LNH/LNH2: The Last Days of Just Another Multi-Writer Cascade That Will Probably Never Have an Ending.GAIDEN: "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cosmic!"
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Sat Dec 5 09:18:53 PST 2015
The Last Days of
Just Another Multi-Writer Cascade
That Will Probably Never Have an Ending.GAIDEN
"My Little Sister Can't Be This Cosmic!"
by Drew Perron
Penultimate Savior stands, in a half-destroyed Net.ropolis in front of a half-
destroyed LNHQ, looking up into the red, dusty sky, up at the title.
With a crackle of blue-green light, he returned to existence.
Penultimate Savior tumbled into the dirt. He coughed, harsh and racking, a
cloud of dry dust floating up around him, and pushed himself to his feet. He'd
been in the LNHQ, in the past-- where was--
Oh. The LNHQ. He stared up at the towering edifice, in the form of a giant,
dusty, upside-down computer monitor, screen cracked down the middle. He looked
around at the shattered remnants of Net.ropolis, the empty streets, people who
walked them evacuated from the face of the planet in a desperate attempt to
stave off the end, all life wiped out by the cosmic disturbances. This was the
year 2044, and he was back home.
The rifts were gone. The sky, though a dusty red, was whole, and physics
seemed to be working reasonably well. He sat down on the steps of the
building, halfway to rubble now, and played with the vines growing out of
Well then. It seemed that he had helped save all of existence, secure the
future of the primary timeline, and set right what once went wrong. And this
was his reward; left in the ashes of a once-thriving world, now lifeless,
Wait. If all life had been wiped out, how were there vines?
Penultimate Savior raised his head and focused on the place as a *place*,
instead of as a symbol for his angst. Moss was growing between the cracked
slabs of pavement. On the stripped skeletons of trees, buds were appearing.
And... was that *birdsong*?
With a start, he realized his cosmic awareness had been poking him
insistently since he'd arrived. Something was Happening in the distance,
something flowing into the world. A sudden pang of panic - had a new rift
He made a ridiculous martial arts pose and leapt into the air, practically
flying down the empty boulevards. As he crested the rooftops he saw it - a
flare of light like a bonfire in midwinter, right where Net.ropolis Academy
used to be. It wasn't the blue-green light of the rifts, but something
Carefully, he dropped down to street level, swinging from fire escape to
fire escape. There were people down in the street, watching. He tried to sneak
towards them, but he couldn't hear his own footsteps over the clangour of
cosmic awareness, and one of them turned towards him.
"Ah," said a warm, familiar voice. "We were wondering when you would get
here." It was Occultism Lord, and the others around him - Irony Monger, Kid
Remender, Continuity's Champion - the Saviors of the Net!
And, as he stepped forward, he could see they weren't alone. Dr. Netropolis
was there, and Man-Creature-Scary-Disturbed-Very, and other members of the
Saviors he had thought lost long ago. There was WildA.C.R.O.N.Y.M. - Jenny
Everywhere gave him a wave, then turned back to the column of light. There
were Generation Zeta, and the New New Misfits, and LNH Oceania, and dozens and
dozens of LNHers and independent heroes, forming a great ring.
And in the center of the ring, there was the light. Not a hole in
spacetime, but a mouth, open in song, through which life was flowing. The
grass grew tall and wild around it. Wildlife trickled out in a continuous
stream, birds singing, bees buzzing, bunnies hopping. Every so often, a human
would stagger out, and be supported by their friends, guided into their place
in the ring.
He wasn't sure how long this went on. It seemed like a timeless moment, a
state of sheer contentment with being alive. But even timelessness did not
last forever. Gradually, the light began to dim, and he made out some kind of
figure in the center. It felt achingly familiar, like coming home, and then he
saw who it was...
At first, floating, wrapped in flame. Slowly, features were revealed. Pink
hair. Blue eyes. A distinctly East Asian cast to her features. Her feet
lowered to the ground, and she fell to a crouch. It was his sister, the third
Manga Girl, and she was back from the dead.
"Riyoko!" He leaned in, caught her.
"Oh... hey, William." She looked up, and her eyes crackled with flame.
