LNH: WikiLull EXHALE: "After the After"

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Tue Oct 13 21:24:44 PDT 2020

November 15th, 2016. The lawn outside LNHQ, which is currently in the process of
being rebuilt.

There was a great battle here.

...well, since this is the headquarters of the LNH, there have been *many* great
battles here, and many more yet to come. But today feels like the day after a
great, terrible battle, tho in fact it's been a week; coming down from the edge
is like that, sometimes. And in a way it's been much longer, almost four years;
recovering from trauma is like that, sometimes.

Nevertheless, the battle is over. There's a wind through the trees, blowing off
the brightly-colored leaves; the world is stepping back, sitting down, and
letting out its breath.

A single oak leaf, red and mottled with brown spots, tumbles down through the
air, whirling in the cool autumn breeze. It flips, floats down... and disappears
into a bubble of swirling darkness, inky colors shimmering and shifting like an
oil slick on its surface. The bubble grows to the side of a person, then pops -
and Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Token Girl tumble to the ground. A moment later, a
tall, muscular blond woman with red eyes and subtle Star Trek-ian ridges on her
face lands solidly on her feet - Captain LNH.

Token Girl coughs, pushing herself up, hands on her knees. "Whew. Felt like I
was gonna turn inside-out."

Captain LNH chuckles, helping her to her feet. "That's what it's like, traveling
from Looniverse-Astaroth, gateway to the Deep Omnilooniverse."

"Yeah, I think I liked it better back when we called it alt.comics.lnh." Token
Girl stretches her arms, hands palm-out in front of her, and lets out a tension-
releasing yawn. "How're you doing, Cheesy?"

Cheesecake-Eater Lad pounds himself on the chest and coughs. "Good thing I have
such a strong stomach, that's all I'm saying." He shakes his head and turns to
Captain LNH. "And you really want to... I mean, of course it's your decision."

Captain LNH nods firmly. "It is, and I do. I'm not..." She looks up at the LNHQ.
"Not ready to come back."

"I get it... I think." Cheesecake-Eater Lad puts on a brave smile, but its edges
start drooping. "I'm just... you spent so long in your own head. Uh, you didn't
have a body at the time, but you know what I mean."

"Right, yeah. But not..." Captain LNH grabs her own shoulder, squeezes it. "Not
all of us heal by talking about it. At least not right away."

oh god please let me step away from this awkward conversation, thinks Token

"Right. Well." Cheesecake-Eater Lad takes Captain LNH's hand, puts his over it.
"I support you. And the Deep Omnilooniverse couldn't have a better defender."

Captain LNH smiles, a soft wave of starlight rolling thru her hair. "And the
regular Looniverse couldn't have a better Anchor of Indulgence."

Cheesecake-Eater Lad chuckles. "Yeah, uh, you'll have to ask Unixepoch what that
actually means, the next time you talk to him." He let go of her hands, and she
took a step back.

"Will do. See you later, Tara!" Captain LNH begins to float up in the air,
cosmic energy coalescing around her body.

Token Girl lets out a breath. "Right. Looking forward to it! Bring me some of
the anime merch Looniverse-Murmur has, it looked amazing!"

Captain LNH laughs. "Gotcha. Oh, and keep an eye on the Loonited States for me.
That new president..." She shakes her head, smiling. The energies swirl around
her body, forming into a swirling bubble of bright colors, shafts of light
shining out from the globular mass. It shimmers bright - then seems to zoom
away, from every angle, until it is out of sight.

Cheesecake-Eater Lad takes off his toque, runs his hands thru his hair. "Whew."
He turns to Token Girl. "We should probably--"

WHUMPF! He's lifted off his feet and up into the arms of a tall, pudgy, freckled
woman who showers his face with kisses. "Oh my goodness dear I *missed* you!"

He squirms in her arms and laughs, wriggling out and onto the ground. "Jeez,
hon." His cheeks are a-blush, and Token Girl smirks. "It was only a couple

"Yes, and a couple decades before that, so forgive me my clinginess." She pulls
him in close and presses him to her side.

He wiggles pleasantly, and a lithe, athletic woman in an abbreviated ninja
outfit walks around his other side. She leans in to give him a kiss on the
cheek. "Hearty Homecoming, Husband! Our Wonderful Wife Was Worried, but your
Safety Surely Seemed Secure, by Superhuman Skill and Cosmic Competence!" She
slides in, snuggling both of them and smiling at Token Girl.

Cheesecake-Eater Lad blushes. "Ah, I believe you know my wives, aLLiterative
Lass and Petunia Boonspackle."

Token Girl nods! "Right. aLLi's a co-worker, of course, and I met Petunia back
during the whole Neme.sys thing."

"Ah yes, Tara the Multinaut!" Petunia releases Cheesecake-Eater Lad in order to
clasp Token Girl's hand in both of her large, warm hands. "Thank you so much,
for helping weave our timelines together."

"Aw, don't worry about it," says Token Girl, blushing herself. Gosh, this lady's
presence feels *comforting*, like a crackling fireplace. "I've always been a
shipper, anyway. And if the history where Cheesy's alive can coexist with the
one where he's dead, it's a minor problem to make the one where he's married to
Petunia coexist with the one where he's married to aLLi."

