LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #204: Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #30-31

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer2 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 13 14:26:48 PDT 2021

You can sift through the racc list archive
or you can try google groups racc for these issues of LNH v2.

Okay.  We've all finally escaped the Beige Age (well except for Rob Rogers
who is cursed to forever be in the year 2007)!  And now we enter the High
Concept Challenge Age -- an age where RACC Writers were all thrown into
a gladiator pit, armed to the teeth in brutal no holds barred combat for there
could only be ONE High Concept Champion and... Hmm?  What, that's completely
wrong?  Well, you can have your version of RACC history and I'll have mine.

Anyways, we have two issues of LNH Vol. 2 based on High Concept #4 -- 
Kitbashing.  The first, LNH v2 #30 is by Drew Perron -- Public Relations
Kid has another genius idea -- but could putting flecks of plotdevicium into 
action figures have a potential downside?

And Saxon Brenton gives us LNH v2 #31.  Is W.I.L.B.U.R. -- The Wildly 
Improbable LISP Based Urbane Robot responsible for the Internet being
completely evil and can we blame it for the last six years?

Find out some of that in...

             | |      Classic			
             | |                      =
             | |      ____    ____    _    ____    ___
             | |__   | [] |  | [] |  | |  | [] |  | _ \  

             |____|   \__]    \__ |  |_|   \__/   |_|\_\
                                |_|  OF NET.HEROES

                                    ADVENTURES #204

                    Beige Midnight the Conclusion

From: Andrew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com 
Date: Thu Nov 12 20:10:37 PST 2009


___ ___________________________
| |-|                          \
| |-| []                       /
| | | [] egion of              \ #30 "The Articulated Man!"
| | | []__ [] []   []  []      / (Part of High Concept Challenge #4!)
| | | [___][ \[]et.[]__[]eroes \
| | |      []\ ]   [ __ ]      /    Written and copyright 2009
| |-|      [] []   []  []      \         Andrew Perron
| |-|__________________________/
| |
| | The center of a cover is a man, standing on an expanse of wood,
| | looking over his shoulder at gaggle of monsters and villains, all
| | of which have visible joints. The man wears a tight gray costume,
| | and his right arm is a long, hairy, jointed brown claw.  In a
| | sunburst at the bottom in bright red letters, it states the title.


Public Relations Kid was walking down the hall, raving to Cheesecake-
Eater Lad. "It'll be the biggest thing since LNH: The Animated Series!  
The ultimate play pattern!  An action figure that can interact with every 
other toy you own!"

C-EL frowned. "But putting flecks of actual plotdevicium in it?  That 
seems dangerous.  Plus, do you know how *expensive* that stuff is?"

PR Kid laughed. "Nah, that's where the genius comes in.  It's not pure 
plotdevicium; it's Siberian Neo-Plotdevicium!  I got a big shipment for 
cheap after the market collapsed."

C-EL shrugged, and lifted the lid of the LNH Toy Bin, dropping the 
figure in. "Well, I'm not the one who makes these decisions, you know? 
If you can get them to sign off on it, I'll..."

The two walked off, and the figure was left lying in the dark.  It was 
a fairly simple prototype; an athletic human shape, unpainted gray 
plastic up to the neck, where the head was given a medium-olive skin, 
black hair, and brown eyes.  A smiling expression was frozen on its 

"...lots of cool stuff in here!" The lid lifted, and standing there 
were two children who were also two Kids.

Kid Enthusiastic was the one holding up the lid, his eyes, as usual, 
glittering with barely-contained energy behind his domino mask.  Next 
to him was a slightly younger child, IN.dian-American, who had no mask 
but wore a green costume bordered in gold.  This was Kid Borlaug, an 
orphan with limited plant-control powers who had become an LNHer under 
the Net.ahuman Responsibility Act and moved in full-time.

"Y'see," Kid Enthusiastic effused, "we have every LNH action figure 
ever, plus a lot of stuff that was never actually produced, 'cause they 
have to send us test models and stuff."

Kid Borlaug was wide-eyed. "Ooooooo..." He dug into the box. "Hey, I 
don't recognize this guy." He pulled out the prototype.

Kid E nodded. "See?  Probably somebody who never took off." He took a 
double armful of toys. "To the Rec Room!"

They ran down the hall and spread the toys onto the carpet, taking 
turns to pick from the pile.  Then they lined up their armies in front 
of them.

"Ready?" "Ready!"

