LNH: Beige Midnight #1: Imperium Hex Part I: 'The Bigger They Are...' (1/3)

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 2 13:32:44 PDT 2008

LNH: Beige Midnight #1: Imperium Hex Part I: 'The Bigger They Are...'

[Cover:  Hundreds and hundreds of colorful never before seen heroes 
crowd the page.  In the center is the LNH'r Fuzzy, who looks like she's 
about to have a nervous breakdown (well she'd look like that if you 
could see her face beyond the obscuring blur that hides it).  Fuzzy 
screams the word, "Arrhrhrhhghghghg!!!!!!!!"  On the bottom in huge bold 
text letters is the caption, 'Introducing the NEW SUPERSIZED LNH!  And 
we mean SUPERSIZED!!']

[Variant Cover 1:  Ripping Dancer dressed in black leather walks out of 
a bank laughing evilly.  Both hands carry huge bags of money.  Cops 
attempt to shoot her.  On the bottom in huge bold text is the caption, 
'Guess Who's the Newest Member of the Brotherhood of Net.Villains?!!!!']

[Variant Cover 2:  Hexfire Club Members and Catalyst Lass holding Mr. 
Tiddles hover around a cake with the letters LNH on it.  Hex Luthor 
dressed like a Roman Emperor in a beige colored toga slices the cake and 
scoops out the biggest slice for himself.  On the bottom of the page in 
huge letters, 'Imperium Hex Part I']

[Variant Cover 3:  Just Beige.  Nothing else.  Just Beige.]

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****



Beige Noon.

They're dead.

Everyone's dead.

Everything's beige.

Am I the last person alive?

My name is the 4-Color Kid.

And I might be the last person alive in the entire Looniverse.  Corpses 
litter the streets.  Everything is decaying and discoloring. 
Net.ropolis is dead.  The LNH is dead.  And over there -- over there are 
the monsters responsible for this... Christ.

Dekay and Diskolor.

The Bryttle Brothers.

They notice me.  They're smiling.  Another fly to pull the wings off.

No.  Not this fly.  This fly is going to destroy you.

God help me, I'm going to destroy you.

My heart starts to beat faster.

And I reach for my power.  I don't know where my power comes from or why 
I have it.  I guess I'll never know.  It doesn't matter.  I reach for my 
power.  I reach for all of it.  All Four Colors.





They pour out of my body.  Like apocalyptic horsemen they race through 
the sky.

Dekay and Diskolor are no longer smiling.  I can since fear in them.  Good.

My skin is burning.  I feel pain in every part of my body.  I want to 
scream.  I want to cry.  There's a sun inside me that's going to go 

I try to think of some clever last words.  I can't think of any.

It's coming.



There's a flash.

The beige has been replaced by color.

I don't feel any pain any more.

Am I dead?

Is this heaven?

Did I save the world?

And if I did then what happens next?

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

16 years later...

The place -- Net.ropolis.

The time --

                    B     E     I     G     E

           M     I     D     N     I     G     H     T

The number --            O     N     E

The writers -- Arthur Spitzer and Saxon Brenton

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

2008 --

"Okay, and right over there you can see the World's Tallest Building. 
Well, of course now days it isn't the tallest -- I mean even in 
Net.ropolis there are like about 35 buildings taller than it -- But way 
back in 1931 for about a week or so -- it was the World's Tallest 
Building!  Yep.  The World's Tallest Building.  For a week.  Now it's 
kind of tiny by today's standards, but it still has the same name.  They 
probably should change the name.  But I'm not in charge of that."

The helicopter pilot pointed to the vast Net.ropolis skyline as he flew 
the chopper over the city.  A beige sky loomed over everything.

"And to your right are the Oblivion Towers, which used to be the tallest 
buildings in Net.ropolis way back in the 90s.  Right now they're only 
like fifth and sixth -- I think.  Here's a fun fact.  The Oblivion 
Towers have the highest rate of mime suicides -- more than any other 
building in the world.  Ain't that strange?  I guess for some reason 
mimes can't get enough of jumping off the Oblivions.  Go figure."