"'Specially Since Sapphic Sisters Surely Sign-off," says aLLiterative Lass.
"Truly, Triads Treat Tenderly. Will you Witness our Wonderful Wedding?"

"Er..." Token Girl's eyes swivel back and forth. "Aren't you already...?"

"Separately," notes Petunia, "but since polygamous marriage is legal in this
timeline [The Liminals #1 - Footnote Flower Girl], we wanted to let everybody
know that this isn't two marriages, or even three, it's one big one." She puts
her arm around aLLi, who rests her head on the taller woman.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," smiles Token Girl. "...unless I have to save
the world that day, of course."

"Then that can be your present," says Petunia, smiling wide and giving Token
Girl a thumbs-up.

"Precipitant Perfidy is a Powerful Possibility with that Present President,"
says aLLi, rolling her eyes.

"Now, now, let's save the politics for later. For now, we must be off~" Petunia
hefts a squeaking Cheesecake-Eater Lad up under one arm, and aLLi under the
other. "Picking up the daughters~"

"Right! See you later!" Token Girl chuckles under her breath as she watches them
head off. Maybe this is what being the Looniversal Anchor of Indulgence means -
making the people around you happy by making yourself happy. Well, good - they
all deserve to be happy for a very long time.

She looks up at the clear blue sky, streaked with whispery clouds, and feels
herself inch back from that sense of panic and emergency. There will be more
emergencies, more world-shaking battles; but for now, she strolls casually back
into LNHQ, looking for cheesecake.

The usual crowd is milling about in the lobby, chatting, getting the mail,
rushing out to desperately stop a net.villain, learning the true meaning of
Armistice Day, and so on. Subtle breezes flow thru the room, the tarp over the
partially-destroyed wall flapping in the wind.

Token Girl makes her way thru the crowd with practiced skill, heading towards
the hallway door until she spies a cluster of people and people-like entities
that she can't let herself miss.

Escape Lass hefts a bowl of apples under her arm. "...can't sustain over-the-air
signals, they just bleed out between the dimensional apertures, so we'll have to
lay cable the whole way."

"Which is a problem," speaks the bowl of apples, in fact the MicroMAC Quadcore,
"since it is an indeterminate distance which, likely, shall change in
indeterminable ways over time."

"Right," says Escape Lass, voice filling with problem-solving enthusiasm,
"which-- oh, Tara!" She bounces in her blue short-sleeve straitjacket towards
Token Girl, wrapping her free arm around her and squeezing her tight to her

Token Girl squirms in surprise, but laughs. "Hey, Evie. Y'all about to head

"I think we are," says Escape Lass, letting go of Token Girl and putting
Quadcore in her arms. Token Girl blinks at the robot in disguise, who doesn't
blink back, as his form currently lacks eyes. "Foreshadowing Lad, how's it

"Hmmmm..." Foreshadowing Lad stretches out an arm clad in green spandex, and
smiles up at Escape Lass. "Feels like we're almost at a happy ending."

Escape Lass grins, takes Foreshadowing Lad's hand, spins him around, dips him
back and kisses him, then lets him go~ The young man stumbles back into the arms
of his other partner, Non-Judgmental Agnostic, who squeezes him in a tight hug.

"Man, everybody's in a triad nowadays," says Token Girl, chuckling and handing
Quadcore back.

"We'd invite you in and make it a quad," says Non-Judgmental Agnostic in her
soft, tinkling, quasi-divine voice, "but I'm afraid it would turn into a Great
LNH Polycule and swallow Net.ropolis."

Token Girl flushes. "Uh, so uh, y'all are going to make your way back to your
world, Escape Lass?"

Escape Lass nods firmly. "Right. We're going to head down into the depths of the
LNHQ, down to the point where the LNHQs of different universes start mingling to
save on storage space, and find our way home to the Legacy of Newfangled

"Newly designated Looniverse-Bael," speaks Quadcore.

"That's right, in the Deep Omnilooniverse... ah, dammit." Token Girl tsks at
herself. "We could've had Captain LNH take you back."

Escape Lass shakes her head! "No, don't forget, we have to leave a trail of
breadcrumbs *back*."

"Preferably in the form of interuniversal messaging system," speaks Quadcore.
"If we can overcome these significant technical issues."

"That's right," nods Token Girl, dislodging some of the details she learned
during that whole confusing shebang. "You got a lot of people who'd like to

"Right, tho your Looniverse isn't our main destination." Escape Lass smiles down
at Quadcore. "Somebody made us a better offer."

"Ohhhh..." Token Girl looks between the lady and the robot and it clicks.
"Ohhhhh-- with *them*!"

Escape Girl laughs, fingers half-covering her mouth as her eyes sparkle, and
nods. "Right."

"That's-- wow," says Token Girl, processing the idea. "A world with tiny robots
and giant humans feels very Deep Omnilooniverse, but it's not what I would have
expected them to--"

"Cower, fools!" A figure leaps into their midst, with the swish of a cape! He
rolls back his head and opens his mouth to let out a megalomaniacal cackle!

