LNH: Easily-Discovered Man #50 (2/2)

EDMLite robrogers72 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 11:06:32 PDT 2009

     "I am well aware of that," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything
snapped.  "In fact, it's because you spent the entire Infinite
Leadership Crisis preventing me from exercising my duties..."

     "You mean your plan to start a war with Ve.net.zuela?"

     "...that I'm having you brought before a disciplinary
tribunal," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything finished, sounding
supremely pleased with himself. "I've never found you funny,
Lite, but I'm going to relish having the last laugh."

     "Now see here!" the Prof thundered, his glowing cowl still
visible as the gray-uniformed security guards closed ranks on
either side of me.  "This is utterly outrageous... entirely

     "We are living in unorthodox times, Easily-Discovered
Man," Adamant-Authority-On-Everything said, his voice sounding
freshly-oiled.  "And yet we are all still responsible for our

     I had plenty of time to think about my actions as Adamant
Authority-On-Everything's personal goon squad marched me
through the security doors, past the repairs going on in the
main lobby and the Peril Room and toward the great oak doors
that led to the Central Command Center.

     For a heavily-armed, super-powered army led by a homicidal
assassin, the Legion of Net.Heroes had been a laid-back,
friendly (if slightly chaotic) organization for most of the time
I'd been hanging around its hallways.  Even during the heady
days of the leadership crisis, with Ultimate Ninja missing, the
other leaders disappearing and everyone more than a little on
edge, the LNH had still seemed like the kind of place where a
few harmless pranks, like the ones I'd played on Adamant-
Authority-On-Everything, would be tolerated, if not necessarily

     But things had changed during the time I'd been away.  The
kiwis, finches and other strange animals I used to see
wandering the corridors had been replaced by stern young men
wearing shoulder holsters and women with clipboards and mirrored
sunglasses.  And while the Legion was still full of people whose
super-power was making cheesecake or pulling paper out of a hat
or whatever horrible thing it was that Pants-Rabbit Lad did (in
fact, there seemed to be more of those people around now than
ever before), everybody seemed to be taking themselves very,
very seriously these days.

     Still, the LNH was still the LNH.  Much as he hated me,
Adamant-Authority-On-Everything would want to try me by the
book, particularly as he'd written the Legion's book of
regulations.  Given the number of questionable activities I'd
pursued over the years, I'd more or less memorized the Legion's
rulebook, and I knew that Adamant's word alone wouldn't be
enough to convict me.  Another Legionnaire would have to take
the stand as a witness against me -- and since the only other
member of the team who'd seen me send Adamant on one wild goose
chase after another was my best friend, Frat Boy, I figured the
worst that would happen is that I'd lose half an hour before I
had a chance to search for Aurora Jones.

     Shows what I know.

     "And so," Fearless Leader said, "you can confirm that you
saw Easily-Discovered Man Lite acting in a manner that
prevented Adamant-Authority-On-Everything from exercising his
appointed duties as deputy leader of the Legion of Net.Heroes?"

     "On several occasions," Frat Boy said, refusing to look at
me from the small podium in front of the desk where Fearless
Leader, Irony Man and Catalyst Lass -- the three Legionnaires
who'd become co-leaders after Ultimate Ninja had stepped down
-- took notes and asked questions.  "He thought it would
improve the morale of the Legion if we all had something to
laugh at."
     "Don't you mean someone?" Adamant-Authority-On-Everything
said, leaping to his feet from his seat at the other side of
the command center.  "You think it was funny to laugh at
someone just because Mother Time turned them into a baby?"

     "No one thinks it was funny that Mother Time turned you
into a baby," Fearless Leader said, looking as though he wished
he were anywhere else.

     "Actually," Catalyst Lass said, "I thought it was

     "Whether or not it was hilarious..." Fearless Leader

     "Or even adorable," Catalyst Lass added.  "Those dimples."

     "...is irrelevant," Fearless Leader said.  "The fact is
that the accused acted in a manner unbecoming of a member of
the Legion of Net.Heroes.  In time of crisis, the Legion
expects each and every one of its members to step up.  Easily-
Discovered Man Lite did not.  I'm disappointed in you, son."

     "Easily-Discovered Man Lite," Irony Man said, the metallic
drone of his voice making him sound halfway between a church
organ and the computer from 'WarGames,' "you are hereby relieved
of your status as a member of the Legion of Net.Heroes.  You
will relinquish your transmatter homing device, your room key,
your copy of the LNH Board Game, LNH commemorative quarter,
Gamer Boy bobblehead, LNH coffee mug and set of LNH: The
Gathering cards immediately."

     "Not the coffee mug!" I gasped.

