LNH20: LNH20 Comics Presents #15
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 13:44:07 PDT 2012
LNH Comics Presents #15
"Better Late than Never"
by Adrian McClure
co-plotted with Andrew Perron
THE LNHQ, THE PRESENT, TO THE EXTENT THAT TIME AND SPACE HAVE ANY
Professor Penumbra walked into the conference room. "Sorry to be so
late, something came up at the last minute. I can't leave this city
behind for a moment, can I?" He yanked off a small slimy tentacled
creature which was clinging to his shoulder and squished it with his
boot. "So what would seem to be the problem? It seems like you have
quite a few."
"Actually, at the moment, we don't need you to solve our problems,"
said January Frost. "We need you to cause some for our enemies." She
then went on to explain, as concisely as she could, about WHATEVER, the
Spoon of Destiny, and everything else that was going on. "Cranium
suggested that we turn this situation to our advantage--to create a
number of false Spoons to confuse our enemies." [See LNH20CP #7] She
took a white plastic spoon out of her pocket. It would have looked
absolutely unremarkable to most people, but Penumbra had dealt with
many artifacts of great power and he knew one when he saw it. Its
presence charged the room with a subtle energy that made him shudder.
He moved cautiously to touch the spoon, and felt a sharp jolt of energy
as blue spark shot off his finger.
"Wait, I thought you said the one at the HQ was a fake?" said Fearless Leader.
"I said the one in the sub-basement was a fake. I didn't say anything
about the one in my desk."
"You didn't say you *had* one in your desk."
"I didn't need to."
Professor Penumbra nodded. "That could work. Let's see what I can do."
He fished around in his pocket and pulled out an old, slightly cracked
hand mirror with arcane symbols painted on its handle. He held the
mirror in his right hand and the spoon in his left and intoned:
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, confuse the plot beyond recall!" A faint
blue mist surrounded the Spoon, and before long three other seemingly
identical spoons surrounded it.
"So now what?" said Fearless Leader.
"I believe I will take this particular operation into my own hands,"
said January Frost. "I've had a certain amount of experience dealing
with WHATEVER. They're no doubt sending one of their operatives here to
deal with me. I intend to let them capture me, after putting up a
sufficient fight. Another Legionnaire should accompany me, perhaps
Minority Miss. "
"Are you sure this is safe?"
"That isn't the point, Felix. I've survived far worse, as have you. I
know how the people running WHATEVER well. I trained many of them."
"All right. But be careful. Wait where's Doc Nostalgia?"
"I'm right here."
Fearless Leader squinted. "That's funny. I could have sworn you just
burst through the window and collided with yourself."
"That's absurd. I don't--" At that moment the windows shook. Doc
Nostalgia fell down from the sky and shattered them, and there was a
bright flash of light.
THE NET.ROPOLIS MUSEUM, THE PRESENT (TO THE EXTENT THAT... NEVER MIND)
"Well, that sure was an interesting series of riddles," said Kid
Enthusiastic as he ate a slice of the elaborate cake he'd made to solve
the last one. "Too bad we had to skip past almost all of them so the
author could get this issue done already!"
"Wait, what are you talking about?" said Nudist Man, still holding the
head of Medusa in a bag.
"Never mind, it's too complicated," growled Ultimate Mercenary.
"Isn't everything too complicated?" said You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough-Lad.
"Well, yes," said Nerf Girl. "But I think we're almost at the end.
We've all been 'reverted' into people who inspired us. Almost all of us
has faced some kind of puzzle that required us to use the abilities
we've been given. You're-Not-Hitting-Me-Hard-Enough-Lad, you had to
figure out how to punch that monster in its precise weak point. Nudist
Man, you were the only one who could defeat the Gorgon because you were
already made of stone. Kid Enthusiastic, you solved that cooking-based
logic puzzle. That leaves me and Ultimate Mercenary. So..."
