Ah, Lite. So
good of you to return."
"Charlie Hustle has been betting on super-
hero battles," Lite said.
"Ingenious!" PR Kid said.
"And utterly against everything for which
the Legion stands," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"I was just going to say that," PR Kid said.
"There's more," Lite said. "He's planning on
implicating the LNH in the assassination of the
"Ooh. That's bad," PR Kid said. "That would
not play well in the red states."
"That would explain why he insisted on
leading a team to Washington.gov," Easily-
Discovered Man said, stroking his chin.
"Please tell me you didn't let him," Lite
said. "Or at least that you gave him bad
"Better," Easily-Discovered Man said. "I
assigned No-Point Lad, Procrastination Boy and
Time-Waster Lad to his team."
"That will slow him down," Lite agreed. "But
it won't stop him. Who do we have that's capable
of moving as fast as he can?"
"Fine, Prof. Whom."
"Captain Caffeine or Macroman could," said PR
Kid, glancing at the roster. "Or Kid Quickclick, I
Suppose. But none of them are currently available
as action fig... I mean, they're not active members."
"Substitute Lad could duplicate their powers,"
"But Substitute Lad is serving a suspension,
following that incident where he very nearly
erased a girl's mind using Super Apathy Lad's
powers," Easily-Discovered Man said. "Were I to
undo Ultimate Ninja's suspension, it might look as
though I was allowing favoritism to cloud my
"And if you don't, the LNH becomes a group of
assassins," Lite said.
"I'm on the phone with a focus group right now,"
PR Kid said. " 'LNH as Assassins' is not going
over well. Unless we're willing to induct Lucy
Liu and Jennifer Garner. Although I'm pretty sure I
could get them for scale..."
"Ultimate Ninja must have had reasons..."
Easily-Discovered Man said.
"Ultimate Ninja isn't here!" Lite said. "The
Legion of Net.Heroes needs a leader. Are you
going to be that leader or not?"
Easily-Discovered Man turned to PR Kid.
"Get me Substitute Lad," he said.
"Exactly what I was going to say, baby," PR
Kid grinned, pulling out a second cell phone.
* * *
Substitute Lad caught his first glimpse of
Charlie Hustle as a dull red blur halfway across
the state of Dell.aware. He reached for one of
the canisters in his belt, opened it, and
drained the eight-ounce can of Mr. Paprika Energy
Drink. A few seconds later, when the caffeine had
reached his bloodstream, he surged forward and
caught up with the time traveler.
"I'm impressed," Charlie Hustle said, gliding
in a circle around Substitute Lad as though he
were on skates. "Well, not really. More in the
way you're impressed when you see a monkey
driving a tractor. It's sort of interesting that
they made the effort, but sad at the same time that
they don't realize they're way out of their league."
"I'd have been here sooner," Substitute Lad
said, "but I had to get Procrastination Boy,
Time-Waster Lad and No-Point Lad out of the
area. Sending them on a reconnaissance mission
with particle beam cannons disguised as
binoculars was inspired, by the way."
"They'd have thanked me eventually," Charlie
Hustle said, his smile fading. "I suppose I'll
have to do this alone, then. You don't seriously
think you can stop me?"
"Probably not," Substitute Lad said, hurtling
over a toll booth gate. "But Easily-Discovered
Man has revoked your membership, in any and all
incarnations of the Legion."
"I'll be sure to send him a rat's ass later
on, in appreciation of how much that particular
distinction means to me," Charlie Hustle said.
"Of course," Substitute Lad said. "But we
checked with the folks at the betting parlor, and
if no member of the LNH is involved with the
assassination, you forfeit the wager."
Charlie Hustle's eyes narrowed beneath his
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," he
said. "There's no way that Easily-Discovered
Man could possibly be as much of a imbecile as
he appears to be. You, on the other hand...
Let me show you what someone who knows how to
use this power is capable of doing."
He struck Substitute Lad with several
hundred punches and kicks in quick succession.
