LNH: Beige Midnight #5: The Bart Age: 'Playing Dice with the Looniverse' (1/3)

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 24 17:42:53 PDT 2009

[Cover:  Bart the Dark Receptionist throws a number of dice.  The dice 
have the faces of several LNH'rs.  Behind him is a background of Stars 
and Galaxies.]

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

The place -- Ancient Qwerty.

The time --

                    B     E     I     G     E

           M     I     D     N     I     G     H     T

The number --        F     I     V     E

The Writer -- Arthur Spitzer

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

1,002,993 BC

A man from the heavens descended down.  His feet touched the top of a 
mountain.  The highest mountain in Qwerty.  The man wore a black spandex 
suit with a red belt and boots.  On his chest were two red cartoon 
figures.  One that sort of looked like a ninja holding a mug in his 
hand.  The other had a pot of coffee in his hand and was pouring the 
coffee into the mug.  The cartoon figure pouring the coffee had a very 
evil grin on its face.  A very dark evil grin.  On one of the man's 
hands was a gauntlet.  A gauntlet laced with a straight jacket of gems. 
  The bright colors of the gems seemed to claw and bite away at the 
sanity of Reality.  Whispers and hyena laughter rang through the gems. 
On his other hand was a ring.  A ring that changed its shape when you 
stopped paying attention to it.  It was always made of bone.  Of gold. 
Of steel.  Of plastic.  Some times it had one 'N'.  Sometimes two. 
Sometimes more.  The ring mocked the careful backstory every writer had 
given it.  It didn't care.  It would keep changing.  And changing.

This man had been a receptionist along time ago in the far, far future. 
  He had served coffee for the greatest heroes the Looniverse would ever 
know.  But that didn't satisfy him.  He wanted more.  So he sold his 
soul for adventure and fortune.  And now he was here.  Standing on a 
mountain.  Looking down at the world.  A world that was going to be his 
in a thousand years.

He was powerful.  How powerful?  He opened up a pouch he had.  He ran 
his fingers through the contents and scooped some out.  In the future 
these objects would be called LNH dice.  But there was something more 
inside them.  Gods.  Apocalyptic Beats.  Galaxy Eaters.  All trapped 
away in the dice.  Pounding and pounding away at their plastic cages. 
The 666 gods in the 666 dice.  That's how powerful he was.

He looked around.  Strangely, the sky was plaid.  Flowers with purple 
pickle mustaches sprouted out of the ground.  And the moon -- The moon 
looked like the head of Fred the Receptionist.  Fred.  He must be going 
mad.  It was the gauntlet with the gems.  It was warping everything.  He 
should take it off.  That would be the sane thing to do.  He laughed. 
Off in the distance he could hear two kangaroos playing away on banjos. 
  The kangaroos had been following him for a long time.  He couldn't 
shake them off.

Time to consult the oracles.  He grabbed three pinkish dice cubes and 
rolled them.  Each one displayed a three.  "I wish to talk with you," he 
said to the dice.  The Guest Star Gem on the Insanity Gauntlet shimmered.

The three dice shot out some holographic beam.  And three sisters 
emerged.  They looked like little girls dressed in pink dresses.

"Sister..." said one.

"Sister..." said the second one.

"And Sister!" said the last one.

ALL!"  And then all three looked at each other and giggled after saying 

"What do you wish to know, Mister Scary Coffee Pourer Guy?" said the first.

"The Mysteries of the Looniverse that can never be understood?" said the 
second one.

"Or the Secrets that can never be revealed?" said the last one.

"I have three questions and if you answer them truly I'll free you from 
your dice cages, Three Annoying Little Sisters.  Is it deal?"

"Ask away," said the first.

Bart the Dark Receptionist paused a bit pondering what question he 
should ask.  Finally he replied, "Will I beat the LNH when they come here?"

"All the heroes that try to stop you will die trying.  You will stand 
over their bones with the heart of the Ultimate Ninja in your hand. 
This will you do."

Bart laughed.  "I like that.  That's a good answer."

"Your second question?" asked the second one.

"I'll have to give it some thought, sorry."  Bart snapped his fingers. 
"Back to your cages."  Bart put the three pink dice back into the pouch.