Their travels had taken them to a towering chamber, far larger than the
museum itself, a fractal pattern that resembled a sort of Gothic
cathedral stretching off into infinity. The others kept their eyes on
the floor, afraid to take in the vastness around them, but Sigrid found
she could . Both her consciousness and her senses had expanded far
beyond what they had once been. She found she could think far more
quickly and clearly but her instincts and senses were stronger too. She
could smell every scent and hear every noise, no matter how faint, and
her mind worked at overdrive to fit everything together, so much it
hurt trying to keep track of all her thoughts and memories. So this was
what the world looked like through her mother's eyes. What did that say
about her? How would she experience the world once her powers fully
She was broken out of her thoughts by a song in the distance. It was
loud and cheerful and annoying, sung by squealing childlike voices.
"Oh crap, it's the Nyancats! I thought we'd escaped them!" said
YNHMHE-Lad. They were coming in from all sides--a horde of them, more
numerous than the stars, surrounded by the blinding light of their
trailing rainbows. The LNHers had only barely managed to escape the
last time. There was nothing they could do. But while the others
hurried to defend themsleves, Nerf Girl didn't feel tense or afriad at
all? Why? What were her instincts telling her? Well, she was a sort of
cat-being now, wasn't she? Maybe she could communicate with them. She
closed her eyes and shut out everything except their song, then began
to sing herself. The nyancats stopped in their tracks and looked at
her, confused expressions overcoming their faces. Her conscious mind
wasn't fully aware of what she was saying, but it was something like
"What do you want?"
A group of nyancats detatched from the flock... no, litter... what was
the collective noun for nyancats, anyway? A catchiness of nyancats?
Hopefully this would never come up again. The nyancats drifted down and
took their place on a podium on the floor, surrounded by a circular
stairway. One group took its place on the center, whiel others landed
beside them. They began to move in a strange and elaborate pattern.
"Wait, what's that supposed to be?" said Nudist Man.
"That's... that's Daft Punk's video for Around the World!" As soon as
she said this, the nyancats' song changed to a sort of Nyan-based remix
of "Around the World." "So that means the last word is probably
With that there was a crack of thunder and the nyancats vanished.
Standing in their place was Mr. Morrison, floating in midair now clad
in a top hat and tails. He said nothing, just smiling his usual smug,
"All right, what's this all about?" said Ultimate Mercenary. He walked
up to Mr. Morrison and looked him straight in the eye, drawing his
katana. "Give us a straightforward answer or I'll rip out your heart
"I don't think he can give a straightforward answer," said Kid
Enthusiastic. "He's an alien being from an entirely different kind of
existence whose consciousness is completely different from ours. This
is the only way he can communicate."
"Well he doesn't have to be quite so annoying about it!"
"I guess not, but..."
"So the words we've got are 'if,' 'gate,' 'open,' 'you', 'the,' 'will,'
and 'world,' and another one where we can't figure out where it is,"
interrupted Nerf Girl. "And we know we had to close the gate to stop
the first wave of nyancats, so it's something about opening the gate.
'If you open the gate you will something the world... but what? Save?
Destroy? That makes a pretty big difference."
Mr. Morrison finally spoke up: "What's your head for?"
Sigrid found herself stumped. She felt the processors in her brain
starting to overheat as she struggled to understand the question. "He
means the head of medusa. It freezed things. So that's the last word.
'If you open the gate you will freeze the world.' What does that mean?'
Then she felt it all click into place at once. She knew what the gate
was there for and what they had to do. She was about to speak when she
heard a rumble in the distance which grew abruptly louder. A shockwave
knocked the heroes off their feet and shattered the world around them,
which had somehow turned into a painting on a gigantic eggshell. They
were now in the lobby of the museum, exactly as it had been.
"What is it now?" grumbled Ultimate Mercenary. "The last thing we need
is another plot complication.
The net.heroes hurried out the door, only just missing the enormous
blast of lightning that hit the museum doors...
The Recovery Man looked around at the assembled net.heroes and
net.villains. "Well then. This situation is complicated enough already.
We'll have to deal with you people." He drew on the energy of the Spoon
and prepared to use it to freeze his enemies in place except for the
one he'd come to fight.
"No!" shouted Killswitch, pulling the other Spoon out of his pocket. He
pushed against the incoming energy wave, channeling as much of the
Spoon's power as he could handle, joining it with the Killfile power
within him to shut down the Recovery Man's Spoon. He felt the Killfile
trying to turn against him and shut the Spoon down. It was growing in
power and intensity as the Recovery Man's energy did did. The contrary
powers had frozen the world around him, and the other net.heroes and
net.villains were watching them, expressions of awe, terror and
confusion frozen on their faces. He didn't know how much longer it
would hold together. One way or another, something would have to give.
