LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #93: Limp-Asparagus Lad #45
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 3 13:46:31 PST 2019
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have Limp-Asparagus Lad #45 -- 'President Hexadecimal'
Limp-Asparagus Lad #45, written by Saxon "Screw American History" Brenton is
the first appearance of Bicycle Repair Lad's arch-nemesis Hexadecimal Luthor
whose only appearance before this was a mention in the Bicycle Repair Lad roster
entry made up by Bicycle Repair Lad creator Chris Hare. Saxon would take that
mention give life to the character in this story a riff on the President Luthor
storyline that was happening around this time in the DC Universe.
This whole President Hex Luthor dangling plotline would take years to resolve
(eventually it would in 2009 in Beige Midnight #4). But here's the beginning
as we boldly go into the Hexacimal Luthor Age of LNH history (and who would
have ever guessed that the current American President would make Hex Luthor seem
like a completely reasonable choice.)
| | Classic
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| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
Limp-Asparagus Lad #45
From: saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au (Saxon Brenton)
Subject: [LNH] Limp-Asparagus Lad #45
Date: 15 May 2002 02:55:52 -0000
Limp-Asparagus Lad #45
A Legion of Net.Heroes title
Apropos of nothing much except a vague need to acknowledge the 'President
Luthor' situation at DC Comics, Blue Light Productions interrupts your
irregularly scheduled hopelessly meandering storyline for:
Starring: Bicycle Repair Lad
Written by and copyright 2002 Saxon Brenton
Art by Ph*l F*glio
The cover is a blatant rip-off of _Secret Files: President Luthor_,
with Bicycle Repair Lad angrily tearing in half a poster for
Hexadecimal Luthor's presidential campaign. The _Limp-Asparagus Lad_
logo has been crossed out and replaced with _Bicycle Repair Lad Gets
Ticked Off Special_.
A while ago in LNH continuity:
Bicycle Repair Lad dropped the grease-covered engine part that he
had been cleaning and stared in abject horror at the small television
that was tucked off to one side of his workshop.
Up until now the thing had been putting out simple background
noise. But now... Well, now it was a harbinger of doom.
Hexadecimal Luthor was going to be the next president of the
Usenetted States of Ame.rec.a.
Bicycle Repair Lad started over towards the television to turn the
sound up, in the process accidentally kicking the discarded engine part
and stubbing his toes. This did not do any good for his already black
and turbulent mood. "Bloody 'ell," he swore, picking up the part and
placing it onto a benchtop. (It was from the starboard engine of the
number five LNH flight.thingee and as usual the temperamental old dear
was clogging up with punctuation element from random bits of
Bicycle Repair Lad turned up the sound and stared at the tally
updates. Then, because he needed something to calm him down, he started
heating the water for a good hot cup of tea.
Hexadecimal Luthor as president. Blast and damnation, bloody effing
From the looks of things it had been a convincing win. Neither
George Bush for the Net.publicans nor Al Gore for the Dir.mocrats had
come within a tinker's cuss of Hexadecimal's numbers. Possibly the only
other contender who could have been considered any sort of threat had
been the independent senator Kelly Roberts with his populist anti-
net.ahuman platform. And of course, Roberts was long gone now.
No one was entirely sure what had happened that evening in Net
York when the strange light show had erupted from the still-under-repair
Statue of Liberty and spread out across the lower end of Manhattan,
putting an early end to the senator's fundraiser. All that was certain
was that Kelly Roberts was dead - the integrity of the cells of his body
disrupted to the point where his flesh had deliquesced and the only way
that they'd been able to identify him was by dental records.
Net.ahuman terrorists had been blamed. Some had said that it was an
unimaginative second attempt by Lagneto to kill off politicians in the
Statue's shadow, others suggesting a remnant of the Century Pact, while
at least one line of thought linked it with the events that had destroyed
the city of Sig.ago. [The public side of these events occurred in:
_Lagneto Saga #7-8, _Dvandom Force_ #84, and _The Team_ #25 - Footnote
Bicycle Repair Lad disagreed. He had discovered, somewhat to his
surprise, that he had developed a finely cultivated nasty suspicious
mind where Hexadecimal Luthor was concerned. The LNHer felt in his bones
that HL was involved somehow. The removal of a potentially dangerous
rival in a way that would allow Hexadecimal to selectively confiscate
parts of Roberts' platform... well, it wasn't quite the style of the
*old* Hexadecimal Luthor, but to be honest BRL wasn't sure what
Hexadecimal's current style was. Better to be safe than sorry.
