LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #151: Beige Countdown Part Four
arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun May 17 15:00:41 PDT 2020
You can sift through the racc list archive
or you can try google groups racc for the fourth part of Beige Countdown.
And the Countdown continues with Rob Rogers taking the helm. Tick Tick Tick.
It's Beige Countdown 10 (well the first half of it) Tick Tick Tick. Will
the LNH be able to stop Mynabird and his conclave of villainy from reaching
the Ultimate Black Hole and Tick Tick Tick... okay, where the hell is all this
damn ticking coming from...? Tick Tick Tick.
Perhaps the answer is in...
| | Classic
| | =
| | ____ ____ _ ____ ___
| |__ |  | |  | | | |  | | _ \
|____| \__] \__ | |_| \__/ |_|\_\
|_| OF NET.HEROES
Beige Countdown Part Four
From: EDMLite <robro... at gmail.com>
Subject: LNH: Beige Countdown #10 (1/4)
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 06:34:02 +0000 (UTC)
[Cover: Mynabird stands at the center of a star-dappled sky,
reaching toward a glowing light. Captain Continuity, Captain
Rat Creature, Minority Miss and Kid Kirby are rushing toward
him from the corners of the page].
[Variant cover: Girlwatcher stares through the porthole of a
spaceship, watching Minority Miss smash a meteorite into
several pieces with one mighty blow].
[B E I G E]
[ C O U N T # 1 0 D O W N ! ]
Five years ago...
Chris Ankle slammed his closet door shut as his parents
entered the room. His mind fumbled for another excuse even as
the look on his mother's face told him it was already too late.
"Can we talk to you for a minute?" his mother asked, while
his father filled the doorway behind her.
"Of course," Chris said, taking a seat on the edge of his
bed and willing himself to look as normal as possible.
"We had a call from the school nurse today," his mother
began, sitting down beside him and smoothing out the pleats of
her skirt -- a rich burgundy, though in Chris' opinion it
failed to compliment the forest-green blouse she wore.
"She was worried about the cuts and scratches on your
arms," his mother continued. "She thought perhaps our cat
might be too aggressive, as this is the third time you'd told
her you'd been hurt while playing with her. I wasn't quite
sure what to say, since of course we've never had a cat."
"You're not hiding a cat somewhere, are you son?" his
father asked, staring at the poster of Vivienne Westwood
over Chris' bed.
"Jason, please," his mother said. "Now Chris. We've seen
the cuts and the bruises and we've heard you tell us a hundred
times about walking into a door or tripping on the stairs, even
though we both know you've never walked into a door in your
Chris took a deep breath.
"If it's bullies, son, you can tell us," his father said.
"I'm not in favor of violence -- your mother could tell you I'm
more a lover than a fighter -- but I'd be happy to show you a
"It's not bullies," Chris said, and stood up.
"Whatever it is," his mother said, holding his gaze, "you
can tell us. You know that. Your father and I are always
here for you."
Chris slid back the closet door.
His mother gasped.
"You're... you're a fashion designer?" his father said,
staring at the gold lame jumpsuit with the turquoise "G" in the
center of its chest.
"No, Dad," Chris said, standing as straight as he could
manage. "I'm... I'm a net.hero."
No one said anything for a few moments. His father looked
behind the jumpsuit into the back of his closet.
"You're sure there's not a cat in here?" he asked.
"I've been fighting crime," Chris said. His mother seemed
to be concentrating on a spot at the back of the room. "Facing
villains. Well, henchmen. Well, wanna-be henchmen. I'm, uh
thinking of joining the LNH."
"You play hockey?" his father asked.
"He means the Legion of Net.Heroes," his mother said.
"What kind of... super-powers... do you have, Chris?"
"Can you fly?" his father asked.
"I look at girls," Chris said.
His mother and father glanced at each other.
"We know that, Chris," his father said.
"We've always known that, dear," his mother said.
"As a matter of fact, when the school called, we thought this
might be another... incident..."
Chris sighed. "Let me show you," he said, walking around
his bed and drawing the curtains away from his bedroom window.
His parents followed. "See that girl down there?"
"The one with the long black hair and the... the
miniskirt?" his father asked.
"She's five-foot, four inches tall and weighs 114 pounds,"
Chris said. "Her measurements" -- Chris blushed a little as he
continued -- "are 34-26-38. She's wearing a size 4 dress from
Banana Republic, though it would be a size 2 at the Gap. Her
right leg is about half an inch longer than her left. She
took dance and gymnastics as a child but hasn't practiced either
in years. She gets her hair done on the Upper East Side,
probably Zola's, and her lipstick is smudged a little on the
left side of her face, looks like it might have been a martini
His father was the first to speak.
"Hell of an eye, there, son," he said.
"You... you have a gift," his mother said. "But are you
sure that being a super-hero is what you want to do with it?
Especially if you're going to come home with your hands torn
up and your beautiful face..."
"Sure he's sure," his father said, giving Chris a little
punch on the shoulder. "Your mother and I have always told
you to go after every opportunity that was out there for you."
"With the exception of that Weissman girl," his mother said.
"Or just... don't stare at her so closely."
"We're not going to hold you back," his father said,
looking at Chris as though seeing him for the first time.
"Nobody is. If you have a chance to reach for the stars, go
"Who Stole The Stars And Put Them In Your Eyes?"
Five minutes ago...
