LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #17: The Omaha Project Part Four
arspitzer at earthlink.net
Wed May 11 20:17:22 PDT 2016
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have part four of the infamous Omaha Project Cascade.
Chapter Ten has some more Russ "Eagle" Allbery and
Chapter Eleven is by Steinar Bergstol who wrote the series
Reaper. One of those rare LNH writers from a non English
speaking country (I believe from Germany).
Chapter Twelve is some more Chris Sypal. This chapter has
an exciting revelation.
And finally Thirteen, we have some more KM Wilcox and the
introduction of the character Crane Call..
| | Classic
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| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
The Omaha Project Part Four
Russ Allbery (windrider at cs.stanford.edu)
Five men stand at the edge of a crater in the middle of Net.braska.
All of them are carrying automatic weapons and wearing military uniforms
with the emblem of Mr. Paprika. The two men in front are arguing.
"And I say we shouldn't have waited for reinforcements!"
"Those were LNHers in case you didn't notice! Do you think we could
take out seven superheroes by ourselves?!"
"Most of them don't even have combat abilities and we have submachine
guns! Now, because of your cowardice, the targets got away!"
"My 'cowardice' might have saved your life!"
"Oh yeah? Well, I think-- Wait! What's that?"
The men turn to look down the slope of the crater. A lone figure is
slowly climbing past the rubble.
"Isn't that Peter Emmerson, one of the project scientists?"
The figure does indeed look like the briefing photos of Peter
Emmerson, but something has changed. Something in his eyes...
<Wha-- Where am I?>
Endless white in all directions.
Confusion. Disorientation. Dizzyness.
Windrider closes his eyes, reinforces his mental shields, and begins
clearing his mind.
<Focus on calm. Peace. Control. Logic.
<There...cleared my head. Now, remember... In alt.comics.lnh,
investigating a force wave. Crater in the middle of a cornfield in
Net.braska. Drifter and I were about to go in, when we saw LNHers
approaching. Then the pressure of a writer directly shaping reality, and
we all went down into the crater... The scrambled reality pocket started
to pulsate...the others were sucked in and a tendril reached up for me...
<Wait...it shouldn't be able to do that! Something strange is going
on here...which reminds me, where is here?>
Windrider opens his eyes again and looks around. Nothing. Only
blank whiteness in every direction as far as he can see. Partially
lowering his shields, he prepares a mental probe...and then slams his
shields back up again.
<A huge amount of background psychic energy, and it's directed.
Something noticed me...was coming to investigate...then lost me behind my
shields. I'd better not risk anything psychic for now.
<Hmm...there's air here, but no gravity. No landmarks, nothing to
orient myself. Well, it's about time I contacted Drifter anyway. Good
thing the mind link is laid so deep nothing will be able to sense it.>
Windrider turns his attention inward, finds the channel that hadn't
broken even when he was knocked out, and widens it.
<He's still unconcious. Just mental shock though; I can bring him
out of it.>
--uhh... wha? What happened?--
Drifter abruptly regains conciousness with Windrider's voice in the
back of his mind. He sits up and looks around.
The other LNHers are scattered around the area unconcious, although
some of them are beginning to stir. Although the sky is a blank white,
the ground appears to be normal dirt, and there are a few trees visible in
the distance. The plain is deserted except for the LNHers, and no
buildings are in sight, but there is a disturbing sense of presence like
someone reading over your shoulder.
Windrider is nowhere in sight.
--Where are you?--
==I'm not sure. Are you in the middle of some kind of blank
--No, we're on a dirt plain...the sky is completely white though.--
==Are the LNHers with you?==
--Yeah, they're just beginning to wake up now.--
==Okay, hang on. I'm coming there.==
<No gravity, no landmarks...it would be almost impossible to fly even
with Drifter to home in on. I'd better teleport.>
Windrider focuses on the mind link, establishes Drifter's position
relative to himself, and prepares to teleport...only to stop before he
<Felt a surge of curiosity...something almost found me again. I
can't even risk teleporting until I found out what's out there. Looks
like I've got to do this the hard way.>
==I can't teleport, and in order to move myself telekinetically I
need an anchor to pull against. You're elected.==
--Okay, all set.--
Windrider reaches out along the mind link, secures it physically at
both ends, and *pulls*.
Windrider soars out of the sky and lands on Drifter's arm just as the
other LNHers are sitting up and looking around. Pliable Lad stands up and
brushes himself off. "What happened?"
"Looks like that pocket of scrambled reality pulled us right in. Is
everyone alright?" Drifter transfers Windrider to his shoulder and starts
helping the LNHers to their feet.
"I'm not getting paid enough for this." Easily-Discovered Man Lite
stands up, holding his head.
==Are any of you psychic?==
The LNHers start and look around trying to locate the voice.
==I'm Windrider, the eagle. I'm broadsending so you can all hear me.
