LNH: 58.5 #12
lalo.martins at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 03:38:10 PDT 2007
"How long?", was the first thing Blackbird said, after waking up
to see Bonnie's face, and taking a look around. But first, he
waited for all other New Misfits to be released from their
chambers. He needed a few minutes to recover his breath, anyway.
"About six weeks", said Bonnie.
"So it's still April?"
"Wow", said Mary, looking at the kiwi. "When Mother Time's
devolutionary ray turned you into this form, I didn't expect it
"It seems to be permanent", said the bird, nervously adjusting
the folds of his kimono.
"Hmm", whispered Analytic, not loud enough for anyone else to
hear. "A kimono, eh? There's that pattern again."
"So what now", asked Daniel. "Do you have kiwi powers?"
"What would 'kiwi powers' mean?"
"Well. Can you fly?"
"Kiwis don't fly, dude." He flapped his tiny wings for
illustration. "Just think about it."
"Can you talk to kiwis?"
"Everybody can, it seems. It's understanding them that's the
"Ok, ok. Can you understand kiwis?"
"No. Can apes understand you?"
Daniel threw his hands up in the air. "What's the use, then?"
"Well", the bird said, blushing a bit. (How a green-feathered
face blushes I'll leave to your imagination.) "I know kiwi-fu."
"Yeah", Blackbird said, joining the conversation. "I've been
meaning to ask you about that. What gives?"
"In the beginning of the month, Innovative-Offense Boy edited
Wiki Boy into a martial-arts master, and ordered everybody to
take lessons[*]. Most learned a bit, many forgot everything the
next day due to exhaustion, a few were too boneheaded to learn
anything at all, and only a handful learned enough to really make
a difference. I think I can safely say, I was the best student
of all; maybe because before that day, I already enjoyed hanging
around Ordinary Lady and her circle."
[*from your point of view, that would be LNHCP 54 (Infinite
Leadership Cry.sig #19) -- Footnote Cybergirl]
"You need a grifing name", said Locked Room. "We can't just keep
calling you 'the kiwi'."
"I beg your pardon; you mean I didn't need a name before, just
because I couldn't talk???"
"Kloorve me, no. If I knew you were going to be hanging out with
the team so much, I'd entirely have said that before. But da,
now that you can talk, it feels even sillier to, well, talk to
you, and frames."
"Well. My name is Kiwi Kiwii Kiwi."
"Kiwi KIwi KiwI?", tried Bonnie.
Mary laughed. "No, that means 'your grandmother is a fish'. Not
a very popular Kiwi name, I'd wager."
"Kloorve that", Locked Room sneered. "You said you don't even
understand kiwian anymore, so let's get you a proper name."
"Howie", said Mary. "I'd like to call you Howie K."
"Lame", said Triangle Lad.
"Nah. I like it. I'm Howie K."
In another part of the room, Contraption Man looked uncomfortably
at Contraption Boy. The kid wasn't that much younger than
himself; less than 10 years, for sure.
"Hmm. So you're supposed to be my sidekick?"
"One day. Eventually. You were much older then."
"I see", he said, scratching the back of his neck in a very
"That's what I originally came for. To see what you were like
when you were younger."
"Why didn't you, then?"
"I did. From a distance. Didn't want to actually talk to you
and mess up the time stream. But what with this Infinite April
and Time Crapper stuff, I guess the point is kind of moot."
"After time gets back to normal, assuming it does--"
"Then I don't know. We'll cross that hyper-threshold when we get
to its anchor point, I guess."
"I can take you back when you came from. If you want."
"Make no promises, pal. At the moment, there's no reason to
believe you'll be able to keep them. Or that you'll be around to
try. Or even that I will want it."
"So what now?", asked Analytic to the "core" group.
"Now we get back to tracking 'Andy', I guess", said Blackbird.
"Myself", Analytic said, "I'd like to get my hands on the Crapper
and Mother Time."
"Kloorve that. I need to grifing gorge myself on milk-shake
first! Come on, let's outquant this place!"
"Yeah", said Mary, with a subtle dark tone. "I have...
*something* I must do."
Who Cares Studios around-the-clock-ly presents...
/ ____( __ ) / ____/
/___ \/ __ | /___ \
____/ / /_/ / ____/ /
Once Upon a Time There Was a Tavern
by Lalo Martins
Blackbird Jones Blackbird mine
Bonnie Chique Bandwagon Chick Sue Clark's
Mary Smith Whatever mine
Kiwi Kiwii Kiwi Howie K. mine
Meredith Samuels Analytic mine
Daniel Hunt Contraption Boy mine
(unpronounceable) Locked Room mine
Old Ugly mine
Trey M. B. Gantt Triangle Lad mine
Contraption Man somebody's
Green Delaware Tree-Hugging Kid mine
Blur Blur mine
Fourth Wall Lass Saxon Brenton's
The Time Crapper Jef Kolodziej's
Tamela Tyme Mother Time Saxon Brenton's/
????? The Existents mine/The Residents'
"Andy" Weirdness Magnet I mine
Godd Fodder Cannon Fodder wReam's (special
thanks to Dvandom)
Terry Kid-Not-Appearing-In- Saxon Brenton's
Clara Lee-Trobbo mine
It was a cheap, greasy-looking, badly-lit diner in a bad
neighborhood of Net.York. There were two waitresses in "sexy"
uniforms, one young, ugly, short, and overweight, the other
looking like she had been really pretty, before years of abuse,
long hours, and junk food aged her prematurely. The person
behind the counter looked a lot like an ogre, and gender was
impossible to guess.
