LNH: Just Another Multi-Writer Cascade That Will Probably Never Have an Ending #13: Cosmic Plot Device Caper Omega: "The Ends of Every Thing" (Part A)

Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Sun May 31 20:49:18 PDT 2015

This is it! The moment Arthur Spitzer thought would never come to pass!

                                 ! FINAL ISSUE !
                            LUCKY NUMBER THIRTEEN
                       - COSMIC PLOT DEVICE CAPER OMEGA -
                            "The Ends of Every Thing"
                                by Andrew Perron
A George Perez-style super-detailed tableau. In the middle of the cover is the
Kubrik's Kube, with rifts extending out from it in all directions. The
Crossover Queen looms over it from above, and Net.Access reaches up at it from
below. Merissa faces towards it from the left, and Time Crapper IV does the
same from the right, their faces mirror images. The background is a starfield
with rubble and net.heroes flying through the air; from the lower right corner
to the upper right, behind all the foreground elements, is Lydia Devin,
carrying several net.heroes in one arm and trying to catch more as they fall.

    Merissa came out of room 58008 completely engrossed in the gun and its
holographic manual. Hm, yes, maintenance, oiling the barrel - not necessary,
but made it look shinier and more impressive. Very important. ...she *totally*
had to show someone how cool this was.

    She heard people shuffling around out in the lobby. Hopefully, it was
someone who could appreciate this!

    The Green Knight had lead the Legion of Young.Heroes (Lacuna, Apostrophe,
Jive Turkey and Cameo Gonzaga) back to the LNHQ, along with Manga Girl and a
bunch of teenage ex-Goths and used book arcade patrons. Cameo Gonzaga was
talking to Manga Girl about the New Generation Creator manga of the 2020s, and
the Green Knight was looking around warily.

    "Crossover energy increasing," said Apostrophe. "The micro-rifts reach out,
climbing toward the Newtonian light of the macroscale."

    "Now that Lacuna's identified their spectrum, I can see them," said the
Green Knight, focusing their optics. "By Unity, there's hundreds..."

    "Hey, *nerds*!" shouted Merissa, kicking open the lobby doors. "Feast your
eyes on *this*!" She pointed the Mega-Ultra-BIGGUN into the air, at just the
right angle to let the compact fluorescent lights shine off the chrome. So

    "Shit!" The Green Knight's weapons flipped out. The rest of the Legion of
Young.Heroes hopped into slightly awkward, obviously unrehearsed battle poses,
while Manga Girl flashed into a pose that was super-dynamic and cool-looking.

    Most of the bystanders, being long-time citizens of Net.ropolis, quietly
snuck out the doors while the getting was good. But two of the teen girls ran
out, past the net.heroes, and up to Merissa.

    One of them stopped next to her, hands balled up, swaying slightly as she
talked. "So, you kinda brainwashed us, and that's not cool, buuuuut..." She
bounced on her heels. "You're so *stylish*! So *badass*!"

    "Yeah!" said the other girl. "You see what'cha want and you *get* it!"

    "...seriously? I-- I mean, of course!" Merissa hefted the gun and grinned.
"I'm the most badass general of the Beige Order! The youngest ever to get it!
I was so much better than everyone else that they *begged* me to join up!"

    "Oh my *god*." The Green Knight stepped inbetween the girls and Merissa,
getting up in her interpersonal space. "Look, Vector, I don't know what that
thing is--"

    "Ah!" Merissa spun the gun around, showing off the barrel. "This is the
Mega-Ultra-BIGGUN, the finest piece of personal artillery you'll see in *this*
lifetime. The para-rifled barrel super-stabilizes its energic payloads,
allowing for pinpoint accuracy and concentration of effect! With this, you
could destroy your next-door neighbor's house without spilling your drink!"

    The fangirls' eyes went wide, mouths turning into Os of wonder. The nano-
actuators controlling the position of the Green Knight's eyebrow twitched.
"Destroy... your...!?"