"Ah-ha-ha-ha! Mueh-heh-heh-heh! ...how was that?"

"... it sounds like you're making progress!" says Non-Judgmental Agnostic

The figure smiles in delight. He looks like a very normal person, with hair a
few tones darker than his skin and eyes that are a color. The only odd things
about him are the crimson circuitry running down from his eyes, over his chin
and down his neck, and the symbol on his forehead - a stylized sword tucked into
a breast pocket, with fancy monogrammed initials on it - PE, for the Pocket

"...cool, hi," says Token Girl, eyeing the man. She'll have to catch up with
WikiBoy on all his weird clones later, but for now, she's pretty sure this is...
"wIkimus Maximus, right?"

"Correct!" says wIkimus proudly, idly battling his cape out of the way.

"Or should we call you..." Escape Lass tosses Quadcore to wIkimus and points a
dramatic finger. "Our most thrilling enemy!"

wIkimus juggles Quadcore for a moment before getting his arms solidly under the
bowl, then looks back at Escape Lass. "Mwa-ha-heh-heh-ho! That's right! Now that
I have deposed the foolish Antiochus XXVIII, I am the one true leader of the
Pocket Empire!"

"God, and *thank* you for doing that," says Escape Lass, shaking her head. "Um,
and argh you fiend and such."

Token Girl has her arms crossed and her eyebrow raised. "That's a heck of a

"It probably seems strange," says Non-Judgmental Agnostic, smiling. "But on many
worlds, the rivalry of support is one of the strongest social bonds there is."

Token Girl nods, and leans away from the dramatically-proclaiming nerds so that
her worlds can go straight to the ears of Non-Judgmental Agnostic and
Foreshadowing Lad. "So... what happened to CassAIndra?"

Foreshadowing Lad sighs, a heavy weight on his brow. "Multi-Tasking Man thinks
he can fix her."

"He'd be the one if anyone was," murmurs Non-Judgmental Agnostic. "They know
each other from the inside out, now."

"Fair. I just wanted to thank her... well, hopefully I'll get the chance." Token
Girl shakes her head. "And WikiMan?"

"His WikiPowers are lost," says Foreshadowing Lad, "and I don't see a future
where he gets them back. He's now a fixed narrative being, based on his last

"I don't think he minds much, tho," says Non-Judgmental Agnostic. "He gets to
experience the childhood he never did the first time, with the MicroMACs as his

Token Girl nods thoughtfully, eyes on Escape Lass and wIkimus. "And... mmm." She
shakes her head. "I don't know. It feels strange that all the different factions,
the Pocket Empire and the Guardiettes and the AniMACs and the MicroMicroMACs and
everybody else, are still going to keep fighting each other, even tho..." Her
forehead wrinkles, and she looks up at Non-Judgmental Agnostic. "Like, do they
really have a reason?"

Non-Judgmental Agnostic turns her eyes up to the skylight over the foyer,
watching the clouds swoosh by. She takes a deep breath, and in an 'I am reciting
this from memory' voice, says, "Ever since the Trademarkers used their Alterscope
to spy on the RoboMAC worlds, the MicroMACs have been fighting battles for the
entertainment of others." She smiles at Token Girl. "They can be more than that,
now. They already are. But doing huge, dramatic, splashy stuff for an audience -
that's part of them."

"Like it's part of the LNH," says Foreshadowing Lad, nodding.

"Heh. I guess so..." Token Girl turns to Escape Lass and wIkimus Maximus and
snaps her fingers, giving them the fingerguns. "Okay, I'm gonna head off. Catch
you all on the flipside."

"Oh, before you go!" Escape Lass bounds forward and catches her in a hug. Token
Girl squirms in obvious embarassment and quiet delight, and hugs her back.

After she's let go, Token Girl waves and heads out of the foyer and down the
winding corridors of LNHQ, towards the cafeteria. As she turns a corner, a
figure staring off into space collides with her, both of them falling on their

"--oh, sorry!" The other one scrambles to his feet, and Token Girl can see that
it's Can-Handle-Any-Type-of-Change-Except-For-the-Ultimate-Ninja-Wearing-a-Cape
Lad, three-time winner of the Longest Name in the Legion contest.

"That's okay," she says, helping him up. "But are you all right? You seem, uh,

He shakes his head, blushing just a bit. "It's just..." He looks over his
shoulder, then leans in to murmur. "I'm afraid my powers are malfunctioning."

"Ohhhh?" Token Girl felt a slight tinge of worry. CHAToCEFtUNWaCLad was a
relatively new Legionnaire, but had already become one of their dependable

He nods firmly. "I saw Ultimate Ninja walk by the cape closet, and..." He
breathes just a bit deeper. "I didn't feel *anything*."

"...ah." Token Girl's worry becomes a different kind of... melancholy, really.
She had been right there when it happened, but...

"Me too!" Puts-Paperclips-on-The-Ultimate-Ninja's-Desk Lad, three-time loser of
the Least Useful Power in the Legion contest, popped into the conversation out
of nowhere. "I just got a new jar of clips and they've just been sitting in a
drawer all week!"

"Oh, man!" says Can-Handle-Any-Type-of-Change-Except-For-the-Ultimate-Ninja-
Wearing-a-Cape Lad. "It's weird, isn't it?"

