LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #16: The Omaha Project Part Three
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Tue May 3 18:35:24 PDT 2016
LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #16: The Omaha Project Part Three
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have part three of the infamous Omaha Project Cascade.
Chapter Seven is written by Mike Escutia creator and writer
of the Pliable Lad series. Mike would later really regret
bringing his characters into this cascade (well, I suppose
like everyone else involved).
Chapter Eight is some more Chris Sypal as he retcons his
previous chapter into being a dream.
And in Chapter Nine we have some more David R Henry ("The
R is for Rogue Lover") and the creation of the Looniverse's
greatest villain ever -- AVERAGE JOE!!
| | Classic
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| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
The Omaha Project Part Three
"Revelations and Digressions in a Corn Field"
Mike Escutia (MikE at unh.edu)
"...Let me get this straight," Pliable Lad said. "First there's this
big explosion out in Net.braska, and then the people sent to investigate
"Yup," Parking Karma Kid said as he turned the flight.thingee a few
degrees southward to keep it on target. The two heroes, along with Tour
Guide Girl, had been sent by the Ultimate Ninja to find out what was going
Actually, the ninja hadn't sent Touri, but Pli invited her, anyway.
It was her day off from her regular job as the official LNH tour guide,
and she didn't have anything better to do. Needless to say, the ninja
would probably have a fit when he found out.
"Who was it that disappeared, Kid?" Touri asked from the back seat.
"Easily-Discovered Man and Lite."
"Oh. Well, that should make it easy to find them," she said.
"Yeah," PK Kid grinned, pointing to a instrument panel display. Be-
low it was a label which read 'Geiger counter'. "I shut off my karmic
powers ten minutes ago!" The threesome laughed, owing thanks to EDM's
"PK! I think we just found them!" Pli said as he pointed to three
people standing in a cornfield.
"I see them," PK Kid confirmed. "Okay, kids, buckle in. We're going
down." He gently set the flight.thingee down about 70 feet away from the
three people. "The site of the explosion is about a mile to the west."
The flight.thingee settled down with a WHOOSH! of air and the sound
of tires connecting with the ground.
"Hey, PK, I thought your powers let you park closest to where you
need to be," Pli said as he and Touri stepped out of the hatch into the
"Yeah, if I want to. But I wanted to land where the air blasts
wouldn't affect those guys," PK Kid said as he locked the flight.thingee
and joined Pli and Touri.
Pli and Touri walked hand-in-hand towards the three people, Parking
Karma Kid right behind them. Pli was helping Touri make her way through
the corn stalks, as it was sometimes difficult to find an opening.
Strangely enough, she started finding openings on her own, and started
helping *him*, much to Pli's embarrassment.
When they reached the three people, they immediately recognized two
of them as Easily-Discovered Man and Lite, but the third was a mystery.
He wore a cape and mask, looked young, maybe in his late teens, and was
about Lite's height (whatever that was).
"Ah, more LNHers," EDM said.
"Twenty-five cent raise says the Ultimate Ninja got tired of waiting
for us," Lite said.
"Deal," EDM replied as they quickly shook hands. "Well? Did our
fearless leader send you three to check up on us?" he asked Pli.
"*DING!*" Pli said, grinning.
"SCORE!" Lite whooped.
EDM turned back to the caped young man behind him. "Ah, I almost
forgot the introductions. This," he gestured to the newcomers. "is
Pliable Lad, Tour Guide Girl, and Parking Karma Kid. Fellow LNHers, meet
"Who?" Pli asked.
"Who?" PK Kid asked.
"*The* Boy Lad?" Touri asked.
"The same," Boy Lad said. "Pleased to meet you."
Pli and PK Kid exchanged looks of confusion. This situation deserved
only one response, and they gave it, not holding back on any of the
"Huh?" they said.
"Boy Lad is one of the greatest heroes -- no, check that, *the*
greatest hero of the Golden Age," Touri said. "I'm a big fan of yours,
sir," she said, blushing.
"Please, don't call me that," Boy Lad said. "We're fellow heroes,
"No problem, Boy Lad."
"Um...How do you know all this?" Pli asked her.
"I read more than just sci-fi and fantasy books," she said, poking
him in the shoulder. Pli just let his gaze wander and whistled softly to
himself for a few seconds.
"Now we must hurry," Boy Lad said. "We have to get to the site of
that explosion before it's too late." He started walking off towards the
site of the explosion, the five LNHers following at a respectful distance
"Quick," Pli said to Lite. "Fill us in on what happened."