"And to the left we have the Pister Maprika Building.  It used to be 
called the Mister Paprika Building way back in the 90's -- and was owned 
by this crazy billionaire who was running this rogue operation of the 
Major Food Corps.  They were doing these weird experiments and I think 
they had like this mercenary army in Omaha, Net.braska.  Lot of crazy 
stuff.  Anyways -- there was this lawsuit and I guess they had to change 
their name.  They still sell a soda pop called Pister Maprika -- which 
has this slogan, 'Now that's a pan's mop!'  Not too many people buy it. 
  Which is a shame since I think it tastes better than Mr. Paprika.  But 
that's just me."

"And now -- you see over there?  Well, you can't really miss it -- if 
you have a weak heart you might want to close your eyes for a bit. 
Anyway -- There they are.  Three of the four tallest structures in 
Net.ropolis.  In the center is the Beige Clock Tower.  The Tallest 
Building in the World.  I don't know how tall it is, but it's really 
damn tall.  Tall enough that its top is close to where the Space Station 
is.  See the gigantic moat that surrounds it?  Yeah.  They did that to 
stop people from committing suicide by touching it.  One touch is 
supposed to drain the life out of you.  Weird, huh?  The tower's most 
important feature is the clock.  Both hands seem to be frozen on 12.  It 
used to make this really annoying ticking sound, but that went away 
recently when the sky turned beige.  Thank god."

"And on the left of the tower -- the gigantic monster with the swarm of 
flies and locusts for a head -- Yeah.  That's Dekay.  One of the Bryttle 
Brothers.  His brother, Diskolor, is on the right.  The thrones they're 
sitting on are about the size of the World Trade Center Towers.  Makes 
you think, don't it?  Both of them seem to be asleep.  Not sure what's 
going to happen when they wake up, but it's probably not going to be 
good.  And maybe it's just me, but doesn't Diskolor sort of look like 
that Dad on Happy Days?  You know who I'm talking about?  Yeah.  Tom 
Bosley.  Yeah.  That's the guy.  That's who I'm talking about.  I mean 
if Tom Bosley only had one eye, this big gaping mouth on his chest full 
of tongues that were every color of the rainbow, a bunch of spikes with 
skulls on his head, and he was really pale white -- and a giant -- and 
angry looking, wouldn't he look like Diskolor?  Maybe it's just me then. 
  Well, let's move on."

"And that building over there?  Well, I don't really know what its name 
is, but back when I was in college a bunch of my buddies and me were 
really drunk and on the roof of that building.  You know, just goofing 
around.  And we see Kid Kirby flying by.  And so we all pull down our 
pants -- and moon him!  I'm serious!  We mooned Kid Kirby.  And Kid 
Kirby gives us this like super serious look as he's flying by.  He's 
like, "I am Kid Kirby, mortals!  What are you doing?!  Stop that!"  But 
he just flies by -- doesn't do anything.  I swear -- this is totally 
true.  A Kirbybot?  I guess it could have been Kirbybot.  I don't know. 
  But I like to think in my heart of hearts that me and my friends 
mooned the Real Kid Kirby.  That's what I like to think.  Anyway. 
Moving on."