Now to find a terrible ruler for the next thousand years.  He scrounged 
around the pouch and pulled out a blue die.  He threw it.  It displayed 
the number five.  "I release you."  The Guest Star Gem blazed.  The die 
became a blue bolt of lightning that raced towards the sky.  The plaid 
sky darkened and angry clouds formed.  Rain started to fall.  And wind 
whipped at Bart trying to blow him off the mountain.  And Bart laughed. 
  And laughed.

<\YOU!/> said a voice from the clouds.


"Actually, I'm pretty sure I did."


Bart nodded.  "Yeah, you were some character from a series that didn't 
get past issue one in the MISC Imprint.  You some how managed to wander 
from Character Limbo and found yourself in the Looniverse where you 
managed to get trapped in the Ultimate Blackhole until I freed you and 
turned you into an LNH dice.  I believe you're called Hurrikhal."


"Shred my mind.  Sure.  You're a little late though.  My mind is already 
coleslaw.  Now let's talk about..."

<\No.  Enough.  Time for you to burn.\>  A large blue lightning bolt 
blazed from the sky and blasted at Bart.

"Oww.  Mercy!  That gave me a bad case of the tickles.  Bet you can't do 
this though."  Bart blasted the Ring of Retconnn at the clouds.  The 
clouds became a cartoonish blue dragon balloon.  Bart grabbed the 
balloon by its string.

<\What have you done, wizard?!/>  The cartoonish blue dragon had a 
pained look on its face.

"Don't like it?  Well, guess you need to start doing whatever I tell you 
to because there are much -- much worse things I can and will do to you."

</What do you want?/>

"That's better.  What do I want?  I want you to rule this world.  To 
terrify this world.  To judge and kill.  But don't kill everyone.  Leave 
a million or so alive to slave away.  Perhaps have them build temples 
for you or something.  Well that's your call.  That's what I need you to 
do.  Can you do that?"

<\Yes.  Change me back!\>

Bart blasted the ring at the balloon.  The balloon changed into a bluish 

"Well, have fun.  Bye."  The dragon watched the man disappear.  The 
dragon looked down at the world.  Someone was going to die.  Blue 
lightning started to crackle.

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

A thousand years later...

A temple priest wearing a blue cloak chanted words as he held up his 
sapphire dagger.  Beneath him was a brown haired girl shackled with 
black chains to a stone altar.  A number of priests also in blue cloaks 
surround the altar and chanted with the priest.

Hurrikhal lying on a smooth black throne watched all of this transpire. 
  And he yawned.  This was all terribly boring.  Another day -- another 
sacrifice to him.  He glanced at the girl.  She wasn't even afraid.  She 
had a blissful look on her face as if her death would have some great 
meaning.  It wouldn't.  No.  It was all meaningless.

He had killed, tortured, and raped this world.  And now it just bored 
him.  He was trapped here.  Try as he might, he couldn't escape this 
world.  Every time he tried to leave, something stopped him.  Something 
dragged him back.  He was a prisoner.  No.  It was all in his head.

Maybe he could try something different.  Be merciful.  Be kind to these 
mortals.  It would be different.  Should he stop the priest from killing 
the girl?  As he pondered this, an arrow killed one of his priests.  Oh, 
some hero.  He had killed so many of them.  And now he'd have to kill 
another.  Yawn.

More arrows started to fly into the temple.  And more priests fell to 
the ground.  Hurrikhal tapped his claws.  Come on now.  Get this over with.

Hurrikhal watched a man with a sword enter the temple.  Hmm.  There was 
something familiar about the man.  About the gem covered gauntlet he 
wore.  Who was this man?  The man slashed at a few priests and then 
looked at Hurrikhal.  He smiled and raised his sword.  And charged. 
Hurrikhal's mouth crackled with lightning.  But before he could spray 
that lightning, the dragon felt a pain in his neck.  And his head hit 
the floor.  His head.  He couldn't feel the rest of his body.  And 
that's when he remembered who the man with the sword was.  And then -- 
there was just blue.  A forever blue.  A deathly blue.

The man with the sword walked over to the girl and chopped off her 
chains.  She got up and looked at the dragon's head.  "You killed him." 
  There was sadness in her eyes.  "The Storm bringer.  The Ocean Maker. 
  He who helped the crops grow.  You killed him.  You killed a god." 
She walked over to the dragon's head and touched it.  A tear fell from 
her eye.

"Well, he was getting old."  Bart walked over to the girl and touched 
her shoulder.  "Time for some new gods, don't you think?"

