LNH/HCC: Just Another Cascade #12 part A

Adrian McClure mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 1 12:14:55 PDT 2015



"Everything Ends"

by Adrian McClure

Note: This issue continues from Looniverse Y #14

[The cover shows someone holding the Kubrik's Kube in her hand, against the
backdrop of stars. Each of the Kube's facets show the face of a different


The end was near, Net.Access knew it.  Lan.OS had dramatically gestured his
hands to send Net.Access to the Friend Zone to retrieve the Kubrick's Kube
and allow him to fulfil his destiny. Which, of course, she was going to
stop. She was already running through strategies to defeat this fearsome
enemy. She'd already helped her friends save the universe from the Hungry
Past in a really impressive way she couldn't quite remember [cf. the ending
of Just Imagine, coming soon], but now she'd do it on her own. This would
be her moment, the moment when she proved she was truly worthy of being an

LAN.os waved his hand and nothing happened. "Where are you?" he said "Bah!
I knew I could never rely upon a woman!"

"Don't ask me," said Net.Access. "I'm not doing anything. I have no idea
what's happening." She frowned. There was something weirdly familiar about
this "Friend Zone" thing, but she couldn't quite pin down why. She had
tried taking Advanced Metacosmology in her one semester of Dave Thomas
Deluxe University, but the class was at 8:30 in the morning, so she'd
gotten absolutely nothing out of it. It had probably been a bad idea to
take it as a freshman, too, and she probably shouldn't have taken 27 credit
hours. No one had ever accused her of lacking ambition.

"Hold on," she said. "I think I remember about this "Friend Zone"—you can't
enter it alone. That's kind of the whole point. You need friends there."

"But… I have been alone for countless centuries of hellish torment! Forever
alone!" Every single person in the audience winced.

"But you were sent here by a cosmic entity, right?" said Net.Access. "So
that wasn't how it's supposed to work normally."

"I… perhaps." LAN.os crossed his arms and grunted. "Where, then, are your

"I… I don't know." They were all back on Earth, as far as she knew. She
hoped she'd live to see them again, and she couldn't wait to tell them
about all this. "I think there are ways of getting around this. Hold on."

Holding the pattern in her mind, she shifted her body again. This time
she'd turned into a mode of transport again, but it was a different kind of
thing—a time ship, not borrowing from classical mythology but from a book
she'd read recently based on a TV show that was probably never coming back.

"Okay guys," she said, "I've summoned the block transfer equations of a
Type 103 Time Ship. I'll need a crew to operate me, though."

"You may take whoever you wish," said LAN.os, "as long as Ultimate Ninja
and Fearless Leader, the leaders, remain here."

Ultimate Ninja screamed and leaped, drawing his katana. LAN.os's hologram,
flickering with power, backhanded him, freezing him in place.

"That's not going to work," said Sister State-the-Obvious

"I guess we'll have to negotiate," said Fearless Leader.

"All right," said Net.Access, "we'll need a group with a wide range of
skills and abilities for whatever we might encounter out there. I'm going
with…" She rubbed her chin for a moment, inwardly cackling with glee. All
her time reading the LNH roster would finally pay off. Although the team
had probably gained a lot of members since she had left the Looniverse.
Well, she'd work with what she could remember. "Well, beside me, how
about.. Catalyst Lass, Doctor Stomper, Sister State-the-Obvious—"

"I"m here!" said Sister State-the-Obvious.

"Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out…" She remembered the Legion of Net.Hippies a
bit from her history reading at least.


"—and… Pliable Lad? How did you get here?"

"Rifts, I guess," said Pliable Lad. He shrugged. "Last I remember, I was in
the LNHQ, trying to help close them, then we put a piece of Beige Midnight
Story into the rifts to close them, and I guess I got dragged through them."

"Most likely," said Dr. Stomper, "you were hit by crossover radiation."

"OK, Pliable Lad. Then we're good to go."

"Very well then!" said LAN.os "And remember, if you do not retrieve the
Kube and bring me to this world, I will kill every one of these LNHers!"
The Legionnaires readied for combat—Cannon Fodder raised his gun and Token
Girl her slingshot that shot exploding bus tokens—but before they could
move, red force fields appeared around everyone's chair.

"You and what army?" said Token Girl.

"This one, as it happens." LAN.os pointed to his assembled soldiers. "But
as it happens, I do not need them!" He snapped his fingers and a red bolt
struck Cannon Fodder, killing him. Cannon Fodder sighed.

"…all right. Let's do this." Net.Access unfolded her own body, revealing a

"Gah!" said Pliable Lad. He blinked. "Never mind, sorry. I'm the last
person who should be freaked out by weird shapeshifting stuff…" He opened
the door and hesitantly walked in. The others followed. They found
themselves in a wide, airy room with walls and console made of pink and
purple crystal.

