LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #92: Saviors of the Net The Conclusion
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 13:37:42 PST 2019
In this weeks reposting of stuff you can find in the eyrie archive
we have the final section of Saviors of the Net.
Saviors of the Net #17, Marc "Not the Beastmaster" Singer returns.
Okay, it's the final issue of the Saviors. Who will live? Who will
die? Who will have incredibly realistic rubber nipples?
And an extra bonus by myself, Arthur Spitzer -- yes the little tiny
bit of my aborted attempt at writing an issue 18 for Saviors I post
here for the first time (or it's possible that I already posted this
a long time ago and forget I did -- so maybe this is the second time.)
This would have been written in 2006 and this is basically the most
I managed to write before giving up (there's a little bit involving
Very Disturbed Scary Creature in his Freddy N Slip guise being a
therapist for Always-Seems-Powerful-On-His-Own-But-Gets-His-Ass-
Kicked-in-Crowd-Scenes Boy that I never got around to finishing,
which I won't bother to post.)
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
Saviors of the Net The Conclusion
Date: 20 Mar 2000 18:02:29 -0000
From: marcs at wam.umd.edu (Marc Singer)
Subject: [LNH] Saviors of the Net #17 (part 1 of 2)
Legacy House presents...
SAVIORS OF THE NET #17 -- THE FINAL CHAPTER!
by Marc Singer
(Net.ropolis. The Supposedly Abandoned Warehouse headquarters of
Dr. Vivian Net.ropolis:
(Adler Stim, a.k.a. the self-described "Ultimate Savior," and his
partner Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man, both formerly of the Saviors
of the Net, have led Doctor Stomper to the warehouse of Dr.
Net.ropolis, believing their former ally is working with the Mechanical
Author--a tyrannical "perfect author" which is trying to take control of
the entire Looniverse.
(The Saviors have learned that Dr. Net.ropolis was in fact trying
to stop the Author. But just as they learned this, the warehouse was
raided by members of the LNH, who were hunting the Saviors for their
kidnapping of Doctor Stomper. Before Stomper could explain, Self-
Righteous Preacher destroyed Dr. Net.ropolis's machine, the only hope of
stopping the Author--but this was because the Preacher was in fact
possessed by Vice, a malign entity who is now attempting to slay the
Saviors of the Net with his giant flaming upside-down cross--hey, watch
where you're swinging that thing--!!!)
Kid Recap, who was leading a second force of LNHers into the
warehouse, got clobbered by Vice because he was too busy running his
yap instead of ducking like everyone else. With a few more swings, Vice
scattered the other Legionnaires, especially Always-Seems-Powerful-On-
Then Vice turned his attention back to Dr. Stomper, Dr.
Net.ropolis, and the Ultimate Savior. "Whatsamatter, *Adler*?" said the
leering man in the black leather parody of a minister's outfit. "Aren't you
going to protect your friends? What kind of Savior are you, anyway?"
It didn't help that the Savior and Dr. Stomper were both dressed
as extras from "Cats."
But the real problem was that the Ultimate Savior had no powers
anymore. (Not since last year, when the Mechanical Author nearly
retconned him out of existence,) Kid Recap moaned briefly, before
passing out again. All the Savior could do was throw himself in front of
the two scientists and hope that Vice's club got stuck somewhere in his
ribcage. Sensing the fear, Vice stepped in and raised his cross for the
When a figure in black shot out of a crushed crate and tackled the
possessed preacher. Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man punched Vice
repeatedly, moving in a flurry of sticky rubber spiders, bouncing bat
wings, and plastic rats, all of which were glued to his... rather baroque
costume. "Nobody touches the Savior," VDSCMan rasped. "Not
Vice made no resistance at all, simply started laughing. "Go
ahead, hero! Abuse me all you want! But remember, when you hit me--"
he briefly allowed his face to revert to that of the Self-Righteous
Preacher-- "you're hitting one of your own!"
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man thought about it for a
moment. "I can live with that," he said, resuming the beating.
"Ow! Ow! Ow! Okay, I'm calling your bluff! I'm calling your--
OW! QUIT IT!" Vice flailed under VDSCMan, trying to ward off his
blows, to no avail. "You frickin' PSYCHO! Here, HAVE your damn
hero! I QUIT!" Vice departed, somehow restoring the Preacher's
clothes back to normal.
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man stood up and admired his
handiwork. Since he'd saved three people and killed none, he considered
it one of his cleanest jobs ever, not really considering the horrible bruises
he left all over Self-Righteous Preacher's body. Dusting his hands, he
turned to check on his friends--
--and found himself staring at a dozen angry LNHers, led by the
sword-wielding Ultimate Ninja. "Just give me an excuse," said the Ninja.
"UN, *no*!" Doctor Stomper ran into the middle of the brewing
fight, waving his arms frantically. "I know this looks bad, but the Saviors
are trying to help us--the entire Looniverse. And Vice just destroyed
their best chance to do it." He glanced glumly at the smoking wreckage
of Dr. Net.ropolis's transmitter.
"Okay," the Ninja sighed. "I want everybody back at LNHHQ,
*now*. And somebody wake this guy up," he said, pointing to Kid
Recap. "I have a feeling he's got a lot of explaining to do."
* * * * * * *
(Legion of Net.Heroes Headquarters.)
One of the more advanced features of the LNH Assembly Room
was its ability to expand or contract depending on the number of heroes
present at any given meeting. Tesseract generators could fold back the
walls, add chairs, and stretch floorspace to accomodate almost any
crowd. But today they were straining to contain the heroes. Self-
Righteous Preacher was still recovering in the infirmary, but the Ultimate
Ninja had summoned nearly every other active Legionnaire on the planet.
Even outlying groups like the Load Island Renegades had come in for
Kid Recap, having just explained the entire history of the Saviors
of the Net and the Mechanical Author, collapsed into a chair and began
gulping down bottles of Gatorade. (It was the retcon war that really did
him in.) Ultimate Ninja took the podium and said, "The situation is
critical, people. Even now, the Mechanical Author is ready to breach the
Fourth Wall and destroy our authors; and if he does, there'll be nothing to
prevent him from taking over the entire Looniverse." Behind him, Kid
Recap smacked himself in the head, wondering why he couldn't have said
it that quickly.
