LNH: LNH Comics Presents #501: Infinite Leadership Cry.Sig Episode 466 (4/5)

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 28 20:28:55 PDT 2007

2:45 a.m., May 2, 2007

Cauliflower the Christmas Miracle Pooch Memorial Playground,
Drayer Park

    What disturbed Footnote Girl about the Alt.Imate Ninja, more
than anything, was the way the robot half of it never stopped
moving.  Tiny machines skittered across its face like ants; the
dermal plates protruding from its chest and cheekbones wavered and
grew like uncertain icebergs, and the whole cabled, transistored
expanse of it seemed to be feeding on the other half in a way that
made her stomach turn.

    The fact that the cyborg had just rendered one of her friends
unconscious and was preparing to do the same to her was not
particularly reassuring, either.

    "Your threat is minimal," the Alt.Imate Ninja said, the dull
red glow of its cybernetic eye making a little halo in the early
morning mist.  "Yet you cannot be allowed to live."

    "Ask anyone who knows me," Footnote Girl replied, raising her
hockey stick.  "I've never been particularly concerned with what I
was allowed to do."

    "Irrelevant," the cyborg said, flicking its wrist.  In the time
it took Footnote Girl to gasp, the ninja's staff swept the hockey
stick from her hands.

    "And now," the ninja began, before a pair of binoculars crashed
into the back of its head.

    "Leave... her... ALONE!" Girlwatcher shouted, grasping the
shattered ruins of his binoculars and kicking the ninja vigorously
in the shin.

    "Unexpected," Alt.Imate Ninja said, drawing his staff back with
a snap against Girlwatcher's skull.  "But ultimately also
irrelevant," he added, as the hero's eyes rolled upward and his
knees buckled under.

    "Yeah?  Well, how about THESE babies?" Master Blaster shouted,
shouting from the passenger side of a golf cart driven by Sister-
State-the Obvious.  In each hand he carried an assault rifle.

    "Allow me to introduce my second family -- cousin Heckler &
Koch 416 and wacky old Uncle AK-47," Master Blaster said, briefly
kissing the barrel of each gun.  "God Almighty, how I love the
second amendment!"

    Footnote Girl dove for cover behind a dog-shaped jungle gym
as the Legionnaire opened fire on Alt.Imate Ninja.  Eyes stinging
from the clouds of cordite smoke, she watched, amazed, as the
cyborg warrior spun his staff like a roulette wheel, deflecting
each of the thousands of bullets before it could strike.

    "Damn it," Master Blaster said, pausing to reload as the golf
cart pulled up beside the jungle gym.  "He's invoking the ninja

    "What's the ninja rule?" Footnote Girl asked, dragging
Girlwatcher to safety behind the playground equipment.

    "A ninja's power and skill level increases inversely with the
number of ninjas involved in a fight scene," said Sister State-the-
Obvious, helping Footnote Girl move the fallen hero.  "An army of
ninjas is cannon fodder, but a lone ninja is almost invincible."

    "Correct," Alt.Imate Ninja declared, disarming Master Blaster
and knocking him to the ground with a single stroke.

    "He's knocked out my husband!" Sister State-the-Obvious wailed.

    "And we're next," Jo Nysegi said, emerging from the back of
the cart and blasting away at the ninja with his pistol, to no
effect.  "WikiBoy!  Kill!"

    "GRRRRAAAAAGH!" WikiBoy screamed, chainsaw rattling as he
charged across the playground toward Alt.Imate Ninja.  The cyborg
dropped its staff and fell to a crouch as the Legionnaire
approached.  It leaped as WikiBoy swung wildly with the chainsaw,
vaulting over the hero.  As WikiBoy turned around, Alt.Imate Ninja
reached forward.  There was a crunch, a few snapping sounds, and
then Alt.Imate Ninja stepped back, something wet and sticky
clutched in its fist.

    "Oh, God," Jo Nysegi said.  "He didn't just..."

