LNH: Beige Midnight #2: Imperium Hex Part II: 'The Dungeons of Freedom...!' (1/3)

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 11 17:33:29 PDT 2008

[Cover: Ripping Dancer, The RobGoblin, The Chuggernaut, Vector Sublime, 
and Commie-In-A-Metal-Suit are bound to a dungeon wall in chains with 
Irony Man looking at them with a bunch of keys dangling from his hand. 
A dialogue balloon out of Irony Man's mouth says, 'Hah!  Ripping Dancer! 
  It looks like your LNV failed!  You're all defeated!!'  Ripping Dancer 
replies with her dialogue balloon, 'No, Irony Man.  You haven't defeated 
all of us.  You still have to deal with -- THREAD BEAR!!'  In big bold 
letters at the bottom of the cover is, 'FINALLY!  THREAD BEAR UNBOUND!!!!']

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

The place -- Hex Luthor's Secret Prison.

The time --

                    B     E     I     G     E

           M     I     D     N     I     G     H     T

The number --            T     W     O

The Writers -- Arthur Spitzer and Saxon Brenton

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

Two Freedom Chip Heroes were walking down the hallway when one of them 
said, "So.  You see him?  Guy in a bear suit?"

The other one said, "Nah.  Why we even chasing this clown?  From what 
I've heard he's like the lamest supervillain ever.  Even the lamest 
superheroes like So-Lame-Even-Saxon-Brenton-Wouldn't-Use-Him-In-A-Story 
Lad have no problem kicking his ass.  This is a waste of time.  My 
gramma could probably beat him!"

"Hah!  Yeah.  Mine too.  But Irony Man said we had to get this guy. 
Guess that's what we have to do."

"Man, this bites."

"Yeah.  Come on.  Let's try this way."

The two Freedom Chip Heroes walked away from view.

And up above the ceiling in a ventilation shaft was the man that they 
were looking for.  A man in a bear suit.  A man with a vest and belt 
loaded with thread spools.  A man called -- Thread Bear.

Lame, am I?  Is that what the world thinks?  I guess so.  I guess that's 
why I won the Lamest Villain in the Whole Looniverse Award eight years 
in a row.  I guess everyone thinks I'm lame.  But they don't know one 
thing.  They don't know about the Rage.

The Rage inside me.

A Rage that has been building up since Kindergarten.  When I got my 
first beating.  For being lame.  And every year it's gotten bigger.

And now it's so damn big -- it's going to -- Blow.


You thought bringing down The RobGoblin, The Chuggernaut, Vector 
Sublime, Commie-In-A-Metal-Suit, and Ripping Dancer would be enough. 
And maybe it would have.  But you didn't count on my Rage.  That was 
your mistake.

And now it's almost too late.  My Rage is almost ready to break free. 
Nothing can stop it.

I almost feel sorry you.  Because my Rage shows no mercy.  No mercy at 
all.  And there's nowhere to hide from it.  It is all consuming.  All 
engulfing.  All Raging.

Pray to your Gods.  Pray to them hard.  For my Rage is coming.

It is coming!

I can't stop it!

It's Coming!

It's COMING!!!!

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!

Thread Bear let out an enormous growl that shook the whole shaft.  The 
Bear in him took over.  His muscles rippled under his bear suit and he 
grabbed the vent thingee with all of his strength.  All of his Thread 
Bear strength.

And he pulled.  And he pulled.

And the vent thingee didn't move.

Damn, it's stuck tight.

Give it one more try.

He pulled again.  And pulled again.  And he then he heard a crack.

Oh God!  MY back!  My back!!!  Oh, Bear Jesus!!  Sweet Bear Jesus!! Oh, 
God!  I really hurt it!  Ow!  Ow!  Ow!

Well, then.  Maybe I should just stay here for a bit, thought Thread 
Bear to himself.

Oh my back!

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

                      IMPERIUM HEX PART II

                   'The Dungeons of Freedom...!'

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

Several minutes before...

