REPOST/LNH: Beige Midnight #1: Imperium Hex Part I: 'The Bigger They Are...' (1/4)
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 6 10:01:49 PDT 2012
Almost forgot to repost this this week...
[Cover: Hundreds and hundreds of colorful never before seen heroes
crowd the page. In the center is the LNH'r Fuzzy, who looks like she's
about to have a nervous breakdown (well she'd look like that if you
could see her face beyond the obscuring blur that hides it). Fuzzy
screams the word, "Arrhrhrhhghghghg!!!!!!!!" On the bottom in huge bold
text letters is the caption, 'Introducing the NEW SUPERSIZED LNH! And
we mean SUPERSIZED!!']
[Variant Cover 1: Ripping Dancer dressed in black leather walks out of
a bank laughing evilly. Both hands carry huge bags of money. Cops
attempt to shoot her. On the bottom in huge bold text is the caption,
'Guess Who's the Newest Member of the Brotherhood of Net.Villains?!!!!']
[Variant Cover 2: Hexfire Club Members and Catalyst Lass holding Mr.
Tiddles hover around a cake with the letters LNH on it. Hex Luthor
dressed like a Roman Emperor in a beige colored toga slices the cake and
scoops out the biggest slice for himself. On the bottom of the page in
huge letters, 'Imperium Hex Part I']
[Variant Cover 3: Just Beige. Nothing else. Just Beige.]
**** <<--BM-->> ****
Am I the last person alive?
My name is the 4-Color Kid.
And I might be the last person alive in the entire Looniverse. Corpses
litter the streets. Everything is decaying and discoloring.
Net.ropolis is dead. The LNH is dead. And over there -- over there are
the monsters responsible for this... Christ.
Dekay and Diskolor.
The Bryttle Brothers.
They notice me. They're smiling. Another fly to pull the wings off.
No. Not this fly. This fly is going to destroy you.
God help me, I'm going to destroy you.
My heart starts to beat faster.
And I reach for my power. I don't know where my power comes from or why
I have it. I guess I'll never know. It doesn't matter. I reach for my
power. I reach for all of it. All Four Colors.
They pour out of my body. Like apocalyptic horsemen they race through
Dekay and Diskolor are no longer smiling. I can since fear in them. Good.
My skin is burning. I feel pain in every part of my body. I want to
scream. I want to cry. There's a sun inside me that's going to go
I try to think of some clever last words. I can't think of any.
There's a flash.
The beige has been replaced by color.
I don't feel any pain any more.
Am I dead?
Is this heaven?
Did I save the world?
And if I did then what happens next?
**** <<--BM-->> ****
16 years later...
The place -- Net.ropolis.
The time --
B E I G E
M I D N I G H T
The number -- O N E
The writers -- Arthur Spitzer and Saxon Brenton
**** <<--BM-->> ****
"Okay, and right over there you can see the World's Tallest Building.
Well, of course now days it isn't the tallest -- I mean even in
Net.ropolis there are like about 35 buildings taller than it -- But way
back in 1931 for about a week or so -- it was the World's Tallest
Building! Yep. The World's Tallest Building. For a week. Now it's
kind of tiny by today's standards, but it still has the same name. They
probably should change the name. But I'm not in charge of that."
The helicopter pilot pointed to the vast Net.ropolis skyline as he flew
the chopper over the city. A beige sky loomed over everything.
"And to your right are the Oblivion Towers, which used to be the tallest
buildings in Net.ropolis way back in the 90s. Right now they're only
like fifth and sixth -- I think. Here's a fun fact. The Oblivion
Towers have the highest rate of mime suicides -- more than any other
building in the world. Ain't that strange? I guess for some reason
mimes can't get enough of jumping off the Oblivions. Go figure."
"And to the left we have the Pister Maprika Building. It used to be
called the Mister Paprika Building way back in the 90's -- and was owned
by this crazy billionaire who was running this rogue operation of the
Major Food Corps. They were doing these weird experiments and I think
they had like this mercenary army in Omaha, Net.braska. Lot of crazy
stuff. Anyways -- there was this lawsuit and I guess they had to change
their name. They still sell a soda pop called Pister Maprika -- which
has this slogan, 'Now that's a pan's mop!' Not too many people buy it.
