LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #92: Saviors of the Net The Conclusion

Arthur Spitzer 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.)

So enjoy!

             | |      Classic			
             | |                      =
             | |      ____    ____    _    ____    ___
             | |__   | [] |  | [] |  | |  | [] |  | _ \  

             |____|   \__]    \__ |  |_|   \__/   |_|\_\
                                |_|  OF NET.HEROES

                                     ADVENTURES #92

                    Saviors of the Net The Conclusion

Date: 20 Mar 2000 18:02:29 -0000
From: marcs at wam.umd.edu (Marc Singer)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.creative
Subject: [LNH] Saviors of the Net #17 (part 1 of 2)

Legacy House presents...


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-
His-Own-But-Gets-His-Ass-Kicked-in-Crowd-Scenes Boy.

	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 
without... pain."

	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 
this alert.

	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 
people before."

	"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 
her forehead...

	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 
beneath them.

	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 
almost instantly.

	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.

	*	*	*	*	*	*	*


Date: 20 Mar 2000 18:10:30 -0000
From: marcs at wam.umd.edu (Marc Singer)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.creative
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!"

MAYBE I CAN REACH SOMEONE WHO *CAN* BEAT HIM!"  She tapped furiously on
her keyboard.

	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 
believed him.

	"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--"

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!"


	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.


	"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!"


	...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 
perfect allegory.

	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 
cobalt intensity.

	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.


	"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 
rubber spiders.

	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.

                                  THE END

	*	*	*	*	*	*	*

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?



So close..


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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