"Dr. Net.ropolis," said the Ninja, "is there any way you can
rebuild that transmitter in time to reprogram the Mechanical Author?"
"I don't think so," she said, "not even with Dr. Stomper and
Contraption Man helping me... those parts were one-of-a-kind. We'll
have to confront the Author directly."
"Excuse me," said Adamant-Authority-on-Everything, waving his
hand for attention. "Do we even need to do anything? I mean, how can
this Mechanical Author actually enter the real world and kill the authors?
Isn't that just ridiculous?"
He looked around the crowded room. "Well, isn't it?"
* * * * * * *
(Planet Earth. The real one.)
Steven Howard banged his head on his desk. The first time he'd
been able to connect up to earthlink.net in weeks, and now some virus
was destroying his hard drive. The worst part was that it had fried the
new "Saviors of the Net" chapter he'd been working on... the one that
would have finally ended the threat of the Mechanical Author.
He tried calling the earthlink tech-support people, but the phone
hissed and beeped at him. Steven thought about reaching around to the
back of the computer to disconnect the modem...
The telltale scent of ozone stopped his hand just inches from the
metal backing. Acting on instinct, Steven fished a penny out of his
pocket, threw it on the computer--and recoiled as the penny danced in a
cobalt arc of electricity that set the whole terminal on fire.
Steven jumped back from the burning computer. This was no
accident; there could have been enough electricity there to kill a man.
Suddenly, Steven wished he knew the real-world names, phone numbers
and addresses of all the other "Saviors of the Net" writers; without those,
there was no way to warn them. He'd just have to hope everyone else
was as cautious and patient as he was.
* * * * * * *
Whistling a merry tune, Tom Russell strolled into his bedroom,
briefly kissed his fingertips and touched them to the lips of the huge
Molly Ringwald poster, and sat down to do some writing. His computer
still had that weird screen-saver--the one that showed a robot flying out
of the screen--but he ignored that and pulled up his internet connection.
Something was weird about the signal this time... he'd just poke around
back there and take a look...
As Tom touched the back of his computer, thousands and
thousands of volts shot through his body. Every hair on his body stood
on end before catching fire. Tom danced and jerked like a marionette on
a maniacal puppeteer's string, but was unable to remove his hand from
the computer. Finally, the electricity blasted him into the center of the
bedroom, where he continued his deadly St. Vitus' dance, as his body
burned to a crisp.
One of the stray sparks landed on the Molly Ringwald poster. It
flared up just beneath her eye in such a way that she almost seemed to be
* * * * * * *
Adamant-Authority-on-Everything's diatribe was interrupted
when Fourth Wall Lass clutched her head and collapsed. "I just felt a
horrible scream," she moaned, "like a... like a..."
"Like a billion souls crying out in agony and then suddenly being
silenced?" the Adamant Authority yawned.
"No, more like one soul crying out in agony and being silenced...
and a little relief from everyone else. But the point is, something just
happened beyond the Fourth Wall!"
The Assembly Room buzzed to life as Legionnaires began
strapping on guns, buckling utility belts, and preparing for battle. Dr.
Net.ropolis grabbed her laptop, hoping she could do something with it at
close range; Dr. Stomper, who had just finished changing out of his
"Cats" disguise, stayed close to her.
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man laid a hand on the Ultimate
Savior, who had changed back to the street hobo clothes he'd been
wearing for the last year. "What's wrong, kid?" said VDSCMan.
"I don't know what good I'm going to be. I don't have any
*powers* anymore. I can't even save myself, let alone the Net!"
VDSCMan shifted uncomfortably. He wasn't often called upon to
console people. But he did his best, saying, "Kid, you're the only person
who ever befriended me--even made me one of your Saviors. You are
the Ultimate Savior."
The young man flinched at the name. "No," he said. "I'm Adler
Stim. A con artist and a sham."
The noisy preparations ended when the Ultimate Ninja barked,
"All right, Legionnaires ready!" He ran to Fourth Wall Lass's side. "I
know you can hop to the other side of the Fourth Wall," he said
encouragingly, "but can you take us to the Wall itself?"
"The Threshold... I don't know... I've never moved this many
"Well, try," the Ninja commanded. "I guess..." His voice turned
shy and embarrassed, but he forged ahead anyway. "I guess we could do
one of those fruity everybody-holds-hands-and-channels-you-their-power
things, if you think it'll help."
Fourth Wall Lass noticed Onion Lad was already lining up next to
her. "Um, no, I think I can do it after all," she said.
She stood up and raised her hands, silencing the entire LNH. She
closed her eyes, concentrating, pushing, until beads of sweat rolled down
And then they disappeared.
* * * * * * *
The assorted Legionnaires and Saviors appeared in a bedroom.
They were instantly overwhelmed by the dizzying barrage of sensory
input as they noticed all the details, normally glossed over in the
Looniverse, that were terrifyingly present in the real world: the
brightness of the clothes piled on the bed, the sounds of a clock ticking,
the texture of the carpet fibers underneath their feet. The horrible stench
arising from the charred body on the floor. The crying Molly Ringwald
"We overshot the Threshold!" said Fourth Wall Lass. She could
tell because the spandex looked really dorky on everybody, and Ultimate
Ninja's costume had nipples. "I'll try it again!"
Fourth Wall Lass concentrated and the heroes disappeared in a
vortex which swept them straight into the room's computer, which
showed a grimacing, vaguely humanoid robot, almost ready to break
through the screen.
* * * * * * *
Now the heroes stood on a long balustrade, made of some
material that had the texture of marble but the glint of polished steel. It
was decorated with snaking metallic lines in a design that lay somewhere
between a mosaic and printed circuitry. The balustrade was filled with
torch-bearing statues, some twenty stories high, that depicted primordial
god-heroes from the dawn of the computer age--mostly guys from those
old Infocom games. Doctor Stomper only recognized one of the figures,
a humanoid squid pierced by the implements of a thousand deaths.
