LNH/LUNA/SW10: WikiLull After #1: "Feet of Clay"
pwerdna at gmail.com
Wed Dec 7 17:18:14 PST 2016
You feel like venting? I feel like venting. Let's do some venting!
--A F T E R
Issue #1: "Feet of Clay"
by Drew Perron
"You see?" grinned the menacing, painted face. "We were right all along. You may
as well give in."
The woman before him spat right in that face. "Fuck that! The LNH will never
stop fighting you until the last of us is dead - and then, the idea of us will
live on, and outlast the idea of you!"
[November 9th, 2066.]
He reached up with a huge, robotic hand hand and used a napkin to wipe the gob
of spittle off his tiny face. "Well, then. Let's hurry things along and kill you
first." He snapped his figures and gestured to his guards, themselves large
robots with tiny heads. "Take her to-- THE PIT!"
[The former site of the Pizza Pit.]
The guards dragged her to a churning, bubbling, boiling vat of tomato sauce,
heated until it was glowing cherry-tomato-red. Their leader stopped in front of
it and turned towards her, hands clasped behind his back, backlit by the sauce.
"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, miss - what was your name?"
He made a big show of thinking about it, leaning down and peering on the big
yellow U on her ragged, torn spandex outfit, and she rolled her eyes. "That's
it, Uncapturable Lass. As you see, we've captured you handily. Another proof of
the sheer greatness of - Antiochus XXVIII, the Great Justifier, leader of the
She barked with laughter. "Oh, *please*. No matter how many stupid titles you
give yourself, you're still the MicroMACs!"
His robotic optics narrowed. "Watch yourself, girl. We *earned* this title, by
right of conquest."
"What'cha gonna do, kill me?" She smirked. "Your 'conquest' is as fake as your
name. After the Day of Wrongness, you got the Takedown Bots, the Spambots, and
any other bots you could get to follow you, promising to rebuild the world. Then
you cannibalized them to build up your own sad little cadre!" Her voice built in
volume and in anger. "You sacrificed an army and you sacrificed the world just
to have a bunch of pathetic stooges!"
"YOU!" He grabbed her by the throat, his great fingers barely fitting around her
neck, forcing her chin up. She choked in pain, and he looked into her eyes as
she struggled to breathe, struggled to live, against his pitiless grip. Just as
awareness started to fade from her eyes, his hand relaxed, and she slumped to
"No." He turned away. "You do not *deserve* to die at my hand. Besides, now that
I have one of you damned LNHers helpless in my power, you *will* listen to me,
and you *will* see how we turn this world into a paradise - with *this*!" He
snapped his fingers.
Another guard brought out a rectangular case, and opened it. From the case,
Antiochus XXVIII drew a dry-cleaning bag on a hanger. "Behold, our power and our
tool, by right of conquest!" He ripped the bag open. Inside was a coat, black
leather in a classic '80s style. "The Last Trenchcoat!"
She swallowed, roughly, licking her lips. "Ah. ...I have a question."
He smiled, smug, triumphant. "How we were able to obtain this long-lost
artifact? How we plan to use it to remake the world?"
She licked her lips again, took a deep breath... smiled. "Who told you my name
was Uncapturable Lass?"
Antiochus XXVIII paused. He looked around, looked at his guards, who looked at
each other, looked at him. "I, wh... what do you mean?"
"Well. If you're one of the Legacy of Newfangled Hierophants, you can't lie
about your name. But other people can! And--" Her ragged spandex burned with
eldritch flame, and the guards sprang back. "You can wear a different costume!"
The flames swirled around her body and reformed, into something like an electric
blue straitjacket cut down to short sleeves. Around her neck, she wore a pendant
of a broken padlock.
His robotic eyebrows went up. "No! Not you again,
She grinned. "Close, but you're thinking of my mom. You can just call me Escape
Lass." She sprang forward, and he flinched back; and like that, the Last
Trenchcoat was off the hanger and she was gone.
"What-- No! You can't-- she couldn't!" Antiochus XXVIII threw back his head and
roared, "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!
[November 1st, 2016.]
[Not too far from the current site of the Pizza Pit.]
Deathspork: the Terminator watched WikiCide, his unreliable employer, run away.