    "You don't want to see this," Sister-State-the-Obvious said,
covering Footnote Girl's eyes.

    "The largest heart this entity has so far encountered," Alt.
Imate Ninja said, as WikiBoy fell, sputtering chainsaw still
clutched in his hand.  "Of no tactical importance, however," it
added, as the metallic talons of its hand closed around the heart,
crushing it.

    "What are we supposed to do?" Footnote Girl asked, as the
Alt.Imate Ninja's foot slammed into Jo Nysegi 's stomach.  "If the
ninja rule makes him invincible, than the only thing that could
stop him would be..."

    The smoke and mist surrounding the Alt.Imate Ninja fell apart
as a dozen arrows spiraled toward it.  The ninja's hands moved as a
blur, shattering the shafts of all of the arrows save one, which
lodged in its wrist.

    "Would be another ninja," Ordinary Lady said, touching a fresh
arrow to her bowstring as she and Cheesecake Eater Lad walked
across the field.

    Alt.Imate Ninja picked up its staff.

    "I defeated robotic duplicates of the two of you yesterday,"
the cyborg said, as the two heroes advanced.  "I can anticipate any
attack or defense of which you can conceive.  Your chances of
defeating me are less than .0002 percent."

    "That's the funny thing about being a big fat guy in a chef's
hat," Cheesecake-Eater Lad said, a samurai sword in his hands.
"People always assume you'll be a pushover.  Jean?"

    "Let's take him out," she said, firing.

    As Ordinary Lady and Cheesecake-Eater Lad attacked the ninja,
Footnote Girl cradled WikiBoy's head in her arms.

    "Revert and recover, WikiBoy.  If you can still hear me," the
teenage girl sobbed, as the Legionnaire Anyone Can Edit lay
motionless in her lap.

    "His chest wound is sealed, but he's lost a lot of blood, and
there's no way to... wait!  I'm getting a pulse!" Sister State-the-
Obvious said.

    "What?  But how can that be?" Footnote Girl said.  "Alt.Imate
Ninja ripped out his heart and... squooshed it."

    "Master Blaster... told me... to 'grow a pair' when he...
edited me," said an ashen-faced WikiBoy.  "I already had... what he
meant... so I thought... an extra heart might... come in handy."

    "Thank God," Sister State-the-Obvious said, flipping open her
communication.thingee.  "Doctor Stomper, we need you at the
southeast corner of the park right away."

    A few hundred feet away, the combined efforts of Cheesecake-
Eater Lad and Ordinary Lady had driven the Alt.Imate Ninja in the
direction of the Bandshell parking lot.

    "Your Legion is outdated and redundant," Alt.Imate Ninja said,
knocking the bow from Ordinary Lady's hands and then spinning
around to block Cheesecake-Eater Lad's swordstroke.  "This latest
crisis is evidence that you no longer serve the function for which
you were designed.  You must be replaced."

    "I love it when robots get uppity," Cheesecake-Eater Lad said,
slicing Alt.Imate Ninja's staff in two.  "It makes it easier to
justify chopping them up and recycling them."

    "Watch out!" said Ordinary Lady, as Alt.Imate Ninja struck out
with his legs, sweeping Cheesecake-Eater Lad off his feet.
"Remember, he's part human.  We don't want to murder the pizza
delivery guy underneath if we can help it."

    Ordinary Lady drew her own sword and surged forward, stopping
only when Alt.Imate Ninja formed the broken pieces of his staff
into an "X" to block her blow.

    "Don't worry," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad, getting to his feet.
"I've got something that ought to release his human side, if I can
get close enough to use it.  I have a special place in my heart
for food service employees."

    "Your habit of discussing battle strategies in front of your
opponent is but one reason you are easy to defeat," said Alt.Imate
Ninja, tossing a handful of nuts, bolts, flanges and widgets at the
two heroes.

    "Artificial ninja bush!  Watch out!" Ordinary Lady shouted,
executing a perfect backflip that landed her at the edge of the
parking lot blacktop.