    "But that's not all!" The holographic screen flipped around and expanded,
showing a complex data readout on the LYHers, complete with creepy X-rays and
lists of their favorite pizza toppings. "Comprehensive threat ratings, with
information about the target's defenses and the amount of force needed to
stun, disable, knock unconscious, and kill anyone you like!"

    "Okay, that's it!" The Green Knight picked up Merissa ("Hey, what are
you--"), kicked open the revolving door ("That doesn't make sense--"), and
tossed her out with a Wilhelm scream.

    "Right!" they said, dusting off their hands. "Now we *might just* have
enough time to stop the rifts. Lacuna--"

    WHAM! The revolving door slammed open, and Merissa stalked back in. Her
outfit was muddy, her hair was flying every which way, and she was covered in
leaves and twigs from the bushes outside. "Oh. My. God."

    Jive Turkey leaned over to Cameo Gonzaga and whispered, "Thinkin' the big
boss might'a made a SNAFU of things, dig?"

    "I can't *believe* you people!" Merissa's clothes expanded from the inside,
ripping and tearing apart to reveal spiked battle armor. "Can't I *ever* share
cool stuff without people attacking me!? You're all just haters, and I'm gonna
shake you off!" She turned to face them, and as she did, a bright line of
green-blue light ripped open behind her, outlining her silhouette. Bad. Ass.

    "&#*!" said Lacuna. "The rifts are breaching! The final dissolve's begun!"

    The fangirls were jumping up and down and cheering until Manga Girl popped
up and handed them bags of swag. "Thank you for coming! In next week's
episode, the miraculous Merissa fights all the haters, twenty-seven-on-one!
But will her firepower be a match for the Ultimate Sempai? Callipygean Beige
General Merissa: Flash X Destiny~*~Dream! You, too, can fight the turquoise

    The girls nodded and walked out the door, chatting about what would happen
in the next episode and whether or not Kotobukiya would be coming out with a
bishoujo Merissa statue. Manga Girl turned around. Her powers of anime
narration had taken care of that, but to stop this, she'd need some *real*
love-and-justice style!

    The Green Knight was going into Ultimate Battle Mode, all kinds of crazy
cybernetic weapons extending from their body. "Fine! I'm done holding back,
being the responsible leader! TIME TO GO ALL-OUT!"

    Cameo Gonzaga groaned. "Not again!" But Ptolemaic spheres appeared on their
brow as they powered up.

    "Remember what happened with Kid Chasm?" Lacuna spread her hands, the
whispery shadow images of Second Doctor reconstructions appearing between

    Jive Turkey shook his head. "This time, we're all dancin' a Texas
cakewalk." His eyes flashed red-yellow-green.

    "I hear the deaths of Y shuffling in their sleep, the Ebon Skater rolling
along the ends of the world. Ending is at our left shoulder, though her
brother be still absent at the finish of all things." Apostrophe's halo of
letters and symbols swirled like a furious dust devil.

    Around them, space cracked, rifts large and small ripping holes in midair.
The wind that whipped between the worlds blew around papers, trinkets,
clothes, yet an unearthly stillness settled on their skin.

    "Okay, *losers*," said Merissa, hefting the barrel of the Mega-Ultra-
BIGGUN. Flickering spots of energy appeared, sucking themselves into the gun
anime-style. "Let's dance!"

    "Wait wait wait hang on hang on!" Manga Girl ran between the combatants.
"Merissa, this is the wrong thing to do!"

    "...but... it's cool to be really tough and a good fighter who shoots
people. I mean, look at them." Merissa pointed to the Green Knight. "Super
boring before, but now that they've got all those guns and stuff and they're
gonna fight? The new hotness."

    "Okay, well, that's kind of outdated slang but. Is being cool *really* all
you want?"

    Merissa's face darkened. "So what are you saying? That I can't even do that
right?" She shook her head fiercely. "No way! I'm the biggest badass in the
galaxy, and you and Mom and everybody are gonna agree!" With a CHOOM, she sent
a stun shot into Manga Girl's body, knocking her back into a rift!

    The Green Knight shouted, and the battle was joined.


