LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #25: Omaha Project the Conclusion

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 20 20:15:37 PDT 2016

In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have the conclusion of the Omaha Project.

Chapter 20 has Mike Escutia attempting to inspire Russ Allbery.

Chapter 21 has Steinar Bergstol attempting to wrap up some loose ends.

And Chapter 22 has Russ "Eagle" Allbery and David Anastasion doing
whatever they can just to make this damn thing stop.

             | |      Classic			
             | |                      =
             | |      ____    ____    _    ____    ___
             | |__   | [] |  | [] |  | |  | [] |  | _ \  

             |____|   \__]    \__ |  |_|   \__/   |_|\_\
                                |_|  OF NET.HEROES

                                     ADVENTURES #25

                        Omaha Project Part Seven


				 Chapter 20
			  "Inspiring Mr. Allbery"
		"Still Here, and Way, Way Out of Continuity"
		     Mike Escutia (mre at christa.unh.edu)

     Boy Lad awoke to find himself floating in a void.  
     But if he was floating in a void, why did it have color?
     And, more importantly, why were the colors psychadelic?
     Boy Lad smacked his head.  "Wake up, Boy," he muttered.  "You're in a
weird place, you don't know how the hell you got here, and you're probably
at the mercy of some sinister supervillain?  What do you do?"
     Just then, a hardcopy of Omaha Project chapters 1-19, including Pliable
Lad Annual #1, floated by.  He grabbed it and flipped through it briefly.
     "Hmm.  Replaced by an evil duplicate right after the LNHers fell
through the distortion the first time.  Wonderful."
     It was then that he noticed the person floating about a hundred feet
away.  It was a young man with short, spiked hair, blue jeans, a leather
jacket, and... wings.  They were large, black wings, menacing both in their
look and their size.  Their owner was scrutinizing a clipboard, and looked
like he was in a bad mood.
     The young man looked up and scowled.  "About bleedin' time you got
here.  Why is it that every time someone dies, they take their time in
getting over here to get processed?  Huh?!?"
     "Look..." Boy Lad began.  "Where am I?"
     "Where are you?" the young man asked.  "You're in what we call the
Waiting Void.  This is where you wait til one of us Angels of Death comes by
to process you.  And in case you havn't figured it out, you're dead."
     "I'm *dead*?"
     "Yeah, didn't you hear me the first time?  Or are you deaf?" the Angel
     "Look," Boy Lad said.  "I'm currently being impersonated by an evil
being, and I really need to get back there."
     "Well, tooooo bad, pal," the Angel hissed.  "You're dead, and you're
staying dead."
     "I don't think so, Eddie," came another voice.  Both Eddie and Boy Lad
turned to see an older man with wings similiar to Eddie's.
     "Jack Palance?" Boy Lad asked.
     "No, I just look like him.  My name's Donald."
     "You probably want to get back to the land of the living, don't you?"
Donald asked.
     "Yeah, and fast," Boy Lad said.
     "Very well.  Try that door," Donald said, indicating a door near Boy
Lad's original position.  Boy Lad nodded, and swam over to it.  A few
seconds later, he was gone, as was the door.

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     It was quiet on the western side of the rocks, as it usually was.  On
the other side, there was great commotion -- some sort of distortion had
apparently destroyed the phenomenon the LNHers had been investigating.  Now,
only Drifter, Windrider, and Tour Guide Girl remained....and Boy Lad, who
was obviously not himself.
     There was a brief flash of light, and a costumed figure appeared on the
western side of the rocks, three feet off the ground.
     "Ow!" Pli exclaimed as he landed on the ground below.  Picking himself
up, he looked around himself.  He quickly recognized the place as the same
'world' he and the others had wound up in after falling through that
disturbance.  But the force wave was supposed to have returned him home --
to alt.comics.lnh -- wasn't it?
     The detour could only mean one thing: he was needed here.  Stretching
his neck up just high enough to be able to see, he peeked over the rock and
observed the scene below.  Drifter and Windrider were facing off against the
evil Boy Lad, whom Pli guessed was possessed by one of the shades.  Touri
was standing off to one side, scared.  Poor girl.
     "Thank you, force wave," he muttered.  "Now, can I have some back-up?"
     As if on cue, he felt something, and turned to see another distortion
forming.  Within it, he could see a form hurling at high speeds towards the
distortion, but just off-center enough to miss it.  As the figure
approached, Pli recognized it, and reached out into the distortion to catch

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     Boy Lad was travelling at unheard of speeds through the astral realm.
There was no time to lose, so he poured on the mental juice.  Within
seconds, he was back in his body again...only to be thrown against the
energy wave.  He felt like a fish swimming upstream.
     Suddenly, as he touched one reality, something grabbed him and pulled
him all the way through.  He found himself on his knees next to a large rock
and a person he couldn't recognize right away, mainly because he hadn't
looked up yet.
     After catching his breath, he got up off the ground.  "Thanks for the
help..." he trailed off as he saw who his savior was.
     "Hello," his savior said.

