REPOST/LNH: Beige Countdown #1: 'In the Palm of the HeartThrob' (Part Two)
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 21 16:42:14 PDT 2012
"I'm not sure this is a good idea. Marrying her." Cheesecake Eater Lad
said as he looked at his long time friend and mentor, the Ultimate Ninja.
"You're not talking me out of it."
"I can never talk you out of anything, but still -- what about the LNH?
Haven't you given thought about how this will effect your leadership
"I'm quitting. The LNH can be someone else's problem."
"You're really doing this, aren't you?"
"Well, good luck. I mean it. You deserve happiness. I hope she gives
it to you. Hope everything turns out okay."
"You're not going to try and stop me?"
Cheesecake Eater Lad smiled. "You're the Ultimate Ninja. No one can
A bouquet of flowers flew through the air, right into WikiBoy's hands.
WikiBoy looked at the flowers and then looked at Master Blaster with a
horrified expression. "No! Please! Don't make me marry a badger again!"
"Darn!" Catalyst Lass said looking at the flowers that she didn't catch
and then up at the Flight.thingee that had 'Just Married' painted on it
and a chain of Ninja Bushes dangling from behind flying out view.
Catalyst sniffed and wiped a tear from her eye. "Always the bride's maid."
"Okay. Chains. Whips. Blindfolds. Guns. Knives. Gags?"
"Hand Grenades. Handcuffs. Tasers. Whipped cream. Straight Jackets.
"Well then," the Ultimate Ninja said picking up Lady Heartthrob into his
arms and giving a kiss on her nose, "Let's get this Honeymoon started."
"Amazing. And to think that there was a time when I thought holding
another person's still beating heart in my hand while they watched me
crush it was the most amazing thing in the world. But no. I was
wrong." The Ultimate Ninja held the baby in his arm. The baby gripped
one the ninja's fingers holding it tightly. "This is. This is the
most amazing thing in the world. I'm a Dad. It's weird saying that.
I'm a dad."
"Congratz, UN," said Cheesecake Eater Lad who was also holding a baby.
"Wow. Twins. That's something. What are their names?"
"We haven't really decided. It's either going to be Bruce and Lee, or
Chuck and Norris. Hard to choose though."
"Perhaps they could be their middle names."
"Hello? Are you in there?" The voice was Catalyst Lass's voice. She
entered the room carrying a big stuffed tiger and some balloons. "There
you are! Are these the two cuties? Yes. You're the two cuties --
aren't you? Yes you are. Yes you are. Oh, I've got to hold one!"
Cheesecake Eater Lad handed the baby in his arms to Catalyst Lass.
"Oh, they're soo adorable in their little ninja jammies." Catalyst Lass
said cradling the baby.
"So, how are goings at the LNH? Things still running fine?" the
Ultimate Ninja said placing the baby he was holding back in his crib.
"Oh, about same as always. Although now that I think about it, things
have been kind of quiet. Not a lot of big crises. Oh yeah! Something
sad did happen though."
"And that was?"
"Old Comics Man passed away. I guess he died of old age."
"Well, he was old. He was, what? A million years old?"
"Yeah. Still. It's sad."
"Yeah, sad," the Ultimate Ninja said looking at the baby that was in
Catalyst Lass's arms.
"I'm glad -- I'm glad you came -- here -- to the funeral," Cheesecake
Eater Lad said. He's eyes were red and puffy. "I -- I wasn't sure you..."
"He was a friend. He was our friend," the Ultimate Ninja said staring
at the coffin.
Cheesecake Eater Lad walked up to the coffin. "He was always unlucky.
I married and had kids. He never... I always got the best breaks. A
traffic light. Someone ran a red light and... We were talking.. it
was.. God.. just a week ago.. he wanted me to go to this poker.. game..
I blew him off.. I don't know why I did that.. why didn't I go? It
would have been no big.. My best friend. My.. A red light.. Why? Why?
He was..." Cheesecake looked at the person lying in the coffin. "Why
did it have to be Parking Karma Kid? Why did it.. Oh god." Tears
started to stream from Cheesecake Eater Lad's eyes as his fingers dug
into the coffin's wooden frame.
The Ultimate Ninja went over and gave his friend a hug.