Now isn't the time for lengthy explanations; do any of you have psychic
Parking Karma Kid hesitantly replies, "I can always find the best
parking place for vehicles...that might be partially psychic..."
==That isn't going to help much. Looks like I'll have to do this by
Windrider closes his eyes and concentrates on his shields. Carefully
he builds another light shield out side of his main ones, and then puts a
mental construct inside of it that will look like a mind if it isn't
examined closely. He then slowly lowers the outside shield.
An overwhelming feel of curiosity, followed closely by a mental
probe, overpowers the remnants of the shield and slams into the construct.
While whatever it is is distracted, Windrider carefully slips a probe
through his shields and does a quick scan of the area.
==Multiple other minds...but all of them are completely psychic. No
physical form. Wait a second...they're leaving.==
"Good. One less thing to worry about."
Windrider opens his eyes and stares directly at Pliable Lad. ==No,
you don't understand. Some kind of door has opened, and they're invading
The thing that used to be Peter Emmerson looks down at five mangled
bodies. His maniacal grin is enough to send shivers up a person's spine,
had anyone been alive to see it. After a moment, the figure looks up and
begins to walk methodically across the fields.
Steinar Bergstol (steinarb at stud.hedmarkdh.no)
"Monitor station 8 has just reported something you may find
There was a long pause, then Mr. J.O. spoke into the intercom again:
"Well, station 8 was as usual sweeping the area surrounding it. As
you know, ever since we recieved those reports of a possible secret
installation in Net.braska all our monitor stations in the area have been
running at full capacity 24 hours a day...."
"Yes, yes, yes. I know all this! Now get to the point!", Mr. J.O.
was obviously getting impatient, so the person at the other end of the
line decided it might be a good idea to do as his boss said and get to the
"Well Sir, half an hour ago station 8 registered an energy surge that
went right off the top of the scale, at the same time reports started
coming in about a nearby explosion. Station 8 confirmed the site of the
explosion to be the site of the energy surge as well. They have continued
to monitor the area, and it would seem like the energy level has now
stabilized itself. It is now low enough to be measured, but still a very
potent energy source. I believe it may be just what we need. Especially
our recent failure to aquire the data on the research Net.ropolis Energy
Research Ltd. has been doing recently."
"Hmmm......Dispatch a team immediately. They are to do nothing but
observe until further notice. And send Ms. Jayse out there as well as
soon as she is back."
The intercom went silent and Mr. J.O. sat back in his expensive
leather chair, thinking the kind of thoughts master villains think in
their spare time.
Later the same day five men in grey uniforms with no markings and
carrying ridiculously big guns are setting up some electronic equipment
behind a hill at the edge of a cornfield in Net.braska. One of them looks
over at another who is busy setting up a complicated looking telescope of
"Hey Joe, how are ya coming along with that thing?"
"Almost got it up Frank. Damn, I wish they didn't make these things
so complicated to set up! What is it with all these scientific types? Do
they think writing user manuals in a way normal people can understand
would somehow make their equipment less effective?"
"Heh! Ya got me there Joe!" another man answered, "I have problems
setting the time on my VCR, so don't ask me about this stuff."
"I wouldn't expect you to remember your own name William, much less
understand the operation of electronic equipment." another man muttered
under his breath.
"I wouldn't let Will hear ya talkin' 'bout him like that if I were you
Sam. He may not be the brightest guy in the world, but he could tie your
scrawny neck in a knot with one hand on his back." another man commented.
"The name is Samuel, you subhuman. And to tell the truth Daniel
Jones, you are not much smarter than the gorilla over there."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever _Sam_. Ya might want to be careful about what
you say to people though, one day ya may wake up dead. If ya know what I
"My friend. Your threats are extremely boring and unimaginative.
Your language, such as it is, is laughable. And your, vocabulary I would
dare say, is sadly lacking. Now please remove yourself from my immediate
presence and start doing your job or I will have to put in my report the
fact that you seem sadly unable to follow the most explisitely stated
Dan stared angrily down at the smaller Samuel, looking like he was
itching to punch the little creep in the face. Instead he just clenched
his fists and turned around.
"Yo Dan!" Frank shouted from the van the team had arrived in, "Help
me get this box up on the top of the hill, will ya?"
"Sure thing!" Dan answered as he and Frank lifted a metal box the
size of a coffin up on their shoulders and carried it up the hill.
Minutes later the box had been connected to the telescope, which had been
pointed towards a crater far out in the cornfield. The man named Samuel
opened a panel on the side of the box, flicked a switch and started
studying the different numbers shown on a dozen small screens and on a
"The powerlevel in and around that crater is amazing," he said mostly
to himself. "Hmmm...I wonder what the radiation here is like...."
As the other four heard the word radiation they practically froze in
"Radiation? Did he say radiation?" Dan said nervously.