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     The being that appeared to be Boy Lad stood up groggily and looked at
where the distortion used to be.  "No...NO!!!  The door!  It's gone!  What
did you do?" he demanded of Drifter and Windrider.
     "You are the one who has been trying to kill our friends," Drifter
stated as he moved to stand between 'Boy Lad' and Tour Guide Girl.  Touri,
meanwhile, had fully recovered from the shock of seeing Pliable Lad being
thrown into the distortion, and kept a wary eye on the person she had
thought was a hero.
     Boy Lad's face contorted with rage.  "It was perfect!  PERFECT!  And
now our chance is gone!  You will pay!" Boy Lad screamed as he hurled a
mental strike at Drifter.  It dispersed on Windrider's shield like a breaker
hitting a cliff.  Or has that allusion already been used?
     ==We're in trouble,== Windrider thought to Drifter.
     --Why?  You seem to be able to stop him.--
     ==It's not him alone I'm worried about.  The shades are back.  All of
them,== came the reply.  He was right; Drifter could feel like he was being
     "Now..." Boy Lad began.  "You will die...starting with the girl!"  He
was about to hurl a mental strike at Touri to shatter her mind when a
piledriver slammed into him from above and behind him, knocking him to the
ground.  Pliable Lad resumed his true form, and quickly ran over to where
the others were.  He and Touri embraced, though only for a moment.
     "It's over, pal," Pli said as 'Boy Lad' got up.  "I don't know what you
are, but you're not Boy Lad!"
     "Says who?" the villainous being asked said venomously.
     "Me, that's who," came a familiar voice.  Boy Lad -- the real one --
came out from behind a rock.  "Your evil will end now, doppelganger."


				 Chapter 21
		       "Wrapping Up Some Loose Ends"
	     Steinar Bergstol (steinarb at studserv.hedmarkdh.no)

[ Author's note: This story happens after Reaper #4, which, incidentally,
  hasn't been finished yet at the time of posting this. Live with it. ]

     "Ms. Jayse, you will head out to Net.braska immediately."  Ms. Jayse
looked visibly startled by this revelation.  In addition to looking startled
she also looked rather annoyed at the idea.
     "Sir, I'm fresh from a disastrous operation involving stupid henchmen,
a satelite, a rocket, several SERIOUSLY annoying scientists, a
scytheswinging, robewearing nutcase AND the LNH! I think I deserve a little
bit of rest!" she said to the shadowy figure on the monitor in front of her.
There was a short pause, then the voice of the figure sounded from the
speakers again:
     "Ms. Jayse. I will only say this ONE more time. You WILL head out to
Net.braska. You will do it immediately. And you will have no further
protests. Is this quite clear?"  Ms. Jayse's shoulders slumped a little, she
sighed and then looked back at he monitor.
     "Very well. I will tell the pilot to change course to Net.braska.  Now,
WHY on earth do I want to go stand around in cornfields Sir?"

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     * Painpainpainpainpainpainpainpain.... *
     Somewhere in a cornfield in Net.braska a scream was torn out of the
throat of the being which used to be the scientist Peter Emmerson as the
force wave swept through Omaha, freeing the people posessed by shades, then
headed across the cornfields and Emmerson to strike at a pocket of scrambled
reality which promptly disappeared.
     Something, however, went wrong as the wave passed over Emmerson.  The
shade posessing him had somehow grown more attached to its host than any of
the other shades, and as the wave pulled on it the thing still refused to
let go of what was left of Emmerson's mind.  Stubbornly it found cracks to
fill.  Mental protrusions to grab at.  It wove itself into the fragmented
mind of Peter Emmerson, and all the time the wave kept pulling at it until
the situation reached a point where something HAD to happen one way or
another.  Then all of a sudden, without any warning, the wave let go of the
shade and with a scream of rage and pain the two beings, human and shade,
merged to become one.
     * Painpainpa....... *
     The creature that once was Emmerson stood up from the ground where he
had fallen in pain as the wave passed.  He grinned insanely as he spotted
something in the distance.  Buildings.  As he turned towards the distant
farm and started walking, a gurgling half laugh, half scream issued from his

