LNH20: Ultimate Mercenary v20 #3

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 23:01:43 PST 2012

On Thu, 8 Mar 2012 19:50:32 +0000 (UTC), Adrian J. McClure wrote:

> "Bullcrap," said Pantra. She was fidgeting in her chair, more
> energetic than ever now that Kindle had healed the cut on her arm.

Wheeeeeeee!  Flametastic goodness!

> "Maybe I did, but he put up a pretty good fight for a bit. I say he's
> got potential. Let's keep him around. He could be fun." She smiled and
> licked her lips, momentarily showing her fangs.

<3 ? <> ? (~)! ?

> "See? If even Hot Stuff Lass admits I've got a point, you know I'm
> right!" interrupted Pantra.


> "What about Agent-M?" said Doc Nostalgia. The look on Pantra's face
> made it clear what she thought of her teammate.

Competition for the furry slot!

> "Agent-M isn't around much of the time," said January Frost. "As of
> now she's on a mission to investigate WHATEVER's recent cloning
> experiments, but she's encountered rumors of an alien invasion, so
> she's investigating that instead.

Dun dun dunnnn! (Also, nice tie-in to Cranium!)

> "Why the crap do you think so many aliens want this planet, anyway,
> after the mess you people made of it?" said Pantra. "I say we get out
> of here as soon as we can. Let them have it."

But that's where I keep all my stuff!

> "I think you're just taking a contrary position to get on my nerves!"
> "Well, yeah, of course I am, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong!"

Heeheehee. ^.^ So cute.

> "He's preparing a fairly complicated rite," said January Frost. "He
> should be done any minute now--"
> "Hi everyone!" said Professor Penumbra. He was sitting next to
> Ultimate Mercenary. No one had heard him come in.
> Pantra nearly leaped out of her seat. "Gah! Don't do that! You'll give
> me a heart attack!"

Mwahahahaha. <3 I don't think you really need "no one heard him come in"
there, though - it blunts the suddenness of it.

> "Oh well. Pantra, you should probably stay behind too."
> "Is that an order, Felix?" She smiled and licked her lips.
> "Yes, that's an order." Fearless Leader walked out of the room, and
> Pantra bounded after him. He slapped his forehead but said nothing.


> Professor Penumbra led them to a nondescript brown door far into the
> depths of the LNHQ. He pulled a blue crystal key out of his pocket and
> placed it in the lock. There was an eerie humming noise and a bright
> light shone from behind the door, which swung open. "Welcome to the
> Atelier Penumbra," he said.

Ooooh, nice name! (And nice word!)

> The cramped, dusty, poorly-lit room was packed with all kinds of
> artifacts--crystal skulls, ancient tomes, statues of Elder Gods, a
> stuffed crocodile or two.

Naturally!  You gotta have 'em.

> Beside the table was a large corkboard pinned with articles
> from newspapers ranging from the New York Times to the Mid.Net Star,
> joined together by threads of different colors. He didn't know if the
> colors meant anything.


> Don't touch anything!" Pantra had
> already wandered off from the group, her eyes caught by the light
> glinting off one of the crystal skulls. She slowly reached her hand
> out and picked it up. Then the yellow skull began to glow and a
> horrible noise rang out through the room. A vague phantasmal figure
> appeared in midair and pointed with its long fingers, screaming
> something in an alien language.

Pantra, I think we need to put a bell on you or something. >.>

> He hurried back to his desk and
> opened the laptop, evidently a Unix machine, and typed some commands
> into the window. A glowing blue window appeared in midair.

A link to the Source Code?

> He traced a symbol in the air with his sword while making an
> arcane gesture with his left hand. "By the All-Seeing Eye of Eagle, by
> the Gargantuan Guardians of Google Groups, show unto me the world from
> which this man comes!"

Ooooh, ahhhhh.

> Within the
> darkness of the room grew a greater darkness, and something was moving
> within that darkness. In the distance Ultimate Mercenary heard a deep,
> low, ragged breathing. It was a noise he knew all too well.


> Kid Enthusiastic gasped
> when he had a clearer view of the creature. Its face was a distorted
> version of his own.


> A rough animal scream tore him out of his daze. The creature turned,
> shocked, to see Pantra biting its leg.

They have legs!?

> "Yeah. I don't remember much about them. They're called Headhunters.
> They're servants of the Anti-Moderator, created from the tortured
> souls of a dead Earth. They're not connected to the Hungry Past
> anymore, and I think the Anti-Moderator is dead now, so they shouldn't
> be as powerful as they were the last time I fought one. But they're
> still dangerous." He blinked. "I don't remember what any of that
> means."