Which is a shame since I think it tastes better than Mr. Paprika. But
that's just me."
"And now -- you see over there? Well, you can't really miss it -- if
you have a weak heart you might want to close your eyes for a bit.
Anyway -- There they are. Three of the four tallest structures in
Net.ropolis. In the center is the Beige Clock Tower. The Tallest
Building in the World. I don't know how tall it is, but it's really
damn tall. Tall enough that its top is close to where the Space Station
is. See the gigantic moat that surrounds it? Yeah. They did that to
stop people from committing suicide by touching it. One touch is
supposed to drain the life out of you. Weird, huh? The tower's most
important feature is the clock. Both hands seem to be frozen on 12. It
used to make this really annoying ticking sound, but that went away
recently when the sky turned beige. Thank god."
"And on the left of the tower -- the gigantic monster with the swarm of
flies and locusts for a head -- Yeah. That's Dekay. One of the Bryttle
Brothers. His brother, Diskolor, is on the right. The thrones they're
sitting on are about the size of the World Trade Center Towers. Makes
you think, don't it? Both of them seem to be asleep. Not sure what's
going to happen when they wake up, but it's probably not going to be
good. And maybe it's just me, but doesn't Diskolor sort of look like
that Dad on Happy Days? You know who I'm talking about? Yeah. Tom
Bosley. Yeah. That's the guy. That's who I'm talking about. I mean
if Tom Bosley only had one eye, this big gaping mouth on his chest full
of tongues that were every color of the rainbow, a bunch of spikes with
skulls on his head, and he was really pale white -- and a giant -- and
angry looking, wouldn't he look like Diskolor? Maybe it's just me then.
Well, let's move on."
"And that building over there? Well, I don't really know what its name
is, but back when I was in college a bunch of my buddies and me were
really drunk and on the roof of that building. You know, just goofing
around. And we see Kid Kirby flying by. And so we all pull down our
pants -- and moon him! I'm serious! We mooned Kid Kirby. And Kid
Kirby gives us this like super serious look as he's flying by. He's
like, "I am Kid Kirby, mortals! What are you doing?! Stop that!" But
he just flies by -- doesn't do anything. I swear -- this is totally
true. A Kirbybot? I guess it could have been Kirbybot. I don't know.
But I like to think in my heart of hearts that me and my friends
mooned the Real Kid Kirby. That's what I like to think. Anyway.
"Okay. Now can you see that? There it is. Our final destination
folks. It's the second tallest building in Net.ropolis. And it's a
monster. I believe it is two miles in height and like over a thousand
stories. And that's not even counting all of the sub-sub basements.
Its name is the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters and it's one of the
most famous buildings in all of the Looniverse. It didn't used to be
this big. Used to be just this small four story building. Don't know
what's happening, but it's been rising like crazy lately. Could be all
these new heroes that have been joining. They've got a hell of a lot of
people in the LNH now days. I've heard all kinds of rumors about the
size. It's like somewhere between 10,000 and a 100,000. Just crazy. I
mean when I was a kid it was like only about 200 or so heroes. And
people back then complained it was too big. And now? Now it's just
crazy. It's like a city down there. And it just keeps growing and
"Man. They're letting anyone who has a Freedom Chip be an LNH'r these
days. My friend, Ted -- yeah -- He's an LNH'r now. Had one of those
Freedom Chips put into his head. Got powers. Can transform into this
big beer bottle with arms and legs. Calls himself The Living
Non-Alcoholic Beer or something like that. Crazy. Says it's great.
Now he's pulling in like $700 a week. Free room and board. And saving
the world from evil. Just for putting a chip into his head. Thought
about getting one myself. Don't know. Oh well. Right. We're just
about there. Well, hope you enjoyed your flight, Mr. Manga Man. We'll
be landing on the LNHHQ roof in a couple more minutes."
"Fasten your seatbelts."
**** <<--BM-->> ****
Hiya! Are you a new reader? Nice to meet you! I'm Catalyst Lass! But
you can call me Cat. ;>
Just in case you don't know who I am -- well -- I'm a superhero and a
member of the LNH. I have the power to nudge people into a direction
that I think would serve them a bit better than the direction they're
going. Just a little nudge. Nothing more. Honest. A little nudge.
