LNH: Digital Jump*Special! #1: In A Retcon Hour Minute!

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun Nov 13 20:52:12 PST 2011

Marc Piepert's cell phone was broken.

It had been broken for years.  It didn't really matter; he couldn't 
remember when he'd last used it.  He couldn't make calls at work, and 
most of his conversations took place on his laptop anyway.  But it made 
a good watch, so he carried it around.

Thus, he was there when, on a trip to the convenience store to pick up 
some snacks for game night, it rang.

Marc took out the phone and tilted the LCD to reduce the glare of the 
fluorescent lighting.  Unknown number.

He wondered if it was some new glitch, a few dying sparks pretending at 

He shrugged and flipped the phone open.  As he raised it to his ear, he 

He hadn't charged it that morning.

He hadn't charged it.  Ever.

Then he heard the voice.




...From the files of the Molybdenum Age...


Digital JUMP*Special!

Written by Andrew Perron
Cover art by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway

Special #1 - In a Retcon Hour Minute!


Cover shows the LNH Subteam Without A Name being washed away in a wave 
of plaid light.  Above them stands a looming dark figure, laughing and 
giving the scene a double thumbs-up.  Continuity Porn Star dances in 
the corner, indicating truly ridiculous levels of LNH continuity 



Kid Enthusiastic - James Takato Preponderation
Still Doesn't Have a Superhero Name Yet - Casey von Aluminumfoil
Shining Tungsten Magister - Malachite Wendigo
Crimson @venger - Carmine Aurum



[CONTINUITY NOTE: This issue takes place before Digital JUMP! #12, 
after Beige Midnight, and significantly after Electrocutioner's Song.]

High noon in Net.ropolis, and all's well... until a flaming meteor 
streaks through the sky without warning, landing with an explosion in 
the middle of the city's beloved RAC.Arthur Park!  The cry went out, 
and the LNH leapt into action!

After lunch, of course.

A tsk.force was organized to deal with the situation.  Because nothing 
comes before something, the LNH Subgroup Without a Name came first 
alphabetically and was often picked for these kinds of missions.  As it 
was a nice day, they forsook the flight.thingee and just walked down to 
the park.

The crater was perfectly round, and in the middle was a lumpy, glowing 
chunk of purple rock.  Kid Enthusiastic pulled out something that 
looked like the illegitimate child of a satellite dish, a lightsaber, 
and a tablet PC and scanned the rock. The device warbled in a calypso 
beat. "Ah, a piece of Violet Retcon Hour Story!"

"Retcon Hour?" said Casey. "I remember that - something unpleasant that 
happened to Contraption Man, right?  But how can this be a piece of 

"Continuity itself was stretched like silly putty then smashed together 
again!  Chunks of pure story flew off, warped and radioactive!"

"...should we really be this close to something radioactive?" asked the 
Shining Tungsten Magister, eying the amethyst gleam warily.

Kid Enthusiastic shook his hand. "Each type of Retcon Hour Story has 
very specific effects.  Violet only hurts imperfect duplicates, like 
corrupted gif.clones and the Oddball Legion."

"Still," said the Crimson @venger, "I shall take due precaution 'fore 
touching the stone." She summoned her Keystroke armor, symbols forming 
into a protective layer around her body.  She stepped forward and took 
the rock in a gauntleted hand. "Shall we head back to--"

The device in Kid Enthusiastic's hand suddenly switched from calypso to 
samba.  His eyes widened, and he looked at the chunk of Story she held; 
shimmering shards of purple were falling away, revealing a blue-shifted 
tint beneath.

"It's not Violet, it's Indigo!" he shouted. "IndigoooooooooooOOOOO%€u‹k


      Áÿ õÖ+{    ê?Kñ‡Ã ëv÷r¬—²

  :³® qwÝÕ²yìEqš4(Þ.×ôY 0¹ŒÍ znô?¥z


              É7Ôáôh%°ÖNíÑKm'@9È5ú“áS ­á?+Q

%n<>‚.| a,+SeL`psQ@$P"d/u%%%OOOOOooooooooo!" He leapt forward to knock
the rock from her hand - but it was gone, and he fell over in a heap.

She blinked, as if coming out of a trance, and turned to where he had 
fallen. "Are you all right, Leafy-Arugula Lad?"

He pulled himself to his feet and shook himself out, his leafy costume 
quivering.  He ran a hand through his every-color-of-the-rainbow hair. 
"I'm okay, but what about you, Baron Not Appearing In Any Story 
Published Before 2002?"

She flexed a muscle experimentally, scarlet and burgundy bodysuit 
flexing with it. "Hale and hearty, it seems; odd that that piece of 
nostalgia had no effect on my Amalgaman biology."

