HCC/LNH20: Tales of the LNH v20 Stocking Stuffer Holiday Annual
pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Dec 24 13:00:20 PST 2014
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Christmas! And the roster of the LNH was gathered together in the Grand
Ballroom. Fearless Leader addressed the snacking, present-exchanging
"Fifty years ago, the Network discovered a wandering village and changed
the world. Five years ago, we discovered the LNHQ, and the world changed
again. This year, we stopped the conquest of the Lycopersicons, and kept
the world safe from the Killfile and the Spoon of Destiny."
"The history of heroism leads up to right here, right now - to the work
you're doing today. The heroes of yesteryear would have been proud of
you. I know I am."
"I'm telling you, the age of heroes is *over*." The man finished his
beer. "It was fun while it lasted, but no escaping it - the world just
didn't have room for them anymore.
"Pardon! Have you seen this lady?" A photograph was held up at chest-
He leaned in to examine it. "Aww, yeah, she was talkin' to the bartender
like an hour ago. No idea where she is now."
"No prob'm, kid. Like I was saying, they're gone, and we just have to
Kid Enthusiastic ran out the door. Killfile or not, the game was afoot!
Flamebroiled Lad ran out in the snow in T-shirt and shorts, laughing.
"This is amazing!"
Kid Killfile leaned on the patio of Stately Boarde Mansion and rolled
her eyes. "Does the kid know what 'immature' means?"
Sig.Lad laughed. "He's just enjoying himself, Hildy. We all deserve a
"Uuuugh. Don't call me that and I won't call you Dick, okay?" Still, she
wandered out into the snowy lawn, rolling up snowballs to toss at FL.
MechaKat stepped out. "Heh. Were we ever that young?"
"We're still pretty young, compared to the old heroes. Hope we can fill
"Personal journal of... of Bronze Age Very-Disturbed-Scary-Creature Man.
My mentor is dead. Many are dead, others left without parents or
siblings or loved ones. We have won, at great cost - the Network is in
"The age that we knew is over. Can we rebuild? The world outside my
window is cold, and grim. In the darkest days of the year, our souls
have become shadowed."
"But today I saw true sacrifice. I saw the pain in a child's eyes, but
also the hope. If I can believe in that hope... I can believe that we
are still heroes."
"Dick! Sakura! Merry Christmas!" He embraced the couple also known as
Knight Genesis and Terra Tinkerer.
"Merry Christmas, Gerald!" Sakura brought in bags, while Dick went back
out to the car. Eggnog was served.
"So..." said Sakura, not-so-casually. "You've joined Y.O.N.D.E.R." It
was a statement, not an accusation - but...
"...yes," he admitted. "They were able to help me with-- you know."
She nodded, smiled, and took a sip. "I'm glad you were able to get
Dick carried in a basket. "Gerald! Meet our son James!"
"Ah! The next generation. Welcome to the world!"
The crowds gathered outside the Hall of Integrity. Just outside, a
ribbon was stretched across Main Street in The Village, the wandering
hamlet that the Network had made their home. Behind the ribbon, the
Network themselves stood, alongside the one the townsfolk had chosen as
"My fellow Villagers!" said the mayor. "I give you... Nowhere Man!"
The leader of the Network waved to the crowd, giant scissors in hand.
"Thank you for this moment! For your love and respect!" He sliced the
ribbon in two. "Thank you for making us your heroes!"
"Welcome," the mayor said, "to Net.town!"
Doc Nostalgia stared into the fire. The world had left the enigma men
behind. LL was gone, Orenthal was dead.
But he kept the flame when others forgot. And he would keep on living...
"What are you thinking of?" Kathy Kovan stood there - no, she was Kathy
Jeffries, smiling at him with the penetrating gaze that had swept aside
the false personae and found his heart.
He chuckled. "Old friends."
She smiled. "Love the past - but your honeymoon is time to create a
future." She leaned down, and their lips met.
...because he had something to live for.
"Personal journal of Orenthal Iji Boarde, December Twenty-Fifth,
"I look back of late, thinking on my new career as Golden Age Very-
Disturbed-Scary-Creature Man. I expected a lonely vigil, but color and
light have manifested in the form of my close compatriots, Lady Lass and
"The fight has also been colorful; mundane crime gives way to diabolical
schemers, including one January Frost, whose plots of financial and
political domination have become merry games of back-and-forth."
"One wonders how long such light can shine - but one puts that thought
away, and enjoys the moment as it lasts."
Bubbles sparkled in glasses as the upper crust rubbed festive elbows and
knocked fur-trimmed boots. January Frost stood on the balcony and
grinned in delight.
Ever since she escaped - ever since she and her siblings completed the
ritual - POWER! Power over people, the most delicious kind.
She could make anyone do what she wanted! She could have men! She could
have... was that a forbidden thought? Hah! There *were* no forbidden
thoughts anymore! The world was a delicious mussel waiting to be
This century would be overrun by her, just as the windows were overrun
"We may die tonight," she said, restringing her powerful bow. "The
Network of Remarkables may vanish."
"Each of us always knew it," he said, underlining passages in his book.
"Take arms against darkness; you receive no guarantee of winning."
"But against an unspeakable awfulness!" She shook her head. "Against
that, the age of heroes must end--"
"It has only begun!" He grasped her arms. "Even if we are forgotten--
some wanderer will pick up the torch! There will always be heroes!"
Hesitation... then a firm nod. "Let's give them a flame to keep."
They stood at the precipice, and vanished.
Author's Note: Merry Christmas!
Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, and happy anniversaries
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