The Bastion Of British Humour poured his tea, then sat staring
at nothing as he tried once again to guess what specifically Hex had
in mind this time. It was a problem that had been vexing BRL ever since
his foe had announced his candidacy, and he still had no solid
answer for it.
Power? Revenge? Could be either.
Could be both, for that matter. With the clout of the White House
at his disposal Hexadecimal could set in motion any number of schemes,
with no other purpose than the satisfaction of seeing Bicycle Repair Lad
and his fellow net.heroes frustrated by government interference. Power,
after all, was rarely satisfying unless you *did* something with it, but
where a supervillain like Hexadecimal was concerned nobody said that that
something had to be constructive.
[Writers Note: Ironically, the inclusion of Hexadecimal Luthor into
the equation of the presidential election perpetuated a form of damage to
the politics of the Usenetted States that went beyond his mere victory
and subsequent opportunity to use the socio-economic-military resources
of the country for Evil. In Real Life the close electoral finish between
Bush and Gore focused attention on the mechanics of the voting system
(particularly in the state of Florida), demonstrating not only that parts
of it had become unreliable through age, but that other parts had been
deliberately designed never to be democratic in the first place.
Hexadecimal's convincing win prevented these anomalies from being brought
so forcefully to public attention. Thus, in the Looniverse there was no
widespread knowledge of these flaws and abuses, meaning that in turn
there was no opportunity for public pressure to be bought to bear to try
and force legislators to fix them.]
Bicycle Repair Lad took a sip of his tea.
Part of the problem was that in a recent encounter Hexadecimal had
changed his modus operandi. In the past he had always been a wily and
extravagant foe for Bicycle Repair Lad. For better or for worse Hex could
usually be relied upon to use his brilliant scientific skills to whip up
some attention-grabbing event designed to keep his name known and feared.
He was a consummate costumed terrorist who had never actually bothered to
have a cause other than proving that he was capable of getting away with
such behaviour. In fact, Hexadecimal's insouciant attitude had always
given BRL the impression that even when he had been captured and thrown
into jail Hex was simply biding his time until he grew bored enough to
launch his next plan.
And what plans they had been. Like the time he had replaced all
of the members of the Usenetted Nations security council with robot
duplicates in an effort to start world war 3. Or when he had encased the
city of Paris in a force dome and held it suspended 200 metres above the
ground. Or his attempt to use a mind-control ray to put everyone with
the initials 'LL' under his thrall. Or causing all of the apes in the
Net.ropolis zoo to grow to gigantic size and rampage around the city
shooting green ray beams out of their eyes.
...Bicycle Repair Lad frowned...
And then everything had changed. Hexadecimal had pulled off what
could arguably be his most audacious theft. He had stolen history.
It happened something like this:
"Ah... ah..., " stammered one of Hexadecimal's henchmen. The man
was terrified and doing his best to aim a blaster rifle at Bicycle Repair
Lad. The unconscious bodies of his fellows were lying around the room.
"You know mate, I think this is the part where you run away,"
suggested Bicycle Repair Lad cheerfully.
Bicycle Repair Lad leaned forward in a conspiratorial whisper.
"Otherwise I might have to poke *you* with a soft cushion, too." He waved
the cushion in question, just to emphasise his threat.
"Or maybe even say 'ni' at you."
The henchman's nerve broke and he fled.
Bicycle Repair Lad tsked to himself and asked nobody in particular,
"What type of people are they allowing into the Henchmen's Union these
days?" Then he glanced around and called out, "Oi, guv? Hexadecimal,
where are you?"
A round portal in the far wall irised open. "Through here, Bicycle
The Legionnaire followed the voice through into an adjacent chamber
and looked about. It was simply chock full of all sorts of wonderful and
bizarre looking pseudo high tech thingummy-jiggers. "'Ere, you've
redecorated again," BRL observed.
Hexadecimal Luthor was sitting at a table. He shook his head. "No,
I simply shifted some of the equipment around to make more room."
"It would help if you occasionally threw out some of this stuff. Or
at least put some of it into storage."
Hexadecimal smiled inscrutably. "You know, by amazing coincidence I
*do* actually plan to get rid of a lot of this stuff very shortly."
Bicycle Repair Lad raised an eyebrow and said, "Not the old
Hexadecimal laughed. "Ha! No, not that one again. I admit it's an
old favourite, but that's not what I was thinking of this time. I was
planning on leaving."
"Really? Well, I can't say I'll miss you. But if that's so, there
is one thing that I'd like to know."
"And that is?"
"Why do you always have your henchmen shave their heads and wear
those ugly green and purple jumpsuits as uniforms?"
"Spare me your cynical and Absurdist-derived English non-squiturs."