Irony Man's hands blasted irony at the ceiling.  Before Ripping Dancer 
and Thread Bear could do anything chained nets supercharged with irony 
fell on them pinning them to the floor.

"Like that?  Call them 'Freedom Chains'.  My own personal invention. 
Each chain link has the word 'Freedom' on it.  Neat, huh."  Irony Man 
turned around so he could talk to his squad of Freedom Chip Heroes. 
"Okay, people.  I want you to spread out.  Make sure to fight only your 
specialized targets and avoid the rest.  Can't-Dance-to-This-Music Lass? 
  Stay here and guard these two.  I need to..."  Before he could 
continue with that thought he spotted a rapidly speeding red 
metal-suited person flying straight towards him.  Irony Man quickly 
ducked and grabbed a hold of the person's metal leg and sped with them. 
  The rest of the Freedom Chip Heroes left to go find their specialized 

Though the chains held Ripping Dancer tightly to the ground she could 
still slightly move under it.  Using what limited movements she did 
possess she tried some floor break-dancing moves.  The moves were enough 
to tear a big hole in the net for her to escape.  Freed from the net she 
twirled some more dance moves to free Thread Bear.

"Thread Bear!  Run!  Warn the others!  I'll deal with this -- umm -- 
hmm.  What was your name again?"

A mopey looking girl wearing plain looking clothes hit the play button 
on the boom box she was holding while Thread Bear ran off to catch up 
with the others.  Music started to play.  "Name?  Oh, it's not 
important.  Not really.  It's just a name.  A stupid name.  Just like 
everything else in life.  Nothing's really important.  Not really."

"That music you're playing -- it's -- what is it?  It sounds so dark and 
depressing -- it's... Oh god."  Memories started to flood through 
Ripping Dancer's brain.  Horrible memories.  Every stupid mistake she 
had ever made.  They were all coming back.  "That music!" she said as 
she collapsed to the ground.

"This music?  Oh, it's just music.  Music that no one can dance to.  No 
one.  Not even you, Ripping Dancer.  Not even you."

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

Half the World Away...

Morning arrived, and Anal-Retentive-Archive Kid was paging through 
information on his laptop while the others were gathering in the hanger 
bay in preparation for departure.  "Whatcha got here?" asked the 

"I grabbed all the intel the Legion has access to on the Al-Qaeda 
Amerika group."

"Er," went the Net.Elementalist, "You do remember that namechecking them 
was just the pretence to get us where we need to go, don't you?"

Anal-Retentive Archive Kid gave him an arch look.  "Yes, so?  You do 
realise we *will* end up having a run in with these jokers, don't you?"

"Now you're just being cynical."

"Pfftt.  Irony Man's power is subtle, and more importantly it doesn't 
need to be consciously activated.  He sent us to the Middle-East to 
fight Al-Qaeda Amerika, and regardless of whether or not he knows that's 
where we wanted to go for our own reasons, he's effectively ensured 
that's what we'll have to do along the way."

The other three had been listening to this.  Now Fourth Wall Lass added, 
"Actually, fighting villains is in our interest."  The guys all looked 
at her in surprise.  She sighed and patiently explained what should have 
been obvious.  "If we're going to acquire a plot device to bring down 
Luthor, we can't just waltz over and grab it.  In narrative terms we 
have to work through the whole Quest storyline setup in order to earn 
the right in order to use it.  Otherwise it'll blow up in our faces or 
just plain not work or something."

The Net.Elementalist and Anal-Retentive Archive Kid traded glances. 
During the Infinite Leadership Crisis Fourth-Wall Lass had boosted her 
powers in an attempt to solve the mystery of the disappearing leaders. 
However, a consequence of that was - moreso than ever before - she 
tended to look on events as patterns of story and narrative causality. 
Of course, the Looniverse was a fictional universe, so it *was* patterns 
of story.  The problem was that these days it seemed that Fourth Wall 
Lass tended to treat it like it was *ONLY* patterns of story.  That 
could be a bit off-putting.

