LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #51: Flame Wars III Part III

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Mon Jul 2 12:26:30 PDT 2018

On 3/4/2018 3:53 PM, Arthur Spitzer wrote:
> Has not school begun again? Are
> you not yet again connected to this great tangled thing that we call the
> net? Where art thou? Le sigh.

Man, the fact that there was a time period when people's main source of internet 
access was college is *weird*.

> " Where ya going Doc, back to the future?"
> " Nope. Already been there!"
>             -- statements attributed to Marty McFly and Emmett Brown at a
>                train track over Eastwood Ravine
> " Now I'm going to visit relatives."
>             -- Emmett Brown, one minute later

*giggles* I like that this one is just very thinly veiled crossover fanfic.

>          Kismet sat at the edge of the roof of the Legion of Net.Heroes
> Headquarters, dangling her feet over the rim and kicking inefectually at
> the air. The people she hoped were her new friends had tried to get her
> inside through a tiny portal, into a tiny inner room. She had refused.
> How could these people live in places where the walls were close enough
> to suffocate, and the ceiling low enough to crush you if it dropped only
> a foot or two more? She expected they managed it the same way they
> managed to stay sane in those massive herds they travelled in. Whatever
> that was. But for now, she was staying on the roof, thankyouverymuch.

Adorable. I love her and I really need to re-read Misfits.

> She
> tried to make herself believe she didn't need the sword, but she was
> lying to herself, and she knew it. If she got summoned now, she'd
> remember everything, she wouldn't have Dirmarw around to fix her
> afterwards, and she didn't know if she could handle remembering the whole
> thing again, didn't know if she'd be able - Paytan clenched her
> fists, biting her lip in annoyance. But if she took him back he'd just
> keep treating her like dirt! Like a pawn in that game of his to get his
> dimension back! And she didn't know if she could stand that, either.

Seriously, this is powerful YA fiction stuff and I don't know why Jennifer 
Whitson isn't burning up the charts as we speak. Like, complicated fraught 
relationships with magical items and dealing with infernal PTSD... yes wow.

> Brittany was downstairs, having a bad day. She hurtled through
> the upstairs hallways of the building, bright orange trenchcoat with
> multicolored patches streaming out behind her. She held Binky with one
> arm, hugging him close to her side as she ran.

She is amazing.

> Some weird guy had just
> taken Dirmarw! Or Cheesecake-Eater Lad had just taken Dirmarw! Or
> something! She held a crumpled note in her hand, confusion in her eyes.


>          His hands shot out and grabbed the person's neck, forcing them
> into a sitting position on the bed. That should wake him - no, her - up,
> he thought. Wait, she's still limp why -
>          And then his power activated, and her memories flooded his mind.

The fact that Flashback has a power hasn't been established yet, but otherwise 
this is super solid.

>          " Yes, that is the question," he said," What _am_ I doing here?
> Where am I, or appropriatley, _when_ am I? Oh, I've forgotten to
> introduce myself, how rude. I'm Brown. Doc Brown." He stuck his hand out
> in the general direction of CE-L, who shook it obligingly.

Man, this is *really* thinly veiled. X3

>          " YOU DIE NOW, CAKE-BOY!!" screamed a multicolored
> trenchcoat-wearing net.heroine as she burst through the double doors at
> the other side of the room, ran across the intervening space, paused for
> a moment to set a goldfish and his bowl down on the counter, and hurtled
> into Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "_First_, you leave Binky all alone in here,
> and now you think you can just walk into my room and take stuff?!" she
> yelled, kneeling on top of him, holding his nose in a death grip between
> the fingers of her right hand. CE-L's arms pinwheeled madly.


>          " You're Brittany!? _Little_ Brittany? The little girl who used
> to sit on my knee? You've grown! How's everyone else? How's your mother?"
> he asked. Brittany's grin faltered for a second, and she gulped.


>          " I AM FLASHBACK!! And I know how to stop you! I know how to stop
> you all!! I'll build a machine, a wonderful machine. They'll never be
> able to beat me with the Killfile Contraption by my side. But first, you
> die," he said, and pulled the ray gun's trigger.