Roomrighthere,andthenBoyLadappeared,andthenyouguysshowedup," Lite said
Pliable Lad just sighed.
When they reached the site of the explosion, they found that it was
now a large crater, with the surrounding cornfield completely destroyed by
A young man in a trenchcoat stood at the edge of the crater, and a
bald eagle circled above it. As the five LNHers approached, the man
turned to them. "Hi. I'm Drifter, and this is Windrider," he said,
gesturing to the eagle.
Pli looked into the crater and saw a black and white pattern of some
sort. It was extremely difficult to look at as it continually shifted and
"What *is* that?" he asked.
"That's what we're about to find out," Drifter said. "Care to join
There were murmurs of consent all around.
"That is definitely the source of the disturbance I felt," Boy Lad
said. "I'll lead."
"Fine by me," Drifter said as he and the others followed Boy Lad down
into the crater.
Pli, holding on to Touri's hand, carefully watched Boy Lad as he led
the group towards the pattern at the crater's bottom. "Watch your step!"
he shouted to the famous hero. But it was too late.
Boy Lad's foot touched the pattern.
Quite suddenly, the pattern began to pulsate rapidly, the crater
shook violently, and seven people and one eagle were pulled into the
"The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of"
Chris Sypal (csypal at cwis.unomaha.edu)
Gelatin bolted up from his bed covered in sweat. He tore the covers
off of him and sat at his bed, trying to stop himself from shaking.
Variable Woman has heard from her room across the hall of the academy.
She ran to Gelatin's room, and threw the door open. "What happened?"
Gel's heart was still racing has he tried to calm his breathing so he
could talk. "I-I had the strangest dream."
"A nightmare?" Vari asked as she opened one of the windows in the
room to let some fresh air in.
"No, not really. We were called on this mission, and somehow we
landed on this strange place. Then for some reason we forgot all about
our mission, and took a tour of the place." Gel's breathing slowly
returned to normal.
Vari tossed him a towel. "That doesn't sound too bad."
"It's not that." Gel toweled his face, removing the beads of sweat.
"It's just that the way everything progressed was so bad, it seemed to
have been written by a beginning writer."
"You have got to be kidding."
"Well, I guess the writer could have been a novice, but it was still
bad." Gel stood up and walked to the bathroom in order to dispose the
"Do you remember what the mission was about? It might be some type
of omen or something."
"Like I said, once we got to the place we totally forgot about the
"Did it have anything to do with...uh...back home?"
Gel spun his head around, and glared at Vari. "What are you
"Well...these past couple of days has been hard on us, and I was
thinking..." Vari squirmed where she stood. Gel never seemed to want to
talk about their previous home.
"No, I was not dreaming about being back home again. Besides, I
distinctly remember that the LNH was involved in it."
"I'm sorry for bringing it up."
"No, you don't have to be sorry. It's just that I don't want to
think about it anymore. Ok?"
The nearby communications panel buzzed, as Random Man's voice entered
"Gel, are you there? Gel?"
Gel walked over to the panel, and responded, "Yea, I hear you."
"Am I interrupting you?"
Gel and Vari took a quick look at each other. "No. What did you
"I thought you might like to know that there has been a lot of
activity over at the LNH. I guess that there is some new hot spot, where
some strange things are happening. I think it's called Net.braska, or
something like that."
Gel's face suddenly became taught at the sound of the location. Bits
and pieces of his dream became revealed to him. "Ran, get your stuff
ready. We are going on a trip."
An unpainted van sped along the highway leaving Net.ropolis. The
large buildings and flat streets that made up the city changed into the
large trees and flat grasslands that made up the country.
"Now let me get this straight..." Random skillfully piloted the R-
Men's makeshift means of transportation across the vast expanse of
highway. "We are all going on this mission, all because of a dream?"
Gelatin stopped typing on the notebook computer he set up in the back
of the van. "No, it's not just because of the dream. The LNH does need
some help, and we do need some practice."
"But why do we have to drive there? Couldn't we have transmatted?"
Gelatin glared at Random Man through the rear-view-mirror.
"Ok...then couldn't we have used a flight.thingee?"
"None of those options would have given us any time in order to
examine the situation." Vari said as she joined the conversation. "Plus
there are other reasons also."
"Like this way we can waste a little time before we get to the
location so the author doesn't have to worry about screwing up the plot
for everyone else."
"Nevermind." Vari shifted her attention to Gel who was immersed in
his notebook. "Have you found out anything new yet?"
"Not much. All I have is that there is an explosion, and people near
"Uh...guys?" Random Man called from the front of the van. "I think
you might want to check this out..."