This parapet was merely one level on a wall that stretched to the
right and to the left, up and down, as far as the eye could see. When Dr.
Stomper looked far enough, he could see the wall curving--curving as
gently as spacetime itself.
"The Fourth Wall," he gasped.
Then his skeptical scientific mind kicked in. Out in front of him
he could only see stars and nebulae, the fringes of deep space. "How can
I even talk out here?" he asked. "And what's holding us to this wall, and
what are the torches burning? We ought to be--"
"Shut UP!" Fourth Wall Lass said, shaking him. "Don't ask those
kinds of questions--it's like the Coyote looking down when he knows
damn well he just ran off a cliff! You're better off not thinking about it!"
Fortunately, another crisis distracted the Doctor's inquisitive
brain. Adler Stim pointed over the parapet, shouting, "It's here!"--just as
the titanic body of the Mechanical Author surged out of a nebula and
fired all of its weapons at the Fourth Wall.
The missiles had barely left the Author's fingertips before the
Ultimate Ninja pointed his katana at the tyrannical creation and screamed,
* * * * * * *
The Mechanical Author's hull sensors were registering several
unanticipated counterattacks on its surface superstructure. Readjusting
his gaze from the enormous scope of the entire Fourth Wall, the Author
zoomed in on the attacks' projected point of origin and detected the
Now it understood the nature of the attacks which ricocheted off
its armored skin. Irony bursts, retcotheric energy... the Author noted
with cold approval that Writers Block Woman was trying to give it, *it*,
writer's block! A clever strategem--but these were all powers the Author
was immune to, or meta-referential literary techniques it had mastered.
Unleashing a bolt of energy, the Author blew out Irony Man's power
batteries with a burst of feedback. (As if that weren't ironic enough,
Irony Man's helmet radio then started playing Alanis Morissette.)
But still, still... these LNHers might have an effect yet. Ultimate
Ninja was leading a brigade of less powerful heroes in defense of the
Fourth Wall. The Ninja himself was leaping from missile to missile,
slicing and smashing and detonating them before they could reach the
Wall in bold defiance of the Author's will, not to mention the laws of
physics. Something would have to be done.
And so the Author did something. In its world, as in its
programming, there would be no gap between thought and deed. All that
it imagined, would happen.
And all that did not happen, no one would ever be able to
* * * * * * *
Sweating, pulse pounding, *grinning* from sheer exhilaration, the
Ultimate Ninja landed on another Mechanical-Author missile. Strangely,
they looked a bit like ball-point pens with guidance fins. Balancing his
feet against the fins, UN shifted his weight and threw off the missile's
aim. He began surfing the missile, skimming it parallel to the Wall, and
waving his swords in twin pinwheels to deflect a barrage of bullets from
the Author's shoulder-cannons. The Ninja surfed his projectile straight
into another missile, then leaped off just before the collision and rode the
shockwave, tumbling, back onto the parapet.
Panting, the Ultimate Ninja assessed the situation and stifled his
grin. The Wall was beginning to tremble from the explosions that got
past the LNH. "Any luck, Doctor?"
Dr. Net.ropolis, typing frantically on her laptop, shouted, "He's
not responding to commands! He's upgraded himself!"
"Then we need our big guns." He barked to Doctor Stomper,
"Can we try to contact--"
As if in answer, a rumbling chord sounded in the airless void
--"Don't SAY that!" groused Fourth Wall Lass--
sorry, a rumbling chord sounded in the, er, amazingly hospitable
void. The chord grew in pitch and volume until it was an ear-splitting
wail and then finally a colossal
BOOM! as a circular tube opened on the balustrade and out flew
the armored form of... Kid Kirby!!!
But the Kirbian One's armor was cracked and burnt, and he
spilled rather than flew out of the Boom Tube. He fell onto the
balustrade and glanced up, barely able to climb to his hands and knees, as
the tube collapsed behind him.
"I bear ill tidings," gasped Kid Kirby, "for the ascent of the
Author hath not gone unnoticed by the Powers Cosmic. Master
Workload and Sig.ma do both vie for its power, and their struggle hath
entangled the other deities of the Looniverse as well. Alas! In their war
they do jeopardize the fabric of the Looniverse itself, and many would
sooner destroy this fair vale than suffer it to be ruled by another."
"Oh God," said Dr. Net.ropolis, "That's part of the Author's
scenario. I wrote that in its programming. They're following the script
and they don't even know it. And meanwhile..." The Wall shuddered
The armored figure continued to speak. "My master--" his voice
clicked and whirred-- "My master does all he can to contain the damage
of this celestial war, but it does tax him and his allies greatly. He doth
lament his absence and hath sent me through Cosmic Storms to assist
thee, and I--" An arm fell off, revealing wires and circuitry. "And I hath
failed him... Master..." With one final, mournful cry, the Kirbybot's body
collapsed, and his eyes went dark.
The assembled heroes stood quietly over the fallen robot.
"Forget about him," Ultimate Ninja said, twirling his swords. "We're still
here. LNH! Let's take this fight to the Author--NOW!"
Wave after wave of hero sprang off the parapets and charged the
Mechanical Author--only to fall before its onslaught of bullets, missiles,
and bombs. The first wave was so stunned by the ferocity of the attack,
so amazed that the weapons could actually hit and injure them, they fell
The Author hovered calmly in space, letting the LNHers approach
before it mowed them down. Master Blaster tried to shoot it, only to be
drowned in a deluge of return fire. Soon, unconscious heroes surrounded
the robot like an asteroid belt; anyone who tried to pull their friends back
to safety--as Lite tried to rescue Easily-Discovered Man--got swatted out
cold for their troubles. Swordmaster and CAW! actually reached the
Author's body, only to find that even their weaponry couldn't dent its
metal skin. The two Load Island Renegades looked up as a giant fist
hammered down, knocking them senseless.
"This can't be happening!" Doctor Stomper gasped from the
parapets. "The-- the LNH always wins!"