The others ran up. "Ah, jeez," said Casey von Aluminumfoil. "Sorry 
about that, Baron; it's the kind of thing that happens when my cousin's 

L-A Lad grinned. "Hey, I can't help being a mutant, and I don't want to 
help my inborn ability to make things more interesting and dramatic!  
Besides, you didn't mind when it was giving you and Sequential 
Storytelling Sovereign a chance to make out..." He made smoochy noises.

"We were *not* making out!" said SSS indignantly, Casey looking 
slightly disappointed in the background. "I was going to check along 
other branches of the story to see where that shadowy villain might 
have gone... but it's weird.  There's nothing before a few panels ago."

"Could the cur be blocking your abilties?" asked Baron NAIAPB2k2.

She frowned. "I *hope* that's what's going on. If not... he's far more 
powerful than we thought.  Either way, let's hurry."

They made their way through the shadowy corridors of the supervillain 
base, until they heard the faint echoes of dastardly muttering ahead.  
Sequential Storytelling Sovereign put a finger to her lips, and they 

"...starting parameters weren't accurate.  Of course they weren't, I 
didn't have time.  Hah!  Hah hah.  I've got all the time in the world, 
haven't I..."

Leafy-Arugula Lad looked up at Casey and twirled his finger next to his 
temple.  Casey nodded, and tapped SSS on the shoulder.  She turned and 
nodded, and the group slowly edged forward.
A figure stood there, thin, almost emaciated, face pale and hair 
disheveled.  He wore a dramatic, stereotypically villainous outfit that 
included a sweeping black cape, but his costume didn't seem to match 
his demeanor; not cackling and expositing, but muttering to himself and 
filled with manic energy.  His hands moved around a great machine, all 
hissing steam, clanking metal and sparking wires.

Suddenly, reacting to some unheard signal, he whirled to face the 
creeping heroes.  His mouth stretched into a grin. "Ah, the main 
characters." He put his hands on his hips and leered at the group. 
"Aren't supposed to be here yet, are you?"

Sequential Storytelling Sovereign frowned. "What do you mea--"

And then the deja vu hit.  Each of them staggered back as an 
overwhelming sense of anachronism fell into place.

"What..." Casey fell on the ground, his telepathic powers amplifying 
the effect. "This isn't right... these aren't my flashbacks..."
"This isn't happening now... it happened a long time ago..." Sequential 
Storytelling Sovereign's memories rippled, and reformed as those of 
Malachite Wendigo, the Shining Tungsten Magister.
"It's like a dozen ice cream headaches," moaned Leafy-Arugula Lad/Kid 
Enthusiastic, as thoughts forced themselves past the fog.  He pushed 
himself to his knees. "I remember reading about this... Limp-Asparagus 
Lad's confrontation against Exclamation!Master!"

"You're right," said Casey/still Casey, rubbing his head as he squinted 
at the apparent villain. "But the details are off... he came alone, 
there wasn't anybody else there..."

"You read about that in the official case file?" asked Baron NAIAPB2k2/
Crimson @venger.

He shook his head. "Nah, in the Eyrie archives."
The man in the black cape sighed, bowing and spreading his arms with 
obvious false regret. "Indeed.  An unfortunate miscalculation." His 
head snapped up, and he smirked. "But don't worry... you won't have to 
remember it."
Sauntering playfully past the heroes that needed just a couple more 
seconds to recover, he leaned over and tapped a button on the great 
machine. "Why don't we try agaaaaaáÕÿ†-
       ô?<     >Ö
                    g-] . Þaaaaaack!" shouted the adorable-in-a-
completely-nonsexual-way catboy as he ran from the screaming anti-mutant 
mob.  Finding himself backed into a corner, he gulped.  As danger 
closed in, a savage glint appeared in his eye, and he turned to face 
the crowd.

"I'm the best at what I do..." He reached behind his back and came out 
with a set of claws on each hand. "And what I do..." They were long, 
thin... and bright orange. "Is NERF!"

As he leapt towards the mob, foam at the ready, a hand stretched down 
from the fire escape above and yoinked him up and away.  He waughed and 
landed, tail in the air. "Oof... Ductile Lass!  What are you doing 

"Pulling your fur out of the fire, Cat Enthusiastic!" said the Maiden 
of Malleable Metal. "I thought we were supposed to be looking for the 
Writer with Integrity!"

"Yeah but then DeFacto showed up and then Spoonsday started attacking 
and everybody got separated and I ended up in an X-Men cliche!"

Ductile Lass sighed. "Oy.  All right, let's see if we can get them 
rounded u--"

SS      HH   HH RR   RR @ @@@ @ KK  KK
     SS HH   HH RR  RR  @ @@@ @ KK  KK
SSSSSS  HH   HH RR   RR   @@@@  KK   KK


"I think we found @narky!" Cat Enthusiastic affirmed.