Oh boy. X3

>          " Brittany? She's fine. Probably just detoured to bug
> Cheesecake-Eater Lad or avoid Fuzzy or something, you know?


>          " INCOMING!" she screamed, and the old man and she threw
> themselves to the ground, just in time for a ray bolt to scream out from
> the door and over their heads.
>          Paytan had time to think "whoa, Fuzzy must be _really_ pissed
> this time"

X3 <3 <3 <3

> The armor looked a little beaten on, most notably a dent
> in the faceplate.


>          " Excuse me, but I seem to be the source of all this trouble,"
> interjected Doc Brown," And if that's the case I can simply leave and
> return at a later time."

Wow, a practical, actionable idea. I'm impressed o3o

>          " Good," replied Brit,"We'll destract, um, Flashback, and you
> make a run downstairs, okay?"
>          " Are you all quite finished?" asked a black armored form where
> it stood a few feet away, tapping it's foot.

*snerkcackles* I love how the different writers play around with Flashback's 
Serious Business.

>          " Well, _hello_ Mr.Flashback Psycho Killer, sir! Fancy meeting
> you here, of all places!" The armored form raised a laser pistol, aiming
> it at Brit's head. The smile dropped from her face and she hurled herself
> to the side, felt the heat of the beam passing by her cheek, and smelled
> the stink of her own burnt hair.

And being able to smoothly slide back into it is also Nice.

>          " I'm doing this for you! Just get outta here so we can too! GO!"
> she yelled. Truthfully, she was actually doing this for Brittany, but
> saying that wouldn't get her friend's idiot relative off the damn roof.
Adorable. I love them

>          " DIE!! By Bakharaizel's fist, DIE!" screamed the aforementioned
> dimensional visitor as she hurtled headfirst towards Flashback from out
> of the sky.  She'd taken the tine to put a strange looking pair of clawed
> steel boots on her feet, shining dully in the sun. Her hair had been tied
> back into an odd-looking ponytail, with only two blond strands in front
> of her ears left untied to whip around in the wind. Her hands and lower
> arms had been covered with another set of the clawed steel things, these
> with a small collection of feathers and stoned tied onto the armband ared
> with leather thongs.

Dang, that's cool. <3

>          At the last second Kismet flipped in midair, pointing the
> viciously clawed steed boots at Flashback's midsection as she slammed
> into him at top speed. There was a horrible screaming metal sound, like a
> minor form of a car crash, and both Kismet and Flashback sailed a few
> feet into the air, then slammed back down again onto the roof's surface.

That is *such* a cool visual. :D

>          " Okay, so we're _not_ being gentlemanly. We're _not_ being nice.
> Suits me fine. You try to kill my Great Uncle, you try to kill my
> friends, and you refuse all attempts at polite conversation! Feh. I call
> upon the power of all cosmic, of he who swims, Lord of Weirdness and King
> of the SouthWestern Celestial Plains, Possessor of the Deity Trinket, of
> the Carmel Candy Crown, of the Preface to the Necronimicon, etc, etc, ad
> infinitum, BINKY!" screamed Brittany, the winds sweeping dramatically
> through her hair, lifting up her trenchcoat and swirling it behind her.
> Flashback froze, gun pointed at her midsection.
>          But then winds died down, and no celestial aura manifested itself
> around Brittany. So he pulled the trigger.


>          " The first time since I'm a superhero I call on you! And what do
> you do?," growled Brit,"You ignore me, that's what! Well, YA WANNA SEE

I mean, this is really how you should treat gods and cosmic beings. Rub their 
noses in the carpet

>          " Hey you! Mr.Psycho Killer Guy! EAT COSMIC POWER!!" screamed
> Brit. Then she pitched Binky at him.
>          The cosmic power, fishbowl and all, sailed gracefully through the
> air for one frozen second, Binky looking considerably stunned, even for a
> goldfish, three tiny droplets of water falling from the bowl's edge as
> they headed towards the roof. Then he ricocheted off Flashback's helmet,
> the sound of metal and glass that didn't want to break meeting abruptly
> echoing around the LNHHQ roof. Binky landed on the roof at an awkward
> angle and slopped some water onto the cement, then rocked backwards to an
> upright position, as Flashback stumbled backwards and tried to keep his
> balance.