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

"And King Qwert-El and his knights galloped across the land battling the 
remaining forces of the evil Storm God called Hurrikhal.  And where they 
rode freedom followed.  And these knights of his were called the Knights 
of the Bart Table.  There was Sir Continuity, the story keeper.  Sir 
Toony, the inventor.  Sir Fearless, the bravest one.  Sir Kirby, the 
most powerful one," a Qwertian mother read by her son's bedside.

"I'm going to be one.  A Knight of the Bart Table!  I'll be the best 
one!" said the son as he waved an imaginary sword.

"I'm sure you will," laughed the mother.  "But you'll have to study hard 
and eat all of your gruel if you want to be one.  Now, me thinks it's 
probably time to go to sleep, my sweet."

"But I want to hear the rest!  I want to..."

The bedroom door slammed open.  The father charged in.  "They're here!" 
  His face was pale.

"Who?  Who's here?!" said the mother with a concerned face.

"The L.  The N.  And the H!  The sorcerous devils King Qwert-El warned 
us would come!  The fiendish beings that unleashed The Storm God on us. 
  I need to go fight."  He looked at his son.  "Until I return you will 
be the man of the house.  Understand?"

The son nodded.

"Good."  He kissed his wife and son.  "Protect your mother son.  Protect 

The son nodded.  A tear fell from his eye.

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

                      THE BART AGE PART I

                'Playing Dice with the Looniverse'

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

2008 --

Webster's World --

Webster's World was an artificial planet originally built for the 
purpose of preserving knowledge of all the alien species that had ever 
existed in the Looniverse.  It was also a safe haven and neutral site 
for various alien species gatherings discussing vital matters.

And today a council of important alien species was conferring about just 
such a serious matter.  A serious matter involving the Loonivearth system.

"The Beigeness is spreading.  It has reached their planet called Jupiter 
and its speed is accelerating."  The alien being -- something that 
looked like a cross between a giraffe, a jellyfish, and a taco -- 
pointed a tentacle at the 3D hologram of the Loonivearth's solar system 
and the spreading sphere of Beigeness that was getting larger and 
larger.  "Our scientists predict that in a 89 garlac (one week) or so 
the Beigeness will have reached the Wormhole Belt (789 boshfosh (30 
light years away)) and once it does that it will use the Wormholes to 
start spreading to other parts of the Looniverse."  The 3D hologram 
showed various Beige bubbles expanding as they leaked into the wormholes 
all across the Looniverse.  "We predict by about LSDT (Looniverse 
Standard Date Time) -- 18J-989-PO3333 (April 29th, 2008 -- Midnight) the 
entire Looniverse will be Beige."  The Girafellytaco stepped off the 

There was a moment of silence as all the alien races looked at the 
totally Beige 3D hologram.

"Hey!  I've got an idea.  Let's blow it up!  Blow up that entire damn 
stinking system!  Destroy!  Destroy!  Destroy!" said the Dorfian 
representive, Killung Izphun, with froth dripping from his mouth as he 
pounded a shoe on his table.  And as if he hadn't said it enough times 
already, he said it a few more time.  "Destroy!  Destroy!  Destroy!"

"Thank you, Dorfian Representive.  *Ahem*.  We'll keep that in mind." 
The Council Moderator, a being that looked like a Beach Blanket covered 
in maple syrup with legs, looked around the room.  "Does anyone have any 
less destructive ideas?"

"Actually that whole destroying the Loonivearth system sounds pretty 
good," said a representive of the iAlien race (a race of aliens whose 
bodies can be used to download music off the internet).  "Let's have a 

"*Ahem*," said the representive of The Christicanthinkupagoodname 
Intergalactic Empire (a koala in a toga by the name of Pawsus Pi-Lot), 
"I should remind the council that the system we're all talking about is 
under the jurisdiction of The Christicanthinkupagoodname Intergalactic 
Empire.  Any act of aggression on it will be considered an act of war on 
the Empire.  Just so you know."

"Okay," said the Dorfian Representive Killung Izphun, "Who wants to go 
to war with The Christicanthinkupagoodname Intergalactic Empire?!" 
Almost every alien hand and tentacle in the auditorium shot up.