    Over in the LNHQ's Plot Device Room, several net.heroes stood, stunned. The
rift had swallowed the chunk of Beige Midnight, along with Masterplan Lad,
Penultimate Savior, Killswitch, and Pliable Lad, and disappeared. Now, Non-
Judgmental Agnostic, Foreshadowing Lad, Mashup Laq, and the rest of the
alternate-future Saviors of the Net (Continuity's Champion, Kid Remender,
Irony Monger, and Occultism Lord) were just kind of standing there, wondering
what to do next.

    "We are *screwed!" shouted Kid Remender, snapping out of it.

    "Indeed, we have failed," said Occultism Lord. "Best to engage in Plan
Zeta, and evacuate who we can from this existence--"

    "But it *worked*," said Continuity's Champion. He turned and rifled through
the things on the shelves. "If we can find more pieces of story, we can at
least buy ourselves time!"

    "No signals found on that frequency of the electrofictiomagnetic spectrum,"
said Irony Monger. "However, the full bandwidth of stable story radiation is

    "...um," said Mashup Laq, leaning out into the hallway. "Do y'all hear
that? Sort of... zappy, exploding noises?"

    "Also," said Non-Judgmental Agnostic, "I think someone just yelled 'stop
her so we can stop the rifts'. If that helps?" Foreshadowing Lad nodded.

    The Saviors looked at each other and ran out the door.


    Merissa crouched, spun, fired. A volley of shots seemingly missed, only to
hit *behind* the targets and explode with a pyrotechnic shockwave that knocked
them all down. Ha! Classic.

    "&*$@ it!" The Green Knight let loose a barrage of pinpoint missiles,
strafing through the air like an Itano Circus. Half of them disappeared,
flying into a rift that sliced through the air like an open wound, but it
didn't matter; Merissa matched them shot for shot, tiny explosions blossoming
in midair.

    The Saviors skidded around the corner. Merissa turned; the analysis flashed
in front of her eye, and she fired. A burst of energy kicked against Irony
Monger's hyperpolymer skin, and he fell backwards, swallowed up by a rift.

    "Crap! Hello there!" Mashup Laq placed their hands on Occultism Lord and
Foreshadowing Lad's shoulders, and leapt into the fray as Margin Prophet,
Baron of the Next Six Seconds. Merissa let loose a spread of incapacitating
charge, but the target was gone by the time the shot was fired, bouncing and
jinking across the room with perfect predictive power.

    With Merissa distracted, Lacuna began a ritual centered around the spatial
voids of the rifts, hoping to stabilize them for a moment. Unfortunately, this
was when Kid Remender decided to go in, crossbows blazing, shooting silver
bolts surrounded by inexplicable darkness. The shadow sizzled past, disrupting
her magic, rifts pulling her out of existence before she could gasp in

    Merissa liked a target-rich environment, but she could only aim in one
direction at once... or could she? She mentally selected Action Movie Mode and
the Mega-Ultra-BIGGUN split into two, firing different shots in different
directions like a boss! Hell yeah!

    As Kid Remender went down, Continuity's Champion and Jive Turkey charged
her from the sides. The latter attempted to attack her use of 'like a boss' in
internal narration, while the former focused on how it was never really
explained how she survived her appearance in Birth of a Villain; but Merissa
fired off a storm of plasma packets wrapped in bouncy energy, delivering
multiple shots of kinetic force before exploding unpredictably. Both of her
assailants were juggled around, plasma bursts tossing them in the air and
gravity pulling each into a rift.

    A man in a purple uniform with a green cape and "Y" insignia fell out
of a rift and started ranting to himself about postage stamps; Merissa
spun and blasted him with magenta force bolts, knocking him into another
rift altogether. [ See Looniverse Y #14 - Footnote Girl, still hanging
out with the rest of the LNH on Planet Inferior ]

     Foreshadowing Lad had a sudden premonition. He grabbed Non-Judgmental
Agnostic's arm. "This way!" Without hesitation, he dove into a certain rift,
spinning oddly against the current. NJA shrugged - "Why not?" - and jumped in

    Mashup Laq/Margin Prophet dove through the storm with a flying kick. The
air was thick with bullets and with rifts, but somehow, not even one touched
them. Their foot landed lightly on Merissa's chest; she spun, falling to the
floor and just barely avoiding a rift.

