LNH: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 3 #3: "Sequels are Always Worse" [2/6]

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 10:18:39 PST 2020

"What are you doing here?" Doctor Stomper had always assumed that 
Occultism Kid was somewhere on the aromantic/asexual spectrum. He 
certainly wasn't someone who ever got involved in Valentine's Day 

"Well, I wanted to figure out if this was a trap, and this was the only 
way to find out."

Dr. Stomper nodded. "That's relatable."

"I guess I was assuming I'd be paired up with Obscure Trivia Lad. 
We're... sort of queerplatonic, I suppose." Dr. Stomper nodded.

"So can you tell what's causing this situation? Is it a--" he frowned 
slightly--"magical attack?" He had to admit he was uneasy being around 
magic too much. (He had in fact worked extensively with Occultism Kid in 
the past to create a door to Hell [seen in Another LNH Title? Really? 
Free Comic Book Day Special], but it had been a fittingly hellish 

"You do realize that your whole theory of narrative science is just a 
form of magic, right?" said Occultism Kid.

"I suppose it is," he said through gritted teeth. "The difference 
between magic and science, especially in superhero universes, is between 
different modes of genre. I've written papers about this."

"Which recapitulate the insights of mages of centuries past which you're 
not fully equipped to understand," snapped Occultism Kid.

"If you say so." Doctor Stomper grimaced.

Occultism Kid rubbed his eyes. "There's powerful energy of Conflict in 
the air," he said.

"One of the powerful driving energies of storytelling," said Dr. 
Stomper, "But when it builds up excessively, it can be a problem to 
manage, eroding the kind of friendships of superheroes which are key to 
the narrative of this kind of universe. Furthermore, conflict need not 
be the only source of storytelling structure--"

"I know that," snapped Occultism Kid. "I wonder where it's coming from."

"I have some suspicions," said Dr. Stomper. Nearby, New Look Lass was 
dancing with Demented Designer--even though he wasn't even an 
LNHer--glaring daggers at him and looking like she was ready to rip his 
clothes off, and not in a good way. At a nearby table, 
Starts-Arguments-For-No-Apparent-Reason Kid was sitting with Adamant 
Authority on Everything. They were arguing about the merits of the new 
vs old Star Wars canon.

"We had better shut this all down before they start talking about 
Looms," said Occultism Kid. Dr. Stomper had only been peripherally 
involved in Doctor Who fandom in the 90s, but he suppressed a full body 
shudder. They tried to get up, leave the table and break them up,

But they couldn't move.

"Do you think we're in a dream state?" said Dr. Stomper. "This feels 
very much like the experience of a dream, but feels too sensorily vivid 
for that. This situation has a strong aura of  virtual reality device--"

"--or a spell," said Occultism Kid.

"Or a spell, I *suppose*," said Dr. Stomper.

"It's a demonically-infused virtual reality machine," said Mashup Laq.

"What are you doing here?" said Dr. Stomper.

"Oh that's easy. I'm still trapped in the infernal virtual reality 
subroutine; my body is stuck dancing with 
Gets-Annoyed-When-Writers-Mix-Different-Genres Lad. But the silver 
lining is since I'm stuck in this--literally--infernal machine, I have 
the powers of anyone who's in here in my database and don't have to 
touch them. An unpredictable reaction of the daemonic techno-magick with 
my powers, I guess."

"Or authorial convenience," said Doctor Stomper.

"I was going to say," said Occultism Kid.

"Anyway. I fused the powers of Multi-Tasking Man and the late Scary 
Ghost Lass--who isn't here but whose biodata traces I guess are tied to 
this amusement park because it naturally attracts ghosts--to become 
Multi-Haunting Ghost, meaning I can send out ghost duplicates to move 
freely around here. [SGL has since came back but she's still a ghost 
either way so--ed.] Right now, my other ghost-selves are mapping out 
this area and trying to figure a way out. There doesn't seem to be a 
natural exit from this place, though. No doors, no windows, no anything. 
I tried glitching outside but it's all just corrupted repetitions of the 
same tiles."

"Well--" said Occultism Kid and Dr. Stomper, both trying to exposit at 
the same time. Mashup Laq pulled a coin out of their ghostly pocket and 
flipped it. "You first," they said to Dr. Stomper.

"Well," said Doctor Stomper, "it should be possible to treat the 
situation as a puzzle and find a solution, even if that's not programmed 
into this virtual reality environment, because--"

"--of the force of genre convention," finished Occultism Kid.

"Thanks, both of you," said Mashup Laq pointedly. "I guess I'll think of 

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