LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #23: RETCON HOUR Epsilon

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 28 18:10:00 PDT 2016

Okay.  Didn't post this last week because I was dealing with
Earthlink internet issues.  Will be canceling my earthlink
subscription so I guess this will be my new e-mail from
this point on.  Man.  I'm going have wait for Russ to
approve this.  That sucks.  :)


In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have the fifth part of RETCON HOUR.

For the thirteenth issue of the Retcon Hour crossover we have Errand
Boy #6 by Eric "The Stirge" Sturgeon who created the character
Errand Boy and also that series.  Also creator of the Mid.Net Star

The fourteenth issue is some more U-Force by Robert "Mystic Mongoose"
Armstrong with the ninth issue of that title.

And finally the fifteenth issue we have a NTB imprint tie-in
issue by Paul Hardy called Retcon Happy Hour.  This wouldn't be
Paul's first rodeo with the LNH as he did have some previous
experience writing some LNH characters in the NTB cascade
the Wrath of the Administrator (I do believe there is a scene in
that in which Paul writes the Ultimate Ninja and Occultism Kid).

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

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

                                     ADVENTURES #23

                          RETCON HOUR Epsilon

From: Jeff J McCoskey <jjmcc at ix.netcom.com>
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.creative
Date: 24 Feb 1997 19:35:14 -0800

Author Credits:  RH12 -- Eric Sturgeon, RH12.5 -- Robert Armstrong,
		 RH13 -- Paul Hardy, RH14 -- Russ Allbery and David Anastasion

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(<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) 
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(>)                 RETCON HOUR PART 12             (<)
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(>)                   Errand Boy #6                 (<)
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(<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) (<) (>) 

Bloodsuck Productions Presents:
	A Stirge Story
	Written by:
		The Stirge
	Art by:
		Your imagination 
	Lettered by:
		My computer
	Colored by:
		Green or Amber monochrome monitors

	-----------------Errand Boy #6---------------
	----------------Retcon Hour #12--------------
	-Or "Pardon me, you weren't using that, were-


It begins, as many things begin, in bed. Unfortunately, unlike most of the
things that begin in bed, it isn't very pleasant.

It's a typical morning for Errand Boy; since he isn't in the Legion, and they
aren't even aware that he lives in their HQ, he doesn't do much crime-fighting.
In fact, he hasn't been doing much of anything recently, except eat, sleep,
read his comics, watch a little anime, and play X-Wing on his computer. That's
all about to change, though. Pity him, people; he's actually gonna have to do
some work for a change.

Anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely rambled on, it's a more-or-less
typical morning for Errand Boy; in other words, he's still in bed, despite the
fact that it's almost noon. He yawns, stretches mightily, yanks his leg back as
a leg cramp hits him, rolls over, and levers himself out of bed. Stretching and
yawning a little bit more, he shuffles around the room, getting dressed. [one
great thing about comic book superheroes--they never need showers except when
it'll advance the story-- TS] Finally, he reaches up, cracks his neck, and puts
on his mask.

--Think I'll go out into the city, see if I can find some crime to fight. I
have a feeling that something big is going to happen today,-- he thought to

He whipped up a nice room-temperature pizza for breakfast, then went to the
fridge to get a Mountain Paprika. It was all gone.

"Ratso. Guess I'll have to go to the store before I go to the store before I go
on patrol; I need some caffeine."


On the roof of the LNHQ, a solitary figure suddenly appeared. In a cold,
mechanical tone of voice, it began to recite:

"Primary objective: cancellation of Legion of Net.Heroes line: ACHIEVED.
Begin secondary objective: conversion of alt.comics.lnh."

The figure's armor began to glow, as its white eyes faded to black. Otherwise,
it was completely still.


"Well, Errand Boy, how's it going?" asked Mr. Dries, Sr., proprietor of Dries &
Son's Various Goods.

"Ummm...do I know you?" replied Errand Boy, hesitantly.

"Well, of course you do, son. You've been coming here for nigh onto four years
now, ever since you helped found the Legion of Net.Heroes."

"Heh. Oh, um, yeah. I was...just kiddin' with ya. Heh."

