LNH: System Corruptors #35: Rise of the East Coast Brotherhood, part 2

Adrian McClure mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Mon May 22 08:55:45 PDT 2017

System Corruptors #35:
"Rise of the East Coast Brotherhood, part 2"
A Legion of Net.Heroes story by Adrian McClure


No matter how many times Marvel Zombie Lad went to space, he could
never quite make his brain adjust to the fact that he was in fact in
space. He was standing on a geosynchronous asteroid with an impressive
high-tech base attached--Asteroid L, held in Earth orbit by the power
of lag. It had blown up and fallen into the sea four or five times
now, but for whatever reason Lagneto just wouldn't let that idea go.

MZL and DNSDaemon had gone through first, just in case--they were the
ones who didn't need to breathe. DNSDaemon shifted into a form of pure
information and merged with the walls of the base, possessing the
security system. Marvel Zombie Lad had sent with him to make sure
everything went smoothly.

"Looks like everything's AOK," he said into his communicator. (A
demonic cell phone created by DNSDaemon, which smelled of brimstone
and kept sending push notifications from all the free-to-play games it
had installed on it.) "DNSDaemon, bring them through."

Another portal formed, and in walked the rest of the East Coast
Brotherhood of Net.Villains--Mr. Homage, Rumor Monger, Continuity Porn
Star, Romantic Innuendo II, Dr. Killfile II, and Polybag Person.
"Wait, hold on," said Marvel Zombie Lad. "Where's Plotchopper?"

Polybag Person shrugged. "He just kinda disappears sometimes. You get
used to it."

Mr. Homage led them through the asteroid, a massive, trap-filled
complex large enough to hold an army of net.villains, but which was
completely empty, not unlike the mall they'd just left. There were
death traps, lava pits, mazes lakes filled with cyborg piranhas, logic
puzzles... Basically every single thing that could possibly kill you.
None of it was working, of course, thanks to DNSDaemon.

Past all the traps stood the inner sanctum of Lagneto himself, a
cathedral-like room with a throne in its center. And sitting on it
was, of course, Lagneto. He was intently watching something on Netflix
on a laptop which was held in the air by the power of lag. He didn't
even seem to notice their presence.

The Brotherhood stood. Lagneto sat and watched TV. No one really
wanted to make the first move. Finally Mr. Homage did, clearing his
throat: "Lagneto! Buddy! How are things?"

"What? Oh." Lagneto scowled. "Go away, I'm busy."

"You're busy... watching TV?" said Dr. Killfile incredulously.

"No, I'm busy organizing my stamp collection, what does it look like
I'm doing?" Lagneto threw up his hands. "Now leave me alone. Do I look
like someone who wants to talk?"

"Lagneto, just listen to me a moment, OK?" said Mr. Homage. "I know
times are tough right now. I know things haven't been the best between
us. But I think the East Coast Brotherhood really has what it takes to
change the world. We can succeed where your old team failed. We're
different now. We can help you--"

"I've heard this speech already," groaned Lagneto. "The Crime Empress
and the West Coast Brotherhood gave it to me yesterday. And XOdious
and his RACColytes before that. I'm going to tell you the same thing I
told them--I'm not done watching Twin Peaks yet. Go away."

"You--you've been spending all this time binge watching?" said Deathspork.

"Well, yes," said Lagneto. "It's less of a waste of time than being
involved in all this net.hero and villain nonsense right now."

"Hey, I thought you left the West Coast Brotherhood because you wanted
to Do Something about net.ahuman rights!" said Continuity Porn Star.
[SC #33 again] "What happened to that?"

"I tried," muttered Lagneto at the screen. "But for everything I did,
it just got worse. I'm tired."

"How can you say that!" said Polybag Person. "You were my hero! OK
maybe that's not the right word, but... you were a guy who really knew
what he was about and did it. You were who I really wanted to be

"Well that Lagneto is gone," said Lagneto. "So don't bother."

"Look," said Marvel Zombie Lad. "I was in the same place for a long
time. I was stuck, I just didn't care about anything. There's so much
that's wrong in the world--even just the world of comics--and I didn't
know where to begin. But now I'm letting myself really feel the anger,
the frustration, and it's not always good but it's something."

Lagneto shook his head. "I understand. I wish I could still feel that way."