"I reached for the stars all right," Girlwatcher said,
watching the constellations spill away through the rear window
as the Legion of Net.Heroes Starship _Jefferson_ tore a hole in
the heavens. "I just wish I knew what the hell I was doing
Girlwatcher leaned against the lightly curved steel railing
surrounding the observation platform. He'd been surprised,
then flattered when Ultimate Ninja had asked him to join the
group of heroes heading into space to stop the Legion of Net.
Villains from breaking the worst criminals in the universe out
of a place called the Ultimate Black Hole. It wasn't until
they'd left the solar system behind, traveling faster than any
object made by humans ever had, that Girlwatcher realized how
out of place he really was.
"They've got Kid Kirby," Girlwatcher said, mostly to
himself, "who walks around in a suit of armor nobody can
understand with the power of a god in his pocket. Captain
Continuity -- the guy can tunnel through planets, shrugs off
entire armies like they're not even there. Deja Dude... I'm
still not sure exactly what Deja Dude does, other than argue
with everybody. But he's supposed to be more powerful than all
the rest of them put together."
Girlwatcher looked upward to the galley deck, where Deja
Dude was backing away from an angry Minority Miss.
"That's disgusting," the dark-haired heroine said, jabbing
Deja Dude in the chest with her finger. "I don't know why you
would even think that was appropriate."
"And I don't know why you're offended," replied Deja Dude.
Like Minority Miss, he wore a form-fitting black spacesuit with
the letters "LNH" embossed in silver beneath his right
shoulder. "I merely remarked to Obnoxious Ame.rec.a Boy that
when it comes to produce..."
"Shut up! I don't want to hear it!" Minority Miss said,
placing her hands over her ears.
"...that I love big, juicy melons as much as the next man,
but there's nothing as delicious as a sweet, firm, Asian pear,"
Deja Dude finished.
"I guess the tension is getting to everybody," Girlwatcher
said, as the sounds of Minority Miss pummeling Deja Dude rang
down from the galley. "Cynical Lass keeps going on and on
about how she's not allowed to have a cigarette. Skunk Girl
said she was going to kill Captain Rat Creature if he spent
another night running around on that giant exercise wheel.
And Ultimate Ninja... I think this is the longest he's ever
gone without slicing someone to ribbons.
"But you seem to be doing all right," he added, turning
to his companion on the observation platform.
"I'm, well that is, I'm really, that is I'm mostly, pretty
much generally, I think I'm fine, really fine, because that is
I always have something to do, and you know what they say, as
long as you have something to do, then you're never, not really
anyway, you're never at a loss for what you should be doing,"
Obsessive Compulsive Boy said, rocking back and forth as he
Girlwatcher took a deep breath. Rescuing Footnote Girl
from the killing machine called the Alt.Imate Ninja a few weeks
earlier had been the bravest thing he'd ever done. Carrying on
a conversation with Obsessive Compulsive Boy ran a close second.
"What is it that you're doing?" he asked.
"Well," said Obsessive Compulsive Boy, clearly pleased to
the point of mania that someone had asked, "before we, I mean
all of us, before we left the Earth, I had a phone call, and it
was Contempo Weapons Lad, and you know the two of us, we were
part of a team, the Duo Contempo, and actually we were part of a
couple of other teams but that probably isn't important right
now, or maybe it is, but anyway he called and it was so
wonderful to hear from him because it's been a really long
time, you know ever since he put me in that box and shipped me
all the way to Ame.rec.a, which seems an awfully strange way to
get somewhere but it gave me plenty of time to think, which I
always say I never have enough time to think but he called and
I asked did he want me to go back to Alt.stralia with him even
though technically he was deported because the LNH was going to
send me into space and he said that was the best news he'd ever
heard in his entire life and that I should say hello to the
stars for him. And so I am."
"You're what?" Girlwatcher asked.
"Saying hello to the stars," Obsessive Compulsive Boy
said. "All of them. I'm saying hello to all of them. Every
star that we've passed. I've logged forty-seven thousand and
sixteen so far. Ooh, there's another one. Hello!"
"You do realize," Girlwatcher said, raising his voice to
cover the sounds of Deja Dude and Minority Miss shouting at
each other from the galley, "that there's more than four
hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, at least
a hundred million galaxies in the universe -- and that none
of them cares particularly if you say hello to them. I mean,
Kid Kirby could lay waste to an entire planet, and..."
"That one does," Obsessive Compulsive Boy said, pointing
at a tiny glittering dot against the sea of black. "It is, at
least I think it is, I mean it certainly seems to be, that is
I'm reasonably sure that what it's doing, it's heard me say
hello and now what it's doing is coming here to see me."
"What are you..." Girlwatcher asked, raising his binoculars
and staring in the direction indicated by Obsessive Compulsive
Boy, who had begun hopping up and down, his body bobbing in the
space.thingee's limited gravity. "If we're staring out the
back window... and that star is moving toward us..."
"Minority Miss!" Girlwatcher shouted.
"Can it wait?" Minority Miss asked. "I'm beating Deja
Dude within an inch of his life."
"Please say no," said a bedraggled-sounding Deja Dude.
"Something's coming," Girlwatcher said, never taking his
eyes from the window. "A spaceship, by the looks of it. And
it's your turn to deliver news to the Ultimate Ninja."
"I must be getting old," Deja Dude said, as Minority Miss
flew off in the direction of the bridge and a tall, armored man
strode through the galley doors. "I used to enjoy it whenever a
woman in a black jumpsuit slapped me around. These days, that
kind of foreplay just makes me..."
"Deja Dude!" thundered the armored man.
"Let me guess, Kirby," Deja Dude said, regarding the seven-
foot tall warrior next to the refrigerator with a bemused smirk.
