LNH: 58.5 #1

Lalo Martins lalo.martins at gmail.com
Sat Jun 9 15:04:54 PDT 2007

Net.ropolis is a great place to be, in a spring afternoon.

That is, if you don't have any particular love for your life
and bodily integrity, and enjoy weirdness and near-death
experiences.  Or you are an immortal Net.ahuman.

On that sunny afternoon, in what the LNHers were calling "the
tsk.force Sunday", Cannon Fodder and Innovative-Offense Boy
were, in theory, leading a large squadron of kiwis against an
invasion of mind-controlled insects.  In practice, however, the
kiwis were handling it well enough, and they were having a rare
moment of enjoying the day.  One of the birds, in particular,
seemed to be an accomplished martial arts master, and was quite
enjoyable to watch.

Their enjoyment was interrupted by a strange figure.  His skin
was a deep, but reflexive black, like an LCD screen when it's
off.  For hair, he had three thick strands, running from his
eyebrows to the back of his neck; one red, one green, and one
blue.  His eyes were red, and he had sideburns -- green on his
right side, blue on his left.  He wore a strange armor, that
looked more ceremonial than combat-oriented.  He stared at
Cannon Fodder.

The ever-dying hero was alarmed, and took a step back.

"Who are you?"

~"I mean you no harm, Godd Fodder.  I come to deliver a
warning.  At great personal risk to me."~

"Again: who are you?"

~"I'm a member of the Xinerama Brotherhood.  We have vowed to
watch and protect the Usenetverse.  Keep newsgroups separate and
complementary.  Avoid redundant groups, and excessive
cross-posting.  While on the other hand, protecting reasonable
and relevant cross-posting."~

"No *#%&@#% shit!", said the other Legionnaire.

~"I'm the member from sci.physics.plutonium.  And I have chosen
you to receive my warning, and decide what to do about it."~

"Why me?"

~"I'm counting on your superior intellect."~

"Ah.  Sure.  You must have gotten the wrong guy."

~"There's more about you than you know, Godd Fodder.  And it
will surface when you need it."~

Cannon Fodder was in too much shock to speak.  Fortunately, his
colleague helped.  "La-de-&%*#@#&(*&-la.  What #*%(@# warning?"

~"Right now, my brothers are busy waging a hopeless war in the
binary groups, trying to collapse all the nude celebrity groups
into one.  This should keep them busy for some time."~


~"However, once they're done, they have already decided on the
next project.  They are enraged about alt.comics.lnh being
largely a subset of rec.arts.comics.creative."~

"So they want to delete the group?", asked Cannon Fodder.  "I
don't know that I care, mister Xino dude.  As long as the
archives and Google--"

~"Oh no.  That would be too simple.  No.  The Xinerama
Brotherhood has decided to wipe out the Looniverse.  The way
they see it, that would make r.a.c.c thrive, with ASH and
Superfreaks and the others, while a.c.l will either disappear,
or be used for discussions of the old days."~

"Well", said Innovative-Offense Boy.  "That would almost make
sense, I think."

"You do?", asked the mysterious entity.

"Sure.  If it wasn't the $*()@~!$&@# piece of %&(*#&%(*%#(
%#(*&%(@*#&%( %(*#&%(#@*%(@&%(#% I've ever )(%*#()%&(#*@% %#*)%
 __     _ ,, _  ____       _    __. __         __. _ _ _ _ _ 
/ _|___| / _X_)/ /\ \_/\__| |_ / _|/ _|____/\_/ _|| | | | | |
> _|_ _|_\_ \ / /_ > >  <_   _( (_|> _|_ _>  < (_||_|_|_|_|_|
\_____|(_)__//_/(_)_/ \/  |_|  \___\_____| \/ \___(_|_|_|_|_)"
But the Xinerama brother had already disappeared.