"Ahh, you net.heroes. Always fulla them quips. Here for your daily supply of
Mr. Paprika? Got a whole six-pack chillin' in the back, special for you."

"Ummm...actually, today I thought I'd try something a little different. You got
any Mountain Paprika?"

"That stuff? Boy, they stopped makin' Mountain Paprika less than a month after
they started. Seems nobody much cared for it. And besides, you always drink Mr.
Paprika. Ain't seen you ever drink anything else. Are you feelin' okay?"

"Uh, sure. I was...just in a big battle. Still a little woozy. Go ahead and
give me the Mr. Paprika, please."

"Alrighty, just give me a second."

As Mr. Dries went into the back room to get the soda, Errand Boy's thoughts
were in a whirl.

--What the hell is that guy talking about? Founding member? I'm not even *in*
the Legion. Heck, I only met them a few months ago. And I've had actual contact
with, what, 7 or 8 Legionnaires? And I *hate* Mr. Paprika. Speak of the

"Here ya go, EB. Ice cold Mr. Paprika, the whole sixer, just for you."

"Okay, uh, what do I owe you?"

"Haw, haw! You always ask that, and I always tell you: It's on the house. The
least I can do after you saved Junior when them giant robots attacked."

"Well, you know I don't feel comfortable taking advantage of you this way..."

"Oh, now, none of that. Go on, I know you got patrollin' to do. Get."

"Well, if you insist...See you later, Mr. Dries..."

--What on Earth is going on around here?-- he thought, turning undetectable
again as he walked out the door.


On the roof of LNHQ, IMPLO stopped glowing. His eyes turned white again. Once
again, he started to speak in his cold, mechanical tone.

"Error: Minor obstructions found. Analyzing...Identified as `mini-series' and
`one-shots.' Assessment: No long-term threat. Ignore. Continue conversion..."

He began to glow again, but before his eyes turned black, he suddenly stopped
glowing, and began to speak again.

"ERROR: On-going semi-regular series detected. Move to cancel. ERROR: Series no
longer detected. Analyzing...Further analysis shows that while main character
is undetectable, series itself is still visible in the newsgroup directory.
Quandary: This unit must be within striking distance of main character of
series in order to cancel. This unit cannot detect main character at this time.


Kid Anarky came out of his room, and yawned.

"Whoo, I'm beat. Too much sleep can really wear you out. Wonder if there's
anything going on."

Making his way downstairs, he began to notice a strange lack of LNHers in the

--Man, there's usually people everywhere. Must be a big meeting going on.
Wonder why I wasn't invited.--

In the lounge, he finally met up with somebody.

"Hey, fearless leader, what's goin' on? Where is everybody?"

Copyright Kid turned to face him.

"Kid Anarky? Man, am I glad to see you. Everybody's disappeared! Even Jill. And
what do you mean, `fearless leader?'"

"Everybody's disappeared? I just thought there was a big meeting going on. And
what do you mean, what do I mean? You've been the leader of the Net.Patrol
since Integrity Quest. You, me, Trademark Lass and Errand Boy. Don't tell me
you don't remember..."

Seeing the blank look on CK's face, Kid Anarky said, "You really don't
remember, do you? What's going on here?"


On the roof, IMPLO began speaking again.

"Keyword search: `Errand Boy' found. Conversational reference from designates:
Copyright Kid and Kid Anarky. Further investigation warranted. Processing..."

In a flare of purple light, IMPLO disappeared.

And reappeared, in a flare of green light, downstairs.

"Holy cow!" yelled Copyright Kid. "Who the hell is that?"

"Query: Where is designate: Errand Boy?"

"What do you want with him, you ugly robotic thing? And what have you done with
the rest of the LNH?" Kid Anarky demanded.

"This unit under orders to cancel all Legion of Net.Heroes titles, to make way
for use of alt.comics.lnh as base of operations for the Master. Query: Where is
designate: Errand Boy?"

"If he was up your butt, you'd know, you over-grown tin pot! Your mama was a
hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!"

Summoning his claymore, Kid Anarky began to grin, evilly.

"Now, are you going to bring back the Legion, or am I gonna have to get rough?"