"Okay.  Now can you see that?  There it is.  Our final destination 
folks.  It's the second tallest building in Net.ropolis.  And it's a 
monster.  I believe it is two miles in height and like over a thousand 
stories.  And that's not even counting all of the sub-sub basements. 
Its name is the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters and it's one of the 
most famous buildings in all of the Looniverse.  It didn't used to be 
this big.  Used to be just this small four story building.  Don't know 
what's happening, but it's been rising like crazy lately.  Could be all 
these new heroes that have been joining.  They've got a hell of a lot of 
people in the LNH now days.  I've heard all kinds of rumors about the 
size.  It's like somewhere between 10,000 and a 100,000.  Just crazy.  I 
mean when I was a kid it was like only about 200 or so heroes.  And 
people back then complained it was too big.  And now?  Now it's just 
crazy.  It's like a city down there.  And it just keeps growing and 

"Man.  They're letting anyone who has a Freedom Chip be an LNH'r these 
days.  My friend, Ted -- yeah -- He's an LNH'r now.  Had one of those 
Freedom Chips put into his head.  Got powers.  Can transform into this 
big beer bottle with arms and legs.  Calls himself The Living 
Non-Alcoholic Beer or something like that.  Crazy.  Says it's great. 
Now he's pulling in like $700 a week.  Free room and board.  And saving 
the world from evil.  Just for putting a chip into his head.  Thought 
about getting one myself.  Don't know.  Oh well.  Right.  We're just 
about there.  Well, hope you enjoyed your flight, Mr. Manga Man.  We'll 
be landing on the LNHHQ roof in a couple more minutes."

"Fasten your seatbelts."

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

Hiya!  Are you a new reader?  Nice to meet you!  I'm Catalyst Lass!  But 
you can call me Cat.  ;>

Just in case you don't know who I am -- well -- I'm a superhero and a 
member of the LNH.  I have the power to nudge people into a direction 
that I think would serve them a bit better than the direction they're 
going.  Just a little nudge.  Nothing more.  Honest.  A little nudge.

Right now?  Well, I'm on the roof of the LNHHQ (That stands for Legion 
of Net.Heroes Headquarters).  And standing here with me are members of 
President Hexadecimal Luthor's inner circle -- the HexFire Club.  Or as 
I like to call them -- the Bad Guys.  Of course now days it seems that 
the bad guys are in charge of the LNH.  How did this happen?  Well, it's 
a long story.

Why are we waiting on the roof of the LNHHQ?  We're waiting for that 
helicopter right up there that's supposed to be landing any second now. 
  Apparently a member of the HexFire Club that I haven't seen before is 
on it.  The Beige Bishop.  They've all got these little spiffy titles 
like that.

See the cute little white fluffy slightly chubby pussycat that's napping 
next to my leg?  That's the Beige Rook of the Hexfire Club -- Mr. 
Tiddles.  I know -- he looks so sweet, but no -- he's been a bad putty 
tat.  He has the ability to read minds and take over those same minds. 
Of course thanks to this little device that Dr. Stomper (genius-in-chief 
of the LNH) put in my head, Mr. Tiddles can't read my mind -- he just 
thinks he can.  The device tricks him into believing I'm his total 
slave.  I also have a device in my head that looks like a Freedom Chip 
because the HexFire Club put one of those into my look-alike pal, 
HellCatalyst -- or Helly as I like to call her.

Helly looks exactly like me and has my same powers.  In fact there's the 
possibility that she's the real Catalyst Lass and I'm not.  Neither one 
of us knows which of us is the real Catalyst Lass and which of us is in 
fact the former supervillain Revamp Lass who revamped herself to be 
Catalyst Lass many years ago.  Of course I generally assume that I'm the 
real Catalyst Lass -- but Helly's great -- really great!  Helly tends to 
dress in darker more gothic and satanic type clothes than I do.  I mean 
I'm not saying she's some of kind of a Satanist because she's not! 
Well, okay -- now that I think about it I'm not sure I've ever asked her 
whether or not she's a Satanist.  I suppose she could be one -- but I'm 
sure if she is one she's one of those good Satanists.  You know -- the 
ones who don't sacrifice small animals and children.  A good decent 
funloving Satanist that likes to shop!

Hmm.  Note to self:  Find polite way to ask Helly if she's a Satanist!