Right now? Well, I'm on the roof of the LNHHQ (That stands for Legion
of Net.Heroes Headquarters). And standing here with me are members of
President Hexadecimal Luthor's inner circle -- the HexFire Club. Or as
I like to call them -- the Bad Guys. Of course now days it seems that
the bad guys are in charge of the LNH. How did this happen? Well, it's
a long story.
Why are we waiting on the roof of the LNHHQ? We're waiting for that
helicopter right up there that's supposed to be landing any second now.
Apparently a member of the HexFire Club that I haven't seen before is
on it. The Beige Bishop. They've all got these little spiffy titles
See the cute little white fluffy slightly chubby pussycat that's napping
next to my leg? That's the Beige Rook of the Hexfire Club -- Mr.
Tiddles. I know -- he looks so sweet, but no -- he's been a bad putty
tat. He has the ability to read minds and take over those same minds.
Of course thanks to this little device that Dr. Stomper (genius-in-chief
of the LNH) put in my head, Mr. Tiddles can't read my mind -- he just
thinks he can. The device tricks him into believing I'm his total
slave. I also have a device in my head that looks like a Freedom Chip
because the HexFire Club put one of those into my look-alike pal,
HellCatalyst -- or Helly as I like to call her.
Helly looks exactly like me and has my same powers. In fact there's the
possibility that she's the real Catalyst Lass and I'm not. Neither one
of us knows which of us is the real Catalyst Lass and which of us is in
fact the former supervillain Revamp Lass who revamped herself to be
Catalyst Lass many years ago. Of course I generally assume that I'm the
real Catalyst Lass -- but Helly's great -- really great! Helly tends to
dress in darker more gothic and satanic type clothes than I do. I mean
I'm not saying she's some of kind of a Satanist because she's not!
Well, okay -- now that I think about it I'm not sure I've ever asked her
whether or not she's a Satanist. I suppose she could be one -- but I'm
sure if she is one she's one of those good Satanists. You know -- the
ones who don't sacrifice small animals and children. A good decent
funloving Satanist that likes to shop!
Hmm. Note to self: Find polite way to ask Helly if she's a Satanist!
Sorry about that. Let's see -- where was I? Oh yeah! So for the past
several months, me and Helly have been fooling Mr. Tiddles while
gathering info on the HexFire Club. You know -- sort of like that movie
the Parent Trap, but without the Parents and Hayley Mills. Well, okay
-- now that I think more about it, it's nothing like the Parent Trap.
But that was a great movie, wasn't it? I wonder whatever happened to
Hayley Mills? She was so adorable in that movie!
Note to self: Buy Parent Trap on DVD!
But right now Helly's probably having fun shopping or getting a cucumber
facial. Sigh. Wish I was there with you, Helly -- and not here.
Let's move on.
Over there is the Ebony Knight of the Hexfire Club -- The Ultimate
Savior. Years ago he died saving the Looniverse from the Mechanical
Author. And I think he's still dead -- because whomever that is
standing over there, it's not the Ultimate Savior. I get this creepy
feeling when I look at him. There's something wrong about him. Why
would the Ultimate Savior need a gun? And that black canteen he's
always carrying -- what's in that canteen? On second thought, I don't
really want to know.
Over there is the leader of the LNH. The Ultimate Ninja. The greatest
fighter in the whole Looniverse. But not this guy. A clone maybe or a
shapeshifter? Who knows. I get the feeling that I've met whoever he is
before. Anyways, whoever he is -- He's the HexFire Club's Ebony Bishop.
Which is why I can tell he's not really the Ultimate Ninja. The
Ultimate Ninja would never ever settle to be anything less than numbero
uno. This guy is Hex Luthor's puppet.
And that guy in the golden armor suit? He's Irony Man. Multi-
billionaire Toony Stork. A long time member of the LNH with the power
to detect and emit Irony. I'd like to tell you he's really a clone or
shapeshifter, but sadly I think he's the real deal. He used to be a
hero and friend. I'm not sure what he is anymore. And I'm not sure if
I can save him. I hope I can. He's the HexFire Club's Beige Knight.