The morning that dawned on the clifftop hill was beautiful and
pleasant.  Just over the edge, in a valley now completely closed
off by thick trees (courtesy of Green), the same morning was
dull, bleak, and depressing.  A herd of Turtles of Apocalyptic
Proportions was sleeping fitfully; like most depressed
creatures, they had been awake most of the night, contemplating
their misery, and despising the turtle next to them, who dared
to act as if her pitiful problems were ANYTHING REMOTELY as big
as theirs.  Poser!

Mary Smith crawled out of her tent, yawning.  The Acra Flight
used to have a really nice arrangement for camping.  Three
tents, two people each.  If Professor and Teacher or Mary's mom
and dad were with them, each couple was exactly one extra tent.
As for the youngsters -- two boys, two girls, and two "other".
It was perfect.

Now Kathy was gone, and mom, dad, Professor and Teacher weren't
the same people anymore.  They were in a different universe.
All on their own.

She smiled.

For the first time in her life, she was very excited.


Who Cares Studios numerically presents...
                         __________    ______
                        / ____( __ )  / ____/
                       /___ \/ __  | /___ \
                      ____/ / /_/ / ____/ /


                           Break Away

                     Lalo Martins -- writer
                     May Fonseca -- editor
            with thanks to the Legion of Net.Authors


Mary walked near the fire, where she found her cousin, lying on
the ground, head on a log, eyes closed, dreamily listening to a
black mp3 player.

"Morning, Birdie."

He opened his eyes and smiled at her.  "Hey yourself."  He
pulled his earbuds a little, so that he could still hear the
music, while at the same time hearing Mary.

"Whoa", she said.  "You look almost cheerful."

He stretched.  "Yeah.  An unexpected day off, thanks to all the
trouble the LNH had yesterday.  And I discovered something
called Blind Guardian.  I guess this era is not entirely without

She smiled, opened the cold box, and started preparing a
sandwich.  "As a matter of fact, I'm quite enjoying."

"So Mary is enjoying it, and Blackbird is happy."  The voice
belonged to Analytic, who seemingly woke up attracted by the
smell of food.  "I wonder, did I arrive here with the same Acra
Flight I used to know?  Or did we pass by an Out-Of-
Characterness Field before getting here?"

"I'll go with the second option", said Blackbird.  "Seeing as I
just heard Analysis being funny."

"It's Analytic now", said the other teen, peeking inside the
cold box.

"Anything you say, Meredith", said the goth boy.  Analytic
growled, but the hunger came first.


The Pentagon.  Tuesday.

An assortment of military officers and high-ranking civilian
officials were sitting nervously around a table.  Looks of fear
and guilt were exchanged regularly.  In a corner of the room,
far from the table, two teenagers in suits -- a blond boy and an
Italian-looking brunette girl -- were busy playing Sudoku and
ignoring the older people.

Then the door opened dramatically.  Two secret service men
walked in, looked around, and looked at each other.  One of them
looked outside and gestured.  All people in the table
swallowed.  And Hexadecimal Luthor walked in.

"All right, ladies and gentlemen.  What's the news?"  The tone
was barely a question, more of an order.

The people looked around, and by the time-honored method of "eye
contact election", gradually converged on General Joss.  He
swallowed again.

"No news, sir.  April continues on.  None of our agencies
managed to find any explanation, or a way to end it."

"Precious.  I'm sure the taxpayers would love to see this
demonstration of efficiency from their government.  What about
the LNH?"

"Their members are still disappearing every day, sir."  Joss
looked around, helplessly, begging for support and finding
none.  "And they still haven't reported the disappearances; in
fact, we asked, and they denied it vehemently."

"Right.  We're going to have to do something about that, too.
But later.  How are *their* investigations going?"

"Not any better, sir.  In fact, our intel says they're spending
more effort in investigating their disappearances, although they
have spent some effort in the calendar issue."

"Infinite April", said a civilian from the NSA.  "It's what it's
being called by the media."