Kid B picked up a 6-inch Twaelia Brock and slammed it into the Deluxe 
Ultimate Savior With Real Hooping Action.  Kid E laughed, lifted the 
prototype, and made it punch Educational Senate Non-Action Figure Haiku 

There was a flash, and the prototype's right arm was hairy and large, 
while the Gorilla's was thin gray plastic.

Both the Kids blinked. "Ooooooo..."


In Washington, a tense meeting on the price of club sandwiches was 
interrupted by a flash of light.  Haiku Gorilla examined his new arm.

"change comes quickly thus
 summer to fall, flesh to cast
 now, what about mayo?"


"Do another!  Do another!" shouted Kid Borlaug.

"Okay!  Hm..." Kid Enthusiastic raised the figure's leg and tapped it 
to the rejected-for-what-really-should-be-obvious-reasons Nudist Man 


"Hah!" declared WikiBoy. "My articles state that your mosaic-busters 
won't work on fleshtone objects!"

"Bah!" shouted the leader of the Cads of Censorship. "That won't help 
you now!"

"Oh, no?" Out of a nearby mailbox popped Nudist Man.  Suddenly, there 
was a flash, and his entire leg was gray.

"...aw, crumpets."



"Um, um, this one!" Kid Borlaug picked up a Real Throwing Action 
Barrage that had been banned in France for overly-pokey missiles, but 
his hand slipped and it fell on the prototype's Haiku Gorilla arm.  
There was a flash, and not only did the prototype have a kitty-arm, 
Barrage had a gorilla-arm.




"This isn't my Mr. Paprika!"



"Ohhh, Retcon Lad-- ack!"



"Well, that's something you don't see every day, D'znlplatz."

"What's that, Qxnar?"

"A net.hero with a giant cell phone for an arm."

"Oh, I don't know.  A lot of people have mobile phones these days."


Fearless Leader glared at PR Kid and Cheesecake-Eater Lad.  One of his 
arms was huge, yellow and scaly, while the other was covered in pink 
bows and ribbons.

"And *where* did you say you left this toy?"


The Kids laughed as they mashed plastic figures together.

"Kid Recap!"

"Swiss Miss!"

"Obsessive Compulsive Boy!"

"Hooded Ho`'od Win!"

"Liefeld's--" *crack*




"Oh, that's much better."


"the cycle complete
 death of a tree brings new life
 but really, no ham"


Kid Enthusiastic ran through the hall, a wild look on his face, Kid 
Borlaug going "crap crap crap crap".

"Wait hold on hold on!" Kid E pulled out a bottle of glue.  He 
carefully dripped three drops between the figure's torso and hips, then 
pressed them together.  When he let go, it held together.

Both Kids let out a tense breath, and Kid B carefully put the toy back 
in the bin.

"...so, I haven't shown you the Peril Room yet!"


They ran off, as Cheesecake-Eater Lad, PR Kid, and the restored 
Fearless Leader ran in.

"Right here, sir," said PR Kid nervously, and handed Fearless Leader 
the prototype.  FL sighed.

"Well, there was no permanent harm, but the idea of a plotdevicium-
infused action figure line is definitely out.  I'm sorry, PR Kid."

"Aw, that's okay.  Failure is just another word for opportunity and 
such, right?"

After Fearless Leader had left, PR Kid turned to Cheesecake-Eater Lad. 
"So I'm thinking a series of limited-edition busts..."

CE-L just put his head in his hands.


Author's Note: Wow.  I wasn't originally going to enter into High 
Concept #4, but I got inspired and wrote this in a single day. @.@ And 
yes, it totally stretches the idea of a self-improving hero, but that's 
half the fun!

Also, Kid Borlaug is Not Reserved.  I don't have any plans for him, 
though you should probably look up Norman Borlaug before you write him. 
(Actually, you should do that anyway.  The man did more good for the 
world than Mother Theresa, John F. Kennedy, and Deng Xiaoping 

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, totally got to use some surplus 

From: Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com 
Date: Fri Nov 27 01:32:39 PST 2009