    "Thank God for my cheesecake-fruitcake hybrid," Cheesecake-
Eater Lad said, using his wrist-fired cheesecake shooter to create
a shield-shaped cake.  "The stuff is practically indestructible!"

    "It is as dense as you," Alt.Imate Ninja said, drawing a sword
with each hand and slicing the cake into eight equal pieces, which
tumbled away from Cheesecake-Eater Lad's wrist like the petals of
a daisy.

    The three combatants eyed each other warily.  Ordinary Lady had
adopted a classical fencer's stance, while Cheesecake-Eater Lad
adjusted his feet into a kendo fighting position.  Alt.Imate Ninja
stood wide, a sword gripped in each hand, staring at his two foes.

    He leaped, as did Ordinary Lady.  Their katanas met in midair,
striking three times before each landed -- Ordinary Lady, panting,
on the pavement, while Alt.Imate Ninja perched on the concrete
barrier that separated the parking lot from the freeway beyond.

    "We've got him trapped!" Cheesecake-Eater Lad said, firing a
stream of cardamom-boysenberry cheesecake at the ninja.

    "You think me trapped?  And you call yourself a warrior?" Alt.
Imate Ninja said, making a backwards somersault onto the roof of
one of the many vehicles whose owners had attempted to flee the
battle at the park and found themselves in several miles of
traffic gridlock.

    "After all," the cyborg said, "he who chooses the field of
battle has already determined the outcome."

    "If there's one thing I hate more than wisdom-spouting killer
robot ninjas," Cheesecake-Eater Lad said, struggling to pull
himself over the top of the barrier, "it's having to fight my way
through traffic."

    "Can't be helped," Ordinary Lady said, launching into a
handspring that carried her over the concrete.  She tucked her legs
beneath her and somersaulted through the air, landing on top of a
station wagon.  Someone below her screamed.  She raised her sword
just in time to parry a feint by the Alt.Imate Ninja.

    Traffic began to move.  The two fighters flowed from cartop to
cartop like a pair of dancers, Alt.Imate Ninja's two swords raining
blows upon Ordinary Lady's blade.  Horns honked and angry drivers
threw bottles, balls of crumpled-up paper and other garbage at the
pair as they leaped and sprang from the back of a minivan to the
roof of a tractor-trailer truck.

    "I know you're in there, Malcolm," Ordinary Lady said, locking
hilts with the Alt.Imate Ninja.  "And I know this isn't you."

    "Malcolm isn't here right now," Alt.Imate Ninja sneered,
breaking free and launching another attack.

    "You're not a killer," Ordinary Lady said.  "You don't want to
be running around pulling people's hearts out.  You want to be
doing what other teenage pizza delivery boys do... driving around,
developing acne, accidentally wandering into the sets of
pornographic films..."

    Alt.Imate Ninja wavered for a moment, beads of sweat appearing
on the human side of his forehead.

    "That's the opening I needed!" shouted Cheesecake-Eater Lad,
leaping onto the back of the truck from the roof of a Greyhound bus
and spraying Alt.Imate Ninja with a thick, foul-smelling substance.

    "What is that stuff?" Ordinary Lady asked, as Alt.Imate Ninja
dropped one of his swords and began clawing at the bubbling liquid
on his face.

    "I call it my 'Grey Goo Cheesecake,' " Cheesecake-Eater Lad
said.  "It's filled with nanomachines designed to overwrite the
Alt.Imate Ninja program.  And it's extremely low in refined sugars."

    "No!  No!  You cannot..." the Alt.Imate Ninja began, before a
distinctly human voice emerged from beneath the grayish mess.

    "Where... what am I?" asked Malcolm, the Pizza Delivery Guy.
"And why is there an arrow sticking out of my wrist?"

    "You did it!" Ordinary Lady said, hugging
Cheesecake-Eater Lad.

    "Hey guys!" shouted a voice from a passing fire engine.