"You need my help in engineering again. You know, it wouldn't
have killed you to take a few real life physics classes in
addition to all the comic book ones."
Kid Kirby appeared flustered. This was no easy task, as
his face was completely covered by a black-visored helmet, but
he had recently installed a synthetic pheremone-release system
in order to make conveying emotions easier.
"The wielder of the Power Kirby knows the ways of
molecules even as he knows the transit of galaxies, for he has
observed them both with the detached gaze of a visionary and the
tender intimacies of..."
"Please, Kirby," Deja Dude said, holding up one hand.
"The last thing I want is for you to tell me about your 'tender
intimacies' while wearing your scratch-and-sniff armor."
"DO NOT MOCK THE GAUNTLETS WHICH CHANNEL THE POWER OF HE
WHO BREATHED LIFE INTO THE COMICS COSMOS!"
"Okay," Deja Dude said. "But if this Power Kirby of
yours is all-powerful and everything, why do you need my
Kid Kirby hesitated.
"He who claims mastery over the Power Kirby," he said,
"has...never been married."
"What does that have to do with..." Deja Dude began, then
his eyes widened. "You didn't. You couldn't. You wouldn't.
What am I saying? Of course you did. You installed a Mother-
in-Law Box as the ship's main computer, didn't you?"
Kid Kirby hung his heavy helmeted head.
"Oh, very well," said Deja Dude, rolling his eyes and
teleporting himself into the starship's engine room.
"Dude!" said a heavyset man splattered in grease and
wearing a mutli-pocketed tool belt over his spacesuit.
"Thought you'd never get here."
"Gaffer," Deja Dude replied, fanning the last wisps of
purple smoke left from his teleportation away from his face.
"What the hell have you and Kirby done with this place? It
looks like a cross between Stephen Hawking's garage sale and
the home of one of those sad, cat-hoarding people you always
see on the evening news."
"Thanks," Gaffer said, beaming with pride. "Kirby had
most of this stuff in his lab, but I'm the one who put it all
"I can see that," Deja Dude said, making his way around
what he hoped was not an enormous gray-green wad of chewing gum.
"Is that...are those... jumper cables connecting the flux
capacitor to the cold fusion drive?"
"Barnardian jumper cables," Gaffer corrected. "Only thing
in the universe that allows any one thing to be powered by any
other thing. We use them to..."
"I know what Barnardian jumper cables are," said Deja Dude
"But I have no idea what that thing is," he added, pointing to
what looked like a single gray pyramid rotating in space.
"That's the Povich Antigravity Drive," Gaffer said. "It
operates on the Torchwood principle."
"The Torchwood principle?"
"No one can work out how it manages to stay on the air,"
Gaffer said. "And yet it does."
"KIRBY!" screeched a metallic female voice. "WHERE ARE
YOU, KIRBY? OUT WITH YOUR GOOD-FOR-NOTHING FRIENDS AGAIN?"
"That's the Master Ethernet Relay Intelligent System
computer," Gaffer said. "Calls herself MERIS. She's a bit
"Leave her to me," Deja Dude said, snapping his fingers.
The room lights dimmed, and Deja Dude's spacesuit rewove itself
into a red velvet smoking jacket. The sounds of Barry White's
"Love Serenade" purred from an unseen sound system.
"If there's one thing I know," Deja Dude said, his voice
lowering to match the singer's, "it's how to handle the ladies."
"Good luck with that," Gaffer muttered, shaking his head
as he left Deja Dude alone with the computer. "I think I liked
that guy better when he was a sheep."
It wasn't until Gaffer entered the spaceship's atrium and
saw his fellow heroes flying, leaping and (in the case of
Captain Rat Creature) scuttling to their battle stations that
he realized they were under attack.
"Two hundred miles and closing," Obscure Trivia Lad said,
his metallic face reflecting the amber letters that scrolled
across the monitor before him.
"It's just as we *@#$%^&* suspected," Innovative-Offense
Boy added, scowling at a rounded, fish tank-like monitor on
the other side of the bridge and wishing for the thousandth
time that the Legion had incorporated state-of-the-art
technology into the design of the _Jefferson_'s bridge, rather
than raiding a local antiques store.
He squinted at the tiny blinking square on his screen.
"A Cinereus-class carrier of the Christicantthinkofagoodname
Empire," he concluded. "The same *@#$%^! kind the Imperial
fleet reported stolen shortly before we left the Earth."
"Never trust an anthropomorphic alien koala to do a man's
job," said the Ultimate Ninja, sitting with his fingertips
pressed together in the captain's chair at the center of the
bridge. "Any response to our hail?"
"None yet, sir," Linguist Lass replied, placing one hand
over the tip of her headset mike. "They'll be within taunting
range in approximately 45 seconds."
"Reduce speed, and tell Kid Kirby to ready our first-strike
capability," the ninja said, as the unidentified spaceship
appeared in the central viewscreen, a pale dot beside the gray
ringed planet and its moons. "What kind of firepower can we
"Limited at this range," said Innovative-Offense Boy,
staring into what looked like an old-fashioned kintescope.
"But it can put two hundred starfighters in the field in
under ten minutes. Unless Mynabird's made a deal with
*@#$%^& Manga Man, though, there's no way he'll get enough
qualified pilots to..."
"We've entered taunting range. Incoming transmission,"
Linguist Lass broke in, as the giant viewscreen blurred with
static, only to be replaced by a spinning, three-dimensional
"LNV" logo superimposed over the image of an exploding
volcano. The monitor's speakers began to throb with the sound
of Guns n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle."