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     "...and that is when I had the idea of capturing that guy who crawled
out of the crater ma'am.  You see, I was unable to find any trace of what
might have happened to the energy source, and I'd rather not come back to
the boss emptyhanded, so I thought if we could capture this guy
and....examine him that would be better than nothing.  After all, he did
crawl straight up from where the energy source was located, and..."
     "That's enough already Anderson.  Stop babbling, you're giving me a
     Ms. Jayse looked over the group she had just picked up from the
cornfield.  Samuel Anderson, the team leader.  Short, scrawny, arrogant and
universally disliked among just about everyone who knew him.  Next to him
was a hulking brute of a man. William Drew, the muscle of team 4.  If the
guns the other members of the team carried were huge, then his gun was
improbably enormous.  It made the guns of Marvel's Cable look like
peashooters in comparison.  Then there was Joe and Frank McCall.  Twins,
former mercenaries and currently on the payroll of Mr. J.O.  Both extremely
average looking, something which came in handy on some of the more shady
missions the team was sent on as it made them difficult for any witnesses to
remember and identify.  Finally there was Daniel Jones.  A martial arts
expert and not a bad burglar to boot.  Yes, this team should be sufficient
to capture this guy Anderson kept talking about.
     "Ok.  We will take this guy you're talking about and bring him back
with us.  Now, how do you propose we find him?"
     Hearing that they wouldn't have to come back to their boss emptyhanded
Samuel looked visibly relieved.
     "Well, the scanners actually managed to register him as he was killing
off the Mr. Paprika soldiers.  He emits a type of energy similar to the one
from the crater.  Not exactly the same, and not NEARLY as strong, but
similar.  What this means is that now that the energy source is gone it
should be quite possible to pick him up on the scanners in this jet."
     Samuel looked immensely pleased with himself as he announced this to
the group.
     "Good." Ms. Jayse hissed.  "Then get to it."
     As everyone in the sleek, grey jet got in their seats and buckled up,
the pilot took it up in a vertical takeoff.  As the plane rose above the
cornfield and then turned towards the crater and the direction in which
Emmerson had wandered off he noticed a group of spandexclad figures over by
the crater seemingly squaring off against another person in a similar sort
of costume.
     "Hmmm.  Net.heroes?  In a cornfield in Net.braska?" he thought with a
bit of surprise.
     "Guess they're here because of that huge crater over there just like
our guys were.  Well, never mind them, I better get this thing moving so we
find that guy Ms. Jayse wants before she decides to rip my throat out for
wasting time."
     With that though he opened the throttle and the jet roared over and
past the heroes and the evil Boy Lad doppleganger.

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     The thing that used to be Emmerson looked up from the corpse of the
farmer which he had been busy ripping apart as the grey thing landed with a
roar in the cornfield about a hundred meters away from him.  All around him
was a scene of death and destruction.  The corpses of farmworkers were
scattered around the grounds, all mangled and mutilated.  The main building
was on fire and heavy pieces of farmequipment lay scattered about as if a
giant had been throwing them all around just for fun.  As a group of people
jumped out of the grey thing he heard them talking to each other.  Most of
the words were nothing more than random sounds to him now.  But the part of
his mind that used to belong to Emmerson still managed to understand parts
of what he heard.
     "............THING!  .......killed......all."
     ".....yourself together.  .......out.....surround it.  ...........
     As Emmerson watched the people spread out trying surround him he
noticed the things all of them except the woman carried in their hands.  Big
things.  And somewhere deep in his mind he recognized those things as
dangerous.  With a scream of rage he charged at the nearest man, a scrawny
little guy who froze in his tracks as he realised he was the target of the
creature.  He barely managed to aim his gun before Emmerson was upon him and
snapped his neck with one powerful backhanded slap at the little guy's head.
     The rest of the group stood like paralyzed at the amazing speed he
moved with, then the woman barked a command and the other four opened fire
at him.  Blast upon blast of energy hit him in the chest, throwing him
backwards and crashing through the wall of one of the remaining buildings.
     * PainpainpainpainGetupRevengeKillHurt *
     The thing slowly stood up and moved towards the hole it had made in the
wall entering the building, then he stopped.  The voices were coming closer
to the opening.
     ".....gotta....knocked out cold. ............stand.......kind of
punishment.....keep going."
     "Will, check....out. ............you....ready with......guns."
     That last one was the voice of the woman again. Somehow he could sense
that she was the most dangerous one.  As he heard the footsteps of someone
coming closer he tensed, ready to attack.
     A man peeked through the hole in the wall, apparently not noticing the
croaching shape of the former scientist.  It was the big one.
     "......see anything.  .........dark in here.  .....a light."
     That was the last thing William Drew managed to say in his life before
Emmerson leapt at him from the shadows of the room and tore his throat out
with one hand while snapping his neck with the other.
     Once again the woman barked an order and the three remaining men opened
fire again, but this time Emmerson was ready.  As soon as corpse of the big
man hit the ground he dove sideways behind a large piece of machinery which
shielded him from the shots.  The woman shouted an order again and the
shooting stopped.  As he peaked around the machine Emmerson could see her
walking closer.  When she saw him she stopped, and then she started talking,
all the while staring intently at him.  He couldn't understand the words,
but he could feel her voice tugging at his mind, calming him.
     For a moment the former scientist looked confused like he was arguing
with himself as Ms. Jayse used her voicepower on him, then all of a sudden
with a howl of rage he launched himself at her.  This was not such an easy
victim as the two others had been though.  As he reached out to grab her
head and snap her neck like he had done with the two men Emmerson found the
woman sidestepping his attack and grabbing him in a hold from behind.  As he
struggled to get free she shouted a command at the men and they began
pouring shot after shot of energy from their guns into him.  Slowly, but
surely his conciousness slipped away and everything became black.