    Ordinary Lady and Cheescake-Eater Lad looked up to see Bad-
Timing Boy dressed in a firefighter's helmet and uniform, and
standing with the nozzle of a fire hose cradled in his arms.

    "Don't worry!" Bad-Timing Boy said.  "A blast of water ought to
take care of that robot once and for all!"

    "No!" Cheesecake-Eater Lad said, but it was too late.  Bad-
Timing Boy doused the Alt.Imate Ninja with a torrent of water,
sending the puddle of grey goo into the windshield of a car in the
next lane and reviving the cyborg ninja.  Shaking its head, the
creature used its remaining sword to deflect the stream of water
into Cheesecake-Eater Lad, who tumbled from the back of the truck.

    "And now only we two remain," the Alt.Imate Ninja said, as
Cheesecake-Eater Lad lay still in the bed of a pickup truck.  "A
pity I did not have the opportunity to tear out the fat one's
heart, as I did with your other friend."

    The creature attacked, and Ordinary Lady parried, fighting
back with an energy that seemed to take the cyborg by surprise.
She swung high, forcing him to block, then kicked Alt.Imate Ninja
in the midsection, sending him reeling towards the back of the
truck.  The cyborg slipped on the spilled cheesecake, then fell,
sparks flying from his iron-clawed hand as he struggled to hold on
to the back of the vehicle.

    "You should have eaten the cheesecake," Ordinary Lady said,
raising her sword for another attack.  "No telling what they'll be
serving in hell."

    Alt.Imate Ninja grinned, leaped backward, ricocheted off a low-
hanging billboard (damaged earlier by Very Big Boy) and kicked
Ordinary Lady in the jaw, sending her sprawling to the surface of
the truck.

    "Impressive," Alt.Imate Ninja said, standing over the body of
his foe.  "You lasted 43.8 percent longer against this entity than
predicted.  No other opponent has ever performed so well."

    The cyborg picked up Ordinary Lady's katana, bowed, then
grabbed the edge of a bridge as the truck passed underneath,
swinging himself upward with one hand.

    He arrived on the bridge to see a few abandoned cars, quite a
lot of broken glass and a man in a faded brown trenchcoat.

    "Knew you'd come," the man said, as Alt.Imate Ninja scanned him
with his cybernetic eye.  "They always come.  Always.  Not that I
do anything to attract them.  But they come just the same.  Like
pigeons to a statue.  Like cats to a keyboard.  Like discussions
in cyberspace to some mention of Hitler and the Nazis."

    SCANNING... said Alt.Imate Ninja's internal display.  CHECKING


    "I'm not much on introductions," the man said, throwing open
his trenchcoat and lifting a submachine gun.  "But you should
know that.  After all, you're a ninja.  And I'm just a guy.  In a
trenchcoat.  Fighting ninjas!"

          *                       *                       *

3:03 a.m., May 2, 2007

Intersection of Scavenger Avenue and Bingham Boulevard,

    "The Legion forces will be here any minute," Vector Prime said,
glancing behind her as she hurried along Scavenger Avenue.

    "Perhaps," Mynabird said.  "Then again, in less than a minute,
we'll have returned to Legion headquarters, and the world's most
advanced weapons systems will be at our fingertips."

    "We might have gotten here sooner, if you wouldn't have spent
the morning standing around in the middle of the park like a
bleedin' statue," Londonbroil said.  "That detestable Writers Block

    "Agreed," Vector Prime said.  "If Uma Thurman hadn't managed to
get rid of her by challenging her to a runway walk-off, we might
still be up there."

    "At last," Mynabird said, rubbing his gauntleted hands together
as they approached Four-Color Square.  "After all those long,
lonely years... my revenge is finally at hand."

    "Sorry, folks," Fearless Leader said, standing in front of
Legion headquarters with his arms folded across his chest.
"Visiting hours are over until we can figure out how to get the
smell of villain out of this place."

    "Fearless Leader!  Of course!" Mynabird said.  "If there was
one among your number who could pose a challenge to me now, with
victory so close at hand, it would, of course, be you!"

