LNH: Digital JUMP! #9: INDIGO! The Melancholy of Kimball Kinnison!

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 23:55:07 PDT 2012



...from the files of the Molybdenum Age...


Digital JUMP!

Written by Andrew Perron
Cover art by, oh, let's say Moe

Issue #9 - INDIGO!  The Melancholy of Kimball Kinnison!


The cover shows Carmine in silhouette, lit from behind by a bright red 
light in the shape of an @.  In the lower-right corner sits an overly-
stylized logo proclaiming "Warriors of Light: Part VI!"


Last time, on Digital JUMP!:

"You're *me* from the *future*."

"We took down the Baron and stopped the battle between the Periodic 
Houses and Erehton - and played right into the Tyrant's hands."

"Eventually, we found out that there was a way to counter the power of 
the Atavists, with a mystic force of equal power.  We realized we could 
go back and get the tools to overthrow the Tyrant... and, at the same 
time, make sure there was at least *one* world where this didn't 

"Let the retroactive liberation commence!"

"Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from the one and only, flesh and 
blood, Baron MacNottherealvillain!"



The heroes were shackled in irons glimmering with enchantment, their 
weapons and bags locked away.  At spear-point, the Baron grinning with 
malicious glee, they were marched through the sparkling silver-gray 
halls towards an opulent room with a throne, garnished in gold and 
topped by four crystal spheres.

Sitting on the throne, opulent as all hell, was a man.  A surprisingly 
young man, in fact.  He slumped slightly at a smug, supremely self-
assured angle, and though you couldn't see his smirk through the 
ceremonial mask of House Galvanis (covering his mouth and chin like a 
burnished brass Shredder), you could see it in his eyes.  His armor was 
hammered into a Herculean six-pack, and a pendant shaped like an @ 
dangled lazily from his neck.

He pushed off the throne and stood, hands clasped behind his back in a 
parody of parade rest. "Excellent; you're here right on time.  Guards, 
dismiss yourselves; from now on, today is an annual holiday." Murmuring 
appreciatively, the rank and file shuffled out, leaving them alone with 
the Tyrant and the Baron.

"Well." A sly grin spread to his eyes. "I'll be sure not to take up too 
much of your time." He snapped his fingers, and a set of triplets 
hovered into the room; the robot Barons.  Along with their human 
counterpart, all four began to gather energy in their hands, charging 
up for a killing blow.

"Awwww..." Kid Enthusiastic sighed and rolled his eyes. "You seriously 
mean you're not going to exposit?"

The Tyrant chuckled. "Sorry.  I've *read* the Evil Overlord List."

Kid E shrugged.  "Eh, making fun of cliches is overrated.  I prefer to 
use them in new ways."

"Oh?" The glow of energy build-up was nearly blinding. "Such as?"

"Well, such as getting yourself captured intentionally!"

And on the second syllable of "captured", their shackles exploded away, 
braces bursting out from underneath. By the time "intentionally" was 
done, the Tyrant was shouting "FIRE!", but the fivesome had already 
split apart.

Carmine pulled a small wafer of glass and circuits from her armor and 
crushed it.  In a flash, her backpack appeared in her hand.  She drew 
her staff, and remembered the briefing they'd gotten before leaving...


"Here ya go!" said Kid Enthusiastic, presenting each of the team with a 
suitcase.  The Faded Iron Master popped his open and demonstrated how 
to put on the polyceramic bracers.

"The Tyrant will be expecting us.  He thinks two steps ahead, but he 
thinks small.  If we draw on the resources of the LNH, we have access 
to technology he can't even imagine, let alone predict."


And there he was, allies both robotic and fleshy drawn away.  She 
grinned and ran at him...


Kid Enthusiastic rocketskated through the air, zigging and zagging at 
crazy random angles thanks to the gyroscopic destabilizer in his belt.  
The cybernetic Baron blasted at him, eyes rolling in his head as he 
tried to lock on.  It was fun, but he was getting dizzy.  Time to go on 
the offensive!

"Hey!" he shouted. "Are you the kind of robot that it's okay to just 
destroy, or are you an individual, with your own feelings and opinions 
and stuff?"

"What!?  Fool!  I am Baron MacNottherealvillain, that-- really, are you 

"Oh, that's gotta be the second one!  MP units don't use interrobangs!" 
Forget the magnets, then.  How about...