"Hey, now listen--" said Mr. Homage.

"Be quiet!" Lagneto banged his fist on the throne. "I don't want to
hear anything *you* have to say."

"Hmmm." Romantic Innuendo stroked her chin. "Hmmm. I wonder. Obviously
you hate him, but what if... What if you had other feelings..."

Lagneto blinked. "NO!" He gestured with his arm and metal tentacles
reached out from the wall to grab Romantic Innuendo. "I have had
enough of this. I had hoped you would leave on your own accord, but if
you do not, you will leave--IN YOUR COFFINS!"

"You have coffins up here too? Huh--" said Polybag Person, but was
knocked out of the way by Deathspork, who charged Lagneto, spork in
hand. "Lagneto!" he said. "I've been waiting for this for a long time!
Now I'll kill you, and prove--" And then he didn't say anything.
Because Lagneto had stopped him in midair. Everyone else facepalmed.
Before they could do anything else, Lagneto grabbed the spork from his
hand and stabbed him in the gut with it. Then he floated to Mr.

"Now come on," said Mr. Homage, "we can talk about this--"

"No we cannot," said Lagneto. He threw out his hand and shouted--


"Oh shit," whispered Polybag Person. "He's been watching Jojo's."

A "buffering" sign appeared in midair. When it faded away, multiple
knives, a bulldozer, bundles of dynamite, and an elephant were
hovering over Mr. Homage. And that was the end of that. (The elephant
was fine after the explosion, though no one really knew how it had got
up there.)

"I've been waiting to take care of him for a long, long time," said
Lagneto, "And now for the rest of you. Some of you I considered allies
once, perhaps even friends. But you threw in your lot with this greedy
fool, and you will pay the price. For the record, your pet demon will
be of no help against me. I hired a freelance witch to demon-proof my
security system long ago." Marvel Zombie Lad could see DNSDaemon
trapped in the viewscreen mounted on the wall (Why wasn't Lagneto
watching his shows on that? Well, it takes all kinds), writhing in
pain. He felt a sudden lurch of terror. They had to get out, but their
only way out was gone.

Dr. Killfile was the next to lunge into battle. She blasted Lagneto
with her infamous kill-o-ray bolts, but he dispersed them with lag
before they could hit. Both were absolutely consumed with rage. Energy
generated by the battle was sparking around them. They could go at
this forever, Marvel Zombie Lad realized--and take everyone else with

"Hey," whispered Mr. Homage, "Rumor Monger, distract him! I need to
talk to Dr. Killfile for a bit." What? How was he still alive? The Mr.
Homage Marvel Zombie Lad knew would have been a net.villain flavored
pancake after that. But there he was.

Rumor Monger obligingly popped in behind Lagneto. "Psst," he
whispered. "I heard they're taking Twin Peaks off Netflix!"

"Go away!" said Lagneto. He swatted at Rumor Monger, but he just
appeared at the opposite shoulder. "I heard the murderer in the new
Twin Peaks is Vanilla Ice! I heard there's a cameo by Stan Lee!"
Lagneto tried to lag him but his powers were of limited utility--rumor
flies, as the saying goes.

"Now hold on," said Mr. Homage to Dr. Killfile. "Stop thinking like a
supervillain for a moment, and start thinking like a scientist, OK?
You've observed Lagneto--what do you think are his weaknesses?"

"Hmmm..." Dr. Killfile steepled her fingers. Meanwhile, Rumor Monger
was doing his utmost to keep Lagneto off balance. Continuity Porn Star
had joined in, flashing his tattoos of crossovers. But it was obvious
they'd only work for so long, while Lagneto, ironically, showed no
signs of lagging.

"I wonder why Deathspork was defeated so easily--of course. Lagneto's
powers are based on the net.element of net, the equivalent of air.
Deathspork's are likely tied to keystroke or punctuation, the
equivalent of earth--that's why he includes a colon in his name. Air
is strong against earth--but weak against fire..."

"And I've got your fire right here!" With that reasonably snappy
comeback, Marvel Zombie Lad joined the fight, hitting Lagneto with the
full force of his Fire that Sears Men's Soles, the manifestation of
his passion, love and rage and frustration with Marvel. It had been a
long time since he channeled that flame. It hurt him, too, bringing
him a pain he'd thought his long-dead body was beyond feeling. But he
let the fire flow.