"You are unaware of the location of Errand Boy?"

"I don't know where he is, and even if I did, I'd never tell you, ya dumb sack
of sewage!"

"Conclusion: You are no longer of any use to this unit. Terminate."

"Terminate this, ya schmuck! Hyaaaa!!"

Kid Anarky swung his claymore with all his might, aiming to decapitate IMPLO,
figuring that, true to comic book logic, if you kill or otherwise dispose of
robots with cosmic powers, anything they've done will be undone.

IMPLO casually raised his arm and blocked the blow.

"What the--?! That should have cut your arm right off! This sword can cut
through anyth--"

With seemingly no effort, IMPLO reached out and grabbed KA by the neck. He
squeezed, and there was a hideously loud snapping noise. The claymore slid from
Anarky's lifeless hands to the floor with a loud clang. IMPLO flung him aside
like a rag doll, his head hanging at a strange angle. He struck the wall hard,
and bounced off.

"Oh my god! Kid Anarky! You...you bastard! You sick monster! You're gonna pay
for that!"

Pulling out his Oblivion Blaster(tm), Copyright Kid aimed and fired. The blast
had no effect.

"Oh, $#!+."

Copyright Kid turned and ran for the stairs, hoping to make it to the armory
before the thing caught him. Unfortunately, he'd only taken a couple of strides
when he was lifted, quite painfully, by the back of his neck.

"Query: Where is Errand Boy?"


Walking through the streets of Net.ropolis, Errand Boy tried to make sense of
what was going on. How had that guy at the grocery store recognized him? To his
knowledge, it was the first time he'd ever been there. And what had he meant
about being a founding member?
--This just stinks of a retcon. But if it's a retcon, how come I can tell? 
Usually when something's retconned, everybody acts as though nothing happened, 
as if it had always been that way. That's certainly how Mr. Dries acted. Maybe
somebody back at the HQ can help me.--

Suddenly, he felt a strange prickle at the back of his neck, as though somebody
were watching him.

--Nah, that's impossible. I'm totally undetectable. Man, I'm thirsty. Well, I
guess Mr. Paprika's better than nothing.--

Cracking one open, he chugged it down without coming up for air, and shivered
as the pleasant caffeine rush hit him.

"Aaah, now that's a man's pop! Damn, what is it about this stuff that makes
everybody say that, even if they don't like it?"

--Well, here we are, back at LNHQ. Wonder who I should talk to? Particle Man,
maybe. He seemed like a nice enough guy.--

As he entered the lobby, he immediately noticed something wrong. Namely, Kid
Anarky. He was obviously dead, judging from the way his open eyes stared
unseeingly into space, the unnatural angle of his neck, and the large pool of
blood slowly spreading around him. His stomach lurched, and the Mr. Paprika
he'd just drunk threatened to come back up.

--Get a grip, man. It's not the first dead body you've seen, and it certainly
won't be the last.--

He was taking deep breaths to calm himself, when he heard, coming from the
stairwell, "Query: Where is Errand Boy?" in a cold, menacing robotic tone.

He moved toward the stairwell, wondering what was going on. A voice he
recognized as Copyright Kid's[EB hasn't actually met very many of the LNHers,
but he's been living in the HQ since Looniverse Adrift, spying on them like the
sick, twisted little voyeur that he is--TS] said, in a choked voice, "I...ack
...I don't...gasp...know who you're...ungh...talking about...Urgle."

EB was horrified by what he saw. A gigantic robot with a color scheme similar
to his own costume was holding Copyright Kid by the neck. It was now obvious
what had happened to Kid Anarky; if he didn't want the same happening to
Copyright Kid he'd have to be careful.

He quickly stepped around behind IMPLO, opened all of the remaining five cans
of Mr. Paprika, turned detectable, and threw with all his might.

"I'm right here, you ugly Maul rip off! Man, it was bad enough you killed Kid
Anarky, but copying an Image character? That's low."

In true comic book style, EB had enough time to say all that before the soda
splashed all over IMPLO. IMPLO was, unsurprisingly, unaffected. I mean, come
on--if Anarky's claymore didn't faze him, what good do you think a little
soda's going to do?