"I see," gulped Pawsus Pi-Lot, "Umm, could I consult with my Emperor for 
a moment."  The toga-clad koala took out his cell-phone.  After a minute 
of conversation, he clicked it off and faced the council again.  "Hey! 
Looks like we just gave the system we're talking about its freedom!  So 
if you want to destroy it, fine by us!  We're cool.  Right?  Right?"

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

Back on Loonivearth --

A number of innocent bystanders swatting at flies looked at the Beige 
Sky.  Words started to form on the sky.

Words that said:

"Hey Loonivearthlings!"

"You're Free!"

"Love, The Christicanthinkupagoodname Intergalactic Empire"

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

Back on Webster's World --

A giant cloaked figure abruptly appeared in the auditorium.  The 
figure's face was as pale as death and his eyes resembled skulls.  The 
intruder alarm started to beep and a number of security forces rushed 
into the room.  With a wave of a hand, a cloud released from his cloak 
and swallowed all of the security forces sending them to God knows 
where.  Then the cloaked figure looked back at the frightened alien council.

Killung Izphun snorted with contempt.  "I know who you are RACCtre.  And 
if you think you're going to stop us from destroying the Loonivearth..."

"No."  The RACCtre shook his head.  "I am not here to stop you.  I am 
here to warn you.  If you destroy the Loonivearth System then you will 
do that.  But if you do there will be judgment.  And there will be 
punishment.  And all your people will suffer for this.  Your planets 
will turn to dust.  Your suns will become black holes.  Murder the 
Loonivearth and you make all of your Empires murderers and all your 
people murderers.  That is my warning."

"Bah!" replied the Dorfian.  "If you're so powerful why haven't you 
stopped the Bryttle Brothers yet?"

"While they have slain many, they have not taken the life of anyone on 
rec.arts.comics.creative so I am unable to punish them.  That being 
said, the first murder they commit on this newsgroup will be their last. 
  That is my word.  Do you understand?"

The council nodded their heads.

"Good.  Remember my warning."  With that said, the RACCtre disappeared 
in a puff of smoke.

There was a minute of silence and then the Killung Izphun spoke again. 
"Okay.  How about this -- we wait till after the Bryttles kill the 
RACCtre -- Then we blow up the Looniverse!  Am I right, guys?"

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

Back on the Loonivearth --

The LNHHQ --

Kid Kirby flew into Dr. Stomper's lab with a big red crystal in his 
hands.  "I would have arrived sooner Doctor, but was delayed in space 
protecting a planet of sentient Hill Billy Wooly Mammoths -- or Hilly 
Woolies as they call themselves!  Two Banjos the size of Jupiter 
threatened their entire Cosmic Moonshine supply!  After vanquishing 
these supersized Banjos I did partake of the Cosmic Moonshine at one of 
the Hilly Woolies Hoot Nannies!"  The Kirbian placed the big chunk of 
crystal on one of Dr. Stomper's counters.  "Here is what Sincerium I was 
able to locate in space -- is it enough?"

"Yes.  That should do.  Thanks, Kid Kirby."  Dr. Stomper sliced off a 
chunk with a small laser device he had.

"Good!  I fear I must go now, Doctor!  The Cosmic Moonshine is beginning 
to affect me!  I fear I must lie back -- and listen to Blue Grass Music! 
  Yes!  Fare thee well, Doctor!"  And with that Kid Kirby flew away from 
Dr. Stomper's lab.

"Umm, right."  Dr. Stomper took the small chunk of sincerium and placed 
it within a small satellite he had engineered.  He then put on some 
gravity gloves to help him lift the satellite, which he took over to the 
LNHQ's satellite cannon.  Placing it into the cannon, he then pushed a 
number of buttons and finally one button, which caused the satellite 
cannon to shoot the satellite into space.

Dr. Stomper studied his watch.  "There.  Should reach orbit in an hour 
or two.  Now just need to give instructions to Multi-Tasking Man."

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

"The programs I've put in the satellite should be able to operate the 
satellite fully and let it sweep the entire Loonivearth with Sincerium 
rays to shut down all of the remaining Freedom Chips.  That being said, 
I'll need some one to oversee this just incase something does go wrong."

"Don't worry, Doc.  Got Renegade Programmer on the job.  He's doing some 
diagnostic tests as we speak.  It will be fine," said Multi-Tasking Man 
as he wrote another entry for his blog, reviewed various villain roster 
entries, read a book about how Beige was the new Beige, swatted some 
flies, and played some Net.Trek.  "We should be ready in three hours or so."