It was him. The Recovery Man was an energy being, his power was fully a
part of him. Killswitch couldn't match that. He felt the Spoon explode
from his hand, and the backlash sent him falling to the ground,
The roof was shattered as Doc Nostalgia fell through. Doc
Nostalgia--the one who'd been there before--gasped. The other DOc
Nostalgia fell down and collided with him, and there was a bright blaze
"Not again," said January Frost. "Are we finally going to get this plot
element over with?"
When the light faded, they heard groaning and whimpering from a hole in
the floor. They hurried over and saw a withered old man with an
incredibly long beard stand up in the rubble. "Good lord! Choke!" he
said, his voice still deep and resonant in spite of the fact that it
was cracking with age. "I've been turned into... The Old Man of
"So," said the Recovery Man, looking at the still-frozen heroes and the
spoon lying on the ground. "That was easy enough." He picked up the
other spoon and it leaped out of his hand and the two joined together
with an intense burst of light. Where there had been two plastic
spoons, there now was a single silver one. "Interesting."
Still frozen in place, Googlemesh spoke, straining mightily to speak
every word: "Let the others go. Your quarrel is with me." Each word had
was as sharp and strong as a diamond.
"Indeed." The Spoon sparked and the other net.heroes and net.villains
were gone. Googlemesh found he could move again. "I've sent them back
to the LNHQ. They weren't the ones I came for. I've heard so many
things about you, Googlemesh. I--" Whatever subtly menacing thing he'd
been about to say was cut off, as Googlemesh charged him like an
enraged bull. The Recovery Man sent him shooting back with a wall of
force. He slammed into the road, cracking it and flinging a cloud of
asphalt dust up into the air.
"Finally," he said. "An enemy worth fighting. I haven't seen that in a
very long time." He laughed harshly. A wide grin crept over his face.
The Recovery Man enwrapped him with a massive wall of force , enough to
crush a weaker man to death. Googlemesh pressed onward against it, inch
by inch. Glowing cracks began to appear in the air. "Why don't you just
finish me off?" he grunted.
"You know, that would be a good idea," said the Recovery Man. "I was
hoping you'd be able to put up more of a fight. The tales they tell of
you said you have a certain amount of cunning as well as strenth. But
evidently you're not prepared to face the dangers this world has to
offer." Googlemesh gasped. His heart had stopped beating hin his chest.
"I prefer to use that only as a method of last resort. After all, it
would hardly be fair if I simply stopped a person's heart. But you are
Googlemesh stared at the Recovery Man, his eyes filled with fury. He
closed them and clenched his fist, focusing his will on his stopped
heart. Slowly but surely, it began to beat again. The air began to glow
brighter Recovery Man's energies were turned back against him, and the
spoon popped out of his hand. Googlemesh lunged for the spoon and
grabbed it before it could hit the ground. He focused in on the Spoon,
holding it up to his face, and tried to control the arcane powers that
lay within. The more he tried to hold onto htem, mroe they fought back.
It was like trying to tame a wild hurricane. After a few seconds, the
spoon fell from his hand and he collapsed to the ground.
"A shame," said the Recovery Man. "I was hoping I could defeat you
myself. Still, I suppose in a way I did prove my superiority. You were
not worthy to wield its power, and I was. I wasn't expecting to so
easily defeat a god."
With that, he held the Spoon again and prepared to strike the final blow.
"What's going on?" said Fearless Leader. "Are you all right?"
"I... I'm... I'm supercharged with nostalgic energy!" His mind was
flooded with pain. He could feel swift, sharp loss of his renewed youth
and potential. He could remember his dead world that he barely knew,
all the heroes he'd ever known, everyone he'd ever loved who he'd
outlived. The pain flooded through him, and power followed after,
greater than he'd ever wielded before. He could feel the world growing
unbearably sharp and clear again, but this time he knew he could handle
the onrushing power, at least for a time.
