LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #138: Infinite Leadership Cry.Sig Part Fourteen
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 9 13:18:58 PST 2020
You can sift through the racc list archive
or you can try google groups racc for these stories that make up the fourteenth
section of Infinite Leadership Cry.Sig (or Crisis).
LNH Comics Presents #58 and 58.5 are by Rob Rogers. It's Easily-Discovered Man's
turn in the leadership chair. But will he be able to resist betting all of the
LNH's money on baseball games as the time traveler Charlie Hustle tries to -- hmm
-- oh, this is a different time traveling Charlie Hustle that has no interest in
trying to convince the LNH to bet on baseball games, okay then. But will the
number 58.5 be the break away hit star of this issue and get an incredibly long
miniseries out of it (And will that miniseries involve betting on baseball games)?
Find out in..
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
Infinite Leadership Cry.Sig Part Fourteen
From: EDMLite <robro... at gmail.com>
Subject: LNH: LNH Comics Presents #58: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #23
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 14:58:10 +0000 (UTC)
LNH Comics Presents #58:
INFINITE LEADERSHIP CRY.SIG #23:
By Rob Rogers
9:30 a.m., Monday, April 23
"One more time, my dear Grace Notes,"
Doctor Glockenspiel said, glaring at the
women around him. "And this time, put
some FEELING into it."
Several of the women, who were dressed in
form-fitting lime green tights with the image
of a musical note displayed across the blouse,
looked at each other and shrugged.
"Is this really part of the reality show?"
one asked, scratching her head with the enormous
mallet she'd been asked to carry. "I don't see
the cameras anywhere. And all of those people
waiting to get on the bridge look really..."
"You don't SEE the cameras because they're
HIDDEN cameras," Doctor Glockenspiel snapped.
"Now listen, ladies, I realize this has been
difficult for some of you. But look around!
We have a beautiful morning, all of you look
lovely, and we're about to present AN
INGENIOUS DEVICE THAT WILL PLUNGE NET.ROPOLIS
INTO EVERLASTING DARKNESS! And nobody wants
to get voted off the show at this point, do
The women shook their heads. Each was
standing at the base of one of the support
cables holding up the McCoskey Bridge. The
cables, in turn, had each been fitted with a
fifteen-foot rectangular metal plate, tuned to
a specific frequency -- a modification that
had, in effect, transformed the entire
suspension bridge into a massive glockenspiel.
"All right, then," said Doctor Glockenspiel,
striking the first note on a much smaller
instrument that he wore around his neck. "One
and two and..."
"All I want is a glockenspiel
Lots of power for me to wield
Maybe a sweet force field
Oh wouuuuuldn't that be villainy?"
the women sang, each one striking one of the giant
glockenspiel plates at the end of every line.
The bridge shuddered with each stroke, as did the
walls of the Brenton Island power plant, located
on the other side of Net.ropolis Bay.
"L-N-H driven to their knees
My ex-wife and my enemies
Forced into slavery
Oh wouuuuuldn't that be villainy?
"Oh such villainy smashing power plants
With waves of sound
I won't stop 'til all mankind
Is groveling underground..."
"On behalf of the Legion of Net.Heroes,"
thundered a mighty voice, "I do not like the
tone you are taking with our city, Doctor
A tall, thin man wearing a chartreuse
mask, flowing cape and bright green costume
with a yellow happy face insignia stood near
the center of the bridge, shaking a bony
fist at the Doctor and his companions.
"Now," he continued, "cease this
contumacious caterwauling and surrender
yourselves to the sweet melodies of justice!"
"At last!" Doctor Glockenspiel cackled.
"But you're too late, Easily-Discovered Man! For
with just a few more strokes of my mighty
glockenspiel, Brenton Island will be shattered
beyond repair... and Net.ropolis will enter a
second stone age, bereft of all technology!"
"No technology?" a tall, curly-haired Grace
Note asked. "How is anyone going to watch us
"You insidious impresario!" Easily-
Discovered Man said, nearly beside himself with
rage. "To threaten the people of Net.ropolis is
one thing. To dupe yon fair exemplars of feminine
beauty into participating in your vile scheme
is another. But to corrupt the very institution
of reality television itself... THAT, SIR, IS
AN ENTIRELY OTHER THING ALTOGETHER!"