Still, it was a tactically useful viewpoint even if strategically it was 
worryingly narrow.  So the Net.Elementalist said, "I guess there'll be 
other obstacles, then."  Fourth Wall Lass nodded.

"Three is the classic pattern," agreed ARAK.  "No, sorry; *a* classic 
pattern.  There are other significant numbers." He frowned.  "Oh gods, I 
hope it's not a hundred and eight."

"What?" asked Lenny.

"It's from Buddhism.  It's the number of sins someone has to overcome in 
their lifetime," ARAK said distractedly.  He shook his head.  "Not 
important right now."

"So what have we got on our little friends in Al-Qaeda Amerika?" asked 
Retcon Lad, pushing the discussion back on topic.

"Either surprisingly a lot or surprisingly little," ARAK said.  "It 
depends on whether you consider them to be a military style black ops 
team which needs to rely on secrecy in order to maintain its operational 
flexibility.  Or whether they should be treated like a supervillain team 
with distinct costumes and codenames and a habit of expositing their 
origin stories."

"How about why a team like them, being originally assigned to cause 
trouble in the Usenetted States, has been recalled to Afgha.net.stan?" 
asked Retcon Lad.

"Possibly because the 'soft and decadent' coalition troops in 
Afgha.net.stan were doing better than Bin Laden's boys had expected," 
mused ARAK.  "That said, they are explicitly based on the way that 
ubermensch agents provocateurs were deployed by Hitler in the various 
four-colour versions of world war 2.  Once they've been set loose they 
should have as much mobility as any other high powered or well supplied 
super team."

There was a rush of movement and suddenly another Legionnaire was 
standing with them at the base of the flight.thingie.  "Hi, I was hoping 
I wouldn't be too late, You're the guys who are heading off to tackle 
Al-Qaeda Amerika, aren't you?, I'm Twitter by the way," she said.

"Uh," went Retcon Lad in surprise.  He looked at the others, who all 
seemed as nonplussed as he was - except for Fourth Wall Lass, who just 
shrugged and said, "Plot complication," as if that explained everything.

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

Back in America...

A rip of light cut through reality.  Catalyst Lass slipped through it. 
She looked around the room.  The Oval Office.  No one around.  So far so 
good.  She walked over to the desk and took a tool out of her pocket. 
It was a skeleton key designed by Contraption Man to unlock any lock. 
She slid it through one of the desk drawer keyholes and she heard a 
click.  She opened the drawer.

She hadn't been quite sure of what to expect, but she prepared herself 
for the worst.  The most horrible and disturbing things she could 
fathom.  But of all the things she had ever imagined, she would have 
never imagined what she saw in the drawer.  It was beyond the scope of 
imagination, these things she saw.  She just looked at the drawer for a 
minute or two.  And then she reached into it.

Cans!  And not just any cans.  Cans of -- Mushrooms!  A drawer filled 
with nothing but small cans of mushrooms.  She took a can out to inspect 
it closer.  They were cheap-generic brand mushrooms.  Why did Hex Luthor 
have a drawer full of cheap-generic brand mushrooms?  You'd think he 
could at least splurge for some expensive fancy mushrooms in glass jars. 
  But no.  Just cans of cheap mushrooms.  A drawer full of them.  What 
did Hex do with these mushrooms?  Eat them for snacks?  Weird.

Catalyst Lass decided to see what was in the rest of the drawers.  She 
opened the drawer below the mushroom drawer.

Let's see here.  A pair of black socks.  A spoon and can opener.  Must 
be for the mushrooms.  And a CD.  Wow!  A WHAM! CD!  'If You Were 
There... The Best of Wham!'  Catalyst Lass looked through the list of 
songs.  Hmm -- where's 'Careless Whisper'?  How can you have a Best of 
Wham! compilation and not include their best song?  It doesn't make 
sense, thought Catalyst Lass shaking her head.  She put the CD down and 
thumbed through the rest of the drawers contents.  A Magazine!  With 
pictures of naked women riding bicycles!  Catalyst Lass studied the 
magazine closely.  'Naked Bicycle Enthusiast Monthly'  Hex, Hex, Hex, 
thought Catalyst Lass smirking to herself.  She thumbed through the 
pages.  Now those breasts are obviously fake.  That looks rather 
uncomfortable right there.  Wait that face, she thought flipping to a 
new page.  That face.  Didn't she go to high school with that girl? 
Yes!  Of course!  That has to be Linda Lou!  That has to be!  Well.  She 
looks like she's in good shape.