He closed his eyes, shutting out all the extraneous noise as best he
could--he could remember now how to do this--and focused on he source
of the arcane disturbances. Something that was just out of sight,
floating on the edge of reality. But as he focused in on it, he saw the
world around him begin to move faster and faster.
"It can't be! I--I'm out of sync with time and space!"
The Recovery Man held the Spoon in his hand. He was having to push
harder and harder to hold in the power, and the Spoon seemed blurry in
his vision. It didn't matter. He shut out his perceptions of the
outside world, and put all his will and imagination into a single
image: Googlemesh falling down dead. He could feel energy crackling on
his skin, and wondered what the human equivalent of this was--sweat,
perhaps? And then it was done. He heard a scream like thunder, and a
noise like heaven cracking in half. He reopened the channels of his
perceptions of the world around him and he saw the charred corpse of a
He saw nothing. Only a crack in the ground. What was it he had come
here to do? He couldn't for the life of him remember, which meant that
something had gone very, very wrong. He was certain that there had been
other people here, too, but none of them were anywhere in sight.
Whatever he'd done, it had no doubt unleashed an enormous amount of
Another group of net.heroes rushed into the street, lead by Kid
Enthusiastic. They all stood for a momment, sizing each other up
warily. "Do you think he's a villain?" whispered Ultimate Mercenary.
"We'll just have to see," said Kid Enthusiastic. "What do you want?"
"I suspect I was hired to kill someone. That's usually the way of
things," said the Recovery Man.
"OK, he's a villain," said Ultimate Mercenary. "Get him!" He leaped at
the Recovery man, drawing his katana, but suddenly he shifted back into
teh form of an awkward adolescent. His katana slipped out of his
fingers. "Wait! I didn't even get to do anything as the Ultimate Ninja!
"Well, I think there was going to be some kind of epic battle, but the
story had to be revised. I mean, with all the retcotheric energy going
around, it was changing time to the point where even Mr. Morrison
couldn't predict it."
"I see," said the Recovery Man. "This is getting altogether too
confusing for me. I shall have to return the Spoon, as per the terms of
our agreement. But I suspect we will meet again sooner rather than
later." He dropped the Spoon. In a blinding flash of light it was gone,
and so was he.
And meanwhile, a silent presence, unnoticed even by the Recovery Man,
stood and watched. Lindsay Gensym quaked with shame at her failure to
stop whatever it was the Recovery Man had just done. But what could she
do against something like that? She was no net.hero. And, she told
herself, she had to stay alive to deliver her message.
THE LNHQ, AGAIN
"Well, OK then," said Fearless Leader. Kid Enthustiastic had made his
way back to the LNHQ together with the Espionage Squad. He'd debriefed
them, but even Kid Enthusiastic's well-honed exposition had failed to
clear up things very much. "Open the gate and you freeze the world?
What the heck does that mean?"
"Well," said Penumbra, "right now the world is in a state of chaos
because of all the retcotheric energy. Opening this gate, whatever the
heck it is, could help stabilize it."
"Makes sense. As much as anything ever does, I mean. But how are we
going to open the gate?"
"Wait, where's the rest of the team with Kid Enthusiastic?"said Agent M.
"I--I don't know!" said Kid Enthusiastic. "I guess the retcotheric
backlash must have knocked them out of the story. Or maybe things just
go too convoluted. I mean, there are enough characters around
thatEspionage Squad already aren't getting much to do this scene, so..."
"That's not good," said Fearless Leader, ignoring the blatant fourth
wall breaking. "We'll have to get ahold of the Spoon to fix things.
Speaking of which... The Recovery Man's spoon just disappeared? Where
do you think it went to?"
"I don't know," said Kid Enthusiastic. "I mean, there's so much
retcotheric energy going around that it's pretty much impossible to
track it. Do we have anyone who has the power to find things or
something like that? I thought we did."
"Not that I know of," said Professor Penumbra. "But I have an idea.
Could you call in Constantly-Loses-Things Lad?"
"Constantly-Loses Things Lad? I can't remember... oh yeah. Why did we
let him join?"
"Well, Doc Nostalgia said he should. He said that the superhero genre
tends to revolve around opposites, so someone whose powers are the
opposite of useful actually could be useful at some point. Also, if
someone with weirdly specific powers shows up, we're always going to
need to use them at some point.."