"The problem, sir", continued Joss, "is that the LNHer that
disappears is always the leader.  So, pretty much every single
day, their policies and their investigation approaches change.
Except for some individual efforts by particularly gifted

"I see.  They were never the most reliable tools in the box
anyway, were they?"

Half the table wanted to say, "no, but they still managed to
succeed, in most other cases  before"; but nobody had the
courage to say that to the President's face.

He asked: "And how's the general public handling it?"

Joss breathed with relief.  This was something he had no idea
about, so someone else would have to step up.

Valkiria Jogging, an official from some department so secret
that most people present didn't know its name, decided to give
it a go.

"The economy is taking it hard.  Individual states have adopted
different solutions, with varying degrees of success. Er...
that would be, roughly, from 'catastrophic' to 'barely
noticeable improvement', sir.  Children and teachers are worried
about the school year dragging on forever and summer break never
coming.  Tourist spots are getting desperate."

"I see.  No riots yet?"

"No, sir.  There were a few demonstrations, but nothing
escalated yet.  On the upside, the percentage of people who want
the government to fix it isn't larger than those who expect the
LNH to do it.  And those who think it's their fault come third."

"Hmm.  Maybe we could spin that.  Good."

"Sir", shyly offered General Joss.  "We think it could be the
work of some unfriendly foreign power."

"No.  That's extremely unlikely, according to my own
calculations.  But even so, please go on thinking that.
Encourage your people to do so.  And try to come up with some
proof.  If we need to invade some place before the end of the
month, it could come handy."

"Yes, sir."

"Now", said Luthor.  "I assume we're conducting our own
investigation on the LNH disappearances too?  And the
whereabouts of Ultimate Ninja?"

(Damn)o., thought Joss.  .o(This I do know.  Why must everyone
report to me?  Oh yeah.  Chief of Staff.  Damn.)  "Yes sir, of
course.  We have people from all appropriate agencies on it, and
some rather inappropriate ones too.  Even the Secret Gadgets
Command is on it."

"Excellent.  And no results, I assume?"

"None, sir."  Joss was very red.

"Well.  So basically, your initial summary was correct: all the
best military forces and intelligence and investigation agencies
in the world have no news at all to give me."

Joss swallowed yet again.  "That is correct, sir."

"Well then.  I believe it's time for PANIC."

General Joss was taken aback this time, and almost recovered his
composure with the shock.  "Sir?  You're suggesting that the
government panics?"

"I don't suggest, General", Hex said coldly.  "I'm the President
of the Loonited States of Ame.rec.a.  I give orders.  But no,
General, that's not what I mean.  I'm referring to an agency I
created a few years ago, shortly after I was elected, and that
until now, I had no reason to reveal to most of you.  The
Paranormal, Alien and Net.ahuman Investigation Commission.
Or, as some like to call it, our own little bag of net.heroes."

The officials, civilian and military, looked around at each
other again.  It was clear, by the expressions of anger and
guilt, who already knew about PANIC, and who was hearing about
it for the first time.

Luthor gestured at the teenagers.  "Doctor Jogging here is one
of the members who run the commission.  And may I introduce to
you two of our best agents.  This is Roger M. Zing, codename
Hyperbolic Boy.  And lieutenant Francesca Blake, codename
Dramatic Pause Lass."  The two approached, and nodded their
heads.  It was clear they weren't impressed or intimidated by
all the rank present at the table; however, they both seemed to
fear Dr. Jogging, and even more, the President.

"They're so young!", protested Joss.

"Absolutely", said Hex.  "We have operatives of many age groups,
but mostly, we focus on agents that could easily work together
with the LNH.  Or, if necessary, against them."  He turned to
the young agents.  "Hyperbolic Boy, Dramatic Pause Lass."

A small, nervous silence followed.  Everybody else looked
nervously from the teens to the President, from the President to
the teens.

"Yes, sir", said lt. Blake.  "We're ready for duty."