"I'll give this to the Legion of Net.Villains," said
Parking Karma Kid, as the volcano symbol faded and the sleek
black helmet and scrolling yellow visor of Mynabird filled the
viewscreen. "They don't skimp on the production values."
"Legion of Net.Heroes!" growled Mynabird, his deep,
throaty bass reverberating throughout the bridge. "You claim
to protect the people of Earth! And yet what have you done to
defend its people against hunger? Against war? What have you
done to protect them from the collateral damage caused by your
constant battles against others like yourselves?"
"The Legion actually has a fairly comprehensive insurance
policy," Obscure Trivia Lad began, before Ultimate Ninja held
up his hand for silence.
"Perhaps you wish to know our master plan?" Mynabird said.
A scrolling ticker at the bottom of the viewscreen read, "LNV
LEADER PREPARES TO REVEAL SECRET PLAN TO WOULD-BE HEROES."
"Very well. First, we will exterminate your advance army.
Then, we will release those who are unjustlly imprisoned within
the Ultimate Black Hole. Our combined forces will bring order
and justice to all the civilized planets within the 28 known
"He's launching fighters," Innovative-Offense Boy reported.
"But they're not *@#$%^& moving into attack position. They
must be waiting for something..."
"And then... and only then... I WILL STRANGLE EASILY-
DISCOVERED MAN LITE WITH HIS OWN SPINAL CORD AND USE HIS
SKULL FOR A CATBOX!" Mynabird shouted, cackling like a drunken
raccoon as he shook his gauntleted fist at the camera. "I will
gouge out his eyes with a rusty soup can lid and dip each of
his fingers in liquid nitrogen before snapping them like
carrot sticks and pour rancid goat milk down his... what?"
The villain paused, as a tall, redheaded woman -- the
living virus known as Vector Prime -- whispered something into
the side of his helmet.
"Oh, very well," Mynabird said. "And we'll extend our
rule over the universe. I thought that sort of went without
"Ready to transmit response, sir," Linguist Lass said.
"Would you prefer the usual 'You'll never get away with this,'
or would something along the lines of 'We'll see you in Hell'
be more suitable?"
The Ultimate Ninja rose from his chair.
"Tell them," he began, and muttered something in Japanese.
Linguist Lass gasped.
"What did the Ultimate Ninja say?" Obscure Trivia Lad
"Something that would make Innovative-Offense Boy blush,"
Linguist Lass said, as she relayed the ninja's words.
"Defiant words from a defeated foe!" Mynabird said. "I
look forward to filtering your ashen remains from my ship's
engines. In the mean time, I leave you with this."
Mynabird's face disappeared from the viewscreen, only to
be replaced by the image of preternaturally pale pop singer
Rick Astley singing and dancing on the streets of an unnamed
"Oh Obscure Trivia Lad's God!" Obscure Trivia Lad cried.
"That Mynabird is never going to give us up! Nor will he ever
let us down! He will never run around and desert us. He will
never make us cry... though that would seem to work to our
advantage," the android added, stroking his metallic chin.
"That video isn't the only thing he's throwing at us. Hang
on, everybody," said Parking Karma Kid, jerking the wooden
ship's wheel to the left. "I'm taking evasive action!"
The ship's deck pitched, causing Innovative-Offense Boy to
tumble head over heels and Linguist Lass to be thrown from her
seat -- only to be caught by the outstreched liquid metal arm
of Obscure Trivia Lad.
As the face of Rick Astley shrunk into the corner of the
viewscreen, the heroes gasped at the sight of a massive chunk
of frozen rock sweeping past the bow.
"Where the @#$%^&*(* did that come from?" Innovative-
Offense Boy said. "Did we wander into an asteroid belt?
Or did Mynabird decide to throw a really big @#$% rock at us?"
"Not just one rock," Obscure Trivia Lad said, returning
Linguist Lass to her seat. "Somehow... some way... the LNV
is ripping apart the ring that surrounds that planet, and
is sending all of it right at us. Obscure Trivia Lad is
guessing it is the work of that telekinetic cat, Barrage."
"Bad kitty!" Linguist Lass shouted at the viewscreen,
which had clouded over with hundreds of chunks of rock and ice.
"No kidding," Parking Karma said. "Violating state,
federal and interplanetary law is one thing, but violating the
laws of physics... well, sir, that's just not cricket."
"I agree," the Ultimate Ninja said, taking his seat and
pressing a small red button on the armrest of his chair.
"Kid Kirby?" the ninja said. "Execute Plan 717."
"You guys actually came up with a plan in case a cat with
mental powers heaved part of a planet at our spaceship?"
Linguist Lass asked.
"Several plans, actually," Innovative-Offense Boy said.
"But Plan 717 is one of those all-purpose #@$%^& plans for when
somebody does something that really, really pisses the Ultimate
Linguist Lass took a look at the stormclouds gathering
over her leader's brow and swallowed.
"I am so not forgetting his birthday again this year,"
Minority Miss checked the seals on her helmet for the
third time and waited for the panel behind her to slide open.
When it did -- the air of the room rushing out like someone's
last breath -- she found herself floating in space. Not
floating, she reminded herself. She was a super-hero. Heroes
"Remind me again what Plan 717 is," the cheerful voice of
Captain Rat Creature buzzed through her earbuds. "Is that the
one where we murder all the Jedi? Or the one where we have to
keep Mr. Furley busy until Janet can get Chrissy and Jack out
of the bathtub?"
"It is the plan wherein Minority Miss must contend herself
with yon swirling mass of devastation... you and Captain
Continuity must take this fight to its source... and he who
carries the burden of the Power Kirby must do what he must do,"
said Kid Kirby, activating a button on his armor that shifted
his arms and legs into an heroic pose. "Look not upon my work,
lest ye despair."