Dr. Stomper nodded his head.  "Well, guess I need to finish packing for 
my big space trip."

"Good luck with that and Bart.  Wish I could go with you."

Dr. Stomper gave another nod.  "See you in a few days or so."

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

The Baby Turtle of Apocalyptic Proportions was no longer a baby.  It was 
about the size of a three-story house.  And apparently now was also a 
mother, Occultism Kid thought looking at the thousands of colorful eggs 
that were scattered around the pocket dimension that they had decided to 
store the turtle in.

"How soon till they hatch?" Occultism Kid asked a middle-aged lady in a 
zookeeper outfit, the LNH'r known as Zookeeper Lady.

Zookeeper Lady shrugged her arms.  "Could be a week.  Could be tomorrow. 
  Hard to say.  What I worry about though is what we're going to feed 
them.  It's already costing like a $1000 a day to feed the mother."  She 
gestured towards a large mountain of cabbage and lettuce that the turtle 
was gnawing on.  "And I don't know if this pocket dimension can hold all 
of these turtles once they start hatching."

"Look maybe you should talk to Pocket Man about this since he created 
this pocket dimension.  Or Kid Kirby.  Or someone else.  Sorry, can't 
really help you with this.  I've got to pack for a space trip.  Sorry." 
  Occultism Kid made his way to the exit.  Of course it was his 
responsibility.  He had rescued the turtle from the dying dimension.  He 
had brought it here.  He wondered if Bart knew this would happen.  Had 
planned for this to happen.

It didn't matter.  He couldn't do anything right now.  He needed to 
focus on Bart.

He stepped out of the pocket dimension and was back in the LNHHQ.

A swarm of flies were in the hallway.  Where was Fly Swatting Lass when 
you needed her?  Probably one of the Freedom Chippers that the Ultimate 
Ninja had fired.  Where were these flies coming from?  It was like every 
fly in the world was heading to Net.ropolis as if they sensed some great 
feast about to happen soon.

Just as Occultism Kid pondered about wasting some mana on a fly killing 
spell he ran into Bad-Timing Boy.

"Whoops!  Sorry, Occultism Kid.  Oh, btw, if you're planning on going 
outside -- don't!  It's crazy out there!  All these ex-Freedom Chippers 
are protesting being fired from the LNH!  I was almost lynched out 
there!  They're out for blood!"

"Hmm.  Are you sure it wasn't your T-shirt that angered them?"

"Huh?  Oh this?"  Bad-Timing Boy looked down at his 'Freedom Chippers 
are Freaking Lame' T-shirt that he was wearing.  "I suppose this wasn't 
the best day to wear this particular T-shirt.  But still -- I was lucky 
to make it in here alive.  If it weren't for the Legion of Net.Freedom 
Lovers who knows what would have happened."

"The Legion of What?"

"Oh, yeah.  The Legion of Net.Freedom Lovers.  That's what Mynabird is 
calling the LNV now.  Guess it played better with the soccer moms than 
Legion of Net.Villains.  So they saved me from the Freedom Chipper mob 
and offered the Freedom Chippers a better deal for joining them than the 
LNH deal they had.  It's a pretty good deal too.  I mean if I didn't 
have a contract with the LNH I might..."

"So Mynabird is recruiting ex-Freedom Chippers?  That's great."

"Yeah.  All the villains are joining him now.  Hex Luthor just joined a 
few days ago.  With the HexFire Club gone, I guess all of the villains 
are throwing their lot with Mynabird now.  Even Mr. Homage is supposed 
to join the LNFL today."

"Mr. Homage?  Thanks for the info, Bad-Timing Boy."

"Sure thing.  Need to find another T-shirt to wear.  See you around."

As Bad-Timing Boy left, the intercom sounded.  <<All LNH Members be on 
the lookout for Mr. Tiddles.  He has escaped from his cell.  Be very 
careful when confronting him.  He has powerful mind-control powers. 
That is all.>>

More great news, thought Occultism Kid.  The flies were still swarming. 
  He looked at the wall and saw some graffiti.  'Bryttle is the Future' 
is what it said.  Occultism Kid shook his head.  He was glad he was 
going to space.  He didn't envy the LNH'rs who were staying here.

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

As Occultism Kid wondered which of his books and talismans he should put 
into his suitcase, his comm.thingee came on.

