NTB/LNH: Beige Countdown #0: (Part 2/4)

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 29 19:25:11 PDT 2008

Part 2


1992 -

Golden Man hesitated for a bit, although eventually he opened the door.

"Hey, Golden!" said a familiar face.  It was an old team mate of his 
known as the 4-Color Kid.  "So, this is where you've been holed up."

"Yes -- I -- How -- how are you 4-Color -- I'm sorry the place is a mess 
-- I haven't..."

"It's okay.  It's just been a long time though.  Things going all right?"

Golden Man shrugged.  "I guess so.  I haven't been doing much lately. 
Just thinking.  Thinking about the way it used to be.  So -- what do you 

"Well, thing is -- I'm a member of the LNH now.  This new incarnation 
that just formed.  You know Kid Presentdaze?  Well, he calls himself Kid 
Yesterdaze these days.  He's a member too -- in fact he was the one who 
recruited me.  Anyway, most of the LNH'rs are kids right now.  Clueless 
teens -- you know.  I was wondering if you'd like to be a..."

"No.  I'm sorry.  You know I don't do that hero stuff anymore.  Not 
since the -- the..."

"It's been 36 years, Golden.  You need to get over..."

"Get over what?  The death of Golden Lass, Mr. Multitask -- Goldy the 
Golden Mutt!?"

"We don't know if they're dead.  There was no trace of..."

"You saw what happened to those villains."

"Villains?  Oh.  Right.  You're talking about those idiots who 
shanghaied the Blue Bottle and Neddie Thunderbox's identities, right? 
Who were they again?  What was it -- the 'Syndicate of Goonish 
Challenged Speaking Naughty Types' from Earth-Can't-Speak-Goonish -- is 
that right?" The 4-Color Kid gave a short laugh.  "The Yellow Bottle and 
Bloody Thundersox."  The 4-Color Kid shook his head.  "Yeah."  The 
4-Color Kid sighed.  "That was horrible -- what happened to them.  Poor 

"Yes.  I guess we were the lucky idiots.  Captain Backdate went insane. 
  Golden Lord -- Well, who knows what happened to Golden Lord.  [See 
Tales of the LNH #278 for what happened to Golden Lord -- Footnote Girl] 
It's all gone.  The Classic Squad ended that day.  It's over.  All of 
it.  And I'm done.  I'm retired."

"You can still do some good."

Golden Man turned his head away.  "No.  I don't think so.  Not anymore."

"I see."  The 4-Color Kid looked over his old teammates room.  Other 
than a TV set and some furniture, it was pretty blank.  He looked to see 
what Golden Man was watching.  "That the Marx Brothers?"

"Yeah.  Duck Soup."  Golden Man sighed.  "The Marx Brothers.  Dead. 
They're all dead.  Like everything..."  Before Golden Man could continue 
with that thought a News Break interrupted the picture.  "Hmm.  What the 
....?  Some kind of Tower?  A Beige Clock Tower.  I wonder why..."

"Christ!  Got to get back to LNH Headquarters, Golden Man.  Here's my 
card if you change your mind."  The 4-Color Kid handed Golden Man a card 
and raced out of the apartment.

Golden Man looked at the card and then looked at his TV.  He crumpled 
the card up in this hand, locked the door, sat back down, and switched 
to another channel.


2008 -

"Hey-ya, Occulty!  What ya doing?"  Catalyst Lass leaned over Occultism 
Kid's shoulder while Occultism Kid read from a very old and dusty book.

"Umm -- hi Cat.  I'm trying to do some research about the Book of Deus 
ex Machinas if you don't mind."

"Oh, I don't mind.  Anyways, have this question to ask you -- What do 
you think about Hex Luthor?  Hmm?"

"I'm not a fan.  And I can't say that I like how the Ultimate Ninja 
seems to be best buddies with him now days either."

"That's interesting.  Okay, look.  We're having this meeting.  This 
secret meeting -- that no one can know about!  And I'd like you to come 
to it.  I'd really, really, really like you to come!  It's going to be 

"No, Cat.  Do you see this?"  Occultism Kid pointed to a charm on his 
trenchcoat.  "It's a Protection Pin.  It protects me from people's 
powers and attempts at mind control.  It means I'm not going to this 

"I wasn't -- I didn't..." Catalyst Lass said with a hurt expression on 
her face.

"I'm busy.  I need to do this.  I need to find this book.  I can't deal 
with LNH politics or whatever.  Finding the Book of Deus ex Machinas is 
the most important thing.  Now please let me be, Cat."