Dropping the nearly unconscious Copyright Kid to the floor, IMPLO turned to
face Errand Boy. Its cold, monotone drone sounded out once more: "Target:
Errand Boy located. Aesthetic beauty of this unit has been compromised by
target. Cancel with extreme prejudice."

--I don't like the sound of that, but I gotta give CK time to get away and get

As the robot moved toward him, he rose into the air, thinking to flee, but
IMPLO lashed out with impossible quickness and grabbed his leg. EB kicked at
his hand with his free foot, but IMPLO ignored his efforts. Suddenly, he raised
his arm and began twirling Errand Boy in a circle over his head, much the same
way that one would twirl a cat by its tail[um, not that *I* ever do such

All the blood rushed to EB's head, and he began to get nauseous again. Finally,
just when he thought he couldn't stand it any more, IMPLO released him and sent
him careening uncontrollably through the lobby, straight through the front
doors. As the plate glass smashed into a thousand razor shards, most of them
cutting through Errand Boy's relatively unprotected skin, his only thought was
--Never thought I'd wish to be on an errand, but the extra powers sure would
come in handy. Damn, this hurts.--

He continued his flight all the way across the street and smashed into the side
of the building opposite LNHQ. As he hit the wall, he felt several of his bones
snap, and the nausea that had threatened to overwhelm him since he had first
seen Kid Anarky's lifeless corpse in the lobby finally overtook him. He tossed
his cookies all over the sidewalk, the wall, himself, and a stray alley cat
that happened to be walking down the street just then. 

The cat, understandably upset about what had just happened, arched its back,
puffed its tail, hissed at him, then leapt on his face and scratched him pretty
good, to go with the cuts he'd sustained from his trip through the front doors
of LNHQ. Then it ran off down the street.

Errand Boy lay in a dazed, painful stupor; he couldn't have moved if he'd
wanted to. Not even when IMPLO walked up to him, lifted him by the front of his
costume, and said, "Errand Boy is cancelled." It then threw him against the
wall again, for good measure.

This time, he hit his head and lost consciousness. As he faded away, he thought
he heard IMPLO saying, "Maul, indeed."



Errand Boy, Copyright Kid, and IMPLO all created by and copyright 1994 Eric

Kid Anarky created by and copyright 1994 Stephane Savoie. Used with permission.

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(>)                 RETCON HOUR PART 12.5           (<)
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(>)                      U-Force #9                 (<)
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Maximum Stimulation Press presents:

***   ***   **********************************
***   ***   ***
***   ***   ***      ***   * ***   ****  *****
***   ***   ******  ** **  *****  *****  ** **
**** ****   ***     ** **  **     **     *****
*********   ***     ** **  **     *****  **
 *******    ***      ***   **      ****  *****

I  ***  Nominal Ninth Issue of: United-Force
S ** ** "Escalation": RETCON HOUR 12.5 written by:
S  **** The Mystic Mongoose, aka Robert W. Armstrong
U    ** Plot assist by Kristen C. Armstrong
E  ***  Dedicated to: All those who put up with the bizarre numbering.

  'Maximum Stimulation Press' and 'MaxStim', are copyrighted 1993,1994 by
Maximum Stimulation Enterprises. U-Force characters, names, likenesses, and
indica are copyright 1993, 1994 Maximum Stimulation Press.  This story is 
the copyrighted property of Maximum Stimulation Press, and may not be sold
or altered without the express consent of the writers and creators. No
similarity to anything appoximating the real world is intended, except for
parody or satirical purposes.

U-Force is created and copyright by Robert W. Armstrong, with certain
elements created by Kristen Armstrong and Jonathan Trull.
The Controller is created, copyright, and the WC of Kristen Armstrong.

  The story before:
  [Due to interference in the timestream, the Wayback machine can only peer
into issue 8. We apologize for the inconvenience.
                                              -The Management.]

  U-Force has discovered that Ultimate Ninja *did* try to kill 
Nightbeast. Working under the guidance of Organic Lass and Pocket
Man, they've been deployed on another mission- taking down a mystery 
villainess named the Controller. But due to the temporal chaos of Retcon
Hour, the team's numbers are increasing at a phenominal rate...