     "How does he even have a room key?" Adamant Authority-On
Everything asked, as I began handing my Legion swag over to
PR Kid, who was acting as sergeant-at-arms.  "Only members in
good standing are supposed to have those.  As far as I know,
neither he nor Easily-Discovered Man ever survived the
initiation battle in the Peril Room against Ultimate Ninja."

     "And why does this look suspiciously like the key to my
room?" Catalyst Lass asked, twirling the key ring around her
finger while I blushed.

     "This disciplinary hearing is now adjourned," Fearless
Leader said, banging the gavel on his desk.  One by one, the
various members of the leadership team left the control center
-- Catalyst Lass winking at me as she went -- until only Frat
Boy and I remained standing in the middle of the room.

     "That was quite a show," I said, taking a seat on one of
the empty desks.  "What do you say you and I get out of here
and rustle up a bunch of wolves so you can throw me to them?
Oh, wait.  I forgot.  You already did."

     "Shut up," Frat Boy said.

     "This is all because I made you look bad?" I asked.
"Because I voted with Easily-Discovered Man over you during the
crisis? [in LNH Comics Presents #53 -- Footnote Girl].  That one
decision is worth more to you than all the years we've been

     "Lite," Frat Boy said, "have you paid the slightest bit of
attention to anything that's been going on since the leadership
crisis ended?"

     "Of course not," I said.  "My mother gave me three pieces
of advice when I started hanging out with super-heroes: never
wear a red shirt, be careful what you say on the Warren Ellis
forums and stay as far away from any massive, company-wide
crossovers as you can."

     "Do you have any idea who Mynabird is?"

     "Either that really hot super-hero who wears fishnets and
heels into battle and has a thing for archers, or a Japanese
pop star?"

     "Mynabird," Frat Boy said, "is the criminal mastermind who
led the attack on Legion headquarters during the last day of the
crisis.  Who's spent every day since then creating the largest
army of super-villains that the world has ever seen.  And who,
for reasons nobody seems to be able to figure out, is absolutely
obsessed with killing you.  Did you not see the YouTube video
where he spends ten minutes tearing apart your robot duplicate?"

     "Oh," I said.  "That Mynabird."

     "I got you kicked out of the Legion because right now I
think you're better off being Hector Lopez for a while," Frat
Boy said.  "Let Easily-Discovered Man Lite disappear.  Stay as
far away from the LNH or anything to do with super-heroes as
you can.  You were away from home and from school for almost
500 days, right?  You must have a lot of catching up to do."

     "What about Easily-Discovered Man?" I asked.

     "He's got Substitute Lad, one of the two or three most
powerful guys on the planet, backing him up," Frat Boy said.
"And he's got Cynical Lass.  And all of us.  Don't worry, Li...
Hector.  We're not going to let the Professor down."

      "Thanks," I said, shaking his hand.  I walked halfway
across the command center, then stopped.  Frat Boy was still
standing in the middle of the room.

     "This whole thing that's got everybody all worked up right
now," I said.  "With Mynabird, and Ultimate Ninja being crazier
than usual, and the President handing out super-powers like
Halloween candy.  You think this is really the big one?  The end
of... stuff?"

     Frat Boy smiled.  "You're talking to a guy who's been in
college for the last 15 years, Lopez," he said.  "I don't
believe in endings.  Just a new and different Hell Week every

     "That's what I thought," I said.  "Just needed to make

     "Take care of yourself, Hector," Frat Boy said.

     "See you in the funny papers," I said.

     I found Cynical Lass in her room, loading some of her
things into a duffel bag.  She was wearing an outfit I'd never
seen her wear, a tight-fitting black uniform with a little
silver "LNH" on the right side of her chest.  I found myself
struggling with what to say to her, which felt odd; except for
the time I'd left her entire collection of P.G. Wodehouse novels
on the subway, I'd never been nervous around Cynical Lass

     Fortunately, she always found a way to break the ice.

     "What the hell do you want, Lite?"

     "It's nice to see you too," I said.  "Are you going with
the Goth look these days, or did someone leave an alien
symbiote in the dryer again?"

     Cynical Lass gave me a look I could have bottled and used
to repel muggers.  "Ultimate Ninja asked me to be part of the
task force that's going to the Ultimate Black Hole."


     "The other Ultimate Black Hole," she said.  "The one at
the center of the universe where the most evil things in allof
creation are being kept.  The one Mynabird plans to break
into.  I'm surprised Ultimate Ninja didn't ask you to come."

     "Yeah, well, there's that whole getting thrown out of the
LNH thing," I said.

     Cynical Lass looked up from her packing.  "Seriously?
That's really awful, Lite.  And Footnote Girl owes me twenty

     [I so do not! -- Footnote Girl].