"I'm sorry I'm bothering you.  I'll let you go back to your Hocus Pocus 
books."  Catalyst Lass walked off.

Occultism Kid shut the book he was reading and gave a sigh.  He 
shouldn't have said that to Cat.  Or at least he should have said it in 
a nicer way.  Maybe he should go apologize.  No.  He had to keep 
reading.  Researching.  There was just so little time left and he wasn't 
making any progress.  Where was this damn book?  Where was it hiding? 
It didn't seem to exist and everyone that knew anything about it seemed 
to be convinced that it had been destroyed.

There had to be someone out there who knew something.  Think.  Think. 
Occultism Kid panned all of the bookshelves of the LNH library.  There 
was something he was missing.  And then he spotted something.  There was 
a warping of space.  Something was coming through.  Occultism Kid walked 
over to where the warp was forming.

Before he could reach the spot though an energy burst exploded from the 
warp.  A crack in time and space developed.  And out of it stepped a 
familiar face.  The face of Occultism Kid.

This Occultism Kid, however, was wearing the Insanity Gauntlet, Ring of 
Retconn, and Cosmic Plot Device.

It had to be Bart, Occutlism Kid thought to himself, trying to fool me. 
  But that would mean that Bart now had the Cosmic Plot Device?  He 
would be unstoppable!

"Quit the charade, Bart.  I know it's you."

The Occultism Kid looking figure just gazed in confusion.  "Where am I? 
  Are you me?  Yes.  Past me.  I must be -- Yes, the past.  Why am I 
here?  Oh, yes."

What game was Bart playing here?  Maybe it wasn't Bart.  Could it be -- 
could it possibly be him from the future, Occultism Kid studied his 
double.  And if so, what did this all mean -- why was he wearing the 
Insanity Gauntlet?  Why was he here?  Maybe it was Bart, playing some 
mind game.  It didn't matter.  He would have to assume this was his 
future self.  He had to play along.

"Worms are in my brain.  Eating away and eating away." The future 
Occultism Kid started to laugh.  "It hurts.  It's cracking.  Everyone is 
dying.  I can see too much.  Too much!  All of it!  All the stories that 
have been written and that will be written.  And all the stories that 
won't be written.  All of them!  I see them all."

"It's the Insanity Gauntlet, isn't it?  It's destroying your brain.  Why 
are you wearing it?  You're from Beige Midnight, aren't you?  Why are 
you here?"

"Have to be.  Always been here.  Need to stop.  Stop something.  That's 
why I came.  Thinking is becoming hard.  Casting a spell.  That's why 
I'm wearing the Gauntlet.  Have to wear it to cast the spell from the 
Book.  The Book.  The Book of Deus ex Machinas."

"You've got the book?  It exists?  Where did you find it?"

"Can I change it?  Or does it matter?  Does it happen whatever choice I 
make?  Will they escape regardless?  They can't be stopped.  I shouldn't 
be here."

"Who are you talking about?  The Bryttle Brothers?  I need your help 
finding the book."

"Maybe it's too late to change.  Maybe I should tell him.  I'll need the 
book.  Perhaps it doesn't matter.  Yes.  The Book of Deus ex Machinas. 
The Paper Puller knows where it is.  Find him."

"The Paper Puller.  What's that -- oh wait.  Do you mean 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad?  Is that who you're talking about?"

"Peril Room safeties are starting to fail.  It's falling apart.  All our 
enemies have gathered.  Too many of them.  The force field is cracking. 
  They're coming in!  Dekay and Diskolor are waking.  Everyone is dying! 
  I need to go back.  Stop this!  Help them.  Need to help them.  Need 
to..."  And then the future Occultism Kid disappeared from the library.

"Wait -- I need..."  But he was gone.  Occultism Kid rushed over to 
Librarian Lady's desk.  "I need your help.  Is this place monitored?  Do 
you have cameras monitoring this place?"

"Umm.  Yes.  We do in fact," said Librarian Lady in an uneasy manner.

"I need to watch the video of my conversation with my future self."

"Umm.  You mean this," she said rewinding the monitor tape on screen #6. 
  "It has you, but you're talking to nothing."

"Damn.  Well, send me a copy of the tape to my room anyway.  I'll need 
to look at it.  Right now I need to find Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad."

"Okay.  Gotcha."  Librarian Lady started to type away on her computer.


1992 --

The 4-Color Kid looked at his door.  The lock was broken.  Thieves? 
Cautiously, he entered his house.  He switched on the lights.  Sitting 
on his chair was a monochromish man in a trenchcoat.  And a man in a 
golden trenchcoat stood next to him.