"We've never been so ready in our lives", said mr. Zing.  "And I
think I can say, no other agent or agency has ever been more
ready.  We await your orders, knowing our lives will forever be
divided in before and after these orders."

"Excellent.  Here they are, then.  You are to assemble or co-opt
a small group, and investigate this whole Infinite April
silliness.  This group is under no circumstances to know it's
working for the government.  If you mess up, of course, we'll
deny any involvement, or even having ever heard of you.  If you
find a group that's not formally affiliated with the LNH, even
better; let's hope this can keep them from disappearing."

"Yes sir!  We'll give you the most spectacular net.hero group in
the history of the Looniverse, past and future!  And not even
the strength of all said Looniverse could prevent our success!"

Nobody said anything, as the officials had diverse (but silent)
reactions to the boy's apparent arrogance.  Most of them wanted
to say something, point out the absurd of relying on what seemed
to be a completely insane plan... but who would say something
like that to Hex Luthor?

"Thank you for your confidence, sir", said lt. Blake.  "You can
count on us."


"This is Patty Freebie for WHEE", said the reporter to the
camera.  "While many people with a job are now preparing to go
party in this beautiful Friday night, the homeless and hungry of
Net.ropolis are already celebrating.  For the third day in a
row, in Birmingham Valley, just outside the city, an
LNH-sponsored group is serving free food.  It started as turtle
soup and barbecue, but donations started to arrive before the
first day was over.  Today we have three different kinds of
bread, Japanese-style noodles, and tortillas, to go with all the
turtle.  And people are loving it!"

The camera panned to show hundreds of people sitting around,
eating from plastic plates.

"And here we have the Net.Hero behind the idea: Bandwagon Chick,
from the LNH."

"Hi", Bonnie waved nervously.

"So.  Most people already know the story, but for the benefit of
those who don't, would you mind telling us where all this turtle
meat came from?"

"Sure.  It was some mad scientist.  He gave one turtle the power
to grow to apocalyptic proportions, inspired by the recent
invasion of giant turtles in Net.ropolis, back in the beginning
of April.  Then he cloned it a few hundred times.  And tried to
use it to hold the city for ransom."

"Oh.  So it's cloned, mutated meat."

"Er.  Yeah."

"And you're sure it's safe to eat?"

"Well.  That's why it took so long for us to start serving; you
see, we captured them last Saturday.  But we wanted to make sure
the meat was safe.  And we can guarantee, there's no chance of
any side-effects, except for maybe some minor growth."

"Awesome!  And here, we have some of Bandwagon Chick's
volunteers.  While most volunteers are normal people from the
city, we have an entire group of net.ahuman youngsters, who is
not affiliated with the LNH."  A goth-looking boy panned in.  "I
understand you speak for the group, mr. Jones?"

"Yes.  Call me Blackbird.  We're... friends of the LNH, but not
affiliated.  We call ourselves the New Misfits."

"I'm sure with this kind of attitude, you won't be misfits for
very long!"

.o(Yeah right.)  "Sure, Patty.  Let's hope so."

"Would you mind introducing the New Misfits to the audience?"

"Sure.  This is my cousin, Whatever.  She's 7, but her mind has
been magically matured by an extradimensional being.  Here's our
brain guy, Analytic.  And if you pan over there, you'll see
Tree-Hugging Kid; she's serving veggies to the homeless, and a
little camera-shy."

"Awesome!  And you wear no costumes?"

"We're not net.heroes, Patty.  We're kids with super-powers, who
do the right thing when the opportunity hits us in the face.
And bear in mind, sometimes the right thing is not to be
heroic.  Sometimes it's getting away safely and calling the LNH,
or the authorities."

"Very good!  Thank you very much!  Now let's look at--"

In a hotel room in Net.York, Hyperbolic Boy turned off the TV.

"This is absolute perfection, Fran!  A destiny shaped by forces
that can't be challenged!  These kids are so exactly what we
need, that you'd think the President was thinking of them when
he gave the order!  We need to find them this very second!"