Handle the asteroid storm by herself? Minority Miss
opened her mouth to complain, then looked at Kid Kirby, who
had flown off to confront the stream of starfighters pouring
from the city-sized enemy carrier, and at Captains Continuity
and Rat Creature, who were preparing to attack the carrier
"Good luck," she said, then added the phrase every
member of the Legion of Net.Heroes used only in the most dire
and critical circumstances. "May your death serve to benefit
all life in the universe, rather than the sales of this issue."
"Amen," said the other three heroes, leaving Minority Miss
alone to face a tidal wave of planetary debris.
"Now let's see," Minority Miss said, as a marbled chunk of
iron and ice trailing carbon dioxide vapor like a bride's train
tumbled end over end toward the heroes' spaceship. "Which of my
powers would work best at getting rid of a whole bunch of flying
rocks? I could use the invisible force field, but I always end
up forgetting where it is. I could transmute the rock into
water vapor, but there's always the chance the water could react
explosively with one of the other elements that's floating
"Any time you're ready, Minority Miss," Captain Continuity
"There's the psychic Tholian Web... but that one gives me
a migraine every time I use it," Minority Miss continued, as
the jagged edge of one asteroid edged closer. "I could use my
command of the electromagnetic spectrum to take control of the
magnetic field surrounding the rocks, but there's a good chance
that could mess up communications with the ship..."
"No need to worry about communications," said the voice of
Parking Karma Kid. "Seeing as our spaceship is about to be
smashed into a million little pieces a minute or two from now."
"*@#$%^& it," Minority Miss said. "I'll just hit the
She wound up and slammed her fist into the center of the
asteroid, which cleaved into five smaller fragments... all of
which continued to plunge toward the spaceship.
"Now I remember what my mother used to say about hitting
asteroids," Minority Miss said, shaking her fist. "She told me
it's better to shove, not punch, or you end up getting little
bits of cosmic crumble all over the place. And that none of
this would have happened if I'd settled down with that boy from
next door and gone to dental hygeine school."
Minority Miss flew from asteroid piece to asteroid piece,
placing the palms of her hand on each and pushing it back
toward the gray planet. Her efforts seemed to work, though
not for long; each planetary fragment stopped after a few
thousand yards and snapped back, as though tethered to a
"*@#$%^ing Barrage," Minority Miss grumbled. "If we ever
make it back to Earth, I'm not wasting any more of my Saturdays
volunteering my time at the mutant animal shelter. I need to
find a way to..."
Her words, and most of the air in her lungs, disappeared
in a moment as something heavy and hard and human-shaped hit
her in the pit of her stomach with a force that made the
asteroids around her feel like slow-pitched softballs by
comparison. It wasn't until her helmet unfogged that Minority
Miss could see what it was that had struck her.
"Plummet," she gasped.
NEXT: Captain Continuity vs. the LNH! Minority Miss vs.
Plummet! And the star-shattering arrival of... Don Ho?
From: EDMLite <robro... at gmail.com>
Subject: LNH: Beige Countdown #10 (2/4)
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 04:35:04 +0000 (UTC)
"Why hasn't Kid Kirby wiped the sky clean of these things
yet?" Captain Rat Creature asked, his hamster's paws tearing
the sickle-shaped (and, he felt, wholly unnecessary, since they
offered no advantage in space) wings from an enemy fighter.
"The Power Kirby is not to be used lightly," Captain
Continuity said, dropping like a diver onto the fuselage of
another craft and severing the nose cone with his feet. "I'm
sure it troubles the Kirbian to use it to take even one life,
let alone the hundreds he's currently fac...ugggh!"
The Knight of Continuity fell back as the cockpit of the
spaceship opened and the pilot squirted a sticky grey goo in
his face. As the substance hardened in the chill of space,
Captain Continuity stared in disbelief at the face of the pilot.
"Cheesecake-Eater Lad?" he gasped.
"It's not Cheesecake-Eater Lad," Captain Rat Creature
said, his beady black eyes glowing red for a moment as he
blasted the chunks of cheesecake from Captain Continuity's
body. "Not the real one, anyway. Those cold, unfeeling eyes...
and the fact that he has only half a face...sort of gives it
"Of course!" Captain Continuity said, shaking himself free
of the frozen dessert and smashing his fist into the faux
Legionnaire's face. "Mynabird must have salvaged the robot
duplicates of the Legion when he captured our headquarters.
Did you get that, Kirby? The pilots are all robots!"
"Thank you, Captain," said the crackling voice of Kid
Kirby. "I am now free to act...as only I CAN!"
"Cover your eyes," Captain Continuity said, turning away
as a light brighter than any of the stars around them filled
the sky for a moment, as though the eye of God had opened and
closed. When Captain Continuity looked again, a third of the
fighters that had been attacking Kid Kirby had vanished.
"That's our cue," Captain Continuity said, smashing his
way through the river of light-spitting starships that issued
from the enemy carrier like bees protecting a hive. As he
descended, the blinking crescent of the starship began to look
less and less like a city at night and more like the mass of
turrets, radar blisters, particle cannons and writhing, snapping
mechanical tentacles that it was.
"Do you ever get used to this?" Captain Rat Creature
asked, as he dodged the pulsed fire of multiple lasers and
swooped down through the yawning yellow mouth of the starship
"Which part?" Captain Continuity asked, grabbing two
starfighters by their tailfins and smashing them together like
a pair of cymbals. "The soaring through the stars, gazing at
the infinite mystery of all creation surrounding us? Or the
part where we bash it?"