Sorry about that.  Let's see -- where was I?  Oh yeah!  So for the past 
several months, me and Helly have been fooling Mr. Tiddles while 
gathering info on the HexFire Club.  You know -- sort of like that movie 
the Parent Trap, but without the Parents and Hayley Mills.  Well, okay 
-- now that I think more about it, it's nothing like the Parent Trap. 
But that was a great movie, wasn't it?  I wonder whatever happened to 
Hayley Mills?  She was so adorable in that movie!

Note to self:  Buy Parent Trap on DVD!

But right now Helly's probably having fun shopping or getting a cucumber 
facial.  Sigh.  Wish I was there with you, Helly -- and not here.

Let's move on.

Over there is the Ebony Knight of the Hexfire Club -- The Ultimate 
Savior.  Years ago he died saving the Looniverse from the Mechanical 
Author.  And I think he's still dead -- because whomever that is 
standing over there, it's not the Ultimate Savior.  I get this creepy 
feeling when I look at him.  There's something wrong about him.  Why 
would the Ultimate Savior need a gun?  And that black canteen he's 
always carrying -- what's in that canteen?  On second thought, I don't 
really want to know.

Over there is the leader of the LNH.  The Ultimate Ninja.  The greatest 
fighter in the whole Looniverse.  But not this guy.  A clone maybe or a 
shapeshifter?  Who knows.  I get the feeling that I've met whoever he is 
before.  Anyways, whoever he is -- He's the HexFire Club's Ebony Bishop. 
  Which is why I can tell he's not really the Ultimate Ninja.  The 
Ultimate Ninja would never ever settle to be anything less than numbero 
uno.  This guy is Hex Luthor's puppet.

And that guy in the golden armor suit?  He's Irony Man.  Multi- 
billionaire Toony Stork.  A long time member of the LNH with the power 
to detect and emit Irony.  I'd like to tell you he's really a clone or 
shapeshifter, but sadly I think he's the real deal.  He used to be a 
hero and friend.  I'm not sure what he is anymore.  And I'm not sure if 
I can save him.  I hope I can.  He's the HexFire Club's Beige Knight.

And finally -- the Ringmaster of all this -- and why I'm here on this 
roof.  President Hexadecimal Luthor.  Beige King of the HexFire Club. 
And the person who is now running the LNH.  My friend and fellow LNH'r 
Bicycle Repair Lad told me that Hex used to be just a small time crook 
long ago -- and then he hit the Cosmic Reset Button -- and here he is. 
Of course now days, Bicycle Repair Lad is locked up in one of Hex's many 
secret prisons -- and only a few people believe him.  I believe him. 
And sadly Hex isn't the biggest problem that the LNH is facing now. 
We've got two bigger problems called Dekay and Diskolor.  And you can 
see them on this roof.  I think they're napping.

Well, looks like the helicopter is going to land.  Oh darn!  Just 
realized my hair is going to be all messed up -- and I just got it done 
yesterday!  Sigh.  Oh well.  Someone's stepping out of the helicopter. 
Oh my!  Is that -- is that?

Yes.  It is.  Manga Man.  One of the LNH's most dangerous and oldest 
enemies.  He's the Beige Bishop?  I have to admit, I'm kind of 
surprised.  I mean I never thought that Manga Man would be someone 
else's bottom -- I mean second -- oh well -- you know what I mean.  Giggle.

And Hex and his secret service agents are walking over to greet him. 
Him and Manga Man do that Japanese bowing thing.

Hex starts talking.  "So, how was your trip?"

Manga Man responds.  "Oh, you know.  Same old -- same old.  So.  This is 
it?  The Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters?  It's been awhile since I've 
been here.  Seems a lot bigger than the last time."

Hex laughs.  "It's the building.  It connects itself to whoever's in 
charge.  It reflects their ambitions -- their dreams.  And as you can 
see -- when I dream -- I dream big.  So.  How does it feel?  How does it 
feel to be on top of the world, Manga Man?"

"Well, I don't know, Hex.  Would it be horrible cliched if we all had an 
evil laugh right about now?"