"No," Net.ropolis said coldly, reading the information off her
laptop. "The Mechanical Author just retconned that." As she spoke, the
Ultimate Ninja's body tumbled back into the Fourth Wall and slumped
over, unconscious. "The LNH just lost."
* * * * * * *
The Mechanical Author shoved the floating bodies aside with a
slow sweep of its hand. It had not been able to kill them--yet--but a
simple rewriting of the Looniverse's rules brought things into order.
Made their defeat not only possible, but inevitable.
The Author turned the full fury of its powers on the Fourth Wall.
* * * * * * *
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO!!!
Date: 20 Mar 2000 18:10:30 -0000
From: marcs at wam.umd.edu (Marc Singer)
Subject: [LNH] Saviors of the Net #17 (part 2 of 2)
[continued from part one...]
(The edge of spacetime. The Fourth Wall.)
Shells whistled above the last four heroes standing as the
Mechanical Author mercilessly pummeled the Fourth Wall. Each strike
brought down another piece of the barrier between realities. Titanic
fragments of statuary--a masked head, a gloved hand--toppled around the
heroes. A falling torch nearly crushed the Adler Stim before Very
Disturbed Scary Creature Man tackled him out of harm's way. Without
his powers, Adler still wasn't sure if he was worth saving.
Mere feet away, Doctor Stomper ducked under a volley of
gunfire and crawled over to Dr. Net.ropolis. "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!" he
shouted over the shellbursts. "THERE MUST BE SOME WAY WE CAN STOP HIM!"
"NOT AS LONG AS YOU'RE WITH THE LNH!" she shouted. "BUT MAYBE--
MAYBE I CAN REACH SOMEONE WHO *CAN* BEAT HIM!" She tapped furiously on
Dr. Net.ropolis activated her cellular modem, praying the Author
had weakened the Fourth Wall enough for the signal to get through. She
didn't make any outward signs of joy or relief when she connected to the
Internet, just moved her sweaty fingers like a piano virtuoso. Locating
the right archives, she searched for the records from before the
Mechanical Author's activation, before his first great wave of retcons--
and she found the people who were trapped there.
A bomb-burst took out another section of the Fourth Wall. This
time, light shone behind it. The Author rocketed forward, eager for its
first glimpse of reality.
It was a naked man, shaking his body like a monkey on crack.
Not just *any* naked man, but... "Nudist Man!" cried Adler Stim.
The naked man jumped out of the glowing crevice, followed by several
other brightly-costumed pseudo-heroes: Mood Arrow, the Human
Aquarium, the Lava Lamp, Gothic Gorilla, Retcon RACCoon...
"The Author scripted himself a defeat of the LNH," Dr.
Net.ropolis said, finally allowing herself a smile. "So I brought back the
Saviors of the Net!"
A quick explanation from Dr. Net.ropolis brought the Saviors up
to speed on everything they'd missed while they'd been retconned out of
existence... well, not *everything*, a detailed summary of "Mutton
Mania" would simply have been absurd under the circumstances... but
when the doctor explained how the Author's retcons had killed their
teammate Captain Killfile, the Saviors heard enough. They pulled into
formation behind Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man and charged the
Author. Only doctors Net.ropolis and Stomper stayed behind to work on
her programming... and Adler Stim, powerless, watched from the
The Mechanical Author had been quite calm during all this, not
even attacking the Wall, just watching. Perhaps it was freaked out by the
hyperactive naked guy. But as the Saviors charged, its defense systems
kicked in. The Mechanical Author reached back in continuity himself and
pulled out his own defenders: the maniacal conqueror known as the Alt.
Lord, and the suave assassin called Arthur E. L. Presence.
"My own damn test programs." Dr. Net.ropolis smacked herself
on the forehead.
"Your work is a little *too* robust, Vivian," said Doctor
Stomper. "But I'm beginning to see a way out..." He ran towards the
inert armor of Irony Man, and the broken body of the Kirbybot, just as
the Mechanical Author resumed his shelling.
Out in space, the Alt. Lord held the Saviors at bay with his
flaming sword. "Fools!" he spat. "You all served me once! You were
my distractions, my advance agents, my lieutenants... all except that spy!"
He pointed to Nudist Man.
The naked man gulped as he found himself staring at the business
end of an emotion arrow, mystically-gesturing gorilla fingers, raccoon
paws, a magical lava-producing lamp, and a transparent body full of
water and fish. If indeed any of those things can be said to *have*
business ends, he was at that end of them.
Mood Arrow loaded up a special Shame Arrow. The gray-haired
archer grinned and said, "Prepare to blush, streaker."
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man watched it all with a silent
scowl. As Mood Arrow drew back his bowstring, the "Rubber Animal
Avenger" threw back his cloak and growled, "Mood Arrow... you
clown... you always say 'yes' to anyone with a badge--or a flag--or a big
robot Mechanical Author body... Well it's way past time to learn what it
means... to be a *character*."
He pounced on them. Emotion arrows and lava blasts and very
confused fish started flying everywhere.
* * * * * * *
"This won't do at all," muttered Dr. Net.ropolis as the Wall
crumbled around her. "Time to bring in one--last--trick--"
* * * * * * *
Another shape appeared in the glow beyond the Wall. Flying out
of it, silhouetted against the glow, it resolved into form and detail. It
became a perfect circle.
A hula hoop.
Acting on reflexes he'd thought long-buried, Adler Stim jumped
off the balustrade and grabbed his Holy Hoop as it shot out of the Wall.
The blue and white hoop crackled with energy, burning off the filthy
clothes he'd worn as a hobo on the streets of Net.ropolis. Burning off the
dirt and the beard he'd grown in his year on the streets. Burning off
everything but the faded red, white, and blue costume he wore
underneath, revealing its letters, U. S.