And finally -- the Ringmaster of all this -- and why I'm here on this
roof. President Hexadecimal Luthor. Beige King of the HexFire Club.
And the person who is now running the LNH. My friend and fellow LNH'r
Bicycle Repair Lad told me that Hex used to be just a small time crook
long ago -- and then he hit the Cosmic Reset Button -- and here he is.
Of course now days, Bicycle Repair Lad is locked up in one of Hex's many
secret prisons -- and only a few people believe him. I believe him.
And sadly Hex isn't the biggest problem that the LNH is facing now.
We've got two bigger problems called Dekay and Diskolor. And you can
see them on this roof. I think they're napping.
Well, looks like the helicopter is going to land. Oh darn! Just
realized my hair is going to be all messed up -- and I just got it done
yesterday! Sigh. Oh well. Someone's stepping out of the helicopter.
Oh my! Is that -- is that?
Yes. It is. Manga Man. One of the LNH's most dangerous and oldest
enemies. He's the Beige Bishop? I have to admit, I'm kind of
surprised. I mean I never thought that Manga Man would be someone
else's bottom -- I mean second -- oh well -- you know what I mean. Giggle.
And Hex and his secret service agents are walking over to greet him.
Him and Manga Man do that Japanese bowing thing.
Hex starts talking. "So, how was your trip?"
Manga Man responds. "Oh, you know. Same old -- same old. So. This is
it? The Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters? It's been awhile since I've
been here. Seems a lot bigger than the last time."
Hex laughs. "It's the building. It connects itself to whoever's in
charge. It reflects their ambitions -- their dreams. And as you can
see -- when I dream -- I dream big. So. How does it feel? How does it
feel to be on top of the world, Manga Man?"
"Well, I don't know, Hex. Would it be horrible cliched if we all had an
evil laugh right about now?"
And they all start to laugh. Well not all. Mr. Tiddles looks slightly
irritated that someone woke him up. And Toony? He looks disturbed by
all of this.
Note to self: Work on my evil laugh!
**** <<--BM-->> ****
"Brought you some lunch, Procrastination Boy." Procrastination Boy
looked behind him and saw an ambiguous blur holding a paper sack. It
was Fuzzy, one of his LNH teammates, who has the power to make things
"Hey, thanks! Just put it over there, Fuzzy. I'll eat it a little bit
later. You didn't have to do this."
"Oh, no prob. Steak-and-Potatoes Man made it. Heard what you were
doing here. Sounds pretty amazing. Besides. Had to get out of that
place. It's just too much. Too many. It's swarming -- swarming with
tons and tons of clueless newbies. Thousands of them! I mean I thought
I had gotten over my hatred of newbies. All those therapy and
psychotherapy sessions. I thought I had moved on. But. There are
thousands of them! Thousands!! And they don't know what they're doing!
My God! I'm going crazy. I'm going crazy! I swear -- if I stay
there any much longer I'm just going to lose it. I'm just going to
start shooting people. Shoot them. Shoot them all. All of them. All
"Umm, Fuzzy? Just take a deep breath. A deep breath. It's going to be
"Sorry, Procrast. *Sigh*. Just one of those days, you know. But back
to you -- is what they're saying true? You're using your powers on the
"Yeah. Kind of. Fourth Wall Lass cracked open a part of the Fourth
Wall right over there." Procrastination Boy pointed towards a
shimmering crack in reality. "Been focusing my powers on the Writers --
trying to get them to just procrastinate on writing. At least for now,
I think it's working. If I'm successful, maybe I can stop the whole
Beige Midnight storyline for good. I know everyone thinks I'm a joke,
but I wanted to use my powers to help us."
Fuzzy gave Procrastination Boy a pat on the shoulders. "You're not a
joke. You're doing good here, Procrast. Real good. I'm proud of you."
Fuzzy walked over and looked at the crack in the Fourth Wall. And
then she looked at the Beige Clock Tower and the Brothers of Bryttle
that were asleep on their thrones. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes
from her purse and took a cigarette out.
"You okay, Fuzz? Thought you quit smoking?"
"Yeah, I did. But Christ. Look at them. We're not going to be able to
stop them. In a month we're all going to die. What's it matter if I'm
smoking when they kill me?"