And they all start to laugh.  Well not all.  Mr. Tiddles looks slightly 
irritated that someone woke him up.  And Toony?  He looks disturbed by 
all of this.

Note to self:  Work on my evil laugh!

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

"Brought you some lunch, Procrastination Boy."  Procrastination Boy 
looked behind him and saw an ambiguous blur holding a paper sack.  It 
was Fuzzy, one of his LNH teammates, who has the power to make things 

"Hey, thanks!  Just put it over there, Fuzzy.  I'll eat it a little bit 
later.  You didn't have to do this."

"Oh, no prob.  Steak-and-Potatoes Man made it.  Heard what you were 
doing here.  Sounds pretty amazing.  Besides.  Had to get out of that 
place.  It's just too much.  Too many.  It's swarming -- swarming with 
tons and tons of clueless newbies.  Thousands of them!  I mean I thought 
I had gotten over my hatred of newbies.  All those therapy and 
psychotherapy sessions.  I thought I had moved on.  But.  There are 
thousands of them!  Thousands!!  And they don't know what they're doing! 
  My God!  I'm going crazy.  I'm going crazy!  I swear -- if I stay 
there any much longer I'm just going to lose it.  I'm just going to 
start shooting people.  Shoot them.  Shoot them all.  All of them.  All 
of them!!"

"Umm, Fuzzy?  Just take a deep breath.  A deep breath.  It's going to be 

"Sorry, Procrast.  *Sigh*.  Just one of those days, you know.  But back 
to you -- is what they're saying true?  You're using your powers on the 

"Yeah.  Kind of.  Fourth Wall Lass cracked open a part of the Fourth 
Wall right over there."  Procrastination Boy pointed towards a 
shimmering crack in reality.  "Been focusing my powers on the Writers -- 
trying to get them to just procrastinate on writing.  At least for now, 
I think it's working.  If I'm successful, maybe I can stop the whole 
Beige Midnight storyline for good.  I know everyone thinks I'm a joke, 
but I wanted to use my powers to help us."

Fuzzy gave Procrastination Boy a pat on the shoulders.  "You're not a 
joke.  You're doing good here, Procrast.  Real good.  I'm proud of you." 
  Fuzzy walked over and looked at the crack in the Fourth Wall.  And 
then she looked at the Beige Clock Tower and the Brothers of Bryttle 
that were asleep on their thrones.  She pulled out a pack of cigarettes 
from her purse and took a cigarette out.

"You okay, Fuzz?  Thought you quit smoking?"

"Yeah, I did.  But Christ.  Look at them.  We're not going to be able to 
stop them.  In a month we're all going to die.  What's it matter if I'm 
smoking when they kill me?"

"You're not going to die, Fuzzy.  We'll stop them."

"Yeah.  We're the LNH.  We never lose, right Procrast?"  Fuzzy took out 
her lighter and lit the cigarette.  "Tell me another one."

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

Two lips absorbed the redness of the lipstick.  And they pressed against 
each other until the redness covered them totally in a flawless way. 
The lips opened up and a cherry lollypop pushed itself into the mouth. 
A tongue slid itself over the entire surface of the lollypop.

A hand shoved the lipstick back into a purse and then opened the door to 
the car that the female it was attached to was sitting in.  The woman 
got out of the car -- a jet black Lamborghini V12.  She had blonde hair 
and black sunglasses over her eyes.  She wore a very short black leather 
miniskirt and a leather jacket over her body and fishnet stockings on 
her legs.  The leather was ripped in a number of places.  All the right 
places.  She put a couple of quarters into the parking meter and started 
to walk towards the First Bank of Net.ropolis.  Her legs seemed to move 
to the beat of a ZZ Top song.  A couple of men in suits quickly rushed 
over to the glass doors of the Bank and opened them for her.  She gave 
them a nod of appreciation for their effort.