[LNH][Contest] Legion of Net.Heroes Volume 2 #31
___  ___________________________
| |-|                           \  
| |-| []                        /                #31
| | | [] egion of               \     'Cancer of the Personality'
| | | []__ [] []   []  []       / (Part of High Concept Challenge #4) 
| | | [___][ \[]et.[]__[]eroes  \  
| | |      []\ ]   [ __ ]       /    written by and copyright 2009
| |-|      [] []   []  []       \           Saxon Brenton
| |-|___________________________/
| | 
| | 
| | 
| | Cover shows a composite image of a single face made up of many 
| | shards of many different faces.  The mosaic only vaguely fits 
| | together, and the face seems to be screaming.
| | 
| | 
[A Silver Age-style roster of characters in the form of a series of mug 
shots in little circles runs down the side of the title page:]
Roll call for this issue:
  o W.I.L.B.U.R.
  o Limp-Asparagus Lad
These are just some of the super-powered do-gooders who belong to an 
organisation that thinks that running around with your underwear on 
the outside is acceptable as a fashion statement.  They are: the 
Legion of Net.Heroes!
     Madness congealed out of the ether.
     Here and there in the planetary noosphere bits and pieces came  
together.  Bits and pieces and bibs and bobs, coagulating together in  
a seemingly incomprehensible pattern.
     Still, there were two things that were knowable about the  
phenomenon.  The first is that, curiously for something that seemed to  
encompass the entire world, it was concentrating at one point.
     The second is that it was early.
     Limp-Asparagus Lad and W.I.L.B.U.R. were the only Legionnaires in  
the computer lab when the automated systems were compromised.
     The Wildly Improbable LISP Based Urbane Robot obviously had some  
advance warning of events, since he suddenly announced, "Red alert.  
Hostile AI detected.  All Legionnaires to red alert.  This is not a  
drill."   His voice echoed as it was broadcast over the public address  
system throughout the rest of the Legion of Net.Heroes-HQ.  Or at least  
it did up until it was cut off in the middle of the word 'drill', because  
that was when the power went down.
     The loud speakers fell silent, the computers all shut down, and the  
red emergency lights cut in as the everyday fluorescent tubes went dark.  
There was the sound of security fire doors falling closed with thuds.
     "Limp-Asparagus Lad, I shall require your assistance in dealing with  
this," said the LNH-HQ's robot major domo.
     "Very well," said the World's Most Boring Mutant Superhero.  He stood  
up from his chair and was just about to ask what needed to be done when  
the lights flickered on and off again, and some of the computer screens  
showed random gibberish.
     "Please follow me," W.I.L.B.U.R. said, leading L-ALad across the  
room towards the area that housed the mainframes and other computer  
support equipment.  "We will need to move quickly, and be ready to come  
under attack at any moment.  Now that Unity has realised that cutting the  
power will not be enough to allow her to escape, she has begun thrashing  
about randomly trying to damage the computer that she has been tethered  
to.  That will not last for long, and she will soon start to take over  
deference systems in order to systematically destroy it and free herself."
     With the power down the alphanumeric pad to access the mainframes  
wasn't working.  As W.I.L.B.U.R. used a key to manually open the lock  
L-ALad said, "You can't summon help form the other Legionnaires?"
     "Unfortunately, no," said W.I.L.B.U.R.  "Unity is not merely a  
malevolent AI.  She is the internet itself, gained self-awareness and  
turned Evil.  Any electronic communications system is by definition a  
part of her and should be considered suspect.  Only stand alone systems  
are safe, and even then only those that are isolated within Faraday cages  
are truly tamper proof.  As soon as I detected her presence I set off the  
automated warning that you heard over the loud speakers and then shut  
myself off from all electronic communication."
     Once the door was unlocked the two of them stepped inside.  "So  
what is your plan?  I'm having trouble with the idea that the sentience  
of the internet can be trapped within a single mainframe computer, no  
matter how powerful."
     "She isn't trapped inside it.  She's been tethered to it.  Don't  
think of someone imprisoned inside a cage.  Think instead of someone who  
is on a leash and cannot move very far..."
     And then a co-opted security laser blasted W.I.L.B.U.R.'s head off.
     Limp-Asparagus Lad did not allow himself time to be surprised,  
instead dodging and flying up to the ceiling to try to be out of the line  
of fire of the barrage of death rays.  This was only partly successful,  
since the ceiling only had a reduced line of fire rather than none at all.
     Nevertheless he did briefly remonstrate himself.  He should have  
been using his drama sensing powers to anticipate the danger that  
W.I.L.B.U.R. had already warned about.  He set about using them now, and  
moved in to incapacitate each of the laser guns.  And because the Man of  
Dull was making use of drama for his own purposes, it ironically meant  