"Occultism Kid?  Need to speak with you about a mystical matter.  Can 
you come to my lab?"  It was Dr. Stomper.

"Umm, sure.  Be there in a few minutes."  Occultism Kid clicked off his 
comm.thingee and headed for Dr. Stomper's lab.

A few minutes later, Occultism Kid was opening the door that led to Dr. 
Stomper's lab.  "So, what's up doc?"  He noticed other LNH'rs in the 
room besides Dr. Stomper.  There was Ripping Dancer, Contraption Man, 
and Irony Man.  And someone who looked exactly like Occultism Kid. 
"Look out!  That Occultism Kid is an imposter!"

"Don't worry, Occultism Kid.  Relax.  I already know he's an imposter." 
  Dr. Stomper took a gun like device and pointed it at Occultism Kid. 
"Because I'm one too."  Dr. Stomper then blasted the gun at Occultism 
Kid and smiled a wicked smile.  "Goodbye, Occultism Kid."

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

Occultism Kid woke up.  He was in a strange room sitting in a chair at a 
table.  As his eyesight started to get back to normal, he noticed the 
others with him.

"Are you all right?" said a man that looked like Dr. Stomper.

"I -- uh -- where am I? I was..." and then Occultism Kid noticed Hex 
Luthor.  "You!"  Occultism Kid started to chant some very old extinct 
language.  The chair that Hex Luthor was sitting on became alive. 
Wooden arms that formed from it grabbed Hex Luthor by the neck.  "You 
did this.  You kidnapped me and..."

"Easy Occultism Kid!" said Contraption Man grabbing him by the arm.  "He 
didn't kidnap you.  Look this is a bit hard to explain.  All of this. 
Could you just ease up on strangling Hex Luthor a bit?"

"Fine.  Chair.  Let go of his neck, but restrain him."  Hex Luthor 
coughed a bit as the chair released his neck and wrapped around his arms 
and legs.  "Well?  What's going on then?  And how do I know I can trust 
any of you?"  He looked at everyone sitting at the table.  There was 
Irony Man, Dr. Stomper, Contraption Man, Ripping Dancer, Hex Luthor, and 
the villain Amnesia.

"Perhaps you could do some spell that reveals our intentions," spoke Dr. 

"Okay.  Can do that."  Occultism Kid chanted some more spells.  A 
glowing eye with tentacles appeared.  The tentacles reached into the 
minds of all the people in the room and revealed their true intentions. 
  A few minutes later the eye disappeared.

"Do you understand now?" Contraption Man said.

"You don't appear to be under mind control.  This is some secret mission 
to stop Bart.  I don't understand why Hex is here, or Amnesia?  And who 
was that Dr. Stomper look alike that blasted me?"

"That was Robo-Stomper II.  I rebuilt a new version of the LNH Robot 
Duplication Machine and..."

"You rebuilt that machine?  My lord -- are you mad?"

"Believe me, Occultism Kid.  We've already had this conversation," 
Contraption Man broke in.  "And while I don't like this idea any better 
than you we need the duplicates to fool everyone into thinking we're 
still with the space team."

"We're not going to space?  Then where are we going?"

"Time.  Back in time," Contraption Man replied.  "We're going to put a 
Freedom Chip into past Bart's head."

"I see.  But why are they here?" Occultism Kid gestured towards Hex 
Luthor and Amnesia.

"I'm here because it's my plan Occultism Kid," Hex Luthor replied.  "And 
because I need a time machine.  Since you LNH'rs stopped my plan to save 
the world from the Bryttle Brothers, I've decided like Bart that the 
only safe place from their upcoming wrath is the past."

"That doesn't explain why we need you.  You should be rotting away in a 
prison cell for what you did.  And now you expect a get out of jail free 
card and a time machine.  No.  I'm not going to be a part of this.  We 
do this without Hex or you get someone else."

Hex Luthor had a look of remorse on his face.  "Look.  I'm sorry.  I 
feel terrible about the Gothic Gorilla's death.  But I couldn't stop it. 
  I was being controlled by the Cosmic Plot Device.  I was..."

"Save the act.  No one here buys it.  No one!  You had free will at the 
time.  You're a murderer.  That's what you are."