"Oooh, nice," said Catalyst Lass. Dr. Stomper

"Sister State-The-Obvious?" said Pliable Lad. "What happened to your hair?"

"I cut it."

"Uh…" Catalyst Lass looked at Sister State-the-Obvious's hand, where her
wedding ring had once been, and frowned. "OK, so does anyone have any
plans? I assume the idea was to get us all in here so we could make an
escape plan to take down LAN.os."

"Yeah," said Net.Access. "Can any of you contact the outside?"

"Of course we can coordinate, man," said Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out.
"I'll just use my mega-groovy astral form! Just give me a moment to trip
out…" He pulled something from his pocket.

"Is that a fruit rollup?" said

"It's not just any fruit rollup, man! It's a Fruit Rollup of Enlightenment,
engrooved with the patterns of the cosmos."

"Well, whatever works," said Net.Access. "Anyway, can you join with your
teammates and arrange some kind of jailbreak?"

"Sure thing!" Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out unrolled the fruit roll-up, sat
in the lotus position, and slowly and reverently ate it. A ghostly blue
afterimage afterimage of him floated up from his body and then vanished,
bursting into sparkling blue lights…


All of the LNH had been teleported into LAN.os's massive dungeon, where
they were imrpisoned in stasis pods. (Your favorite character who hasn't
shown up yet was probably there, but unfortunately didnt' have much to do
other than be trapped and confused.)

Burning Bra Lass struggled against her bonds, as Anti-Christ Lad attempted
to send forth his soul-self beside her. The ghostly form of Dr.
Turn-On-Tune-in-Drop-Out appeared in midair in front of them. "Whoa, this
is radical!" he said.

.o(What are you doing here?) said Burning Bra Lass, effortlessly slipping
into the psychic speech the team had practiced.

.o(I've got, like, this important message to lay down on you, brother and
sister. I'm—uh—)

.o(What is this grave message which you have to impart to us, my friend?)
said Anti-Christ Lad.

.o(I… um… whoa! Look at that, man! I can hear the cosmos resonate…
Seriously what if, like, our universe was like one small atom in this
massive cosmic macrostructure? You ever think about that?)

.o(Oh no), said Burning Bra Lass. She would have slapped her forehead if
she could

.o(My friend, you have partaken overmuch of the food of enlightenment!)

.o(Seriously man you… whoa, your'e really pretty.) His astral hand reached
out to touch Anti-Christ Lad's face.

.o(…thank you?) said Anti-Christ Lad, blushing.

.o(Look, this ain't the time,) said Burning Bra Lass, but she found herself
smiling. .o(Save the cute stuff for later, just tell us what's going down.)

.o(We're hoping we can start a jail break, man. I can give you a blast of
cosmic love to jump start your powers! Wait, no, that came out all weird,

.o(Yes, that did sound rather off color, my friend, although—)

.o(Save it for later, you two), said Burning Bra Lass, grinning ear to ear.
Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out touched each of their foreheads with his
astral fingers, setting off blue sparks, and then he vanished.

Burning Bra Lass closed her eyes and clenched her fists. Her bra began to
crackle with a bright orange flame, which gradually spread out over the
pod. Then it burst open and she fell on the floor, covered with stasis
fluid, and determiend. "There ain't no chain I can't break!" she cried,
raising her fist in the sky.

Two of the Dorf guards, soldiers left over from the invasion the LNH had
fought as well as other factions of the prolonged Dorf Civil War that had
since fallen apart [see LNH v2 #50], charged in after her, rifles at the
ready. She knocked one down with a single punch to the gut, then blasted
another with flames. A third, behind her, was felled by a nerve pinch from
the guard beside her. "That you, Anti-Christ Lad?" said Burning Bra Lass.
As if in answer, the possessed guard floated in midair and his head began
to spin around, vomiting on the four guards who were closing in.

She smashed Anti-Christ Lad's pod, freeing him, and he drew his soul-self
back into his body. "We won!" said Burning Bra Lass.

"Do you call this a victory? When I have yet again used my Satanic powers
and fallen into the path of my dark destiny? I—"

"Leave the speech-making to the politicians, Anti-Christ Lad. We got a
universe to save."

"Aye, but how do we free the Legion in time to face that entire army?" The
Dorf guards were swarming into the prison station.

"We kick their ass. It's simple."

"True. And yet I cannot help but feel a certain regret. How many of them
are truly committed to LAN.os's evil cause? I entered the mind of yon
soldier—he joined LAN.os after his army fell apart, but his mind was full
of regrets and fears he could not bring himself to express…"

"Hmm, maybe you got a point. Let's see…" She backflipped on top of the
paltform in the center of the room. "Listen up people!" she said. The whole
army stopped in their tracks. "All right," she said. "You could beat us up
now—which would mean a lot of hurt for you. What are you getting out of it?"