He flinched, but held steady. "I-- I thought you were dead, that you'd
flown into the shattered pieces of rec.arts.anime.creative and..." He couldn't
stop a sniffle.
"I did... and I found what I was looking for. The echoes of the Old
Fanfics, still ringing through space, and between them, the heart of the
world, beating for the last time!" She flared up in his arms. "Dying light
merged with dying light, becoming something more! No longer am I the simple
Manga Girl you knew! Now and forever, I AM SUZAKU de gozaru!"
She giggled, knocked herself on the head, and stuck out her tongue. "Yeah,
I can't stop doing that. Anyway, that's me. What's up with you?"
He grabbed her and hugged her tight. The surrounding crowd went "awwwwww".
"Please don't go away again," he murmured.
She pulled back. "I have to..." She turned half away. "I'm too powerful
now. I'm too *much* now.
"...wait." She turned to look into the distance. Her eyes went vacant, her
mouth slightly open; he could tell - she wasn't using physical senses anymore.
Her aura flared, the red radiant edges shifting orange-yellow, shifting blue-
white, and he thought for a moment he could see her gaze as an incandescent
shimmer stretching into the sky.
The burning shape of wings flapped against the ground, and in an instant
she rose, streaking up through the atmosphere, human form still vivid within
the firebird. For a moment, he wondered how he could see her so clearly - and
then he realized that he was caught up in her wake, flames buoying him up as
if he was made of feathers and air. The flames were warm, not hot; a fond
warmth, but a diffuse one. He wondered if she even realized he was along for
They broke through to the edge of space. Penultimate Savior could see the
curvature of the Earth, the approaching edge of night, but that wasn't what
caught his attention. In orbit floated a strange ship, as if one took a sleek
interstellar cruiser and added stylistic flourishes and cargo space until it
resembled a child's dream of tall ships from the Age of Navigation.
"Pirates," hissed Manga Girl, blue-white sparks spitting from her eyes,
flare of rainbow light escaping from her body. Penultimate Savior winced - he
was beginning to understand what she meant by "too much".
They rocketed forward in a burst of flame, toward and through and *into*
the ship before he had a chance to blink, bodies like astral smoke. It was a
cargo hold, with humanoid forms looking up at them, eyes wide, confused,
surprised, awed. In a blaze of fury and flame, in a voice that made floors and
walls and plating shudder and groan, Manga Girl - Suzaku - declared,
"YOU SHALL NOT LOOT THIS WORLD."
There was a moment of shock, the fire freezing five figures in fear. But
only a moment, before one of the figures stepped forward.
It was an East Asian woman with long, flowing white hair and an X-shaped
scar over her left eye, dressed in a crimson version of a pirate captain's
outfit - jerkin, breeches, boots, and a wide tricorn hat with a huge white
feather sticking out of it. She walked carefully up to Suzaku and knelt,
laying her chunky, toyetic sword on the floor before her. "My apologies,
ma'am. We aren't looking for treasure, but allies."
Suzaku floated in midair, calming, fire dying down a bit. "Allies in--"
THUMP! Caught up no longer in cosmic flame, Penultimate Savior fell
gracelessly upon his rear.
"Whoops." Suzaku leaned over and took his hand, helping him to his feet.
"Urgh," he muttered, dusting ash off his costume. "Thanks a lot, sis."
"De nada," she grinned. Then she turned back to the others. "Allies in
"Well, sort of. You see..." She stood up and posed dramatically, dipping
her hat in front of her eyes. "What we steal is freedom! What we pillage is
the power that oppresses us! What we take is life itself, snatched from the
jaws of tyranny!"
There was a groan from the other crewmembers, who had by this point settled
down on the boxes and chests around the hold. Penultimate Savior saw a woman
wearing a denim jacket lean back and comment, "Didn't know we were hauling
The apparent captain ignored her. "But freedom from whom, you ask?" She
spun around, lifting the sword off the ground, and pointed it at a glossy
photo stapled to a timber post, with several darts sticking out of it and
holes from several more. "The Crossover Queen!"
