LNH: Flame Wars Final: Second Phase #6
pwerdna at gmail.com
Sat Jun 8 21:59:41 PDT 2013
Literary Impossible and Prehistoric Productions present...
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| ^ ^ ^ ^ FLAME ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ WARS ^ ^ ^ ^ |
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| FFFFFFF IIIIIII NN NN AAAA LL |
SECOND | FF III NNN NN AA AA LL | NUMBER
PHASE | FFFFFF III NNNN NN AAAAAAAA LL | SIX
| FF III NN NNNN AA AA LLLLLLL |
| FF IIIIIII NN NNN AA AA LLLLLLL |
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The Starship Jefferson was adrift in space! Writer's Block Woman flew
heedlessly though the void, grabbing the first person to come to hand -
Captain Continuity - by the shoulders and shaking him while shouting
over the radio, "THE SHIP IS ADRIFT IN SPACE!!!"
Eyes loosened in his sockets, the Defender of Cause and Effect looked
over her shoulder. "...oh!" he said, increasing his volume as if to
make sure everyone, net.heroes, Exemplars from the far future, and the
thought-images they were fighting alike could hear him. (Seriously,
dude. You're using a radio.) "Yes, that's terrible! It's of no use to
us now! We had definitely better keep moving away from it!"
Writer's Block Woman just kind of... stared. "Poor dear, the
battlefield stress has gotten to him..."
Captain Continuity rolled his eyes and motioned her to look at the
ship. It was completely dark and motionless... except for, she now
noticed, a tiny blue glimmer, thrusters firing in the endless dark...
"...ohhhhhhhh! Yes, yes," she trilled, thrilled, "yes of *course*! We
must make good our escape!" She turned a quick flip in midair, shooing
away thought-images that had gotten too close, and put on a burst of
speed to catch up with the others, making their way around the great
padded curve of the blanket-fort.
"Excuse me," came Doctor Stomper's voice over the radio urgently, "I
believe I'm falling behind. Yes, they are definitely almost upon me..."
Blackbody dived wordlessly towards the good Doctor. Suddenly, they
vanished. The thought-images, a vague hint of confusion on the shifting
light patterns that passed for their faces, turned and headed toward
"Amazing," said Doctor Stomper, turning around in a bubble of total
blackness. "You've curved all electromagnetic radiation perfectly
"Nonsense," said Blackbody. "There was no time to do it perfectly. We
were simply lucky that the Laziness cannot detect a refraction of six
point eight nanometers at this range."
And Doctor Stomper wasn't sure whether she was kidding...
Minority Miss floated up between Ultimate Ninja and the Ultimate Yogi.
"I'm worried," she muttered on a short-range channel. "The Laziness is
"Yeah," panted Substitute Lad, popping up next to them once more before
the powers of Kid Chivalry faded, "and it's getting harder to-- ack!"
One of the thought-images had suddenly teleported right up and grabbed
his arm. Minority Miss spun around and fired off a telekinetic blast,
dispersing the thought-image and allowing SB to slip away.
"And now they know how to do *that*," muttered UN. "You know, when you
said to bring our most versatile members, I didn't think you were
afraid of making it too *easy*."
"Heh," heh'd UY. "Don't worry overmuch. Based on trajectory and speed,
Chaos Theory should have us aboard by the time I'm finished with
The familiar whoosh-tug of the space.thingee's embedded TelePorTer
unit, and they were back on the <name>.
"--sentence." He nodded to Cannon Fodder, at the tele-controls, who
sighed ruefully and nodded back. They proceeded to the airlock, where
Chaos Theory met up with them.
"Docked with the outer shell," CT reported. "Atmosphere *and* grabbity
in there. Real horrowshow like."
"Wouldn't it be more horrorshow not to have those things?" said Captain
"Quite wrong! This way, the normality of the situation puts you off
your guard, so you're not as prepared for nasty surprises."
"Like the atmosphere and gravity giving way," said Ultimate Ninja, "so
keep your equipment on while we head in." He opened the lock and they
stepped into the Laziness's domain.
A dark cave surrounded them. Blackbody began releasing electromagnetic
radiation in the visible spectrum, a bright halo enveloping her matte
black finish. The surfaces were fluffy and soft, feet sinking into
them, and decorated in bright colors and pastels. She pulled out a
sphere about six inches wide and placed it on the wall, where a
crackling blue force field formed around it. "First transport beacon in
"Excellent," said the Ultimate Yogi, "we're in the home stretch."