Bicycle Repair Lad shrugged. "Fine then. What precisely was that
thing that you stole from the Museum of Modern Art - and what diabolical
device are you going to use it to power this time?"
"Ha!" cried Hexadecimal "At last you begin to show some respect for
the scope of my intellect. That 'thing' as you call it is none other
than... the Cosmic Reset Button!"
"The Cosmic Reset Button!?" echoed BRL in pantomimed astonishment
and alarm. Then, in a more normal voice: "What's that?"
"A device for changing history."
"Oh. What, another one?"
"What do you means, 'another one'?" exclaimed Hexadecimal testily.
"Well, you know, it's just that there are so many time changing
do-thingies around these days. And that's apart from plain old use-the-
time-machine-to-go-back-and-change-history angle. Wouldn't a retcon
cannon have been easier to get a hold of?"
"A retcon canon? Bah! Retcon cannons are passe. Of course I could
have created one with ease, but for my purposes they are too limited,
too conventional. I don't want to substitute a new history for old while
leaving the present exactly the same! I want to change both the path
that time walks *and* the destination it leads to!"
The net.hero shrugged. "If you say so. So then, what part of history
do you think you can change to your benefit? Change the outcome of World
War 2? Insert a sleeper clause into the Declaration of Independence?
Prevent the execution of President Nixon for high treason?"
"I will erase my history as a costumed supervillain."
This was met with scepticism. "You planning on going straight then?"
Hexadecimal ignored the barbed comment. "I grow bored with
continually trying to demonstrate my genius to an ungrateful public," he
said, getting up from the table where he had been sitting and walking
about the room with his hands behind his back in Dramatic Monologue mode.
"The unrewarded effort and continual uphill battle of trying to show that
a man capable of organising an underwater invasion of South Ame.rec.a is
clearly the best administrative mind to hold the coveted position of
Emperor of Earth. The hypocrisy of the average person is galling. They
clearly long for stability in their lives above all else - and indeed
have historically put up with any amount of cutting back into their
precious 'civil liberties' during times of turmoil - but they persist
in the bizarre delusion that democracy is the only way to govern them.
If all that they're going to do is continually complain that their
elected leaders are too soft on crime, then why did they vote for them
in the first place?"
"Maybe people also fear the arbitrarily unfair rule of a proven
sociopath who they wouldn't be able to remove at a later date?" Bicycle
Repair Lad suggested.
Hexadecimal ignored this as well. "So I have reviewed my career,"
he continued in a stentorian manner, "and I have come to the conclusion
that that supervillainy, while an amusing diversion, does not further
my long term ambitions."
"And you intend to continue your plans of world conquest by
replacing it with... what?"
Bicycle Repair Lad gave him a dubious look. "Isn't that just a bit
lame? The cliche of sinister megacorporations being the true rulers of
the world went stale in the mid-1990s with the rest of the cyberpunk
Hexadecimal just looked at him and rolled his eyes. "Tell that to
the anti-globalisation protesters who always show up to rant and rave
at any meeting of the Inter.net.ional Monetary Fund. They'd be happy to
explain to you that what you're talking about is merely the overuse of
the idea in fiction. In any case, what better bushel to hide one's light
under than one where you can acquire power and your opponents can be
dismissed as anarchists with no respect for personal property rather than
as crusading costumed vigilantes?"
.oO( Blimey, ) thought Bicycle Repair Lad. ( He might have actually
thought this thing all the way through for once. )
Hexadecimal turned to look at him. It was a look of wide-eyed
hysteria that BRL was far more familiar with from Hex. "But of course,
you'll want to stop me."
Bicycle Repair Lad tensed, sensing an imminent fight scene. "Yes."
"Then you must DIE!" screamed Hexadecimal, literally foaming at the
mouth. "Destroy him, my Corps of Cloned Lethal Lagomorphs!" Hex stepped
back to make room, and suddenly there was a legion of lop eared rabbits
with switchblade knives rushing at on Bicycle Repair Lad from all sides.
Which was pretty silly when you think about it, because Bicycle
Repair Lad knew how to deal with killer rabbits. "Eat Holy Hand Grenade!"
"Die nerdb... ARRGHH!" went a flank of rabbits as they were blow
into little bunny bits. Switchblade knives flew everywhere.
Hexadecimal laughed maniacally as the rabbits closed in. The Bastion
of British Humour began stomping on his opponents with the Foot from the
Monty Python opening credits. Splort! Splort! Splort! went the rabbits.