[ In WikiLull #13 - Footnote Girl ] He turned back to the duo of Amnesiac Brad
Pitt and Kristen Stewart, the latter of whom was holding her crossbow on him,
and cursed. "Fine!" he said. "I'll be back for you when I get a paycheck!" He
threw down a smoke bomb, and there was a faint sound like Ultimate Mercenary
groaning; and he was gone.
"Well. Could've gone worse," Kristen shrugged, and holstered the crossbow.
"Uh..." Brad gestured to the Pizza Pit, and Kristen nodded. They crossed the
grassy median, wound around the cars in the parking lot, and went in, the bell
above the door dinging cheerfully. At the closest table, someone was making a
"...examples such as him and her!" Kid Occultism Kid, AKA the Not-Yet-Ancient
One, rose from the table and pointed at Kristen and Brad. Three of the six seats
were still occupied, by Merissa (who was still dressed as Major Kusanagi from
Ghost in the Shell), Token Girl (who was still baffled to find herself taking on
the role of the mom friend), and WikiBoy (who was no longer a Tachikoma, because
Drew still hasn't actually *seen* Ghost in the Shell). In the middle of the
table were two pizzas, one cheese, one pepperoni. Merissa had her own personal
pan pizza, which had a number of fascinating and highly questionable toppings on it.
Brad's rugged eyebrow went up. "Uh, examples of what, exactly?"
"Of hungry people, I bet." Kristen was already sitting down between Merissa and
Token Girl, and checking out Merissa's outfit. "Nice jacket!"
Merissa grinned. "Same to you!"
"Of the threat and the opportunity we face," said Kid Occultism Kid, sitting
down and taking a draw from their Cherry Vanilla Pistachio Mr. Paprika. "Of the
Brad looked around, noticed he was the only one still standing, and sat. "The
"Yeah," said Token Girl. "You said a lot of vague and mysterious stuff and then
didn't follow up on it."
"Dramatic timing is part of my apprenticeship! All shall be revealed in its
proper time!!" Kid Occultism Kid flung their arms out grandly.
"...and when is that time?" said WikiBoy, leaning on one arm and nibbling a slice.
Kid Occultism Kid pulled out their smartphone. "4:27 PM and thirty-two
seconds!!" They gestured in a Hamlet-holding-the-skull-esque way. "The Idolon -
a being who represents the concept of a famous person, separate from the
real-life being who inspired them. In fictive worlds such as our own, there are
many of these. Some have fully evolved into characters distinct from the
original. As you can see, neither of our esteemed guests is intended as a
perfect simulation. Miss Stewart is based off her real-world equivalent's public
persona - badass, stylish, and willing to call out bullshit. Mister Pitt is even
further from his equivalent, taking that public persona and adding a layer of
Kristen chuckled. "I don't mind being even more badass than a badass person."
"But why do it that way?" said Merissa. "If you really like someone, and you
want to be like them--" She coughed on her drink. "I mean uh! If you want to
*make something* like them... you should try to be as faithful as you can at all
Kid Occultism Kid shrugged. "Why value a celebrity at all? You will likely never
meet the real thing. It is the version of them who exists in your head who is
valuable to you."
Amnesiac Brad Pitt hmmed, rubbing his perpetual five-o'-clock shadow. "But..."
He frowned. "Am *I* really valuable, that way?"
All heads turned to him. Kristen touched his arm. "You okay?"
"Yeah, just... I don't know the whole story, but it seems like the real-world
equivalent of me probably did some rather awful things. I don't know if it's
worth having *anything* to do with someone like that."
Kid Occultism Kid leapt to their feet and pounded on the table. "And that is
PRECISELY why you deserve to exist!!"
A server came over to their table. "Pardon me, but you're disturbing the other
"APOLO-- er. Apologies." They sat back down. "But the point stands. You are a
symbol, an idea that can be held on to, allowing one to let go of the real
person who inspired you. To critique them, to take them justly to task for their
Merissa nodded enthusiastically. "I get it! It's like all of those online
debates I won, about Real Person Fanfics. You've got the person, and you've got,
like, the *story* of the person."
"And the interaction between those things is powerful... but there has to be
something to mediate it." WikiBoy looked up at Amnesiac Brad Pitt. "That's you,
Brad nodded, slowly, rubbing his well-toned upper arm. "So I'm a symbol, made of
all the stuff people value. A story."