    Instantly, the Green Knight was on her, firing sticky balls of immobilizing
fluid and ionic bursts of weapon-disabling energy. Occultism Lord and Cameo
Gonzaga spoke the last syllables of the rituals they'd been preparing, perfect
geometry and demonic might sliding through space towards her, and Apostrophe
floated in the air, ready to deliver the judgment of a dying world.

    And in the half-second before she was trapped, the barrel of the Mega-
Ultra-BIGGUN flipped, and Merissa fired on herself, disappearing in a ball of

    For a moment, the net.heroes hesitated, standing on islands in a sea of
blue-green-gold energy as space, time, and narrative ripped itself apart.

    Then with a KRAKADOOM a wave of energy blew them back. Merissa landed on
the remains of the reception desk, laughing, as one, two, three, four of them
fell into the hungry rifts. "Time energy! I *love* this thing!"

    And a fist hit her in the face. Mashup Laq was there, a whirlwind of
motion, and Merissa struggled to keep up. Her guns kept being where the
prophetic person wasn't, and their close fighting skills were *not quite*
evenly matched - she couldn't even scratch them with the spikes on her armor.
She was being driven back, towards the edge of the disintegrating desk.

    One chance to win it. She fired a wild blast of energy that disappeared
before Mashup Laq could even dodge. Then she filled the space around them with
shot after shot, weaving a desperate pattern. Mashup Laq made their way
through it, spinning, turning, closer, closer--

    Precisely seven seconds after it had disappeared, the blast of time energy
surged through Mashup Laq's body, their powers running out all at once. They
blinked, and Merissa took no chances; a roundhouse punch sent them spinning
into the rifts.

    "YAHOO!" shouted Merissa, rift energy flowing over the desk, flowing over
her body, dragging her into a timeless limbo. "I'M THE COOLEST!"


    Naturally, in a timeless limbo, one doesn't have time to chill out. So on
the other side of the universe, as those who had been at the epicenter of the
rifts popped out onto Planet Inferior one by one, Merissa was still pumped as

    She looked around. Oh, rad! It was the big climax, with the Crossover
Queen's armies behind her and the LNH in front of her. And, oh, hey - was that
Kubrik's Kube in that one lady's hand? Why, yes it was!

    The Mega-Ultra-BIGGUN manifested a trigger, for drama's sake, and she put
her finger on it. "Okay!" she said, pointing the enormous chrome barrel at the
LNHer. "You people had better give me the Kube, or there will be SERIOUS

    The lady raised her finger to her lips, looked at the rest of her team.
Hah! Merissa was in position to blast 'em all!

    "Sure," she said, and tossed the Kube through the air.

    It landed in Merissa's hand. Her fingers closed on it, and POWER shot
through her.

    So much! As much as she'd ever had, as much as she'd ever wanted and more!
She could feel it burning through her veins alongside the adrenaline, pushing
her past a runner's high, her mind expanding into the Kube's patterns. Oh man,
this was the coolest thing ever! She was on top of the world! She could do
anything she wanted - tell off her mom, turn the entire world into goths, get
Firefly back on the air!

    Anything she wanted...

    ...well, she wanted to win, right? But... she had. She'd beaten everybody.

    Actually, looking back at it, that fight was incredibly pointless. She'd
taken out anyone capable of stopping the rifts halfway through - and come to
think, she didn't really care about the rifts. She just wanted to show off her
new stuff.

    ...which she had! Okay, no, that fight totally had a point - being awesome
and showing everybody. Good job, Merissa. That was all she'd ever wanted,

    ....so, then... what... what now? She was the biggest badass - but was she
any bigger of a badass than whoever had this gun before? Did it count if she
couldn't beat them without the gun? She sure couldn't have beat Mashup Laq
without it, which probably meant she couldn't beat the people they'd taken
their powers from...

    Okay, okay, wait. She was... she wanted to...

    Well, if she didn't know what she wanted, she wanted to *know*.