"What the *Hell* are you doing!!?"

Catalyst Lass's heart briefly stopped and the magazine fell from her 
hands.  "Oh!  Hex!  Hi!  You startled me!" she said turning around.

"What are you doing here?"  Hex didn't look amused.

Catalyst Lass shook her head.  "Now you've ruined the surprise!  And it 
was going to be a big surprise -- but now it's all ruined."


"Yes!  For your birthday, silly!  Now you've gone and ruined it.  The 
Ultimate Ninja sent me here to sneak into your office and get some 
device.  Some cosmicy device.  He was going to have it all polished up 
and wrapped for you as a gift at this big birthday bash we're having for 
you.  Hmm.  I've got an idea!  Why not give me this cosmicy thingee muh 
jiggie and when you get to the party you can act surprised!"

"No.  I don't think so.  There isn't going to be any surprise birthday 
party.  And this device the Ultimate Ninja wants you to find is -- it's 
not here.  Whatever it is.  Now.  You are forbidden from ever entering 
this room again.  And you will tell me whatever plans the Ultimate Ninja 
has, do you understand?"

Catalyst Lass nodded her head.

"Good.  Now leave here."

Hex Luthor escorted Catalyst Lass out and slammed the Oval Office doors 
shut.  He walked over back to his desk and grabbed the 'Naked Bicycle 
Enthusiast Monthly' magazine and shoved it back into the drawer.  Hex 
Luthor's face was filled with rage.

wReamicus Maximus!  While Hex had expected that wReamicus and the rest 
of the HexFire Club members would have eventually made a move against 
him -- he just hadn't expected it this soon.  But how did wReamicus find 
out about the Cosmic Plot Device?  The Device!  He rushed over towards 
the Abraham Lincoln painting and quickly took it off revealing the safe 
where he kept the device.

Hex opened the safe and saw that the Cosmic Plot Device was still in 
there.  He would have to move it to a safer location.  But where?  He'd 
have to think about it.  Hopefully, it would be safe here tonight.

And wReamicus -- what was he going to do about him?  Hire an assassin? 
Maybe replace him with another Ultimate Ninja clone?  Damn.  This was 
the last thing he needed.  Too much was happening.  He'd take care of 
this tomorrow.  He had a dinner meeting he needed to go to.  He put the 
Abraham Lincoln painting back in its place.  Hopefully it would be safe 
here at least for one night.

He buttoned his suit jacket up and made his way for the West Wing.

With the Oval Office empty a shadow next to the President's desk started 
to move.  It kind of looked like Catalyst Lass's shadow, but it slowly 
shifted its shape and looked more like another person's shadow.  The 
shadow slipped its way beneath the Abraham Lincoln painting.

And outside the White House, Catalyst Lass held her watch next to her 
mouth and spoke to the watch.

"Phase One: Complete."

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

Back at the Secret Prison...

Man, this job sucks, thought the Chuggernaut to himself.  Why did he 
ever accept this stupid LNV gig?  He should be at some bar picking up 
chicks or watching baseball.  He needed a beer.  Yeah!  He looked at his 
mystical beer bottle that he used to summon his beer commercial powers. 
  He could drink from it, but it wasn't the same.  It wasn't real.  Just 
a part of the Beer Commercial Zone.  He needed a real beer from the real 
world.  Need to stop thinking about beer and do your job.  Where was he 
anyways?  All these damn prison cell areas looked the same.  Man, this 
was stupid.  Was he lost?  Damn.  Where the hell was everyone?  He 
should have stuck with the RobGoblin.  Hell.  This wasn't doing any 
good.  Maybe there was something in the Beer Commercial Zone that could 
help him.