"Heroes!" Adler Stim screamed. "It is I--your leader--the
ULTIMATE SAVIOR!" And the way he carried that hula hoop, they all
"Don't waste your time fighting each other! And don't listen to
those two pawns!" He waved his hoop disparagingly at Alt. Lord and
Presence. "You were their servants once. But now you have a choice--
keep serving them, and create a universe where you'll always be servants
for the rest of your lives--"
DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO CONTINUE SPEAKING, the Mechanical Author
commanded. DESTROY HIM NOW.
Ultimate Savior brandished his hoop like a shield, deflecting Alt.
Lord's, Presence's, and the Author's weapons fire. Pretty impressive,
considering the hoop had a honking huge hole in the middle. "You can
become their robots," the Savior continued, "acting out the roles they
write for you, never rising above what you are, because in a true allegory
the minor characters never change. Or you can stand up for what's right
and become a major character--a true hero--a--a--"
He thrust his hula hoop high above his head, bathing the
quarreling heroes, the unconscious bodies, the entire Fourth Wall in its
pure blue light. And he screamed, "A SAVIOR OF THE NET!"
And their howls of joy told the Ultimate Savior that he was right.
The Saviors of the Net turned on Alt. Lord first. Lava Lamp trapped the
killer's feet in a quick-hardening lava flow, and Human Aquarium
extinguished his sword with a blast of water. Gothic Gorilla carefully
explained to Alt. Lord that he wasn't really their master at all--that he was
simply a character from the "Saviors of the World" comic book which
had inspired Dr. Net.ropolis, and subsequently become part of her test
program. Alt. Lord howled that it couldn't be true.
Mood Arrow pulled out his Sense of Nostalgia for Old Times
Which, While Technically You Were Miserable Then And You Know
You're Better Off Without Them, You Still Miss Anyway Arrow and
fired it at the Alt. Lord. The shallow four-color character, unable to
process such a complex emotion, disappeared in a burst of cheap beer
and grunge rock.
And then Arthur E. L. Presence stepped forward...
* * * * * * *
This is the scene featuring Arthur E. L. Presence, the character
who knows he is only in a story. This is the first paragraph of that scene.
This is the last sentence of that paragraph.
This is the sentence that explains Retcon RACCoon drifted over
to Arthur E. L. Presence as Presence tried to erase all of the Saviors from
continuity, and the RACCoon stopped him. This is the sentence that
explains the RACCoon tried to erase Presence from continuity, and
Presence stopped him. This is the sentence that says Presence said, "We
seem to be in a bit of a stalemate."
This is the sentence where the RACCoon replies, "We each have
the power to alter the story; we perfectly balance each other." This
sentence explains that the RACCoon actually said something more like
"nik nik nik nik nik p'too! grrrrrrowl," but Presence easily understood
him simply by going back and reading the previous sentence. This is the
sentence that says the RACCoon said, "We seem to be in a bit of a
stalemate," balancing the end of the previous paragraph and reflecting
their stalemate through a repetition of form.
This paragraph relates Presence's attempt to reason with the
RACCoon. This dialogue reports his statements: "You might as well
back down and help me, then, for while we stalemate each other, the
Author will surely continue on to pierce the Fourth Wall, slay the other
authors, and dominate this universe. His eternal victory is guaranteed."
This paragraph relates the RACCoon's attempt to reason with
Presence. This dialogue reports his statements: "You might as well back
down and help me, then, for if his victory is guaranteed then so is your
defeat. You will always be a self-aware character, and in the Mechanical
Author's universe of allegory, your only function as a self-aware
character will be to be aware of yourself, trapped, like a mirror reflecting
itself forever. Your eternal torture is guaranteed." This sentence reports
that Presence thought about the RACCoon's argument, and furthermore
this sentence destabilizes the balance with the previous paragraph,
reflecting that in the end the RACCoon is right after all.
This sentence shows Arthur E. L. Presence reading the last
sentence and realizing that under the Mechanical Author's rule he will be
stuck in just this sort of postmodern wank-off forever. This rather long
sentence describes Presence deciding that all things considered, he would
rather go on being an assassin who's absolutely unstoppable because he
rewrites his own stories, but nevertheless *he* should be the one doing
the rewriting and to hell with the Mechanical Author anyway. This
sentence shows Presence nodding his head to the RACCoon.
"Thank you for the conversation," Presence says in this sentence,
adding, "It's so nice to meet someone I can finally talk to." This is the
sentence in which he waves goodbye to the Retcon RACCoon and
This is the last scene featuring Arthur E. L. Presence, the
character who knows he is only in a story. This is the last paragraph that
mentions Arthur E. L. Presence. And this is the very last sentence about
Arthur E. L. Presence... for now.
* * * * * * *
The Saviors landed on the Mechanical Author's chestplate; in the
bizarre non-directional gravity at the edge of spacetime, they felt like they
were standing on solid ground and staring straight ahead into the robot's
enormous, inhuman face.
"You're out of stooges to hide behind!" the Ultimate Savior
screamed at the Author. Titanic shards of statuary tumbled past them,
into the void. "This madness ends now!"
I QUITE AGREE.
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man was suddenly retconned into
a cheerful vigilante who fought crime with a youtful sidekick--he
shrugged that one off, muttering something about "Jason." Then he was
retconned into a succession of weird variations like Very Disturbed Scary
Zebra Man or Very Disturbed Scary Super-Genie Man; then into a rather
paunchy television actor who kept calling everybody "old chum"; and
then--most pathetically of all--into an "urban legend."
Mood Arrow was retconned into a tiny baby, collapsing in a pile
of clothing and arrows. Lava Lamp was retconned into his evil Earth-X
counterpart, Der Grossenbubblielikvidlamp. Nudist Man was retconned
into some guy with clothes. Human Aquarium was retconned into just
plain human--but his howling, and the flailing shapes just underneath his
skin, suggested the fish were still somewhere inside him.
Retcon RACCoon and Gothic Gorilla fought to undo the
changes, but they could barely keep up with the Author's lightning-fast
circuitry. Meanwhile, the constant retconning was disintegrating the
Fourth Wall, having stretched all credulity to the breaking point.