                  -=-=-=-=-                 -=-=-=-=-

     As the grey jet lifted off from what once was a farm in Net.braska
Ms. Jayse was talking on the radio with Mr. J.O.
     "Yes Sir.  The energy source was gone with no trace.  We were unable to
determine what had happened to it, although that may be possible once the
main lab gets the chance to analyze the the readouts from the scanners."
     There was a slight pause and then she continued.
     "However, we did manage to capture a person closely linked with the
destroyed facility where the energy source was located.  I have run a search
on him on the computers and he came up as a Dr. Peter Emmerson.  Apparently
he was working in the complex, and whatever happened there drove him insane
and gave him power.  At least that's my theory."
     "Power?  What power?"
     "Superior strength for one.  I barely managed to keep him immobile for
more than 5 seconds when we knocked him out with the stunners.  Any more
time than that and he would have broken free.  He killed two of our men
before they even had a chance to react to his attacks.  He is also EXTREMELY
quick and agile.  His endurance seems to have been pumped way up as well, as
he was able to withstand several direct hits from the stunners before going
down.  Add to this his ferocity and you have a very dangerous fighter.  He
is more like an animal than a human though, and I am not certain we can
control him easily."
     "Did you remove all traces of our involvement in what happened on that
     "Of course Sir.  The farm is destroyed.  The corpses of our people have
been removed, all others were burned together with the buildings.  We are
now on our way back home."
     "Hmmm.  Very well.  Bring our guest to HQ so we can have him examined.
That will be all Ms. Jayse."


				 Chapter 22
		       "Conclusions and Explanations"
		       "...please...make it stop..."
		  Russ Allbery (windrider at cs.stanford.edu)
			      David Anastasion

     "Now...you will die...starting with the girl!"
     Windrider felt Boy Lad gather energy and prepared to counter another
strike.  Something felt very wrong about this....
     The strike never came.  A piledriver slammed into Boy Lad, knocking him
to the ground, and then turned into Pliable Lad and ran towards Touri.  They
embraced for a moment and then Pli turned back to Boy Lad.
     "It's over, pal.  I don't know what you are, but you're not Boy Lad!"
     "Says who?"
     "Me, that's who."  A third voice came from behind the nearby rocks, and
Boy Lad stepped out from behind them.  "Your evil will end now,
     ==No...this isn't what it seems....==  Windrider was half thinking to
himself.  ==I can feel Pli, Touri, and you, but the Boy Lads...they're there
and yet they aren't....==
     Suddenly, Windrider partially dropped his shields, acting on impulse.
The overwhelming curiosity of spirits rolled toward him like a wave...and
washed over him, doing absolutely nothing at all.
     --What's going on?--
     ==I know where we are.==  And with that, Windrider disappeared.

