LNH: Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths! #8: "Looniversal Machinations"
pwerdna at gmail.com
Fri Oct 16 18:37:01 PDT 2020
HUNGRY, HUNGRY SABERTOOTHS!
#8: "Looniversal Machinations"
A tale of the Deep Omnilooniverse by Drew Nilium
"Come on, come ON!" Multi-Tasking Man leapt for the portal--
--and passed thru the space where it had been, crashing into a pile of cardboard
boxes piled at the end of the street.
The rain fell on his prone body, washing away their hopes of escape.
Doctor Stomper sighed and leaned back against the wall of the alley. "Stomper's
log, stompdate 018138," he said into the microphone of his multiversal
explorer's helmet. "Still in Looniverse-Ronove. Further updates to come." He
stood up, went over and helped Multi-Tasking Man to his feet.
"We almost had it, Doc," he muttered. "We *almost* had it."
"I know. Come on, let's get dry." They opened a door, and walked into LNHQ.
Or *an* LNHQ, anyway, once belonging to an evil version of the LNH, which had
fallen apart under its own power struggles. Now it was abandoned and shunned by
the slowly-rebuilding society, which suited them just fine.
Multi-Taksing Man plugged in a space heater, got dry clothes out for them, and
wrung out the wet ones. Only three tasks at a time - Doctor Stomper could tell
how discouraged he was. Well, it wasn't like he didn't feel the same way. He
leaned back against the wall and spoke.
"We received a communique from Sister State-the-Obvious and Mashup Laq about
ten minutes ago. They had found us using a 'universe telescope' constructed by
Kid Enthusiastic, but it seems that they were rapidly losing our trace. They
activated a portal back to Looniverse-A, but there was very little time to get
to its location - and..." Doctor Stomper sighed. "And we took a few seconds too
Deep breath in, deep breath out. Doctor Stomper took off the helmet, changed
his clothing, sat next to the heater, put the helmet back on.
"We have two options from here. The first, to stay in Looniverse-Ronove, hoping
that they can either find us again, or that they can contact Captain LNH, the
Defender of the Deep Omnilooniverse, who could bring us back home. The second,
to use the universal transport device to try and locate Looniverse-Ashtaroth,
the former alt.comics.lnh. If my calculations are correct, it is the stable
point between the multiversal structures, from which we should be able to
return home with relative ease. However, we would be traveling blindly, and may
run into far stranger and more dangerous worlds than this." He looks up at
Multi-Tasking Man. "Thoughts?"
Multi-Tasking Man pondered, sighed, rubbed his chin and looked away. "You know
me, doc. I'd rather do something than nothing."
Doctor Stomper nodded. "Well, at this point, we may as well sleep on it." He
pulled the bedroll out of his backpack.
Multi-Tasking Man nodded, stood up, rubbed his shoulders and looked around.
"I'm gonna take a little walk. Gotta burn off some of this... desperation."
"Of course. Take your time."
Multi-Tasking Man wandered off into the depths of the building, and kept his
left hand against the wall so he could find his way back, and shone his
flashlight ahead of him, and thought.
There was one possibility Doctor Stomper hadn't thought of. The sub-basements
of the LNHQ seemed to, in theory, connect every LNHQ in existence. If they went
down far enough, they might be able to find their way back to their world.
Of course, the problem was, there were as many dangers going down there as
there were striking blindly out into the multiverse - and it was, if anything,
*easier* to get lost. But... Multi-Tasking Man was perhaps the person who knew
the LNHQ - their LNHQ - the best. Maybe there was some way he could communicate
with it, ask it to help them get home?
He came to a doorway, wide open, with a set of stairs leading down into unknown
darkness. He shone his flashlight down-- hey, wait, there was something down
Oh! It was a kiwi! Kiwis in the LNHQ were a normal sight back home, but he
wasn't expecting them in an LNH of violence and oppression... maybe it'd come
up from the sub-basements, and could lead them home?
Then he noticed something weird. It had... some kind of sock over its head? Aw,
poor thing, no wonder it was lost.
Multi-Tasking Man knelt down, put his flashlight in his teeth, reached out, and
muttered, "I's okay, li'l guy. I'll help you get that off--"
The last thing he remembered was those tiny black eyes, burning with hatred,
"Hurry, Multi-Tasking Man!" Doctor Stomper held onto his helmet, as the two of
them were pursued by the beast that ruled Looniverse-Ashtaroth - the Looniversal
The Machine roared, her mechanical jaws crashing together like the chimes of
doom. "You're probably wondering why the only posts a group called alt.comics.
lnh has about this LNH thing are reposts," she shouted into the wine-dark sky,
"though there seems to be a lot of everything else!"
Multi-Tasking Man leapt over the rusting remains of a talk show set and pointed.
Shimmering in a grove of trees that had grown around ancient posts was a shining
oval of light, and thru it, Doctor Stomper could see-- home!
"Sometimes, we wonder, too!" The Machine's enormous foot stamped into the dirt,
vicious claws plowing furrows in the dirt. "Quite simply, we've moved! Or, at
least, changed our year-round residence!"
Damn, she knew where they were going - trying to cut them off before they could
reach RACC and Looniverse-A! They'd managed to keep ahead of her so far, but it
was one long, straight stretch to the portal - how were they going to outrace
"Hey! Over here!" Multi-Tasking Man waved, and the Machine's glowing eyes
turned towards him.
"If you're really looking for us, or for good comics-related online fiction in
general..." she roared in triumph and rage. "Check out rec.arts.comics.
creative!" She leapt, and Multi-Tasking Man just barely dodged! "Not only is it
home to the LNH, it's also home to several other online universes!"
"Multi-Tasking Man, no!" shouted Doctor Stomper. "Don't sacrifice yourself too!"
"Don't worry, Doctor! Get to the portal and make them hold it - I'll be but a
minute!" Multi-Tasking Man ran into the densest part of the forest around them.
"So come over to RACC, particular if you like the reposts that are being posted
here!" For a moment, the Machine stopped, and fixed Doctor Stomper with her
baleful gaze. "Don't worry, we won't bite. Much." Then it leapt into the trees
after Multi-Tasking Man.
Damn! Well, he'd either be back or he wouldn't, and if it was a sacrifice,
Doctor Stomper shouldn't waste it. So he ran for the portal. Somewhere behind
him, great roars... some that sounded like the Machine, and some like...
But then he was thru, and Sister State-the-Obvious and Mashup Laq caught him in
their arms. He was back. He was home.
"Multi-Tasking Man isn't with you!" said Sister State-the-Obvious, caught
between relief and concern.
"Keep the portal open as long as you can - he's coming!"
On the other side, Multi-Tasking Man emerged from the trees, unhurt, and walked
casually toward the portal. Walking behind him, head bowed deferentially, was
the Looniversal Answering Machine.
Finally. It had taken so long to guide that fool Stomper to Looniverse-
Ashtaroth, having to pretend that this body was only occupied by its original
inhabitant, holding him down each time he attempted to awaken - for a human,
Multi-Tasking Man's will was strong. But he had done it!
Finally, he would return to the world from which that accursed UltraKiwi had
exiled him so long ago. He would use this net.hero's body to gain his revenge...
he, the first traitor among the ranks of the Aviary of Light... he, lord of all
monsters... he, the kiwi who would rule all the universes... UltraKiwi
Drew "going for the toku deep cuts *and* the LNH deep cuts" Nilium
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