Suddenly, a high-pitched wail began to rise from the walls. A wind
kicked up in the internal atmosphere, and a rushing blur, almost
subliminal, flickered past.
"What's going on?" shouted Ultimate Ninja, drawing his Ginsu Katana.
"It's cutting four-dimensional wounds..." Chaos Theory seemed to be
staring off into the distance, focusing, looking through a glass not
just darkly but warped like a funhouse and upside-down. "They're not
here yet, but they're... pushing their fingers through..."
The wind screamed, and blurs whipped by like invisible trains, seen
only by the reflections of their running lights. "The Serious Business
has begun to push into this reality," said Blackbody, "and the Laziness
is defending itself."
"Sending out more of its energy into the solar system," said Doctor
Stomper, fascinated, horrified. "Creating more thought-images... and
more Servants of Sloth!"
"Yep," said Chaos Theory. "So, the plan's changed. AFK." And with that,
And around them, figures began to appear, all cruel angles and edges,
terrible eye-searing grays, and faces like wicked caricatures...
Casey had seen stranger sights in his time, but only a few. Anal-
Retentive Archive Kid collapsed in a heap on the helipad atop
Keikhlasan Medical Center. Above him, the apparition that called itself
Mister 9 hovered, like a cloud of boiling steam.
Francis Bacon Lass rushed over, circling warily around the spirit, and
ran her Scientific Instrument over ARAK. "He's okay!"
Irony Man nodded, eyes fixed on Mister 9. "He was a tool."
"No!" snarled the spirit. "I helped him on his quest."
"His *quest*?" said Contraption Man, eyes burning dangerously.
"His quest for moral certainty. He was no *sheep*, like *you*!" He, it,
thrashed in place. "He desired to be effective. To do what was right,
by *whatever* *means* *necessary*!"
"And what was right was murder?" Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy was doing a
more-than-reasonable impression of Frothing-at-the-Mouth Lad. "Murder
of a child, of its parents, of entire floors of patients and nurses and
doctors if that bomb went off!?"
"Rightness requires sacrifice! And *that*--" Mister 9's spindly arm-
tendrils raged at the parents, safe behind Irony Man, quietly watching.
"Messiah! HrrrrGRAH! She would destroy the lies that keep men decent!"
"Believes not in hope,
sees not men, but only the
winter of his soul." Haiku Gorilla shook his head.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad kept his blasters, full of ecto-cheesecake, locked
on the misty form. "Uh-huh. So why did he resist?"
"Grrrrrrrnnn. He could not help his human weakness. So I gave him the
truth! I made his body acknowledge the truth his mind could not!"
Casey rolled his eyes. Just another delusional bad guy. "I've got a
question. Why are we still talking to you?"
Contraption Man laughed. "He's right. In his body, you were a threat.
Now... you're just another bad idea."
"HnngrrRRAAAAAAAAH!" Mister 9 spun and howled and made the noise of the
torments of Hell.
"Very good," said Irony Man. She turned to the couple. "I apologize for
Maimouna was shaking her head. "Is this what your lives are like? Blood
and thunder and the great battle of words?"
"Well, yes," said Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, covering her as they moved
toward the hatch. "Horrifying, I know, but necessary."
"Horrifying?" She smiled, shifting Amina (AKA the Messiah of
Sincerity), dark circles under her eyes crinkling. "I think I may be
"Sayang!" said Izzat, squeezing her hand as they walked up the hatch.
Haiku Gorilla slung ARAK over his shoulder.
"We turn the page here,
stop, smell the salty sea air
and continue on?"
"Yes," said Irony Man. "I believe that our goal is almost complete."
And then Casey felt a growing pressure on his mind. "I-- I think you
shouldn't have said that," he said, clutching his head. "I think... we
should get inside..."
"..." Irony Man shouted, "Aboard! Now!"
Startled by the out-of-character loudness, the rest of the team piled
aboard. Casey could see, as the hatch closed, a figure appearing, all
cruel edges and angles... and Mister 9's form violently colliding with
Irony Man extended a hand. The controls went bleep! and the VTOL assist
antigrav crystal thrummed. "Make sure that the civilians are braced for
"What--" Casey clung to a rail as they took off. "What's going on?"