    "Hey!" wReamHack said.  "I'm here too, you know."

    "Very well," Mynabird said, as the Easily-Discovered Bran Mite
activated the "Dramatic Confrontation Music" button on his control
panel.  The sound of Journey's "Separate Ways" blared through his
armor's loudspeakers.  "Destroy Fearless Leader... and his
irritating IT support staff!"

    "That's more like it," wReamHack said, as Londonbroil tipped
his bowler hat and ignited his flamethrower.

    Before the Acetyelne Anglophile could roast the two heroes,
however, a third stepped forward, absorbing the blast.

    "Captain Continuity!" Londonbroil said, as the caped hero
walked, unharmed, through the conflagration and pinched shut the
nozzle of the flamethrower.  "I don't believe it."

    "Nor do I," Mynabird said.  "This business of having one
previously unseen hero come to rescue another at the very last
moment is becoming altogether too repetitive in this episode."

    "What is it you heroes say?" Vector Prime said, an emerald glow
shining in her eyes.  "Ah, yes.  Pick on someone your own size!"

    Captain Continuity stared upward as every flight.thingee, jet,
helicopter, tank and miscellaneous vehicle in the Legion's motor
pool roared out of the building like a swarm of angry bees.  The
stream of vehicles swirled around the ruins of Four-Color Square --
and then, driven by the unseen will of the Melissa virus, linked
bumpers, grilles and landing gear together to become a six-story
humanoid robot.

    "Huh," Londonbroil said, staring up at the towering robot as it
slammed a fist -- formed from Teenfactor's Teencruiser -- into
Captain Continuity.  "Call me a critic, but it seems like it would
have been more effective to have all of those cars and spaceships
and things attacking individually."

    "Maybe," said wReamHack, as Captain Continuity struggled
against the pressure of the enormous metal fist.  "But this is
so... much... cooler."

    "Forget the robot!" Fearless Leader said, pointing at Vector
Prime.  "Get the girl!"

    "What you just said goes against everything I've learned
spending 36 years in my parents' basement," wReamHack sighed,
pushing a button on his wrist communicator.  "But you're the boss.
I'm calling in our ace in the hole."

    "Crush him!  Crush him!" said Mynabird, in his best Cobra
Commander voice, firing plasma bolts into Captain Continuity's
chest as Vector Prime strained to maintain her concentration over
the robot amalgamation.  "We're almost to the best part of the

    "I'm trying to... WHAT THE HELL?!" gasped Vector Prime, utterly
flabbergasted as Nudist Man popped out of a nearby garbage can like
a naked, giggling Oscar the Grouch.

    "Howdy-do!" Nudist Man said, as Vector Prime screamed and the
sky began raining vehicles.

    "wReamHack!  Establish a digital telepathic link between
Parking Karma Kid and our heroes in the air -- Captain Continuity,
Kid-Not-Appearing-in-Any-Beige-Midnight-Story, and Minority Miss,"
said Fearless Leader, as a trio of superhumans streaked through the
sky from one falling .thingee to another.  "Make sure none of those
things crashes into anyone!"

    "You may have defeated my, er, virus," Mynabird said, placing
his hands on his hips -- and then pulling them away just as
quickly, since his palms were still steaming from the plasma bolts
he'd fired at Captain Continuity.

    The square had begun to fill with heroes, with a group led by
Occultism Kid filing in from the west, and another group on the
east streaming in behind Sister State-the-Obvious.

    "You may even think you have me surrounded," the armored
mastermind continued.  "But that's because you hadn't counted on
the arrival of my squadron of SINGING MONKEY PIRATES!"

    "Just heard from J. Random Kiwi," wReamHack said, showing the
message on his BlackBerry to Fearless Leader.  "He reports that his
team of Kiwi Kommandoes has utterly routed the monkey pirates near
the entrance to the harbor."