Penultimate Savior started, and he mentally reclassified the pirates from
"wacky recurring minor antagonists" to "some kinda metaplot deal". Suzaku's
eyebrows went up, and she opened her mouth-- and closed it, as the captain
"And at this point, you may well ask - who are these brave but foolish
souls that fight so valiantly? And what is the name of their fantastical ship,
with which they traverse the seaways, spaceways, airways, and worldways?" She
spread her arms wide, grandly gesturing not just to the hold, but to the
entire vessel. "This happens to be the good ship Katzenjammer, and we-- the
She pointed her sword at the snarky denim woman. "Victo--"
"VICKY," the woman's voice stabbed.
"...Vicky Arden," the captain acknowledged, "ace gadgeteer and technician
par excellance! John Littlewood, peaceful member of the alien race known as
"Greetings," said the tall, thin, purple alien, in a melodious voice
lightly flavored with a strange alien accent.
"Green Delaware, spirit of another Earth exploring the universes!"
"Hi, guys," said an unassuming young person with skin the color of wet
beaches or dry soil.
"And Goldengoose, the unglorious daughter of the dead planet Qwerty!"
The black woman wearing the yellow gi rubbed her forehead. "You know, we're
*all* from dead planets or destroyed worlds. You don't have to keep pointing
it out about me, specifically."
"Oh! You are?" Suzaku looked around at the motley crew of misfits.
"That's pretty harsh, narrator. But yes! Yes we are," said the captain,
spinning around and sheathing her sword. "Survivors each, survivors all, come
together out of lost causes for a cause greater than any one of us!"
"Hmmmm..." Suzaku nodded. Penultimate Savior could tell she was impressed
by her sincerity, bombastic though it was. "So, what's your name?"
"Myself? I am..." She dipped the brim of her hat and spread her arms out,
grinning. "Captain Fucking Awesome!"
"...okay well bye." Suzaku turned to leave.
"Wait, wait, hang on just a moment..." CFA hung onto her hat, running
around to the other side of Suzaku and holding up her hands. "While my
distinctive cognomen may not be--"
"Look, I'll agree to ignore the silly name if you agree not to try and
"...as you say, ma'am."
"Right. So, Captain Fu... Captain," said Suzaku, tips of her hair
flickering with cosmic flame. "You're brave to go up against the Crossover
Queen, but, well... pardon me for saying so, but you don't seem really very...
"A fair point!" said the Captain, who had recovered her flair. "But you
see... I must admit a bit of misdirection on my part, a lacuna in my usual
"If this is straightforwardness, I'd hate to see her prevaricate," grumbled
Penultimate Savior, sitting down on a crate marked 'Sundries'. Goldengoose
"We did steal one thing, when it looked as if this world had been
abandoned. A storehouse of iconic power, imbued with the power of this world's
heroes!" Her fingers spun like a stage magician, and out of the air, she
pulled out a small, detailed, highly-articulated statuette, made in the image
of a young boy with a flaming skull for a head.
Penultimate Savior stood up lightpole straight (which is to say, reasonably
straight depending on maintenance and setting). "You stole my collection of
the Last LNH Action Figures In the Galaxy!?"
"Ah, that's one question answered!" crowed the Captain. She held out her
sword in front of her, flat. There was a ruby mounted in the handle, facing
upwards. "And, milady, here is the answer to yours!" She touched the foot of
the action figure to the ruby. "LEGION CHARGE!"
The gem grew brilliant with light. "FIREWIRE!" shouted a hot-blooded voice,
and a crimson glow shot up the blade of the sword. The Captain sliced through
the air, trailing fire, forming a letter F made of hovering flame; then, with
a spin, she launched it through the air, where it impacted against the hull,
leaving char and soot in the shape of the letter.
"Aw, for the love of--" Vicky threw a sock full of superballs at the
Captain. "You know, people have to clean these things up!"
The Captain ducked, and turned, grinning, to Suzaku. "So you see. But..."
She flourished the sword; the glow was already gone. "The iconic charge
doesn't last very long, on its own, and takes quite a while to return." She
tapped the figure on the jewel again; nothing happened.
Green stroked their hand over the charred wood. "Don't forget about the
The Captain snapped her fingers. "Yes! Our ship is not simply an
exploration vessel, but a fully functional defense unit, capable of
transformation into a powerful humanoid warrior!