"We must serve the will of LAN.os!" shouted one.

"Why?" said Burning Bra Lass, crossing her arms. The flames in her bra
leaped up for emphasis.

"Because he pays us!" said another.

"…not really," said a third. "Not a whole lot." They started to grumble
among themselves.

"I know that a lot of you are outcast in your own worlds, with nowhere to
go. But LAN.os won't do you any good. You'll just replace one thing that's
pressing you down for another. Do you want to keep lashing out because you
can and hurt people who are just like you? Or do you want to *use* your
anger and hit where it matters?"

"Let's get him!" said an insectoid alien in the crowd, starting a mutter
that gradually turned into a roar.

"I thought so," said Burning Bra Lass.

"I thought you said to leave the speech making to the politicians?"
whispered Anti-Christ Lad.

"Yeah, I'm better than you at that. Sorry." She smirked.

"Good job, people!" Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out's astral form flickered
back into existence. "Sorry, just tuned out there a bit."

"Yeah—gnn!" Burning Bra Lass's flames shot up again, and she fell on her
knees before pulling herself together..

"Hey, are you ok?" Dr. Turn-On-Tune-In-Drop-Out's astral form hovered over
her. "You gotta be careful, man. Like, I admire you a lot, but sometimes
I'm worried you give too much for the cause. Like, if you're fighting a
world that doesn't love you, you gotta love yourself too, y'know?"

"Yeah, yeah. Let's just get this done."


Net.Access found herself materializing within the Friend Zone. At the
moment, the sky was bright a rainbow of soft colors. She stood on a cliff
overlooking a calm ocean. Iridescent birds flew by and sang melodious
songs. In the ocean, she could see dolphins playing. A light purple octopus
arose from the depths and waved at her with its tentacles, then sank back

It was a calm, peaceful place. She wanted to stay here and enjoy the
feeling of the soft breeze and take in everything. But she didn't want to
be there alone. Maybe someday she'd be able to take Victoria here and they
could sit together and watch the ocean… assuming that worked out.

"Ahem," said LAN.os. Net.Access remembered what she was doing there and
coughed. "Now, we shall join together and capture the Kube—and then I shall
be victorious! Even with all your might, you shall never be able to
overcome me! It shall be a battle for the ages, but one where I shall
triumph, for I possess the rational aptitude that you, a mere woman, can
never imagine!"

"All right then," she said, "Let's get this over with." She unfolded
herself again, revealing the door. LAN.os stared in disgust, but then
opened the door, cackling with glee…

And fell into an endless dark void, screaming all the way down.

"What happened?" said Pliable Lad.

"I sent him to a null-time pocket," said Net.Access. "It should hold until
we get this mess sorted out."

"Well, it looks as if we managed the prison break, and bagging LAN.os,"
said Catalyst Lass. "Now we just find the Kube. That should be pretty easy
for you as a time ship, right?"

"I—" The console room shook. "Uh," said Net.Access, "I'm not sure how long
I can hold this together. I'm channeling these equations from another
universe, but I don't really understand them. But I should be able to grab
the Kube."

"Hmm," said Doctor Stomper, fiddling with the dials on her console.
Net.Access found herself wishing again that Victoria were here. She might
understand this weird feeling of not quite inhabiting your own body. And
Dr. Stomper was doing pretty well piloting her but Victoria, even without
the mindlink they possessed when Net.Access was in machine form, would do
so much better. She imagined Victoria's fingers deftly operating her
controls… And then she felt herself blush a little. Thankfully, she was in
the vortex of Hypertext-time, and no one was around to watch…

"Oooh, that was neat," said Catalyst Lass.

"…what was?" said Net.Acccess.

"When you made the wall of your console room glow a bit."

Net.Access sighed. "Dr. Stomper, can you zero in on the Kube?"

"I—hmm." He put up a diagram of Hypertext-time—everything the LNH was or
could be—on the screen. "I think we may have other problems. Pliable Lad,"
he said, pointing to the jagged and growing holes in the
constantly-shifting structure, "are those the rifts you meantioned?"

"Yeah, I'm afraid so," he said. "We tried to fix things by activating some
inspiration particles with concentrated Beige Midnight Story…"

"I see," said Dr. Stomper. A golden glow was making its way up the holes,
slowly patching them, but not as fast as they were growing. "We'll have to
stimulate the inspiration particles somehow. It should be possible to
restore the universe as long as nobody's started any cascades since this
one." He opened the LNH wiki and skimmed the list of recent stories.

"Hey," said Pliable Lad, looking over his shoulder, "what's Death of Trophy

"Oh dear," said Dr. Stomper.

And then the multiverse exploded.
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