The monochromish man dumped an empty tequila bottle onto the ground. 
"You're out of liquor."

"What the hell are doing here?  Get out -- or I'm calling the cops!"

"Relax, buddy.  I'm here to tell you about your destiny.  You see -- a 
week from now -- you're going to save the entire Universe."

"What are you talking about?"

"What my friend is saying," answered the man in the golden trenchcoat, 
"Is that you're going to stop the Brothers of Dekay and Diskolor.  You 
will end this Time of Beige and restore this world to its proper colors."

"You're talking about this whole Beige Sky stuff and the Beige Clock 
Tower, right?  Do you know what's happening?  How am I supposed to save 

"By dying," said the monochrome man.  "You see, you're going to explode 
in a bright burst of colors and stop the Bryttle Brothers's havoc.  Alas 
though, it won't kill them -- but it will weaken them enough for us to 
trap them in the book my friend is carrying.

The 4-Color Kid noticed that the Golden Trenchcoated Man was carrying 
some type of book.  "Wait.  Dying?  Did you say I was going to die?"

"Fraid so.  Can't be helped.  You'll just have to grin you're teeth and 
bear it."  The monochrome man lit himself a cigarette.

"But -- I don't want to die!  Isn't there some other way?"

"Nope.  Wanna a drink?  There might be something left in this bottle?" 
The monochrome man grabbed the nearly empty tequila bottle off the floor.

"I'm going to die?  I've never been married.  Never had kids.  And I'm 
going to die?"

"Yeah.  It's tough.  But that's the way it goes.  Anyways, here's our 
card."  The monochromed man handed the 4-Color Kid a grayish card and 
then both men left his place.

They were just a couple of crazies.  That's what the 4-Color Kid wanted 
to believe.  But he couldn't.  The dreams he had been having every since 
'56 --they were all starting to come true.  He was going to die.  He had 
to die.

The 4-Color Kid sat down in his lazy chair and looked at the nearly 
empty tequila bottle.  Why?  Why me?  "I'm going to die," he said to 
himself.  "I'm going to die."

The 4-Color Kid had a week left to live.


2008 --

"And so this Ninja Sun is wailing the hell out of me and I'm like..." 
said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad demonstrating this by making 
punching gestures while Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad and Namer Boy having 
lunch at a table watched.

"Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad!  Need you to come with me," said Occultism 
Kid interrupting the story.

"Sure, OK!"  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad quickly sipped the last of his 
orange soda and hopped out of his chair towards where Occultism Kid was.

"Hey, Occultism Kid!" piped Namer Boy.  "What about me?  Need someone to 
name something?  Because I could like totally do that if you needed 
something named.  I mean I could do that no problem.  Just say the word 
and I'm there.  No problem."

"Sorry, Namer Boy.  I don't really need your power at the moment," said 
Occultism Kid as he and Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad made their way out 
of the cafeteria.

"That's okay.  Just checking."  Namer Boy gave a disappointed sigh.

"Hey, Namer Boy, don't let it get you down, dude.  I'm sure that someday 
'someone' will need your power," said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough 
Lad.  "Anyway, back to my story.  So these Ninja Suns were wailing at me 
and I'm like a Muhammad Ali punching bag -- I mean  Wham!  Bam!  Thank 
you, Ma'am!  And I'm..." You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough Lad continued 
to making punching motions.


The White House --

"I am tiring of this game -- playing some dead hero," said the Ultimate 
Savior.  "I want my revenge on the LNH.  Bad-Timing Boy, Innovative 
Offense Boy, Multi-Tasking Man, and Deja Dude.  I want to destroy them. 
  All of them."

"You need to be patient.  What we're doing right now is too important to 
be... *Urk*!" President Hexadecimal Luthor said as he found his throat 
being pulled up into the air by the Ultimate Savior's hand.  However, 
right as the Ultimate Savior opened his mouth to speak some more, a 
great pain started to fill inside his head.  He dropped Hex and started 
to morph into a jelly like substance.

"*Arrrgghhggh!!" the jelly like substance screamed.  "What -- are -- you 
-- doing -- to me!!?"