"It's super weird!"

"Mmmm..." Token Girl draws in a breath. "Well, maybe you should go to Doctor
Stomper and have him check up on your powers."

"Ooh, yeah, good idea. Thanks, TG!" The two of them head off in the general
direction of sickbay, chattering about the weirdness of the day.

Token Girl rubs her upper arm, getting some of that stiff tension out. She was
there when it happened, but... she's not supposed to say anything. She's still
not really sure that was the right choice, but it's...

Well, it's what Ultimate Ninja wanted, so.

She makes it down to the cafeteria, grabs a slice of one of Betamax's weird
culinary experiments (in this case, pizza with black bean sauce and cotija
cheese), reflills her canteen from the water filter, and takes ten to relax,
sip, eat and process.

Just about ten minutes later: "Hey, mind if I sit here?"

Token Girl is tired enough that her first impulse is to pull out one of her
trademark snappy comebacks so she doesn't have to People any more. But she
recognizes the voice, and its owner doesn't count as a People, he counts as a
Friend; so she looks up and gives a tired but sincere smile. "Yeah, sure!"

And Wikiboy sits down, putting his Szechuan tacos and soda on the table and
smiling back, with just a touch of hard-earned confidence. "How've you been?"

"I've been..." Token Girl rolls her mind over a chaotic landscape of emotion...
"I've been a *lot*. How about you?"

"Uh... also a lot, I think." Wikiboy adjusts his hair and straightens up.
"Adjusting to how my powers work now, and the new... part of me, I guess you'd
call it."

Token Girl nods, the questions that have been on her mind for a while rolling to
the front. "Yeah, uh, did you absorb, like... the *whole* Apathy Beast, or...?"

"It felt like it at the time, but now it just feels like..." WikiBoy puts his
hand over his chest, and takes a deep breath, stilling. "...like an extra bit
of... weight? Calmness? Metaphysical machinery?" He shrugs! "Something like."

"Right. But you can still be edited?"

"Yeah, that still works about the same way. It's just that I can ignore edits if
I really want to." He looks out the window. "It's kind of... the power to Not

A little wave of regret sloshes on the shores of Token Girl's brain. "Gotcha.
...can you edit yourself?"

WikiBoy stares out the window, quiet for a long while. "...I don't know. When...
when we were all together, all in one body, I could, but... I haven't tried
since." He takes another deep breath, straightens up, and turns to her with a
smile. "Someday, I guess. But right now, it feels like..." His smile droops just
a bit at the edges. "WiKaine messed himself up real bad by editing out everything
he couldn't stand."

Token Girl summons up her ultra-secret net.ahuman power, Being Distractingly
Light and Humorous. "You mean Axen Kiwi, the No One of WikiBoy, right?"

WikiBoy blinks, then laughs. "Oh, god, yeah. I forgot about all the convoluted
video game nonsense for a bit."

She grins. "Kingdom Hearts references are the natural destination of ridiculously
convoluted crossover plotting."

"They *really* are." He shakes himself and runs his hands thru his hair, blushing
a bit as he realizes how vulnerable he'd been. "I think he ran off into the Deep
Omnilooniverse in the end. I hope he finds something to..."

"...put in that literal heart-shaped hole in his chest?" Seeeecret power!

"Oh, god, that's *right*. WikiBoy laughs. "Jeez our lives are hilarious
sometimes." He shakes his head ruefully. "I didn't really get that, when I was
the butt of all the jokes."

Oh no, the secret power backfired and now a huge wave of guilt is swamping Token
Girl's brain! "I'm--" She stumbles. "I'm sorry if I ever--"

WikiBoy holds up a hand and looks her in the eyes. "Don't worry about it,

"...you sure?"

He picks up his taco and gives a big, performative bite, chewing and swallowing.
"I was--" Slurp crunch smack. "I was *created* to be the butt of all the jokes,
the one who just takes abuse because it's not as funny if I get revenge. That's
who my Writer needed me to be... a harmless fantasy, something you write to find
the happy buttons in the folds of your own brain and push them, and maybe find
other people with the same buttons that'll enjoy it. That's who I was, then,
and... I'm kinda proud of it?" He takes another bite, and licks his fingers.
"Yeah, definitely this weird existential pride."

"I don't really get it," says Token Girl, "buuuuut that's good?"

WikiBoy giggles and lets out a little snort. "Yeah, it is. But then other writers
got ahold of me, ones with different buttons, and they decided to take the
elements of the fantasy and use them for a different kind of story. Like Jay
Edidin embracing Chris Claremont's version of Lee and Kirby's Cyclops - finding
the part that appeals to you. That's what collaborative fiction universes are
about. And now I'm who I am right now." He pulls out a wet-wipe and cleans off
his fingers. "There's plenty of room in there for different interpretations, too.
I still get into wacky unfortunate comedic peril." He tosses the wipe on his tray
and leans back in his chair. "I dunno. It's weird to think about who I used to
be, but... yeah, I'm not sorry I was him."

Token Girl looks at WikiBoy, relaxing, thoughtful, and warmth swells in her
chest. "I'm proud of you, man."