"The knowledge that everyone on your world -- maybe
everyone on every world -- is counting on you to succeed,"
Captain Rat Creature said, as the two heroes stood, back
to back, in the middle of the hangar. Everywhere they looked,
gun barrels rotated, hammers slid back and laser swords ignited
as the army of robot duplicates formed a circle around them.
"One of the first things they teach you in the Knights of
Continuity is not to let your powers make you think you know
what your part in the fate of the universe is going to be,"
Captain Continuity said, clapping his hands together. A wave
of androids tumbled backward, and dozens of starship cockpits
shattered with the blow.
"None of us will ever really know where we belong in the
greater scheme of things, any more than a plague germ or an
atom understands its power to destroy a city," he added.
"I wouldn't have taken you for a fatalist," Captain
Rat Creature said, ears lowering and whiskers twitching as he
prepared to confront the horde. "Are you saying that we're no
better than these robots?"
"Hey!" said the robot duplicate of Special Bonding Boy,
using one hand to hold his shattered jaw in place. "Some of
us have feelings, you know. And at least we know how to
recycle our resources."
"I used to volunteer at a nursing home on weekends,"
said the one-legged robot Pants Rabbit Lad. "Before the whole
rebelling against humanity and slaughtering everyone thing."
Captain Rat Creature blasted them both with his laser
"The robots do what they're programmed to do," Captain
Continuity said. "We get to choose. That's what makes us
"Now go," he added. "Find Barrage. Keep him from
destroying our ship. I'll take care of this group."
"That's what you think!" screamed the robot Tour Guide
Girl. "I'll be leading your ass on an all-expense paid trip
through the seventh circle of Hell."
"I've been there," Captain Continuity said, cracking his
knuckles as Captain Rat Creature sped away and the phalanx of
robots closed in around him.
"Anybody else hear that *@#$%^&ing ticking sound?"
Innovative-Offense Boy asked. "It's driving me @#$%^&
"Obscure Trivia Lad's apologies," Obscure Trivia Lad said,
placing a six-inch model of a clock on the bridge console.
"Obscure Trivia Lad purchased this souvenir replica of the Beige
Clock Tower just before we left the Earth. Easily-Discovered
Man Lite assured Obscure Trivia Lad that it would become a
"I'm beginning to understand why Mynabird hates that guy
so much," Parking Karma Kid said. "Personally I... hang on,
somebody seems to have placed an order of rings."
The Legion's paragon of parallel parking turned the
starship's wheel this way and that as several more frozen bits
of planetary ring zoomed past the bow of the spaceship.
"That was too @#$%^&* close," Innovative-Offense Boy said.
"Where the @#$%^&* is Minority Miss? She's supposed to be
blocking for us."
"We've lost contact with her," Linguist Lass said, studying
the instruments in front of her. "It could be the rings
themselves... some of them have a pretty high iron content, and
they might be messing up our radio signals."
The Ultimate Ninja swiveled his chair to face Innovative-
"We need a miracle," he said.
"I'm @#$%^&*ing working on..."
"Now," the ninja said.
"...Okay," Innovative-Offense Boy said. "Tell Gaffer and
Substitute Lad to get up here right away. And tell them to
bring @#$%^&*& Obsessive Compulsive Boy's Wii."
The two heroes arrived on the bridge moments later, with
the small white game system in Gaffer's arms and Obsessive
Compulsive Boy clamped around Gaffer's leg.
"Damn, that boy is strong," Gaffer said. "I haven't felt
a grip like that since the time I had to wrestle Cate Blanchett
for the last danish on a craft services table."
"Please oh please don't take my Wii I'm not entirely sure
what I've done to deserve this although probably if I thought
about it I would say that it maybe, just maybe possibly has
something to do with the fact that I used Cynical Lass'
brassiere for other than its intended purpose unless one could
generalize its intended purpose was to launch water balloons
from the observation platform which now in hindsight that is
looking back I realize was probably not a good idea in the
limited gravity of this spaceship but I really don't see why
Ultimate Ninja walked over, bent down, and tapped
Obsessive Compulsive Boy above the bridge of his nose with
one finger. The sidekick whimpered once and was silent.
Innovative-Offense Boy pointed from the Wii to the
steering column of the starship.
"Can you modify that @#$%^&* device so that it acts..."
"...as a controller for the ship? Sure," Gaffer said,
digging his Leatherman five-in-one tool from the belt around
"You act like you've done this before," Linguist Lass said.
Gaffer smirked, his hands moving at unheard-of speeds (for
a union employee) as he dismantled the ship's wheel.
"Lady, any techie out of trade school can turn his XBox
into his personal DVR, or a couple of PS3's into a parallel-
processing AI capable of rendering holographic porn," he said,
spinning the Leatherman around in his hand like a gunslinger.
"But it takes a real artist to mod a Wii."
"Obscure Trivia Lad," Innovative-Offense Boy said, placing
one hand on the shoulder of the android navigator. "I'm going
to need you to be a *&@#$%^& surfboard."
"It is not what Obscure Trivia Lad's mother would have
wished for him," Obscure Trivia Lad said, his liquid metal body
elongating into the desired shape. "Then again, Obscure Trivia
Lad's mother was not exactly pleased about the whole transition
to transhumanism, either."
"Better make this quick," Linguist Lass said. "Scanners
say a whole mess of those ring particles are headed this way."