"Makes sense... I guess." Fearless Leader paged his phone.thingy
through the control panel in the conference room. The net.heroes stood
around for a few minutes, waiting impatiently. Fearless Leader sighed
and pressed a button on the table. "Constantly-Loses-Things Lad, report
to the conference room please." Before long, a young freckled man
walked into the room. "Um... hi. Sorry I was late. I lost my
"You mean this?" Professor Penumbra pulled it out of his pocket and
handed it to him.
"Oh yeah! Thanks! Where did you find it?"
"In the Dimension of Doom."
"Huh. How did it get there? Anyway, what do you need me for?"
Kid Enthusiastic explained the whole situation yet again. Fearless
Leader tapped his fingers impatiently, then stopped when he realized
what he was doing. "So we need you to find this spoon."
Professor Penumbra rummaged around in his pockets and dug out a mirror,
simpler and less ornate than the one he'd used earlier. "This is a
Mirror of Reversal. Just look in and think about the Spoon of Destiny."
"Wait, how many magic mirrors do you have?" said Fearless Leader.
"Well, mirrors are a common focus for magic," said Professor Penumbra.
"They have a lot of symbolic weight. So... a lot?"
"All right." He stared into the mirror and "It's... I don't know. I
feel like it's just out of my reach. It's everywhere and nowhere."
"Well, where's the Spoon the Recovery Man had?"
"It... I've got it!" A mist drifted into the room and congealed in his
hand, taking the shape of a silver spoon. But then there was a burst of
fire, which took the shape of a dragon before dying down. Lass Dragon
started up and a halo of flame burst out around her before before the
image vanished. The mirror cracked to pieces.
"Oh great," said Professor Penumbra. "Now I'll have to make another
one. And I only barely managed to get out of selling my soul for that
one. Oh well."
"Wait... was that a dragon?" said Configuration Man.
"No, it was fire in the shape of a dragon," said Lass Dragon. "But
where there's smoke, there's fire. And where there's dragonflame,
there's a dragon." She looked off into the distance, lost in thought.
"I... I lost it," said Constantly-Loses-Things Lad, pulling himself off
the floor. "I'm sorry. But I know where it is... it's in sub-basement
"From what I heard, no one has ever been below Sub-Basement 33 and come
back," said Killswitch.
"Well, there's a first time for everything," said Fearless Leader.
"Professor Penumbra, Kid Enthusiastic, Agent-M and I are the ones who
explored the sub-basements the most. We explored the LNHQ when it first
popped up out of the ground. So we probably should go down there. Jan
was there too, but she's got other plans."
"With all due respect," said Lass Dragon, "I'd prefer to go as well.
After all, I'd be the one who's most qualified to know how this dragon
"Have you ever met one of your own kind before?" said Professor
Penumbra. Lass Dragon looked away and said nothing.
"Sure, you can come along. I hope I don't regret this..."
"And the rest of you can stay behind to aid me," said January Frost.
"Wait!" said a timid, uncertain voice. It belonged to a pale
brown-haired woman who was standing by the table.
"What the hell are you doing here?" said Agent M, leaping out of her
chair to confront her. "How did you get in here." The young woman
screamed and vanished into nothing.
"Agent M, sit down," said January Frost. She smiled kindly at where the
woman had been. "Don't worry. You have nothing to be afraid of. Now
what are you here for?"
The woman faded back into existence. She was still slightly
translucent. "Uh... My name is... Lindsey. Lindsey Gensym. I'm not a
net.hero, but I have the power to make people not notice me, or I can
walk through walls if I concentrate really hard..."
"You mean like Lurking Girl?" said Configuration Man.
"Yeah, kind of. Anyway, I saw the fight going on, and then I walked
into the museum, and I saw this woman who was actually three women or
"Mother Time? Huh," said Professor Penumbra.
"So is she a good witch or a bad witch," said Fearless Leader.
"Not exactly either, but I think she's on our side this time. She'd
want to keep time from falling apart, after all."
"Anyway, she told me about the Spoon of Destiny, that I'm the key to
all this somehow--whatever that means, and with this figure I've been
seeing lately... I think it's Lurking Girl. The real one."