But there seemed to be no end to them, and before long Bicycle
Repair Lad had to call up a ten-foot tall electric penguin with tentacles
to protect his back, and then - reaching further afield - for Tinkles the
giant kitten and the feral portion of the International Christmas Pudding
Eventually Hexadecimal's throat grew sore from all the maniacal
laughter, and he went over to the other side of the chamber and returned
to tinkering with the Cosmic Reset Button. He hummed in accompaniment to
the pleasant screams of the wounded and dying. They went on for a long
"All right Hexadecimal," said Bicycle Repair Lad at last. Hex
looked up. The LNHer was covered in rabbit gore and had a few nasty cuts,
but was otherwise demonstrably victorious over the lagomorphic legions.
"All finished?" asked Hexadecimal brightly. "Me too."
"Hand over the Reset Button, and we won't have to resort to juniper
bushes," BRL ordered.
Hexadecimal shook his head. Bicycle Repair Lad dropped the Foot on him.
It bounced off.
Hexadecimal looked smug. "Personal forcefield. More than strong
enough to deal with your Foot."
Bicycle Repair Lad gave the net.villain a hard look. Yes. Not to
mention that the Foot needed at least some room to stamp down in as well,
so he could hardly conjure it within such a tight field. He wondered if
the strength of the forcefield would be enough to withstand an assault
by a ten foot tall electric penguin.
As it turned out, he didn't have time to find out. Hexadecimal
pressed the Cosmic Reset Button.
There had been a flash of bright light, and when Bicycle Repair Lad
had regained consciousness the world had changed. Hexadecimal Luthor had
never been a flamboyant supervillain who had dressed in gaudily coloured
costumes and menaced entire cities with giant robots shaped like
chickens. He had instead always been a successful businessman with a
certain reputation for ruthlessness.
Bicycle Repair Lad remembered the truth, although whether this was
because he had been close enough to the Cosmic Reset Button to be within
the area of the 'bootstrap effect' or simply because of dramatic irony
he had never been able to figure out.
And Hexadecimal Luthor remembered as well. In the few subsequent
run-ins that BRL had had with Hexadecimal's carefully-structured-to-be-
totally-deniable black op business schemes HL had tried to play the
straight man, but an occasional slip up in his dialogue had revealed that
he too remembered the times like when he had tried to use the Cosmic
Rubik's Cube to turn the North Sea into a desert.
Bicycle Repair Lad drained the last of his tea and put down his mug.
So there it was. Hexadecimal Luthor had hidden his light under his
bushel and was in the process of climbing his way up the ladder of
'legitimate' power. Big business alone had turned out to be merely a
stepping stone in establishing his credentials - and providing
campaign funding, of course.
God only knew where it would end. But Bicycle Repair Lad intended
to be there when the end came.
Bicycle Repair Lad is the Writer Character of Christopher Hare
(HC61 at lafibm.lafayette.edu). Used without permission.
Hex Luthor also created by Chris Hare, and can probably be
considered Public Domain.
Bicycle Repair Lad was created back in the early, chaotic-add on
phase of the LNH by Chris Hare, but only Chris' then email address has
ever been included in Bicycle Repair Lad's LNH character roster.
Martin's recent unearthing of the real names of various early Writer
Character LNHers using the newly expanded google newsgroup archives
prompted me to go searching for the sake of completeness.
For my money the best appearances of Bicycle Repair Lad have been
those in Paul Hardy's legendary _Legion Of Occult Heroes_ series. Indeed,
BRL's popularity as a character seems to be the result of the exposure
he got from Paul, since the majority of the times he's been used by
other Writers (both actual appearances and mentions-in-passing) postdate
his LOH stint.
Hexadecimal Luthor, meanwhile, has never made an actual appearance
prior to this that I can find, and only gets a mention in BRL's character
write-up - which is reprinted here with the minor modification of
including Chris' real name:
NAME: Bicycle Repair Lad
CREATED BY: Christopher Hare (HC61 at lafibm.lafayette.edu)
POWERS: British Humor
Possibly *some* (but varying) Superboy powers. Plus repairs
ADD.NOTES: Born from a Monty Python Sketch, F.G. Superboy is secretly
Bicycle Repair Lad!
Able to completely confuse people in a single post!
Looks remarkably like a young Eric Idle in a Superman suit.
How he uses his powers: Remember that foot in the MP credits?
ENEMIES: BBC censors, Religious Fundamentalists, Hex Luthor,
Evil and shoddy bicycle mechanics.
Saxon Brenton University of Technology city library, Sydney, Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
The Librarian "liked people who loved and respected books. And the best
way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the
shelves where Nature intended them to be." Terry Pratchett, _Men At Arms_
Next Week: It's going to be a hot one. Flame Wars IV HOT!!!!!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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