"Awh. Well." WikiBoy blushes, straightens up, and grabs the rest of his taco,
shoving it in his mouth and mumbling "Thanks." around the food.

Token Girl chuckles. "So, uh... what haven't we... oh, yeah, WikiCide. He decided
to become your evil opposite, huh?"

"Yeah~" WikiBoy swallows. "I'm proud of him, too. He's had a longer path than I
have, even, but I think he's gonna do a great job."

"Four outta five ain't bad, I think," says Token Girl.

WikiBoy nods, and streeeetches and yaaaaaaaawns. "Mmmmm... I think I'm gonna go
take a post-lunch nap."

"Hey, nap buddies~" Token Girl holds up her fist, and WikiBoy bumps it. She
stands up and stretches. "See ya when I see ya."

"See ya too, assuming I have eyes at that point." WikiBoy stands up and picks up
his tray.

Token Girl turns to go... ponders for a moment. "Hey, WikiBoy?" She snaps her
fingers. "You're an SD Deathscythe."

"...yeah, sure~" WikiBoy poofs into an adorably chibi battle robot holding a
glowing laser scythe, and toddles off on his chunky robotic feet.

Token Girl makes her way out of the cafeteria and down to her room without any
more run-ins. She shuts the door and leans back on it, closing her eyes. Jeez,
what a day. And it isn't over yet, but she can kick off her big stompy boots,
hang up her button-covered denim jacket, flop into bed, cuddle a body pillow
with a badass anime girl on it, and take a nap.

    ...she dreams of patterns in the sky, lines that aren't lines and gods that
    are great rotating symbols, and she watches the lines separate until the
    symbol is gone, and she watches Discord wave as she passes...

Token Girl wakes up 23 minutes after her alarm was supposed to go off. Oh, crap,
she's supposed to get the Metatronium Sifter back in-- oh crap oh crap oh crap!!

She pushes her feet into her boots and wiggles her heels into place, grabs her
jacket, and charges down the hallway to the transporter room. Parking Karma Kid
is there, sitting behind the console and watching a compliation of ridiculous
Grand Theft Auto vehicle tricks on his phone.

"Pete!" Token Girl says, leaping onto a transporter.thingy pad.thingee. "Gotta
be at a place right exactly now! Address!" She throws a paper airplane at him.

Parking Karma Kid catches it out of the air and unfolds it. "So you're asking me
to drop you off, not in some open space at sea level, but inside a mid-city
building on the fifth floor?"

Token Girl nods desperately!!

Parking Karma Kid cracks his knuckles. "Thanks! But next time, give me a *hard*
one!" His fingers dance over the console and she's gone~

Token Girl materializes in the hallway outside apartment 507-- whew, only a
minute and a half late. She knocks on the door, and a kinda butch lady with
short curly hair and devastating cheekbones opens it - "Terrible" Maddie Turnip.
Token Girl holds out her hand, Maddie grabs it with a little grin, and they go
up, down, left, right, wiggle your pinkies - the old Radikool Kidz Klub secret
handshake. Then Maddie pulls her forward unexpectedly into a brief but strong
hug that makes Token Girl gasp - not unpleasantly - as the air is squeezed out
of her.

Behind Maddie, on the couch, are two people. One is a tall, dark-haired woman
with a sort of 40's pinup girl look and an infectuous smile - Forgotten Gal. The
other is a scrawny young man of Polish descent, with long blue hair and wearing
a lemon-yellow T-shirt and blue jeans - Skrajny the Multinaut.

"C'mon, c'mon, I got a cherry crumble in the oven." Maddie leads Token Girl in
and sits her down in a big plush recliner, a plate of dessert pressed into her

"Okay, okay," laughs Token Girl. "But just one slice for me, please, I've got a
dinner date." She takes the proffered fork and nibbles - delicious. "Lessee,
uh..." She reaches into her satchel and pulls out a weird, septagonal device.
"Here ya go, Skrajny."

"*Please*, call me Kacper." He says 'Casper' but Token Girl's gone thru enough
baby naming sites to know how it's spelled. Kacper takes the Metatronium Sifter.
"Tho I don't know what I'm gonna do with it."

"We'll figure it out," says Forgotten Gal, squeezing Skrajny's hand and giving
him a reassuring smile. Token Girl notices that she's still wearing the Nostalgic
Brace she'd gotten... somewhere along the line, Token Girl wasn't really sure.
But it counterbalanced her forgettability, for people who had an emotional
investment in her - which everyone in the room definitely did.

Token Girl decides to jump directly to the elephant in the room. "You're
definitely not going home, then?"

Kacper sucks in a breath, lets it blow out loose lips. "...I *want* to go back.
I want to help my people, the ones who are still trapped in that messed-up
imperialist view of the multiverse." He puts his hands out in front of him and
shakes his head. "But the Ordered Realities bureaucracy would hunt me down as a
deserter even if I wasn't keeping the Idoloid technology. It's much safer, for
now, for me to stay in an unregistered world where their influence is strictly

Maddie nods. "'Sides, this way, we can keep each other safe."

"Hell yeah!" Forgotten Girl pumps her fist. "Heroes together!"