"You're not going to die, Fuzzy. We'll stop them."
"Yeah. We're the LNH. We never lose, right Procrast?" Fuzzy took out
her lighter and lit the cigarette. "Tell me another one."
**** <<--BM-->> ****
Two lips absorbed the redness of the lipstick. And they pressed against
each other until the redness covered them totally in a flawless way.
The lips opened up and a cherry lollypop pushed itself into the mouth.
A tongue slid itself over the entire surface of the lollypop.
A hand shoved the lipstick back into a purse and then opened the door to
the car that the female it was attached to was sitting in. The woman
got out of the car -- a jet black Lamborghini V12. She had blonde hair
and black sunglasses over her eyes. She wore a very short black leather
miniskirt and a leather jacket over her body and fishnet stockings on
her legs. The leather was ripped in a number of places. All the right
places. She put a couple of quarters into the parking meter and started
to walk towards the First Bank of Net.ropolis. Her legs seemed to move
to the beat of a ZZ Top song. A couple of men in suits quickly rushed
over to the glass doors of the Bank and opened them for her. She gave
them a nod of appreciation for their effort.
As she walked into the bank, she could feel the gazes of almost everyone
in the bank. Male or female, they couldn't help but look at her. She
made her way up to one of the open windows.
"Um -- um -- How -- How can I help -- umm you, Miss?" spoke a nervous
looking man in glasses and a bow tie.
The woman slid her fingernail along the counter top and then took out
the cherry lollypop in her mouth and gave the bank clerk a smile.
"Well, lets see. Hmm. Oh yes. I'd like to take out a withdrawal."
"A withdrawal? And -- and what is your account number, Miss?"
"Account number? Account number. Hmm. Let's see. You know -- now
that I think about it, no. I might have misspoke. Yes. Guess it's not
really a withdrawal that I wanted. Sorry. I'm a bit new at this. What
was it? The word. It's at the tip of my tongue. Oh right." She
snapped her finger. "Robbery. That's the word. That's the word I'm
looking for. This is a..."
Suddenly there was a huge explosion. Glass shattered in all of the
banks windows and a huge smoldering gap formed at the front of the bank.
As the smoke began to clear, various screaming innocent bystanders saw
a number of costumed individual start to enter the bank. Some on foot.
Some in the air.
"A robbery," the woman said finishing her sentence. "And those freaky
looking dangerous people that just entered are members of the Legion of
Net.Villains. And me? I'm the Ripping Dancer. I'm sure you've heard
of me. Former LNH member turned traitor. A sad tragic tale to be sure.
With the power to rip anything I can imagine while dancing. And now
I'm here. Back in business."
"So, basically we want all the money in this bank. All of it. And
you're going to give it to us. Sound simple? Well, let's get to it
then. Because there's one thing I don't think you want us to do," she
said with a smile. "And that's get physical."
She gave her cherry lollypop another lick.
**** <<--BM-->> ****
IMPERIUM HEX PART I
'The Bigger They Are...'
**** <<--BM-->> ****
A couple weeks before...
In a hallway in the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ, Retcon Lad was loudly
berating Anal-Retentive Archive Kid. "Look, it's all a matter of trust..."
"Yes, exactly," said ARAK. "And the fact that the Legion is getting so
much funding, hardware and new members to help fight Dekay and Diskolor
is a good indication that Hex Luthor can be trusted. If he couldn't be,
then the usual comic book cliche would be that he'd be *stripping away*
the Legion's resources just as we needed them the most. You know, to
create a heightened sense of urgency."
"That trope only works if the bureaucrats doing the cutbacks don't
appreciate the extent of the danger being faced," countered Retcon Lad.
"The argument falls to pieces if the bad guys are using the heroes as
pawns to fend off a threat, in the process saving the world for
themselves while also weakening the heroes who could oppose them
afterwards. Bicycle Repair Lad..."
"What about Bicycle Repair Lad?" asked a new voice. Both LNHers turned
to see Irony Man, and behind him was Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy.
If anything the presence of Irony Man - who had both lengthier
membership and more seniority in the Legion's hierarchy - seemed to make
Retcon Lad antagonistic. "I was saying that Bicycle Repair Lad warned
us that Luthor had been his villainous arch nemesis until he wrangled
history to gain the presidency. That makes his motives suspect."