Around the corner, the lady in pink fuzzy armor was swinging a Celtic 
warhammer with precise, deadly purpose, smashing a group of 
stereotypical-unwashed-fanboy robots to pieces.  As the last one fell 
apart, the hammer flickered out of existence, and she fell to her 

The cat and the girl ran up and helped @narky to her feet. "What 

"DeFacto came with an ultimatum to surrender to him and his company, at 
the mercy of his editorially-driven crossover events.  When we refused, 
he released Spoonsday and his armies.  Casey and I were separated, and 
I fear the worst..." She pointed at a flurry of motion in the distance, 
the faraway echoes of superhuman blows echoing.

By the time they got there, the situation had turned dire.  Casey, 
arrayed in a costume that combined elements of the Ryan Choi Atom and 
the MI-13 version of Captain Britain, struggled desperately against a 
grotesque John Kricfalusi creation with spoons poking out of its body 
at odd angles.  DeFacto stood a comfortable distance from the battle, 
manipulating a great machine, all hissing steam, clanking metal and 
sparking wires.

The two separated, circling warily around each other.  Spoonsday shot 
ensnaring tendrils of polybag, but Casey redirected them through a 
whirlwind of Agents of Atlas miniseries.  Casey attempted to knock his 
foe down with a torrent of the Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle, but they flowed 
over Spoonsday's body like water off a duck's back.  Spoonsday blasted 
cutlery projectiles, but Casey deflected them with a sword made of 

Ductile Lass narrowed her eyes. "Spoonsday's a mindless beast - DeFacto 
must be manipulating him with that machine!"

"Let us smash it into tiny pieces!" declared @narky.  The three raced 
forward, screaming imprecations, battle cries, and for ice cream, 
respectively.  DeFacto looked over his shoulder and irritably waved a 
hand.  A barrier sprung up out of the ground, separating the villain 
and the heroes.

Cat E touched the smooth brownish surface. "It feels like it's made 
from the hard, fibrous outer tissues of a tree!"

They could hear DeFacto snarl behind the barrier. "The Tenchification 
effect must have thrown off my calculations... that *has* to be it... 
need just a bit of *time*..."

Behind them, a great crack split the air, and Casey flew past them, 
smashing through the barrier.  DeFacto looked up in disgust, and they 
could see that his face was... familiar...

Waves of deja vu surged through them with stunning effect (except for 
Casey, who was already quite stunned).  Kid Enthusiastic was the first 
to recover. "You again... this time, with the Net.Patrol... don't you 
guys know it when your plans don't work?"

The mask fallen away, the one they'd thought of as DeFacto grimaced.  
With visible effort, he went back to Annoyingly Smug Mode. "If you 
think that was a failure of my plan, you're an even bigger space cadet
than I thought."

Kid E gasped. "He implied I'm of training rank in a futuristic navy!  
Let's get him!" By this point, the Crimson @venger had recovered enough 
to fire an ellipsis bolt, Shining Tungsten Magister had recovered 
enough to boost its hardness, and Casey had recovered enough to feebly 
wave a hand and groan.

The villain sidestepped the attack with arrogant grace. "Clearly, I 
chose too chaotic a point in narrative history.  Let's go for something 
a bit more... polished." He stabbed a button, and...



All over Net.ropolis, lights were flickering out as power was 
redirected to a single building on the campus of Dave Thomas Deluxe 
University.  The structure shook, mutating wildly, stretching, towering 
over the city.  Four people, once everyday Earth humans, converged on 
the tower, new power flashing through their bodies...

James shot ahead of the others, zipping with unrestrainable energy 
around the complex, speeding past his companions with each circle. 

Mala was the first to catch up with him, panting with exertion. "Cut it 
out!" she whispered. "You're gonna break your neck!"


She sighed and closed her eyes.  In the corner of her vision, she could 
see glowing green letters that had been there since the explosion: 
CHANGE MODUS?  She thought "YES" and was rewarded with a screen 
displaying a dozen options.  When she selected RPG MODUS, her eyes 
opened, and a colorful interface sprung up over her vision.

She put out her hands, and a rectangle selected James, the words 
[ Breakneck Boy ] hovering over him in yellow.  "Slow!" she called out, 
and he did, zooming speed changed to running in slow motion.


Carmine and Casey ran up. "Are you guys crazy?" Casey coughed, leaning 
on his knees.

Carmine peered at James. "I see you have mastered your new powers."

Mala nodded. "It's telling me to enter my player name... how does Modus 
Mistress sound?"

"A lot better than I could come up with," admitted Casey. "I'm too 
distracted by trying to figure out if I even got powers..."

"I am concerned more about what lurks inside," said Carmine.  The 
others gathered around her, looking up at the strange, biomechanical 
building and the darkened door leading within.

"So what, do we just walk in?" asked Casey.

"YouguyscanwalkI'mgonnarun!" James started to zoom into the complex, 


A shadow passed across the moon.  Carmine was there, poised upon a 
leering cybernetic gargoyle.  In a flicker of motion, she spun into the 
air, coming down like a leaf and knocking Breakneck Boy off his feet.


"...what was *that*?" said Casey, boggling.

"mprghnl," commented James.