> He wondered how a creature no
> larger than a child could stand up to all three of them at once.

UM, you do *know* you're a superhero, right?  In both worlds, you have
teammates with bodies filled with cosmic power who can't get up to the "You
Must Be This Tall To Go On The Shreddinator" line.

> Kid E was
> holding something that looked like one of the Ghostbusters' proton
> packs, while Professor Penumbra was holding a sword pointed at the
> creature, with an open crystal box in his left hand. "By the Mighty
> Manacles of the Moderator, I bind thee!" he intoned, as red light
> burst from both weapons and trapped the creature in a web. As the web
> drew tighter, it shrunk and was drawn into the box, which shut with a
> clank.

I like it. <3

> "Good work, people." said Professor Penumbra. "'Kid Eldritch' here
> shouldn't be a problem. We can study it now."

...hmmmm.  That gives me an idea!  Lemme just email you...

> He ducked out of her grasp and glared at her. "I don't need a team.
> I'm a ninja, a champion of the night. We work on our own."
> "Yeah? You mean like the one Fearless Leader told me about, who used
> to lead your Legion?"
> "He helped the Legion, but he never needed them. He never needed
> anyone."

Eesh. Poor, poor UM. :/

> And Kid Enthusiastic... Part of the reason
> these entities are so difficult to deal with is that they present a
> threat to our understanding of the world. But Kid Enthusiastic's is
> much more fluid, because he's literally an eternal child. That's part
> of why he's such a great scientist. The rest of us have to work hard
> to keep seeing the world with new eyes, but it comes naturally to
> him."

Ooooh.  Excellent characterization-point.

> Don't worry about what
> happened; it doesn't make you cowardly or weak. I knew a lot of good,
> brave people who wound up in mental hospitals clawing their own eyes
> out. Failing a sanity check is nothing to be ashamed of."

Indeed, especially if your mental stiffness value is as high as Doc N's is.

> "Seaking of which," said Professor Penumbra, "given his performance
> against the Headhunter, I'd like to recommend Ultimate Mercenary for
> full membership in the LNH."
> Fearless Leader smiled. "Duly noted." Doc Nostalgia grumbled.

Never know when you'll have to summon up another one, after all!

> "I was thinking, there's one more thing I could do. I could try to
> contact your Writer. You see, I know this is kind of hard to explain,
> but--"
> "I know what the Writers are."
> "What?" Professor Penumbra's jaw dropped, then he smiled. "Wait, does
> everyone in your world know about the Writers?"

Ahhhhh, very nice.

> "She's probably not Writer-aware herself, though. Kid Enthusiastic may
> be a little bit, though, I don't know. But I wouldn't mention the
> Writers too much. People are confused enough already right now."


> "It's a perfectly ordinary fair-trade chocolate bar. You haven't eaten
> in a while, have you?"
> Ultimate Mercenary ripped the wrapping off the chocolate bar and
> greedily gobbled it down. It felt like the most delicious thing he'd
> ever eaten in his entire life. "I... I... I'm sorry I couldn't kill
> that thing. I know I did before. I think." [It didn't quite happen
> that way--see Ultimate Mercenary v1 #6.]

You know you shouldn't let your blood sugar get too low, UM.

> But he knew one thing. He knew the people of this world didn't know
> what a ninja truly was, and he knew he was the only one who could show
> them. Once again, he was the last one left to bear the legacy of
> Ultimate Ninja. He would make them understand what that truly meant.
> And maybe someday he would be ready to whip this team into shape

Awesome. (And, at the same time, sad!)

> Notes: "Atelier" is a French word for an artist's workshop. It's also
> the title of a Japanese RPG series which I vaguely know through
> TVTropes.

That's the only place I've heard it before.

> In the Real World, crystal skulls are pseudo-Central American hoaxes,
> but on Earth-20 they're real and probably connected with @Lantis
> somehow.

Probably! @lantis would do that kind of thing.

> End-Nodens is named after Nodens, Hunter of the Abyss from Lovecraft's
> The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, who guards humanity from
> Nyarlathotep and the spawn of the Old Ones, and the End Node Problem,
> It can
> be inferred that he guards the interface between the known multiverse
> and that which lies "beyond the fields we know." Nodens was loosely
> based on a Romano-British deity who is the counterpart of the Welsh
> Nudd or Ludd and the Irish Nuada, both of whom were said to have a
> "Silver Hand," thus the Hand of End-Nodens.

Daaaaaaamn.  Nice synthesis!

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, all the stories, ever.

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