"Ya mean like glow-in-the-dark-loose-all-your-hair-and-die type
radiation?" Will said, looking even more nervous than Dan while the other
two slowly moved backwards down the hill and away from the crater.
"Oh for crying out..." Samuel sighed as he turned around and looked
at his four companions. "What is the matter with you people? You want to
go back to Net.ropolis and tell Mr. J.O. that you disobeyed his orders and
left Net.braska because you were afraid you would loose your hair? Well,
not me! I'd rather take my chances with walking into a nuclear blast.
The chance of surviving would be better. And anyway, I just checked the
radiation level, and the level of radiation shown on the scanner is far
below anything deadly."
As the other four sighed with relief Samuel frowned and started
staring towards the crater.
"I think I see movement out by the crater," he said calmly. "Frank,
take a look in the periscope. Joe, get on the radio and inform HQ we have
other people snooping around out here."
"We have radio contact with the team that was sent to Net.braska.
They say other people have arrived at the scene. Do you wish to speak
with them yourself?"
"Yes, put them on."
"Very well Sir." There was a short pause then a voice came from the
"Samuel Anderson, Team 4 reporting. We have contact with several
individuals standing near the crater. Most of them are wearing gaudy
spandex costumes, one in particular would be possible to spot from miles
away. Not only does he have the worst taste in costumes I have ever seen
but he registers on the geiger counter as well....And he glows....."
"Net.Heroes! Damn. This may complicate things."
"Is the energy as potent as we first thought?"
"Indeed it is Sir. In fact I would say it is even more potent than
we first thought. Additionally there does not seem to be any harmful
radiation in the area."
"Very well. Continue to..."
"SIR, those heroes just entered the crater.....There is a pulsing
light from it. The energy level has gone off the scales ag..<SKRREEEAAACH
"Hello? HELLO? What's happening there? Do you hear me?..."
"<SKREEEEEEEECHFZZZZZSKREEEEeeeeee>....NE SIR! THE HEROES HAVE
"What? What do you mean they're gone?"
"They just disappeared! When the light was gone they were gone as
"Hmmm...Continue observing. Ms. Jayse is on her way right at this
"Ok people. Mr. J.O.'s orders are to stay her and wait for Ms.
Jayse". The other four men grew visibly uncomfortable at hearing Ms.
Jayse's name. "And we are to continue monitoring the crater until...."
"Yeah, whatever. Did the boss say what we should do if more people
"No Frank, he did not. Why?" Samuel said as he turned to Frank who
was looking at the crater through the telescope.
"Well, because five more people have approached the crater, they are
wearing military uniforms with the emblem of Mr. Paprika."
"WHAT??? Mr. Paprika? Oh geez. Mr. J.O. is _not_ going to like
"Hey! Something...Someone is climbing out of the crater towards the
Mr. Paprika soldiers!....They seem to recognize him.....He is...Oh my...
He's....Oh I think I'm gonna be sick!" Frank said as he turned from the
telescope and ran behind the van. Moments later the sound of someone
throwing up could be clearly heard from behind that very same van.
"What the? What's the matter with him?" Dan said as he walked over
to the telescope and looked through it. Immediately his face became
visibly more pale as he looked at the man who had climbed out of the
crater finish off the last of the Mr. Paprika soldiers in a particularly
gruesome manner. The maniacal grin of the creature as it looks down at
the five dead men sends shivers up Dan's spine. "Oh man." he says, "Mr.
J.O. is _definitely_ not going to like this!"
"Land of the Lost"
Chris Sypal (csypal at cwis.unomaha.edu)
The smoke and dust settled to the ground on a deserted stretch of
road. The remains of a van lay scattered across the ground, along with
Gelatin shifted on the ground, and let out a groan. He lifted his
head from the ground, and opened his eyes. It took him a while to figure
out where he was, and what had just happened. Around him the land
stretched endlessly, giving no hints of a specific location. The only
noticeable landmark was the newly formed crater near him.
He got up from the ground, and tried to brush some of the dirt off of
himself. He heard a groan to his left, and looked to see that Random Man
was coming to. He seemed to be alright. Looking around even more, he
noticed Variable Woman, but she was not anywhere near alright.
Some sort of electrical field had enveloped her. Gelatin ran over to
her, and without thinking reached out his hand to help her, but his hand
was grabbed by Random Man. Gelatin noticed the danger he almost put
Random Man walked over to a nearby piece of scrap metal that was once
part of the van, and picked it up. He then moved near the prone body of
Variable Woman, and threw the metal at her. The piece went close enough
to her that it didn't touch her, but still went through the electrical
field. The metal attracted and absorbed the energy from the field,
removing it from Variable Woman's body.
Gelatin rushed to her side, and helped her up when she came to.
Gelatin and Random Man were so caught up with Variable Woman, that they
didn't notice the men approaching from behind.