The rockets cut out, and a pair of sparkly, glittery butterfly wings 
extended from Kid Enthusiastic's back.  The Baron gaped in surprise as 
pixie dust showered gently over his body... and seized up, struggling 
to move as the "dust" sought out his joints.  Kid E fluttered by, 
satisfied that Fairy Princess Antipersonnel Mode worked as designed.


Malachite probed the Baron's structure, dodging bursts of arcane 
energy.  It had been built with only trace amounts of tungsten.  
Coincidence?  Not hardly - there was precious little iron either, all 
of it wrapped in magnetism-nullifying electromagnetic cages.  They 
wouldn't nullify the Master's magic, but they'd damp it down to near-

Yes, whoever engineered this body was as sharp as a tack.  Hopefully, 
the mind driving the body was a bit more potatoesque.

She curved in flight, the ring Kid E had supplied operating smoothly.  
The Baron paused in his attack and started chanting softly, motes of 
blue light appearing in his hands.  They zipped off, and as she turned, 
they turned with her.

Tracking stars.  They would chase her down, accelerating until they hit 
her - *if* she let them.

One of the first things the Master had taught her was what he called 
"judo magic". (He was the *only* one who called it that.) It wasn't 
hard to disrupt judo magic - *if* you knew how, and *if* you knew it 
was coming.  But if she took control of the tracker stars, like so... 
and made it seem as if they were still following her, like so... and 
then did an Immelmann roll to get behind him, like so... and then let 
them strike him in the back, like so--!

Well, then, he'd promptly fall out of the air.  Like so.



...thought Casey. (The writer of this scene is not *currently* evading 
a murderous rampage.) Dodging frantically, he tried to get a fix on the 
robo-Baron's surface thoughts, but it was like reading words in an 
illegible font from across the room.  

Okay, don't panic.  You shouldn't panic, even though the personal force 
shield was reading repeated grazes, each of which drained the power 
supply.  And the Baron was getting closer with each blast, boxing him 
in so that he could--

Wait... draining the power supply...

Ohhhhh this was a *stupid* plan.  But it was the only one he had, so he 
sucked it up.

Step 1. Switch personal force shield from "deflect energy" to "absorb 
  energy".  Which seemed like a no-brainer, except that if the battery 
  overcharged, Very Bad Things would happen.
Step 2. Taunt the killer robot.  Had he mentioned yet that this was a 
  stupid plan? "Um, ha ha!  Only the most focused and powerful of 
  assaults can get through my impenetrable force field!"
Step 3. Keep dodging, forcing the robo-Baron to waste many of his 
  "focused and powerful" attacks on misses.
Step 4. Switch between charging and draining the battery and HOPE TO 
  GOD that doing so repeatedly doesn't break it or make it explode or 

And just keep doing that and doing that, forcing him to try bigger and 
bigger attacks, and hoping that he drained his energy supplies before--

With a crack and a hiss, black smoke escaped from the shield generator, 
and the force shield flickered away.

The Baron grinned, holding a hand out menacingly and... causing a few 
tiny sparks to come out.  He frowned, shaking his hand out and looking 
at his palm... until he realized he'd begun to fall out of the air...


The Faded Iron Master summoned three balls of energy and juggled them 
in his hand, smirking. "You are aware that you're not going to win 
this, right?  I've fought you before, and won."

"Hah!" The Baron puffed out his chest in midair. "The one you fought in 
the Looniverse was nothing!  Now you face my TRUE power, not that of 
some cheap copy!"

"Hey!" "Blaggart!" "Mrmnpl!"

"Shut up!"

The FIM chuckled and shook his head. "No, no, I don't mean that single 
battle.  I mean the dozens of battles you and I have fought, over the 
next thirty years, each sharpening our skills on the other, each 
gaining intimate knowledge of the other's flaws and weaknesses...  You 
know, *those* battles."

"...ah.  Yes, of course.  Those battles."



BLAM! With desperate power, bursts of energy surged from the Baron's 
hands, but it was too late.  The FIM slipped beneath the blasts and, 
one quick succession of blows later, the Baron was reeling...


The Zinc Oxide Tyrant stood stock-still for a moment.  In the wink of 
an eye, things had fallen apart.  It was too much to handle... for any 
normal man, that is.  But he was no normal ma--

Suddenly the woman was bearing down on him and his arm and his sword 
swept up to block and he stepped back and she swept the staff at his 
feet and he leapt up on the throne and their weapons met and they 
looked each other in the eyes.