The Ultimate Savior tried to march up the Author's torso, to its
head and its mighty electronic brain. It was a hard walk; every other
step, he'd have a fin for a foot or a body made out of Lime Jell-O. Or
worse, he'd turn back into Jesse Cashew, posturing villain; or Adler Stim,
selfish hacker. Only the glowing hula hoop remained unchanged; only
holding onto that kept him the Ultimate Savior. He dug it into the
Author's metal hull and pulled himself along, one arm's-length at a time.
Dr. Net.ropolis watched the Author torment her team. "This is
madness," she said. "I'm helping them out." She ran across the quaking
balustrade, to where Doctor Stomper was running wires from her laptop
to Irony Man's gauntlets and the Kirbybot power batteries. Dr.
Net.ropolis ripped a jet-pack off the Kirbybot and strapped it on.
"What are you doing?" Stomper protested. "We need you on the
She winked at her former mentor. "You're a bright boy, Doc; I'm
sure you'll figure it out." Pressing the control stud, Dr. Net.ropolis
soared off the Fourth Wall. She spent a few seconds zigzagging
erratically through space, which inadvertently saved her life by throwing
off the Author's targeting systems. Then her remarkably adaptive mind
figured out the jet-pack's guidance system and she dropped next to the
Author's hull, too close for him to fire on her.
She raced up to the Ultimate Savior, who was struggling to hold
his Holy Hoop with the enfeebled arms of a ninety-three-year-old-man.
She landed beside him and fingered her lapel pin, the pin she'd stolen
from Gothic Gorilla. (Who had just been turned into Gothic Gorgonzola,
and was unable to cast spells with the veins of blue cheese that ran
through his creamy body--but boy, did he taste depressed!) The pin
protected its wearer from all retcons. Cradling the Ultimate Savior in her
arms, she kissed him and placed the pin on his costume.
THANK YOU, DOCTOR. I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THAT.
"Oh yeah?" She looked up at the towering head, the cruel mouth.
"Well *screw you*, pal! You can't retcon me away--I *created* you! If
I disappear, you disappear!"
TRUE ENOUGH. IT CANNOT BE RETROACTIVE, THEN. LET US INSTEAD CALL
IT... A PLOT TWIST.
...and she was shouting more words of defiance, but suddenly an
artery in her brain burst and she suffered a stroke. It was a cruel and
capricious ending for Vivian Net.ropolis, but in an odd way it did directly
symbolize the manner in which that astounding brain, which she had used
to do so much, ultimately pushed too far and destroyed her. It was a
It was the first execution in the Mechanical Author's perfect new
* * * * * * *
The Ultimate Savior reverted to his youthful body just in time to
watch Dr. Net.ropolis stagger and fall. He howled and caught her, but
the glassy stare in her eyes told him there was nothing more he could do.
He lay her gently on the Author's shoulderplate and looked back down
beneath him. The Retcon RACCoon had restored the other Saviors, and
Very Disturbed Scary Creature Man flashed US the go-ahead sign. The
Saviors of the Net charged the Author, creating the perfect distraction: a
whole bunch of fish and magic spells and scary rubber spiders and a
wiggling naked guy.
The Ultimate Savior howled with frustration and flew at the
Author, powering up his hula hoop.
...Doctor Stomper finished modifying the armors and ran,
dodging truck-sized chunks of masonry, back to Vivian's laptop. Now
any programs on her computer could be routed through the armors and
blasted directly at the Author. Reaching the laptop, Stomper flipped
open the screen to see what Vivian had been working on. His face
showed confusion at first, but then he slowly cracked a smile...
The Ultimate Savior batted aside the missiles and lasers, while the
Author's rewrites reflected harmlessly off his pin. "Damn you," he
screamed, pressing closer to the gigantic face, "this is for Vivian!"
...they were stories. The stories of their universe, to be precise,
which Doctor Stomper didn't consider "stories" at all but rather "history."
But Vivian had pulled these stories from an archive on the other side of
the Fourth Wall, where they were only stories. Stories written by dozens
of different authors and read and reviewed by dozens more, stories which
meant anything the writers and readers wanted them to, or sometimes
meant nothing at all. Stories in which the entire Looniverse, the
Mechanical Author included...
...was nothing more than a joke.
Doctor Stomper didn't take that news too well; didn't understand
what was funny about Vivian's stroke or Adler's struggle. He preferred
to look for nobility and dignity in his life, even if he was just a character.
But then, he was also a thinking, feeling human being; he could take the
hand life dealt him and choose to see it differently.
Could the Author?
With a savage grin, Doctor Stomper clicked "Send" and
downloaded the entire archives...
The Mechanical Author reeled, knocking the other Saviors of the
Net off into deep space. Seeing his chance, the Ultimate Savior slammed
into the Author's forehead and bored right through his skull.
He emerged in a glowing cavern, shaped like the inside of a
human head and filled with pulsing crystals. The crystals floated in the
center of the cavern, spilling out from a central node with perfect fractal
complexity, while lights that were thoughts flashed up and down their
length. The Ultimate Savior held his hoop high, willing it to burn with
Lightning-storms played along the crystal sculpture, and the walls
reverberated to approximate a deep bass voice.
Ultimate Savior ignored the voice, gritting his teeth and burning
the hoop brighter.
ADLER STIM, JOIN ME AND I WILL GIVE YOU POWER IN THE WORLD THAT IS
YET TO COME. POWER BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS.
"This *is* my wildest dream, you heartless bastard." The hoop's
energy had already burned away most of his costume, but he laughed
anyway. "And I'll thank you to call me by my real name--"
He lowered the hoop and drew it back into throwing position.
"I'm the Ultimate Savior."
He hurled the hoop into the creature's inhuman brain. There was
a cold mechanical scream as the crystals shattered, and then a light
brighter than a million suns...
* * * * * * *
(Loonivearth. Net.ropolis. Lost Cause Boy Memorial Hospital.)
It was a sunny day, the warmest one this spring, and the whole
city was out enjoying it. In the hospital plaza, underneath the shade of
the statue of Lost Cause Boy, kids were reading brand-new comic books.