<<And the sad news keeps coming in. Catalyst Lass, one of the LNH's
most beloved heroes, died after efforts to revive her failed after she
was involved in a horse riding accident. She was 35. In the past week
over 20 heroes have died. All of them members of the Legion of
Net.Heroes. All of them in ordinary accidents. What's causing this?
Is there a curse hanging over the LNH? Tonight my panel of guests will
talk about that and..."
The Ultimate Ninja clicked the TV off and grabbed his phone.
"Hello? Cheesecake Eater Lad? Yes. I heard the news. Who else?
Irony Man? Captain Clean-up slipping in the shower? Self-Righteous
Preacher hit by lightning? I see. Does anyone know who or what is
causing it? How about Deductive Logic Man? Is he working on this? Oh.
Oh. He's dead, too."
Cheesecake Eater Lad and the Ultimate Ninja both sat at a table in a
restaurant. "Any type of Grilled Cheese Sandwich you want -- it's all
here. Every type of bread and cheese. I can't remember when I got the
idea in my head, but it seemed so obvious. A restaurant that serves
every single type of grilled cheese sandwich. It's a billion dollar
franchise just waiting to happen. And that's how the Ultimate Grilled
Cheeez formed. Business has been good. Oh yeah -- and all the
sandwiches are named after LNH'rs -- I've even got a grilled cheese
dessert named after you -- it's a piece of cheesecake between two slices
of cinnamon toast -- you'll have to try it."
"Sounds great, UN. But I'm not really all that hungry. Maybe I'll just
have a salad. I've just been having a hard time eating anything. It's
all this death -- friends dying."
"Yes, I understand. But everyone dies. We can't dwell on it for..."
"I know that -- but -- 42 LNH'rs in the past month have died, UN. It's
not a coincidence. You know what I think? I think it goes back to the
Seven Deadly Gorillas."
"You think they're still alive?"
"No. I think our killing them unleashed a force. A force that's
killing all of the LNH. And it's not just LNH'rs. Other heroes are
dying. Villains are dying! All the super people are dying! In
removing 90% of all the evil in the world, there had to be a balance.
We're that balance."
"You don't know that."
"Yeah. I don't. Maybe it's just a coincidence. Maybe I'm just going
crazy. I'm sorry. I just worry. I worry about all kinds of things
now. That I'll wake up one day -- and -- and find aLLiterative Lass --
find her next to me -- dead. Dead. It's making me go crazy. I don't
know what's happening. No villain has ever managed to do this. You
know -- I had this strange dream. In the dream it was all a dream.
Someone was dreaming this all up. Wouldn't that be funny? I think I
might be losing my mind, Ultimate Ninja."
"We'll stop this from happening, Cheesecake Eater Lad. We'll find out
"I hope so."
"Ah, the Ultimate Ninja. I wondered when you would show up." The voice
was cold and mechanical. And the face? The face was Dr. Killfile's.
"How many have died so far? Heh. You know. It's the only thing that
gives me pleasure now days. The obituary page. Dying and dying. Heh."
"Are you the one doing this?"
"No. I wish I was. I -- really -- wish I was. But you know me,
Ultimate Ninja. I always sign my work. No. This person who's doing
it? Too kind. Too merciful. Me? If it were me? There would be pain.
Oh yes. Lots of pain. And screaming. So much screaming. Heh. No.
It wouldn't be quick. And it would only be when I'd gotten tired of
all the whining and begging for mercy. Only then would I finish them
off. Yes. That's how I'd do it. Heh. I just hope that when I get out
of this cell -- that this person hasn't done off the lot of you by then.
Because -- really -- it should be a Killfile who destroys the LNH.
Not some anonymous coward."
"I see. I think I believe you. Oh, and before I forget --I'm sorry for
"Loss? What are you talking about?"
"Carolyn Forge. Your daughter. She died a couple of days ago. What?
No one's told you?"
"Told me? Carolyn's dead?"
"Yes. She was the one you could never corrupt, wasn't she? The good
one. The hero. And now she's dead -- beyond your reach. She was the
last of your line, wasn't she? The last of your children. Now, they're
all dead. You're the last Killfile."
"Carolyn's dead? Carolyn? No. It's -- She's not dead. She's not!
She's -- None of them are dead. None! They're alive! Yes. Alive!
Hah! They're just playing with you. Heh. Playing. You stupid LNH'rs.