Kid Occultism Kid nodded. "If one cannot distinguish between the individual and
the story, one cannot maintain perspective. If the individual makes a mistake,
clashes with the story, one may become disaffected, lose faith in art and
humanity. Or one may cling tighter to one's idols, denying that they've *ever*
made *any* mistakes, and lash out, willing to destroy the world whole just to
hang on to one's emotional investment."
"Speaking of mass destruction," said Token Girl, grabbing the topic with both
metaphorical hands. "That's why you brought us here in the first place, right?"
"Yes! Let us feed this philosophical conversation back into the adventure plot!"
Kid Occultism Kid stood up halfway, received a Look from their server as she
passed by, and sat down. "As I said before [ in WikiLull #13 - Footnote Girl ],
there are four Hillary Clintons currently running for the office of President of
the Loonited States. Each one is an Idolon, and each one represents a different
viewpoint on Mrs. Clinton. But one of them is made of twenty-five years' worth
of cultural hatred - a representation of the pure evil some see as her story!"
"And we'd better hurry," said WikiBoy. "We started this conversation when she
got nominated, but according to that date stamp above, we've got less than a
week 'til the election."
Token Girl sighed. "Dammit, I missed Halloween again. Catalyst Lass and I were
going to cosplay with Hooded Ho'od Win and Organic Lass as the Knight Sabers."
Merissa pulled out her Ultra-Mega-BIGGUN. "So we figure out which Hillary is
evil, blow *her* up, and then the LNHQ will stop exploding!"
"No, actually. That is unrelated."
Kristen Stewart sighed. "Really? I just signed up for magical shitkicking, not a
mess of subplots and B-plots and ridiculous complication."
Kid Occultism Kid shrugged. "I mean, I suppose that it *could* be related, in
some complex way. But I would not count on it."
[November 9th, 2066.]
[Not far from the former site of the Pizza Pit. Almost to the former site of the
Escape Lass ran across the cracked and pitted street, the Last Trenchcoat
clutched tight in her grip. She could hear the faraway clang and rumble of the
AfterMACs. But she knew that if they managed to get her in their sights before
she got across, the distance wouldn't matter at all.
Her escape-senses told her which way to go, letting her weave back and forth
while running full-tilt. She could see the shimmering blue wall before her, but
she could also hear the sizzle of laserbolts from overeager sentries. Back and
forth and back and forth and jump and *through*--
She landed on the other side in a roll, panting, lying on the green grass, under
a holographic but blessedly bright blue sky. Whew.
The former site of the LNHQ was a mass of machinery, maintaining the holographic
environment and the selectively permeable shields - among other tricks to keep
the dangers of the environment out. She walked around the machines and knocked
on the door in the center. She knew she'd been spotted and scanned long before
she'd gone through the shields - else she *couldn't* have gotten through - but
being polite helped encourage the sense of community they'd worked so long to build.
Captain Multitask let her in. She went down the flight of steps, down into the
first of the sub-basements - down into her home.
She could hear a class being held in the Purple Room. She lingered by the
doorway for a moment, peeking in on it. There he was - the leader of the LNH.
The one who'd kept them together for so long. WikiMan.
"Fifty years ago it happened!" said WikiMan, gesturing at the chalkboard, on
which was drawn something between a firebird and a mushroom cloud. "The
Deplorable Idolon, borne of hatred, rose up and spread its destructive wings
across the world, leaving only - the Battlelands!"
The kids were spellbound, as he gestured dramatically. "Fifty years ago, the
Great Darkness spread, and the nations of the world were broken from each
other." He was great at this - she could remember him giving the same speech ten
years ago, and being just as captivated.
"And fifty years ago, the Blue Area was created, in the place where it all
began." He spun around, arms lifted to the world around them. "A bubble of peace
and safety. And generations have grown in that bubble, in this maze of
comfortable space. And the LNH are the ones who guard it."
The bell rang, breaking the spell. WikiMan clapped his hands. "Okay, kids, time
to head home. Do your homework, brush your teeth, and remember, don't go below
level 58.5. Also, the cyberkiwis are throwing a party on level 21. Have fun!"
The kids streamed out, still starry-eyed. Escape Lass chuckled as WikiMan came
out. "Every time you tell that story, we get a new crop of wannabe LNHers."
"That's how you get reallyare LNHers." He smiled, the soft wrinkles around his
eyes crinkling - an affectation, she knew, since he could be edited to whatever
age he needed to be. "I see the mission went well." He gestured to the Last
"Just as we planned. The hardest part was not bugging out too early." She rubbed
her throat ruefully.