U-Force is: Argonaut, Backlash, Bristle, Hardcore, Nightbeast, Optik, 
Pointblank, Tourniquet.

  "North-by-northwest from this point. ETA is 6 minutes." Bristle sits at
the controls, steadily guiding the craft to its destination in the frozen 
Yukon. The remainding U-Forcers sit in the back, while Backlash review the plan.
  "Good. Now, Optik, you know what we're doing?"
  "Of course. Nightbeast and I will take the roof and work down;
Hardcore, Argonaut, and you will make a direct frontal assault, and
Pointblank and Tourniquet will come in from the back. We'll rendevous at 
*this* point in the building in 10 minutes."
  "That's corre.. 
..wrong. Atlas and Compass are starting on the roof, and 
you're with the main force, Splitscreen."
  "Yeah, thanks for forgetting about us, Derrick." Two teenage boys,
identical except for their costumes, smirk at him. "I know we're still
reserve members, but we're still on this mission."
  "Benjamin! Jeremiah!" Bristle jams the flight.thingee into autopilot, 
runs back, and envelops the two boys in a great bear hug.
  "Cut it out!"
  "You're acting like you haven't seen us for months!"
  .o(That's because she *hasn't*, guys.) "I'll... ahh.. take the controls 
from here on in, Bristle." Hardcore moves into the control seat, and is 
joined up front by Nightbeast.
  "Ain't that great, Elijah?"
  "Yeah. Great. Fool kids will likely get killed on this mission, and I 
don't know how many more this plane can hold."
  "Will you lighten up? The woman hasn't seen her family in months, and now
here they are. You could at least be happy for her."
  "Yeah, yeah. Whatever."
  "Quit with that act, 'Lij. It never worked with me, and you know it."
  "*sigh* Can't put anything past you, H. It's just.. every time I see
Margie with her kids, it remind me of..."
  "Yeah. I know. I know it hurts, 'Lij... but you can't keep bottling it 
up. It'll destroy you."
  "I'm not worried about _me_ getting destroyed." They turn back, looking
at Bristle and her family. She's fussing over the boys, griping about their
haircuts, and spontaneously hugging them from time to time. Atlas and 
Compass are obviously a bit uncomfortable, and are constantly exclaiming 
"Mo-ommm, knock it off!" or "We're on a mission!".
  Nightbeast and Hardcore turn back to the cockpit window in silence.


  "Okay! Squadron A follows me, Squadron B follows Argonaut! Ready?"
  "And.. touchdown! Go, Go, Go!" Thirteen U-Forcers barrel out of the
flight.thingee, and converge on the building. The two squadrons split up, 
run through a maze of corridors and rooms, discovering...

  "What the... It's empty! Completely empty!"
  "Nothing in any of these rooms!"
  "#*$&! *@&#^! Quick, let's get to the rendezvous!"


  Seismic's earthquake blast mows down one door, as Hardcore crashes 
through the other. All sixteen U-Forcers rush into a huge hall...
   ...and are jolted by a huge blast of electricity from the floor.

 "Oh, wow.. I didn't think it would be *this* easy."
  A shapely young woman in a red and black costume stands gloatingly on
a platform at the far end of the hall. The rest of the hall seems 
completely vacant.

  "It's a trap!"
  "Of course it's a trap, you foolish Net.Heroes! I leaked the information
of my whereabouts weeks ago! I *knew* the LNH would send somebody to 
investigate, and I was hoping it would be U-Force! Your raw genetic
material will give me the power to build an *army* of superheroic clones! 
Ahahahaha! Ahaha.. hey, there's a lot more of you lately, isn't there?
  "No matter. You won't be able to conquer my minions! Get them, my 
  U-Force suddenly finds themselves surrounded by a flood of identical 
individuals, all looking... exactly like Ultimate Ninja!
  "So it was *you*! You replaced Ultimate Ninja with a clone that you 
controlled, and then used him to try to kill me!"
  "What? Oh, wow... Nope, wasn't me. Do you know how *hard* it is to do
those custom jobs? It takes months to come up with a model that will fool
even a casual aquaintance. No, mostly we do quick clones on a assembly-line
process, making ready-to-order goons with high loyalty and so-so
intellegence. The profit margins are incredible..."
  "So you *haven't* replaced Ultimate Ninja with a clone?"
  "Nope. Sorry to disappoint you. The clones you see here are made for one
purpose only... destroying those who get in my way."
  The Controller grins evilly. "And guess who just got in my way."