You can't see! We're too clever for you. Too clever. They're
waiting. Waiting for their chance. Yes. They'll break me out of this
prison. Yes! Break me out and we'll be a family again. And we will
stand together and wipe you all out. Heh. Yes!"
"If you say so. This has been fun -- catching up with you, but I have
to be going. Find the real villain who's been killing the LNH."
"What? You can't -- I have things I need to say!"
"Stop! STOP! Do you think I'm not a threat anymore?! Because I'm
locked in this cage?! Because I'm paralyzed below the neck?! Because
I'm -- Because I'm -- I will get out of here! I will! I will make a
castle from your bones! I will swim in your blood! I will! Stop!
Stop! I will..."
The Ultimate Ninja could hear the rants and raves of Dr. Killfile all
the way from the hallway to the stairs of the prison.
It wasn't him. Who was it? Who was killing the LNH?
"I don't know. I just can't seem to figure it out. Who's doing this?
Why?" The Ultimate Ninja sat on his bed with his wife, Lady Heartthrob
who massaged his shoulders.
"Honey? You need to go to bed. This is not doing you any good."
"I can't. I can't seem to sleep anymore. Maybe I need to return to the
LNH. Become its leader again."
"And what about the children? What about me?"
"Well, you could all come with me. Live in the LNHHQ. I could..."
"I don't want to live in Net.ropolis. I like it here. You need to move
on. You can't solve every problem. People die."
"Yes, people die. But not this way. There's something wrong here.
There's..." Before the Ultimate Ninja could finish his sentence the
phone rang. The Ultimate Ninja pounced on the phone. "Hello? Yes, I'm
the Ultimate Ninja. Yes, I know. Both? Both of them? I -- Are you
sure? Are you sure?! I see. Yes. Right. No. I understand." The
Ultimate Ninja hung up the phone.
"Who was that?" Lady Heartthrob asked.
"A plane crashed. There were no survivors. Cheesecake Eater Lad and
aLLiterative Lass were on that plane. There were no survivors."
"Oh god. I'm sorry." Lady Heartthrob got out of bed and tried to
comfort her husband.
"I need to pack my bags." The Ultimate Ninja went over to the closet
and grabbed a suitcase. "I need to go to Net.ropolis."
"Cannon Fodder? Where is everyone?" The two heroes were standing in
the Mr. Paprika Funeral Home ('Now that's a Dead Person's Funeral Home!).
Cannon Fodder gave a puzzled expression. "Everyone? Umm, what do you
"The rest of the LNH!? Where is everyone?"
"Umm. They're dead. Are you all right, UN? Maybe you should..."
"Dead? You're telling me that every single member of the LNH except the
two of us is dead? Is that what you're telling me? Everyone? Kid
Kirby is dead?"
"Umm. Well, no one knows what happened to Kid Kirby. He went off to
space -- in search of the RACCelestials hoping that they might have an
answer to why everyone was dying. But he never returned. I guess there
could be some people out there that are still alive, people who went
into space or alternate universes -- but everyone else is dead. I'm
sorry. Didn't someone tell you about..."
"This isn't right. Something's wrong here. No villain could possibly
kill that many... Something's wrong here. Cannon Fodder. I need a list
of all of the LNH'rs that are dead and how they died."
"Okay. Do you want that right now? Or after the funeral?"
"Well, after the funeral I guess. I just... Cannon Fodder? Is
"I don't -- I don't..." And then Cannon Fodder's eyes glazed over and
he started to fall towards the floor although not before the Ultimate
Ninja caught him.
"Someone! Anyone! Call an ambulance!"
"What's the situation, Doctor?" the Ultimate Ninja said as looked at the
comatose body of Cannon Fodder.
"It's bad. Who knows when if ever he'll awake from this coma. My
honest opinion is that you should pull the plug."
"Pull the plug?"
"Well, he is Cannon Fodder so he'll just come back to life after he's died."
"Maybe. Maybe this time he won't. If you haven't noticed Cannon Fodder
and me are the last two surviving members of the LNH. Who's to say that
this won't be Cannon Fodder's last death?"
"I guess I can't say for sure as I'm not sure how his powers work. So
you want to keep him on life support, is that what you're saying?"
"Yes. For now. Give me a week to solve this. Oh hell. My family!