"Right," Innovative-Offense Boy said, as Gaffer placed the
shining metal surfboard above the Wii array and began wiring
its base. "Substitute Lad, I need you to duplicate the powers
of the @#$%^&*( California Kid."
Substitute Lad concentrated for a moment, then relaxed,
the eyes behind his mask taking on a vacant expression. The
cry of seagulls and the pounding of waves seemed to echo in the
distance, and Linguist Lass was convinced she caught the fading
aroma of marijuana on the bridge.
"Dude," Substitute Lad said.
"@#$%^&*(ing A," Innovative-Offense Boy said, slamming a
compact disc into one of the slots on the control console.
"Now fly this mother@#$%^&er right through that asteroid
storm and bring us within firing range of the @#$%^& enemy."
Substitute Lad nodded sleepily and hopped onto the
surfboard with feline grace, his every gesture adjusting the
pitch and yaw of the starship. The other members of the bridge
crew strapped themselves into their seats -- with Linguist Lass
hauling the still-twitching Obsessive Compulsive Boy into
Obscure Trivia Lad's chair -- as the loudspeakers resonated
with the sounds of a ukulele and the voice of Don Ho.
"Everybody knows I lead a happy life," the Hawaiian
crooner sang, as Substitute Lad surfed the ship on a high arc
that carried it dangerously close to two iceberg-sized
"Got no troubles and I've got no wife
"Freer than a bird in a banyan tree
"I'm the original happy me..."
Obscure Trivia Lad's miniature clock tower, Obsessive-
Compulsive Boy's toothbrush and a dozen other odds and ends
careened around the bridge as the starship barrel-rolled
through a canyon on one of the ring fragments and looped
around an ice formation on another. Linguist Lass and Gaffer
became ill, and even the Ultimate Ninja gripped the armrests
of his captain's chair a little tighter than usual.
Substitute Lad paid no attention. Like any California driver,
he was drinking a latte with one hand and sending a text
message with another while tapping his foot in time with the
"My back is strong, my shoulders broad," Don Ho sang.
"Ride the ocean on my big surfboard
"Catching a wave bigger than a mountain high
"Jump on the shore, I'm still dry..."
An onslaught of rock and ice particles -- some as small as
marbles, others the size of Rhode Island -- hurtled toward the
ship one after the other. One came so close that Substitute Lad
dropped his latte, splayed out his hands and allowed the ship
to coast down the carbon-dioxide vapor trail flowing from one
of the asteroids like Tony Hawk riding a half-pipe.
"I do a lot of swimming when the sun is high
"Do a lot of lovin' in the bare moonlight
"Don't know if it's better in the night or day
"But I'm very happy either way..."
The ship broke free of the asteroid cloud, arriving on
the far side of the Legion of Net.Villains carrier. As the
Jefferson's internal gravity stabilized, those on the bridge
who were still capable of looking could see a formation of
fighters in the far distance being decimated by Kid Kirby.
"Bitchin' " said Substitute Lad, stepping off the
surfboard, which resumed the shape of Obscure Trivia Lad.
Ultimate Ninja was the first to regain his footing.
"Innovative-Offense Boy, you have the con," he said,
striding down the ramp that led away from the bridge. "Tell
Ordinary Lady, Steak-and-Potatoes-Man, You're-Not-Hitting-Me
Hard-Enough Lad, Skunk Girl, Cynical Lass and Deja Dude to meet
me in the transmatter chamber."
The ninja unsheathed his katana and ran his fingers along
the edge of the blade. "We're forming a boarding party."
Captain Continuity brushed a still-flexing robot hand
from his shoulder and surveyed the damage. The hangar lay
ankle-deep in shattered android duplicates and smashed
fighters, its walls scorched by laser blasts, riddled with
bullet holes and dripping with something unpleasant that
had come out of the phony Pants Rabbit Lad when it expired.
He picked his way through the twitching, sparking wreckage
until he found the head of the duplicate No Sense of Direction
"Which way is Mynabird?" Captain Continuity asked, picking
up the head.
The head stuck out its tongue and blew an oily raspberry
at the Captain, who sighed and removed a flash drive from a
compartment on his belt.
"I have all seven seasons of 'Full House' on this chip,"
Captain Continuity said. "You can tell me where your leader
is, or I'll plug this into your brain and you can spend the
remaining moments of your life pondering what Alanis Morrissette
ever saw in Dave Coulier."
"That way," the head said, nodding at a vertical passage
to the left.
"Much obliged," Captain Continuity said, flinging the head
to the side and striking out towards the right. He found the
layout of the carrier disorienting, designed as it was by alien
koalas who seemed to prefer large vertical spaces to horizontal
ones and whose corridors were laid out like the branches of a
tree, with no obvious path toward a bridge or command center.
Ignoring the handholds on either side of the tunnel, Captain
Continuity flew upward until he reached a small, spherical
chamber. The moment he stepped inside, the floor and ceiling
panels irised shut.
"Greetings, Legionnaire," cackled a high voice Captain
Continuity neither recognized nor welcomed. "As you can see,
we've been expecting you."
"Well, yeah," Captain Continuity said, testing the
strength of the chamber walls with his hands. "I mean, you
threw a bunch of rocks at our spaceship. That kind of thing
gets under a person's skin."
A hole opened in the ceiling and Captain Continuity held
his breath, expecting gas. Instead, a plum dropped to the
floor, bounced once, ricocheted off the far wall and bounced
"I appreciate the gesture," Captain Continuity said, as
two more plums...then three...then seven...fell down, while
the first plum continued bouncing. "But at this point a fruit
basket just isn't going to cut it."