"Prof!" said a teenaged boy, dressed in a
T-shirt and jeans, running toward the center of
the bridge. "Hey, Prof, you should see
the traffic back there, with all those people
waiting to get across. They're really... hey,
is that a giant glockenspiel, or did those
M.I.T. students hack the bridge again?"
"You ignored me the first time I struck,
Legion of Net.Heroes," Doctor Glockenspiel said,
reading from a large blue card held by one of
the Grace Notes. "You laughed at my second
attack. But this time... THIS TIME, THE WORLD
WILL NOT ASK FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL! THEY
WILL TOLL FOR... well, for the world," he
muttered, his eyebrow furrowing. "Who wrote
"Sorry," the curly-haired Grace Note said.
"I was running late for my costume fitting."
"Very well," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"Since you will not cease your sinister
symphony, I myself shall have to conduct you
... to jail!"
"Prof, Prof," the boy said, tugging on
the taller man's arm. "You're the leader of
the LNH now."
"Indeed I am, my stalwart sidekick!"
Easily-Discovered Man said. Turning toward
Doctor Glockenspiel, he said, "Have you all met
my companion in the endless battle against
crime and injustice -- Easily-Discovered
"Ladies," Lite said, tipping his baseball cap.
"Charmed," said the curly-haired Grace Note.
"Why is the man with the happy face suit
glowing?" a blonde Grace Note asked. "Is he going
to be all right?"
"Is he going to explode?" another Grace Note
"It's entirely possible," Lite said. Turning
to Easily-Discovered Man, he added, "As I was
saying, Prof. You're the leader of the LNH. You
should be making decisions, planning out who's going
to fight who, rather than trying to do everything
"It is _whom_, Lite. Who is going to fight
whom. Grammar is the sword with which ignorance
shall be subdued."
"I'll keep that in mind, Prof. But while
I'm working that out, how about stepping back
and letting someone else tune Doc Glock's
"Hey! That was almost an off-color remark!
And in front of my Grace Notes!" Doctor
Glockenspiel said. "Besides, I want to fight the
leader of the LNH. I've gone to a lot of trouble."
"Verifiably," Easily-Discovered Man agreed.
"And surely, were Ultimate Ninja -- our leader
emeritus -- present, he would be at the forefront
of any attack."
"Everyone has his own managerial style,"
Lite said. "But a true leader knows when to
"Very well," Easily-Discovered Man sighed,
turning to the small group of super-heroes who
had assembled on the bridge behind him.
"Procrastination Boy! Girlwatcher! Attack!"
"I'll be there in a minute," Procrastination
"Hello," said Girlwatcher, staring at the
curly-haired Grace Note. "Could I talk you into
lifting your mallet a little? Just... like...
aaaaaahhhhh. That's perfect. Just perfect."
"I do not think this delegation is going well,"
Easily-Discovered Man said, as a glazed expression
fell over Girlwatcher's face. The Grace Note
"I disagree!" Doctor Glockenspiel said. "For
I have nearly arrived at the conclusion of my
composition. And since every good musical bridge
leads to a chorus, prepare to face the awesome
power of... TUBULAR BELLS!"
"This can't be good," Lite said, as the Doctor
began striking the small instrument he wore around
his neck. As he played, strips of metal flew
from the little glockenspiel and rolled across the
bridge toward the heroes.
"Arrrrgh!" Mouse screamed, as one of the metal
strips wrapped itself around her, binding her arms
and legs together. "I hate wrap music!"
"Girlwatcher! Help her!" Easily-Discovered Man
"...And then after I got my degree in dental
hygeine, I decided I wanted to do something artistic,"
the curly-haired Grace Note was explaining.
"That's the most fascinating story I've ever
heard," Girlwatcher said, transfixed.
"It's no good," Lite yelled, as another Tubular
Bell caught him before he could reach his spatula.
"Ripping Dancer, can you...?"
"Are you kidding? I can't dance to this!" the
voluptuous woman said, as another bell wound its
way around her curves.
"HA HA HA HA HA," Doctor Glockenspiel crowed.
"If music be the food of vengeance, then..."
A powerful wind swept the cue card from his
"Something's happening," the Doctor said, as
a red-and-white blur shot past. "Quickly! Play
the song! Play the song!"
"Excuse me," the curly-haired Grace Note said
to Girlwatcher. "I have to... hey, what happened
to my mallet?"
"No! No!" Doctor Glockenspiel wailed. "I
brought the funk! I brought the noise! Who
dares disturb my universe?"
"Looking for these?" said a boy, standing
with his arms folded above a heap of mallets.