I've been so preoccupied with this that I've forgotten about them. I
need to get to my house!"
"Umm. Sure thing," the Doctor said as he watched the Ultimate Ninja
leap from the room's window.
The place was a mess. Broken windows. Tables over turned. Blood on
the wall. Why did he leave? He should have been here protecting his
family. The Ultimate Ninja threw down an angry karate chop that split
his counter top into two. God, he was too late. Someone had taken his
wife and kids. He searched his whole house for a clue and then finally
found one on the refrigerator. It was a note. Addressed to him.
'Greetings Ultimate Ninja,
I've killed all your friends.
Now, that leaves your wife and kids.
Meet me at your old headquarters if you
want to see them alive. Bring some weapons.
I want to see how Ultimate you really are.
Your Greatest Enemy'
The Ultimate Ninja let out a violent yell of rage before he karate
chopped the refrigerator, which caused his entire house to collapse.
God. It had been so long since he had been here. The Ultimate Ninja
looked at the Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters. It had grown dingy.
Weeds had overtaken the lawn. Across the doorway and on the walls were
graffiti writings, 'Who LNHes the LNH?' and 'The Ultimate Ninja wears
Fearless Leader's panties!' painted multiple times.
The Ultimate Ninja kicked the door in and stepped inside. Dust and
cobwebs. And an eerie silence that suffocated the atmosphere. And then
he heard a noise. It was in one of the closets. A muffling sound. He
quickly made his way towards the noise and ripped the door open. There
were the twins. Bound in rope and gagged with duct tape.
"It's all right. I'll get the gag. This might hurt a little," he
ripped the tape off of Brucey's mouth.
"Daddy! He got Mommy -- he -- he..."
"It's okay. What did he do with Mommy?"
"He -- he put her br-brain -- into -- into a mon-monster! And he put --
put his brain into -- into Mommy!"
"Do you know *who* put Mommy's brain into a monster?"
"Said -- said -- he was wReamy-uh-cukkus..."
The Ultimate Ninja ripped the gag off of Chuck and cut the rope that
binded the two of them. "Chucky? Brucey?" He handed two Ginsu Katanas
to them. "I want you to find some place safe to hide and if some one
attacks, no matter who it is I want you to kill them. Kill them. But
hide first and be quiet. I've got to go. Save Mommy and kill the bad
Brucey and Chucky both nodded their heads.
"Good. Be back soon."
wReamicus Maximus? Of all the possible enemies, he seemed the most
unlikely. Maybe he was working for someone bigger. Maybe. It didn't
matter. He'd break it out of him. Everything. And he'd enjoy it. But
what was it that Brucey had said? About putting his brain in Lady
Heartthrob's body and Lady Heartthrob's brain in the body of a monster.
What kind of monster? There had to more people in on this. Where was
he? Where was he hiding?
And as if he could read the Ultimate Ninja's mind, he came out of the
shadows with a strong kick using Lady Heartthrob's powerful legs.
"wReamicus Maximus! Finally! Don't think that hiding in my wife's body
will save you!"
"wReamicus Maximus!?" the face of Lady Heartthrob laughed. "Is that who
you think I am? That clown? Don't be a fool." She rapidly followed
that with a typhoon of punches and a lightning quake of kicks at
blinding speeds. The Ultimate Ninja barely had enough time to defend
each one as another two came. "Do you think wReamicus Maximus in his
dreams could fight this good? Do you!? You know there's only one
person who can fight this well! Who could possibly challenge you!"
"And who's that?"
"God, you're stupid! Look in the damn mirror!"
"Oh I get it! You're some alternate Looniverse version of me, right?"
"I can't believe this! Maybe Sarcastic Lad was right about you! I'm
you! You moron! I'm the Ultimate Ninja! Or at least the intelligent
part of you. The rational part of you that realizes this whole charade
is a lie."
"This is some kind of mind game. But I'm not going to..."
"Why did you kill them all? Everyone?"
"Because they don't exist! I was trying to shake this happy little
fairytale you've built for yourself out of your system, but I guess
you're hopeless. You want to drown in this place, don't you? And you
don't care that your real friends are dying while you waste away in this
prison! A prison you could easily escape from if you gave a damn!"
"No. Just lies. You're..."