    Merissa looked into the Kube, and wished to know herself. Starting at the
beginning. The Kube complied, and took her back to the beginning...

    Once upon a time, there was a virus named Vector.


    Once upon a time, there was a hero. A woman named Malysa El-lenn Aitch. She
fought evil, and in the end, she died.

    Vector - a virus named Melissa, a villain - was born from her death. But
the villain and the hero within her fought. The plan was that she would simply
make clones; instead, she created new selves, constantly searching for her
true self within them. This was how Merissa had been born, yet another
variation on a theme.

    But which self was she? The question was as soon asked as answered. Through
the Kube, Merissa could see every piece of fanfiction, every bit of fluff and
hardcore lemon, every hurt-comfort slashfic, every crack AU, and she knew what
she was - a Mary Sue.

    Mary Sue, a word with so many meanings it was meaningless. She was every
frustrated fantasy a girl ever had, everything they've ever wanted to be,
every bit of badassery and competence and freedom they've been denied. She was
every piece of bad writing, of confused teenage angst, of unfortunate
idealization. She was every character who was warped, made lesser, to make the
fantasy bigger - like her Kids' Crew, like the fictional characters under her
control, like her goth minions. She'd twisted so many people, trying to
straighten herself out - trying to make herself be loved.

    The pain and guilt overcame her, and she dropped to her knees. But the Kube
flared, and all throughout the multiverse, she could see them - amazing women.

    True power fantasies. Utopian princesses of truth and love. Unstoppable
soldiers of lost causes. Unbeatable teenage girls who would take on any
challenge with a joyous bucktoothed grin.

    Real-life badasses. Scientists, scholars, queens, knights, artists,
explorers - the ones who took that freedom and made it theirs, an
inexhaustible wave, banded together and supporting one another against the
pencil rubber of history.

    She realized what it was she wanted - to be one of them.

    So she was a power fantasy. Well, good! Then she'd be powerful! She'd be
fantastic! She would be so wonderfully awesome that she wouldn't have to make
other people weaker anymore! Instead, she'd make them *stronger*! She would be
a part of a legion of incredible, amazing heroes, and she'd be the best of
all - not just the most badass, but the one who cared the most, helped the
most, and loved the most!

    Merissa rose from her knees. In reality, the whole thing had taken less
than a minute - they'd seen her grasp the Kube, fall, and rise again. Well,
they hadn't seen *anything* yet.

    "Merissa?" said the holographic form of the Crossover Queen. "Careful. The
Kube's power can be overwhelming to those not used to it. You had best give it
to me now." Her voice was patient, maternal. Annoying.

    Merissa looked up at the Crossover Queen. It was weird. She didn't admire
the Queen any less now - she was one of those determined ladies who would keep
fighting until the bitter end. Before, she thought she would be cooler if she
just kind of copied that. But now, she could see that the Queen was making the
same mistake she had - twisting the people around her into what she thought
they should be. "Sorry, Mom, but I think it's time I moved out and got my own
place!" That didn't make a lot of sense, but she turned it into a cool line by
casually tossing the Kube over her shoulder, letting it clatter on the broken
tiles of LAN.os's throne room.

    The Queen's eyes narrowed. "I rescued you, pulled you from the void. I gave
you purpose, and this is how you repay me."

    Poor woman. She didn't understand why people weren't lining up to be helped
by her. "You're not my real mom," said Merissa, and stuck out her tongue.

    The Queen gasped. Burning Bra Lass stifled a snort. Catalyst Lass grinned.
The army broke out into whispering, until the Queen rapped her staff on the
ground. She grew back to great size, looming dramatically over the
battlefield. "Mother or not, I am your commander, and you *will* obey my
orders. Bring the Kube to me."

    "Hang on a minute," said a voice. Out of the crowd stepped Lydia Devin,
growing as she walked until she was eye-to-eye with the image of the Queen.
"I try not to interfere too much. Everybody deserves the chance to write their
own story, y'know? But I don't think these kids really *want* to cross their
story over with yours." She cracked her knuckles. "Why don't you pick on
someone your own size?"