Just as he was about to slam his beer against the wall, he heard a voice 
shouting to him.

"Stop!  Villain!"

The Chuggernaut smiled.  Some idiot wanted a fight?  He'd oblige.  He 
turned around to see who he was about to beat to a pulp.  And to his 
amazement he saw a gigantic beer bottle about the size of a very tall 
person standing in the hallway.  The bottle had arms and legs like a human.

"This?  Oh, this is rich!  This is what they sent to stop me?  You?  A 
walking beer bottle?  Oh man!  I must be dreaming!  You know who I am? 
DO You know who I AM?  Well.  Let me introduce myself.  I'm the 
Chuggernaut!  Yeah!  The Chuggernaut!  And do you know what I do?  Well, 
hell -- Why don't I just show you?"  He grabbed the walking beer bottle 
by its neck and morphing one of his hands into a bottle opener he popped 
the cap right off the bottle.  And then he picked the entire bottle up 
and turned it upside down.  A frothy brew poured down right into the 
Chuggernaut's mouth.

And then the expression on the Chuggernaut's face changed.  A horrified 
looked popped into his eyes.  He threw the bottle away from himself and 
collapsed to the floor.  "No!" he said hacking and coughing, "No! 
You're not -- you're not... Uhhhhgggg -- Poisoned.  Poison me!  You -- you!"

"No, not poison.  I guess you didn't read my label.  My name is The 
Living Non-Alcoholic Beer!  And really, I don't taste that bad, do I? 

The Chuggernaut didn't answer.  Instead he reverted back to his 
powerless human form of professional wino Paul Tremens totally 
unconscious to the world around him.

"My girlfriend says I taste good.  I mean, she wouldn't lie, would she? 

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

"Ready to eat floor -- DorkWad!!?"

A rather nerdy looking man that looked a bit like a Neal Adam's drawing 
carrying around a book called 'Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body' turned 
around to see what uncultured individual was speaking to him.  It was 
some kind of horrible anatomically incorrect abomination on a hovering 
glider.  Some beast with a long ponytail and a cyborg left eye holding a 
very large gun with its right arm.  "I dare say, sir -- How is it that 
such tiny feet like yours are able to balance the massive bulk of your 
body with its massive thighs and massive man breasts and massive gun -- 
it doesn't make sense -- and am I correct in saying that both of your 
feet are left feet?"

"Feet?!!"  The RobGoblin looked down.  The RobGoblin had never really 
liked looking at his feet and fortunately for the most part his feet 
usually were hidden outside the confines of the panel.  But he looked 
down and there they were.  His tiny ridiculous looking feet.  How was he 
able to maintain balance on this glider?  And the moment he started 
thinking about it he lost control over the glider and both crashed right 
into the wall.

A look of Extreme Constipation flashed on the RobGoblin's face.  "All 
right, Geekboy!!  You're going to pay for that!!  Big Time!!!"  The 
RobGoblin quickly grabbed one of his Bludkins and prepared to throw it 
at the nerdy guy with the book.

But before he could, the nerdy guy with the book spoke again.  "How are 
you going throw that at me if you have no elbow?  And your arm doesn't 
look like it should move anyway -- all the muscles are in the wrong 
places.  And your hand?  How do you pick up stuff with that hand?  It 
doesn't look like it should work.  In fact none of your body parts look 
like they should actually move.  Your neck.  Your shoulders.  Your legs. 
  How exactly have you existed for so long like this?  You must have led 
a really painful life."

The Bludkin that RobGoblin was holding exploded in his hand.  The 
RobGoblin tried to move his neck, but it wouldn't move.  Nor would his 
arm.  Nothing would move.  Not a single body part.  The nerdy guy was 
right.  It didn't make sense.  How had he existed like this?

"You see right here," said the nerdy guy as he flipped through his book, 
"This is how the human body is supposed to appear.  See?  See the feet? 
  How the human body has a left foot and a right foot?  You understand? 
  Oh btw -- My name is -- Anatomy Lesson Lad.  If you want I can give 
you the web address where you can buy this book."