I love this so much. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

> Something had changed. No -
> something was _changing_. Throughout her body tiny programs awoke and
> began to run, setting off larger ones like dominoes. The wave of
> awakening programs built, like an electric tsunami. The metal lid
> covering her cybernetic eye schlicked open, then shut again, testing.
> Tiny shudders ran up and down her spine as the systems began to test the
> skeletal musculature.
>          And in the depths of her mind, Censor Girl began to wake.

Censor Girl is such a weird character. X3 I've never really been able to suss 
out Her Thing.

> 		       "Past is precursor to future."
>                                              -Unknown

I mean... yes? o3o

> 	Those deaths -- and a younger Flashback's inability to prevent them --
> had led to Flashback's jump back through time.  Unfortunately, he had missed
> his arrival date and had arrived almost a decade too early. Doubly
> unfortunate was the fact that Flashback's inexperience with the time travel
> equipment hadleft him amnesiac for all that time, until something had
> happened to snap him out of that state.

I had to read this a couple times before I realized that this was saying that 
Flashback had traveled back a decade before this and been homeless and amnesiac 
all that time, rather than that he was aiming for a decade later. X3;

> 	He shook his head.  There was no reason for them to look at him.
> Paranoia.  He almost smiled ruefully.  Certainly, there had been that
> incident with the Time Crapper a year or so ago, but he hoped that was all in
> the past, despite Ultimate Ninja's misgivings earlier today; after all, UN
> *had* included him in the strike force.  Why would the LNH be mistrustful of
> him-  He stopped in mid-thought.
> 	A time traveller.
> 	The killer would be/had been a time traveller.
> 	Just like Contraption Man was.

Hmmmm. If this is actually paranoia/anxiety, then it works. If the LNH is 
actually being Like That about this, then it doesn't, because... well, we've 
already encountered half-a-dozen random time travellers around Net.ropolis 
today, in this storyline. X3

> 	Not being known for his nomenclative originality, Killfile had called
> it the "Killfile Contraption."  The name, however, was unimportant,
> especially when what it could do was so much more interesting.  Once powered
> up, the Contraption prototype would respond to the mental impulses of its
> user and erradicate a target or targets read from the user's thoughts.

Ah, sure o3o So that involves... well never mind~ It's Bad.

> 	Contraption Man sought refuge from the accusing non-stares in the hold
> of the flight thingee 

I'm gonna assume from this that this is, in fact, his anxiety. :>

> 	A short figure in a hideous costume poked his head out from behind a
> bank of machinery, hands raised above his head.  "Umm, hi, Mr. Contraption
> Man.  Remember me?  Chismbob Boy?  Teen Squeeez Cheeez?  Good Kid?"
> 	"I remember."  CM lowered his weapon.  "The question is, what are you
> doing *here*?"

And I like how his anxiety is distracting him from what's clearly going on here.

> 	"I can touch people and absorb some of their memories."
> 	"You mean... it's a kind of 'flashback' power."
> 	The Kid shrugged.  "I guess so.  So, is it enough to get me in?"
> 	Contraption Man barely registered his words.  "Flashback," he muttered
> to himself.   It all fit together.  This child *was* Flashback!  Or at least
> he would be.
> 	Oh, he'd heard the time traveller's story in the recorder he'd
> recovered, but it he'd almost let Ultimate Ninja convince him they'd been the
> ramblings of a madman, or maybe someone displaced from an alternate timeline
> like the Legion of Occult Heroes.  He grimmaced.  It had been right before
> his eyes all this time, and he hadn't seen it.