"That's where you're wrong, Captain," said the voice, who
sounded more relieved to finally be able to explain what was
going on than anything else. "For as you have doubtlessig...
doubt-lessree...doubt...as you have realized by now, each of my
specially-treated plums gains an exponential increase in
velocity each time it comes in contact with a solid object!
In time, my Plums of Power will be moving fast enough to
penetrate even your indestructible hide!"
Captain Continuity stared for a moment at the fast-
bouncing fruit surrounding him like the electrons of an atom.
"Killer plums," he said. "Right."
"I'M THE GODDAMMED PLUM MASTER!" the voice cried. "What
am I supposed to do, drop an anvil on your head?"
"Look," Captain Continuity said, his right hand darting
out to snatch one of the plums out of the air. "Here's how I
roll. First of all, I don't like it when people start throwing
the word 'penetrate' around, especially in reference to
He crammed the plum into his mouth and continued talking,
juice dribbling down the side of his lips.
"Second," he began, grabbing the rest of the plums in
quick succession and devouring them, "wait. Hold that
The Knight of Continuity puffed out his cheeks and spat
a stream of seeds in rapid succession at the wall on the other
side of the room, adjusting his aim to create a pattern of seed-
holes in the shape of a door. He placed his palm in the center
of the wall and pushed. The metal crashed to the ground.
Captain Continuity walked through his makeshift door, saw a
thin man in a purple jumpsuit fleeing from a control panel,
grabbed him by the top of the head and held him at arm's length.
"For killer plums, those were pretty tasty," he said.
"Th...thank you," Plum Master said, his legs dangling in
"Where's Mynabird?" Captain Continuity asked.
Plum Master raised a shaking finger toward a passageway
emerging from the southwest ceiling.
"Thanks," Captain Continuity said, releasing the villain.
Before he could reach the ground, however, the hero had
grabbed the top of his head again.
"Oh yeah," Captain Continuity said. "And which way is
the men's room? I always hate going off to fight someone when
my hands are all sticky."
Plum Master pointed again. Captain Continuity smiled,
slammed the villain's head against a bulkhead, then left him
to slump to the floor while he flew towards the lavatory.
"Damn good plums," he said, wiping the juice from his
How does he do it?, Minority Miss wondered, as she
kicked and clawed at the short man in the magenta spacesuit
pushing her farther and farther into space.
She knew Plummet had the power to fall faster than any
other living thing. But what did it mean to fall in outer
space? What or where was he falling toward? Did he have the
power to latch on to any source of gravity -- a planet, or
even a distant star -- and pull himself toward it? And was
it really important for her to figure this out while her life
and the lives of her teammates were on the line?
Minority Miss reached forward, placing one hand on each
of Plummet's shoulders, and somersaulted herself over his head.
Before the villain could recover she had surged forward,
appalled that in the few moments she had been in his grasp the
two spaceships had disappeared completely from view, and
even the gray ringed planet had become a distant dot. She
willed herself to go faster -- it was hard to tell, without the
feeling of the wind rushing past her, but she felt she was
making headway as the planet ahead became larger and larger and
she saw the little explosions of light that told her Kid Kirby,
at least, was still in the fight.
By the time she reached the cloud of ring debris she knew
without looking that Plummet was following her.
She teleported away just as he whizzed through the space
where she would have been, reappearing on the other side of a
hunk of rock that reminded her of the Pao de Acucar.
As Plummet stared from side to side in confusion, searching for
his prey, Minority Miss noticed the path he'd made as he'd
plowed through the asteroid field, with some of the smaller
rocks and even a few of the larger ones lingering behind him
as though caught on a cobweb.
This could work, Minority Miss thought, as Plummet caught
sight of her and began his rush toward her once again. But I
need to be very, very fast.
The young Brazilian woman stretched out one arm and began
to fly in a zigzag pattern through the asteroids, moving faster
and faster as Plummet followed her like a guided missile. As
their speed increased, so did Plummet's rocky entourage: more
and more of the ring debris followed in his wake until almost
the entire asteroid cloud rattled behind the villain like the
tail of a comet.
Minority Miss had no idea how fast she was moving. Her
powers allowed her to do anything that any three beings in her
universe could do, and in her brief career with the LNH, Apoena
Goulao had met some very, very fast people. She closed her
eyes, stretched out her other arm and imagined herself moving
beyond the speed of light, beyond the speed of thought, beyond
the speed of spells or science-fiction starships or a successful
Disney franchise producing a direct-to-video sequel.
When she opened her eyes, Plummet was still right behind
her, which was exactly where she wanted him to be.
"Now!" Apoena said, and teleported several miles away.
The surprised Plummet stopped short, looked around, and then
looked behind him, just in time to see an entire planetary
ring's worth of rock and ice slam into his body like a cosmic
"You know, I usually tell the guys who follow me around
not to expect me to give me a ring," Minority Miss said, as
Plummet's motionless body spiraled away into space. "But in
your case, I made an exception."
Her smile faded as she looked back at the cloud of rock
and ice -- now dispersing itself across the emptiness of space
-- and realized she had no idea where her spaceship was, or in
what direction she had come. She scanned the skies, listened
to the busy crackle of radio waves, reached out with every power
she'd had or had ever heard of, but saw and heard and felt
nothing but the nothing that surrounded her. She was as alone
in the universe as anyone had ever been.
NEXT: Kid Kirby vs. Mynabird! Captain Rat Creature vs.
Barrage! And Deja Dude faces a woman from the Legion's past...
Next Week: The Countdown Part Five!
Arthur "Same Classic Channel. But Same Time? Probably not." Spitzer
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