Fearless Leader jumped out of his seat. "Luri? She's alive?"
"Y--yeah, I guess so. You knew her? Oh, right."
"Yes, I knew her. She was a good friend. She stood up for me when I was
a stupid hothead teenager with more fight than sense. And if she's
alive... Maybe the rest of the team is too."
"Mother Time told me the true Spoon was in Ava.LAN. Maybe that's where
the rest of them are. "
"So the gate Mr. Morrison was talking about was the Gate to Ava.LAN,"
said Professor Penumbra. "The Spoon is the Gate. It's an artifact from
outside of time and space that exists in both worlds, but here it's
been split into different aspects. If you join them all together it
will merge with its counterpart and open the Gate. Probably if we get
our hands on the dragon's Spoon and join it with the ones we've got,
it'll be easier to find the others. That's what's causing this whole
convoluted thing. They're trying to come together."
Fearless Leader and the Espionage Squad headed off into the elevator.
Unnoticed by the rest, Lindsey followed behind them. If she had any
good sense she'd run for her life and get to a safe place. Well, there
weren't any safe places in the entire city as long as this whole thing
was going on, but the LNHQ sub-basements were probably the least safe
places in the entire city. Still... she didn't get a lot of chances to
see a real live dragon. If nothing else, she could get a song out of it.
The elevator that went into the sub-basements was not sleek and
futuristic like the rest of the LNHQ. It was an old-fashioned, jittery,
Gothic elevator that looked like it was ready to fall apart at any
moment. Fearless Leader closed the door, which clanked shut, and
pressed the button on the elevator for sub-basment 57. This was not
going to be an easy situation. There were going to be any number of
unknown quantities--the Spoon itself, the dragon who apparently lived
in the basement, and the other dragon who was nominally on their side.
And if they opened the Gate, there'd be a whole host of new ones.
The elevator clattered down into the darkness.
Professor Penumbra awoke with a shattering headache. The last thing he
could remember was taking out his mirror and casting the spell to
duplicate the Spoon. Before he could finish casting the spell he had
felt himself go numb and then he found himself here. His whole body was
aching. He could feel something rough digging into his arms and legs,
binding him to an equally rough wall. It felt like bark.
He opened his eyes. Luckily, the light was not blindingly bright.
Instead he was surrounded by mists illuminated by a dim light from the
distance. He could see dark shapes in the mist, which grew more
distinct as he examined them. He could see himself throughout his life:
as an awkward, gangly teenager surfing the internet, as a young
initiate searching out the mysteries of the universe in one of the many
traditions he'd investigated, as a budding net.hero. He could see
himself more dimly in what must have been the future, or a future,
where he was fighting alongside the rest of the LNH, including several
people he didn't recognize, in an impossibly bright and green land, but
he couldn't see what they were fighting.
And he could see himself, shortly after he'd cast the spell--or
something that seemed to be him but wasn't.
"All right," he said. "Where am I, and what do you want with me?"
"You are truly in no place, in the heart of time and space," said three
female voices speaking in harmony: one young and melodic, one older and
assured, one ancient and cracked.
"Mother Time. You don't have to do the whole rhyme-on-a-dime thing, I
deal with cosmic beings and elder gods all the time. I'm not
impressed." This was, of course, a lie. He couldn't help but feel awe
and terror at the sight of the woman/women emerging from the mist. By
now he was aware that there was something unreal--or maybe too
real--about the place. He could see the tree and the mist twist into
other forms--machinery that was not unlike the God Clock [see Ultimate
Mercenary v20 #1], or equations that he could not see with his physical
sight. They were superimposed on top of each other. "I've heard a lot
about you. It's nice to finally meet you. So what do you want? I know
you're not interested in Ultravac's plans. He's just another petty
conqueror, gone in an instant like a mayfly. So what do you want with
"There is a storm coming."
"That's what they all say."
"I see a shadow falling over time and space, something even I cannot
fully see. But I know that is linked to one of the net.people of Earth.
If it fully comes into being, it will destroy all life. Unless I open
the gate to Ava.LAN."