But they didn't do or say anything that very second.  Or the
next few seconds after that one.  Almost a minute, even.  He
looked at his partner with anticipation and almost maniac
enthusiasm.  Finally, she said:

"You're right.  They'll do.  Let's go get them."


Cannon Fodder is wReam's, with special thanks to Dvandom.
Innovative-Offense Boy is upLink's.
Kid Kiwi's Kiwi Kommandoes are Ian Porell (Descrii)'s.
The Xinerama Brotherhood is mine.
Blackbird Jones, Mary Smith (Whatever), Meredith Samuels
  (Analytic), Green Delaware (Tree-Hugging Kid), and Blur are
  also mine.
Hexidecimal Luthor is Chris Hare's.
General Joss and Doctor Valkiria Jogging are new creations for
  this issue, but consider them public domain.
Dramatic Pause Lass, Hyperbolic Boy, and PANIC are...

  ... wait for it...

  mine, too.
Bonnie Chique (Bandwagon Chick) is Sue Clark's.
Patty Freebie of WHEE is a new creation for this issue, but
  consider her public domain.



Bonus feature: How to Write Blackbird

real name: Blackbird Jones
age: sliding: about 18

appearance: Raven-black hair carelessly cut, with a vague
featherlike quality.  Skin so pale that he seems to be using
mascara, and black pits around the eyes.  He always wears black,
in goth style; most of the time, a faded t-shirt, ripped jeans,
military boots, and a chain (complete with black padlock) either
for belt or around the neck.

powers: Blackbird wasn't conceived, as much as he was designed.
The Wicked powers of his mother shaped him in the womb, to be
essentially everything that his father considered cool.

Namely, he manipulates a force he calls "Goth darkness", which can:

- Be solid in many ways; including creating semi-permanent black
  artifacts, which will always seem somehow goth.  You guessed,
  his clothes are made of the stuff.

- Negatively influence other people's mood or morale (by
  enveloping them).

- Scare the wits out of people that are only partially inside it.

- Serve as a means of teletransportation.

- Whatever else the Author needs to use as a plot device and can
  describe in a way consistent with the character.

However, the second effect is not entirely under his control,
and all uses of his power cause a minor "mood spill",
proportional to the power level used.

He is, himself, a big fan of goth culture, specially music.  As
such, most uses of his power tend to be themed by goth
references.  This only helps him focus and use his powers
naturally; it's a personal choice, not intrinsic part of his

His power is fueled by his angst and/or depression.

personality: He's close to the stereotype of the troubled
late-teen.  Other than that, he's cynical, insecure, and has
trouble letting go of the past.  On the other hand, he
profoundly hates people who think they're better than others to
the point of invading the others' freedom; that's his motivation
for being a hero.  He also has a strong feeling of
responsibility towards his team.

dialog style: Blackbird enjoys using Goth references in normal
conversation too.  If you listen to him for some time, you'll
get the impression he follows a religion that worships a
pantheon of four entities: Bob, Souxsie, Gaiman, and the Pixies.

allies and friends: Member and leader of the New Misfits, whose
core group came with him from the future team "Acra Flight".

In the alternate future he comes from, his father was Luke Jones
(from Teens in Trenchcoats), and his mother, Ravencroft Wicked
(both owned by Ben Rawluk).  Blackbird was partially estranged
from both, for different reasons.  His mentors were Sarah
Loman-Sahay and Kalyani Sahay, respectively avatars of Binky and
Skaine (both owned by Jennifer Whitston).  In the present time,
most of those four are younger than him, and none have met him.

enemies and dislikes: No enemies yet, but with his personality,
that can hardly last...

He doesn't trust Pantra at all; the way he sees it, she
exchanged an unstable personality for another.

other: He and the other former Acras have decided not to let
anybody know that they actually come from an alternate future.
In particular, he and his cousin Mary prefer to actively avoid
their families, and other people whom they remember from the
LNH2 times.

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