"I did not intentionally trigger that..." pondered Carmine. "It was as 
if it was an event that was planned before we arrived..."

"Whatever it was, I couldn't target you during it," said Mala.

"That is the final clue, then.  I believe have played enough video 
games to know what my name will be..." Carmine nodded in satisfaction. 
"Count Cutscene."

"YayweallhavenamesnowexceptforCasey!" James bounced in place. 

Carmine caught him by the back of his shirt. "We have to be *careful*."

Mala nodded. "We have to be... hmmmm.  There's an idea..." She closed 
her eyes.  The interface sprung up, and she selected STEALTH MODUS.

After a minute or two of tactical espionage action, she reappeared 
outside. "All clear."

The foursome entered the room.  Through the doorway was a smallish room 
decorated in an elaborate, rococo style.  Each wall had an alcove with 
a pedestal, and there was a different bronze statue on each one; a 
tall, leering clown; a great, shapeless humanoid; some sort of 
bird-woman wearing a pilot's uniform; and a short, weasel-ish man in a 
wide-brimmed hat and tie.  Beyond was a short hallway, through which 
they could see a large room, and hear hissing, clanking, and muttering.

"I can't find any defenses at all before that room," said Mala. "And I 
wasn't really willing to step into the wide-open space to check."

"Then let us--" A metallic grinding noise interrupted Carmine.  All 
around them, the statues shuddered to unnatural life, stepping off 
their pedestals with menacing expressions.  The newly-heroic foursome 
stepped back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the middle of the room.

"No defenses, huh?" snarked Casey.

"Yeah, yeah." The formation broke and the battle was joined.

James was first out of the gate, literally running up a wall and 
landing on the strange humanoid's shoulders, pummeling its head as it 
stumbled around.  Carmine leapt into the air towards the bird-woman.  
Everything froze for a moment, the camera spun around her in place, and 
then she kicked it in the face.

Mala stepped up to the clown.  He narrowed his copper alloy eyes.  They 
sized each other up and stared each other down.  She called up the menu 
of options, and made her selection.  Suddenly, glowing arrows appeared 
under their feet, and fast-paced dance music started playing.  The 
clown nodded, accepting her challenge, and they revolved to the beat.

Casey hung back, casting about fruitlessly for something to use as a 
weapon.  There was still one statue left, but he couldn't seem to find 

The arrows moved faster and faster.  The clown's metallic body couldn't 
keep up; its joints groaned, an unsettling metal-on-metal noise, and 
the arrows it missed flew out of the interface, smacking it in the 
body, leaving scorch marks on the bronze.  It fell in a heap of limbs, 
and Mala threw up a victory sign as "YOU WIN!" appeared above her head.

Suddenly, a sharp blow hit her from behind.  She staggered, her vision 
fuzzed out, and when it returned, the interface was gone.  She spun 
around to see the weaselly man, sniggering silently and holding a 
small, glowing cube.

She gasped. "He-- he *burgled* my powers!"

Casey looked up.  His eyes went wide, and blazed red...

The man looked up from his great machine, all hissing steam, clanking 
metal and sparking wires, as a great explosion of sound and light 
tossed everyone, heroes, statues, and all, out of the room.

Casey leapt out of the conflagration with an iron bar and beat the 
thief about the head and shoulders.  It cried out... until it realized 
that the blows were neither painful nor damaging.  Of course, by that 
point, James had time to leap in and hogtie it.

"Most impressive," said Carmine. "A seemingly significant attack, yet 
all a distraction."

"Yes!" said Casey, flush with victory, "and I will become... will be 
named... um... hmmm."

The man at the machine, in shiny blue armor with a constantly billowing 
cape, screamed at them. "What is *with* you people?"

Mala, still blinking from the attack, shook her head and declared, 
"That's something you should be asking yourself, mister--" She saw his 
face, and the deja vu overcame them.

After the moment of adjustment passed, he was still ranting. "You were 
reduced to the level of absolute novices!  You should have still been 
debating what to do, trying to sneak in here one by one!  What do I 
have to do to get you to play your parts!?"

"I'd be glad to play the heavy!" shouted Carmine, transforming and 
rushing the machine.

The man scowled. "Still not enough *time*..."
"Dangit," said Casey.
His finger came down on the button.


The door closed, a villainous figure cackling as it left the heroes to 
their various dooms.  Each one enclosed in a crystal sphere, each one 
surrounded by a deathtrap, each one about to be filled with energies 
that would both allow them to escape and, in doing so, place them under 
the bad guy's control.  The spheres were linked by a great machine, all 
hissing steam, clanking metal and sparking wires.