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy bristled. The very notion that someone could
think that the holder of the highest office in the country might not be
worthy of the position was offensive to him. But Irony Man just calmly
shook his head. "You know what your problem is Retcon Lad? You've been
watching too many X-Files reruns on cable. Sometimes a cigar is just a
"And where exactly is Bicycle Repair Lad anyway?" said Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy. "I haven't seen him offer up any proof to support his
allegations. In fact, I notice that our little British member" (and
this was said vast amounts of condescension) "hasn't been around for a
few months now. Run off into the night when his insinuations against
the POTUS weren't able to make much headway with the rest of the Legion,
Irony Man cut OABoy off. "Retcon Lad, I find this lack of faith in the
way we're handling the Beige Midnight problem disturbing. I'd like to
think the cause is merely cabin fever, and that the tension of waiting
is getting to you. So I'll give you the opportunity to cool down and
think things over. And a mission to fight bad guys is always a good way
to clear the head."
"You're shuffling me off onto field duty?"
"Just because we've been waiting for the Beige Countdown to finish
doesn't mean that there aren't problems that need superhero
intervention," Irony Man said not unreasonably. "Out of the country, I
"Out of the country?" was Retcon Lad's incredulous response. "What's
going on overseas that the local hero teams, like LNH Europe, can't handle?"
"There are those Al Qaeda Amerika terrorists who are continuing to make
trouble," suggested Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy with perhaps a bit too much
Irony Man nodded. "Yes. Retcon Lad, effective immediately you're under
orders to head for the Middle East, track down and deal with the super
powered insurgents active there." He turned to Anal-Retentive Archive
Kid. "And you'd better keep an eye on him."
"Me!? What did I do?" exclaimed ARAK.
"You're known to fraternise with him," said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy,
pointing to Retcon Lad. "But your efforts to keep him from bad-mouthing
the leader of your country have been only half-hearted at best. A
little bit of scut work in the deserts of the Holy Land will help you
remember where your best interests lie if you want to get anywhere in
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid and Retcon Lad had looks of outrage on their
faces as they watched the other two depart. Then they turned and walked
away in an appropriately aggrieved manner. Their sullen expressions did
not falter until after they'd arrived at a room where some other
net.heroes were waiting for them, and they had closed the door behind
them. Inside were Fourth Wall Lass, Lenny the squirrel, and the
Net.Elementalist of the Alt.Riders team.
"Well?" asked the Net.Elementalist.
Retcon Lad smirked. "Oh PUH-LEASE Br'er Irony Man, don't throw me in
the briar patch."
"Ha!" went the Net.Elementalist, and the two friends high fived each other.
"Okay, keep it down," said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid. He consulted a
comm.thingie that looked much like a PDA. "Well that was quick. Say
what you want about Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, but at least he's an
"For good or ill," said Lenny.
"Mmm," said ARAK, nodding. "Anyway, we've got our marching orders. We
have 24 hours to pack and fly out of the country. We have a
flight.thingie assigned to us and everything."
"Excellent," said the Net.Elementalist. "How soon do we want to leave?"
"We could leave right now, actually, but that might make us look too
eager," pointed out ARAK.
Fourth Wall Lass looked speculatively at the others. "Maybe first thing
tomorrow morning?" she suggested. "Will that give you enough time for
moaning and groaning?"
"It should be," said Retcon Lad. "Although how I'll keep a straight
face, I have no idea."
"Try to be subtle," she said.
"So we're ready," said the Net.Elementalist. He put is fists to his
hips and adopted an arms akimbo stance, and mock declaimed: "Now that
our mission is ready to go, we shall reveal to the world just was Hex
Luthor is up to. So swears the newest secret sub-group of the Legion of
Net.Heroes... The Bicycle Liberation Front!"
"Yes yes," chorused the others in their best
Monty-Python's-The-Life-Of-Brian voices. "The Bicycle Liberation
Front!" And then they broke out into laughter. (Well, all except for
Lenny, who didn't have as broad a grasp of human pop culture as the
others, and went, "What?" and had to have the joke explained to him -
which kind of spoiled the effect.)
TOMORROW: Part 2 (of Issue One)!
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