As she walked into the bank, she could feel the gazes of almost everyone 
in the bank.  Male or female, they couldn't help but look at her.  She 
made her way up to one of the open windows.

"Um -- um -- How -- How can I help -- umm you, Miss?" spoke a nervous 
looking man in glasses and a bow tie.

The woman slid her fingernail along the counter top and then took out 
the cherry lollypop in her mouth and gave the bank clerk a smile. 
"Well, lets see.  Hmm.  Oh yes.  I'd like to take out a withdrawal."

"A withdrawal?  And -- and what is your account number, Miss?"

"Account number?  Account number.  Hmm.  Let's see.  You know -- now 
that I think about it, no.  I might have misspoke.  Yes.  Guess it's not 
really a withdrawal that I wanted.  Sorry.  I'm a bit new at this.  What 
was it?  The word.  It's at the tip of my tongue.  Oh right."  She 
snapped her finger.  "Robbery.  That's the word.  That's the word I'm 
looking for.  This is a..."

Suddenly there was a huge explosion.  Glass shattered in all of the 
banks windows and a huge smoldering gap formed at the front of the bank. 
  As the smoke began to clear, various screaming innocent bystanders saw 
a number of costumed individual start to enter the bank.  Some on foot. 
  Some in the air.

"A robbery," the woman said finishing her sentence.  "And those freaky 
looking dangerous people that just entered are members of the Legion of 
Net.Villains.  And me?  I'm the Ripping Dancer.  I'm sure you've heard 
of me.  Former LNH member turned traitor.  A sad tragic tale to be sure. 
  With the power to rip anything I can imagine while dancing.  And now 
I'm here.  Back in business."

"So, basically we want all the money in this bank.  All of it.  And 
you're going to give it to us.  Sound simple?  Well, let's get to it 
then.  Because there's one thing I don't think you want us to do," she 
said with a smile.  "And that's get physical."

She gave her cherry lollypop another lick.

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

                      IMPERIUM HEX PART I

                    'The Bigger They Are...'

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

A couple weeks before...

In a hallway in the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ, Retcon Lad was loudly 
berating Anal-Retentive Archive Kid.  "Look, it's all a matter of trust..."

"Yes, exactly," said ARAK.  "And the fact that the Legion is getting so 
much funding, hardware and new members to help fight Dekay and Diskolor 
is a good indication that Hex Luthor can be trusted.  If he couldn't be, 
then the usual comic book cliche would be that he'd be *stripping away* 
the Legion's resources just as we needed them the most.  You know, to 
create a heightened sense of urgency."

"That trope only works if the bureaucrats doing the cutbacks don't 
appreciate the extent of the danger being faced," countered Retcon Lad. 
  "The argument falls to pieces if the bad guys are using the heroes as 
pawns to fend off a threat, in the process saving the world for 
themselves while also weakening the heroes who could oppose them 
afterwards.  Bicycle Repair Lad..."

"What about Bicycle Repair Lad?" asked a new voice.  Both LNHers turned 
to see Irony Man, and behind him was Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy.

If anything the presence of Irony Man - who had both lengthier 
membership and more seniority in the Legion's hierarchy - seemed to make 
Retcon Lad antagonistic.  "I was saying that Bicycle Repair Lad warned 
us that Luthor had been his villainous arch nemesis until he wrangled 
history to gain the presidency.  That makes his motives suspect."

Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy bristled.  The very notion that someone could 
think that the holder of the highest office in the country might not be 
worthy of the position was offensive to him.  But Irony Man just calmly 
shook his head.  "You know what your problem is Retcon Lad?  You've been 
watching too many X-Files reruns on cable.  Sometimes a cigar is just a 

"And where exactly is Bicycle Repair Lad anyway?" said Obnoxious 
Ame.rec.a Boy.  "I haven't seen him offer up any proof to support his 
allegations.  In fact, I notice that our little British member" (and 
this was said vast amounts of condescension) "hasn't been around for a 
few months now.  Run off into the night when his insinuations against 
the POTUS weren't able to make much headway with the rest of the Legion, 
has he?"