"Melkor's fetters!" A vague shape, cloaked in darkness, pounded at the 
smoky walls of her sphere.  Each time she pounded, there was a bright 
flash of light, causing her to jerk away. "My strength avails me not!"
"I'd help you if I could, Proto-Yeek," said a boy with metallic blue-
and-red-streaked hair wearing a garish red-and-blue-outfit constructed 
from the fashions of a dozen cultures and an accordion strapped to his 
back.  He was bleeding slightly from the pitched battle they'd had with 
the villain, and, breath coming ragged, had to shout to be heard over 
the speakers clamped to his sapphire sphere. "But these earworms are so 
catchy, I can't concentrate on a spellsong!"
"I'm not doing any better, Jacyb Zig... Jacyb Pop..."
"Jacyb Zag Popperance Akatak Ygraine XXVII!" the boy said, with a 
"...I'm not doing any better, Jacyb!" said the young man sitting in the 
opalescent sphere.  He looked mostly human, wearing a button-down shirt 
and a pair of slacks, but he had both the features of a cat - furry 
ears and tail - and a beetle - bracers of chitin on his arms, a 
wingcase on his back, and faceted irises in his eyes.  His skin was 
bruised in several places, his hands and feet were frozen to the sides 
of the sphere, and he tugged uselessly at them. "I'm stuck worse than a
leaf in quick-dry concrete!"

"And I'm the other way around," said a being in power armor, with many 
gadgets, gizmos, and weapons attached in various places.  The armor 
itself was piecemeal: each part, such as the gauntlets, legs, or 
helmet, appeared to come from a different suit of power armor. He was 
bound in place by several vines, seemingly growing from the emerald 
sphere, that had rooted themselves in his armor. "I've got some 
defoliant around here somewhere, but with these vines binding my arms 
like this, I don't think I can get to it."

"I'm surprised you don't have a weedwhacker in there, Pack Rat," 
snarked a dame in a fight jacket made of silvery, metallic cloth over a 
green-and-gold bodysuit.  On her face, she wore a pair of aviator 
goggles, and on her arms were golden armbands.  Her auburn hair was 
sticking out in all directions, and whenever she moved, a painful jolt 
of static electricity leapt from the ruby sphere to her armbands to her 
body. "I tried summoning a lightning sphere, and look what happened!  I 
ain't usin' the kinda force it'd take to break this thing, I'll tell ya 
*that* for free."
"Well then what do you propose we *do*, Wyrd Sister?" said Proto-Yeek, 
slumped down in the middle of her prison. "We cannot simply wait for a 
random fortituous break to--"
"Wait... I think the defoliant's leaking!" shouted Pack Rat.
Proto-Yeek sighed. "I may have been mistaken."
"Thank the Nest for military corner-cutting!  I can just about 
reach..." One of the smaller vines tore, and Pack Rat's arm came free.  
He crowed in victory. "All right!  Let me see if I can hack into that 
thingy over there..." He started tapping away at his arm-computer.
"If you turn off the speakers," shouted Jacyb, "I should be able to get 
us all out of this!"
For a moment, there was no noise but tapping and pop music.
"...hey, guys," said Wyrd Sister, her sardonic air tempered with 
hesitation. "This is supposed to be a deathtrap, right?"
"Indeed," said Proto-Yeek.
"So why doesn't there seem to be any *death* involved?  There ain't 
anything harmful or offensive about these things - I'm not even runnin' 
out of air!  It's like we're just bein' kept out of the way for a bit!"
"...of *course*!" Jacyb's eyes went wide, and they could all see his 
image *ripple* - but then it stabilized, unchanged.  He closed his 
eyes, forehead creasing in concentration, pulled the accordion off his 
neck, and started singing.

"Thank you for the card with the cartoon nurse
But you see, there's nothing wrong with me!" His injuries healed 
"You think 'That's what you think'
'That's what they all say' before I blow you away!" Machinegun fire 
stuttered, shattering the crystal spheres.  They were free, tumbling 
away from the fragments one by one.

Jacyb dusted the glass shards off his jacket, the crease in his brow 
growing. "I shouldn't have been able to do that, though.  They Might Be 
Giants songs were off-limits, because characters like Particle Man and 
Constellation were tapping those energies." He raised his shortsword-
sized rapier at one of the figures in front of him. "Looks like you've 
made a continuity error... Pack Rat!"

The being in power armor turned in surprise, then snarled.  His 
featureless faceplate flipped away, revealing yet again the man who'd 
been bedeviling them.  Memories returned with a snap, the moment of 
confusion disappearing almost immediately.  Shining Tungsten Magister 
and the Crimson @venger leapt towards the bad guy, who dodged away, 
towards the machine.  Kid Enthusiastic fell to his knees, and Casey ran 
over to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"Had to juggle two sets of memories... hang onto powers long enough..." 
Kid Enthusiastic stood up and shook himself off. "But I did it."

"Jacyb-- Kid E, that was actually pretty badass--"

"Hah!  I did it, I did it!" He jumped up and down gleefully. "I ween!" 
He turned to Casey. "I win."

Casey sighed.