Hex Luthor shrugged his hands.  "Ah well, if you say so.  But regardless 
if my plan is going to work, I'm going to have to be there.  Putting a 
Freedom Chip into someone's brain is a delicate operation.  And you're 
going to need someone like Amnesia here to erase Bart's memories of this."

"Wait.  Who are you people?  Where am I?"  Amnesia looked at his hand. 
"Who am I?!"

"It's okay," said Hex patting Amnesia's back.  "You work for me.  Here's 
some money."

Amnesia took the money.  "I seem to remember making more than this."

"Later.  And the biggest reason you need me?  There are no lines I won't 
cross.  And you'll need someone like that if you want this mission to 

"I say we do it without them.  I can do a spell that can make Bart 
forget.  I can..."

"Maybe you can, but since this mission involves time travel I'm team 
leader for it," said Contraption Man.  "And I decide who goes.  I need 
you, Occultism Kid, but I also need Hex.  I don't remember much about 
the history of Beige Midnight, but I do remember something about the 
battle with Bart.  A villain will help us defeat him.  That villain 
might be Hex or Amnesia.  I don't know."

"I thought you couldn't remember anything about Beige Midnight," said 
Occultism Kid looking suspiciously at Contraption Man.

"Well, guess I remember that one thing.  I think we need him.  Will you 
still come?"

"I don't like it.  But.  Oh goddamn it!  Fine.  So where are we time 
traveling too?"

"1994.  More specifically -- Retcon Hour," said Dr. Stomper look at one 
of his scientific devices.

"Whoahh!  Wait!  Retcon Hour?!  You're -- you're not serious, Vincent. 
I think we need to discuss this a bit," said Contraption Man who began 
to look very uncomfortable.

"It's the perfect time era to do this.  All of the retcotheric energy 
will be the ideal mask to disguise our temporal signatures when we 
apprehend Bart.  And we do know where Bart's position was during this 
time frame -- vacationing in Alt.stralia."

"But -- but it's Retcon Hour!  Retcon Hour!  There's got to be another 
time period!  There's got to be one!  We can't go back there.  Not 
there.  You know what happened -- what happened there."  Contraption 
Man's hand trembled slightly.

"Yes.  I'm aware.  You betrayed the LNH during Retcon Hour.  I 
understand that will give you uncomfortable feelings.  I'm sorry, but 
you're going to have to get over them.  Retcon Hour is our best bet for 
a successful mission."

Contraption Man sighed.  "Fine.  If that's the way it's going to be, 
then fine -- I'll deal with it.  Anything else?"

"I don't think Ripping Dancer should be going on this mission.  Her 
health is..."

"I'm fine!"  Ripping Dancer glared at Dr. Stomper.

"No, you're not.  You shouldn't be using those power potions anymore. 
You're not well.  You should be getting treatments and..."

"No.  I'm through with the treatments.  They're not helping me.  I'm 
going on this mission.  I want -- I want to see the world as it used to 
be.  A blue sky.  Green grass.  I want to see that before I die."

Dr. Stomper shook his head.  "You need to give the treatments a chance. 
  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to..."

Ripping Dancer stood up.  "It's not you're decision to make. 
Contraption Man's team leader."

Everyone looked at Contraption Man.

"If she's meant to go back with us, she's meant to go.  There's nothing 
I can do to stop it."

Hex Luthor laughed.  "How very Zen of you, Contraption Man.  Myself, I 
don't care.  We just need some sexy lady to help us seduce Bart.  Who it 
is doesn't really matter."

"There's also the matter of the Amnesia Barrier," said Irony Man 
breaking into the conversation.  "The barrier that Amnesia created 
during Infinite April that causes time travelers who go past it to 
forget everything."

"I can't remember doing that," said Amnesia trying to recall.

"I've got a mystical paint, which I'll put on our foreheads -- was 
planning on using it on some of the LNH'rs going on the space trip -- 
but oh well.  I've only got enough for six people -- although I suppose 
Amnesia doesn't need any."  Occultism Kid took a bottle of paint and a 
brush from one of his pockets.

"Anything else?" said Contraption Man.

"Oh yes.  These."  Dr. Stomper took out seven rings from a labcoat 
pocket.  "These will help deflect retcotheric energy when you wear 
them."  He handed one out to everyone at the table.

"Thanks, Doctor." Contraption Man put the ring on and looked at it. 
Retcon Hour.  Damn you, Stomper.

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

End of Part I

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