Next issue: The outcome of battle against the Controller! Special appearance by
guest heroes and villians! Will U-Force stop Controller's schemes, or will they
be unable to stop her... in time? Find out in a issue which was written before
this one! (Don't ask... just READ!) All this, and more, in U-Force #10!

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(>)                 RETCON HOUR PART 13             (<)
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(>)          Retcon Happy Hour, a NTB one-shot      (<)
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Net.Trenchcoat.Brigade in...


(A small NTB/LNH crossover)


	GrimSloth looked carefully into his drink. He studied the way
it flowed within itself, the interlocking trajectories of bubbles as
they swirled within the flowing mixture of alcohol and whatever else
that Grim had seen fit to pour into the glass. His stare was intent;
there was meaning in these seemingly random movements, he was
sure. For the last several months, he been trying to work out how to
grasp that meaning and turn it to his advantage; he reasoned that it
would be very useful indeed to combine a method of scrying out
information with his favourite pastime; that way, he could hang around
in bars and get slarnied whilst keeping up on all the occult news and
events. The trouble, of course, lay in the way he rapidly became
inebriated the closer he studied the problem, for close analysis
called for, at the vary least, a staggering quantity of alcohol in
order to have any hope of being successful; and the more he drank, the
less sense the patterns made. So he had to get some more drinks to
continue his research. All in all, though Grim, this is a very
satisfying way of spending time. He gave up on the glass before him,
which clearly wasn`t going to reveal anything, drank it, and fell off
his stool.
	Martin sighed. The boss had really gone to the wall since that
Administrator thing; he drank, morning, noon and night, incoherently
mumbling about trying to scry out stuff in the alcohol and
consistently failing to do anything other than damage his liver. It
was Janice, really; losing the IDC pocket computer had hit him
hard. Harder than he cared to admit. Worst of all, Grim had taken to
wearing white dinner jackets and ignoring customers. Grim claimed that
he was merely trying to add some sense of decorum to the place- which,
given his behaviour otherwise, seemed unlikely- whereas Martin had a
shrewd guess that some of the weirder things that were going on in
alt.cynosure were involved. Very weird things indeed. There was a
mumbling from the floor.
	"Gimme a... gimme a..."
	"A drink? You ought to stop, you know-"
	"...A hand up." Martin stepped out from behind the bar and
helped his employer to his feet, or at the very least, to his
stool. For some reason, he now noticed, Grim had slicked his hair back
tonight with some sort of ancient hair oil. He wasn`t paid to
psychoanalyse the man who paid him, but he guessed that Grim was going
quietly mad amongst all the alcohol. Grim groaned as he found himself
back on his seat, rubbed the back of his head, which had broken his
fall scant moments ago, and asked, "How `bout... another drink. Then?"
	Martin was about to reply that he really thought that Grim
should give it a rest, although he knew that Grim would get the drink
anyway, but was interruped by an opening in the fabric of space/time
just above the bar. "Y`know... what?"
	"That`s an... exiting in the spashe/time continual. Thingy,
that is." 
	"I had a feeling that it might be." There was a distant
scream, which sounded as though it were falling, and getting
closer. The voice that uttered it was clearly male, not to mention
accelerating towards the bar. "Sasha?"
	"My name Martin. I wish you wouldn`t call me that."
	"Martin. I think. It`s coming this way." Onto the bar, between
Martin and GrimSloth, a familiar trenchcoated figure crashed, groaned
and generally made a mess. The space/time disturbance close itself
with a clapping sound. The man looked at Martin. 
	"Well for god`s sake, get me a drink, if you`re a barman..."
	"Oh. It`s you." Said GrimSloth as he recognised the
figure. Withnail looked over at Grim.
	"Wonderful. Another Humphrey Bogart impersonator." Then he
lost consciousness.