     He reappeared a second later, perched on a rock near where the second
Boy Lad had been hiding.
     ==I think you can drop the illusion of ground now,== he broadsent.
     The evil Boy Lad, who just a second ago had been wearing an expression
of utter hate, was now grinning.  "It took you long enough."  The ground
abruptly vanished, leaving the heroes and Windrider's rock standing on
     ==It was very good.  Almost perfect.  But you still can't do minds
     "But wait....  He's an evil doppelganger of me!"  The second Boy Lad
was obviously confused.
     "I'm rather proud of you, actually.  Here, this will be less
confusing."  Where the first Boy Lad was standing, there is now a woman, a
woman only Boy Lad would recognize....
     "No, not Liz," the dragon said.  "We did a particularly good job on
your memories, you know.  But they don't need you anymore, so you can go
now."  And Boy Lad was gone.
     "Where did he go?  And *who* doesn't need him anymore?"  Pliable Lad
     "Oh, please, let's not do the pronoun thing again.  I spend more time
explaining that.  They, us, we, I, me.  It's all the same."
     "But who are you?"
     "I do believe that's my cue," said an annoying man dressed in a tuxedo
who appeared out of nowhere.  He pulled a microphone down from nothing and
announced:  "Introducing...the reigning champion, the Boss of Bedlam, the
Master of Madness, the Chief of Confusion...put your hands together for the
Lords of K.Oss!!"  The air was filled with thunderous applause as the
announcer disappeared and Jestalt took a deep bow.
     --You've met this guy before?-- Drifter sent to Windrider.
     ==Yes, but it's been a while.==
     --How much trouble are we going to have getting out of here?--
     ==I'm not sure.==
     "I remember you now," Pli said.  "Kid Anarky mentioned you...."
     "Ooh, you're very quick."
     "But why?" Touri asked.  "Why the force wave, why pull us here?  What's
the purpose behind all this?"
     "Purpose?"  Search Lass laughed.  "Since when have they ever needed a
purpose?  Besides, we didn't do all that.  The experiment really was aimed
at rec.arts.comics.creative, like Pli here thinks.  It was just going to
fail in a particularly boring way, and I couldn't have that.
     "Besides," Dr. Armaggeddon said, ticking off fingers, "this story was
part of *three* different crossovers, people are going to have headaches for
days figuring out the time travel, and I do believe that we managed to
attract a writer who never writes *anything* around here.  Plus, they got to
make an infinite time loop...do you know how long it's been since we did
     ==The real question,== sent Windrider, interrupting, ==is what you plan
on doing now.==
     K.Oss turned to look at Windrider for a moment, and then reverted to
Boy Lad.  "Yes, you could cause problems."
     ==I could cause more than problems.  You interfered with a Wanderer,
and there are some agreements that not even you can ignore.==
     "Yes, yes, no need for the veiled threats.  We know exactly where you
stand.  Oh well, if you're going to be annoying about it."  Boy Lad snapped
his fingers and everyone was standing near a crater in the middle of a field
in Omaha just as a jet roared by overhead.
     Pliable Lad looked around suspiciously.  "So...now what?  We can just
     "No, they're going to turn you all into corn dogs and eat you.  Of
course you can leave.  Sheesh, paranoid heroes."
     Drifter experimentally opened a portal and stepped through, coming
right back.  "He seems to be telling the truth.  I can open a portal back to
LNHQ for you and Touri."
     "I feel like I'm in some kind of B movie," Pli muttered.  "Well...I
suppose we'll see you and Windrider again...."
     "Yes, you will.  And sooner than you think."  Boy Lad grinned.
     Shaking his head, Pliable Lad stepped through the portal, followed by
Tour Guide Girl.  Drifter closed it behind them.
     ==I believe we will be leaving now as well.==
     "Well, it was lovely of you to drop by.  Do come again sometime!"
     Drifter formed a portal and stepped through, while Windrider nodded to
Boy Lad and disappeared.
     Boy Lad stood in the now-empty cornfield for a moment, looking out at
the horizon, and then rubbed his hands together and laughed.  "Well, that
was successful.  Oh, and I'm leaving now...you can come out."  His laughter
lingering in the air, Boy Lad walked off into the sunset, not at all
bothered by the fact it was noon.

     It was several moments later before a man crawled up out of the crater,
brushed off his clothes, and headed off down the road.  This may have been a
false alarm, but the day would come, and when it did Fading Dan would be
there.  After all, he didn't have anywhere else to go.


Next Week:  We get back to RETCON HOUR!!!

Arthur "Same Classic Channel.  But Same Time?  Probably not." Spitzer

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