The center of attention seemed to be the long-awaited final issue
of "Saviors of the World," in which the brave Arc defeated the villainous
Alt. Lord once and for all. The kids were a little confused as to why Alt.
Lord's heart really wasn't in the final battle... why he kept saying he'd
tasted a better world, and wallowed in nostalgia for it... but they kept
reading and rereading the issue, passing it between ink-stained hands.
They loved the ending: Arc had beaten the villain and retired to a life
lived happily ever after. Just like superheroes were supposed to.
In a private room high up in the hospital building, the Ultimate
Ninja briefly parted the curtains and watched the children. He sighed,
almost as if he could see the story they were reading--but that would
have been impossible.
Behind him, Doctor Stomper finished flipping through the
medical chart and laid it at the foot of Vivian Net.ropolis's bed. "She's
gone into a complete coma," he said, speaking quietly over the beeping
machines that kept her alive. "Even if she does come out of it, the
doctors say she may never regain her full mental faculties. Such a
The Ninja was only briefly at a loss for words. "She was a former
student of yours, wasn't she, Vincent?"
Doctor Stomper sighed. "The best. A little *too* good. If only I
could have taught her some ethics to go with those theories..."
"Her heart was in the right place, in the end. And the other
Saviors, too." The untiring leader had ordered Multi-Tasking Man to
keep an eye out for the borderline heroes ever since the LNHers had
reappeared in their headquarters, with splitting headaches and the
stunned realization that the world had been saved, and not by them. "I
understand that Lava Lamp turned up back on McLaughlin Man's show,
advertising some hero-for-hire operation. He's trying to rope the others
into it too, no doubt."
The Ninja shook his head. He hadn't liked the idea of letting them
run around loose, but after he'd realized what they'd done... after Fourth
Wall Less traveled to the Threshold and told him what she saw.... He
looked down at the statue of Lost Cause Boy again, and sighed. "It was
the least we could do for them," he said, to himself.
"They're much less dangerous without Vivian running them," Dr.
Stomper said, looking at the comatose woman. "But I'd hate to have to
fight any of them again, after this."
The Ultimate Ninja permitted himself a rare chuckle. "Oh, if they
do go crooked, they'll have worse than *us* to worry about."
* * * * * * *
(Net.ropolis. The darkest streets. Nightfall.)
Cowardly Lott ran down the alley, flipping through the wallets
he'd grabbed. Not a bad night's take; his brother Superstitious and all the
rest of the guys would be pleased. The streets are ripe for the picking,
Cowardly thought, and he was the meanest predator of them--
He bumped into something big. Solid. And covered in sticky
The scowling man dragged the tiny criminal up the side of a
tenement building and then held him eye to eye, and suddenly a flood of
repressed and retconned memories poured back into the tiny and very
very frightened mind of Mister Cowardly Lott.
"I will never forget Adler," the vigilante said. "He was a good
soldier. He honored us all. But the war goes on."
He pulled the criminal even closer, spilling hot, fetid breath over
him. "I want you to tell your friends about me. I'm Very Disturbed
Scary Creature Man. And now," he said, smiling, "I'm *mad*."
He dropped the criminal into a garbage dumpster. Cowardly Lott
crawled out and ran screaming down the street.
From his perch on the building, Very Disturbed Scary Creature
Man could see a sign advertising Lava Lamp's new business. Was it legit
this time? Or another front? The vigilante figured he'd strike terror into
a few hearts and find out. Time to become a Very Disturbed Scary
Creature of the night.
He smiled, and dropped down into the city.
* * * * * * *
(The edge of spacetime.)
Where once there was wholesale destruction, the Fourth Wall
stands restored--a gleaming barrier that looks as if it has never been
damaged. The only sign of the recent battle is the debris that floats in
space, occasionally bouncing harmlessly off the Wall: pieces of a once-
great machine. Or tattered bits of red, white, and blue cloth, and
fragments of a hula hoop.
That part of the Wall that took the heaviest damage during the
fighting, the part that nearly became a point of entry to the World
Beyond, now stands stronger than ever. It is filled with the body of a
colossal robot, fused to the Wall and bound in chains. The eyes are dark
and lifeless. The robot supports a long balustrade, which held the heroes
who defeated it.
Above and around the creature stand statues of heroes from a
million worlds. Directly above the Mechanical Author stands a new one.
It shows a man in a patriotic costume, holding a hula hoop. The caption
on the pedestal reads, TO THE ULTIMATE SAVIOR.
And the name beneath it is ADLER STIM.
* * * * * * *
YEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAWWW, that was fun!!! I hope you enjoyed
reading it as much as I did writing it, and I am truly glad that I had the
chance to help see this great storyline to its long-overdue conclusion.
Some credits and then I'm out of here.
Ultimate Savior, VDSCMan, Dr. Net.ropolis, the Mechanical Author,
and the Saviors of the Net created by Arthur Spitzer.
Ultimate Ninja, Self-Righteous Preacher, and Adamant-Authority-on-
Everything created by wReam.
Arthur E. L. Presence created by Steven Howard. Steven Howard
appears by permission.
Nudist Man, Alt. Lord, Arc, Vice, and Onion Lad created by Tom
Russell. Tom Russell appears by permission.
Kid Recap created by Josh Guerink.
Fourth Wall Lass created by Saxon Brenton.
EDM and EDMLite created by Rob Rogers.
Master Blaster created by Martin Phipps.
Writers Block Woman created by Jaelle Ihimaera-Smiler.
Swordmaster and CAW! created by Matt "Badger" Rossi.
Kid Kirby (the real one) created by H. Jameel al-Khafiz.
Cowardly Lott created by Sam Vimes.
This issue written by Marc Singer. A Legacy House production.
Special bonus by Arthur Spitzer
[Cover: A crowd of innocent bystanders wait in line to buy 'The
Ultimate Savior Lives' mugs and T-shirts from a stand. Some gaze into
the sky with a sadness in their eyes as if they're looking for
Sometimes isn't there something more?
Look closely at your monitor. Closer.
Observe the text on your screen. Closer.