"Woo!" says Kacper, giving a thumbs-up.

Token Girl grins and finishes off her bit of cherry crumble. "I'm glad to have
someone like you on the force, Maddie."

"Heh, well." Maddie puts down her beer and gives Token Girl a tired but sincere
smile. "Thanks, but I ain't on the force anymore."

"...oh. Uh." Social snafu? Had something happened?? "Sorry???"

"Nah, it's okay." Maddie sits back, arms crossed. "You're right, I was a good
cop. But I was mostly good at not being like a cop's supposed to be. And after
we found out..." She shakes her head. "Some of Shadez Radikal's people were...
acquaintances, maybe even kind of friends. People I thought I could count on -
people who'd given me orders. And I thought about those orders..." She shrugs.
"I'm done with necessary evils. Or as done as you can be, in this world."

Token Girl let out a breath. "Yeah, that's fair. And like, who even knows what
the laws are gonna be like with that new President."

"Oh *lord*, that guy," says Maddie, shaking her head and tilting her beer back,
pouring the rest of it down her throat, then letting out a satisfying belch.

"Coulda been worse, tho," says Forgotten Gal, punching Maddie lightly in the

"Yeah," says Token Girl, shaking her head too. "Anyway, what are you gonna do

"You wanna take this one?" Maddie says to Forgotten Gal, who smiles and leans

"We're gonna try and make something new. A place for Weird People."

"While everything was going down, we ended up getting to know some of your
Shadow People," says Kacper.

"And we had ideas, and they had ideas..." says Maggie. "And a lotta those ideas
were compatible."

"It's gonna be a place where weirdos like us can just, like, *live*, and support
each other," says Forgotten Gal, eyes sparkling with possibility. "Without
having to worry about cops, or CEOs, or weird people in frog masks, or any of

"Sounds great," says Token Girl. "But..." She rubs her chin thoughtfully. "Isn't
that basically the LNH?"

Maggie lets out a little bark of a laugh. "Kid, you got a flippin' ninja death
machine for a leader. It ain't an egalitarian society yet, that's for sure."

"...yeah, you know, fair, reasonable."

"Besides," interjects Forgotten Gal enthusiastically, "we *can* have more than

"We *gotta* have more than one," says Maddie. "As many as we can get, I think."

Token Girl mmmmmms. "Good point..."

"It's like the Powernauts taught me," says Kacper. "You gotta spread the power

Token Girl giggles. "Right, and--" She's interrupted by her phone, which belts
out a rousing chorus of 'Yappapa'. "Aw shoot!" She bounces to her feet! "Gotta
get going to dinner!"

"Hugs first!" Forgotten Gal leaps up and hugs her, and Token Girl puts up only
minimal protest. Maggie pushes herself to her feet and wraps her arms around the
both of them with even less protest, and after a hesitant moment, Kacper joins
in. Token Girl feels embarassingly warm and snuggly and appreciated, and only
lets it go on for so long before she squirms out and away.

"See ya!" Everybody waves as she heads out the door.

This time, she walks to her destination; it's only a few blocks down the street,
and exercise is always a useful prelude to the kind of food you get at the Pizza

At the door, she checks her phone; 7:57 PM. Awesome, just a couple minutes
early. She slides inside and finds a place to lean up against the wall, looking
up at the stage. She wouldn't want to miss this - the very last performance of
the Cool Name Band.

Merissa is absolutely shredding on the bass, and Kid Occultism Kid is leading on
guitar. Keeping up the beat is, of course, Deathspork: The Terminator on drums,
with accompaniment by Amnesiac Brad Pitt on saxophone. And belting out the
vocals at the top of her lungs is the one and only top of the pops, Rock'n'Roll

The crowd looks up from their pizzas, at the stage usually reserved for
animatronic animals and karaoke performances of Baby Shark, enraptured by the
sudden sense of something special happening; a magical alchemy that will
disappear after tonight, and somehow, that feels okay; somehow, that feels right.

Token Girl leans back and lets the sound wash over her; the secret chord that
pleased Discord. She hadn't been able to appreciate it properly before, either
during the Secret War of the Bands or during the moment they had played to the
universe itself. Now... her eyes lid, and her breath slows, and something opens
up in her chest, and she lets it flow thru her...

When the music ends, she opens her eyes, stands up, and streeeetches. It feels
like she's taken another nap, but she's absolutely brimming with energy...

"Thank you, Net.ropolis!" shouts Rock'n'Roll Lass. "Never forget where the rock
came from! Good night!" The curtains swish closed, and Token Girl slips around
the side and heads backstage.

The five of them are in the dressing room, taking off their stage makeup and
chatting, letting themselves wind down too. Token Girl knock-knocked and leaned
in. "Hey! Got a minute for your biggest fan?"

All five look up and all five smile, tho Deathspork's expression is annoyed at
his own happiness. Rock'n'Roll Lass crosses the room, grabs Token Girl's hand,
and pulls her up close in a sororal fist-clasp. "Glad you could make it, babe."

Token Girl feels that warmth rise to her cheeks again. "Wouldn't miss seeing
y'all off!"