He was dressed in red, with bright white boots
and gloves, and he was smiling.
"You give those back!" Doctor Glockenspiel
said. "I spent my daughter's college tuition
to build this thing!"
"I don't normally take requests," the boy said.
"But I have a feeling this one is going to be a
"You're off your game today," Mouse said to
Lite, as the boy threw one mallet after another
at Doctor Glockenspiel, pummeling him at
terrific speed. "Everyone else is making the
"Bite me," Lite sad, as Doctor Glockenspiel
toppled over. With another burst of speed, the
boy freed the captured Legionnaires, then re-used
the Tubular Bells to corral a surprised group of
"Call me!" Girlwatcher said, making a
telephone-shaped gesture with his hand as the
boy whisked the curly-haired woman away.
"Marvelous! Magnificent!" Easily-Discovered
Man beamed, as the red-and-white boy skidded
to a stop in front of him. "My fortuitously-
fleet-footed friend, the Legion of Net.Heroes
is forever in your debt. I am the team's
leader, Easily-Discovered Man."
The boy studied the glowing hero with
curiosity. "An Oriental super-hero? And a
Mexican?" he added, taking in Easily-
Discovered Man Lite. "And your names and
powers aren't based on your ethnicities?
I must be in the 21st century."
"You're a time traveler?" Ripping Dancer
"I surf time. I fix time," the boy said,
zipping over and taking Ripping Dancer's hand.
"And for you, baby, I'd even make time."
"Charlie Hustle," the boy continued, kissing
Ripping Dancer's knuckles. "Member in good
standing of the Legion of Net.Hippies.
We're thinking about changing the name,"
"How does somebody fix time?" Mouse asked.
Hustle whisked to the heroine's side.
"I'd be happy to show you, sweetcheeks,"
he said. "In fact, I'd be happy to show all
of you. What say we meet back at your place,
and leave the city to clean up this mess?"
"Sweetcheeks?" Lite said, causing Mouse to
elbow him in the stomach.
"Let's call it a date and don't be late,"
Charlie Hustle said, zooming away in the
direction of Legion headquarters.
"And here I was worried that my day as
leader of the Legion would be suffused with
paperwork," Easily-Discovered Man said,
swinging his leg over the seat of a bicycle.
"Mount up, fellow Legionnaires! We ride...
"I never thought I'd say this," Ripping
Dancer said, as she climbed aboard her own
bicycle. "I mean, I really never thought
I'd say this. But... why couldn't we have
taken the Easily-Discovered Van here?"
"In this energy crisis, it behooves all
of us to comport ourselves so as to use as
few of our non-renewable resources as
possible," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"I get that," Mouse said. "But you
wouldn't expect police officers to have to
bike to the scene of the crime. Except on
'Pacific Blue.' "
"Mmm," Girlwatcher said. "Paula
Trickey in stretchy pants."
"But we are not law enforcement, my
antipodean adventuress," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "As heroes, our role is ever to
set an example for others -- not to do for
them, but to show what it is possible for
them to do."
"It would be so much easier if everyone
had super-strength," grumbled Mouse. "Then we
could inspire them to get windup clockwork
power generators with Strongstuffium springs
just like the Legion has in the subbasement."
"Why do you put up with him?" Ripping
Dancer asked a few moments later, as she
and Lite pedaled through the crowds at the
edge of the bridge.
"The Prof?" Lite asked. "Nine-twenty-
five an hour."
"I'm serious," Ripping Dancer said.
Lite looked over at the young woman.
"I grew up in Net.ropolis," he said. "First
thing you learn living here is that if you
can't throw a bus, or fly, or run like the
"Or look like a supermodel," Ripping
"... then you might as well prepare
yourself for a life of flipping burgers or
pumping gas," Lite said. "Every teacher I
ever had -- hell, every adult I ever met
told me I was trying too hard, that I needed
to lower my expectations.
"Then I met the Prof," Lite continued.
And he told me that not only was I just as
good as all the superpeople who were flying
around the city, but that I could even stand
up to some of them, if it came to that."
"But you know he's completely insane,"
Ripping Dancer said. "I mean, you have to
"The longer I stay on this job, the more
I'm convinced that everybody's crazy," he
said. "The best anyone can do is decide what
kind of crazy he can live with.
"Besides," Lite added, "if you've
hooked up with this outfit, you must be a
little bit crazy yourself."