Both Gel and Vari lifted their heads from the notebook, and looked
through the windshield to see a giant explosion erupt in front of them and
subsequently engulf the entire van.
David R. Henry (dhenry at plains.NoDak.edu)
Something is happening in this great land of ours.
Actually, a lot of things are happening. Most of them are fairly
tedious. Most of those would probably be labeled as pornographic by
various members of Senate subcommittees. What this says about various
career politicians is probably more telling than what it says about the
state of modern art. Maybe they should get out more and take long walks.
But in any case...
...in any place...
Something was happening. It was one of those moods that the people
who should know something was going on get when somebody's pulling a fast
one behind their back. Like an itch you can't scratch at the root of your
tongue. Like song lyrics that keep running through your head in a foreign
language invented by rock djs. Like the crossword puzzle that you know
you can solve, but you're afraid that it will contain some form of
The President, for instance, is right now getting up from his seat,
wondering where he put his bookmark, when he thinks he sees something flap
by the window of the Oval Office. He puts down the fine crystal he was
drinking out of, and tries peering out of the corner of the window. He
can't stand in the middle, of course. The guards all around him push him
away from it. Something about, Sorry, sir, state security, you know, all
that, muttered under their breaths. And he was certain that he might have
seen a bird, if it wasn't for the fact that the Joint Chiefs have gassed
all the birds around the White House. They told it to him the day he took
"They're security risks, sir," said one shadow. Other forms moved in
the back of the smoke-filled room. "They could be foreign birds, for all
we know. Just for your protection." He couldn't place a voice, but they
told him that wasn't important. They tell you a lot of things the day you
Then there's Erik Gant. Erik is a freelance stringer for an
international newspaper. Erik's schtick is that he gets his clues from
the Internet. He's spent a lot of hard work and effort, slaving away in
his brillo pad of an apartment, trying to develop all the right contacts
so that when things happen, he's not already on top of it, he's already
got the story finished. Erik likes keeping on top of things.
Right now Erik's riding a little dangerously on the indigestion
highway. He's freebasing a day-old pizza with a flat bottle of Diet Dew,
his fingers leaving large oil deposits as he slams down on his pock-marked
keyboard. He's trying to keep current, trying to keep buzzing. He
listens to Nine Inch Nails because he can appear to be cool, not because
he likes the music. He's writing to a three-year transfer student out of
Bangladesh while keeping a power broker for a major Net.York stock firm
waiting on a favor line. He's pushing, he's moving, he's got a major feel
on his ass that he's on to something -- every time he's right, he sweats
like a mother. Embarassing, sure, but he'd rather be embarassed than
late, he'd rather be sodden than wrong...
There's an eye, staring at him. Erik didn't see it at first, but it's
there. All his screens, a dozen of them, swirling with logons and relays
and talk servers. They all form an eye, an eye in abstract, some sort of
whirling cyclone of screenprint that looks, from a distance, like some
huge eye, staring at him. And his face is right in the center. He
blinks, and then it's gone, although someone should tell his stomach of
that fact. And Erik never knows that he just missed the story of the
decade, if not the century. That's okay, it saves his professional pride
long enough for him to throw himself off a bridge in 1998 after he's
turned down for a promotion. These things have a little way of working
out. Don't worry about it.
That's just what they want you to think. Something's happening out
there. Something about heroes, and corn fields, and walks in the zoo and
duels to the death. Something about carbonated beverages and the sunshine
and why perfection isn't preferable to certainty. Somewhere one of the
world's bravest men has been seen somehow, impossibly, walking around
again; somewhere a much different sort is trying to chase thoughts of
scarecrows from his mind. And somewhere in there there's an explosion,
too, and a whole bunch of brave members of the LNH just vanishing into
thin air (as if this wasn't a common occurance for them).
The thing to remember, in the coming weeks, is how important the
notion of the permanance of home is. There's a reason dragons sleep in
their caves. Think about it.
But for now, we return to the story like this--
He came into Omaha like any other tourist. But he wasn't; he was the
most dangerous man alive.
There's a place near the large tower of the capitol building where
tourists naturally congregate. Usually they're busy taking pictures,
which is a horrible waste, since most tourists mistakenly believe that the
whole point of vacation pictures is to fill up your slide projector with
three hundred identical prints of you and your dopey family smiling at the
The scene usually goes like this:
"Well, John, here's me and Mary at the Grand Canyon."
"Uh, that's the thing behind you, right, Ted? I can't quite tell."
"Yeah. Look at the blouse Mary's wearing; we bought that in
Flagstaff, good store. Here we are at the Weeping Wall of Jerusalem."