"Indeed, you are just in time!" Deathspork rises, having strapped his drums to a
wheely cart, and gestures grandly. "For our alliance has been fruitful-- but now
it must end! You have earned my respect, but the next time we meet, it will be--
as enemies!!"

Merissa rolls her eyes exaggeratedly. "Dude. PLEASE get over yourself and you
might stop sucking."

"Verily," speaks Kid Occultism Kid, "you have far greater potential than you
allow yourself to know. Especially on the drums."

"Bah!" Deathspork opens the stage door and sweeps dramatically out of the Pizza
Pit. Tries to sweep dramatically out of the Pizza Pit. Trips on the steps and
falls out of the Pizza Pit.


"...right," says Token Girl. "How about you, babe?"

Rock'n'Roll Lass laughs. "Yeah, I'm headed off too. Got to get back to the '60s
and make sure all the 'classic rock' isn't being produced by white boys." She
shakes her head. "'Classic'. Man, what a trip."

"Hang it loose!" says Amnesiac Brad Pitt, throwing up the horns.

Rock'n'Roll Lass raises her eyebrows and chuckles. "Yeah, you do you! G'night,
folks!" She steps carefully over Deathspork, and disappears into the night.

"I have taken the liberty of ordering our repast for the evening!" Kid Occultism
Kid thrusts out a hand, and the wood warps within the dressing room wall, turning
into a mystic swirly portal! "Shall we?"

Merissa rolls her eyes. "You *really* didn't need to be that extra." She walks
up to the door... and blasts it into tiny pieces with her Ultra-Mega-BIGGUN!
"Not when you could be *that* extra!" >:D

"oh my god you *nerds*." Token Girl stepped thru the pieces of broken door,
pulling Amnesiac Brad Pitt along with her. Kid Occultism Kid waves their hands,
and a giant arrow appears, guiding them to their table. A waitress drops off
their pizza and gets Merissa's signature, and they dive in.

"So," says Token Girl, dipping one of their gloriously greasy breadsticks into
marinara, "how are you holding up, Brad?"

"Ah..." Amnesiac Brad Pitt shakes his head. "I don't think I'm going to call
myself that anymore." He gets up and stands behind his chair, putting one hand
on the faded First Trenchcoat draped over it. "After the other Brad Pitts formed
the Idolon of Millions and sacrificed themselves, the idea of holding up that
name, that legacy... that's not what I am."

Kid Occultism Kid swallows and says, "And what, then, would you be?"

"I'm just a memory of what came before." The former Amnesiac Brad Pitt puts on
the First Trenchcoat and turns towards the door, but stops for a moment, looks
back. "I'm just... a Memento."

"...uh," says Merissa, "you weren't in that movie."

He freezes. "Wait, really?"

"Are you thinking of Guy Pearce, maybe?" says Kid Occultism Kid.

"Well shit." The still-nameless Idolon turns around and sit back down at the
table. "So... how about that election?"

The tension breaks and the table turns into a caophony of nods, sighs, mumbles
and eyerolls.

"Like *jeez* that new President," says Merissa, shaking her head. "I mean, *I*
was too busy to run, but..."

"Yeah," says Token Girl, "but... it could *definitely* have been worse."

Merissa pauses, remembering, and nods firmly. "Yeah, it really could..."

"And for now," says Kid Occultism Kid, "we shall look forward, to the future. To
what we can do to keep this from happening again - to make things truly better."

"Hear, hear," says Mr. What's-His-Name.

Between them, the foursome quickly finish off the pizza, the breadsticks, and
the side order of wings. Token Girl lets out a satisfied belch, and Merissa
gives her a high-five. "Okay," she says, "I'm gonna head back to LNHQ, how 'bout

"I'll totes come with," says Merissa, picking up her bass.

"I shall stay here and help our friend consult on a new moniker," says Kid
Occultism Kid.

"yeah thanks," says you-know-who.

The two of them head out the door, into the cool autumn night, gibbous moon
waning overhead. As they walk, Token Girl feels Merissa's demeanor change, from
the chill relaxed lady she likes to project to the insecure teenager-esque being
she actually is (in Token Girl's estimation). Something wants to come out, but
it can't be forced, so she waits...

They're almost there when Merissa turns to her and bursts out with a "So hey..."

"Yeah?" says Token Girl, like she hadn't been waiting.

"It's just..." Merissa fidgets, and her face wrinkles up in the frustration of
being kuudere, trying to hold back her feelings to maintain her persona of Cool.
Thankfully, she isn't very good at it, and the words come spilling out. "Do you
really think we can make stuff better? Like, the world almost went totally to
shit! It's fucked up in so many different ways! I don't think..." Her voice
softens, and she turns her gaze away. "I don't think *anybody*, no matter how
cool and powerful they are, can deal with it by themselves."

Shit. Token Girl does not consider herself anything like 'good at this stuff'.
Fearless Leader or Catalyst Lass would be much better at the encouraging
speeches, and Special Bonding Boy or Fairy Princess Lad would be much *much*
better at the talking about feelings. But, well, she was there and now she's
here, so she takes a deep breath and...