"Something like that," Ripping Dancer
said, keeping her eyes on the road.
"Mind if I join the pity party?" Mouse asked,
falling into place beside Lite.
"What are you talking about?" Lite asked.
"I didn't grow up in Net.ropolis, so maybe
things were different," the Net.Zealander said.
"But I never felt like I was any better than
anybody else just because I had super-powers.
In fact, I don't remember the last time any of
the writers even acknowledged that I _have_
super-powers. And I sure as hell never looked
like a supermodel."
"That all depends on who's doing the
looking," Girlwatcher called from behind her.
"I'm sorry," Mouse said, after they had
gone a little further. "That came out a lot
less... I mean a lot more..."
"We're going to find Writers Block Woman,"
Lite said. "And she's going to be fine."
Mouse nodded. "I know. I know," she said.
"You know, I'm actually really pleased they chose
Easily-Discovered Man as leader. If he disappears
at midnight, like all the others... well, I mean,
how hard could it be to find someone who calls
himself Easily-Discovered Man?"
Lite said nothing.
"Sorry," Mouse said.
"That's all right," Lite said. "It's
"Never mind." he said.
The two sidekicks and the other heroes
continued cycling toward downtown Net.ropolis,
with the exception of Procrastination Boy,
who had remained standing on the bridge.
"Okay," he said, raising his fists at
last. "I'm ready to take on Doctor
* * *
"Glad you guys could finally make it,"
Charlie Hustle said, leaning back in his
chair at the head of the Central Command
Center's conference table, his white boots
resting on the mahogany.
"This guy is great," Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
Boy said. "He's from a time when men were
men, women were babes, and every one of 'em
smoked rich, smooth Virginia tobacco, and
didn't give a damn where they did it."
"Although we can't seem to find any record
of his membership in the Legion," Anal-Retentive
Archive Kid said. "And Procrastination Boy
doesn't remember him being a part of the Legion
of Net.Hippies... not that he remembers much of
anything from those days..."
"We stored most of our paperwork on 8-Track,"
Hustle said. "Figured that stuff would be
around forever. But hey, that's all history now,
right? I mean, I love the 2000s. Love the iPod.
Hell, I love i-anything; just stick an 'i' in
front of it and I want to take it home and build a
little shrine to it."
"Yes! Shrine! Build the shrine!" the Magic
Fruitcake giggled, laughing hysterically until
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy doused it with his coffee.
"I love that you dance in your arcades and
play computer game music at your discos," Charlie
Hustle continued. "That's crazy, man. I love that
the Soviets are our buddies now, and uppity women are
now feminists and little green birdies get to be
"Kiwi," said one of the kiwis seated at the
table, making a slight bow.
"You said you were going to tell us what you
meant by 'fixing time,' " Mouse said.
"So I did, little lady, so I did," Charlie
Hustle said, sitting up. "Well, you know. I
do love your times. But as the bishop said to
the priest when they caught him back of the church
with three altar boys, you can love everybody,
but not at the same time, you dig?"
"I am not certain that I know what you are
talking about," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"It's like this," Hustle said, standing and
planting his palms on the table. "Not everything
about 2007 is peaches and cream. This country
is fighting an undeclared war. Congress has signed
away the right to have your phones tapped, your
homes broken into and the guy who sells you your
porn interrogated. There's a gulag down in Cuba
that makes the ones in Siberia look like the
Howard Johnson's Motel."
"Are you saying the Ame.rec.an government is
anything but the defender of the world's
freedoms and an inspiration for generations to
come?" Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy asked.
"I'm saying that I've been to the future,"
Charlie Hustle said. "And the things I'm telling
you about -- the things you already know about,
if you read the papers -- they're just the tip
of the iceberg. People are going to look back
on this president and this period in Ame.rec.an
history in the way your people look at the Shah
of Iran or Argentina's dirty war."
"I've got no idea what you're talking about,
but I don't like the sound of it," Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy grumbled.
"I'm not sure I do either," Anal-Retentive
Archive Kid said. "Are you suggesting we take
action against the Ame.rec.an government?"
"Seems like a waste of time," said No-
"I can't believe things could be that bad
within my own country," Steak and Potatoes Man
said. "If they were, though, the Legion
could well be the only force on earth capable
of doing anything about it."
"Really?" Doctor Bad-Bedside Manner said.
"I thought the Alt.Riders were in charge of
assassinations and things like that."
