LNH20: LNH20 Comics Presents #9
Adrian J. McClure
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 28 13:17:30 PST 2012
LNH20 Comics Presents #9:
Chapter 9 of a chaotic add-on cascade
by Adrian J. McClure
Note: this issue takes place immediately before Clueless Lad Team-Up
It was almost midnight at the waterfront district; the rain was
pouring down and the sky was dismal and starless. Brian was not having
a good day. He'd been sent out here on the orders of someone he didn't
know and didn't trust. But there was no other choice. He just hoped
whoever it was would show up before the pizza got cold.
The call had come in an hour ago. "Ditko's Pizza, how may I help you,"
he said, just like every other time. Then he heard the voice at the
other end. It was deep and loud and overwhelming, rumbling like an
earthquake, crackling like flame. If a mountain could speak, it might
have such a voice.
BRING ME A HUNDRED MEAT LOVERS PIZZAS, it said.
It took him a few moments to recover. "Your address?"
GO TO THE EDGE OF THE WATERFRONT DISTRICT AT MIDNIGHT. I WILL BRING
YOU WHERE YOU ARE NEEDED.
So of course, somehow, the cooks had scrambled to make the pizza in
time. Most of the time they would have ignored such an order, but the
voice at the other end was not easily disobeyed. It filled all those
who heard it with fear and awe. Brian seldom indulged in such
emotions, and yet he could not help but tremble at that voice.
It had been an hour since he'd gotten there now. He'd left at exactly
midnight, but something seemed to be wrong with time here. It had been
noon half an hour ago, but by now it had more or less decided to be
night. The pizza had long gone cold by now, at least most of the time.
Sometimes the pizza was piping hot again, sometimes the ingredients
had gone back to their original state, and sometimes he could have
sworn he heard panicked cows thrashing around in the back.
He knew he couldn't stay here much longer, but if he returned leaving
the job unfinished, he would be betraying all his most deeply held
principles. He held his hand above the keys, wondering whether or not
to turn them.
And then his car was engulfed by flame.
There were a great many things in the hoard that lay scattered around
the cave. Some were supremely valuable--lost manuscripts written in
Greek and other tongues that no one even remembered, powered armor
from the golden age of @Lantis or even older, an autographed CGC-
graded 10 copy of Action Comics #1. Others were seemingly of no value
at all: a bright red pinwheel, a decades-old Cracker Jack box, a wind-
up toy Godzilla. But the thing that concerned the Recovery Man the
most was the enraged dragon. It crackled with energy of a type he had
never seen before. The Recovery Man, who had once traveled once into
the heart of a sun and lived, found it painful to look at.
YOU'RE NOT ANOTHER KNIGHT, ARE YOU? said the Dragon. I'M GETTING TIRED
OF YOU. JUST WHEN I WAS FINALLY STARTING TO GET SOME REST... NO, THE
TIME OF KNIGHTS IS LONG PAST. YOU'RE HER, AREN'T YOU? GOOD. I'VE BEEN
WAITING FOR YOU FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
"I think you are mistaken," said the Recovery Man. "I am no knight,
though I am a man of my word. And I am certainly not a woman. I am not
a man either, but I find it fitting to be referred to as such."
YOU'RE THE OTHER ONE, THEN. THE ONE THEY CALL THE RECOVERY MAN.
"How did you know my name? And what do you mean 'the other one?' There
are no others of my kind." There was no change in the Recovery Man's
face, but he flickered for a moment, too quickly for a human to notice
but not, perhaps, the Dragon. He remembered that the humans had once
attempted to create another of his kind under their control with their
so-called Project Agamemnon, but he had put a stop to that long ago.
I FORESAW YOU IN MY DREAMS. IF YOU ARE HERE, THAT MEANS THAT THE TIME
THE TIME FOR THE GATE OF AVA.LAN TO BE OPENED ANEW. THE TIME FOR ME TO
AWAKE. THE TIME FOR THE AGE OF MAN'S DOMINION OVER THE EARTH TO END.
"But you are awake..." He looked more closely at the Dragon and saw
that its eyes were closed. Its energy had been so bright that he
hadn't seen this before. Its brain patterns, to the extent he could
make them out, resembled those of a human engaged in lucid dreaming.
FOR A LONG TIME I HAVE SLEPT. I HAVE SEEN THAT WHICH WAS AND IS AND
WILL BE, AND THAT WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN, AND THAT WHICH WAS ONCE BUT
HAS NOW BEEN RETCONNED.
"Including the 'other one?'"
SHE NEED NOT CONCERN YOU YET.
The Recovery Man flickered again. If the Dragon's goal had been to
distract him from his purpose, it had succeeded. "I've come here for
the Spoon of Destiny. I will take it whether you are living or dead."
YOU MAY TAKE ANYTHING YOU WISH FROM MY HOARD, SO LONG AS YOU BRING ME
SOMETHING OF EQUAL VALUE.