    "Monkeys fighting kiwis?  And we missed it?" said a man in a
black turtleneck and beret, who had been filming the confrontation
through an unusual-looking camera.

    He looked up and swatted the heavy-set man beside him.
"Gaffer, you're supposed to tell me about these kind of things!
That would have gotten us into Cannes for sure..."

    "My beloved monkey pirates... defeated," Mynabird said, his
armored shoulders slumping as the circle of Legionnaires drew
closer.  "It appears, Fearless Leader, that you and yours have won
the day after all."

    "Chin up, old thing," Londonbroil said, clapping him on the
back.  "You made a good show of things.  And after all, it took the
entire LNH to defeat us.  Ripping Dancer, that Weirdness Magnet
character... even Easily-Discovered Man and Lite are here..."

    "EASILY-DISCOVERED MAN LITE?  WHERE?" Mynabird screamed,
throwing Londonbroil to the ground as his pulsing yellow visor
scanned the crowd.  At last he spotted the boy, who was in the act
of selling a shirt with the logo "I Led the Legion of Net.Heroes
For A Day And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" to You're-Not-

    "AT LAST!  AT LAST!" the Easily-Discovered Bran Mite said,
rubbing his forelegs together with glee.  "I'll blast him into..."

    "Plasma bolts unavailable," said the Mynabird armor's internal
computer system, which the Easily-Discovered Bran Mite had
programmed to sound exactly like the voice of Scarlett Johansson.
"Recharge of plasma generation system required."

    "I can't even shoot powerful beams out of my hands?" the
Easily-Discovered Bran Mite grumbled.  "How hardcore can I be?  Oh
well," he said, his gaze lingering on a framed photo of Arachne at
the edge of his control console.  "I suppose there's no choice but
to blow all of us to kingdom come."

    He removed the plastic shrink-wrap from a large blue button at
the edge of the console labeled "Reactor Self-Destruct," sighed,
and pressed it.

    "Thirty seconds to meltdown," said the voice of Scarlett
Johansson, as the number "30" appeared in large red digital
letters on all four of the monitors in front of the console.
Another panel on the console irised open, and a bottle of 12-
year-old scotch rose out of the opening, accompanied by a glass
tumbler filled with ice.  "Happy Trails" began playing over the
helmet's loudspeaker.

    "Here's to you, Arachne," the Easily-Discovered Bran Mite said,
pouring himself a glass of scotch as the red number dropped to

    "By the seven hells of Compaq customer service!" Vector Prime
exclaimed, staring at Mynabird.  "He's activated some kind of a
doomsday device!  There's enough nuclear material in there to blow
all of Net.ropolis County off the map!"

    "And there's some kind of force field around his armor,"
Sister-State-The-Obvious said.  "We can't get through to shut it

    "Even my power to appear naked in unexpected places is having
no effect," Nudist Man said.

    "We're all going to die!" Coward Lad gasped.

    "Maybe not," the Dismal-Hope Kid said.  "Some of us could come
out of this horribly scarred, and then give birth to mutants.
Although it's much more likely that all of us are going to die."

    "Look, whoever you are," Fearless Leader said.  "Blowing
yourself up in order to get back at your enemies is pointless,
childish and stupid... not to mention cowardly.  Only a thuggish,
craven barbarian would even consider it!"

    "Barbarian, am I?" Mynabird said, his words somewhat slurred.
"I'm only taking a few of you with me!  You... you slaughtered my
entire species!"

    "What's he going on about?" wReamHack asked Londonbroil.  "Did
Master Blaster go and shoot through an entire planet of talking
robots again without telling the rest of us?"

    "E's not a robot, e's a... it's hard to explain," Londonbroil

    "Mynabird, listen," Vector Prime said, placing her hands
against the force field.  "I don't know what it's like to lose
your people.  But I know what it's like to lose someone you love.
I made 128 copies of myself today... and every time one of them was
hit, or lost a limb, or was shot, or killed... I felt it.  I felt
myself die 128 times."