    "Nice," whispered Merissa. Somehow, Lydia really *was* that cool.

    The Crossover Queen raised an eyebrow. "Beware, child. You think I cannot
exercise my power through this avatar? I have drunk the power of Elder Gods,
and you are a very young god indeed."

    "Christ, you really *are* like my sister - except she wouldn't be so
fucking cliche."

    The Queen gave her a flat look. With a wave of her arms, the forcefield
over the LNH expanded, becoming a great dome, like the rain cover of the
ultimate MegaSportsColosseum. With a flash, her holographic form became solid,
outlined in forcefield energy. She turned to face the legions at her feet.
"You who joined my army! You are now members of the Beige Order, defenders of
Usenet, justified in using force against those who would let it be destroyed!
Your first order - capture the Kubrik's Kube, and bring me the traitor!"

    The army cheered, and surged forward. The Legion met them, and the battle
was joined.

    Hundreds, thousands joined the Iliad-esque clash. Dorf fought against Dorf,
the minority who had joined the LNH's side against the great numbers of the
Beige Order. Shining heroes of the present, past and future made war against
monsters and dudebros.

    Some were grim, faces set in weary resolve. Gift-Wrapping Granny shot reams
of wrapping paper around her assailants, angry that she'd had to miss sewing
bee for this. Cliche Dude made some comments about the futility of war. Can-
Handle-Any-Type-of-Change-Except-for-the-Ultimate-Ninja-Wearing-a-Cape Lad met
each foe with equanimity. Others revelled in the battle. Skunk Girl spun,
taking out half a dozen Dorfs with flying kicks and cunning claws, then
stunning half a dozen more with her Skunk Blast. Footnote Girl charged in,
hockey stick at the ready, and cut off a phalanx of snoldiers, or snake
soldiers, and snorriors (snail warriors). Firewire blazed with a fierce
spirit. Far above, the massive forms of Lydia and the Crossover Queen traded
earth-shaking blows. Your favorite character was there too, and did something

    There were some who took their attention off the melee for a moment to
search for the true prize - the Kube. But somehow, they never managed to find
it before being swept up in the brawl again.

    Off in a far corner of the battlefield, Alice Ashdown, AKA the all-
embracing Net.Access, banged uselessly on the pillar of black crystal in which
Victoria was trapped. She slashed at it with Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, hammered
away with John Henry's own, but it was useless. She was trying to use
crossover energy to destroy crossover energy. Oh, her powers were about
crossovers as the freedom to play with ideas, while the Queen's were about
centralizing and controlling intellectual property - but the two were tangled
up together, and one could not destroy the other.

    A hand pressed into her shoulder, and something pressed into her hand. A
voice whispered in her ear, "Quickly. We haven't much time."

    "GAH that's creepy!" She shook off the hand and spun around. It was the
Time Crapper, or, well, *a* Time Crapper, one of a line of cosmic time-
traveling manipulators; some broadly evil, some simply pursuing knowledge. She
had been there for this one's origin - a Vector, one of Merissa's sisters, who
had seen the breadth and depth of life itself and gained a deeper
understanding. [ In Ultimate Mercenary #7 - Footnote Girl, throwing herself
into battle ] She had spied her in the shadows, lurking on the bridge of
LAN.os's ship. Now she was in front of her, and the thing in her hand was -
oh. The Kubrik's Kube, glowing with power. "Why...?"

    "I manipulated LAN.os so that this moment would arrive," said the hooded
figure. "It was snatched from my hands by the Crossover Queen, but at present,
she is balanced out. We must hurry."

    "Hurry where, why?"

    "To finally resolve the cause of the rifts, and determine, once and for
all, if the LNH has a future."

    Sounded cosmic, but - she looked back at the crystal pillar. "I can't leave
her behind!"

    "Then bring her into your plotline, as you have been so afraid to do."

    Net.Access hesitated, then nodded. With a groaning, wheezing noise, she
became a timeship once more, unfolding into eleven dimensions, and the black
crystal became her central rotor, rising and falling as she leapt back into
the void.