The man in a hero's armor dodged the blows of the punctuation hammer 
several times without even looking.  His face was a study in controlled 
fury as he tapped away at the interface on his wrist. "CLEARLY I have 
been going about this the wrong way.  Giving you time to adapt, putting 
you in a place where you can get your bearings - hah!  Hah hah!  A fool 
can be a fool in any situation!"
He leapt straight up, making a rocket-assisted jump atop the great 
machine. "But even *you* fools cannot adapt to pure, elemental CHAOS!"

He hit the button, and the

"Dangit, Revolutionary Belle," said Casey. "How could you have *not 
missed me* for three months?  How could you have thought that Casey von 
Tinfoil was me?"
">:/" said Emoticon Lad.
"Look, the Fan.dom of the Alt.ra had us all fooled into believing you 
were a limited-edition life-size Cosmic Plot Device Caper commemorative 
carbonite statue!  ...hey, what's that noise?"
"Oh, no, you're not getting off that eas--"


IMPLO raised his hand. "Digital JUMP! is cancelled."

"You can't do that!"

"Fool, I am power incarnate!  Your puny--"

"No, I mean, look at the continuity note.  The next issue's already 
come out."

"Oh.  Fiddlesticks."


In moments, KrimsonKat would engulf Enthu.sig.astic Lad, merging with 
Master Workload to form the immortal net.villain ExMachina Y.  
Squidwoman took the bow from Casey's unresisting hands and let the 
arrow fly, straight into his heart.


The suction cup stuck, the "BANG!" flag unfurled, and she wept.


"Say, since we've all been rejected from the LNH, we should form a 

"But what can a bunch of hopeless underdogs with everything to prove 

"Win the pennant, thus earning both the approval of our loved ones and 
the money to pay for their medical operations!"

"...wait, the LNH rejects people?"

"James Takato Amber Flores Preponderation, heir to the throne of 
Kyushu, leader of the Legion of Net.Kids, captain of the SFT Raven-Q, 
and the best improvisational jazz musician in three quadrants, at your 

"Wait, this definitely wasn't an LNH story."

Yeah, I know, I'm just really getting into the '90s nostalgia.


"Kid Pants, you have to get the pants to the LNH!"

"But Pants @venger, your pants will be totally pants!"

"Pants Tungsten Pants, do pants to the pants of the pants!"

"Pants pants pants pants Casey pants!"



The team were finally facing off against the mysterious villain behind 
the nefarious Baron MacNottherealvillain.  While Like Rouge readied her 
weapons and the Faded Iron Master readied his spells, Malachite powered 
up Kid Enthusiastic and Casey--

"Wait!" Mr. von Aluminumfoil interrupted. "We're ourselves - this 
actually took place!  What happened?"

"We've jumped into one of our old stories!  Issue eleven, by the look 
of it!" said Kid E.

"But then where's our mysterious bad guy?" asked Mala.

"I'd bet he's disguised as one of us again," said Casey.

They turned as one and looked to the Faded Iron Master.  He stepped 
back, taking up a defensive pose... then leapt forward and grabbed at 
Like Rouge's face, revealing it to be an illusion!  Rolling away, his 
own face dissolved into that of the Crimson @venger!

There was a great cracking noise, and
        all standing in RAC.Arthur Park, true forms restored, around 
the impact crater.  The mysterious man was there, wearing a tattered 
T-shirt and faded jeans.  The chunk of Indigo Retcon Hour Story was 
connected by wires and electrodes and shuddering pipes to a great 
machine, all hissing steam, clanking metal and sparking wires. He was 
Not Happy.
"What the bloody-lipped wasp-stung hell!?" he shouted, red in the face. 
"Why... doesn't... it... WORK?!" With every word, he delivered a kick 
to the machine, a shower of sparks falling from it.
Casey squinted at the ranting man, tuning out the words and rubbing his 
chin in thought. "Hey, wait, I just realized.  I know that guy."

He spun on his heel, face twisted in rage. "You know nothing of me!"

"Sure I do.  Marc Piepert - he was in my gaming group for a few months, 
then just disappeared.  Nobody could get ahold of him."

"Marc Piepert is GONE!  He has been OVERWRITTEN!  He was never anything 
but a larva state, primed when the time was ready to hatch into - THE 
TIME CRAPPER!" Lightning crackled in the early afternoon sky.

"The Time Crapper!" Gasps came from the heroes assembled.

He gave an ironic, flamboyant bow. "Number six, if you do."

"Sixth?  I thought we only had four!"

"The fifth doesn't exist yet.  It doesn't matter."

"But 'overwritten'?  Are you saying you've been brainwashed?" asked Kid 
E. "Brainwashed people don't usually tell you they've been brainwashed, 
but I gotta admit it's really helpful!"

"Hah!  I was not brainwashed - I was BORN!  Before, I was but a body, a 
cloned vessel, meant to be filled when the time was right with the 
powers and the personality of - THE TIME CRAPPER!"