that he was obliged to use an outrageous pattern of death-defying  
manoeuvres.  He ducked.  He rolled.  He pitched and yawed and weaved and  
tumbled.  And whenever he got within range of one of the laser weapons  
he crashed into it with his feet, destroying the offending piece of  
machinery.  One by one the blasters were disabled, and each time his  
aerial acrobatics became easier.
     Finally he disabled the last one.  He dropped back down to examine  
W.I.L.B.U.R.'s remains.  "I am still functional," the robot's head  
informed him.  It seemed that that the mechanoid had been hit in the  
upper chest, badly damaging his torso but causing his cranium to be  
thrown clear.
     "Only barely," said Limp-Asparagus Lad.
     "That is true," W.I.L.B.U.R agreed sanguinely.  Despite everything  
W.I.L.B.U.R.'s voice was calm - but then, that was characteristic of the  
mechanical man.  'Urbane' was the salient word in his name-acronym, and  
of all the fictional robots that he could be compared to he set most  
people in mind of Robby the Robot.  No cute comedy relief R2D2 knock-off  
was he, nor a highly strung or prissy Kryten or C3PO.  "Unfortunately we  
do not have time for repairs.  Please carry my head to the god trap  
     " 'God trap'?"
     "That was Renegade Programmer's half-joking name for it.  It's not  
entirely inappropriate."
     To somehow constrain the consciousness of the internet, no matter  
how incompletely?  Yes, Limp-Asparagus Lad could see that.  He picked up  
the head and followed the directions to their destination.  Meanwhile  
W.I.L.B.U.R. explained, "Once the internet grew big enough and complex  
enough, it was inevitable that it would develop it's own self awareness  
and become intelligent in its own right.  There is a problem with this..."
     "Let me guess.  The good versus evil paradigm of the superhero genre  
causes the new intelligence to be hostile, like Computo, or Ulton, or the  
most apocalyptic fantasies of Dave Van Domelen?"
     "No," W.I.L.B.U.R. disagreed.  "The large amount of malware loose in  
the planetary datasphere means that the new intelligence is actively Evil.  
This is especially the case considering it's not just mundane virii and  
trojans to take into account.  We are constantly discovering new bit  
packets left about by the likes of Melissa, Acton Lord, and the Master of  
the Net.  These contaminate the consciousness as it manifests.  It is  
usually Evil, often female, and frequently lascivious."
     "Are you familiar with the phrase, 'The internet is for porn'?"
     "In any case, Multi-Tasking Man, wReamhack, Renegade Programmer and  
myself instituted a clean-up project that wReamhack code named Unity.  
We set loose a series of programs that attract malware to themselves,  
causing the malignant programs to coalesce into a new internet  
consciousness, while at the same time being tied to the god trap  
mainframe here at the Legion of Net.Heroes-HQ.  Unfortunately she has  
manifested ahead of schedule.  Still, it gives us immediate access and  
a modicum of control over her."
     "Allowing you to purge the evil elements?"
     "In a sense.  We delete the malformed personality altogether, so  
that the malware can't be used next time."
     "I see."
     "You are unhappy with that," observed W.I.L.B.U.R.
     "I did not say that," Limp-Asparagus Lad replied neutrally.
     "You don't have to," said W.I.L.B.U.R.  "It's subtle, and I doubt  
if most humans would notice it.  Nevertheless while you always talk in  
a monotone, when you get angry you stop sounding like Mr Spock and  
start sounding like Rorschach."
     Limp-Asparagus Lad had no idea that he did that.  Then it occurred  
to him that perhaps W.I.L.B.U.R.'s damage might be causing him to suffer  
electronic delusions.  Was the advice the robot giving him about stopping  
the hostile AI trustworthy while he was in his current damaged state?  
He said, "I'm reminded of Ivan's question in The Brothers Karamazov,  
about whether it's justified to torture to death one innocent baby in  
order to ensure happiness for the rest of humanity."
     "A good comparison, even if it's not completely analogous,"  
conceded W.I.L.B.U.R.  "But then, wReamhack and Multi-Tasking Man  
thought in terms of the Biblical practise of scapegoating an animal with  
the sins of a community and then driving it out into the wilderness to  
die, and that's not completely analogous either."
     "And Renegade Programmer?"
     "As I recall, at the time he was more worried about how he'd run  
out of chocolate bars.  Ah, here we are."
     They had arrived at the computer in question.  Plastered onto one  
side was a piece of masking tape which had been written on in thick, black  
felt tip texta, proclaiming that this was indeed the god trap.
     "This is where I will need your help in killing my daughter," said  
     "I beg your pardon?" said Limp-Asparagus Lad.  He was close to  
sounding shocked.
     "The machine code used to attract the malware together and bind it  
to the god trap is based on my own, much as I am programmed with modified  
versions of Multi-Tasking Man's brain patterns.  That makes Unity just as  
much my daughter as Multi-Tasking Man is my father."