"A menace, just as I believed we were out of danger. Situational
irony." She shook her head. "The Looniverse is cruel."
With a rattling THUNK!, something landed on the wing...
A warm, steamy section of old-growth rainforest. A man moved, slowly,
gracelessly, pressing aside hanging vines and bobsled-sized leaves with
his torso. His head moved back and forth, searching. But the force that
drove him onward dulled his senses, so that he didn't see a shadow
creep up behind him and reach out...
With a tap! he was engulfed in a blaze of broad-spectrum emotional
energy, and after the powerful surge of memories cleared, Captain
Coredump sat there blinking. Then the protocols of the Peril Room swept
him into a protective hard-light bubble, and he was off the board.
The Servants of Sloth turned toward the light and sound, started
heading for whatever caused it - but they were already gone. A shape
danced in impossible silence at impossible speed over the treetops. It
dropped into a tiny clearing, completely enclosed by impassable trunks.
"Okay," said Twitter (for it was she!), "we've de-Slothed about half of
them, and drawn the rest away from Super Apathy Lad. Now's the time."
Pummelo, Sandra, and Firewire nodded, and Usenet Prime sort of bobbed
forward. They made their way up and across the treetops, towards a
figure shrouded in heavy, dull darkness.
"Hey!" Twitter yelled. As Super Apathy Lad sloooooowly turned, she
leapt down and pointed the crystalline end of her Memory Stick at him.
The other three Sticks turned to point at hers, adding their mnemonic
energy. Twitter opened her mind, and Usenet Prime sent a torrent of
articles through it. Her eyes narrowed in effort as the entire archive
of Usenet up to this very point flowed through her memory in a single
thread, and it took all her concentration to channel it into the Memory
Stick. The crystalline head burned brightly with the emotional force,
and she pushed it into the dark aura.
Those eyes, filled with the most heartbreaking expression of apathy,
locked onto hers. She felt the power thumping, *pounding* at her will -
but she had just one inch left to go.
"Remember... who... you... ARE!" It was but the lightest tap - that was
enough. years, DECADES' worth of the collective memory of the world
coruscated through Super Apathy Lad's mind, body, and soul. His eyes
slowly widened, spectral light blazing from them. His mouth opened in a
silent expression of wonder. His body became a column of light, and he
said, "I remember..."
And he was gone.
Twitter stood, frozen, Memory Stick dramatically pointed at nothing.
Pummelo lowered his Stick and scratched his head. "Huh."
Firewire raised an eyebrow. "I... see?"
Sandra said, "Guys, that wasn't part of the plan, right? We didn't just
kill him-- right!?"
Usenet Prime wrote:
> I do not believe so. Looking at the manner in which the disappearance
> was phrased, and comparing it to the writer's other stories, past and
> future, I do not believe that Super Apathy Lad is dead. Simply--
"'Gone'?" said Firewire. "Gone where? And will he be back?"
Usenet Prime wrote:
> That is as yet indeterminate.
"Um, well!" said Twitter. "At least we stopped him, and changed back
everyone he turned into a Servant of Sloth!"
Peering through the trees, Usenet Prime wrote:
> Actually, it appears that everyone we did not specifically change
> back is still transformed.
A howling wind kicked up through the trees, a wind that kicked up
sparks on the Memory Sticks. The Servants of Sloth looked up towards
the invisible ceiling of the Peril Room. Each one became wrapped in an
aura of darkness like the one Super Apathy Lad had, and as one, they
Remotely accessing the crisis monitor, Usenet Prime wrote:
> Now it appears that each of them has gained the ability to turn
> others into Servants of Sloth. As well, they have gained other
> powers, including teleportation, which they have used to scatter
> throughout the city.
"..." Pummelo opened his mouth.
Attempting to be reassuring, Usenet Prime wrote:
> But it looks like they are unlikely to turn those powers directly on
> the populace, as they will be too busy fighting the strangely angled
> figures which are appearing near them.
"..." Pummelo closed his mouth.
Twitter took a deep breath. Inhale... exhale. "They're going to need
our help," she said, half to herself.
Sandra shook her head, the hint of a smile playing on her lips. "A
hero's work is never done." She nudged Pummelo. "Now you know why I
Firewire entered the code to open the Peril Room door. "Time for round
Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, all in one piece this time!
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