"Maybe we could just freeze time and give
the President a stern talking-to, the way
they did in that X-Men movie," Girlwatcher
suggested. "The one with Halle Berry... and
Anna Paquin... and Famke Janssen..."
"If you even consider setting one boot
inside the White House..." Obnoxious Ame.rec.a
"And Rebecca Romijn..." Girlwatcher said.
"Kiwi!" a kiwi screamed.
Easily-Discovered Man banged his gavel.
"My friends," he said, when the room had
attained a semblance of order. "Truly all of
us assembled here owe a debt of thanks to our
wandering warrior from another time. And few
persons appreciate debates over issues of
substantive merit more than myself."
"The hell you do!" barked Starts-Arguments-
"However," Easily-Discovered Man continued,
"what Charlie is suggesting lies far outside the
parameters of activity within which our august
body has always seen fit to inhabit. The Legion
of Net.Heroes has ever been, and shall ever be,
a beacon illuminating those lofty heights of
achievement and conduct to which others may
aspire. It is not a castle from which to
impose our will upon the world."
"And yet we've interfered in the affairs of
alien worlds before," Doctor Bad-Bedside Manner
interjected. "We've even crossed into other
dimensions without considering the political
"Because they needed our example!" Obnoxious
Ame.rec.a Boy roared.
"Just yesterday, we fended off an invasion
by another planet, essentially acting as
representatives of the entire human race..."
Steak-and-Potatoes Man began.
"... as well as the other races of earth,"
the Caesar of Comfort Foods continued.
"Look," Charlie Hustle said. "It's not like
I haven't been in this situation before. I
helped Teddy Roosevelt boot the Spaniards out of
Cuba. I got Thomas Jefferson out of Richmond
right before the British burned the city. And
I was there in 2086 when the Linux Network Heroes
overthrew the Windoverlord.
"And I'll tell you something," he said,
leaning his elbows against the table. "Those guys
look at the LNH as being just what that big guy
says it is -- the only force on earth that had the
power to do something about the situation in
Ame.rec.a. Only none of you had the stones to
do it. That's what the history books say."
Easily-Discovered Man Lite had just opened
his mouth to speak when he felt the slight
buzzing at his knee that told him he had a
text message. He opened his cell phone,
saw the number, swore silently and rose to
"I'll be right back," he said.
"Indeed, Lite," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"It is considered proper to take care of such
things before coming to a discussion on the
fate of the world."
"I'll keep that in mind," Lite said,
ignoring the laughter of the others as he
walked through the double doors at the end of
(Part II of LNH Comics Presents #58 follows)
From: EDMLite <robro... at gmail.com>
Subject: LNH: LNH Comics Presents #58.5: Infinite Leadership Cry.sig #23.5
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 15:01:02 +0000 (UTC)
"Heard you guys took down Doctor
Glockenspiel pretty hard," Londonbroil said,
as he pushed open the dirty, windowless door
that served as the only entrance to Where Your
Eyes Don't Go, a charmless bar in one of
Net.ropolis' less reputable neighborhoods.
"He had it coming," Lite said, raising the
collar of his coat and doing his best to look
inconspicuous. "Have you ever had to sit
through a rendition of 'Hot Popcorn?' on the
"I'm not arguing with you," the supervillain
said, steering Lite to a table beneath a long-
unused dart board. "Fact is, I cleaned up this
morning. I bet on you gentlemen to end the
good doctor's practice within twenty minutes.
And you did it within nineteen."
"You bet on battles between heroes and
villains?" Lite asked. "I suppose it makes for
a better spectator sport than, say cockfighting.
Or cricket, for that matter."
"Everything makes for a better spectator sport
than cricket," Londonbroil agreed. "But to come
to the point: yes, we bet on battles. We bet on
the use of particular plot devices. We bet on
interactions between people. Did you know, for
example, that there is a considerable wager as
to whether Ripping Dancer and your Fearless Leader
"I thought you were coming to the point."
"Yes. Well. Here it is, then," the villain
continued in his mangled British accent. "Doctor
Glockenspiel was defeated by a super-fast hero
from the distant past, an outcome which none of us
in the community could have predicted. Or so we
"Are you saying that someone did? Someone
bet on exactly that thing happening?"
"And made millions, too," Londonbroil said.
"As one might expect from winning such a long
A large, bald, overmuscled man -- Lite
thought he recognized him as one of Color Error
Lad's former henchmen -- walked past their table,
scowling. The sidekick swallowed.