WikiMan took a deep breath, let it out through his nose. "I'm not going to say I
should have gone."
"That's right, because you respect my abilities, and because we keep editing out
that self-sacrificing streak even though it keeps popping up."
He nodded. "Just making it clear that I am specifically not saying that."
She grinned and started walking down the hall. "So how's Project Alt.ernity
going? Have we had any progress on contacting the LNH of the past?"
He kept stride with her. "No. We've been trying to send temporal signals through
the higher-dimensional infrastructure of the LNHQ, but it ended up overwhelming
and DDoSing the entire building, every time."
She nodded. "Yeah, well, that's what plan B was for." She threw the jacket over
her shoulder. "So d'you think we can do it? Travel back in time and create a
world where the Great Darkness never happened?"
He nodded. "I mean, the LNH was in contact with plenty of futures like that,
back then. But we seem to be cut off, now. None of the big cosmic powers have
bothered us since the Day of Wrongness. Not Master Workload, not the
RACelsestials, not even weirdos like the Crossover Queen or the Time Crappers,
who'd love to come in and conquer a destroyed world." He shrugged. "The only
conclusion: We're on the wrong branch of history."
"Right... tho, from here, it's hard not to think of it as the only possible
branch." She shook her head. "But if we can make it so a better world *can*
exist, then we can reach it."
"Yes. It wouldn't erase this darkness, but we'd be have a way out - the ability
to emigrate to other timelines, other worlds, through the multidimensional
nature of the LNHQ." He reached a heavy metal door with 'SENIOR LNHERS ONLY'
stenciled on it, and knocked three times.
A voice boomed out from behind the door. "Who dares to disturb the
Escape Lass giggled, and WikiMan leaned in. "A pair of humble petitioners, O
fount of wisdom."
The door creaked open. "Yes, yes, come in and receive the wisdom of the ages, et
cetera, et cetera..." The former Kid Occultism Kid had inscribed a mystic circle
on the floor of the laboratory, and it was glowing and thrumming softly. They
were holding a tablet and poking at it, and the symbols on the circle shifted in
response. "I've got it ready to harmonize with the magiquantum frequency of the
"Right here." Escape Lass held it up. "How much can we bring with us?"
The ABTTOne waved the tablet at it. "Mmmm... not much. Your costumes, and
whatever you can fit into the pockets."
"Right." She opened a suitcase on the counter labeled 'For Time Travel Purposes
Only' and started picking out the most necessary bits.
"How far before the Day of Wrongness can we arrive?" said WikiMan. "I'd been
hoping for six months, at least."
The ABTTOne laughed. "You're forgetting magic's sense of drama. You get a little
less than a week."
WikiMan shook his head. "Of course." He looked down at the circle pensively,
stroking his beard.
Escape Lass, wearing the Trenchcoat and pockets stuffed full of stuff, put her
hand on his shoulder. "What's up?"
"Mmmm... just that same worry. That someone else is going to interfere, some...
some other faction trying to get their own angle on this, something we can't see
She nodded. "Yeah. Well... if they do, they do, and we'll deal with it. All we
can do is our best, right?"
He smiled. "Right."
The two of them stepped into the circle. The ABTTOne sat cross-legged with the
tablet on their lap and started chanting.
"Besides," said Escape Lass, as the sparkling energies rose around them. "How
many different factions could there possibly be?"
WikiMan facepalmed. "Oh, I wish you hadn't said that..."
[The Council of Ordered Realities Defense Force staging site WSL-09XB]
[Time index 16:20:08:11]
On the city-block-sized platform, surrounded by continuum definition engines and
spacetime address registers, stood two figures. The first was in a neat military
uniform of a style respected and/or feared on hundreds of variations of Earth.
He was adjusting the outfit of the other - a blue-and-yellow jumpsuit with a
gunmetal chestplate, on which there were four crystal rectangles.
"Remember," said the first one, "this is an unregistered Superhuman World. It's
chaotic, uncivilized - without the safeguards that come from being a part of the
Ordered Realities. Your job is *not* to interfere in local affairs, it's to
bring back the evidence necessary to convince Congress to allow us to move forward."