	Approximately half an hour later, Grim and Withnail were sat
at a side table, and discussing what the hell was going on. Grim had
temporarily stopped drinking, whilst Withnail had a bottle of whisky
before him which was draining itself into his stomach at a voluminous
rate. "So, have you got a good reason for putting a bloody great dent
in the bar?"
	"It`s a long story," groaned Withnail.
	"I had a feeling that it might be. Please try not to collapse
unconscious from alcoholism while you tell it."
	Withnail frowned. "You sound rather more sober than you should be."
	Grim waved the concern away. "The owner of a Cafe always has
to be sober when there`s trouble." Withnail raised eyebrows.
	"Cafe? I thought this was Munden`s Bar?"
	"I was thinking of changing the name."
	"I see. It`s got you already. Twice." Withnail took a swig
from the bottle and grimaced a little as it burnt his throat. "Christ,
this is rough. Are you watering the spirits down with meths these
	"I wasn`t about to waste good alcohol."
	"It`s like that, is it?"
	"Pretty much, yes. I don`t trust you, Withnail. Most people
who`ve known you for more than five minutes would agree with me."
	"You pain me, Grim. And after all the work I`ve put in to stop
the universe falling to pieces..."
	"Most of which involved manipulating some poor bugger to do
the dirty work. Okay. Just tell me why you fell onto my bar."
	Withnail sighed, drank, and began his tale. "Okay. I got
involved in a mess with one of the leftovers of the Administrator
thing last year. Some poor bastard was still loaded up with power the
Office had given him back then, and what with all the superheroes
mucking around in the office again, it wanted the power back. Some
other bunch employed me to get the bloke for themselves, but..."
Withnail`s face contorted.
	"But what?" Withnail was plainly trying to speak, and
failing. He gasped at words that were trying to stay in his
throat. "Shit," he coughed. "Bastard writer..."
	"What is it?" 
	Withnail swigged some more of the dubious whisky to clear his
throat. "Won`t let me give the plot away before he`s written it..."
	"Plot? Writer? Withnail, have you gone completely mad?"
	"Not as far as I know. Look, this is the problem, okay? We`re
in the NTB, right?"
	"Whenever we can be bothered, yes."
	"Which means we have to put up with a higher level of
realism. Even though what we do is even more ridiculous than the LNH,
	"What have the superheroes got to do with this?"
	"They don`t have that sort of realism, right? They`re
blatantly taking the piss out of comics. So are we, only it`s a
different kind of comic and different kinds of stereotypes..."
	"You are mad. Martin! What did you water his whisky down with?"
	"More whisky," replied Martin from the bar.
	"Listen, for god`s sake! Haven`t you noticed the way things
have been changing around here?"
	"They`re never exactly stable..."
	"Yes, but... look at yourself! You`re turning into a character
from a black and white film! Do you know what that means?"
	"Uh... nitrate film stock?"
	"You`re. Being. *Retconned*!" Hissed Withnail. Grim looked at
his face. He definitely believed what he was saying. But what the hell was
a retcon when it was at home?
	And then he could see it. All around, there was the old,
familiar Munden`s bar, famed thoughout a dozen realities for being
generally strange, but overlaid upon it- fuzzily covering all it`s
surfaces- was another bar, a bar from somewhere else that was slowly,
carefully, becoming the real bar; and nobody noticed, nobody knew that
they themselves were changing. The new bar looked light and bright;
replacing the jukebox was a live band; the bar was clean, and Martin
was starting to look distinctly Russian, though he himself hadn`t yet
noticed. "Rick`s Cafe..." whispered Grim.
	"You see it now?" asked Withnail.
	"Yes. Shit, why am I wearing this stuff?" Grim stomped over to
the back room to get rid of the dinner jacket and grab an honest,
earthy trenchcoat. He returned feeling far more himself. Seating
himself, he asked, "So what`s causing it?"
	"Some big cosmic event that the superheroes are all caught up
in. Basically, there was a move of newsgroups which caused a lot of
established continuity to go haywire. This would`ve probably sorted
itself out if a few opportunistic villians hadn`t barged in to turn
the thing into a realist`s nightmare. It`s all the writers` fault, of
	"Writers. Yes... I get it now. Why didn`t I now about this
	"It`s all happening in rec.arts.comics.creative, which is
where we post our stories as well as the LNH and all the others, so
some of it`s washing over into us." Withnail drank once more. "As if
we didn`t have enough crap to deal with. There`s an NTB crossover
going on as well that`s trying to drag us in."
	"So why hasn`t it? Shit, I`d rather be in an NTB story than an
LNH story..."
	"Something about alt.cynosure is attracting the energy. Most
of the other NTBers are in some sort of parody of the real world, but
we`re in a net parody. So you`ve been getting some random retcon
energy. In my case, though, it`s probably just my writer being a
complete bastard."
	"Okay. So what do we do about it?"
	"I was hoping you`d have some ideas."
	"Um." Grim paused. "How about treacherously manipulating the
LNHers into doing the dirty work for us?"
	"Sounds good to me. I suppose you mean the time-honoured
method of turning up unexpectedly in their HQ, telling them there`s
some universe-shattering threat going on, and then getting them to
save us while they think they`re saving the universe?"
	"That`s the one."
	"But what about the NTB crossover?"
	"It can handle itself for a while. If we can stop being
apathetic, then so can they. Let`s get a move on."
	"Just one more thing."
	"Why are we talking in plot exposition mode?"
	Withnail lit a cigarette. "If this works, we soon won`t be."