And I do like him just accepting the facts of the matter once he puts them 
together. <3

> 	He turned back to the Kid, who eagerly awaited his answer.  In the
> othertimeline, the one where the Kid had become Flashback and where the LNH
> had been killed, Contraption Man had locked him in the flight thingee to keep
> him from harm.  If he did the same now...
> 	No choice.  He wouldn't let the innocent before him become the
> deranged killer that Flashback was.  No choice but to open wide the
> floodgates and pray he and the others would not be washed away by the river
> of time.

I gotta wonder what breaks the implicit time loop here - or if even asking that 
question is thinking about that wrong...

> 	The thingee touched down in a clearing near a large mountain.
> Contraption Man was the first off of it, followed closely by Irony Man,
> Theory Man, List Lad, and the Forgetting One.

Oh, I forgot he was a member~

> The ninja was convinced
> that Flashback was just another armored maniac (albeit one from the future)
> and,since Weirdness Girl had damaged his armor, had rated him an almost
> negligible threat.

I dunno if this makes sense. X3 UN seems like the kind of person who would take 
"log from the future of the entire LNH dying" seriously. Ah well.

> 	Flashback peered at the monitors as he waited for the prototype to
> power up.  The LNH had managed to follow him even here!  He whirled toward
> the board and began to adjust controls as quickly as he could.
> 	"Come on, you piece of junk," he growled.  "Time is running out."

I like how this is framed as the kind of running-out-of-time scene the hero 
would get.

> 	In Net.ropolis, Ultimate Ninja suddenly looked up from a stack of
> paperwork.  An uneasy feeling fell across him.  Something was wrong, terribly
> wrong.  He reached for his communicator...
> 	... and his ghostly transparent hand passed through the desk.
> 	As he looked on in horror, Ultimate Ninja began to fade from
> existence.

Ohhhh, that's how that works. Nice. :D

> 	Flashback was horrified.  Before him, the LNH strike force began to
> vanish.  "No," he whispered.  "It can't happen like this!  NOT AGAIN!!!"  He
> frantically began to adjust the controls.  "I *WON'T* LET YOU DIE!!!"
> 	There was a reason that Dr. Killfile had abandonned his prototype, a
> reason that he in his vanity did not share with Censor Girl.  That fact was
> that the machine was flawed.  Oh, it could erase beings or things from
> existence -- but the things it erased were those most on its user's mind, not
> necessarily the target that its user desired erradicated.

I'm gonna give this twist a 6/10, though I'd add several points if the writer 
clarified "those most on its user's mind" just a bit. (I mean, Flashback sure 
has been *thinking* about time travelers a lot, but he's *focused* on the LNH 
right now. It's not a hard fix. <3)

> 	Contraption Man barely registered these thoughts, though; his eyes
> were fixed on the horror in the Kid's face.  He knew, CM realized.  He had
> touched Flashback, and now he knew what Flashback was.  The Kid looked up,
> his eyes meeting CM's.  No hatred or bitterness was there, only determination
> and resignation.  He knew, and would rather die a hero than live as a killer.

I wish the Good Kid had gotten more characterization. The first issue was good 
with that, and then the interim ones focused a lot on Flashback and basically 
had the Kid insensate. Ah well.

> 	Irony Man ignored his pleas.  "Run!" he shouted to the others.

You know, it's weird, from a modern perspective, that Irony Man is classified 
with the "lame" LNHers here. But historically, he was mostly used for jokes 
about detecting irony up until Civil War made the idea of having an Iron Man 
equivalent in the LNH useful.

> 	UN shuffled his feet uneasily.  "Listen, CM, it's not your fault."
> 	CM nodded.  "It's easy to say that.  But did I make the right
> decision?"
> 	"Maybe not, but you made the only one you could.  You let him make
> his own choices.  Sometimes that's the only decision a leader can make."

That's a good line.

> 	Contraption Man sighed.  "In the end, he was just a prisoner of
> time."
> 	"Aren't we all?"

*Fourth Doctor-era Doctor Who ending theme*

Drew "curse you, Sontarans" Perron

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