    The Time Crapper manipulated the controls expertly, doing the work of six
alone. Net.Access rotated and revolved through the dimensions, and could feel
the Kubrik's Kube pulsing as she did, getting closer and closer to - what?

    The timeship's coordinates ticked steadily downward. The Time Crapper's
winding path zigged and zagged around planets, eras, empires and galaxies, but
always with a distinct purpose. Net.Access wondered if that purpose was benign
or malign. "How did you find this path?"

    "As the multiverse died, I hid. As it was reborn, I watched it form." A
slight smile formed beneath the hood. "I learned the technique from the same
fiction from which you take your form."

    That was just great. She was careening through space, driven by someone who
would risk the extinction of all reality just to forward her personal goals.
But... Net.Access was driven just as much, by curiosity. So she drove on,
following the given path to the end.

    Finally, they were there - zero by zero by zero by zero by zero by zero by
zero by zero by zero by zero by zero, the precise center of the
Omnilooniverse. Her humanoid form, wrapped around the timeship's interior,
manifested in the void, protected by a bubble of Looniversal stability and
earthlike conditions.

    The space around her would have seemed like an utter void to anyone who
didn't have the ability to sense the churling whirl of probability. But there
was one dominating structure - a Platonic solid rendered in eleven dimensions,
an impossibly complex puzzle made of lines and angles and planes and cubes and
hybercubes and hyper-hypercubes and hyper-hyper-hypercubes and so on up the
ladder. "This is it, isn't it," said Net.Access. "The Kubrik's Kube. But..."

    The Time Crapper pulled out what looked like an ancient scroll. [ See LNH
Volume 2 #50, because we don't have room for any more exposition - Footnote
Girl, putting a Gogmagoggog in two headlocks at once ] With a flick of the
wrist, it unrolled - and kept unrolling, covering the floor of the timeship's
console room. It was covered in diagrams, showing hands turning the kind of
Kubrik's Kube that Net.Access had held - that she still held, in a chamber
deep within her transcendent spaces, far away from the Crapper.

    "The smaller Kubes are reflections, extrusions into three-dimensional
space," said the Time Crapper. [ I was wrong, apparently - Footnote Girl,
whacking a Mer-Yeti with a hockey stick ] "They channel the greater Kube's
power, and can, in the right place and time, be used to manipulate it."

    "...and you want me to manipulate *that*? Because you said it was a good
idea?" Net.Access's voice rang skeptically in her interior.

    The Time Crapper shrugged. "It is your decision. But see-- rift energy
still seethes over its surface. This existence has been resurrected, but the
cycle is ready to begin once more."

    "And whatever's in there will stop it, huh..." She sighed. "And the only
way I can find out for sure is to do it." Inside her, manipulator arms picked
up the Kube and started twisting.

    At first, the manipulations seemed random. But her trans-temporal sensors
were trained on the great Kube, and soon, she could see the effect. Faces,
sections, hyper-hypercubes turned and slid this way and that. She realized
there were gaps, briefly witnessed, hints of a great hyperdimensional space -
surrounding a great hyperdimensional object.

    Turn, turn, turn. She could feel her mind turning as well. In a flash of
inspiration, she realized - the thing wasn't trapped inside; the Kube had
grown *around* it. It was the true center of the Omnilooniverse, the thing out
of which all the LNH worlds had grown. What was in there? What were her
patient rotations and revolutions working to reveal?

    One more turn. The top of the Kube slid one way, the bottom the other, and
the whole thing unfolded, like a patiently-constructed origami flower, or one
of those Transformers where you press a button and it springs open. Out
floated a great, irregular crystal, the size of a wandering city. A light
shone somewhere within, reflecting and refracting off internal facets, casting
off rainbows in all directions. Net.Access could feel inspirations radiating
from it like sunlight on a summer day. "It's a piece of story..."

    "Yes," said the Time Crapper. "Specifically, an Ending, left untold since
time immemorial - since the very first LNH story."

    Net.Access gasped, soundless in the void. "The Cosmic Plot Device Caper..."

More information about the racc mailing list