The RobGoblin didn't say anything as he continued to strain to move his 
body parts -- but they wouldn't move.  If he had been capable of more 
than one facial expression, he might have wept with anguish at that 
point.  But since he wasn't he did the one facial expression he was 
capable of...

....Extreme Constipation.

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

Vector Sublime landed near a cell door.  A music only she could hear was 
coming from it.  As she reached for the door handle, she hesitated. 
What was behind this door?  And why couldn't she resist it?  But her 
curiosity over came her caution and she pulled the handle.  Behind the 
door, she saw a man sitting on a waterbed.  A man with shades, greased 
hair, a leather jacket over a white T-shirt, and a stethoscope around 
his neck.

"Who are you?" Vector Sublime asked.

"The Doctor.  Doctor Virus Love.  And I've got the cure, Baby.  The cure 
for what ails lonely little viruses like yourself.  Right here," he said 
slapping his bed with his right hand.  Fingers on his left hand snapped 
and candles lit up, the room darkened, and the jukebox in the corner of 
the prison cell started playing Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'.  "So 
come on, Baby.  No virus can resist Dr. Virus Love.  No virus."

"Resist," Vector Sublime said as if the idea amused her.  "And why would 
any virus want to resist -- Doctor Virus Love?"  She then jumped right 
into Doctor Virus Love's arms and grabbed his head with her hand and 
placed her lips against his as the two of them fell down on Dr. Virus 
Love's big waterbed.  Dr. Virus Love snapped his fingers again and the 
prison door closed.

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

Irony Man dodged several energy blasts from the red metal suited person 
he was still holding onto.  The two crashed into one of the prison walls 
and started to fight each other.

"Ah, been along time Commie-In-A-Metal-Suit.  Which one are you?  Boris, 

"Nyet!  Natasha, you Imperialist Gigolo!"

"Ah!  Tasha!  My favorite one!  Well, hell -- why don't we just skip 
this whole fight scene and get a bite to eat -- I know this great 
Russian Restaurant in Net.ropolis -- it's along Bartels Boulevard.  I 
think you'll like it, Tasha."

"Nyet!  I will not fall for the whole Capitalistic Dinner-And-A-Movie 
ploy again!!" she said blasting more energy at Irony Man.

"Really?  A shame.  You must be desperate these days, Tasha -- working 
for an evil capitalist like Mynabird.  How the mighty have fallen. 
What's he paying you?  I could pay you more.  Name your price."

"You filthy pig!!  How dare you!!  I do not work for Mynabird's money!! 
  He has promised me -- and those like me a return to greatness!  When 
we take over the world, we shall turn Russia and all of its former parts 
back into the Soviet Union!!  I'd like to see you make a better deal 
Toony Stork!"

"I'll admit that Mynabird offers quite a bit.  Not sure how he's going 
to deliver all these promises he's been making though.  But if it's the 
old Soviet Empire you want -- I think I might have something you'll 
love.  Follow me."  Irony Man blasted off the floor and rocketed through 
the hallways.

"Wait!  You coward!" said Commie-In-A-Metal-Suit as she tried to follow him.

Was this where he was headed, she thought to herself as she stopped in 
one of the hallways?  She looked around and saw an open door.  She 
walked into the dark prison cell and turned on the lights.

Irony Man was standing in the middle of a room draped with old Soviet 
Union flags.  Various portraits were hung on the walls depicting leaders 
like Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev.

"What is this place?" she said slightly shocked by it all.

"Like it?  Wait till you check out the ceiling."  Irony Man then shot 
the ceiling with huge blasts of Irony as he slipped into a secret panel 
along the wall.  Ten tons of Karl Marx's book 'Das Kapital' fell down on 
Commie-In-A-Metal-Suit burying her alive.

"We were prepared for you, Tasha.  All of you.  You lost this battle the 
moment you stepped into this prison.  You should have gone with 
Dinner-And-A-Movie, Tasha.  Oh well.  Live and Learn."

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

End of Part I

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