"Yeah, right. Why don't you ask your love muffin over there if I'm
lying. I'm sure she'll agree with you."
It was a trick. He shouldn't turn his head, but he could hear something
behind. Some incredible behemoth that seemed to be sloshing across the
floor. He jumped over the former Lady Heartthrob so he could get a safe
It was horrible looking. Some slimy pulsating gigantic green blob with
red tentacles. It oozed some kind of yellow foam from what appeared to
be a mouth.
"Sweetie? He's lying... I'm your wife. He put his brain into my body
and put mine into this horrible monster! Please stop him! You need to
"But I can't! If I do, I'll kill your body!"
"No. It's all right. I can build a new one."
"A new one? What do you mean build a new one?"
"I've got powers now. Great powers. This monstrous body has great
powers. I can do anything. I can create a new body. I can bring back
the dead. Everyone back to life. It could be like it was."
"That -- that doesn't make sense. Why would wReamicus Maximus put your
brain in a godlike creatures body? It doesn't make sense."
"Because he's -- insane?" the Green Blob said quickly.
"Oh god. This is a lie. It's all a lie. I'm dreaming all of this.
I'm not here. I'm..."
"Kill it! In order to wake up you need to kill it! Kill the monster!"
shouted the former Lady Heartthrob.
The Ultimate Ninja looked at both the creature and his wife's former body.
"I love you. Please, sweetie. I love you. Our love isn't a lie. It's
real. He's the monster. Trying to bring you back to that hell. And
why is that hell anymore real than this world? Is that what you want?
To go back to a world without love -- without family -- for endless
battles? A world that gets worse and worse instead of better and better
no matter how hard you try? Is that what you want? Please. You need
to kill him. He's the evil that is destroying this world. And the
world can return to the way it was."
The Ultimate Ninja clenched the Ninja Bush in his hands tightly to the
point that his hands started to bleed.
"Daddy!" It was the voice of Chucky. "Daddy! Help! Something's
"It's dark! It's got me too! Please daddy! Daddy!" cried Brucey.
The Ultimate Ninja looked in horror as he saw his two children start to
fade away. "No. Not this. Not this! Stop it!"
The two children started shrieking in pain. "It's biting me! Please!
Stop!! Daddy!! Daddy!!" After awhile a horrible coughing replaced the
plees for help.
"Stop! Stop this!" screamed the Ultimate Ninja.
"Kill him. It's the only way to save them! Please! They're your
children! They're dying! God! Just do it! It's the only way! They
need you! Kill him!"
"They're not there! They're lies! They don't exist! The Beast is
manipulating you! Finish this! Finish it! Now!"
The Ultimate Ninja closed his eyes. And tears started running down
them. The Ultimate Ninja never cried. Never! He had perfect control!
He had been to countless funerals this past year. Funerals of dear
friends. And he hadn't cried. He hadn't shed one tear for them.
Control. And now he was crying! Control. Why? Were they dream tears?
Did it matter? He had only one choice. One Choice. And that's why
he had no choice, but to cry because he had only one choice. Only one
choice. Only one choice.
And he grabbed his Ginsu Katana Blade and charged the Beast. And he
stabbed at the Beast with a fury. With all his passion. With all his
hate. With all his love. And the Beast? The Beast didn't stop him.
The only resistance it offered were words. "Please!" "Don't!" "Don't do
this!" "You're hurting me." "I love you!" "I really love you!" "I love
you!" "I love you!" "God." "I'm sorry." "I love you." "I love..."
And then the Beast was dead.
And though the Beast didn't make one attack. One attempt to harm the
Ultimate Ninja, it was the most hard battle the Ultimate Ninja had ever
fought in his entire life. Maybe if the Beast had attacked it would
have been easier. Maybe. But it didn't matter. The Ultimate Ninja had
a wound. A great wound. It was the most horrible wound he had ever
felt. A wound that felt like all the Stars in the Universe had stabbed
him.. It was a wound that would never heal. Not as long as he lived.
It would always be with him. He stumbled away from the Beast and looked
at the world. It was white and blank. Cold. All reality was gone.
Just him and the Beast.
He walked up to the Beast and sat down. Why? His hand reached down and
picked up one of the tentacles. Why? He closed his eyes and held the
tentacle in his arms. Lady. Heart. Throb, he thought to himself. And
he gently stroked the tentacle and started humming a song softly to
himself. The song sounded like Carly Simon's 'Nobody does it better'.