"You're still standing," he said, flexing
one of his hands.
"It's the costume," Substitute Lad said.
"It absorbs any kinetic energy."
"So that's it," Hustle said, winding up
again. "Next time, you really ought to build
one that covers your face."
* * *
Charlie Hustle burst through the doors of
the Central Command Center and found Easily-
Discovered Man sitting alone at the conference
"You know, I've never had to do this before,"
Hustle said, pausing at the entrance of the room.
"Every other time, every other Legion I've
encountered was more than willing to help me do
what was required to save humanity."
"And enable you to profit in the process?"
the phosphorescent hero asked.
"Revolutions don't come cheap," Charlie
Hustle said. "I've taken money from criminals to
fight criminals, whether they're living in cheap
hotels, or the White House... or Legion
He launched himself into a sprint across the
room, only to find his boots cemented to the floor.
"What the hell is this stuff?" Hustle screamed.
"It smells like... breakfast?"
"It would appear that we still had a few of
the Waffle Queen's syrup-traps in our armory,
following her recent demise," Easily-Discovered
Man, as a pair of silver box-like devices appeared
to float across the room and fasten themselves to
Charlie Hustle's arms.
"Thank you, Invisible Incendiary and Lurker
Lad," Easily-Discovered Man said, nodding his head
in the direction of the unseen heroes. "Your
assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated."
Charlie Hustle smirked.
"You know I'll just vibrate through these in
a..." he began, then screamed "My speed! What
the hell have you done to my speed!"
"Those devices on your arms were originally
constructed by Macroman, in order to help him
control his uncanny powers of locomotion," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "With a bit of tinkering by
Innovative-Offense Boy, it seems we can use
them to moderate your abilities, as well."
"It doesn't matter," Charlie Hustle said.
"You'll be gone by the end of the day. This whole
place will be so much rubble by the end of the week.
And I'll be back to doing what I do best.
"People like you are always doing everything in
your power to put people like me down," he said,
staring with hatred at Easily-Discovered Man and
Easily-Discovered Man Lite, who had just entered the
room. "You need to cripple us, to blind us, to
stand in the way of what we can do because you can't
accept the fact that you'll never be able to do what
we can, to even conceive of what we can accomplish
with our abilities."
Charlie Hustle shook his head. "You don't
deserve what we do for you," he said.
"I used to think that way," said an old man's
voice, as Lite pushed a wheelchair into the chamber,
keeping clear of the booby-trapped floor.
"And who the hell are you supposed to be?"
Charlie Hustle asked.
"Anal-Retentive Archive Kid couldn't find any
record of you ever being part of the Legion," Lite
said. "But he was able to find you."
"You're right about one thing," the older
Charlie Hustle said, leaning forward in his
wheelchair. "I did get out of LNH custody. I did
get back to my own time, and to doing what I'd
always done. And everything went fine... until I
stiffed Y-Plex Burp on a bet. There are still parts
of my legs they haven't found."
"You're lying," Charlie Hustle said, shaking
his head. "You can't be me. This is all a..."
"Wheel me in closer," the older Hustle said.
"Let me show him the scars."
The Central Command Center echoed with the
sounds of the younger Charlie Hustle's screams.
* * *
"You're taking this immanent disappearance
thing awfully well, Professor," Ripping Dancer
said, as they gathered a few minutes before
midnight beside Substitute Lad's infirmary bed.
"Heck, Lite looks more shaken up about the
whole thing than you do."
"When you see my mum, just tell her,"
Mouse paused, then looked up at Easily-Discovered
Man. "Tell her that I love her. And that the
sale on spring footwear is continuing for another
"I will," Easily-Discovered Man promised.
"And I will return with all due speed. It is,
perhaps, only for the lack of my mighty arm that
those missing Legionnaires have not yet been able
to effect their escape."
"We're going to miss you around here," Cynical
Lass said, giving the glowing hero a hug. "It
seems like just yesterday that I met up with the
two of you in London.net..."