	The net was bunched up in a turmoil around the nexus of it
all: rec.arts.comics.creative. GrimSloth and Withnail rode an
anonymous account into the newsgroup, an unstable, dangerous ride, but
far safer than just logging into it normally would have been. All hell
was broken lose, or rather, all continuity was flapping madly around
them. The arrival was bumpy, but noone noticed as Withnail and Grim
found themselves in the multiferous corridors of the Legion of
Net.Heroes HQ.
	"Christ. It`s worse than I thought," said Withnail. Even the
corridors were being wantonly retconned, madly shifting and reshaping
	"It is, if you`re already onto cliches like that," said Grim.
	"Stuff the smart remarks and let`s find them."
	"Fine. I think it`s that way," said Grim, pointing down a
relatively stable corridor. They set off down it.
	It wasn`t long before they found signs of life. What they
found was the control room, wherein Multi-Tasking Man was monitoring
several situations involving LNHers, constructing a new episode of
Doom based upon the LNHQ, listening to five symphonies at the same
time and composing an angry letter to Image complaining about early
deliveries of comics. Despite this, he raised his head as soon as the
two trenchcoaters entered the room. Surprisingly, he didn`t gape, yelp
in surprise, cross himself, attack them or do any of the things that
people normally do when strange trechcoated people entered their lives
unexpectedly. In fact, he seemed to have been expecting them.
	"Thank god you`re here. We`ve got a major set of situations
going on out there. The Universal Anchor`s broken free, the Time
Crapper is trying to retcon everything to his own liking with the aid
of Contraption Man (who`s gone evil), a bunch of people are out
fighting Pliable Lad (who`s also gone evil), wReamicus Maximus just
showed up and grabbed the Ring of Retcon, and..." He waved his hands
in the air. "Things are just generally strange right now. We could use
some help from the Legion of Occult Heroes." The two trenchcoaters
boggled. They found themselves to be wearing colourful but clearly
mystical spandex costumes underneath their trenchcoats. "Check in with
Occultism Kid, if you can find him. He probably needs some help."
	GrimLad looked at Mr. Trenchcoat with quiet despair. And then
summed up how they both felt.
	"Oh, shit."

     Jeff J McCoskey       |M|   "Preservatives might be preservin' you all:
        DoD# 750A2         |c|   I think that's somethin' you mighta missed."
   jjmcc at ix.netcom.com     |Q|   -- Jefferson Airplane
           >>your Ad here!  low $$, commensurate visibility<<

Next Week:  RETCON HOUR and the Omaha Project cross streams!!

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

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