"Same problem, tho," said Goldengoose, lifting a barrel full of nanite wood
refinisher (apparently this sort of thing happened a lot, thought Penultimate
Savior) and carrying it across the hold. "Can't use it for very long. Power
usage goes thru the roof."
Suzaku looked pondersome, and PS knew enough to worry when his sister got
pondersome. He opened his mouth, but she was quicker. "So what you really need
is the *power* to take on her forces head-to-head..."
"Riyoko..." hissed PS, trying to elbow her and missing as she stepped
"Essentially," said the Captain, stepping forward as well, her body
language broadcasting a bit less bombast, turning subtly demure. "We were
ready to move on when we caught that great release of energy on the surface.
We had hoped it would be some source of power which could help us in our
quest..." She let the end of the sentence rise up just a bit, a question asked
"Riyoko, I know what you're thinking..." muttered PS, putting a hand on her
She shrugged it off, saying, "Well... you know, I *am* thinking, and
thinking about it, that's just what it might be." She grinned.
"Excuse us for a moment," Suzaku said, and spun around, grabbing
Penultimate Savior by the arms. "William! Yes! Hi!"
"What are you doing!? You've just met these people and you're running off
She just stared at him for a moment, then put her face in her hand. The
strands of her hair rose in the air, then exploded in a fiery conflagration;
he startled back. After a moment, they died down; she pulled her hand off her
face, and straightened up.
"First of all," she said, "I *am* an adult woman. Your cosmic awareness
should be able to tell that much."
"...to be fair, you've been overloading it since I got here," he offered,
"Heh. Makes sense, but still." She brushed a smoldering lock out of her
face. "Now that that's established... look, there's something here we've got
to deal with. Ignoring it would be irresponsible."
"What, the Crossover Queen? I mean, sure, she's a Big Bad and all, but
she's hardly the direct threat that the rifts were. We need to..." He
hesitated. "Don't we need to concentrate on rebuilding?"
"That's just the thing. I think she's exactly that much of a threat." She
ran her hand through her hair, flames shifting like a waterfall at sunset.
"William... what destroyed our world? Yes, the rifts, the Writers not
finishing things, but-- what kind of storyline is so big that, if one person
doesn't finish something, nobody can?"
Penultimate Savior paused. He began to see it, the scope of her thoughts,
and he stared into the distance. "...a crossover."
Suzaku nodded. "And especially the big, restrictive crossovers that depend
on one person's work. Shimatta! Forget the LNH - look at real-life comics.
When Secret Wars fell behind, a bunch of other comics got pushed back, at the
biggest company in the business. It doesn't always happen, but when it
does..." She shook her head. "Crossovers are fun, but not all the time. You
have to have space to breathe, and the Crossover Queen..."
"...she doesn't get that," he said, following the path. "She's like the
ultimate helicopter mom - *no* respect for giving *anyone* space."
"Exactly." She grimaced, blue eyes flickering with red. "The Queen doesn't
realize it. Doesn't *want* to realize it. But the end result of her Ultimate
Crossover is a storytelling form so restrictive that no one can move first,
freezing the narrative forever."
"Ugh. Siegel and Shuster preserve us." He rubbed his temples. "All right,
I get the thematic link. But is this really the best way? Using your power
like this... I mean, what you were doing back there was pretty impressive
She giggled. "Thanks, bro. But I just needed to get Gaia going - she'll
take care of the rest, if you let her. And I can't stop moving now." She ran
her hands through her hair again, and PS realized how much bigger the flare
was. "This power... it's gonna burn me out if I don't find something to use it
on. The Crossover Queen seems big enough."
"...okay." He smiled, crossing his arms. "Seems you've got your heart set
on it. You've always been the stubborn one, anyway."
"What about the time you sat on the Keystone of the Covenant for three
weeks because you really wanted the ice cream flavor that only existed in
"Oh, sure, *one* time." Penultimate Savior grinned. "Take care of yourself
out there. I don't want to have to go through all that angst *again*, sheesh."