"And what would that be?"
THE SKULL OF GOOGLEMESH.
"I see. And where do I find it?"
IN HIS HEAD. GOOGLEMESH HAS RETURNED FROM THE BASEMENTS AND REJOINED
THE LEGION. HE HAS SLAUGHTERED MANY OF MY KIND. I AM THE LAST IN THIS
WORLD EXCEPT FOR ONE, AND SHE KNOWS NOTHING OF OUR HERITAGE. THE BLOOD
OF MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS CRIES OUT FOR VENGEANCE.
"Interesting. Is that a deal?"
BRING ME THE SKULL OF GOOGLEMESH AND I WILL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU REQUIRE.
"Very well, then." The Recovery Man extended his hand, as did the
Dragon. It opened its mouth to smile, revealing far more teeth than a
human being could ever count. (The Recovery Man estimated there to be
about 538.) He grasped the Dragon's talon and shook it. The Dragon's
energy sparked off of his, giving him a brief jolt. He couldn't feel
the talon itself, for his sense of matter was much less vivid than hi
senses of energy. "Many have tried to kill him, and none have yet
succeeded," said the Recovery Man. "I see you have a number of useful-
looking weapons here. Do you have anything that could help me kill
I WILL LEND YOU THE SPOON ITSELF FOR THIS PURPOSE.
"And what makes you think that I won't simply take it?"
BECAUSE, AS YOU SAID, YOU ARE A MAN OF YOUR WORD.
"Indeed." The Dragon then walked into one of the larger piles and
rummaged through it. It took out something whose energy was as much
brighter than the Dragon's as the Dragon's was than a human being's.
The Recovery Man lost control for a moment and screamed, which sounded
like a radio tuned to a dead channel. He walked through the solid
waves of energy and touched the object. But as he did, the pain
vanished and he felt the Spoon's energy join with his own. His skin
was slightly singed, but he didn't refresh it because it made him look
Everything seemed sharper and clearer now. The Dragon's energy had
dimmed, but he could see it far better. As he didn't want to risk
using the Spoon's energy until he'd adjusted a little more, the
Recovery Man walked away. He knew very well that the Dragon might not
be telling the full truth, but taking on Googlemesh seemed like a
worthwhile challenge. For now, he would let sleeping dragons lie.
Brian heard screaming, and after a few moments he realized it was his
own. Then the fire died down. He as alone in a deep, dark cave that
was lit by a dim light whose source he couldn't make see. He was
surrounded by a bewildering array of objects in piles, too much for
him to make out. And he wasn't alone. Sitting in front of him was a
massive red dragon,
The Dragon stretched its legs and yawned like a cat. GREETINGS,
FOOLISH MORTAL, he said. YOU MAY LEAVE YOUR CAR NOW. I MEAN YOU NO
HARM. This was the voice of the one who'd ordered the pizza. It
laughed, making the cave rumble, then stretched its legs and yawned
like a cat.
"What do you want?" said Brian, doing his best to seem impassive,
though he knew the Dragon could smell his sweat. He wasn't quite sure
what to do. Making a delivery to a dragon wasn't something that had
been covered in his job training. He asked himself what
ONLY YOUR PIZZA.
Brian took it out of the car, grunting and sweating under hte weight
of the piles of pizza boxes. IT'S GOTTEN COLD, said the Dragon.
"Well, that wasn't my fault," said Brian. "I waited until midnight,
like you said."
The Dragon laughed again. I CAN TAKE CARE OF THAT EASILY ENOUGH. YOU
MIGHT WANT TO STAND BACK. Brian heard a roaring flame. He ducked
behind a nearby rock just as the Dragon's flame hit the pizza. It then
grabbed the pizzas and gobbled them up in a few seconds, boxes and
Brian stepped out from behind the rock, sweating more than ever, and
held out his hand for the money. He didn't know what to make of this
creature. It radiated strength and power he could only dream of having
himself, but there seemed to be something untrustworthy about it. HERE
IS YOUR PAYMENT, it said, holding out a small pouch.
"That doesn't look like very much, sir."
IT IS FAR MORE VALUABLE THAN YOU KNOW.
Brian took the pouch, and felt his skin crawl the hairs of the back of
his neck stand on end. He was hesitant to open it. Then he found
himself standing back on the dock. It was still late at night and rain
poured down in buckets. Had he just hallucinated the whole thing? But
the pizza was all gone, the car was covered in scorch marks, and he
was holding the pouch in his hand. Somewhat nervously, he opened it
and saw inside a white plastic spoon.
Angry and dejected, he stepped back into the car, dropped the pouch on
the seat beside him and drove off. He didn't notice that the pouch was
beginning to glow with a faint light.
And somewhere beneath the earth, the Dragon laughed.
The Dragon created by Lalo Martins, more or less
The Recovery Man created by Saxon Brenton
Brian created by Adrian J. McClure
and the other character the Dragon's referring to created by Tom
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