LNH: Digital JUMP! #9: INDIGO! The Melancholy of Kimball Kinnison!
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Thu Apr 26 23:55:07 PDT 2012
PREHISTORIC PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS
IN ASSOCIATION WITH RULED PAPER NOTEBOOKS AND AN ANNOYING AMOUNT OF
...from the files of the Molybdenum Age...
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
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
"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
"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.
HOLY CRAP THIS GUY'S TRYING TO KILL ME!
...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!"
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
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
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
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
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
"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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