Gelatin shifted around, and let out a groan. He lifted his head from
the floor, and opened his eyes. He noticed that his location has changed.
The floor was smooth, and it was pitch black. He focused his attention on
his other senses, and listened carefully. He heard something, and focused
his attention even more. He heard a loud click, as the darkness quickly
changed to a bright light.
Gelatin squinted his eyes, trying again to figure out where he was.
He saw Random Man, and Variable Woman, both of whom were awake, and also
trying to figure out what was going on. His eyes also spotted a fourth
body in the room.
The man stood next to the source of the intense light. From his
direction came a dignified voice.
"Cut lights 50%."
The lights instantly dimmed. Gelatin rubbed his eyes, trying to
adjust to the new "darkness". He then got a good look at the unknown man.
He was taller than average, and extremely skinny. His face matched
his skinniness, and resembled a triangle as his relatively wide forehead
went to a pointed chin. His hair stood up straight, even at it's almost
half foot length. His clothing accentuated his regal presence. He wore a
long black lab coat that hid the white suit that was underneath. The
voice again spoke.
"Well, well. The infamous R-Men."
"Who are you, and what are we doing here."
"Ah. Gelatin, I presume?"
"And the others must be Variable Woman, and Random Man."
"It seems you know us. Do you mind telling us who you are?"
"I am the keeper of lost story-lines. I am the one who makes shure
that whenever a writer gets a wonderful story, that the author never gets
around to the story, and it then becomes forgotten. For instance, your
very own writer came up with a marvelous imprint called ASONS that was
based on newspaper serials from the '30s such as Buck Rogers."
The man then showed a pendent on his necklace to the group. Across
the pendent clearly read "ASONS".
"It was a very interesting idea. To bad he would never get around to
using it." The man let out a small smile.
"So, what does that have to do with us?"
"Well, you see I work with not only unused ideas, but also ideas that
are already in progress. Right now, I'm working on a particular story
called 'The Omaha Project.'"
The R-Men gasped in horror at the man's words.
"Yes, all those authors have other things to spend their time on now,
and couldn't possibly work on a little story like this. Then I am going
to make some of the authors have to leave for the summer, and others lose
access. Soon the authors will be all over the place, with no way to
communicate with each other, and the story will be quickly forgotten."
"Wait a minute. Aren't we contributing to the story right now?"
"Do you actually believe that people read your stories? Ha-ha-ha..."
The laughter send a chill through the R-Men. Gelatin had to think
quick. He had to come up with something. An idea suddenly entered his
mind, and a large, wild grin grew quickly across his face.
"What would happen if I told you that I have a way to make this story
"Oh..? And how might you do that?"
"What if I gave away some information that would surprise everyone
and cause them to continue to write?"
"That might work. I seriously doubt it would, though."
"You think so? How about if I told everyone that I knew what the
purpose of the Omaha Project was?"
A worried look came across the man's face. "No you can't possibly
know that! It's impossible! It's-"
"What is it, Gel?" Vari asked.
"The purpose of the Omaha Project was to find a way to break the
< G A S P ! >
K. M. Wilcox (kmwilcox at iastate.edu)
"What in the Sam Hill is going on in the Midwest?" Leonard
Brushteckel, Fourteenth Executive Officer of Major Foods demanded,
slamming the manilla folder on his desk.
"Someone has been selling this Ultimate Mister Paprika to stores, and
they've been accepting it, thinking it's from us," his assistant told him.
"We've already sent messages to the stores warning them, and the lawyers
are working on preparing a lawsuit, but this no one knows who's behind
"Send a sterner message to the stores, threatening to pull all our
products if they continue to sell this imposter," Brushteckel ordered.
"And get me Mister Call." The assistant nodded worriedly and left.
Three minutes later, there was a knock at the office door. "Enter,"
Brushteckel said. The vent behind him popped open, and a man dressed all
in black climbed out. "Call! If you were in the vent, who was at the
"It was a distraction," Call answered. "If you'd been the enemy,
you'd be dead, now."
"Normally, I detest these games," the executive sighed, "but this
time, your talents will be most useful...."
Crane Call and his commando squad climbed to the crest of the ridge
and peered down at the enemy compound. "Let's do this by-the-book," Call
instructed. He led the way down, then suddenly realized he was alone. He
turned around, and his eyes went wide.
"Forget it, Bucko," the store manager said. "We're no longer
accepting your 'Ultimate Mister Paprika.'" Then he noticed the machine
gun jammed into his throat. "On the other hand..."
"Mister Paprika!" the young executive yelled as he ran into his
employer's office. "We're under attack by zombies or... You're not Mister
"Yes, I am," the man behind the desk laughed, pressing a button on his
high-backed chair. Instantly, the underling was vaporized. "I always
Next Week: More Corn Field Action in -- Part Five of the OMAHA PROJECT!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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