"Hey, new blouse."
"Yup. Too bad you can't see the wall behind Tony, there; some really
inspirational scenery in the area. John, I just can't describe it. Oh,
here we all are at Stonehenge."
"No, dear, that's us at the World Trade Center."
"Oh, that's right. Well, you just can't tell the difference any
more. I swear. You know they have a fence around that thing now?"
"I take it Stonehenge is behind you all in that picture, Ted?"
"Yeah. We had to really dress warmly that day."
"That's the World Trade Center, dear."
"Oh, here we are in front of the Corn Palace. Talk about inspiring."
"Why don't you show him the picture of us in front of the changing of
the guard, dear?"
"Oh, that's a good one. Tony looks really good in that one."
A study had once been funded that attempted to prove that most serial
killers, by some strange coincidence, have neighbors who own a slide
projector. However, the same Congressional subcommittee also found out
that all of them, at one time or another in their life, all breathed
oxygen, so they promptly ruled breathing oxygen as being a public hazard,
and were found dead soon afterwards, blue and gasping around the committee
table. The Washington pages gave themselves high-fives and all widely
agreed that that was the best subcommittee ever.
The most dangerous man alive was a tourist, but he didn't take many
pictures. He knew he wasn't very good at it.
He drove a modest four-door sedan, because that's what everybody else
drove in his neighborhood. It was a foreign model, but he didn't try to
feel too bad about it; after all, he was just looking for quality.
He was about average height and average weight, and he looked pretty
normal. He didn't speed, because he was never sure when a cop could come
off an exit ramp, and nobody wanted that sort of hassle. He liked
cheeseburgers, but without the pickle, but usually didn't bother telling
the girl behind the counter, because he didn't want to be a bother. So he
just took the pickle off after unwrapping it, and left it in the Thank You
He had a nice smile, although he had a few crowns. He wore blue
jeans and a cotton-blend shirt, although he took good pride in his shoes.
If you were to pull him off the street and ask him what radio station he
listened to, he'd just look embarassed enough to just die, and say, "Heck,
that easy-listening channel. What's its name?" But you'd never pull him
off the street. Not him. Who would notice?
He's the most dangerous man in the world, and he's never been in a
fight. Fights happen to other men. He's the most powerful man in
existance, and he has never been overseas. That happens to people who
lead exciting lives. If you were to ask him what he did, he'd just shrug,
and say "Talk to people." If you were to ask him why he was paid so much
money to just talk to people, he'd shrug some more. He liked to shrug.
They were nonthreatening. "Don't ask me, pal. I'm just your Average
In a world of superpowers and cosmic beings, in a world where the
Ultimate Ninja is capable of existing, the most dangerous man alive is one
who leads the Average Life. Adventures never happen to him. He's never
taken hostage. He lives an average life, with an okay wife and three
children and a dog and a cat, and tries to do the best he can without
getting in someone's way.
He's Average Joe, and when he's in town, superheroes are utterly
useless. A few archvillains recognized his unique ability to lead an
utterly bland life some time ago. Some of them have been taking advantage
of that for some time. It's an acquired skill, like Zen tiddlywinks, but
once it's mastered... once it's mastered...
It's the downtown of Omaha. It's noon. Thousands of people are all
around. And a few heroes, as well, trying to figure out what a certain
explosion could have been caused by. They don't know why, though.
They're expecting a huge fight, a dangerous villain, some cosmic menace.
An Average Joe parks his car in a metered zone and stretches out the
kinks from the drive. He nods, looking over the city. "This looks like a
fine place," he says.
The heroes are in for trouble.
Fading Dan hid in the ditch a couple of times as the cars moved past.
He didn't like not knowing what was going on; it was what had kept him
going for so long. He didn't mind people laughing at him as long as he
got the last laugh.
Dan finally decided to cut across an approach and move to the main
highway. Half way across, he bumped up against something, buffeted slowly
by the grass. It was a PerilRoom unit. Out here.
Fading Dan looked around, putting his hands to his eyes to squint
into the distance. He thought he saw something, someone -- no, a group.
Dan got closer. He recognized them all. And he didn't like the one
person, the person in the middle, the person with the grin and the gun.
He wasn't supposed to be here. This wasn't supposed to happen.
Fading Dan now no longer knew what was going on. But now he knew who
to follow. He was very good at following, was Fading Dan. Sometimes his
own shadow got lost, and had to run to catch up with him. He'd watch, for
Next Week: More Corn Field Action in -- Part Four of the OMAHA PROJECT!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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