"Why Ava.LAN?" He saw the mists parting before him, revealing the green
land he'd seen earlier. And standing there, frozen still as statues,
were the Saviors of the Net, arrayed against Captain Killfile just as
they were in their last battle, where she had activated the Killfile
that had suppressed the superhero genre for many years, leaving only
the boy who would become Fearless Leader behind. The world had thought
the Saviors and their foe were dead, but no one had seen their bodies,
and for such larger-than-life figures death was not always final.
"Wait. If Captain Killfile is there, then that means..."
"Yes. The Saviors of the Net were taken to Ava.LAN, which saved their
lives and also prevented the Killfile from taking full effect. Now it
shall. When the Gate is open, the Killfile will be restored and the
world will become realistic."
"But that will make the world vulnerable to all the dark magic and
alien invaders from the rest of the universe."
"Perhaps. But they are nothing compared to whatever is coming."
"Well, guess what? The Earth has people protecting it now. The LNH has
stopped aliens, gods, and sphammers and we'll stop whatever this is
too. Not to mention you."
A light was beginning to emerge from the mist. He could see a faint
probability growing steadily more real: a wave of purple energy
washing over the city of Netropolis, causing it to fade away.
"Too late," said Mother Time.
"Too late," said Mother Time.
"Too late," said Mother Time.
Backup feature: "Lady Heartthrob," by Arthur Spitzer
She was a girl -- about the age of 19 with long black hair and looked
to be of Asian descent. And she was on an airplane sitting along the
aisle reading a magazine. She was reading an interview with Carly
Simon. Seated next to her was some old man who was slightly snoring.
The flight attendant walked by with a cheerful smile on her face. She
looked at the girl and said, "We'll be landing in Netropolis shortly --
could you fasten your safety belts, please? Thank you."
The girl gave a slight nod and buckled her belt.
The flight attendant was still looking at her. "Oh, and could you
please -- DIE!!!!!!!?" A samurai sword quickly appeared in the flight
attendants hand and began to swing down fast.
The girl still reading the Carly Simon interview effortlessly caught
the blade with two fingers and let the blade fall just enough to slit
her seatbelt open. She then gave the flight attendant a violent kick
sending her to the planes other side. She then used the samurai blade
to kill the old man (who wasn't really an old man, but was a ninja in
disguise) who was getting ready to stab her with a sai. She then got
up out of her seat and noticed that everyone else was also getting up.
And everyone was taking off their ordinary plane passenger masks.
Everyone. It appeared that everyone on this plane was a ninja. And
they all wanted to kill her. Right now.
The girl let out a slight yawn. This didn't really surprise her. It
looked like she'd have to finish reading the Carly Simon interview
another time. She had some work to do here. A katana blade in one of
her hands began to move very, very fast.
A FEW MINUTES LATER
The plane's crew began to glance nervously at the cockpit door.
Cockpit doors that were supposedly indestructible to bomb blasts were
being sliced open by some sword. A sword dripping with blood. After
being sliced a number of times the cockpit door finally fell down. And
a 19 year-old girl stepping through it -- holding a bloody katana in
The cockpit's crew looked at her with absolute terror as she gazed at
them. And then a shadowy figure off to the side began to clap.
She turned her attention towards the figure.
"Oh," said the figure. "I probably wouldn't kill the pilots if I were
you. Well, unless you can fly the plane -- then feel free."
"I was thinking about killing you first," said the girl.
"Oh, I don't think that will be necessary. I assume you killed every
single one of them?"
"Do you even need to ask?"
"Oh, I guess not. Anyway, this was all just a test set up by my
employer to see if you were the real deal. And obviously you are. I
guess your 'Ultimate Ninja' rep is well deserved after all."
"Do -- not -- call me that." She pierced a cold stare at him.
"My apologies, Lady Heartthrob -- is it all right if I call you that?"
"It will do. What is this about?"
"As you know, my employer has already contacted you a few times -- and
been generous enough to give you these one way trip airline tickets as
well as hotel reservations for as long as you want in Net.ropolis's
finest hotels. I guess you're probably interested in why, right? Well
the why is that my employer needs you for a little job. A very nice
paying job -- if I might add."
"It better be. I take it that briefcase is full money?"
The shadowy figure smiled as he showed Lady Heartthrob what was inside
the case. "Oh, yes. It definitely is."
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