LNH: Flame Wars Final: First Phase #4

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Thu May 9 00:36:09 PDT 2013

Literary Impossible and Prehistoric Productions present...

            |   ^ ^ ^ ^  FLAME  ^ ^ ^ ^ ^  WARS  ^ ^ ^ ^   |
            |  ^ ^ ^ ^ ^       ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^      ^ ^ ^ ^ ^  |
            |   FFFFFFF IIIIIII NN   NN   AAAA   LL        |
   FIRST    |   FF        III   NNN  NN  AA  AA  LL        |   NUMBER
   PHASE    |   FFFFFF    III   NNNN NN AAAAAAAA LL        |    FOUR
            |   FF        III   NN NNNN AA    AA LLLLLLL   |
            |   FF      IIIIIII NN  NNN AA    AA LLLLLLL   |

Last time:

"Which one of you-- IS THE MURDERER!"

This time:

Shock and befuddlement!

"Murderer? One of us!?"

"A traitor in the ranks of the LNH?!"

"Oh, lordy, not again..."

"I mark confusion

Snow falls in the summertime

Pray tell what you mean"

"Um, this is my first mission, am I allowed to participate in the murder

"All right-- what do we need to know?"

Casey von Aluminumfoil looked up at Irony Man. "So the murder we're going
to prevent..."

Irony Man nodded. "Will have been committed by one of you, in the future."

Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy said, "Hah! I *knew* the mysterious new member was
a time traveler! Contraption Man, one portrait of President Benjamin."

Contraption Man sighed and handed over the bill. "So I guess you didn't
tell anyone because you didn't want to tip the killer off."

"Well put," said Irony Man. "I had hoped to identify the suspect through

"So that's what the whole 'Flame Wars Final Prologue' thing was about,"
said Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, scratching behind his ear.

Cheesecake-Eater Lad rolled his eyes. "I think the readers could've figured
that out by themselves."

"But," said Irony Man, ignoring the fourth-wall-breaking aside, "my hand
was forced. I am not overly fond of the drawing room resolution, but it
seemed an expedient confrontation to have on the way."

"On the way to what!?" piped up Francis Bacon Lass, fidgeting nervously.

"Let slip the fury

Without thought of consequence

Truth blooms in spring thaw," said Haiku Gorilla.

"On the way to find the murder victim - the hope for humanity. On the way
to find... the Messiah of Sincerity!"

The heroes gasped or stiffened or widened or narrowed their eyes. Casey
felt it was all a bit melodramatic, but played along. "So... who would want
to murder this 'Messiah of Sincerity'? And if you're a time traveler, why
don't you already know?"

"History records the deed, but the murderer hid their tracks. The event has
been exhaustively researched, however, and those in this room are the best
theories to the perpetrator."

"Why does it have to be a Legionnaire?"

Irony Man turned, the flat black eyesockets nailing him to the spot.
"Because of you, Casey von Aluminumfoil."

Casey's mouth was dry, and he swallowed. "Ah... me?"

"Your gift for prophecy. In another timeline, your breakfast quest was
uninterrupted, and you revealed the arrival of Sincerity to a fully-packed
LNH cafeteria."

"...ah. Ahaha... erm."

Contraption Man sighed heavily. "Why don't you tell us exactly what the
conspiracy theorists think of us?"

Irony Man nodded. "As you suspect, Contraption Man, you are brought up
chiefly due to having previously betrayed the Legion, and the possibility
of lingering effects from that brainwashing. However, you are the least
likely suspect; 'once a traitor, always a traitor' is not a phrase that
holds much water in our culture."

"Well," Contraption Man shrugged, "'least there's that."

"Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, you too are a secondary suspect. Cosmic
radiation was detected at the crime scene, much like that emitted by your
Cosmic Cataloguing Tool. Yet you are motiveless, and the CCT is no weapon."

ARAK said, "You could probably do quite a bit of damage if you breached the
power core. But, while I don't see a Messiah as anything to be trusted, I
certainly wouldn't kill one out of hand."

"Indeed. Similarly, Francis Bacon Lass, the case against you is
circumstantial; you were the most recent member to join the Legion, and
your whereabouts cannot be ascertained during the period in question."

"Oh, I w-was just gonna do maintenance on my Scientific Instrument and,
uh..." She looked down, teeth pressing into her lip, then up. "Probably
write some emails to my friends? I thought they'd be, be jealous..."

Irony Man nodded. "Perhaps you shall get an opportunity to make them so.
Continuing in this vein," and here Casey could swear he heard an amused
lilt in the synthesized voice, "we have Cheesecake-Eater Lad. The case for
him rests mainly on an autobiography by Steak and Potatoes Man, where he
quotes Cheesecake-Eater Lad as admitting to having done 'horrible but
necessary acts out of dire circumstance'."

"Well, that doesn't--" began C-EL.

"However, most scholars believe that this actually refers to having used
high fructose corn syrup in his cheesecakes during the budget cuts of the
Hex Luthor administraton."

"--!!!" Cheesecake-Eater Lad made a curious choking noise and fell silent.

"And then we have those suspects for whom the strongest evidence exists:
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy, Haiku Gorilla, and Casey von Aluminumfoil."

Casey blinked. "Waitwaitwhat!?"

"Certainly. After all, you were the first to know of the Messiah's

"Well, I guess, but... I mean..." He paused, feeling like there was an
obvious rebuttal just beyond his tonguetip.

"The prevailing theory is that you made the revelation to throw off
suspicion on a process you'd already set in motion."

"Well, uh, that seems like a rather, um, overcomplicated plan..."

"Last week, the Legion foiled a plot to corner the shaving cream market by
seeding clouds with virtual reality hologram versions of Space Invaders

"...haha, gotcha." Casey rubbed the back of his head.

Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy's cheeks had been getting redder and redder, his
knuckles had been getting whiter and whiter, and his eyes had been getting
bluer and bluer. "Okay-- okay," he said, biting back anger and annoyance
(with a razor's edge of poison and panic). "So. Give it to me. What did I
do, huh? That puts me-- oh, and the gorilla-- at number one?"

"Your hair follicles were found at the scene, you do not have alibis for
the period in question, and your names are the only ones entered into the
relevant transmat logs."


"As well, there is motive. Haiku Gorilla's archnemesis, Endowment-Smasher,
unknown to him, has a familial tie. And the Messiah's awakening happens far
outside Ame.rec.an soil."

OAB narrowed his eyes. "Your theory shows how little you know me."

"It is not my theory."

"Uh, wait a sec," said Casey. "Why are you theorizing at all? If you have
time travel, can't you just look?"

Irony Man nodded, as if Casey had solved a math problem in front of the
class. "We prefer to interact with the past through memory and archaeology.
We read your story and it inspires us to write our own; we do not cobble
together the One True Special Edition."

Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy leapt from his chair, stomping over and leaning in,
his finger in Irony Man's faceplate. "Then how do you know if *any* of this
is accurate, huh!? How do you know if the Messiah of Sincerity exists at

"Because I..." Irony Man's faceplate slid back, helmet disappearing into
the neck of the suit. The flight.thingee was lit by a warm glow, coming
from skin coruscating with iridescence, eyes pale white-blue, hair like
sunlight floating, dancing in an intangible breeze. "...am she."


Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, shocking!

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