"I know what you're up to!" said Kid Not-
Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour Story, bursting
into the room. "All of you! All of you writers!
You're not including me in this storyline because
you want to change my name to 'Kid-Not-Appearing-
Story!' Well, I'm not having any of it,"
he said, and stormed out again.
"What the @#$%^& was that all about?"
"I have no idea," Arthur Spitzer said.
"Prof," Lite said, as the minute hand swung
towards twelve, "it's been an honor and a privilege.
You've shown me what it means to be a hero every
minute we've known each other. And if I had to
do it over again... I'd have asked for more money.
But I'd do it over again in a second."
"Thank you, Hector," Easily-Discovered Man
said, taking his sidekick's hand and closing his
eyes. "It is a far, far better thing I do now
than I have ever done, a far, far better place I
go to than I have ever known..."
"You can open your eyes now, Professor,"
Ripping Dancer said, after a minute had gone by.
"You're still here."
"I... I am!" Easily-Discovered Man gasped.
"Wonder of wonders! So it is that even the
unslakable maw of our unknowable foe quivers,
nay, trembles before daring to snatch away
the phosphorescent paragon of pan-dimensional
power that is Easily-Discovered Man! It
is just as I have always observed -- or would
you not agree, Lite?"
"He's gone," Cynical Lass said.
Easily-Discovered Man rushed out of the
room, tearing like a man possessed through the
hallways of the LNHQ until he came across the
object of his search: Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats
"That strip of paper," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "The one you pulled from your hat
this morning. The one that declared me to be
the leader of the LNH. Give... it... to... me."
"Sure," Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad said,
handing a crumpled strip of pink paper to the
"This part was folded back," Easily-
Discovered Man wailed. "The paper should have
read 'Easily-Discovered Man Lite.' "
"That sad, silly bastard," Sarcastic Lad
said. "You mean he was the leader all day and
never even knew it?"
"Hey!" Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad
said. "Have some faith in our semi-democratic
process. I told him this morning, as soon as I
pulled his name out of the hat. He's the one who
folded the paper over, put it back in, and told me
to announce you as the leader."
"A true leader knows when to delegate,"
Easily-Discovered Man said, shaking his head.
"That is what he told me. It was the best day
I have ever experienced in the course of my life.
The greatest gift, the greatest honor I have ever
received, or will ever receive. And I never even
knew to thank him."
LEGION ROLL CALL:
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid
Captain Caffeine.... Marie Antoon
.... Peter "Tick" Milan
Cynical Lass, Easily-Discovered Man,
Easily Discovered Man Lite and
Substitute Lad.... Rob Rogers
Fearless Leader and Macroman
.... Dave van Domelen
Girlwatcher.... Chris Gumprich
Innovative-Offense Boy and
Steak and Potatoes Man
Kid Kiwi's Kiwi Kommandoes
.... Matt "Badger" Rossi
Kid Quickclick and Lurker Lad
.... Ben Rawluk
The Magic Fruitcake and Starts-
Kid.... Tom Russell
No-Point Lad.... Tim Munn
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
and PR Kid.... Jamas Enright
Procrastination Boy.... Jason Kanner
Ripping Dancer and the Legion of
Net.Hippies.... Arthur Spitzer
Sarcastic Lad.... Gary St. Lawrence
Super Apathy Lad.... Jacob Lesgold
Time-Waster Lad.... Ray Rich
Ultimate Ninja.... wReam
Writers Block Woman and Mouse
SPECIAL GUEST VILLAIN:
Doctor Glockenspiel.... Saxon Brenton
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Saxon Brenton, for
editing and technical assistance regarding
the LNH's power generators.
"If I were like lightning
I wouldn't need no sneakers
I'd come and go whenever I would please
I'd scare 'em by the shade tree
And scare 'em by the light pole
But I would not scare my pony
on my boat out on the sea"
--Lyle Lovett, "If I Had A Boat"
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