"Are you done crying?"
The Ultimate Ninja looked up and saw his cold rational self standing
over him staring at him with disgust.
"I loved -- her. More than -- more than..."
"Yes. I know. But you have things to do."
"Why did -- why did you do it? We were happy. It was good. It will
never be this good. Never. God. I hate -- I hate you. I hate you!"
"I know. And I can live with that. But you know who you hate more than
me? You hate the people who did this to you. Who imprisoned you in
this dream. Who made a fool out of you! Yes. You hate them. And you
want to hurt them. To make them feel all the pain that's inside you.
All the horrible things a person can do to another person -- you're
thinking them right now. Am I right?"
"Now you need to wake up. So you can do these horrible acts. So you
can do what needs to be done."
"Yes. Wake up."
"That's right. Wake up. Wake up."
This was strange, Karl thought to himself carrying a number of bags
filled with sandwiches and chips, Who turned all the lights off? What
was going on? Some kind of a drill? A prank? Karl put the bags down
on the ground and slowly opened the door. Everything was silent and
dark. "George? Dick," he called. What was going on? He took out his
gun. His fingers felt around for the light switch. Finding it, he took
a deep breath and switched it on.
The first thing he noticed was that everyone was lying on the floor.
And then he noticed the blood on the walls. And the bullet holes. And
then the glass cage that was totally shattered. Oh god, Karl thought to
himself. He's free! And then he looked again at his co-workers lying
on the floor. God. George. Dick. Don. All of them. Dead. Oh god.
He had to call someone. He had to...
And that's when he felt the blade up against his neck. "Please..." Karl
started to say.
"Quiet. I'm not going to kill you. I want you to deliver a message. A
message to your Masters. I want you to tell them that I'm coming. Yes.
Tell them that they should start making plans. Tell them to start
shopping. Shopping for coffins. Maybe they can get some good deals.
Because I'm coming. And nothing can stop me. No guns. No bombs. No
superhuman army. Nothing. And there's nowhere in the world where
they'll be able to hide. Nowhere. I want you to tell them that. I'm
coming. I'm coming for each one of them. I want you to tell them that.
Do you understand?"
"Yes! I uh..."
"Good. Now I'm going to go."
The blade released from Karl's throat. Karl hesitated for a couple of
seconds and then turned around. There was no one behind him. He walked
out into the hallway. No one.
Karl sat down.
Next Week: Beige Countdown #0 -- 'The Book of Deus ex Machinas'!
The Ultimate Ninja created by Raymond "wReam" Bingham
aLLiterative Lass - Charles Fitzgerald
Bart the Dark Receptionist - Ken Schmidt
Cannon Fodder - wReam
Catalyst Lass - Elisabeth Riba
Cheesecake Eater Lad - M. Jotham Millheiser
Dekay and Diskolor - Scavenger
Dr. Killfile - Steven Librande
Doctor Stomper - T. M. Neeck
Easily Discovered Man Lite - Rob Rogers
Elvis Man - Gary St. Lawrence
Fearless Leader - Dave Van Domelen
Fuzzy - Connie Hirsch
Hex Luthor - Chris Hare and Saxon Brenton
Kid Kirby - Jameel Al Khavitz
Master Blaster - Robert Ramirez / Martin Phipps
Occultism Kid II - Josh Geurick
Parking Karma Kid - Steve Simmons
Sarcastic Lad - Gary St. Lawrence
Sister State-the-Obvious - wReam
WikiBoy - Tom Russell
wReamhack - wReam
Writers Block Woman - Jaelle
Okay... this is pretty much a ripoff of the classic Superman story 'For
the Man who has Everything' by Alan Moore...
I seem to remember wReam once say that there is no wrong way to write
the Ultimate Ninja -- except for one thing -- The Ultimate Ninja should
never fall in love. I would kind of agree with that. It makes him kind
of unique compared to other superheroes who have girlfriends... or are
married. But it does make one wonder what kind of a girl the Ultimate
Ninja would fall in love with if he did fall in love...
I did try to think like wReam while writing this story... but how can
one really think like wReam...? :)
Arthur "Down to Zero" Spitzer
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