Suzaku pfft'd. "Oh, thanks, I feel so unfridgeable..." She rolled her eyes,
and they hugged tight. After the hug, she turned back to the Captain. "So, in
terms of the kind of power you're looking for..." She pointed her finger like
a gun at the action figure, and a burst of multicolor flame flew from one into
The Captain raised her eyebrows. "Well, then... LEGION CHARGE!" She touched
the figure to the gem and it burst into light, calling "FIREWIRE!" and glowing
"And that's not all." Suzaku took the figure and tossed it to Vicky. "Try
She shrugged. "Why not?" From somewhere behind her, she pulled a gold
plastic rectangle with a sapphire on it. "Legion charge." Ignoring the
Captain's furious objections to her lack of drama, she touched the figure to
the gem. It shone cerulean, and the same voice called out "FIREWIRE!" She
flipped around and unfolded the rectangle, and a pair of wi-fi antennas popped
out, flickering with chaotic energy. "Well, well, demonic networking powers.
"Can I give it a spin?" said Goldengoose. Vicky passed her the figure, and
she pressed it into the topaz on her gold plastic belt buckle. "Legion
Charge!" After all the shouting and shining, she did a high kick in midair,
and an arc of flames followed her foot. "Hah! Unbeatable!"
"And," said Suzaku, "I can power the robot too-- but only if I get to drive
it." She winked. "What'cha say?"
Captain Fucking Awesome looked around at her crew, and they all seemed to
be in agreement. "We say - welcome aboard!" And everyone cheered.
The ship dropped Penultimate Savior off on the outskirts of Net.ropolis,
near the Echo Lad Memorial Memorial Children's Children's Hospital Hospital.
He stood in the middle of a garden, tiny flowers flourishing between the
cracked slabs of pavement. The ship's gangway retracted, and it lifted off
into the sky.
He watched as it rose. In its wake, the dusty red clouds melted away,
shafts of blue shining through. In the middle of a ring of sky, it stopped.
The stylized shapes of the vessel started coming apart, swapping with one
another, its pieces assuming a humanoid form. On its back, a pair of wings
blossomed, made of iridescent flame. It turned to scan the ground, and when
its great glass eyes spied him, it waved, and he waved back, grinning
helplessly. Eventually, it turned, and, hands curled into determined fists,
zoomed off into space.
He sighed, but not unhappily. Nothing was perfect, but everything was
workable. Usenet was alive, and so was he. Time to get to work.
Author's Notes: That was a heck of an LNH hiatus, yeah?
While the Goliardians take obvious inspiration from the Starjammers, their
main source of pastiche is Pirate Sentai Gokaiger, the thirty-fifth series in
the Super Sentai franchise (which, for those unfamiliar, is the source
material for Power Rangers; this one specifically was adapted into Power
Rangers Super Megaforce). The name of the team comes from the word "goliard",
meaning "A wandering student in medieval Europe disposed to conviviality,
license, and the making of ribald and satirical Latin songs." [American
Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011).
Full roster entries for the Goliardians:
NAME: Captain Fucking Awesome
ALTER EGO: Unknown
CREATED BY: Andrew Perron
HISTORY: Mostly unexplored. When she first showed up to bring the Goliardians
together, she already had the Katzenjammer and her scar.
PERSONALITY: Dramatic and flamboyant. Performs pirate tropes with flair.
Cultivates an air of mystery.
POWERS AND ABILITIES: Excellent hand-to-hand fighter. Using the Goliard Blade,
channels the weapon-based and "shooty" powers and abilities of various members
of the LNH.
APPEARANCE: An East Asian woman with long, flowing white hair and an X-shaped
scar over her left eye. Wears a crimson version of a pirate captain's outfit,
with a jerkin, breeches, boots, and a wide tricorn hat with a huge white
feather sticking out of it. Wields the Goliard Blade, a chunky, toyetic sword
made of gold plastic with a ruby mounted on the pommel.
USABILITY: Free For Use
ALTER EGO: Victoria Arden
CREATED BY: Adrian McClure and Andrew Perron
HISTORY: A member of the LNH in the wReamless world that Fearless Leader came
from, she created an experimental dimensional teleport interface that stranded
her in another world. By the time she managed to get back, her world had been
consumed by Spham. Fleeing in grief, she ended up meeting the Captain and
becoming her first teammate.
PERSONALITY: Snarky, stubborn, passionate, wounded. Doesn't talk about the
POWERS AND ABILITIES: High-level mechanical and technical skills. Using the
Goliard Tool, channels the gadget-based powers and abilities of various
members of the LNH.