     "Look, Joy, that's not what I wanted to talk with you

     Cynical Lass stuffed a jogging suit and a pair of
paperbacks into her duffel bag.  "Sure," she said.  "Only I
don't get paid 'til Friday, so whatever it is you're planning
to cheat me out of, be aware that..."

     "Will you go to the prom with me?"

     One of the two paperbacks clattered to the floor.

     "You're just full of surprises today, aren't you?" she
said, crossing her arms and looking at me.

     "Look," I said.  "We've known each other for a long time.
We've been friends for a long time.  Other than my brother and
maybe Frat Boy, you probably know me better than anybody in the
world.  I've always had a lot of respect for you as a super-
hero.  I don't think I've ever told you that."

     "Hang on," Cynical Lass said.  "Are you asking me to be
your prom date because you think I'm a good super-hero?  Or is
this because your girlfriend broke up with you and the other
girl you liked turned out to be wanted for murder?"

     "Most foul," echoed Easily-Discovered Man's voice from
somewhere down the hall.

     "I'm asking you because you look damn good in a dress, and
I've always thought so, and I should have told you a long time
ago," I said.  "And because if I had to spend the entire night
talking to someone, I'd rather it be you than anyone else I
know.  And because sooner or later I'm going to go off to
college, and I'll be telling the people I meet there about this
beautiful, brilliant, funny, slightly insane girl from England
that I never had the courage to ask on a date, and not a single
person there will believe that she actually existed, and they'll
all think I'm pathetic, or nuts, or both.  And I really don't
want to be that guy."

     "I was waiting for the punchline," Cynical Lass said.
"With you, there's always a punchline.  But this time... you're
really serious, aren't you?"

     "Yeah," I said.  "I am."

     Cynical Lass shook her head.  "So why is it that you
finally get the balls to ask me out on the night before I'm
about to blast off into space?"

     "You're... going into outer space... tomorrow morning?"

     "I know how that sounds," Cynical Lass said. "But I
usually come up with more believable excuses when I don't want
to go out with someone."

     "You could not go," I said.

     "You must have paid a lot for those prom tickets," Cynical
Lass said.  "Besides, didn't you just say something about how
you admired my work as a super-hero?"

     "In that case," I said.  "Assuming that this Mynabird
person doesn't annihilate my family..."

     "And that I survive several weeks in an untested,
experimental spacecraft on a trip to an alien penal colony,"
Cynical Lass continued.

     "And that somehow I work through all of this mess with the
LNH, solve the Waffle Queen's murder and prove Aurora's

     "I really never liked that girl," Cynical Lass said.  "But
assuming you do all that, and that I manage to save the
universe... then I think we should talk."

     "I'd like that," I said.

     Half an hour later, I was walking out of LNH headquarters
for what I was pretty sure would be the last time when I spotted
a familiar glow several hundred feet down one of the building's
seemingly infinite corridors.

    "Prof!" I said.  "Hang on for a minute."

    "Lite!" said Easily-Discovered Man, waiting for me to catch
up.  "How good it is to see you!  Did you know that both
Cynical Lass and Substitute Lad will be traveling with our
august former leader to the farthest reaches of the cosmos
tomorrow morning?  Is that, or is that not extraordinary?"

    "Both of them?  Wow," I said.  "Prof, listen... I've been
thrown out of the LNH.  They won't let me be Easily-Discovered
Man Lite any more."

     Easily-Discovered Man stared at me for a moment, then
embraced me as though I were his long-lost son.

     "Fortunate fellow!  How marvelous!  Truly the entire
pantheon of gods has smiled upon you this day!  How I envy

     "Envy me?" I said.  "Did you miss the part where I said
that I..."

     "How I have often longed to be the kind of renegade...
rogue... underground hero that you shall become!" the Prof
began, and I shook my head, resigning myself to another of his
rants.  "To take on another identity... perhaps 'The
Misanthrope,' or 'Dark Lite,' although that one doesn't really
make sense..."

     "Certainly not in the way that 'Easily-Discovered Man
Lite' does," I said.

     "Ah, to walk the path that you shall walk!" the Prof
continued, his eyes brimming with undisguised envy.
"Disillusioned by your time here in the coastal metropolis,
you shall journey into the great heartland of Ame.rec.a in
search of meaning, immersing yourself in the gritty underbelly
of our mighty nation, walking down those mean streets beaten,
battered, but never broken, aided by new friends and a new
mentor... perhaps a blind martial arts master, or an aged
Englishman seeking to make amends with a lifetime as an

    "You're expecting me to find these guys in the heartland
of Ame.rec.a?" I asked.  "Clearly you and I see the flyover
states very differently."