"Ah, one of my lesser pawns." He pushed back and they separated, the 
woman standing at guard. "Didn't expect you to figure it out." He spun 
his blade and grinned. "Suppose you needed an old man to tell you what 
was what."

Carmine's face twisted... and she threw back her head and laughed. "No, 
sir!  We are not doing that." She began spinning her staff. "Words, 
words, words.  You slay men with words, but alas, there is no more 
room." With each spin, the weapons drew closer together. "We are here, 
we are taking you down, and there is no one left to listen.  You LOSE!  
Good DAY, sir!"

In a crackling cacophony, magic metal met magic metal.  There was a 
wrenching, grinding explosion, and when it was over, the Tyrant was 
left holding the lower half of a sword.

"...BAH!" He tossed it away. "Fine, then. No more words - it's time to 
take ACTION!" He snapped his fingers, and the crystal spheres atop his 
throne burst - revealing the Four Atavists!

The other heroes (whose own fight scenes had ended by this point) 
turned and gasped.

"The ceremony--" said the Faded Iron Master, flabbergasted.

The Tyrant cackled. "Oh, the ceremony *will* take place, in due time!  
But a little *bird* told me you might try and pull something like this - 
so we rigged a sweet little backup plan, just for you!"

Carmine leapt forward, but was blown back by a torrential gust of wind.  
She covered her face with her arm and looked into the heart of the 

The Tyrant threw his head back and gave a great big belly laugh, hair 
blowing in the breeze like some kind of demented romance novel 
protagonist, pendant jingling on its chain.  The Atavists spun around 
his head like a chintzy halo.  A veil of shimmering light materialized 
around his body and began to expand outwards, pulsating with twisting 
prismatic hues.

Carmine swore and reached into her bag.  Only one option left, and 
she'd have to make it count...


The others had been satisfied with raiding the Legion's mass-produced 
supplies, but Carmine felt hers was still missing something. "In case 
our plan fails, t'would be prudent to have a backup - and I always feel 
safer with something that can sunder enchantment."

"Oooh!  Idea!  Just a sec!" Actually, it was about half an hour, but 
Kid Enthusiastic came back with an ornate obsidian box.  He opened it, 
and resting inside was a dagger - Occultism Kid's Blade of Mundane 
Winters, it seemed, an iron dagger with a hyper-refrigeration unit in 
the handle, able to make it cold enough to pierce any kind of magic.

"But that's not the meaning of the phrase 'cold iron'," she said, 

"Oh, yeah," nodded Kid Enthusiastic, "but its hyperanentropic force 
twists the retcotheric field!  And the lexographic serendipity enhances 
the spellbreaking effect!"

"...well then." She tucked it safely away. "Seems that I am 


She pressed the silver button, and frost immediately formed on the 
metal.  She leapt forward, her fingers going numb, and stabbed down.  
The blade pierced the glittering curtain, but the Tyrant dodged nimbly 
to the side.  The dagger sliced forward, neatly severing the pendant on 
its chain... and a burst of light pierced their minds...


China, long ago.  A mage and a smith toil tirelessly, seeking to 
capture elemental force.  Their efforts are rewarded, and they hold up 
a steaming circle of metal in the shape of an @.


A hero faces up to an army.  He touches the pendant, and is clad in 
crimson armor - but he falls, and the pendant is placed around the neck 
of his son.


His son's son's son's son's son's son's son is a hero, facing an enemy 
in a snowy mountain pass; there is an explosion, and suddenly, he is in 
a new world, where a different war rages.


The war is over.  The hero has brought peace, and the factions have 
settled into Houses; he has become a lord.


The pendant is passed down the generations once more.  But year by 
year, it loses power, works less and less, is eventually put away and 
becomes forgotten.


Generations later, a young man finds the pendant; when he touches it, 
the armor appears, and he becomes a hero.


The power has faded once more, and the man, no longer young, hardly 
heroic, begins a desperate ritual to recharge it.  But he is caught, 
and in penance, is exiled.  He swears to return, not as a lord, but as 
a Tyrant...


The light faded, revealing Carmine, covered in ornate crimson armor.  
Runes swirled over its surface, intricate sigils of punctuation.

With a burst of energy, she leapt through the air, snagging the Atavist 
of Earth and breaking the mystic circle.  The others clattered to the 
floor, and the Zinc Oxide Tyrant stood, mouth agape. "It... gave itself 
to you!  Why?  Why have you forsaken me!?"