"Okay okay Time Crapper got it. Ignoring that for a second..." Casey 
scratched his head. "What the heck are you *doing*?"
"..." He seemed about to explode - but then collapsed into a dangerous 
calm. "You've rewritten the weavings of story at every turn.  You've 
thwarted each attempt I've made, each trap I've put in place.  You've 
thoroughly defeated me, AND YOU STILL DON'T GET IT!?" For a bit, 

"This one's less sane than the usual sort," murmured Carmine to Mala.
"Well, then." He clasped his hands behind his back and paced 
deliberately back and forth. "I suppose this is the part where I 
explain my plan.  Very good, then." He spun on his heel and shouted at 
them, tendons sticking out of his neck. "YOU'VE TAKEN ALL THE OTHER 

"...could say that, yeah," she murmured back.

He had gone back to pacing. "All right, then.  'History' and 'story' 
both come from the Latin 'historia'.  One could say that history is 
itself composed of stories.  And if you change the stories... then you 
change history."

"But!" He turned. "A story is holographic.  Every word depends on every 
other word.  A universe is a hologram of a hologram.  Every story 
depends on every other story.  A carefully-constructed lattice of cause 
and effect after cause and effect."

"Well, that's a little bit--" James was not allowed to finish his 

"BUT my predecessor-self had a plan!  A piece of story itself, taken 
out of the normal pattern!  With it, I was going to recreate those 
stories in exact detail, carefully change those details - and in doing 
so, change history itself!"

"I'm not sure that that would--"

He swung around in fury. "But it didn't work, because *you* wouldn't 
play your parts!  Your stories are *supposed* to follow the story 
around you!  But they didn't!"

"Well, you see, the problem--"

He turned away. "Finally, I got fed up.  I took the path of least 
resistance and, instead of making you match history, I made history 
match you.  And it still didn't work!  You shredded it like last year's 
wrapping paper!"


All heads turned toward Kid Enthusiastic, who coughed politely. "I'm 
sorry to interrupt, but..."

"Well, there's a simple reason why you failed, isn't there?  Your plan 
was all about the plot - but you forgot the characters!  Things happen 
in a story because of the choices the characters make!  They can't just 
do things because the script says so!"

He hopped up on one of the dramatic ledges installed around the park. 
"A character isn't simply the puppet of the plot.  A person isn't 
simply the puppet of the universe.  Even with someone else layered on 
top of us, we're still ourselves - and so are you!"

The Time Crapper's tongue hesitated on the cusp of an angry rejoinder. 

"Yeah!  You!  No matter where your genes came from, you have a choice!  
No matter what some jerk downloaded into your brain, you have a choice!  
No matter what's happened in the past, you can do something different 
"..." He shook his head. "You're-- I can see through you!  You're 
trying to weaken me, so you can strike the final blow!"
"Er..." said Mala. "Not to brag, but we already kind of beat you 
without trying?"
"No, shush, no punch-em-up right now," said Kid E. "Look, you can be a 
net.villain if you want.  Or a net.hero.  Or a normal person.  Or a 
meddlesome force of utter chaos!  The important part is that it's what 
*you* want to do, not somebody who put you in this situation for his 
own purposes."
"...but that doesn't make *sense*!  It's like-- do you expect me to go 
against my own nature!?"

"Screw nature!  For that matter, screw nurture!  Goshdarnit, you've got 
free will!  *You* are the only one who can define *you*!"

A moment of silence passed, and the wind whistled.  The Time Crapper 
stared into nothing.  The team listened...
"Well... I guess..." 
Suddenly, there was a figure next to him, lined in an eye-searing 
blueshifted aura.  When it faded, there was a man standing there.  He 
was tall, and weathered, and through he and the once-Crapper looked 
nothing alike, there was an unmistakable sense of kinship.  He spoke. 
"Good choice."
The man who had been Marc Piepert shifted into a combat stance. "Who 
the fuck are--"

Casey put a hand on his arm. "Hey.  From someone with experience in 
situations like these: Listen to him."

He looked back at Casey, then looked forward. "Okay. Who are you?"

The man gave a half-smirking grin. "Isn't it obvious?"

"..." His palm met his forehead. "You're me, from the future."

"Indeed." He opened his arms, revealing a natty pinstriped blazer over 
a white shirt and slacks.  Quite professional. "You can call me... the 

"That's a terrible pun."

"Indeed!" The Gastroenterologist turned to the assembled team. "Thank 
you all for getting me to a point where I could make a decision for 
myself.  Now it's up to me..." He looked at his past. "And me."

Past-Marc Past-Crapper rolled his eyes. "And if I don't want to come 
with you?  I mean, I've already had someone who was arguably me messing 
with my destiny.  And..." He shook his head. "I'm tired.  So tired."

Future-G shook his head. "You misunderstand.  I don't want to take you 
on as a paradox apprentice, or even show you the sights of the 
timestream.  But I think it'd do you some good to have a cup of 
passionfruit tea, a slice of thai peanut pizza, and a chat with someone 
who knows exactly what you're going through."