Fourth Wall Lass walked in, looked around, and shuddered at the
generally dismal look of the place. Yet, somehow, it was
reasonably full. It was "happy hour" in Net.York, and lots of
workers were having dinner and cheap beer, which added rancid
sweat to the already unpleasant smell of the grease den.
But in a table near a corner, a couple was engaged in animated
conversation, and eating something unrecognizable. The couple,
however, was recognizable; the Time Crapper and Mother Time.
Fourth Wall Lass walked over, and sat beside Mother Time.
"You wanted to see me?"
"You're 58.5 seconds late", said the Crapper.
"I don't remember agreeing on an exact time."
"No, but we saw you coming in the time scope. Exactly as you
did, but the time was off by almost a minute."
"Whatever. Please go on and tell me why we should talk, and I
shouldn't call the LNH, police, or something."
"You're here", said Mother Time, "So you must be intrigued at
"Intrigued at your cheek, at the very least. Sneak me a message
asking to meet, when almost everyone I know would welcome the
opportunity of capturing you."
"I thought we should discuss recent events", said the Crapper.
The older waitress arrived just then, and threw a "this is not a
library" look at Fourth Wall Lass. "Oh..." she looked around at
what other people were eating, and lost any last vestiges of
appetite. "I'll have a Mr. Paprika. In a bottle, please." The
waitress grunted something incomprehensible and walked away.
Fourth Wall Lass dug up for a wallet.
"Don't worry about it", said Mother Time. "I doubt you'll ever
see your drink. One of the reasons we picked this place is that
service is so bad... less interruptions."
"Anyway, we're not in a mood to fight. If the LNH or anyone
else shows up, we'll just time-jump away, and you won't know
what we wanted to tell you."
"Fair enough. Go on."
"What I just told you about the time scope", said the Crapper,
gleefully throwing a forkful of... something... in his mouth.
"It's been happening a lot. Small deviations, errors, and not
only in the future, but also the past."
"Maybe you need to have it fixed?"
He snorted. "Of course that was the first thing I thought. But
I checked and triple-checked, and it's all working properly.
The scope *is* showing me the time stream; it's the time stream
"That's... a bold statement."
"I... borrowed some other equipment to check it. I connected a
retcon detector to the time scope... and it exploded. Some more
careful measurements showed me a strong wave of retcon. It's
connecting an area from April 1st to somewhere next year, to
Retcon Hour, Beige Noon, and some point in the very distant past,
and also one a few decades in the future. The threads are
Fourth Wall Lass thought about it and nodded. "Yeah. That would
be Bart messing around, I figure."
The Crapper seemed taken aback, and dropped the food he was
about to put in his mouth. "Bart? You're not supposed to know
about that until--"
Fourth Wall Lass took a deep sigh. "Agreed. But I do. I've
been following Beige Countdown and 58.5. I know where the
leaders are going, and why April doesn't end, and when it's going
to end, and I know about next year. And I've also came to
similar conclusions as you."
"And you didn't tell your allies?", Mother Time asked, a look of
deep surprise in her face, and maybe even a little admiration.
"For the first time, I have an idea what it's like to live your
lives. Everything is so delicate. I could tell people, but
honestly, what good would it do? Without all the heavy-hitters
that were already taken, I doubt we'd be able to take Bart
down. And seeing the Leadership Crisis to the end may -- just
may -- help us prepare for Beige Midnight. Or not. Either way,
if I do try to do something, then I'll only mess up continuity
even more, invalidating issues of LNHCP, Beige Countdown, and
58.5 that were posted months ago. Honestly... I just wish I get
taken soon, so I wake up in May and don't have to worry about
Mother Time grinned. "We'd be happy to teach you a few tricks.
Crapper has years of experience, planning, preparing, and
plotting in ways that don't cause retcon."
"Hmm... I'm not sure I want to owe you guys a favor."
"Just think about it."
And she said, to her own shock: "I may. Anything that helps us
with Beige Midnight may turn up to be worth the cost."
"But on the topic at hand...", tried the Crapper.
"Yeah. Retcon that is already there."
"You said you noticed it?"
"This conversation is being posted in 58.5. In the last few
issues, Cannon Fodder learned about his origin in
alt.fan.bugtown. Except... that already happened, in the Johnny
Fearless mini. How did Fodder, and specially everybody else,
forget again? And if the Johnny Fearless mini never happened,
then where do all those damn Oozelfinches come from?"
"I've been seeing many things being ignored, as if retconned
out, but not explicitly. Since Johnny Fearless was shortly
before Retcon Hour, that would figure. And it may be related to
how DC has been doing a lot of implicit retcon as well,
specially the whole Wonder Woman mess."