Carmine smirked. "Isn't it obvious?  You don't have the proper... 

While he was still stunned by her pun, she whipped out a right hook and 
he fell to the ground.  The rest of the team crowded around.

"Interesting..." mused the Faded Iron Master.

"Astounding!" said Kid Enthusiastic.

"Neat," said Mala.

"...wow," said Casey.

Carmine let out a breath and examined herself.  The armor flashed 
bright red and faded away, leaving glowing sigils on her body. "An 
opportune development.  I believe I shall give it the reverence it 

And with that, she started leaping up and down, laughing gleefully. 
"Bwahahaha, YES!  Got the bloody bastard!  Oh!" She pounded her fist 
into her palm. "But that *does* feel good."

The Faded Iron Master looked around, grinning. "It does, doesn't it... 
well!" He clapped his hands. "We had best take care of that war between 
the Periodic Houses and Erehton, shouldn't we?"

"Ooooh, yeah, I forgot about that!" said Kid Enthusiastic.


Two captured generals working for the Tyrant, a public revelation, a 
few displays of high-tech might and a few peace talks later...

A great celebration wound its way through the streets.  An enormous 
table had been set up with layers of smorgasbord on it.  Weapons had 
been tossed down, and people danced between the buildings.  From now 
on, today would be an annual holiday.

The heroes of the day were seated at the end of the table.  Crowds 
thronged around them, wanting autographs and handshakes.  Kid 
Enthusiastic had set up a holoprojection unit, and fancies and dreams 
danced above their heads.

The Faded Iron Master pushed back his plate, waving away offers of 
complex and sumptuous desserts. "Well.  I'm always one for more 
adulation, but I think the time has come to move on."

"Indeed, time for the final battle!" said Carmine, exultantly thrusting 
a fist into the air.

"To eternity and beyond!" Kid Enthusiastic hopped up on his chair and 

"Okay, sure!" Casey shrugged, fork full of savory seitan in the air.

"Um..." Mala looked over at the FIM, who nodded. "Guys... you've done a 
*hell* of a lot already.  But this is our--"

"Nay!" interrupted Carmine. "We are sticking with you, through thick
 and thin!  Say not that this is your fight, for what pains one of us 
 pains all!"

"Yeah!" shouted Kid Enthusiastic. "There's no way we're not seeing this 
through to the end!"

"Okay, sure!" Casey cheered, finishing his dinner.

Mala leaned over to the FIM and whispered. "So... why were we telling 
them we didn't need them?  I was seriously sweating!"

"Look at those happy people!  Now they're all pumped up."


They'd trekked outside the city to the sound of cheering crowds, to get 
outside the future radius of the Tyranny Zone.  There were still two 
hours until the time portal would spring up as predetermined, so they 
spent that time talking about what the world of tomorrow was like; the 
technological bleed from the Looniverse, the burgeoning trade of 
interdimensional tourism, the cultural changes from years of strife...

"But you haven't really told us much about you!" said Kid Enthusiastic.

"Yeah, I was kind of avoiding that topic," muttered Casey.

"Indeed, your personal life has remained closed off!" uttered Carmine. 
"Please, speak: Who has remained close to you through the years, beyond 
your young ward?"

"...'ward'?" said Mala.

"Well," said the Faded Iron Master, "if I had to pick the one closest 
to me, there's only one choice: my wife."

"Ah, yes," Mala grinned, "the Lady!"

"Lady? Wh--" Carmine's question was drowned out as, in a flash, the 
shimmering oval portal opened before them.  Almost immediately, a 
figure stepped through.  She was tall, and with a strong profile.  Age 
had left its mark on her, but it did not hide her striking features.

"Oh, there she is!" Mala hopped up and hugged the woman, who rubbed her 
on the head affectionately and smiled. "The Lady Aurum!"

"The Lady... Aurum..." Carmine stared.

"Your... wife!?" Casey swallowed.


SD-Lady Aurum: "Next issue!"

"It's going to be the future soon!  But will advanced awkwardness 
hamper the battle against the second-stage boss form?  And what tricks 
does a techno-Tyrant have up his cyber-sleeves?"

"Next time on Digital JUMP!  JASPER!  Rime of the Ancient Mario 

"Kiss the vampire ladybug..."


Author's Note: Okay, we're in the home stretch!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, full steam ahead!

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