    "Who cares about the clouds when we're together," the Easily-
Discovered Bran Mite sang.  "Just sing a song and bring the sunny

    "He's not listening," Vector Prime said.  "Dammit, Mynabird,
I believed in you!  We all believed in you!  What about that speech
you made today?  What about your idea of letting everyone be the
author of her own destiny?  Is that what you're doing right now?"

    "Ten seconds," breathed the voice of Scarlett Johansson.

    "What do you want to be remembered as?" Vector Prime asked.
"Are you going to go down as the villain they all believe you to
be... knowing you could be so much more... and let people like
Easily-Discovered Man Lite be remembered as heroes?"

    "Hey, wait a minute," said Lite, who had been in the process
of suggesting to Ripping Dancer what the two of them should do
with their last moments on earth together.  "What do I have to do
with any of this?"

    The Easily-Discovered Bran Mite stared at the boy long and
hard through the viewports of the Mynabird helmet before smashing
the glass tumbler of scotch against the image and switching off
the self-destruct mechanism.

    The crowd of heroes cheered.  Vector Prime sighed.

    "Okay, everybody," Fearless Leader said, as Mynabird's force
field wavered out of existence.  "Let's take him in... and let's do
it by the book."

    As Librarian Lady passed copies of "Capturing Dark Overlords
for Dummies" by Gamer Boy throughout the group of heroes, however,
a door appeared in the empty space behind Mynabird.  The door
opened inward, and a robed figure placed his hand on Mynabird's

    "Get in.  Now!" Father Brown hissed.

    Mynabird, Vector Prime and Londonbroil scrambled through the
passage -- the last turning around and tipping his hat -- before
the door, and the villains, disappeared.

    "If only we'd gotten these books sooner," Bad-Timing Boy
lamented.  "He talks about the whole 'villain escaping through
a disappearing door' situation right here on page 28."

    "It doesn't matter what Gamer Boy thinks.  They can't have just
disappeared!" Fearless Leader said.  "Search the city!  Find them!"

    The crowd of heroes dispersed, with the exception of Ripping
Dancer, who was busy slapping Easily-Discovered Man Lite.

    "I've scanned the entire area, and I can't find any trace of
them," Captain Continuity said, swooping down a few moments later.

    "Nor can the Emerald Eye of Eyrie," Occultism Kid said, gazing
into a swirling sphere of green light.  "It's as though they 're
somewhere between the levels of reality itself."

    Fearless Leader sighed.  "Keep up the search, just the same,"
he said, doing his best to keep the weariness out of his voice.
"In the mean time, we have a lot of work to do.  Our headquarters
is in ruins, as is much of the city.  There are still people out
there who might be trapped under rubble, or lying wounded in some
of the areas damaged during the attack.  We need to get them to

    "It may be a while before the people of this city are ready to
trust us again," Fearless Leader continued, as a Checker cab
approached the entrance to Legion Headquarters.  "And we're going
to have our hands full in the next few months, sending a team to
Qwerty to check Bart, and find some way to keep him from releasing
the Bryttle Brothers.  But I want to tell each and every one of you
that I've never been prouder of this team... of any team... than I
was today..."

    The taxi door opened.  A tall, powerfully-built man dressed in
black martial-arts pajamas, a mask, and a floppy fishing hat
stepped out of the vehicle, carrying a bamboo pole.  He closed the
taxi door, and the car sped away, brakes squealing, without the
driver waiting to be paid.

    The tall, black-clad man walked across the square toward
Fearless Leader.

    "Ultimate Ninja!" Fearless Leader said, bowing.

    Ultimate Ninja did not return the bow.  His head turned from
left to right, taking in the broken, blackened lobby of Legion
Headquarters, the bruised and bloodied faces of the Legionnaires
around him, the fires still burning on the horizon in the city

    "You are relieved of your command," he said, passing Fearless
Leader on his way into the building without another word.

    TOMORROW: Parthian shots and epilogue!

More information about the racc mailing list