    "Months... years pass," Easily-Discovered Man said.  "And
then, at the moment of greatest need, when all mine enemies
have me at their mercy, when all hope seems forever lost... who
should appear but you, casting aside your dark disguise and
returning to claim your rightful place by my side?"

    "Waitaminute," I said.  "I go through all that, and all
that happens is that I end up exactly where I started in the
first place?"

    "All of the best stories end that way," Easily-Discovered
Man said, as we crossed the threshold of Legion headquarters.
"But come, my errant prodigal, for before your exile may begin,
I have one last task I must ask you to perform."

     "I was thinking about checking with Luke and Emily Jones,"
I said.  "Maybe they know where Aurora's gone to.  Or maybe
seeing if Londonbroil knows anything about this Mynabird who's
trying to kill me."

     "All of that can wait," Easily-Discovered Man said.  "Do
you recall, Lite, how some time ago I told you that all was not
as it should be within the once-tranquil household of Easily-
Discovered Man?"

     "You mean how Mrs. Prof threw you out?"

     "Sadly, yes," Easily-Discovered Man said.  "For many weeks
did I labor beneath the window of the home we once shared with
lute and accordion, nay even with boom box upon my shoulders...
but to no avail.  Now, however, my absence from this plane
during the recent crisis has caused her to reconsider, and she
has requested that I frequent the annals of our former domicile
this very evening."

     "And you're afraid this is part of a trap laid for you by
some super-villain, and you want me to go ahead and check it
out?" I asked.

     "Not at all, my brash young master-at-arms," the Prof
said.  "I am convinced she is serious.  What I require is...
your moral support."

     I reached up and put my hand on the Prof's glowing

     "And you'll always have it, Prof," I said.  "No matter

     "Thank you," Easily-Discovered Man whispered.

     We walked along for several minutes, neither of us saying
anything, until we reached the Prof's neighborhood.  I had a
lot on my mind -- Cynical Lass heading into space, Aurora on
the run from the law, the question of whether sidekicks were
eligible for unemployment -- and so I didn't notice how quiet
everything was, or how dark, until the Prof walked through the
front door of his former home and switched on the light.

     I only recognized a handful of the people in the room.
Substitute Lad was there, as was the Prof's wife, Irene, and
his daughter, Jennifer.  I assumed that most of the rest were
either friends, relatives, or colleagues of Professor Wong.
What truly shocked me, however, was the woman standing near
the center of the room.

     "Don't I know you?" I asked.  "Aren't you Revamp Lass of
the Brotherhood of Evil Net.Villains?"

     "Was," she corrected.  "These days I'm a consultant."

     "What... what is the meaning of all of this?" Easily-
Discovered Man asked, looking about him in confusion.

     "Oh Theo, isn't it obvious?" his wife said.  "After all
this time?  It's an intervention."


    NEXT ISSUE: Forced to face the consequences of the life he
had led, Professor Theodore Wong makes a fateful decision --
and Lite adjusts to his new life as a fugitive -- in the wake
of "The Intervention."

    CHARACTERS: Easily-Discovered Man, Easily-Discovered Man
Lite, Cynical Lass, Substitute Lad, Aurora Jones, Dessica, Mrs.
Butterworth, the Waffle Queen and Mother Time are (c) the
author.  Suddenly-Exploding Boy and PR Kid are (c) Jamas
Enright.  Footnote Girl is (c) Saxon Brenton.  Sister State-The-
Obvious is (c) Martin Phipps.  Hex Luthor is (c) Chris Hare and
Saxon Brenton.  Cookie Crumple and Pants Rabbit Lad are (c) Tom
Russell, Jr. Adamant-Authority-On-Everyting and Ultimate Ninja
are (c) wReam.  Frat Boy and Gamer Boy are (c) John "upLink"
Scheibeler.  Irony Man is (c) Doug Moran.  Fearless Leader is
(c) Dave van Domelen.  Catalyst Lass is (c) Elisabeth Riba.
Mynabird is (c) Arthur Spitzer and the author.  Luke and Emily
Jones are (c) Ben Rawluk.  ReVamp Lass II is (c) Jeff McCoskey.

    SPECIAL THANKS: to those who voted "The Adventures of
Easily-Discovered Man" their favorite series in the 2007 RACCie
Awards.  Yes, it's been that long since the last issue.

    "Now if you're looking for a hero
    Someone to save the day
    Well, darlin', my feet
    They're made of clay
    But I've got somethin' in my soul
    And I wanna give it up
    But gettin' up the nerve
    Gettin' up the nerve
    Gettin' up the nerve is a man's, man's job"
        --Bruce Springsteen

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