"Really now," Hex Luthor said brushing himself off.  "Did you think I'd 
go to the trouble of putting you back together if I didn't also have a 
way to hurt you -- or kill you?  No.  Let's just say every single part 
of you is hooked up to a pain device that is also linked to my own 
nervous system.  So if you try to hurt me you'll feel great amounts of 
pain.  And if I should happen to die -- well -- you'll go too.  Of 
course it's a one way link.  If you should happen to feel pain or die, I 
won't be affected by it.  I guess I should have mentioned it, although I 
guess I thought that putting you all back together again would instill 
some loyalty in you.  I guess I was wrong."

"Not -- whole!  Part -- Missing!"

"Yes.  You're right.  There is a part of you missing.  But don't worry. 
  I assure you, it's in a very secure place."

"Please -- stop!  Pain!  Stop!  Hurts!!  Please!!!" whimpered the jelly 
like blob.

"I don't know.  I'm not sure you've learned your lesson.  I'm not sure 
you understand your place.  You see.  Here it is.  You're a tool.  Just 
a tool.  And your pathetic revenge fantasies about destroying the LNH 
are meaningless to me.  All of you are tools.  wReamicus Maximus.  Manga 
Man.  Mr. Tiddles.  Irony Man.  And you.  You're just tools.  Devices 
for me to carve my face into the heart of the world.  That's all.  And 
once you accept that, you'll be a lot happier.  Do you understand?"

"Yes!!  P-please!!"

"I doubt it.  What are you?"


"Good.  And who is your master?"

"Y-you!!  Y-you are!!!"

"Who is your God?"

"Y-you!!  You!!  P-please!!!?"

"Very well.  I release you from the pain.  You can return back to the 
Ultimate Savior form."

The jelly like form quickly morphed back.

"And now, I have important tasks to do.  Meetings that need to be 
attended.  Plans that need to be taken care of.  You know -- running the 
world.  And about that conversation we were having earlier about the 
Saviors of the Net -- I think that the Very-Disturbed-Scary-Creature Man 
isn't that much of a threat.  The authorities can probably take care of 
him.  The Gothic Gorilla on the other hand?  Well -- it might be best to 
eliminate him.  So you should probably start working on that.  Got that?"

The Ultimate Savior nodded his head.

"Good.  Well, see you at dinner."

Hex Luthor exited the room leaving the Ultimate Savior alone by himself. 
  A look of absolute hatred formed on the Ultimate Savior's face -- but 
it was followed by a sinister smile.  The Ultimate Savior began to morph 
again.  A few seconds later the Ultimate Savior looked exactly like Hex 
Luthor.  The false Hex Luthor laughed and then spoke to himself.  "I've 
got plans too, Hex.  And I can wait.  Oh God, I can wait.  Mr. Nasty 
(tm) has all the time in the world.  And that's a long, long time."  Mr. 
Nasty (tm) made a hideous laughing sound that lasted for quite a while.


"I don't know if I can help you, Occultism Kid.  I mean ever since 
wReamhack pulled me out of that Peril Room hard drive my powers have 
been kinda screwed up [see LNHCP #502].  And pulling a whole book out of 
my hat -- I don't know if I can do that."   Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad 
took his top hat off and placed it in his lap.

"Just do the best that you can.  I've got some spells that can help you 
concentrate if you need some help there."

"Let me just try something first."  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad quickly 
stuck his hand into the top hat and just quickly pulled out a piece of 
paper.  "Weird," he said gazing at what appeared to be a centerfold.  "I 
haven't seen this in a long time."

"What is it?" Occultism Kid said snatching the picture out of 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad's hands.  It was a centerfold from the 
magazine Furrboy that had a naked Rabbit Woman on it.  Occultism Kid 
rolled his eyes and handed it back to Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad.

"Hey, what can I say?  I told you my powers were screwed up," said 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad with a sheepish voice.  "Okay.  Let me try 

"Wait.  Let me do a spell."  Occultism Kid made some gestures with his 
hand and then said, "Concentrate!  Okay now try it."

Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad took a deep breath and reached into the hat 
again.  "I can feel it -- but -- can't seem to..." 
Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad struggled trying to pull his arm out of his 
hat.  "It's being blocked by something.  Can't get it.  Whatever is 
blocking me is too powerful.  Can't do it."  Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad 
took his hand out of the hat empty.

"Can you tell where the book is, Pulls-Paper-Out-of-Hats Lad?"

"Yeah, I think I do know where it is.  It's the hat.  It's in the hat. 
It's weird, never had that feeling before, but yeah -- it's definitely 
in the hat.  It's literally right there."

"In your hat?  Okay.  Where exactly did this hat of yours come from?" 
said Occultism Kid as he took a closer inspection of the top hat.


End of Part 2

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