But it wasn't enough. Lagneto flung the other net.villains aside, and
pushed through the flame. "THE LA--"

All this time, Romantic Innuendo had been carefully watching the
battle and the screen above. "Hmmm," she said to the security system.
"It must get lonely up here, doesn't it? Being a magically enhanced
security system in a base run by someone who won't do anything, who
can't even make the effort to set up TV on your screen. You must feel
frustrated with your maker, sometimes. You have a lot less in common
with him than with that daemon, don't you. And he must be lonely too.

It worked. Flashing hearts appeared on the screen, and DNSDaemon came
roaring out. He joined his flame with Marvel Zombie Lad's, and Lagneto
staggered backward.

And then Polybag Person made his move. Putting his utmost willpower
into it, he formed a mylar barrier around Lagneto. The effort to push
through it was too much, and Lagneto collapse.

"Oh man," said Polybag Person. "We--we did it! We beat him! Now--what
the heck are we supposed to do with him."

"I knew he couldn't defeat me!" said Deathspork. His healing factor,
which he apparently had now, had got him--somewhat unsteadily--on his
feet. Dr. Killfile kicked him and he fell back to the floor.
"I say we kill him now," she said, "and get it over with."

Polybag Person shook his head. "He just wants to be alone. Let him.
He's not gonna bother anyone if we don't bother him."

"Agreed," said Marvel Zombie Lad. "And he'll know not to mess with us
now, right? Maybe he'll spread the word."

"Okay, sure," said Mr. Homage. "DNSDaemon, take us out of here!"

They walked back through the portal to the mall, where Mistake had
been left behind to watch over Eraserhead in the former Orange Julius
where it was chained up. As an elemental of Deletion, it was literally
impossible to describe. It gave Marvel Zombie Lad the willies, and he
wasn't looking forward to getting the guard duty himself.

"How'd it go?" said Mistake.

"We won," said Polybag Person. "I can't believe it. Maybe we've got a
future in this after all."
Marvel Zombie Lad laughed. For the first time in a good long time, he
was part of something, and it felt good. "Hey, maybe we do..."


When everyone had gone to bed, Mr. Homage sat alone in throne room in
an abandoned JC Penney, looking into a mirror. On the other side of
the mirror was a man trapped in burning chains, screaming in the
throes of hellfire. The face of Mr. Homage.

"What are you complaining about, huh?" said the being who was wearing
Mr. Homage's body. "You made a good bit of money from eminent domain
yourself back in the day, y'know? So now it was my time to move in.
Develop the property. Sorry, old buddy, old pal. But you'll always get
knocked down by someone bigger and meaner than you. Just like Carl
Icahn and Ike Perlmutter. That's the rules of the game. You knew the
job was dangerous when you took it. Happens to the worst of us.

"But there's some people who just won't accept that. And get this--one
of them is me! The man I used to be--the self-absorbed, idealistic
hippie. I hate him so much. And somehow he ended up in the present,
and he's trying to be a hero! Besmirching the good name of Anti-Christ
Lad! But not much longer. I'll take the Legion apart piece by piece.
I'll destroy his world all over again. And he'll learn the same thing
I did. The world is hard and cruel, and there's no escape from

He waved goodbye, and the screaming face of Mr. Homage faded away.



This is the beginning of a storyline that will run throughout the next
year or so of my LNH stuff, culminating in an LNH-spanning crossover,
War of the Brotherhoods. (Liminals will be involved but will be able
to be read on its own.) Other people can jump in on this if they want;
Mr. Homage probably has a lot of different plans going on. Feel free
to add new members to either Brotherhood as well.


Mr. Homage, Polybag Person, Eraserhead: Jeff "Drizzt" Barnes
Anti-Christ Lad, Continuity Porn Star: Arthur Spitzer
Lagneto, Mistake: Jef Kolodziej
Marvel Zombie Lad: Ben Pierce
DNSDaemon: Ted "Arsenal" Brock
Dr. Killfile II: Me via Tom Russell
Crime Empress: Lalo Martins/Rob Rogers
XOdious: Saxon Brenton
Deathspork: the Terminator, Lagneto's security system who is a
character now I guess: Me

Adrian "The Dark Spaceknight" McClure, now with sig

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