"...yeah, I think you're right. Like... during all the shit that happened, all
of the crazy and cosmic and depressing and amazing stuff-- I couldn't have done
any of it by myself. Which..." Okay, here goes. "Which is why we all had to do
that together. So many of us had to take it on from so many different angles,
your band, the Powernauts, Captain LNH and Cheesecake-Eater Lad, the MicroMACs,
Maddie and Forgotten Gal, Escape Lass and WikiMan, all the WikiBoys, all of
us... We had to come from different places, different backgrounds, different
powersets and different stations in life, because we were all needed, we all
*helped* in different ways."

Merissa's eyes are wide and-- oh, dear, yes, they're *sparkling*. Well, at least
it's working - better wrap up while she's ahead.

"So like... yeah, I do think we can stuff better, but only if we keep doing
that. If we all value each other's efforts, and don't stop supporting each other -
the front line fighters, the healers and comforters, the big public speakers,
the logistics nerds, the hyperspecialists..." Token Girl chuckles. "And the
token weirdos like me, who just happened to be in the right time and place to
kinda, give a little push in a helpful direction."

"...hey!" says Merissa, snorting. "Don't be so down on yourself, grandma. You
did a lot of the work too." She shrugs~ "Not as much as me, of course~"

Token Girl laughs. Oh thank fuck it worked. "Grandma, eh? Well, sonny, er,
little lady... no, that sounds dumb, I don't know how grandmas talk."

Merissa lets out a gigglesnort. "Okay, okay, so stop talking. See you in the
morning, I'm gonna do something cooler than hanging out with you~" She runs down
the sidewalk to the back door of the LNHQ, swings it open, and yells, "Also
you're rad and thanks!" before disappearing.

Token Girl chuckles, running her hands thru her hair as she saunters thru the
back door. Whew. It's been a day of far too many emotions... time to vegetate.

She finds her way to the TV room, the hallways gently guiding her as always.
Forsaken Lass and Net.Access are on one of the overstuffed couches, making out
and oblivious to the world around them, so she flops down on the other one, next
to Fuzzy. "What's on the boob tube?"

"Well, I don't watch the news a lot," says Fuzzy, flipping from channel to
channel like it's 1992 or something. "But I figured this was important." She
stops on an image of a podium with American flags around it. Vaguely stirring,
vaguely patriotic music was playing.

"...welp," says Token Girl, running her hands thru her hair. "Let's do this."

The vague music quiets, and a warm and enthusiastic announcer comes on,
completely unfazed by what he's about to say. "Ladies and gentlemen, in his
first address to the nation, please welcome the new President-Elect of the
Loonited Sates of Ame.rec.a..."

A person walks up to the podium. A person both of them recognize. A person both
of them have fought with. And before last week, the last person either of them
would have expected to see up there...

"...Bad Judgment Boy!"

The Icon of Ill-Considered Ideas strolls saucily up to the podium. He's wearing
a T-shirt with a picture of Che Guevara on it and tight shorts that say "JUICY"
on the bottom. He grabs the microphone (causing a screech of feedback) and
addresses the nation.

"Hey guys! Wait, there's a teleprompter. My... fellow... Africans..."

An aide runs up to Bad Judgment Boy and whispers urgently in his ear, but he
waves them off.

"Look, look, I know you wanted me to talk about the economy or whatever, but
let's focus on what's really important: Me! See, I'll be great for the Ame.rec.an
people. Most politicians are big in debt to shady figures in industry. But all
the shady figures *I*'m in debt to disappeared last week, so it's fine!"

Token Girl watches, open-mouthed, for as long as she can stand. Then she grabs
the remote, clicks off the TV, and falls back on the couch. She looks up at
Fuzzy. "...well, it coulda been worse, right?"

Fuzzy chuckles. "It really could have. But..." She scratches her head. "I still
don't understand how the heck *he* won!"

Token Girl sits up and shakes her head. "I should head to bed." She stands up,
streeeetching out. "But I'll tell you what I can tomorrow." She walks to the
door, but turns when she gets there. "And we can start at the end." She gives
Fuzzy a wink, then ambles away.

Fuzzy shakes her head. "Good night." She turns to the camera. "And sleep well,
when you do."


Author's Notes: So, the thing is...

I had SO MANY PLANS for WikiLull. And they grew, and they grew, and they just
kept growing. And I realized - what I *really* wanted WikiLull to be was a
catharsis to all the pain and awfulness of the 2016 election, all of its causes
and all of its effects. And that's just too big for one story to be.

So instead, I decided to tie off the loose ends, and take a lot of the places
Jeanne and I had wanted characters to go and just move them there, and leave the
Looniverse with a good status quo. And get it done before the 2020 election,
eheheh... *just* under the wire.

The Deep Omnilooniverse is, of course, a parody of DC's Dark Multiverse. Jeanne
and I were originally going to call it the "Dark Omnilooniverse", but using
"dark" like that is overdone and carries Weird Racial Overtones, and the play on
the idea of the "deep web" was really compelling. All of the Deep Omnilooniverse
worlds mentioned in this issue are named after demons from the Ars Goetia,
because we're fancy like that. It's not very well-defined here, so feel free to
go wild!

Drew "bon nuit to you all" Nilium

More information about the racc mailing list