Irony Man cut OABoy off.  "Retcon Lad, I find this lack of faith in the 
way we're handling the Beige Midnight problem disturbing.  I'd like to 
think the cause is merely cabin fever, and that the tension of waiting 
is getting to you.  So I'll give you the opportunity to cool down and 
think things over.  And a mission to fight bad guys is always a good way 
to clear the head."

"You're shuffling me off onto field duty?"

"Just because we've been waiting for the Beige Countdown to finish 
doesn't mean that there aren't problems that need superhero 
intervention," Irony Man said not unreasonably.  "Out of the country, I 

"Out of the country?" was Retcon Lad's incredulous response.  "What's 
going on overseas that the local hero teams, like LNH Europe, can't handle?"

"There are those Al Qaeda Amerika terrorists who are continuing to make 
trouble," suggested Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy with perhaps a bit too much 

Irony Man nodded.  "Yes.  Retcon Lad, effective immediately you're under 
orders to head for the Middle East, track down and deal with the super 
powered insurgents active there."  He turned to Anal-Retentive Archive 
Kid.  "And you'd better keep an eye on him."

"Me!?  What did I do?" exclaimed ARAK.

"You're known to fraternise with him," said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, 
pointing to Retcon Lad.  "But your efforts to keep him from bad-mouthing 
the leader of your country have been only half-hearted at best.  A 
little bit of scut work in the deserts of the Holy Land will help you 
remember where your best interests lie if you want to get anywhere in 
the Legion."

Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Retcon Lad had looks of outrage on their 
faces as they watched the other two depart.  Then they turned and walked 
away in an appropriately aggrieved manner.  Their sullen expressions did 
not falter until after they'd arrived at a room where some other 
net.heroes were waiting for them, and they had closed the door behind 
them.  Inside were Fourth Wall Lass, Lenny the squirrel, and the 
Net.Elementalist of the Alt.Riders team.

"Well?" asked the Net.Elementalist.

Retcon Lad smirked.  "Oh PUH-LEASE Br'er Irony Man, don't throw me in 
the briar patch."

"Ha!" went the Net.Elementalist, and the two friends high fived each other.

"Okay, keep it down," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid.  He consulted a 
comm.thingie that looked much like a PDA.  "Well that was quick.  Say 
what you want about Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, but at least he's an 
efficient administrator."

"For good or ill," said Lenny.

"Mmm," said ARAK, nodding.  "Anyway, we've got our marching orders.  We 
have 24 hours to pack and fly out of the country.  We have a 
flight.thingie assigned to us and everything."

"Excellent," said the Net.Elementalist.  "How soon do we want to leave?"

"We could leave right now, actually, but that might make us look too 
eager," pointed out ARAK.

Fourth Wall Lass looked speculatively at the others.  "Maybe first thing 
tomorrow morning?" she suggested.  "Will that give you enough time for 
moaning and groaning?"

"It should be," said Retcon Lad.  "Although how I'll keep a straight 
face, I have no idea."

"Try to be subtle," she said.

"Yes dear."

"So we're ready," said the Net.Elementalist.  He put is fists to his 
hips and adopted an arms akimbo stance, and mock declaimed:  "Now that 
our mission is ready to go, we shall reveal to the world just was Hex 
Luthor is up to.  So swears the newest secret sub-group of the Legion of 
Net.Heroes...  The Bicycle Liberation Front!"

"Yes yes," chorused the others in their best 
Monty-Python's-The-Life-Of-Brian voices.  "The Bicycle Liberation 
Front!"  And then they broke out into laughter.  (Well, all except for 
Lenny, who didn't have as broad a grasp of human pop culture as the 
others, and went, "What?" and had to have the joke explained to him - 
which kind of spoiled the effect.)

                      **** <<--BM-->> ****

End of Part I

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