"You must have some idea who it is?" Lite
"That's the particularly interesting thing,"
Londonbroil said. "It was as though one moment,
there were no bets on the table, and the next,
someone had put wagers on ridiculous schemes
that could not possibly come to pass."
"Whoever placed those bets," Londonbroil
said, "has the notion that Legion of Net.Heroes
Headquarters, along with most of downtown
Net.ropolis, will be utterly destroyed at the
end of April."
"April is the cruelest month," Lite said.
"I suppose," Londonbroil said, accepting a
black and tan from an underaged waitress.
"He also staked quite a lot of money on the
peculiar idea that your Legion was going to
assassinate the President of the Usenetted States
of Ame.rec.a this afternoon. Cheers."
* * *
When Lite returned to Legion headquarters,
he found Easily-Discovered Man in the middle of
a heated debate with PR Kid.
"I'm telling you, baby, dollface, sweetheart
-- these suckers are going to move, move, move!"
PR Kid insisted. "They're going to launch
themselves off the shelves and right into the
waiting arms of our target demographic."
"I simply do not think that marketing a
'Tickle Me Ultimate Ninja' doll is wise under any
circumstances," Easily-Discovered Man said. "And
those LNH dice also strike me as... Ah, Lite. So
good of you to return."
"Charlie Hustle has been betting on super-
hero battles," Lite said.
"Ingenious!" PR Kid said.
"And utterly against everything for which
the Legion stands," Easily-Discovered Man said.
"I was just going to say that," PR Kid said.
"There's more," Lite said. "He's planning on
implicating the LNH in the assassination of the
"Ooh. That's bad," PR Kid said. "That would
not play well in the red states."
"That would explain why he insisted on
leading a team to Washington.gov," Easily-
Discovered Man said, stroking his chin.
"Please tell me you didn't let him," Lite
said. "Or at least that you gave him bad
"Better," Easily-Discovered Man said. "I
assigned No-Point Lad, Procrastination Boy and
Time-Waster Lad to his team."
"That will slow him down," Lite agreed. "But
it won't stop him. Who do we have that's capable
of moving as fast as he can?"
"Fine, Prof. Whom."
"Captain Caffeine or Macroman could," said PR
Kid, glancing at the roster. "Or Kid Quickclick, I
Suppose. But none of them are currently available
as action fig... I mean, they're not active members."
"Substitute Lad could duplicate their powers,"
"But Substitute Lad is serving a suspension,
following that incident where he very nearly
erased a girl's mind using Super Apathy Lad's
powers," Easily-Discovered Man said. "Were I to
undo Ultimate Ninja's suspension, it might look as
though I was allowing favoritism to cloud my
"And if you don't, the LNH becomes a group of
assassins," Lite said.
"I'm on the phone with a focus group right now,"
PR Kid said. " 'LNH as Assassins' is not going
over well. Unless we're willing to induct Lucy
Liu and Jennifer Garner. Although I'm pretty sure I
could get them for scale..."
"Ultimate Ninja must have had reasons..."
Easily-Discovered Man said.
"Ultimate Ninja isn't here!" Lite said. "The
Legion of Net.Heroes needs a leader. Are you
going to be that leader or not?"
Easily-Discovered Man turned to PR Kid.
"Get me Substitute Lad," he said.
"Exactly what I was going to say, baby," PR
Kid grinned, pulling out a second cell phone.
* * *
Substitute Lad caught his first glimpse of
Charlie Hustle as a dull red blur halfway across
the state of Dell.aware. He reached for one of
the canisters in his belt, opened it, and
drained the eight-ounce can of Mr. Paprika Energy
Drink. A few seconds later, when the caffeine had
reached his bloodstream, he surged forward and
caught up with the time traveler.
"I'm impressed," Charlie Hustle said, gliding
in a circle around Substitute Lad as though he
were on skates. "Well, not really. More in the
way you're impressed when you see a monkey
driving a tractor. It's sort of interesting that
they made the effort, but sad at the same time that
they don't realize they're way out of their league."
"I'd have been here sooner," Substitute Lad
said, "but I had to get Procrastination Boy,
Time-Waster Lad and No-Point Lad out of the
area. Sending them on a reconnaissance mission
with particle beam cannons disguised as
binoculars was inspired, by the way."
"They'd have thanked me eventually," Charlie
Hustle said, his smile fading. "I suppose I'll
have to do this alone, then. You don't seriously
think you can stop me?"