"But Ministrowie Sikorski," said the other. "Why this world? I know our mission
is to bring order to the multiverse, but why an Earth that hasn't reached out to
Sikorski frowned with the edge of his mouth. He let out a long breath, stood up
straight, and smiled. "Well, Porucznik Mazur. *Officially*, these worlds are a
source of multiversal chaos, causing chaotic incursions on the Ordered
Realities. We have interest in proactively providing an ordering factor."
"Unofficially - and this is off the record, my protege, my son-that-I-never-had,
my junior in rank who knows how he got here - they've got something we need, and
they're not using it." Sikorski smirked. "Everything else is just politics."
Mazur ran his nails through his long hair, dyed bright blue to fit in better
with the natives in some way he didn't understand. He trusted Sikorski - he'd
always had his back, always been straight with him. They were both members of
the Bricklayers, one of the purely unofficial cultural parties within the
structure of Ordered Realities, and he was proud of that. But this didn't feel
right. "What's that?"
"You've heard of Metatronium, right? It's an eight-dimensional kubikal substance
created by the mental energy of one universe impacting another."
He nodded. "Everyone's talking about it as some kind of amazing infinite power
"Right. Even if only a tenth of the hype is true, whoever gets control of a
source of it will be in prime position to point the way forward for the Ordered
Realities. And according to our previous observers, this world is not only
chock-full of it, it's an ideal beachhead into the rest of its Metatronium-laced
"So..." His throat tightened. "I'm going in so we can exploit this place?"
Sikorski's face darkened... then relaxed. "Heh, really sounds like it, doesn't
it? But all worlds sacrifice for the greater good. I mean, our world did! This
very city - Warsaw-St. Lawrence, the very headquarters of the Ordered Realities
- was plucked from our home world, back in the old days, when we had an
expanding empire of Earths. And Ordered Realities right now is far bigger and
more orderly than it ever could have been back then... even if some of us think
that, well, having that cultural experience in multiversal politics, our world
should have a larger say in how things go."
"And... that's why the Bricklayers are around!" said Mazur. "To advocate for us!"
"That's right," said Sikorski. "And now it's this world's turn to give what it's
got for the good of all."
Mazur nodded. "That's an excellent point, sir. Apologies for my doubt."
Sikorski waved his hand. "Don't worry about it. We're both Bricklayers, right?
We're part of the same wall, glued with the same mortar. We support each other
and we protect each other, from whatever threat might get in."
Mazur smiled. "Yes, sir!"
Sikorski took a step back. "Now, you understand how your suit works?"
Mazur took a deep breath, let it out, recited the summary from the technical
manual. "It's powered by four Idoloid Powerbars, multidimensional computers each
simulating an artificial Powernaut identity. They're mentally keyed to four
different definitions of the word 'power', and as long as I can emotionally
engage with those definitions, I can use those powers."
"And you've got your cover story in place?"
"I've come from another world, to see if the peoples of this world are ready to
join a multiversal league of Earths. My codename is..." He hesitated.
"I know, I know," commiserated Sikorski. "It's... unprofessional. But everyone
over there has names like that." He shook his head. "Just another part of that
chaos. We'll be doing them a favor by coming in and getting rid of all that."
Mazur nodded. "My codename is... Skrajny the Multinaut!"
"See? And it's not even really lying." Sikorski slapped him on the shoulder and
walked towards the edge of the platform. "Readying for insertion."
Mazur breathed slowly and evenly. Power, he thought. The ability or official
capacity to exercise control; authority. Power. Effectiveness at moving one's
emotions or changing how one thinks. Power. Physical strength or force exerted
or capable of being exerted. Power. The ability or capacity to act or do
One by one, the crystal rectangles lit up. He felt power seeping through his
veins, power filling his limbs. He knew what he had to do. He was ready.
[November 1st, 2016]
[The moment the future enters the past.]
[The moment one world steps into another.]
Author's Notes: Please, follow up on this however you want! Even with a short
silly random bit! That is what it is for! <3
The Ordered Realities bit was edited based on suggestions and backstory
clarifications from Scott. The Polish ranks ("Ministrowie" is the equivalent of
"Minister", and "Porucznik" is a first lieutenant in the army) and names are
based on the fact that, in the original incarnation of Ordered Realities
mentioned here, it was Poland who ruled the world and was conquering worlds.
"Skrajny" is a word meaning "extreme, utmost, ultra".
Definitions of "power" taken from the American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language, Fifth Edition.
Drew "seriously, whatever you want to throw in, it's all good" Perron
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