It was definitely Marc who ran his hand through his hair and cracked a 
smile. "I think I'm still being manipulated, but that sounds like the 
best thing in the world right now."

He smiled and shrugged. "You're always being manipulated, one way or 
another.  The important part is to be aware of it - and to choose what 
you're going to do in response."

"Speaking of which," said Casey, gesturing to the grand machine. "What 
the heck are we supposed to do with this?"
Marc snapped his fingers.  The clanking metal and sparkling wires 
folded up, the machine turning impossibly in on itself.  It folded and 
folded until there was nothing but a cell phone laying next to the 
chunk of Retcon Hour Story.  He picked it up. "You should take care of 
that," he said. "Don't want it to fall into the wrong hands."
Carmine grinned. "Make sure yours are not, next time we meet."
He nodded.  The Gastroenterologist waved, and they faded away.
Mala yawned. "Jeez, how long were we *in* there?  What time is it?"
Kid E checked his anklewatch. "Looks like... time for dinner!"
"Dinner?" said Casey.

"Dinner!" shouted Carmine, holding the stone.  They moved off, 
together, as a team, every decision changing the world.  Specifically, 
every decision whether to have pizza or Chinese.
But none of them saw the thing they left in the grass; a small, glowing 
cube, filled with a power that never existed...



Welcome to the first Digital JUMP!*Special!  This is what I'm doing 
instead of jumping forward in the series' chronological numbering when 
I come up with a story idea and I'm already in the middle of an arc.  
The next special will more than likely be the MSTing I've been 
threatening, though I'm not guaranteeing these on any kind of schedule. 
(My god but this one took an unholy long time.)

In case you're not familiar with the events I'm paying tribute to here, 
check out http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Retcon_Hour . And then read the 
story - the crazy, chaotic, all-over-the-place awesome story.  This is 
nothing compared to that.

I apologize if I didn't get your favorite classic LNH story; this was 
more the stuff that pushed my personal nostalgia buttons.  That said, 
there are some I just couldn't get in here; I would've loved a Misfits 

Anyone who wants to pick up the Modus Mistress plotline totally can!  
Random notes: Obviously, ExMachina Y would usher in some sort of Brian 
K. Vaughan-based dystopia. Can you guess who the sixth Time Crapper is 
an homage to?  And can you tell I liked Amalgam?

Description (and some of the dialogue) of Pack Rat taken straight from 
Unlikely Aliens #1 and #3, by Scott Johnson.  Used without permission.

The full list of characters homaged:

* Roles taken on by Our Heroes:

Leafy-Arugula Lad: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Limp-Asparagus_Lad
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 1): http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Retcon_Lad
Baron Not Appearing In Any Story Published Before 2002:
Sequential Storytelling Sovereign:

Cat Enthusiastic: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Panta
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 2): http://lnhq.info/wiki/Lost_Cause_Boy
@narky: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Kid_Anarky
Ductile Lass: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Pliable_Lad

Breakneck Boy: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Captain_Caffeine
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 3):
Count Cutscene: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Mister_Matinee
Modus Mistress: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Sim-Sorceress

Jacyb Zag Popperance Akatak Ygraine XXVII:
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 4): http://lnhq.info/wiki/Hybrid
Proto-Yeek: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Ur-Grue
Wyrd Sister: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Wyrd
Revolutionary Belle: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Rebel_Yell
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 5): http://lnhq.info/wiki/Lurking_Girl
Emoticon Lad: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Typo_Lad

Enthu.sig.astic Lad: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Sig.Lad
Casey von Aluminumfoil (scene 7): http://lnhq.info/wiki/Cheeez_Arrow
KrimsonKat: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Kopikat
Squidwoman: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Squidman

* Roles taken on by The Bad Guy:

Exclaimation!Master!: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Exclamation%21Master%21
Defacto: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Defacto
Webs Tor: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Webs_Tor
Pack Rat: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Pack_Rat
Faded Iron Master: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Faded_Iron_Master

* The various Time Crappers that came before:

I: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Time_Crapper
II: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Time_Crapper_II
III: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Time_Crapper_III
IV: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Time_Crapper_IV

* Others referenced and cameoed:

Contraption Man: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Contraption_Man
Spoonsday: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Spoonsday
Dave Thomas Deluxe University:
Particle Man: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Particle_Man
Constellation: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Constellation
Fan.dom of the Alt.ra: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/Fan.dom_of_the_Alt.ra
IMPLO: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/IMPLO
Master Workload: http://lnhq.info/wiki/Master_Workload
DeFacto V: http://www.lnhq.info/wiki/DeFacto_V
Teams of rejected LNHers: http://lnhq.info/wiki/R.E.J.E.C.T.S. and
Marissa Picard: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/MarissaPicard

And if you'd like edit access to the wiki, just make an account and 
I'll add it to the list!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, finally done!

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