APPEARANCE: A quite attractive Asian woman with short-cropped hair with the
tips dyed blue. Wears a lot of denim. Carries the Goliard Tool, a big, chunky
multi-tool in a casing of gold plastic with a sapphire mounted on it.
USABILITY: Not Reserved
ALTER EGO: Green Delaware
CREATED BY: Lalo Martins
HISTORY: Green was born to be the Earth Spirit of the Legion of Occult Heroes'
Earth, which had been metaphysically devastated when its Writers were cut off.
At birth, they decided to exist as a humanoid and walk among humanity. A
native of the LNH2 timeline, they joined Acra Flight and came with them to
Looniverse-A as one of the New Misfits. After 58.5 ended, they decided to
explore the universe and try to find new ways to protect life. To this end,
they joined the Goliardians.
PERSONALITY: Passionate, with a strong sense of responsibility, but a somewhat
alien viewpoint who sees that responsibility more towards life in general than
individuals in specific. Tries not to stick out too much. Is of fluid gender,
and comfortable with any pronouns.
POWERS AND ABILITIES: Can communicate with plants, animals, and planetary
spirits. Using the Goliard Brace, channels the substance- and element-
controlling powers and abilities of various members of the LNH.
APPEARANCE: Androgynous twentysomething human of ambiguous ethnicity, with
bright green eyes and short dark green hair. Tends to be seen as whatever
gender, if any, the viewer associates with "Earth". Usually wears a green
trenchcoat, with brown slacks and sandals, and a white T-shirt with an oak
leaf hand-painted on the chest. Wears the Goliard Brace, a gold plastic
armband with an emerald mounted on it, on their left wrist.
USABILITY: Not Reserved
ALTER EGO: Aestel Em-Dash
CREATED BY: Andrew Perron
HISTORY: Aestel's family was assigned to Qwertian Deep Space Station Sys-Rq 7
when the Dvorakian Logic Bomb destroyed Qwerty. With no support from the
homeworld, the station heads dedicated themselves to revenge, conscripting
everyone aboard and training them to make a Glory Virus-powered attack on
Dvorak. Aestel escaped, working jobs as a mercenary to support her little
brother until the Goliardians helped her get him into college on Webster's
PERSONALITY: Tough exterior, philosophical and thoughtful interior.
POWERS AND ABILITIES: Highly trained martial artist. Using the Goliard Belt,
channels the physical and body-based powers and abilities of various members
of the LNH. Might have powers if she's exposed to computers that they stopped
making, like, twenty years ago?
APPEARANCE: Black Qwertian (baseline humaniform) woman. Usually wears a yellow
gi with a yellow headband and comfortable slippers, along with the Goliard
Belt, a black spandex belt with a chunky buckle made of gold plastic, with a
topaz mounted in it.
USABILITY: Free For Use
NAME: John Littlewood
ALTER EGO: N/A
CREATED BY: Andrew Perron
HISTORY: John Littlewood is one of the Inhilators, psychic aliens whose mobile
planet attacked the Looniearth in War Without Worlds. As a member of the
Inhilator underclass, he lived a life of drugged-out slavery until the planet
was destroyed and he was left on Earth. Like his fellows, he had to work out
his free will for himself; hitchhiking on the first ship off the planet, he
drifted aimlessly thru the cosmos until meeting up with the Goliardians.
PERSONALITY: Calm and curious. Tends to be reactive, rather than making the
POWERS AND ABILITIES: Low-level clairvoyance, telepathy, and telekinesis.
Using the Goliard Band, channels the psychic and/or mental abilities of
various members of the LNH.
APPEARANCE: A tall, thin, purple alien with an enormous nose. Usually found in
long white robes trimmed with pink. Wears the Goliard Band, a gold plastic
headband with a pink diamond mounted in it.
USABILITY: Free For Use
Also, Manga Girl III's full name is Riyoko Murasaki (after the creator of The
Rose of Versailles and the writer of The Tale of Genji). Penultimate Savior's
first name was already established as William (in Ultimate Mercenary #6), so
I'll stick the same surname on there~
Drew "closing the book on this one, finally" Perron
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