"Or it could be just a writer being lazy", offered Mother Time.
Fourth Wall Lass threw a mean look at the Fourth Wall. "It
could. Yet, if he or she is smart... or thinks he is... he will
try to turn it into a plot device, which is what this
conversation probably is about. So, with all that Bart has been
doing, it wouldn't be unreasonable for both things to be
connected. Maybe he's retconning the Legion to be a weaker
adversary? Or maybe he's just collecting power and the retcons
"Bart is dangerous", the Crapper said. "For all our conflicts, I
was always aware that if the danger to the time stream was too
big, my own powers would be rendered useless. However, he's
acquired more power than any human was ever supposed to have, at
least without ceasing to be human. He could, and should, have
evolved into a cosmic entity; but he rejected that path, and
after finding the Bryttle Brothers, he's become a nihilist. He
has no regard for any consequences, safe in the incorrect
assumption that he can hide in a time before they take effect.
He doesn't realize that, since he's not the only time traveler in
the Usenetverse, any sufficiently big damage can grow all the way
to the dawn of time. Or he doesn't care."
"Can't you just go back and stop him from even gaining those
"No", said Mother Time. "It's like you said, it's not that easy
to tamper with the time stream, not in a shared fictional
universe where ongoing stories are being posted."
"To begin with, he's too powerful for that to be possible; he
would be able to detect the tampering, and stop it", the Crapper
"But even if we did, with the way the Usenetverse works, that
would only create an alt.reality. In fact, with my powers, I can
tell you that there is one such reality where we did that -- but
that doesn't help the main Looniverse in any way."
"What do we do then? Just stand and watch time fall apart?"
"No", he said. "But as Tamela told you, the planning has to be
careful. And I needed cross-fourth-wall information that I don't
have access to... and that you just gave me. If there is a Beige
Countdown already in progress, then we have to ride it, and do
whatever minor adjustments are necessary for it to end with a
relatively intact reality."
"Great", said the net.heroine, burying her face in her arms. "I
bet that's going to be about as enjoyable as a root canal."
"Eat plasma", Cannon Fodder said, firing another shot at the camp
where most of the Crime Empire trainees had been based. Those
that hadn't been hit yet were swarming out like crawlies from a
burning garbage dumpster.
"Hahaha, that's why they call it alt.fan.bugtown?"
"That's a Big Gun", said one grunt to his gang leader. "But we
weren't issued Big Guns!"
"He must have found one around here! It doesn't matter, shoot
him damn it!"
Someone tried to sneak behind Fodder, but Terry was guarding his
back. It was very uncomfortable for him to kill people with
large energy weapons, but he repeated over and over in his head
that they were going to regenerate, and after all, he was
undercover, maintaining the role was more important.
"Godd!", screamed Clara, from her watch post in a building
nearby. She pointed at one of the gangs near the fire.
"Crikey!", said Terry. "It's a rocket launcher!"
But Godd just charged in their direction, laughing manically and
firing at any targets he could see.
The rocket was finally fired, and just a fraction of a second
after that, Godd fired a full-power Big Gun shot at it. Rocket,
Cannon Fodder, gang, and a big piece of the surroundings blew up
in a huge explosion, and the face of the goddess Nagasaki could
be seen in the sky. Far enough from Terry and Clara for them to
be relatively safe, as planned.
Terry stared at the burning crater in disbelief.
But Godd was dead for the first time after getting fully in touch
with his real nature. His mind was in the Primal Plane of
Senseless Violence, and he got to take a good look around.
And he saw it was good.
While about-then-ish, somewhere in the Southwest of Ame.rec.a,
"Andy" the former Weirdness Magnet and the Crime Empress were
conferencing with five people in tuxedos and full-head masks.
"It's done", one of the musicians said.
"We've told Godd Fodder the truth."
"Good. It was a little sad to mess with the Johnny Fearless
story, but we need Godd in better shape than that", said Andy.
"I'm not too sure about what we're doing there", said the
Empress. "Why is he so important?"
"The role he played in our little LNH2 scheme inspired me on this
one. He has great potential, if he can grow past his origins as
comic relief. Nothing wrong with comic relief, of course. But
the Looniverse has grown in these 15 years... it's still funny,
but drama and story development have taken more importance than
they had in the wReam days. Although many authors love Fodder,
it's beginning to become hard to use him; after all, there's only
so many gags you can make about sudden, violent death. Now
senseless violence, that's something they can use for a while
longer. Maybe you could say I owe him... and that it plays in
our plans only makes it more worth doing."
She smiled. "All right. I'm not arguing with you. You told me
what results we should expect from that plan, and if I can't see
how exactly that will work out, well whatever... you know I trust
you, specially with the planning."
"That's one of the many things that makes us good together."
"You should know, though", said E3. "He's going for you."
"He's a weapon in search of a purpose now", E4 added. "I imagine
his first impulse will be to continue his last mission, specially
after all the pain it's caused him in the last few weeks."
"Namely", clarified E5, "the strike against the Crime Empire."
"Awesome. All is going according to plan, then."
Sorry to post two in a week :-P but after #11 and the discussions
on the authors list, this one practically wrote itself...
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