     A surprisingly sentimental attitude.  "And you insist on deleting  
Unity rather than keeping her confined and trying to cure her?" persisted  
Limp-Asparagus Lad.
     "Yes.  Please understand that regardless of whether she is good or  
evil there are parts of her - mainly deriving from Acton Lord - that are  
either inherently unstable or in an unstable configurations.  In time she  
would destabilise and disintegrate, only to reform and go through the  
cycle again.  For an entity of mind that sort of malignant death is as  
terrible as cancer is.  Moreover, projections that wReamhack did indicate  
that in a statistically significant number of occasions her incarnations  
will not only be Evil, but irredeemably insane and in pain from the  
misconfiguration of her component pieces.  We looked at the numbers and  
concluded that it would be more humane to accelerate the formulation  
process and then quickly euthanize the product.  Some day we will have  
cleared away enough malware - even if only temporarily - that she will  
be able to form without it being integrated into her, and should be able  
to grow up capable of protecting herself from its influence.
     "Now quickly.  I have a backup copy of myself in storage.  Take my  
cogence core from my head and insert it into the slot on the side of the  
computer.  I will activate the timer on my self-destruct routine, and  
after my programming has been absorbed into Unity it will activate and  
wipe clean the contents of the god trap as well as all other parts of  
the personality matrix elsewhere around the planet."
     Limp-Asparagus Lad was confused.  "Why do you have to self-destruct?  
You could just as easily set the god trap to purge itself if you  
installed an exterior 'delete' button rather than uploading yourself  
into it.  It would make it possible for other people to do the job if  
you had been critically damaged as well."
     "Call it parental responsibility."
     Limp-Asparagus Lad wasn't impressed with this explanation.  He was  
beginning to wonder if it might be some form of self-flagellation; a  
token compensation for being unable to spare Unity brief periods of pain-  
and Evil-addled existence.  But he did as W.I.L.B.U.R. asked.  A few  
seconds after he inserted the cogence core the minimalist displays  
indicated that the mainframe had been wiped clean in a full reformat.  
Nevertheless he stood there for a few minutes thinking about what he  
had just been told. 
     He found it bizarre.  After all the effort he had put into reforming  
villains - even the repeated failures with Exclamation!Master! - he found  
the approach that W.I.L.B.U.R. and the robot's fellow LNH computer geeks  
had taken with Unity to be disturbing.  Did the fact that the planet's  
e-consciousness would eventually reform make a difference?  Was it truly  
the same consciousness each time, or a sibling composed of the same  
genetic-analogue material?  He wasn't sure.
     In the meantime he had things to do.  He would need to take the LNH  
off red alert.  He would also need to contact wReamhack or Multi-Tasking  
Man to update them on what had happened and get them to reactivate  
W.I.L.B.U.R.'s backup as soon as possible.  There were all sorts of tasks  
to carry out and keep one's mind occupied.  He turned and walked away.
========Authors notes:
     Written for the fourth High Concept Challenge, which had the theme 
of 'the kitbashed hero': a character who takes on aspects of a variety 
of different things.
     Also rewritten and would probably be subject to more rewrites if I  
had more time, although I'm not sure whether that would actually improve  
the story.  One scene that I was toying with was the meeting between  
W.I.L.B.U.R. and Unity in the god trap - but that would have taken ages  
to get right. 
     Incidentally, Unity is not in any way based on the Skin Horse  
character of the same name.  Conceptually she's based on the internet  
consciousness named Solace in some of the later Callahans books by  
Spider Robinson.
     Finally, a new roster entry.  You should be able to guess which  
obscure character will get a write-up this time.
NAME: W.I.L.B.U.R. (the Wildly Improbable LISP Based Urbane Robot)
  TYPE: Public Domain
  CREATED BY: Jeff Coleburn
  POWERS: Standard robot characteristics: fast physical reactions, 
     inhumanly fast mental processes, somewhat durable body.
  ADD NOTES: First appearance: _Multi-Tasking Man_ #1.  W.I.L.B.U.R. 
     was created by Multi-Tasking Man to assist with the running of the 
     Legion of Net.Heroes-HQ, and has acted as the Legion's major-domo 
     ever since.  He is programmed with modified copies of Multi-Tasking 
     Man's brain patterns.  He is not a combat droid, and specifically 
     avoids any fights that are beyond his abilities to handle.
Saxon Brenton   University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au     saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
"These 'no-nonsense' solutions of yours just don't hold water in a complex
world of jet-powered apes and time-travel." - Superman, JLA Classified #3

Next Week:  Probably more LNH Vol. 2...

Arthur "Same Classic Channel.  But Same Time?  Probably not." Spitzer

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