"Probably not," Substitute Lad said, hurtling
over a toll booth gate. "But Easily-Discovered
Man has revoked your membership, in any and all
incarnations of the Legion."
"I'll be sure to send him a rat's ass later
on, in appreciation of how much that particular
distinction means to me," Charlie Hustle said.
"Of course," Substitute Lad said. "But we
checked with the folks at the betting parlor, and
if no member of the LNH is involved with the
assassination, you forfeit the wager."
Charlie Hustle's eyes narrowed beneath his
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," he
said. "There's no way that Easily-Discovered
Man could possibly be as much of a imbecile as
he appears to be. You, on the other hand...
Let me show you what someone who knows how to
use this power is capable of doing."
He struck Substitute Lad with several
hundred punches and kicks in quick succession.
"You're still standing," he said, flexing
one of his hands.
"It's the costume," Substitute Lad said.
"It absorbs any kinetic energy."
"So that's it," Hustle said, winding up
again. "Next time, you really ought to build
one that covers your face."
* * *
Charlie Hustle burst through the doors of
the Central Command Center and found Easily-
Discovered Man sitting alone at the conference
"You know, I've never had to do this before,"
Hustle said, pausing at the entrance of the room.
"Every other time, every other Legion I've
encountered was more than willing to help me do
what was required to save humanity."
"And enable you to profit in the process?"
the phosphorescent hero asked.
"Revolutions don't come cheap," Charlie
Hustle said. "I've taken money from criminals to
fight criminals, whether they're living in cheap
hotels, or the White House... or Legion
He launched himself into a sprint across the
room, only to find his boots cemented to the floor.
"What the hell is this stuff?" Hustle screamed.
"It smells like... breakfast?"
"It would appear that we still had a few of
the Waffle Queen's syrup-traps in our armory,
following her recent demise," Easily-Discovered
Man, as a pair of silver box-like devices appeared
to float across the room and fasten themselves to
Charlie Hustle's arms.
"Thank you, Invisible Incendiary and Lurker
Lad," Easily-Discovered Man said, nodding his head
in the direction of the unseen heroes. "Your
assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated."
Charlie Hustle smirked.
"You know I'll just vibrate through these in
a..." he began, then screamed "My speed! What
the hell have you done to my speed!"
"Those devices on your arms were originally
constructed by Macroman, in order to help him
control his uncanny powers of locomotion," Easily-
Discovered Man said. "With a bit of tinkering by
Innovative-Offense Boy, it seems we can use
them to moderate your abilities, as well."
"It doesn't matter," Charlie Hustle said.
"You'll be gone by the end of the day. This whole
place will be so much rubble by the end of the week.
And I'll be back to doing what I do best.
"People like you are always doing everything in
your power to put people like me down," he said,
staring with hatred at Easily-Discovered Man and
Easily-Discovered Man Lite, who had just entered the
room. "You need to cripple us, to blind us, to
stand in the way of what we can do because you can't
accept the fact that you'll never be able to do what
we can, to even conceive of what we can accomplish
with our abilities."
Charlie Hustle shook his head. "You don't
deserve what we do for you," he said.
"I used to think that way," said an old man's
voice, as Lite pushed a wheelchair into the chamber,
keeping clear of the booby-trapped floor.
"And who the hell are you supposed to be?"
Charlie Hustle asked.
"Anal-Retentive Archive Kid couldn't find any
record of you ever being part of the Legion," Lite
said. "But he was able to find you."
"You're right about one thing," the older
Charlie Hustle said, leaning forward in his
wheelchair. "I did get out of LNH custody. I did
get back to my own time, and to doing what I'd
always done. And everything went fine... until I
stiffed Y-Plex Burp on a bet. There are still parts
of my legs they haven't found."
"You're lying," Charlie Hustle said, shaking
his head. "You can't be me. This is all a..."
"Wheel me in closer," the older Hustle said.
"Let me show him the scars."
The Central Command Center echoed with the
sounds of the younger Charlie Hustle's screams.
* * *
"You're taking this immanent disappearance
thing awfully well, Professor," Ripping Dancer
said, as they gathered a few minutes before
midnight beside Substitute Lad's infirmary bed.
"Heck, Lite looks more shaken up about the
whole thing than you do."
"When you see my mum, just tell her,"
Mouse paused, then looked up at Easily-Discovered
Man. "Tell her that I love her. And that the
sale on spring footwear is continuing for another
"I will," Easily-Discovered Man promised.