See the bits and bytes that make them. Closer.
Can you see something beyond that?
No. Look behind, not between the lines.
There's something there. Something breathing with life.
Can you see it?
Something that looks like it might be a universe.
A universe filled with brilliant stars more radiant than the finest
zirconium jewelry. Filled with atrociously dressed gods battling gods
that have even worst taste in clothing. Planets filled with talking
animals that don't wear pants. Evil alien warlords that are addicted
to exclamation points. Solid Gold Dancers and bitter ex-Situation
Comedy Characters that just want to be loved. Cosmic Banjos that
destroy entire galaxies and don't apologize for it in the morning.
Innocent bystanders that practice their dodging skills. Devils without
souls and Angels without rhythm.
Insane Machines that can unlock the chains that bind our dreams and
A universe filled with more things than we can imagine.
A universe as real as our own. Perhaps even more real than our own.
Look Closer. As close as you can.
Can you feel it?
Made you look!
I mean really... An entire universe behind your computer screen?
Especially the part about a cosmic banjo? Now that's just insane...
This is just a story.
And Tom Russell is not really dead.
Would I lie to you?
** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **
Saviors of the Net #18
The Final Word
Go, Gothic Gorilla! Go!
** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **** ***** **
Another Brick in the Wall...
There was a wall.
A wall longer than anything there ever had been or ever will be.
Everyone saw this wall differently. For some it looked like a colossal
marble structure with zillions of gigantic statues and torches lining
the top of it. For some it looked like an infinite amount of computer
screens that went on forever, some of which were blank and some that
showed people and monkeys typing on keyboards. For some it looked like
a very long piece of fragile glass that had a sledge hammer attached to
it. There was a sign next to the sledge hammer that said, 'Please use
in case of cheap gag emergency'. And for some it looked like a never-
ending run-on sentence, '....this is the Fourth Wall and this also is
the Fourth Wall and this, yep you guessed it, also is the Fourth
Wall....' and so on forever and ever.
And in the middle of the Fourth Wall you could see a huge scar where a
great battle had taken place. Embedded within this great wound was a
monstrous machine that was forever frozen -- bound in chains. Beyond
the wall there wasn't much. A few fragments from the great battle were
all that remained. Beyond that was an infinite void. There was a
sound that came from the Fourth Wall. It was a clicking and clacking
sound like every single person that had ever existed was typing on a
keyboard at the same time. And it never ended.
There was a gorilla.
He had a black trenchcoat that had hundreds of little silver pins and
charms on it. Each pin and charm had its own little story. Some of
them were won in duels with other wizards. Some he had just acquired.
A little silver toothpick hung near one of his pockets. Some say that
this was the toothpick Jesus Christ used to pick his teeth with after
the Last Supper. The Toothpick of Temptation. There is no proof
though that there was any truth to that. There was spot on the
gorilla's trenchcoat that was empty. It had once held a charm.
The gorilla had lost something. The gorilla thought it might be here
although he wasn't sure. The gorilla looked at the enormous face of
the mechanical monstrosity on The Wall and floated towards it.
"Hey there! Remember me? Long time no see. So how is the perfect
story going, Mechanical Author?" greeted the Gothic Gorilla.
The Mechanical Author's face remained inert.
"Bad case of writer's block, huh? Yeah, that can be tough. Me? How's
it going for me? Oh, you know how it is. I did win a Accie for best
new character of '98. What? The Talking Gorilla Conspiracy? Now,
now. I'm surprised -- you of all people would believe in such
nonsense. Well, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree
on that one, Mechanical Author. What am I doing here? Hmm. Oh, I
guess paying my last respects. Yeah? Uh well no -- I didn't bring any
nudie mags with me. Sorry. Sure, I'll try to remember to bring some
the next time I come here. Well -- I guess that's about it. It's been
fun talking to you, Mechanical Author. Bye. Good luck with your
And as he floated up he gave the Mechanical Author a little wink. "Try
not to break the fourth wall."
The Mechanical Author's lifeless face didn't answer. It just gazed at
the emptiness of forever.
The Gothic Gorilla whistled a Pink Floyd tune to himself as he floated
up towards the balustrade.
There was a statue.
It was a statue of a hero. A hero dressed in a patriotic costume
holding a hula hoop. A hero who had sacrificed his life to keep the
Net free from the chains of a mechanical god. A hero who had many
names. Jesse Cashew. Adler Stim. And the Ultimate Savior. The
trenchcoated gorilla looked at the statue of the hero.
"You know, Adler. You're not going to make VH1's list of most
resurrect-able messiahs if you keep this up."
The statue did not speak.
"So -- you found a better place?" The gorilla paused as if he was
unsure of what he would say next.
"That's good. If anyone deserved to find peace, you did."
The gorilla touched the shoulder of the statue. "We miss you Adler.
Everyone. I miss you. It's just not the same. I keep remembering
everything that happened. The past never goes away. Can you remember
any of it? Oh dear. I just thought of something. Remember the time
all of Captain Killfile's underwear "mysteriously" vanished?"
The gorilla let out laugh.
"I swear if you hadn't been there, Brunhilda would have probably killed
me. And that expression on her face. God, that was priceless."
The gorilla sighed. "It's never going to be the same. You and
Brunhilda. You're both gone. And you're never coming back. I miss
you. You were a good human, Adler. I wish we had talked more."
The gorilla took a silver pin off his trenchcoat. It was a pin shaped
like a rose. He placed it on the statue. "I've got to go, Adler.
Maybe one day I'll find that better place you're at. And if I do,
maybe we can talk some more. Goodbye, Adler."
The gorilla floated away from the statue. "Goodbye."
The gorilla scanned the void. The only thing he could see were
fragments of a hula hoop and bits and pieces of the Mechanical Author.
What he had lost wasn't here.
Then the gorilla vanished into a burst of smoke.
All that remained was the fourth wall and the sound of typing.
Next Week: Who did win the 2000 Loonited States Presidential Election? Bush? Gore?
Nader? OR SOMEONE ELSE???!!!!!!!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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