"And I will return with all due speed. It is,
perhaps, only for the lack of my mighty arm that
those missing Legionnaires have not yet been able
to effect their escape."
"We're going to miss you around here," Cynical
Lass said, giving the glowing hero a hug. "It
seems like just yesterday that I met up with the
two of you in London.net..."
"I know what you're up to!" said Kid Not-
Appearing-In-Any-Retcon-Hour Story, bursting
into the room. "All of you! All of you writers!
You're not including me in this storyline because
you want to change my name to 'Kid-Not-Appearing-
Story!' Well, I'm not having any of it,"
he said, and stormed out again.
"What the @#$%^& was that all about?"
"I have no idea," Arthur Spitzer said.
"Prof," Lite said, as the minute hand swung
towards twelve, "it's been an honor and a privilege.
You've shown me what it means to be a hero every
minute we've known each other. And if I had to
do it over again... I'd have asked for more money.
But I'd do it over again in a second."
"Thank you, Hector," Easily-Discovered Man
said, taking his sidekick's hand and closing his
eyes. "It is a far, far better thing I do now
than I have ever done, a far, far better place I
go to than I have ever known..."
"You can open your eyes now, Professor,"
Ripping Dancer said, after a minute had gone by.
"You're still here."
"I... I am!" Easily-Discovered Man gasped.
"Wonder of wonders! So it is that even the
unslakable maw of our unknowable foe quivers,
nay, trembles before daring to snatch away
the phosphorescent paragon of pan-dimensional
power that is Easily-Discovered Man! It
is just as I have always observed -- or would
you not agree, Lite?"
"He's gone," Cynical Lass said.
Easily-Discovered Man rushed out of the
room, tearing like a man possessed through the
hallways of the LNHQ until he came across the
object of his search: Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats
"That strip of paper," Easily-Discovered
Man said. "The one you pulled from your hat
this morning. The one that declared me to be
the leader of the LNH. Give... it... to... me."
"Sure," Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad said,
handing a crumpled strip of pink paper to the
"This part was folded back," Easily-
Discovered Man wailed. "The paper should have
read 'Easily-Discovered Man Lite.' "
"That sad, silly bastard," Sarcastic Lad
said. "You mean he was the leader all day and
never even knew it?"
"Hey!" Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad
said. "Have some faith in our semi-democratic
process. I told him this morning, as soon as I
pulled his name out of the hat. He's the one who
folded the paper over, put it back in, and told me
to announce you as the leader."
"A true leader knows when to delegate,"
Easily-Discovered Man said, shaking his head.
"That is what he told me. It was the best day
I have ever experienced in the course of my life.
The greatest gift, the greatest honor I have ever
received, or will ever receive. And I never even
knew to thank him."
LEGION ROLL CALL:
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid
Captain Caffeine.... Marie Antoon
.... Peter "Tick" Milan
Cynical Lass, Easily-Discovered Man,
Easily Discovered Man Lite and
Substitute Lad.... Rob Rogers
Fearless Leader and Macroman
.... Dave van Domelen
Girlwatcher.... Chris Gumprich
Innovative-Offense Boy and
Steak and Potatoes Man
Kid Kiwi's Kiwi Kommandoes
.... Matt "Badger" Rossi
Kid Quickclick and Lurker Lad
.... Ben Rawluk
The Magic Fruitcake and Starts-
Kid.... Tom Russell
No-Point Lad.... Tim Munn
Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy
and PR Kid.... Jamas Enright
Procrastination Boy.... Jason Kanner
Ripping Dancer and the Legion of
Net.Hippies.... Arthur Spitzer
Sarcastic Lad.... Gary St. Lawrence
Super Apathy Lad.... Jacob Lesgold
Time-Waster Lad.... Ray Rich
Ultimate Ninja.... wReam
Writers Block Woman and Mouse
SPECIAL GUEST VILLAIN:
Doctor Glockenspiel.... Saxon Brenton
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Saxon Brenton, for
editing and technical assistance regarding
the LNH's power generators.
"If I were like lightning
I wouldn't need no sneakers
I'd come and go whenever I would please
I'd scare 'em by the shade tree
And scare 'em by the light pole
But I would not scare my pony
on my boat out on the sea"
--Lyle Lovett, "If I Had A Boat"
Next Week: More leaders! More disappearing -- Part XV!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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